buta zen mai - pork with fern shoots

6 servings
1½ pounds Lean pork-sliced thin
1 pounds Zen Mai (fern shoots) cut into 1 1/2" lengths
3 teaspoons Sugar
2 tablespoons Shoyu
½ teaspoon Gourmet powder
2 tablespoons Oil

1. Put oil in heated skillet. Add pork and cook for 2 minutes.

2. Add sugar, shoyu, gourmet powder and cook for 3 minutes.

3. Soak and drain Zen Mai. Add to mixture and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed.

4. Remove and serve.

From "Sukiyaki, the Art of Japanese Cooking and Hospitality", by Fumiko. Edited and copyrighted by Scotty Guletz. Hawaii and Pacific Books. No date given.

This is an interesting little book (booklet, really) that must have come out just after WW II. It was written by a Japanese lady living in Hawaii and tends to emphasize how genteel and hospitable the Japanese culture is--probably a good idea considering the historical context of the book.

The recipes are all pretty basic but look good and call for real Japanese ingredients that I'm sure were either scarce or unavailable on the Mainland at the time. Shoyu is, of course, soy sauce. I can't believe that "gourmet powder" could be anything but MSG. Though it doesn't call for "fiddleheads" by name, I can't imagine what else "fern shoots" could be.

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