Ohitashi (Japanese Boiled Spinach Salad)

Posted by on September 8, 2010 in Announcements, Baby's Food, Blog, Family Favorites, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Salad, Toddler, Vegetables & Vegetarian | 17 comments

 

As a kid, eating spinach at our house meant that my mom made ohitashi. Although she used spinach in dishes such as chawan mushi or shabu-shabu, we never ate sautéed spinach the way Bebe Dada likes to make it (yet another post for the future).

Ohitashi is a simple, healthy and refreshing dish.  It’s perfect for a hot summer day, and believe me, it has been HOT over the past two weeks in So. Cal, but it definitely seems like it has cooled off. I might even go so far as to say it’s been a little cold!

I often enjoy making ohitashi as a side dish when I cook Japanese food for dinner – - – with grilled fish, miso shiru, a small green salad and gohan.  This is exactly the type of simplistic dinner menu that my mom made when I was growing up. Ohitashi also goes well with soboro don and other Japanese donburi (see category on right for additional donburi ideas).

I’m going to keep this post short today (shocking, I know) but I’d like to share a picture from a recent visit to the merry-go-round at South Coast Plaza.

Carousel

Bebe E was afraid of the horses (they actually have unfriendly facial features) so we sat on a bench together but she refused to sit on my lap or sit next to me. She would only stop fussing if I hugged her close to me. I’m not sure if it was the motion of the merry-go-round or the lights, plastic horses, music, or combination thereof, but she certainly didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I thought she would. She was mesmerized by the merry-go-round as we watched other children ride it, and she even reached out to it, before AND after we rode it as if she wanted to ride it (again). I imagine the merry-go-round is a ‘thrill-seeking’ ride for children, much in the same way that roller coasters are scary, yet fun, for adults.

In case any of you were wondering what the “Top Mom” reference meant in the title of today’s ohitashi post, I am very proud to announce that Priscilla from She’s Cookin’ selected me as her guest blogger and Top Mom of the Month for September!

I’ve never been a guest blogger for anyone but I am particularly proud to be Priscilla’s guest, and very honored that she reads my blog. She featured my Okinawa dango post. Priscilla is an editor for a local print magazine, OC Family and she has a number of wonderful recipes and features on local eateries in Orange County, CA on her blog, She’s Cookin’. Please take a moment to visit her blog and read what she’s cookin’ in her kitchen and eating around town, AND especially about little ol’ me, Top Mom! Thank you, Priscilla!

Ohitashi

  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • Katsuo bushi (dried bonito flakes)
  • Dashi shoyu (seasoned soy sauce) or shoyu (soy sauce) to taste

Spinach Fresh

At the asian supermarkets you can sometimes find spinach with their roots attached.  I prefer this over the spinach typically found with the roots cut off.  I think it’s because this is the type of spinach my mom always bought.

For dishes such as shabu-shabu, my mom would trim the little root hairs at the end, but she would keep the violet portion of the root attached.  I like the “meatiness” of this part of the spinach.

1) Bring water to a boil in a medium pot.  This step is important – - – lay all of the spinach in one direction, roots all on one end, all leaves on the other end. Add spinach to the pot arranged in this way, with roots all in one direction.

2) Cook for 3 minutes until tender.  Transfer immediately to a colander and run under cold water.

3) Gently squeeze excess water from the spinach, then cut spinach into 1 inch blocks. By keeping all the spinach in one direction you get beautiful ohitashi, and you’ll find that most all ohitashi (at least at good Japanese restaurants) will be served to you this way. This is how my mom makes it and how I am used to seeing it presented when I eat this. I’m not an ‘ohitashi snob’. This is just how it is with this dish.

Spinach Horensou

Serve spinach on a plate, and top with katsuo bushi.  Season spinach with shoyu (soy sauce) or dashi shoyu. While I typically use regular shoyu, occasionally I’ll use the following dashi shoyu for variety.

Dashi Shoyu

Bebe Dada is not a fan of katsuo bushi, but I grew up on dried bonito flakes and I absolutely love it. My uses it for yudofu and hiyayakko (cold tofu) I used to think it was fun to eat because it was like eating paper with flavor. For Bebe Dada, I serve ohitashi plain without katsuo bushi and it still tastes great.

1_Spinach_Ohitashi_Bebe_Love_Okazu

Itadakimasu!

