Kabu, which translates to “turnips”, come in many different colors and shapes around the world; the silky, white turnip is the most popular type in Japan. It is an essential ingredient in the traditional porridge eaten on January 7 which marks the end of the New Year celebration period. Its other name, Suzuna, which combines the words for “bell” (suzu) and “green” or “leaf” (na), has the sacred meaning of a bell that calls the gods. This white turnip variety is different from other turnips offering juicier, more fruit-like flesh and mild sweetness in raw form.
Cooking with Sweet Kabu
Sweet Kabu is best enjoyed raw or pickled and can be used in recipes calling for any type of turnip. Boasting a mild spicy-sweet flavor, Sweet Kabu can be sliced into one-eighth inch discs and served with fresh fruit or tossed onto salads, topped with lemon, oil, salt and pepper, or eaten bite-by-bite as you would a stone fruit.
This sweet root vegetable can be sliced and sauteed with a touch of soy sauce, or added to soups or stews to enhance their sweetness. Grilled Kabu produces a brown and crunchy surface combined with a juicy, almost-creamy interior for a palate-pleasing experience.
The leafy greens of Sweet Kabu are tender, sweet and earthy and are often served lightly blanched with a pinch of salt for a light and refreshing side dish, or as a pleasant addition to any salad.