The hipsters at Brooklyn Kitchen are NOT impressed with Japanese knotweed. It’s an invasive species! A pest! The sign says BEWARE! Still they feel the need to charge me $12.99 per pound but so it goes. A cute hipster guy in glasses behind me in line asked what it was and the cute hipster guy in glasses who was ringing me up said “It’s Japanese knotweed, it’s an invasive species.” Okay we get it.
I asked how I should cook it and he told me to fry it with a little garlic. Usually I don’t trust attractive hipster men in glasses but I decided to take a chance and fry it with a little garlic. Turns out he was right! It’s delicious and to me tasted nothing like rhubarb as the sign had warned. I sautéed it with a little olive oil, garlic and lemon and it was stunningly delicious. Like a perfect bite of artichoke or asparagus.
I had no idea what to expect from Japanese knotweed. To my surprise the Internet wasn’t very helpful and most recipes I found were on weird hippie gardener blogs. Perhaps the stalks I had were underipe? But I didn’t any rhubarb vibes. I decided to throw it into a simple and peppery Szechuan pork stir-fry.
Sautéed Japanese Knotweed
Serves 1 as a side
½ lb. Japanese knotweed, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped garlic and the knotweed and sauté for about 3 minutes so that the garlic starts to burn.
Add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan and watch it steam and sputter. Add the lemon juice, cook for another minute or two and then serve immediate or add to a stir-fry.
Japanese Knotweed Szechuan Pork Stir-fry
2 servings black rice noodles (or regular rice noodles)
¼ lb. ground pork
1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns, finely ground
¾ lb. green beans, ends trimmed
½ lb. 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup sautéed Japanese knotweed (recipe above and totally optional)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Bring a large pot of water to boil and blanche the green beans for two minutes, remove them with tongs and immediately run under cold water.
In the same pot, cook the rice noodles for about 5 minutes (follow package directions), drain and set aside.
In a nonstick pan, cook the garlic with a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the pork and cook for 3-5 minutes until it gets crispy. Add the sesame oil, peppercorns, soy sauce, sesame oil and knotweed and cook for two minutes.
Add the green beans and toss a few times to coat. Serve over rice noodles.
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