Okinawan Vegetable ②Shima-ninjin

I would like to introduce another Okinawan vegetable, “Shima-ninjin.”

“Shima-ninjin” is originated in the East. It is yellow, thin, and as long as 30 to 40 cm. Despite how it looks, it is called in Okinawan dialect “chide-guni,” meaning “a yellow radish.” “Shima-ninjin” used to grow all over Japan, but now it can only found in Okinawa.

Compared to the general orange carrots, “Shima-ninjin” is sweeter, softer, and has stronger smell. It contains abundant of Vitamin A, which is effective to relieve eyestrain. Just like the regular carrots, when cooked with vegetable oil, absorptivity of Vitamin A increases. I recommend eating “Shima-ninjin” often especially in cold season because carotene of “Shima-ninjin” helps our body temperature to rise. In addition, “Shima-ninjin” contains calcium, iron, and antioxidant, lycopene much more than the regular orange carrots.

For its nutritional value, “Shima-ninjin” has been appreciated as a medical food in Okinawa for a long time. It is an evitable ingredient to make Okinawan local soup with chopped pork and other vegetables. It also makes delicious tempura or stir-flies.

The best season of “Shima-ninjin” is short, between November and April. When you come across with it, I hope you don’t fail to try because it is rarely seen in a market other than those relevant seasons.

Reported by Tomomi Tanaka, Sugahara Institute