Judy | bebe mama

 

Ohitashi (Japanese Boiled Spinach Salad)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • Katsuo bushi (dried bonito flakes)
  • Dashi shoyu (seasoned soy sauce) or shoyu (soy sauce) to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. This step is important - - - lay all of the spinach in one direction, roots all on one end, all leaves on the other end. Add spinach to the pot arranged in this way, with roots all in one direction. NOTE: The Japanese market often sells the spinach with the pink and white roots in tact. These are cleaned of any hairy roots but the pink part of the root is cooked and used.
  2. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until tender. Transfer immediately to a colander and run under cold water.
  3. Gently squeeze excess water from the spinach, then cut spinach into 1 to 11/2 inch blocks. By keeping all the spinach in one direction you get beautiful ohitashi.
  4. Serve spinach on a plate, and top with katsuo bushi (dried bonito flakes).
  5. Season spinach with shoyu (soy sauce) or dashi shoyu.

17 Comments

  1. avatar

    Aloha!

    Speedy Reader AlohaGal, strikes again!! Looks like I’m the first to comment again! LOL

    Cute pic! :) Ohitashi. My mom makes this quite often. Although, recently I have not eaten it. Since my brother has moved here, not many vegetable dishes appear at dinner time. Kyouwa tonkatsu deshita!! Oishikatta desu! LOL

    I should make this dish, since it’s so simple. Thanks for sharing, Bebe Mama!!

    • avatar

      Hi friend, You are so lucky that your parents live close and you are able to eat with them regularly. Even luckier that your mom cooks for you! I wish my parents lived in our neighborhood! That’s funny that your mom is catering to your brother these days. :) It’s definitely an easy dish, maybe something for one of your Sunday dinners! :) Have a great week!

  2. avatar

    Congrats Top Mom Judy! :D Those horses look scary sometimes especially when they made their face stiff. Poor Babe E. I’ve seen dashi soy from a magazine but never tried it. This sounds healthy and light!

    • avatar

      Hi Tanantha, Thanks! I use the dashi shoyu sparingly and usually only for ohitashi, cold tofu, or sashimi for a change of pace from soy sauce.

  3. avatar

    Congrats on the honor!
    I’ll go check it out!

    What a cute picture. Your little one is growing up so quickly!

    My son never liked merry go rounds. He still doesn’t! We always have to sit in the seat if he goes on one (which is rare).

    • avatar

      Thank you! I know… I wish she wouldn’t grow so fast and that time would slow down a little for us. I think the fact that she doesn’t like the merry go round is telling of things to come. :)

  4. avatar

    Hello Judy,

    I think my mother make a similar dish for me when I was young but she put wasabi in it. I bet she probably stole one of Japanese recipe from your mother lol.

    • avatar

      Hi Liv, Oh that’s interesting. I’ve never had it with wasabi. I bet that has a good kick to it! :)

  5. avatar

    Hello Bebe Mama!

    Congratulations to you on the wonderful honor! You deserve it! I enjoy your blog and really look forward to your posts. :0)

    Sorry I missed you on Saturday. I really wanted to see you and Bebe E. You two look so cute on the merry-go-round.

    Take care!
    Turtle Mama

    • avatar

      Hi T-Mama! Thank you so much! I was wondering where you guys were!?! Sorry we missed you too. We had a nice time hanging out with all the other babies and kids. How life has changed, huh? :)

  6. avatar

    Nice and simple way to cook spinach.

  7. avatar

    Such a cute picture, not surprised that baby E thinks the horses are a bit scary…they do have mean faces :( Love the spinach dish :) Congrats on the feature with Priscilla, I read the article and loved it :)

  8. avatar

    I should make this dish more often! Usually I have ohitashi with ground sesame seeds on top. I have lots of katsuo and goma though. Nice post!

  9. avatar

    How did you know spinach is one of my favorite foods! No kidding, I could eat sauteed spinach every day but my family doesn’t share my sentiment – they’re good with once or twice a week. Judy, your ohitashi look better than when I order it at Ebisu – my favorite noodle place!

    • avatar

      Thank you! If you like spinach, I’m sure you’ll enjoy spinach tamagoyaki. :) I’ve heard of Ebiso but haven’t tried it since moving to the OC. I’ll have to look that up. :)

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