Spinach Ohitashi is a Japanese staple vegetable side dish. Ohitashi or Hitasu means soaked in so, Ohitashi is vegetables soaked in a soy sauce-flavoured dashi stock. English Spinach is the vegetable commonly used for this type of dish, but any green vegetables can be cooked this way.
Japanese mustard spinach (Komatsuna) and eggplants or aubergine are often used for this dish in Japan. Bok Choy is suitable for Ohitashi too.
Although it is very simple and easy to make, if you parboil the spinach too long, or do not squeeze out enough water, the dish becomes watery and bland. You need to follow a few tips to make simple but delicious ohitashi.
The first point is when you parboil the spinach, place the stem part in first to the boiling water to avoid the leaf part over cooking.
The second point is to squeeze out the water well, for the dashi soy sauce to penetrate well into the spinach when it is soaked. If you follow those steps properly, you will have delicious ohitashi anytime.
Dashi is the most important sauce of Umami. You can make it easily, if you can get the right ingredients such as bonito flakes and konbu seaweed. However, these days many Japanese people don’t bother to make it from scratch and just buy powdered dashi stock. If you are out side of Japan, I am sure you can order this online.
This spinach ohitashi would make an amazing side dish to my teriyaki meatballs, or even just to change up things and sit alongside your favourite spicy ginger chicken stir fry. You have to plan ahead just a little bit, because of the soaking time needed, but it’s a side dish you’re sure to make again and again once you’ve tried it.
- 1 bunch fresh spinach
- 100 ml dashi stock
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- Boil about 1 litre of water and 1 tsp salt.
- Parboil the spinach. Dip in the stem part first and hold the leaf part with your hand or chopsticks/tong out of the boiling water for 30 seconds then place the leaf part into the boiling water and cook for a further 30 seconds.
- Take out the spinach. Dip it into a bowl of icy cold water to avoid the spinach cooking further.
- Squeeze out excess water and cut spinach 4-5 cm lengthwise.
- Squeeze out excess water again and place spinach into a flat, shallow container.
- Mix Dashi stock, soy sauce and mirin. Pour over the spinach to soak the spinach.
- Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Serve in a small bowl or plate and top with bonito flakes or roasted sesame seeds.
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