How to make Japanese spinach with Okaka – fish flakes, sesame and soy sauce

I had always wondered how to cook spinach the Japanese way. I thought it would be difficult and require lots of steps, but to my delight it is really easy!

Topped with Okaka (Katsu fish flakes), sesame, and just a little of soy sauce, it is delicious!

Even the spinach on its own is delicious.

Do make sure you find fresh spinach from your local farmers market. I taste tested spinach from the supermarket and my local farmers coop, and the supermarket spinach was quite bitter whereas the freshly harvested spinach from the coop was surprisingly sweet!


 What you need:

  • Spinach
  • Fish flakes (Katsuo) – small handful
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soy sauce – just a little (if you put too much soy sauce on, it will become very salty)
  • Salt – just a pinch of salt for the boiling water


  1. While boiling the water, wash the spinach in cold water to remove any soil. Cut the bottom if the spinach (at the stem) so the boiling water can reach inside to cook the stems quickly
  2. Place pinch salt in the boiling water
  3. Place spinach stems in the boiling water first, then gentle immerse the rest of the spinach. Only cook for about 10 sec, then quickly remove and plunge in icy cold water.
  4. Squeeze water out, and slice into bite-sized lengths
  5. Top with fish flakes, sesame, and soy sauce. Serve as a side dish – for example with rice, miso soup, and salmon or ginger pork.

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Cut the bottom of the stems at the base so that the boiling water can reach inside easily (this also helps to wash the base of the spinach)

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Wash the spinach well a few times in running water

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After cooking (watch video) plunge into icy cold water and then squeeze the water out of the spinach

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Cut into bite-size pieces

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Serve with fish flakes, sesame and a little soy sauce

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Close up shot! Yum!

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