Ho'io Salad

Fern shoots or fiddleheads grow wild in the rain of Hilo so they have been abundant at the Farmer's Markets. On the Big Island they are called ho'io. In Maui they are called pohole and the Japanese name is warabi. Plan to make this at least a day ahead. It tastes better when it has time to marinate together.
1 bunch of ho'io, prepared
I enjoy eating it but I've never made it, so with all things I'm timid about I had to ask a lot of people for their inside secrets. So inside secrets for prepping ho'io - (thanks Liana, Kanani, Shigeko, Pua)

  • Snap the stalks at their snapping point (like asparagus) and just use the tender parts
  • Put your nail in the groove of the warabi and take out the slimy part
  • Cut into bite sized pieces
  • Boil the water, drop the ho'io in and prepare an ice bath - at that point the ho'io will be done - bright green and not overcooked.
  • Drain and immediately drop into ice bath to stop the cooking, drain again when cool
Once that's done, prepare the rest of the ingredients
1/2 Maui onion, julienned

Hamakua tomatoes, diced

sliced shiitake mushrooms

Fresh shiitake mushrooms were on sale at Safeway for $2.99/lb., but by the next week, it went up to $12.99/lb, so if you have to use dry shiitake, soak it in hot water until it softens, cut off the stems and slice the caps.
1/2 or 1/4 bag of the pea shoots, azuki mix

Lone Palm Farms out of Kohala, HI sells bags of pea, lentil and azuki shoots mix. Find it in the produce section by the other sprouts.

one triangular piece of aburage, sliced
Find the aburage near the kimchee or Japanese pickles in the produce section of KTA or near the tofu.
hijiki, soaked and drained

Hijiki is a dried seaweed sold dry in the oriental aisle. Soak it in cold water for about half an hour and drain. In Japanese foods it's normally served with shoyu sugar and aburage for New Year's, but it doesn't have a taste by itself. It will just soak up the flavors from the salad.
Hand mix all the ingredients and make the sauce.

Recipe for ho'io salad:
1 bunch ho'io, prepared, cut into bite-sized pieces and blanched
1/2 a sweet onion, julienned
2 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced
3-4 shiitake mushrooms, julienned
1/4 - 1/2 a bag of mixed lentil, pea, azuki shoots
1 piece of aburage, diced
handful of hijiki, soaked and drained (they will expand when sauced)
2T toasted sesame seeds

Dressing: I made a huge amount, so I ended up doubling this sauce recipe, but here's what I started with, let it marinate, try it and adjust as needed. After I marinated it, when we had it the next day, my husband wanted more acid in it so I added about 1 T. of balsamic vinegar and remixed.

1 T. light soy sauce
2 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. sesame oil (optional) - I know it's not on our eat list, so don't put it or put a little less. It gives it that oriental flavor

I like to mix it by hand and the aburage and wakame will absorb the "shiru" - gravy.


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