March 5, 2012
About Shungiku (edible chrysanthemum)
Also known as Garland Chrysanthemum, edible chrysanthemum, Chop Suey Shingiku and Tong Ho, this Japanese edible herb is not your usual chrysanthemum. Its deeply lobed dark-green leaves resemble the foliage of ornamental chrysanthemums but it is also edible and delicious! The leaves are thin and finely serrated with an almost lace-like appearance. The stem grows upright, and the bright green leaves cascade from the top of the stalk like a palm tree. It’s so pretty it’s almost a shame to eat it!
This tender, edible herb has a unique, mild zesty flavor. Its flavor and aroma are mildly scented, providing a nice addition to salads and soups. Its leaves and stems can be eaten raw or cooked. Shungiku can be prepared by serving it fresh or by steaming, blanching, or sautéing it. It can be added fresh to salad mixes and dips. It can also can be used for flavoring soup and stir-fry such as sukiyaki, ohitashi, yosenabe, and shabu-shabu. Overcooking should be avoided and it is recommended to add it at the last moment since it easily loses its structure.
In Western countries, shungiku is most commonly used as an herb to flavor dishes (like parsley or dill, for example) rather than used as a green.