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


Karifurawaa to asupara no kuzuni / cauliflower and asparagus in thickened broth

A gentle side dish for spring. Both vegetables are subtly sweet and cooked to be soft, yet the cauliflower crumbles in your mouth while the asparagus remains intact and juicy. Perhaps this dish is not so exciting, but it is well appreciated as a "bridge" between other dishes. One of my favorites.

1/2 of recipe:
53 calories; 3.5 g protein; 0.3 g fat; 9.2 g carbohydrate; 6.4 g net carbs; 146 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce; 242 mg with regular soy sauce); 0 mg cholesterol; 2.8 g fiber


Handful (1/6-1/5) cauliflower (156 g in photo)
Small handful asparagus (70 g in photo)

For broth
100 cc dashi
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sake & mirin in combination (equal parts)
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp shiokoji salted rice malt
1 small knob ginger
1 tsp karakuriko potato starch + equal amount of water


Divide cauliflower into florets.
Peel lower stalk of asparagus, and cut into 3-4 cm.
Grate ginger.


In a pot, put dashi, rice vinegar, sake and mirin, and bring to boil.
Put cauliflower, cover, and simmer on medium low heat for 5 minutes.
Flip cauliflower once halfway through.


Add soy sauce, cover, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Flip cauliflower once halfway through.


Add asparagus, cover, and cook for 1-2 minutes until asparagus is done.


Add shiokoji, squeeze ginger juice, and stir.

Mix potato starch and water well, and swirl in the pot.
Stir, and add more potato starch mixture as necessary to achieve desired thickness (a consistency of maple syrup or looser is recommended).

Ready to serve.

  • If shiokoji is not available, use a tiny amount of salt.
  • The above seasoning proportion results in a somewhat mellow taste, which works great when paired with stronger-tasting dishes; for a lighter color and sharper taste, use less soy sauce and more shiokoji (or use usukuchi soy sauce and less shiokoji -- usukuchi soy sauce is saltier than regular soy sauce).
  • This is great with other firm green ingredients, such as English peas in season (photo at right).
  • Kuzuni literally means kudzu-simmered, implying a simmered dish whose broth is thickened by kuzuko or kudzu arrowroot starch. Instead of kudzu, katakuriko potato starch is more commonly used as a thickener today.
  • The above nutrition figures are when everything is consumed. A more realistic sodium content (since some broth would be left in pot and bowls) would be about 100mg. The number would be higher when broth is made thicker.

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