My friend Takechan had the leftover stir-fried rice and I had the kimchi. We came up with this celery dish because we thought the colors would be pretty. Nanohana is a popular springtime food, taken in obento lunch boxes to flower viewing festivals and picnics. Think of the flowers as a palette cleanser to the spicy celery. Nanohana--Mustard Flower, is in the same family as cabbage, radish, turnip, broccoli and Bok Choi. When plants are left alone (not harvested) pretty yellow flowers form. Save the blooming flowers for decoration, but some buds mixed in with the bolted stems are fine to eat. Some buds taste more bitter as they bloom.
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leftover stir-fried rice
Kimchi or Kakuteki (daikon kimchi)
soy sauce, a couple of drops
rice vinegar, a couple of drops
In This Recipe
The outer stalks are best for stuffing. Remove leaves and finely chop. Remove strings.
Cut off the bottom at the point where the celery becomes even with top (width at top and bottom width should be nearly the same width). Save bottoms for broth, other use.
Make a cut from top to bottom of stalk along the back (make a flat-bottomed rowboat) so celery won't tip over.
Finely chop celery leaves. Finely chop kimchi or kakuteki.
Heat oil in skillet. Add leftover fried rice. Saute and keep stirring until almost done, then add celery leaves, and kimchi. Pour some of the kimchi sauce over the rice. Pat the rice together, not fluffing up.
Press rice into celery stalks.
I microwaved in a silicone steamer for 30 seconds 900W. Shock flowers in ice water bath. OR you can steam or add to boiling water, drain, then into the ice bath but do not cook too long or the green color will disappear and so will the taste. (The more yellow flowers that have 'bloomed' will add a slight bitterness.)
Drain from the ice water.
Squeeze water from the Nanohana. Cut in 1-inch lengths. Make a small mound of Nanohana on serving plate.
Have the soy sauce and the rice vinegar on the table (hopefully in pretty little pots--if you pour directly from their bottles, the amount will be too much.)
Right before eating, put just a couple of drops (drizzle is too much) of both soy sauce and vinegar on Nanohana--think of it as part of the ritual.