Tiny Mukago Potatoes
Inventory, lb : 0
Mukago potatoes are very small tubers, averaging 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter, and are round, oblong, to somewhat irregular in shape. The skin is thin, rough, dark brown to grey, and is covered in russet and small bumps. Underneath the surface, the flesh is ivory to white, firm, dense, and has a sticky consistency, similar to taro root. Mukago potatoes have a neutral, subtly bitter flavor with an earthy aroma, and when cooked, the tubers develop a soft, bean-like texture.
Mukago potatoes are available in the fall into winter.
Mukago potatoes, botanically classified as Dioscorea japonica, are small, aerial tubers that grow on the vines of the yamaimo, or Japanese yam plant. Yamaimo is known as the mountain potato and is widely recognized in Japan for its large underground tuber, which is also utilized in culinary applications. Mukago potatoes are found growing along forest edges, parks, in home gardens, and can easily be harvested by shaking off of the vines. The tiny tubers are considered a delicacy in Japan and are a symbol of fall, utilized in a wide variety of culinary applications.
Mukago potatoes are a source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can boost the immune system, and also contain calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which can help regulate fluid levels within the body.
Mukago potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as blanching, grilling, steaming, and sautéing. Before cooking, it is strongly recommended to wash the tubers as dirt and soil may be lightly coated over the surface. Mukago potatoes can be steamed with vegetables and meats, or they can be fried and served as a bar snack. The tiny tubers are also tossed into miso soup, sautéed with garlic butter, or deep-fried for a crisp exterior. In Japan, Mukago potatoes are most popularly steamed along with rice to make Mukago-gohan or potato rice. Mukago potatoes pair well with gingko nuts, burdock root, lotus root, persimmons, turnips, carrots, chestnuts, mushrooms, garlic, parsley, kombu, and sake. The tubers will keep 1-2 weeks when stored in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
In Japan, Mukago potatoes are also known by their ancient name of Nukago, which is a term used by native Ibarakians in the Ibaraki prefecture. Within the city, the tiny tubers are also used in shojin-ryori, or Japanese temple food, which makes use of foraged ingredients to balance the body. Alignment is an important concept in Japanese culture, and shun is the practice of eating according to in-season produce. It is believed that produce is at peak nutritional content when in season and Mukago potatoes represent one of the items traditionally consumed in the fall. Many Japanese chefs look forward to the tubers coming into season and feature the potatoes as a seasonal, balanced ingredient.
Mukago potatoes are native to temperate regions of Japan, China, and Korea and have been growing wild since ancient times. Experts believe the yamaimo plant has been cultivated since 50,000 BCE, mainly for its large underground tubers, but in the modern-day, the plant is primarily localized to home gardens. The plant is also grown on a small scale in the Hokkaido and Aomori prefectures. Mukago potatoes, when in season, can be found in limited supply at local markets and select grocers across Japan.
Recipes that include Tiny Mukago Potatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Savvy Tokyo||Mukago - Gohan|