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1 lbs daikon (look for one that is unblemished and firm), peeled
1 large carrot, peeled
1 tbls salt
1-2 Tbls sugar
2 tbls rice vinegar
1 tbls yuzu or lemon juice
Garnish: 1 tsp roasted white sesame seeds
Julienne the peeled daikon and carrots into 2 inch pieces.
Rub the julienned vegetables with salt. Massage the vegetables for a a minute or two until they become limp. Drain the brine.
Combine the sugar and vinegar, and mix well until dissolved. Sprinkle the vinegar mixture and yuzu or lemon juice onto the vegetables, mix to combine, and chill. Let the Namasu rest for 1 hour and up to overnight.
Before serving, sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds.
Best eaten within 2-3 days.
|Posted on November 24, 2010 at 12:42 AM||comments (0)|
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|Posted on July 1, 2010 at 1:56 AM||comments (0)|
If I get to choose one vegetable to have in the fridge to munch on, it is not a carrot or celery but kabocha squash. I cook the cut pieces of Kabocha in a light syrup, just long enough to give them a hint of sweetness. The syrup is drained so the kabocha is never sugary sweet or mushy. I often serve this dish with soba to supplement the Vitamin A. Soba offers the rest of the good stuff.
1/4 of small to medium size Kabocha squash
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
Cut the kabocha squash in bite size pieces. Bevel the corners.
Bring the water and sugar in a medium size saucepan. Add the Kabocha
and bring to a boil over medium heat. Then lower heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the meat is cooked. Test with toothpick.
Drain the syrup. Serve in a bowl.
Keeps for a week in the fridge.
|Posted on May 3, 2010 at 3:51 PM||comments (0)|
Flour ratio: 40% Dattan Flour, 40% Buckwheat Flour 20% All-Purpose
I finally got around to making Dattan Soba at home. Of the 50kg of buckwheat flour that I brought back from Japan, I had 5 kg of Dattan buckwheat from China. I didn't expect to like Dattan when I was first introduced to it. People warned me that Dattan tastes bitter and medicinal. But it did not hit my tastes buds in that way at all. I love the grassy flavor and the mustardy color of this buckwheat. You feel healthy just looking at it.
Dattan soba is prized in China and Japan for its medicinal properties. Dattan is grown by the Yi tribes inhabiting in the highlands of Sichuan and Yennan province. This soba has almost 100 times more Rutin than normal buckwheat. The popularity of Dattan has slightly cooled off in Japan but there are people who eat this soba and drink its tea regularly to stay healthy. The Yi tribe who eat Dattan everyday is said to have no adult lifestyle related diseases.
I make a mild Dattan soba by mixing the flour with standard Japanese buckwheat and all purpose flour. You don't taste the bitterness but there is a hint of grass in the flavor. It is best eaten cold or as a salad. I used vegetables I found in my fridge - tomato, avocado, enoki mushrooms and scallions. Any salad vegetable goes with soba.
4 servings of fresh soba noodles but recipe calls for a ratio of 40% dattan flour, 40% Japanese soba flour and 20% all-purpose flour. See instructions below. Or use1 bag dried soba noodles, and cook them according to package instructions.
1 avocado peeled, pitted and sliced vertically, about 1/4 inch wide
1 tomato, sliced thinly, 1/4 inch wide
1 bag of enoki mushrooms, ends removed
Yuzu or lemon rind, a small sliver for each person
Wasabi to serve at the table (optional)
Dipping sauce (here is the link to a quick dipping sauce)
1-2 tsps olive oil or sesame oil to taste (optional)
Make the dipping sauce first and keep it chilled.
To make Dattan soba noodles by hand, use boiling water, instead of water , as called for in the standard recipe I provided. Use a paddle to mix the hot flour. When the water is incorporated into the flour and cooled down, then use your hands to mix the flour and proceed according to the soba recipe. Cook the noodles just before serving the dish. Add some oil to the noodles. (optional).
Slice the vegetables.
Arrange the soba noodles on a plate and arrange the vegetables and Yuzu on top. Pour the sauce at the table, just before serving. Serve with wasabi (optional).
Option: You can use other vegetables of your choice - sauteed shitake mushrooms, asparagus, lettuce, spinach, etc.
|Posted on December 7, 2009 at 4:20 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted on December 1, 2009 at 12:50 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on October 5, 2009 at 6:53 PM||comments (0)|
When one of my films premiered in Tokyo a few years ago, my friend Yumiko whom I have known since I was 13 years old gave me this handmade grater in the shape of a crane as a present. In Japan, the crane, along with the turtle, is the symbol of longevity and good luck. At first I regarded this grater as something to admire and not as a tool for my kitchen. I kept it in the original box and it sat in my closet next to the jewelry box, as if waiting for its turn to be worn one day. But no, that's not what this metal crane was born to do. I finally let the bird out of the box the other day and put it to use in my kitchen. This tin plated copper crane works very well as a grater, especially with ginger. If you look at the surface of the grater, you can see its rows of sharp teeth. They are individually cut by hand. Unlike the plastic and stainless steel graters that I have, this artisinal grater makes a smoother and creamier grated ginger. The grater is also lovely to look at so you can bring it right to the table. Today, I made a wakame and cucumber sunomo with grated ginger.
