All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Fuki & fuki no to / Japanese butterbur & butterbur buds

Petasites japonicas
This notorious invasive plant in our region is a tasty vegetable with a faint bitterness and succulent texture similar to that of cucumber or celery stalks. The plant is in the chrysanthemum family, which explains some similarity with the tangy taste of shungiku garland chrysanthemum.

Fuki stalks are normally first boiled and sometimes soaked in water after itazuri preparation, in which fuki stalks are rolled against a cutting board with salt to loosen the skin and reduce bitterness before main cooking. Pre-boiled cut fuki stalks in bags are available at stores, but doing the initial preparation yourself ensures the taste of the season.

Fuki contains fiber (1.3 g/100 g), β-carotene (49 μg), Vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C (2 mg), and such minerals as potassium (330 mg) and calcium (40 mg). Fuki's distinctive aroma constituents (fukinone, fukinolic acid and chlorogenic acid) are an effective remedy for coughs, excessive sputum and pollen allergies as well as for improving digestion. Chlorogenic acid is also said to have an anti-oxidation effect to slow down aging and prevent various cancers. Fuki has also been used as an herbal remedy for asthma, whooping cough, fever and spasms.

In early spring, fuki no to, or butterbur buds, start to appear from the ground or from under the snow. The light yellow green or greenish ivory color buds are still covered with sepals when harvested, although opened buds are also eaten in some regions. The bitterness of the stalks and leaves is concentrated in these buds, and it is said that fuki in colder climates is more bitter than that grown in warmer climates. Fuki no to is an early spring delicacy. Like other bitter vegetables, fuki no to's bitter taste is somewhat reduced when cooked with oil; tempura and fuki-miso (sauteed fuki no to mixed with miso) are very common ways to eat these little buds. We eat this tempura once or twice every year. The aromatic bitterness fills your mouth, and while it might seem like torture to Tom, without eating fuki no to it doesn't feel like spring.

Fuki no to is more nutritious than fuki. Fuki no to's fiber content (6.4 g in total: 1.0 g soluble, 5.4 g non-soluble) is higher than gobo's (5.7 g in total: 2.3 g soluble, 3.4 g non-soluble). Fuki no to also contains β-carotene (390 μg) and Vitamin C (14 mg) as well as minerals such as potassium (740 mg) and calcium (61 mg).

Fuki (stalks & leaves): 11 kcal/100 g; 95.8% water, 0.3% protein, 0% fat, 3.0% carbohydrate, 0.7% ash
Fuki no to: 43 kcal/100 g; 85.5% water, 2.5% protein, 0.1% fat, 10.0% carbohydrate, 1.9% ash

Recipes with fuki

Recipes with fuki no to

Recipes with fuki no ha leaves

Try fuki in the following recipes
  • Oden (genen) / fishcake, tofu and root vegetable stew (reduced-sodium version)

(Last updated: June 9, 2016)


Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for this informative post! Just wondering, as I have read recipes mainly about the flower bud and stalks --- are the giant leaves also edible? I'm thinking of doing stuffed rolls (like grape leaf rolls), which would require the rolls to be cooked in liquid for 20~40 mins. Will the leaves also taste bitter after simmering in water for a long time? (or is blanching sufficient?)

neco said...

Yes, the leaves are edible. They are usually first boiled for a few minutes then soaked in cold water for 1+ hours (while changing the water a couple of times) to eliminate excessive bitterness. I have also been wondering if I could make something like dolma with fuki leaves, but have not tried it yet. For Japanese food, fuki leaves are used as a wrapper for rice/sushi. They are also used to wrap fish, which is then steamed or grilled. For braised or simmered dishes, fuki leaves are typically chopped up and cooked in a similar way to fuki buds or stalks. Unfortunately, I don’t know if fuki leaves stay intact like grape leaves when simmered. It’s worth trying, though. Please let me know how it turns out if you try fuki leaves as a grape leaf substitute!