This icho-imo yam is incredibly enormously gooey when it is grated. Look at and compare these two photos. Well, in fact, both may look a little weird to you.
The top photo shows the grated yamaimo which presents a watery and slimy texture. The bottom one is grated icho-imo. It is so thick and gooey that I had to peel it off from the grater. Icho-imo has slightly more flavor than its sister, and is rather delicious eaten raw, grated, or cooked. Some of the most popular icho-imo recipes are tempura and mugi-toro.
Here I made the tempura. I grated the yam, added some salt to flavor it, sandwiched them in a square of nori sheet; dipped them in tempura batter and cooked them in heated oil. The cooked yam was tender, puffy and moist. And the texture was not gooey; quite delicious, in fact.
Mugi-toro is a dish in which steamy cooked barley-added-rice is topped with grated and flavored icho-imo. This dish is known in Japan as economical, simple, digestible, nutritious and an ordinary household staple food. I have not eaten mugi-toro over 12 yeares. Now I have this speciaql yam in my refrigerator, so I am going to make it tomorrow for my lunch.
This is a link to one restaurant that specializes in mugi-toro dishes in Tokyo. www.mugitoro.co.jp; can you believe there is such a specialty restaurant? On your next trip to Japan if you want to discover our true culinary culture in depth, please drop by and savor the new flavor and TEXTURE of this dish.