Okinawa Tourism Information:Series/IslandBlessing,IslandTastePart11“Naaberaa”

Series / Island Blessing, Island Taste Part 11 “Naaberaa”

post : 2014.08.26 21:00

Okinawa is in midsummer in July.            
Cicada is singing in chorus lively.  

Today I would like to introduce you the second episode of Okinawan typical summer vegetable series, “Naaberaa.”
In Okinawa we call sponge gourd “naaberaa.”
The locals have a custom to use young fruit as a vegetable.

It is a vine plant, so just like goya green curtains, the locals used to build shelves as a sunshade to grow naaberaa.

According to a Chinese medicinal encyclopedia “Compendium of Materia Medica,”  Naaberaa “lowers body heat, regulates the functions of the intestines when it is eaten boiled. It keeps cold away, makes phlegm easier to cough up, cleans your blood, and helps you detox.”

Oh, Naaberaa reduces body heat in summer, prevents of common cold, and helps us detox!
I would like to use such a fantastic vegetable often for my family.
But first I was wondering how to use it as my family did not eat naaberaa.  

I decided to ask a professional from “Sakae Ryoriten,” which we introduced before for the article on Goya, for cooperation to teach me delicious naaberaa recipes.
I would like the chef to introduce us a summertime cool dish and a stamina-strengthening stir-fried dish.

 “Sakae Ryoriten” in Urima City is a seasonal Okinawan cuisine restaurant, where they mainly use organic locally-produced ingredients and you can enjoy flavors special to Okinawa as well as their original flavor somewhat different from other places. 

Cooks working busily in the kitchen always have serious eyes.  

A seasonal flavor “Hechima(Naaberaa) no Ohitashi*” is served when they have quality naaberaa.
*Ohitashi is a variety of leaf vegetable that has been blanched, served cold with a dashi-shoyu broth. 

First you quickly blanch naaberaa, peel off tomatoes in a hot water and put them together in a little strong dashi-shoyu broth, and place it in a refrigerator overnight.

Right before eating, you take it out of the refrigerator to season it with shredded myoga (Japanese ginger).  It is a simple recipe.
Vegetables served in a cool glassware shine brilliantly.

This is a refreshing cool dish for people who have small appetite on hot summer days.

The next recipe is “Sakaae Ryoriten” summer staple dish “Hechima(Naaberaa) no Miso & Curry Stir-fried Dish,” which they give a little bit of kick to Okinawan classic dish “Naaberaa no Miso Stir-fried Dish”

In an oil-heated large frying pan, put naaberaa that is cut into rounds and fry their both sides.

Add pork bellies, sliced onions, and one-bite sized shima dofu (Okinawan tofu) and shake the fying pan forward and backward.

Add katsuodashi (a kind of Japanese soup stock made from dried bonito flakes), miso, sugar, soy sauce, autumn turmeric, and curry powder to mix them well until flavors of all the ingredients blend into with each other and add coconut milk.
Using a lot of juice coming from naaberaa, cover with a lid for steaming it.
When some water is extracted, make the heat stronger and shake the fying pan well to finish.

He dished out the food skillfully.

When I crammed freshly-cooked naaberaa into my mouth, I enjoyed full of spicy curry flavor.  The mellowness of coconut milk and miso adds a hearty flavor to simple-flavored naaberaa. You feel like becoming more spirited each bite.

They kindly introduced me their recipes, so please use them for a variety of naaberaa dishes at home.

“Hechima(Naaberaa) no Ohitashi”


* 1 Naaberaa (Peel them, cut them into rounds, and quickly blanch them.
   Soak the naaberaa in ice water until cool, and squeeze water out of the naaberaa.)
* 6 Fruit Tomatoes (Peel off tomatoes in a hot water.)
* 1 Myoga (Japanese ginger) (shredded)


* 400cc of katsuodashi
* 40cc of soy sauce
* 40cc of mirin (sweet cooking rice wine)


Prepare katsuodashi soup in a pot, add seasonings and bring to a boil. Let stand to cool completely.
Squeeze water out of the prepared vegetables well and put them in a container.
Pour the cold mixed seasonings over the vegetables and place it in a refrigerator overnight.

“Hechima(Naaberaa) no Miso & Curry Stir-fried Dish” 

Ingredients: (For 4 Servings)

* 1 Naaberaa (Peel it, cut it into rounds 1 to 1.5cm thick.)
* 2 Paprikas(Remove seeds and cut them into bite size pieces)
* 1/2 Onion (Cut it into bite size pieces)
* 1/2 block of Shima dofu (Cut it into bite size pieces)
* Butabara (Pork belly) cut it into 5 strips


* 100cc of katsuodashi
* 3 Tbsp. miso
* 1 Tbsp. curry powder
* 1 Tbsp. sugar
* 2 tsp. soy sauce
* A pinch of autumn turmeric
* 2 Tbsp. coconut milk

 If you would like to savor “Sakae Ryoriten” original taste, please remember a reservation is a MUST because of their popularity.  When you call them, I would recommend that you ask if “Hechima (naaberaa) no Ohitashi” or “Miso Curry Itame” is available for your visiting day?”

Sakae Ryoriten

Address: 1-27-35, Ishikawa, Uruma City
TEL: 098-964-7733
 (Please note: They might not have an English-speaking staff member.  So please ask your Japanese friend for help.)
Hours: 17:00 to 24:00
Closed on Tuesdays

Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer  monobox (Tetsumasa and Kozue Kono)