Flour and water for pasta
Bunch of Japanese Knotweed
Sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce or salt, chili peppers
As I was harvesting Knotweed for dinner, my 8 years boy Alec decided to make pasta from scratch to aid the vegetable dish.
According to Alec, he mixed a cup or two of flour with some water and threaded it till smooth, elastic dough was formed. Then he pinched small pieces from the dough ball and rolled them between his palms to make short fat worms. He made many of them –enough for four or five people.
When I came back from my foraging trip across the street, we boiled some water with pinch of salt and placed the pasta, which he named “Plumpy Jumbo”, in the boiling water to cook. The pasta was ready in about 10 min. While it was cooking, I chopped and sautéed some of my wild harvested Knotweed with soy sauce, sesame seed oil and garlic. The recipe was begging for Chili peppers, but I skipped this wonderful ingredient for the sake of children.
Japanese Knotweed has beautiful fresh lemony flavor that resembles rhubarb, yet more subtle, and with a hint of strawberry, as it seemed to me. The hollow stems give an interesting texture and appearance to the dish. I mixed the vegetables and pasta together and garnished the dish with a dash of paprika and freshly picked Chick weed.
We all enjoyed a delightful dinner and gave some to our neighbor and community gardener Bob, who spent decades fighting the weed. He loved it too.
We don’t just spread the word, we spread the food.
There are many more dishes can be made with young Japanese Knotweed. Remember, its edible stage is short, so use it while its shoots are still tender. It can be used in jams- mixed with other fruit like strawberry or apples; it is great in pies, cobblers or in sauces like chutney. Use its acidic flavor to garnish pork, fish or duck dishes. Like with using all wild vegetables in your cooking, your limitless imagination is the key factor in creating original and unforgettable dishes.