Nira Tamago, or Simmered Garlic Chives with Eggs

Nira Tamago, or Simmered Garlic Chives with Eggs

Enjoy a delicious Japanese dinner at home with grilled shiosaba, nira tamago, and steamed rice. Learn how to cook the nira tamago, a versatile side dish made with garlic chives and eggs. Also, discover a new mega-Asian market in Flushing, Queens, called Sky Foods.

Tonight we enjoyed a beautiful Japanese dinner at home that reminded me why I love this cuisine so much: grilled shiosaba (Boston mackerel salted for a few days), freshly steamed rice and nira tamago, or garlic chives with eggs. Simple, delicious, profoundly satisfying -- and fast. The mackerel I bought already salted at the local Japanese market (the salting tempers and concentrates the flavorful flesh); all you do is grill it under the broiler for 4-5 minutes and serve with grated daikon and soy sauce on the side. The bright green, super fresh nira we picked up at a new mega-Asian market in Flushing, Queens, called Sky Foods. We heard about the recently opened Sky, which boasts 36,000 square feet of sales floor jammed with all manner of pan-Asian cuisine goodness, and had to check it out. The place was unbelievable -- just the live fish section, like a block long, was worth the trip. (And also dinner afterwards nearby at Prince Noodles, an incredible Chinese joint with grandma in the front hand-rolling noodles, dumplings and scallion pancakes, was ridiculously amazing.)

Okay, so mackerel. Check. Rice. Check. Frosty cans of Sapporo beer. Check. What about the nira tamago? Here's the recipe. E-a-s-y. Nira tamago makes a great, versatile side dish, or you can try it for breakfast just with white rice. (Find nira at any Asian market, just make sure to buy the green variety.) Check it out:

Serves 4

1 cup dashi (I used a dashi pack to make it, fast)
2 tablespoons shoyu, Japanese soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mirin
1 bunch nira (about 100-150 grams), washed, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Add the dashi, shoyu, sugar, salt and mirin to a saucepan and heat until boiling over medium heat. Add the nira and simmer for about 5 minutes until the shoots turn tender. Swirl in the beaten eggs, cook for 20-25 seconds more until the eggs set, and you're done!