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By Julene Tripp Weaver

TEKKA: A Condiment to counteract anemia

Tekka can be used to improve anemia instead of iron pills. This condiment, consisting mainly of root vegetables, is delicious sprinkled in small amounts over grains or vegetables. It is a very strong, yang food and has an uplifting effect on energy level. About one-quarter teaspoon should be enough if used daily. If you use too much you may find yourself wanting to drink excessive quantities of orange juice, coffee, or to use vinegar or other acid foods not particularly conducive to improving an anemic condition.

Recipe for Tekka:

1 medium burdock root
1 medium lotus root
1 small carrot
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon chirimen iriko (little dried fishes)
1 1/2 cups Mugi (barley) or Genmai (brown rice) miso
2/3 cup sesame oil

Cut vegetables as small as possible. If you have a food processor or a vitamix this works well. Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet, and sauté the burdock until the color is light brown and the smell has changed. Then add the chirimen iriko, carrots, and lotus root, cooking each one a little bit before adding the next. Mix in Miso and grated ginger and, reducing the heat, simmer for about four to six hours until dry and crumbly. Mix the tekka gently every 15 to 20 minutes to prevent burning. When the tekka is cool, it can be stored at room temperature for many months without spoiling.

Chirimen Iriko
These tiny dried fishes, about the size of small minnows, are available at most oriental food stores. They are rich in iron, calcium, and other minerals. They are a delicious condiment for grains, pasta, or vegetables when dry roasted or pan-fried in a little sesame oil first.

From: Mothering Magazine, By Barbara Jacobs in Dear Barbara Column (date unknown).

"The word tekka is composed of the Chinese characters for "metal" and "fire": this all-purpose condiment was traditionally simmered for a long time on a metal griddle or in a heavy metal pot. A favorite topping for brown rice, rice porridge, rice patties, and regular or deep-fried tofu... Several commercial varieties are now available at Japanese natural food stores and miso retail stores, and every good chef has his or her own unique blend.... The composition of typical commercial varieties is 9 percent protein, 40 percent moisture, 5.2 percent fat, and 3 percent minerals (ash), with 249 calories per 100 grams.
In Japan, this preparation is known formally as Konjo Tekka Miso. The word konjo means "root nature" and refers to those qualities in a great man which carry him through the most difficult situations. It is said that this miso was first developed during WWII for use as a seasoning with brown rice -- which took the place of the usual white rice since it was less expensive, more nourishing, and did not require the time, energy, and manpower necessary for polishing. Eating this miso was believed to help a man develop his "root-character". Today, tekka is widely regarded as one of Japan's finest and high-class miso preparations, prized for its flavor and aroma, its long lasting qualities and versatility, and its medicinal properties (which make it a popular gift to friends who are sick). In Zen Temples it is often served as a condiment with each meal of the day." P. 141 - 142

From: The Book of Miso, Food for Mankind, By William Shurtleff & Akiko Aoyagi, Ballantine Books, New York, 1976.

Disclaimer: Please be advised this is a sharing of information that is not meant to be used to replace medical treatment and your own intuitive sense of your body and what it needs. Please see your medical provider (Dr., Naturopath, Acupuncturist, etc.) to follow up on suggestions.