Komatsuna (Brassica rapa) is also referred to Japanese Mustard Spinach. The two common varieties are green Komatsuna (most common) and red Komatsuna which we have shown in our image. The leaves are small, rounded and slightly succulent. I have to admit I bought the plants because they were just so darn pretty and I had never grown this plant before (that's the criteria for things that tend to leap into my basket at the plant nursery).
This salad or cooking green is also grown for use in micro-mix greens. Use the small, young tender leaves for eating raw in salads but once the leaves get larger use them in soups, stir-fries, or even for pickling. You can pretty much substitute this green in any recipe that calls for spinach.
Look for Komatsuna in farmer's markets, Whole Foods Market and some very well-stock grocery stores. This plant is easy to grow so that is an alternative if you have a garden.
Look for organic plant starts at your local nursery or buy seeds online at Kitazawaseed.com.
Sew the seeds 1/2" deep and about 1" apart, in late spring or summer making sure it's after the last frost in your area. The small greens can be harvested as early as 20 days if you want to use them for tender salad greens.
This is a simple one-dish meal you can prepare for lunch or dinner.
2 cups cooked rice, brown or white (allow 1/2 cup per person)
3/4 lb ground pork
1 bunch Komatsuna, chopped into 2" piece
2 teaspoon Sesame oil (for stir frying)
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon katakuriko
2 tablespoons cold water
2 tbl Soy sauce
1 tablespoons mirin
2 teaspoons sugar
Combine soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in a small bowl.
Add sesame oil to a large saute pan and place over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, crumble in the ground pork, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook until the might is no longer pink.
Add the red pepper flakes and stir, then add the komatsuna and stir fry until tender.
Combine the katakuriko with the cold water, stir until disolved and the mixture forms a smooth paste.
Add the soy sauce mixture, stir then add the katakuriko mixture. Stir until the sauce thickens and cooks through.
Place warm rice into a bowl, top with the pork and vegetable mixture.