Often overlooked, Japanese vegetables are every bit as important to Japanese food culture as seafood and meat. Japan uses an abundance of root vegetables, leafy greens, and many others in its cuisine. Vegetables play a prominent role in not only salads and side dishes, but soups, main courses, and even desserts.
The following is a selection of ten Japanese vegetables that are commonly used in cooking.

1. Negi: Japanese Bunching Onion

Negi are commonly seen in a variety of Japanese foods, from soups to sushi

One of the most ubiquitous of Japanese vegetables, negi, is often mistaken for the Welsh onion and the leek due to their striking similarities in appearance and taste.
In Japanese, it may also be referred to as “naga negi” (long negi) or “shiro negi” (white negi).
This long, green onion is used to add flavor to simmered dishes, as well as soups and hot pots.
Negi is especially popular during the winter months, as it is also known for being a popular cold remedy.

2. Kabocha: Kabocha Pumpkin

Kabocha Pumpkin make tasty tempura!

Kabocha is a type of squash, similar in taste to pumpkin, but known for being slightly sweeter. These gourds are stout and dark green in appearance, revealing a bright orange color when opened.
Kabocha simmered in soy sauce, and sugar is a typical home-style side dish. When cooked, the skin is entirely edible and as delicious as the inside, so make sure not to waste it!
It is also a popular Japanese vegetable tempura item, and both diced and mashed kabocha are used for salads. This food is said to be rich in beta carotene and vitamin A, and also contains vitamin C, iron, and potassium.

3. Daikon: Mooli

Daikon can also be marinated in dashi to make tasty 'daikon steak'

The word daikon means “big root,” and this white radish certainly lives up to its name!
Crispy when raw, and tender when cooked, this Japanese root vegetable has a milder taste than some other types of radishes.
This versatile Japanese vegetable can be prepared in a variety of ways. It may be simmered with seafood, cooked in soups or pot dishes such as oden. When grated raw, it is referred to as daikon oroshi, which is popularly eaten with grilled fish, both soba and udon noodles, and also tempura.
Daikon is known for being a good source of fiber, folate, riboflavin, and potassium, as well as containing various other vitamins.

Japanese Recipes: Making Oden Daikon Steak

4. Shiso: Perilla

Shiso can also be found in cocktails!

If you’re looking for an herb that leaves an impact on your tastebuds, look no further than shiso.
Known in the west as perilla or beefsteak plant, this leaf is known for packing a sharp, flavorful punch.
There are different types of shiso used in Japan. Green leaves are known as aojiso, while the red leaves are akajiso.
In Japan, aojiso is a characteris…

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