Tatsoi is an edible vegetable that originated from Japan but has spread throughout Asia as one of the most popular greens available today.
It’s also known as “Chinese mustard spinach” or “mizuna,” which means “mustard leaf” in Japanese.
It’s grown in temperate climates around the world — including parts of North America — where its mild, peppery taste complements many different types of cuisine.
The leaves have a slight bite and texture similar to celery leaves, making them perfect for adding some crunch to salads.
What Ingredients Are Needed For A Tatsoi Recipe?
If you want to make your own tatsoi dish, there are several key components that need to be included in order to give the final product a good balance of flavors.
The following is a list of the main ingredients used when preparing various recipes using this leafy green:
- water (or broth)
- soy sauce
- white sugar
- minced garlic
- toasted sesame oil
- sesame seeds
- tamari soy sauce
- rice wine vinegar
- chili paste
- black pepper
- ginger root
- green onion
- red chili flakes
There are plenty more items that can be added to a tatsoi recipe depending on what type of food preparation you’re looking to do with this tasty vegetable.
You may even find yourself experimenting with other ingredients such as peanuts and wasabi powder!
While these are all essential elements to a tatsoi recipe, they aren’t the only ones that will help bring out the best flavor possible.
Many people add salt, sugar, lemon juice, hot peppers, and other spices to their preparations in order to enhance the overall experience.
You’ll notice that not every item listed above is a common ingredient in any particular tatsoi recipe.
Some cooks might choose to leave certain items out entirely while others might include multiple varieties of each ingredient to create a unique flavor profile.
So, how exactly do you go about creating a great tasting tatsoi dish?
Let’s look at the next page to see what else needs to be considered during the process.
How Long Does It Take To Prepare A Tatsoi Recipe?
Preparing tatsoi takes about 10 minutes per head, depending on how large your batch is.
If you’re using baby bok choy, you’ll need to cut off the bottom third of each stem so they don’t sit up too high.
You may want to remove any thick stems before preparing.
If you choose to make a full meal out of your tatsoi, you should cook the entire bunch at once (rather than slicing into individual leaves).
The cooking time will vary based on size and thickness, but expect anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes.
Keep in mind that smaller batches of tatsoi will require less cooking time while larger ones might take longer.
- Cut the tops off and discard.
- Trim away any tough outer layers if necessary.
- Wash the leaves thoroughly under cold water until all dirt and debris are removed.
- Slice leaves into thin strips and set aside.
- In a skillet over medium heat, add oil and sauté the sliced leaves until tender but still crisp.
- Add soy sauce, sesame seeds, garlic powder, ginger, and red pepper flakes and mix well.
- Serve immediately! To keep leftovers fresh, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Reheat by microwaving for 1 minute on low power, stirring often.
How do I grow my own tatsoi?
You can easily grow your own tatsoi.
This herbaceous plant grows best in cool weather conditions around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and is hardy down to -40 F.
Like other vegetables, it requires ample sunlight and fertile soil.
Tatsoi prefers loose, sandy soil with good drainage.
In order to prevent disease, you must avoid planting it near plants that produce pollen or seed.
For example, if you live next door to a garden center that sells tulips, try to find another place to plant your tatsoi.
For optimal growth, you’ll need to fertilize every two weeks during spring and summer months.
Tatsoi doesn’t like being overcrowded, so space your plants evenly across the area.
When growing indoors, you can start your seeds in early March and transplant when the temperature reaches 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
To help maintain healthy roots, give your tatsoi plenty of room to breathe.
Place it in a pot or tray filled with three inches of rich soil, then cover the container with clear glass or plastic.
You can also put your tatsoi in a shallow dish filled with damp pebbles.
Water regularly with a spray bottle or watering wand.
Like kale and collards, tatsoi goes through several stages of development.
At first, there will only be tiny sprouts along the edges of the stem.
As the plant matures, the main stalk begins to show signs of life.
As soon as you see the first few leaves emerging, pinch back the tips so they won’t continue to develop.
Once they’ve stopped growing, you can harvest the rest of the leaves.
What Type Of Dishes Can Be Made With Tatsoi?
You could eat tatsoi raw like you would any other salad green, but it tastes better when cooked.
This veggie works well in both savory and sweet applications.
Some great examples include stir-fries, noodle dishes, rice bowls, stews, soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and even desserts!
1. Stir-Fried Tatsoi Recipe
A traditional Japanese dish, stir-fried tatsoi is a hearty meal packed full of vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats.
You’ll need about 1 pound (450 grams) fresh tatsoi leaves, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) sesame oil, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated ginger root, ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes, and ⅛ cup (60 ml) soy sauce.
To make your own version of this classic dish, place all ingredients into a large bowl and mix together until fully incorporated.
Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of cooking oil over medium heat on a wok or nonstick skillet.
Once hot, add the mixture to the pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until tender.
Remove from the stovetop and serve immediately.
