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


Meshida to satsumaage no nibitashi / Western lady fern fiddleheads and deep-fried fishcakes in light broth

An everyday comfort side dish featuring fiddleheads in season. The faint bitterness of meshida lady fern with its succulent texture tastes great with gently mellow fishcakes.

1/2 of recipe:
73 calories; 6.5 g protein; 1.5 g fat; 8.7 g carbohydrate; 6.1 g net carbs; 67 mg sodium; 8 mg cholesterol; 2.7 g fiber 

Small handful (approx. 100 g) seiyo meshida Western lady fern fiddleheads (109 g in photo; prep-boiled)
2 satsumaage deep-fried fishcakes

For broth
200 cc dashi
1 tsp sake
1 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce


First remove oil on surface and eliminate excess sodium of satsumaage.
Bring 500 cc or so water to boil, and add satsumaage; when boiling again, remove from heat, and soak satsumaage for 10 minutes.
(Use two satsumaage for this recipe, and save other two pieces for later use.)


Drain satsumaage, pat with paper towel to dry surface, and cut into four.
Cut meshida into 3-4 cm.


In a pot, put all ingredients for broth, bring to boil.

Put satsumaage in broth, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Flip a few times for even flavoring.


Put meshida, and simmer for 5 minutes. 
Ideally, cool completely, and reheat before serving.

  • The dish tastes stronger when cooled once and reheated.
  • For brighter color with meshida (photo at right), remove it from broth after cooking a few minutes, cool quickly on plate, and return to broth for final reheating immediately before serving.
  • After soaking in hot water, satsuaage's sodium content is reduced by 85%.
  • Desalination time can be shortened if satsuamae is cut in half or quarters before soaking.
  • The nutrition figures above are based on consuming 40% of broth with satsumaage and meshida.
  • For meshida nutrition, data for kogomi ostrich fern fiddleheads are used.

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