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


Tsuruna no sujoyu-ae / New Zealand spinach in vinegar soy sauce

A quick dish of succulent New Zealand spinach with a spicy tobanjan twist. The vinegar in the dressing makes this a refreshing companion for all sorts of dishes, including those with strong flavors.


Large handful tsuruna New Zealand spinach (170 g in photo)
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp tobanjan chili bean paste
A tiny amount of sesame oil
Salt (to blanch tsuruna; not in photo)


Mix rice vinegar, soy sauce and tobanjan.
Add sesame oil. 
Set aside.


Bring plenty of water to boil, add salt, and put tsuruna, starting with the stem ends and then leaves.

When leaves brighten, immediately transfer to ice water to stop cooking.


Gently squeeze out excess water, and cut into 3 cm.

 Gently squeeze out excess water once again, and place in a bowl.


Immediately before serving, pour vinegar soy sauce mixture, and mix well.

  • Do not smash tsuruna while squeezing out excess water.
  • The dressing is quite strong, and mixing it with tsuruna in advance would result in an overly salty dish.
  • Alternatively, serve the dressing separately and pour it over tsuruna immediately before eating.
  • If tobanjan is not available, (garlic) chili sauce works fine.

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