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


Warabi to ebi no nimono / simmered bracken with shrimp

Soy sauce-flavored warabi bracken is paired with softly sweet shrimp. Here, Pacific Northwest coon shrimp add a cheerful color to the dish. To get every last bit of flavor from the coon shrimp, whole shrimp are used below.


120-150 g coon shrimp (150 g/16 boiled coon shrimp in photo)
120 g warabi bracken (prep-cooked)
150 cc water
1 tsp sake
1 tsp mirin
1/4 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp usukuchi soy sauce
1 tsp butter


Shell shrimp.


In a pot, melt butter, add shrimp heads and shells, and saute on medium to medium low heat.
Crush heads with spatula while sauteing.  
When aromatic and shells are toasty, add water, bring to boil, and simmer on medium low until liquid is reduced by half, 10 minutes or so.


Meanwhile, cut warabi into 3-4 cm.


Strain shrimp broth into a pot.
Press shrimp heads against strainer to get all their flavor.

Add sake, mirin, rice vinegar and usukuchi soy sauce, and bring to boil.


Add warabi, heat through (simmer for 1-2 minutes), and remove from heat to cool.
Warabi takes on the flavor of broth after 30-40 minutes.
Mix warabi once or twice for even flavor absorption. 


To serve cold, simply add shrimp to warabi, mix, and voila, it is ready to eat. (See notes for when using uncooked shrimp.)

To serve hot, first heat up warabi, add shrimp, and simmer for 30-60 seconds. 

  • If using uncooked shrimp, cook them separately if the dish is to be served cold. Place shrimp in a single layer in a bowl, sprinkle sake over, and microwave until shrimp become pink, or boil in water with sake until shrimp turn pink. Let cool before adding to warabi. If the dish is to be served hot, add shrimp after reheating warabi, and cook until shrimp become pink, 1-2 minutes. Do not overcook shrimp, as the texture becomes like rubber.
  • If shrimp shells or heads are not available for the broth, use 5 tbsp dashi. Among many types of dashi, Hoshi-kaibashira dried scallops' rehydration water gives an excellent taste. Adding a small amount of shami dried shrimp (or its rehydration water) or shrimp flakes has a similar effect to the taste. Chicken stock (without Western herbs) works fine, too.
  • Simmering fresh (prep-cooked) warabi in broth longer than 4-5 minutes could result in an overly soft texture.
  • When using salted warabi (after desalination), instead of letting it cool in Process 4, warabi can be simmered for 7-8 minutes until it absorbs the broth's flavor, and the dish finished by adding shrimp.

(Last updated: May 1, 2017)


Sissi said...

I am so happy to have found your wonderful, inspiring blog! I have discovered you searching for shungiku recipes (it grows on my balcony for the first time this year) and was glad to discover so many options and so many other interesting dishes. I have never had warabi, but have always hoped I could taste it one day. It looks delicious.

neco said...

Thank you, Sissi, for the encouraging comment. Hope you will like the warabi dish. I am done with fresh warabi this year, but now I get to start using salted warabi. Good luck with your shungiku! Nothing is better than the fresh harvest from your garden. I should start mine soon. Mizuna, komatsuna, kabu and nanohana are growing in wine barrels on the deck now.