2. Miso Soup With Tofu And Tatsoi Recipe
Miso soup with tofu and tatsoi might not sound very exciting at first glance, but the addition of these two ingredients creates a richly flavored broth that will surprise you every time you try it.
For this particular recipe, you’ll want to purchase extra firm tofu because it will hold up better during cooking than regular soft tofu.
To make sure you get the right kind, look for packages marked “extra firm” or “regular.”
If you’re unsure what level of firmness you should buy, check out our guide to finding the right type of tofu for more information.
Other than tofu, you don’t really need anything else to create this miso soup with tatsoi.
All you need are 4 cups (950 ml) water, 2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt, 1 cup (250 ml) white miso paste, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) mirin, ¼ cup (60 ml) sake, and 1/8 cup (20 ml) sugar.
Bring everything to a boil before removing from the heat and letting it cool down completely.
When it reaches room temperature, transfer it to a blender along with the tatsoi.
Blend until smooth and season according to taste with additional salt, sugar, and mirin if necessary.
3. Noodles In Broth With Tatsoi Recipe
This recipe requires only three main components: noodles, broth, and tatsoi.
The key here is using high quality dried noodles so they retain their shape while soaking up the flavorful liquid.
For example, udon noodles work perfectly for this purpose.
Start by boiling the noodles in plenty of water for 10 minutes or until al dente.
Drain thoroughly and set aside.
Next, bring 6 cups (1400 ml) of water to a boil and reduce the heat to low.
Add the noodles and let sit for another five minutes.
After five minutes, turn off the heat and drain again.
Set the noodles aside.
Now comes the fun part. Place 1 cup (250 ml) of stock in a separate pan and bring it to a simmer.
Slowly pour in the contents of the second pan along with the remaining stock.
Continue stirring constantly until the desired consistency is reached.
Season with additional salt and sugar if needed.
Serve the noodles topped with tatsoi leaves.
4. Raw Tatsoi Salad Recipe
Raw tatsoi salad is a refreshing way to incorporate this nutritious green into your diet.
You won’t find much difference between this and other recipes involving tatsoi except the fact that you’re eating it straight out of the fridge instead of steaming or sautéing it.
If you haven’t tried raw tatsoi yet, you owe yourself a chance! Here are just a few reasons why this is such a tasty option:
- It doesn’t require much effort
- It’s filling and satisfying
- It contains tons of vitamins and nutrients
- It’s super cheap compared to store bought produce
- And last but not least…it looks pretty good too!
What Is The Best Way To Cook Tatsoi?
Unlike other vegetables like lettuce, chives, and arugula, tatsoi doesn’t need much cooking time when it’s fresh.
However, if you want to bring out more of its robust flavors, you should sauté it briefly before using it in a dish.
You can eat tatsoi raw by cutting off the stems and slicing the leaves into thin strips.
You can also add it to your favorite salad dressing or toss it with sushi rice.
If you decide to make it part of a meal, you can steam it briefly (for about three minutes) until tender before serving it with noodles, pasta, or another protein source.
When cooked, tatsoi has a slightly bitter edge that mellows after a few hours.
If you don’t mind the bitterness, you can let it sit overnight so all the nutrients are released and you get a deeper flavor.
Here are four ways to cook tatsoi:
- Sautéing – Add chopped tatsoi to pan drippings, such as chicken broth or oil, then heat over medium-high heat while stirring often until wilted and lightly browned. This method will take less than five minutes.
- Steaming – Cut tatsoi into small pieces and place in steamer basket over boiling water. Steam for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness, before removing from the basket and draining well.
- Blanching – Place cut tatsoi in large pot of salted water and boil gently for four minutes. Drain, rinse under cold running water, drain again, and pat dry.
- Raw – Chop finely and mix with vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper flakes.
Are There Any Health Benefits Associated With Tatsoi?
Unlike other common vegetables, such as kale, chard, and collards, tatsoi doesn’t contain high levels of oxalic acid, so it won’t cause kidney stones like those found in these foods.
In fact, eating tatsoi regularly can help reduce your risk of developing certain cancers by reducing inflammation and aiding digestion.
Many cultures eat tatsoi daily due to its ability to aid in weight loss, lower cholesterol, improve heart health, and boost energy levels.
Other studies have shown that consuming tatsoi may also lead to improvements in skin conditions, osteoporosis, and even cancer prevention.
However, before you start popping tatsoi into your diet, make sure to consult a doctor first if you are currently taking medication for arthritis or diabetes.
What Flavors Does Tatsoi Lend To A Dish?
When cooked properly, tatsoi provides a subtle yet flavorful boost to your favorite recipes.
For instance, it adds a sharp tang to salads like arugula (rocket) pesto, and you might even add it to pasta salad if you want to give it just a little extra kick!
You could also drizzle it over grilled meats for a tasty side dish.
If you prefer more spice, try blending it into soup, stews, or even sauces.
You may wonder why anyone would grow tatsoi when they already have so many varieties of lettuce at their disposal.
