Kanako's Kitchen

Nuta: Spring Onions with Sweetened Miso Sauce

Posted in Chopstick Vacation, Recipe, side dish by Kanako Noda on November 16, 2009

NutaNuta is an ancient Japanese side dish: the first recipes for it appear in documents from the end of the Muromachi Era – some 450 years ago.

When I was a young girl, I can remember my grandmother making this for guests. But my feeling is that, in Japan, nuta has fallen out of favor over the years. You rarely see it on restaurant menus anymore, and few younger people seem to cook it at home these days.

I have no idea why that should be. Healthy, flavorful and extremely easy to make, nuta is poised for a come back if you ask me. In fact, over the years, I’ve discovered that people outside Japan love nuta. I always make it for my non-Japanese friends and it’s always a big hit.

Here, I share the vegetarian version of the dish, which is especially easy to make. But if you wanted to go further, you’d add squid to it for a show-stopper of a side dish. Just fantastic!

Ingredients (for four):



  1. Clean the greens and cut in 5 or 7 cm pieces.
  2. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. Boil the greens for about two minutes.
  4. Drain them fully pat them dry to get rid of the excess moisture.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix well the miso, sugar, vinegar and mustard.
  6. Add miso sauce with the greens and mix well.
  7. Allow to cool.

cut spring onions boil water boil spring onions

drain put in bowl make miso sauce

mix thoroughly click to enlarge

Serve cold as a “chopstick vacation”, that is, in very small portions.

The sauce for Nuta also goes well with lettuce or cucumber cut into sticks. And for reasons I don’t really understand, Nuta is great when you’re drinking beer!

Tagged with: ,

16 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Delhi said, on November 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I desperately wanted a Japanese cookcing guide…trust stumble to come up with this!!!! This is bookmarked right in my bookmarks bar for ready reference. Also, the images are tempting!

    • kanako said, on November 16, 2009 at 10:01 pm

      Thank you Delhi
      I’m not a professional cook, but I try to cook every day as my mother used to do.
      These recipes are not so difficult unless you can find certain ingredients. I wonder how available many of these things are in India!

      I hope you enjoy Japanese cooking!

      • sshakleboltt said, on November 24, 2009 at 6:16 am

        I am enjoying it already!
        Well most of these are available, Delhi is fast becoming a melting pot like NY

  2. Kepler said, on November 16, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Another one I tried right away. Thanks very much! It is very good!

    • kanako said, on November 16, 2009 at 10:02 pm

      Thank you! I also love this dish.

  3. Mitchi said, on November 16, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Oh wow, I never new spring onions could look so delicious. 😮

    • kanako said, on November 16, 2009 at 10:05 pm

      Hi Mitchi, this is simple and delicious. Just try!

  4. George said, on September 9, 2010 at 3:07 am

    What kind of mustard do you need for this recipe, please?
    Thanks for reply. George

    • Francisco Toro said, on September 14, 2010 at 10:16 am

      ideally, you would use Japanese mustard – which is extremely spicy. Otherwise, the spiciest dijon mustard you can find will do ok.

  5. patrick said, on January 25, 2011 at 3:03 am

    Thank you for posting this recipe. It’s one of my all time favorite dishes. I was introduced to it about 10 years ago by a local sushi chef, Nishimura in Los Angeles. He’s my age, 42. He told me his grandmother made it for him as a child and that just the smell of Nuta brought back loving memories of his childhood in Japan.

    He said he felt compelled to share this simple yet delicious sauce with his customers. In his version, he’ll actually use Ebi or Tako mixed in Nuta and placed on a wafer thin slice of lime. In the summer it’s so refreshing. During winter, he’ll serve it with steamed rice and tuna. Delicious!!!

    As an american who has grown up eating Japanese food, especially sushi and sashimi, I’ve always used Nuta as an introduction for my western friends who are afraid to eat asian food. Without exception, they all love Nuta!!!

    I’m not Japanese, but even for me the thought of Nuta makes me smile.


    • kanako said, on January 25, 2011 at 10:05 am

      Hi Patrick,
      thank you for your comment. It’s great to hear your lovely episode. Like the chef, my grandmother used to make this for us, too.

  6. Jenn said, on April 17, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Hi there, is wasabi (reconstituted from powder) the same as Japanese mustard? Or is there a specific prepared brand that is sold in Asian markets?
    This dish looks so easy and delicious. I would love to add squid to it – could you please tell me how you would prepare that? Thanks!

    • kanako said, on May 9, 2011 at 1:50 pm

      Wasabi, even if it’s reconstituted from powder, is different from Japanese mustard. By the way, the powder wasabi is often made by horseradish and not exactly by wasabi plant. And Japanese mustard, which is called Karashi in Japanese is similar to Dijon mustard. In fact I often substitute Maille mustard (Dijon originale) or some artisanal mustard, very spicy one, for Japanese mustard. And there’s no problem.

      For the squid, the most important thing is to use very fresh squid for sashimi. You can add and just mix the squid for sashimi with the others. Or you can also cook the squid for sashimi in boiling water just for 10 seconds, drain it and mix with the others.

  7. Liz Biss said, on July 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I was first introduced to Nuta in a small chef-owned Japanese restaurant in Ithaca, NY. It has since become my “gold standard” for the quality of a restaurant. I live in Houston, TX and unfortunately most of our Sushi restaurants are not owned by Japanese and/or do not have Japanese chefs. If the chef hasn’t ever heard of nuta – then I know.

    The sauce is also really excellent on tuna or hamachi or what ever fresh fish you happen to be able to get.

    Thanks for publishing the recipe.


  8. 財布 メンズ ブランド 人気 said, on October 4, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    ネックレス ブランド 人気

  9. FirstChau said, on September 23, 2017 at 12:19 am

    I have noticed you don’t monetize your website, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn additional cash every month because you’ve got
    hi quality content. If you want to know how to make extra bucks, search for:
    Mrdalekjd methods for $$$

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: