janet @ the taste space

Pan-Seared King Oyster Mushrooms and Baby Bok Choy in a Coconut Tamarind Sauce with a Caramelized Leek and Wasabi Millet Mash

In Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on December 7, 2011 at 6:12 AM

Sorry about the lack of diversity in my month of cruciferous vegetables. I know what it must look like to you: lots of broccoli, some kale with a bit of daikon and baby bok choy. Actually it looked like this: kale, daikon, broccoli, kale, broccoli, broccoli, kale, broccoli, baby bok choy and broccoli, and broccoli with a side of Napa cabbage. I’ll be honest: broccoli was on sale. A few weeks in a row. 😉 I’ll try to make my next few posts with different cruciferous veggies.

Pop quiz:

Which cruciferous vegetables are in this meal? Check all that apply.
a. broccoli
b. baby bok choy
c. cauliflower
d. king oyster mushroom
e. leek
f. tamarind
g. potato
h. wasabi

Have a headache yet? Flashback to an undergrad midterm? SORRY!

I just want you to know your cruciferous veggies..

Don’t be fooled. The answers are baby bok choy, cauliflower and WASABI! Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable but not in this recipe (sad, I know). King oyster mushrooms, leeks and tamarind are not cruciferous vegetables, but still good! While there is a mash here, there are no potatoes in this recipe!

Did you know that wasabi is a cruciferous vegetable? Thought it only came in powder form? Well, wasabi is actually a root vegetable. When I visited Japan, I visited the Daiõ Wasabi Farm outside Hotaka, which is the largest wasabi farm in the world. Not only were there fields upon fields of growing wasabi (pic above), they also had the roots for sale along with other wasabi treats like wasabi soup, wasabi soba noodles, wasabi wine, wasabi lollipops and my favourite: wasabi ice cream! I was a spice novice at that time, and still loved it: the spicy wasabi was off-set by lots of sweetness. The ice cream had a mild background of wasabi and vanilla perhaps, but lovely at the same time.

Sadly, wasabi is difficult to grow and thus expensive. Outside Japan, wasabi is commonly substituted with (cheaper) horseradish, mustard and green food colouring. Have no fear, Eden sells genuine wasabi powder. And yes, Sunny’s sells it for half the price of The Big Carrot.

This meal, which is actually 2 recipes, must have the longest name of anything on this blog so far. These long descriptive names are what have me drooling at restaurants, so I love to point of all the nuances of my dishes, too. The longer the name, the longer the ingredient list, and thus probably the longer it took me to make this. Denis Cotter loves to make multi-component meals, and this is no exception. Adapted from his recipe in For the Love of Food, I increased the vegetables, especially the baby bok choy and decreased the coconut milk. Meaty king oyster mushrooms were pan-fried in coconut oil then stir-fried with ginger and the baby bok choy. A light tangy broth with tamarind and coconut milk rounded out the sauce and offered a nice contrast in flavours.

As an Irishman, Cotter adores potatoes and served this with mashed potatoes spiced with caramelized leeks and wasabi.

I opted to try a different a kind of mash: the monster mash.

I mean, the millet mash. With cauliflower. And caramelized leeks and wasabi, as per Cotter.

The cauliflower millet mash is courtesy of Sarah, and while it doesn’t taste like mashed potatoes, it has a creaminess akin to mashed potatoes. As a blank slate, it can take any flavours you throw at it, including the subtly sweet caramelized leeks and the spicy wasabi. Juxtaposed next to the tangy coconut broth with the vegetables, you have a crazy concoction of cruciferous vegetables.

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Marta from Viaggiare è un po’ come mangiare.

Pan-Seared King Oyster Mushrooms and Baby Bok Choy in a Coconut Tamarind Sauce with a Caramelized Leek and Wasabi Millet Mash

1 cup millet, rinsed well
3 cups water
4-5 cups chopped cauliflower (half a large cauliflower)
1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp wasabi, to taste (this was not spicy but enough of a taste for me, the original recipe called for 2 tsp)
salt, to taste

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 package king oyster mushrooms (260g), thickly sliced (3/4 cm)
650g baby bok choy (32 baby bok choy)
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp Aleppo chili flakes

1 tbsp tamarind pulp
200 mL boiling water
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp soy sauce

1. Add rinsed millet and water in a large pot and cover with cauliflower and salt. Bring to a rapid boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft and the millet is cooked.

2. Meanwhile, over medium-low heat, heat coconut oil in a large skillet. Add leeks and saute for 20-30 minutes until they become soft and begin to caramelize.

3. Remove the millet mash from heat, add the garlic and salt to taste. Blend until creamy in a food processor. Stir in caramelized leeks and wasabi. Set aside.

4. Meanwhile, prepare your tamarind-coconut sauce by adding the tamarind pulp to the boiling water and allow it to sit at least 10 minutes. Press the tamarind through a fine-mesh strainer and collect the water. Combine with the coconut milk and soy sauce and set aside.

5. Using the same large skillet that housed the leeks, heat coconut oil over high heat. Add mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes until all sides are golden brown. Add the ginger and bok choy and stir fry for an additional 2-3 minutes until the bok choy is tender. Stir in the tamarind-coconut mixture, bring to a boil and simmer for a minute.

6. Serve the vegetables overtop the millet mash.

Serves 4.

  1. There’s no such thing as too much broccoli!

  2. Impressive post! And way impressive title. Rob, word, I could eat cruciferous vegetables every day…wait, I pretty much do! I like the idea of the millet mash…

    • Hey Zoa, Thanks! I never really made an effort to eat cruciferous veggies specifically, so my challenge has been pretty fun, especially now that I am breaking free from the standard veggies like broccoli. Not that I don’t love broccoli, variety is always important. 🙂

  3. wow- i never knew what wasabi was! very interesting 😉 i guess i assumed it was an herb or spice..

    and i just love oyster mushrooms(they’re actually in a recipe i posted earlier this week!)

    i try to make a conscious effort to eat cruciferous veggies, they actually happen to be my favorite!

    • Hey Caitlin,

      Yeah your autumn soup looked delicious. It really helps that I enjoy the veggies as well… and I never knew how varied the “cruciferous” family really was until I decided to learn more about them. 😉

  4. Lovely dish, there’s a lot going on but I like all the flavors. I guess I’m not surprised that wasabi is a cruciferous vegetable. Love the pictures of the farm, how cool!

  5. Wasabi???? Ok. Learned something new today for sure!

  6. I love that we both posted about cruciferous veggies today! I must have been channeling you when trying to figure out what to make for Eat.Live.Be. this week 🙂

    I got to try fresh wasabi last year and it was so different from the powder. I guess I need to get my hands on some of the REAL stuff!

  7. This looks so great! I’ve never used millet before – but the leek & millet mash sounds so yummy. I’ll definitely be trying this! Thanks!

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  9. Good grief! This looks INSANE!!!

    Nice work Janet. Can’t wait to make it myself.

    xo, Sarah B

    ps – great info!

  10. I love long descriptive names too! I’m guessing fresh wasabi isn’t as spicy as the stuff you get in Japanese restaurants? Hm. Anyway this sounds delicious especially … okay especially everything haha. I’ve never tried a millet mash before with cauliflower mmm.

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