All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Yasai nukigata / vegetable cutters

Handy tools to cut vegetables into flowers or blossoms for different seasons.

From left: ume plum blossom (late winter/early spring); sakura cherry blossom (spring); kikyo Japanese bell flower (summer); kiku chrysanthemum (fall)

Cutting vegetables into flower shapes takes extra time, and it is not routinely done at home (except for cooking enthusiast parents when they make bento lunches for young kids). On celebratory occasions, flower-shaped vegetables add a decorative touch to ordinary dishes, turning everyday meals into something special.

While vegetables can be cut with a knife, using a cutter expedites the process significantly. One major drawback is that each cutter requires a certain diameter of vegetable. For example, you need to have thick carrots to make plum blossoms using a cutter, whereas you can simply make large and small plum blossoms with a knife.

Flower-cut vegetables are often trimmed for a three-dimensional effect.

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