The answer lies in how well it grows under certain conditions.
In fact, tatsoi was originally bred specifically for farmers who were growing lettuce in colder regions.
But after being introduced to warmer areas, it became increasingly popular among chefs because it pairs so well with different ingredients.
Its mild, peppery taste goes perfectly with citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and pomelos, along with tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, mushrooms, onions, garlic, ginger, scallions, and soy sauce.
And don’t forget about those spices!
Adding cayenne pepper will make the tatsoi pop while it cooks.
Because it’s not bitter, it works great on top of burgers, too!
What Other Vegetables Can Be Used In A Tatsoi Recipe?
While tatsoi itself contains few nutrients, it offers up plenty of vitamins and minerals when combined with other ingredients.
You can make your own version of this salad by mixing shredded raw veggies (such as carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, cauliflower) into the prepared tatsoi.
This adds even more nutritional value to the dish without increasing its calorie count.
You can also add cooked chicken breast, shrimp, salmon, tofu, and meat substitutes like Beyond Meat burgers if you want to increase protein content.
When preparing a recipe calling for fresh or frozen tatsoi, always remove any tough stems before using.
If you are storing the tatsoi in water overnight, drain it first so that it doesn’t become slimy.
If you don’t eat dairy products, you may substitute milk for the sesame oil in recipes.
Milk will not only help give the dressing a creamy consistency, but it also helps improve the color of the finished product.
What Common Sauces Pair Well With Tatsoi?
A tatsoi salad recipe will usually include a dressing made up of olive oil, vinegar, garlic and salt.
You may add fresh herbs like parsley, chives, or basil if you prefer.
Another excellent pairing is a sauce made with soy sauce and sesame oil.
This combination works especially well on grilled meats because it adds extra savory depth while keeping the meat tender.
You could even try combining the two by marinating your tatsoi in soy sauce before grilling it over medium heat.
The resulting dish would be sweet, salty, and tangy all at once!
If you want to make a soup out of your tatsoi, you can always just toss it into a pot with water along with whatever seasonings you prefer.
Tatsoi is best when served raw so don’t worry about cooking it first unless you want to do that part ahead of time.
One last thing – if you are looking for something a little more adventurous, a good substitute for tatsoi is bok choy.
Bok choy has a delicate flavor and slightly bitter edge that compliments both spicy and sweet foods.
Are There Any Special Techniques
There are two main ways you can cook tatsoi: steaming it or sautéing it.
The method used will depend on what sort of dish you want to make, how long you plan to let your tatsoi sit before serving, and how much time you have at hand.
To steam your tatsoi, wash the leaves thoroughly then place them in a pan filled with water until they float (about 5 minutes).
Remove the leaves using tongs and set aside somewhere cool while still wet.
To avoid overcooking, don’t leave the leaves in the pot too long after removing them from the boiling water.
When ready to serve, drain off the excess moisture and pat dry with paper towels.
If desired, chop up the leaves into smaller pieces.
For a more rustic feel, add them whole.
For sautéed tatsoi, cut away the stems and discard.
Trim the rough edges off the leaves if necessary.
Wash the leaves thoroughly, pat dry with paper towel, and set aside.
Heat about 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat in a large skillet and allow it to get hot.
Add several handfuls of chopped tatsoi leaves to the pan and sauté until lightly browned.
Season with salt and pepper, remove from the pan, and keep warm.
As another option, you can blanch the leaves by placing them in a bowl of ice cold water for 30 seconds.
Drain, rinse under running water, and pat dry with paper towels.
Finally, you can blend tatsoi leaves into a smooth soup base.
Here’s a quick recipe for tatsoi soup:
- Bring 4 cups water and 2 tablespoons soy sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring 3 cups water to a rolling boil. Pour in 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, reduce the heat slightly, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, strain out all of the liquid and return it to the stovetop. Discard the solids left behind.
- Add the cooked tatsoi leaves to the strained broth along with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon sugar. Bring back to a low simmer and continue cooking for another five minutes. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste.
- 1 Bowl
For the Whole30 ranch yogurt dressing:
- 3 tbsp mayo
- 1 tbsp dairy-free milk
- 3 tbsp coconut yogurt
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos
- salt and black pepper
For the Tatsoi salad:
- 7 oz carrots
- 7 oz cucumber
- 2.5 oz tatsoi
- 2 oz mizuna
- 2 oz mixed greens
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Coarse sea salt
- Blend the Whole30 ranch yoghurt dressing thoroughly. For further information, go to the steps in this page. Keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
- Put a veggie peeler to use. Cut the cucumber and carrots into ribbons.
- Toss the carrot and cucumber ribbons with the tatsoi, mizuna, and additional mixed baby greens in a sizable salad bowl.
- Olive oil and the salad dressing should be drizzled on. Add additional dressing if desired after adding the first 3 tbsp. If using, sprinkle some furikake on top. Toss, then add salt to taste.
- Serve cold and consume immediately.