Cucumbers soaking in salt water
Wakame and Cucumber Sunomono
1 medium European cucumber or 2 persian cucumbers, peeled and sliced thinly, 1/8 inch thick pieces
2 tbls dried and cut wakame seaweed, reconstituted in water
1 tsp peeled and grated ginger
1 tsp salt
Rice Vinegar Dressing
3 tbls rice vinegar
1 tbls Yuzu or any citrus juice (lime, orange, lemon)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tbls soy sauce
Dried wakame can be found in cut size pieces or larger
pieces which you will have to cut up.
In water, Wakame is back to its happy self.
Make the vinegar dressing by combing the vinegar, soysauce, sugar, citrus juice and dashi. You can make the dashi 2-3 days in advance and use the dashi for making Miso Soup if you like.
Reconstitute the dried wakame in a bowl of water. It will expand to about triple in size.This will take about 2 - 5 minutes, depending on the size of the seaweed. If you have uncut wakame seaweed, cut them in 1/2 inch pieces before you dehydrate them. Squeeze out excess water and set aside. (Note: You don't want to let the wakame dry out so if you are not planning to make the sunomo right away, leave the wakame in the bowl of water and keep it in the fridge for up to a couple hours.)
Peel and slice the cucumbers into 1/8 inch thick pieces. Rub 1 teaspoon of salt and transfer the salted cucumbers to a bowl. Fill with enough water to cover. Let stand in the brine for 5-10 minutes in the fridge. Drain water and squeeze out excess water.
When you are ready to serve the sunomono, take the wakame out of the water and squeeze out excess water. Combine wakame and cucumbers in a serving bowl. Toss together. Make a nice mound. Season with the vinegar dressing and garnish with grated ginger. Serve immediately.
Additonal garnish: You can sprinkle roasted sesame seeds if you like.
|Posted on August 23, 2009 at 1:22 AM||comments (0)|
EBI NO SUNOMONO
Shrimp is one of the most popular and easy to find seafood in the world but I have had my set of hit and misses, especially with boiled shrimp. The texture of boiled shrimp can often be rubbery and the flavor blah. I would avoid ordering shrimp coctails at restaurants because they almost always disappoint. I think shrimp deserves better.
Recently, I found a way to boil shrimp and make it come out with a lot of flavor and texture. What I do is coat the shrimp in a little potato starch (katakuriko) before boiling it. You can use other starches like kuzu or cornstarch. The Chinese have used this technique for centuries.. They coat cornstarch on both meat and seafood. You don't need a lot. In fact, you need to use just enough to put a thin coat. I did it with this vinegared shrimp. My shrimp looks a little prettier on the plate and the shrimp has much better flavor and texture.
|Posted on August 19, 2009 at 4:57 PM||comments (0)|
A Japanese meal normally finishes with some kind of pickle and a bowl of rice. It's nice to save the pickles to the end because the saltiness ties the whole meal together. Pickles can be made with many vegetables - both root and leafy types. Some pickles can be quite salty for the western palate. Some can be rather sweet. This ways vegetables are pickled differ from region to region and from family to family. As for the pickles I made tonight, I wanted to see how dried peaches which I bought at the Farmers Market will work with turnips. It was a fun experiment. These were quick pickles that stayed in a vinegar mildly sweet dressing for about 1 hour. The dried peaches softened and added a lovely sweetness to the turnips. I enjoyed them. You can call these pickles, salad too. It's hard to draw a line between what is a pickle and what is a salad in Japan because salads were introduced to the country much later. I would call this one a hybrid.
Dried peaches from the Farmers Market.
Dried apricots will work with this recipe, too.
Very tender baby turnips
QUICK TURNIP PICKLES WITH DRIED PEACHES
Makes 4 servings
4 small baby turnips
1 tsp salt
3 dried peaches or apricots
2 Tbls water
2 Tbls Rice vinegar
1 Tbls Sugar (or maple sugar)
1/2 Tsp Salt
Peel the turnips and slice them lengthwise in halves. Then slice each half crosswise into 1/8 inch thick pieces. Rub in the salt until the turnip slices become tender. Rinse under water.
Slice the peaches or apricots thinly, about 1/4 inch thick pieces.
In a medium size bowl, mix the vinegar dressing ingredients. Squeeze out the excess water from the turnips and then add to the bowl. Also add the sliced peaches. Leave in the vinegar dressing for at least an hour. Keeps in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.
|Posted on June 16, 2009 at 2:17 AM||comments (0)|
No, this is not an eraser or a piece of conceptual art. Though there is a lot of thought that goes into making Japanese fishcake - Kamaboko. The shape alone is a work of art that has withstood the test of time.
I was hungry when I got back from Portland so I went to the fridge to see what I can snack on. Of course, most of the fridge looks pretty barren. But in the meat compartment, I find kamaboko (fish cake). Like salami or cheese, I can always count on this fellow. I also found some Persian cucumbers in the vegetable compartment that I picked up from Teheran Market. With a piece of ginger, which I always have, I could fix a little Sunomono - vinegared salad. That with a glass of wine will comfort me.
If you wonder what Kamaboko is made out of, it is mostly of cod or sea bass. The fish paste is placed on a piece of wood and shaped into a half moon and steamed like a sausage . There are many ways to eat kamaboko. Straight like cheese. You sliced it up. It's chewy and on the bland side in flavor. If you find kamaboko bland in flavor, you can dip it in soy sauce or even have it with soy sauce and wasabi like sashimi. Chinese and Vietnamese also make steamed fish sausages but the color, texture and seasonings are quite different.
Here, Kamaboko is served with sliced cucumbers to become a refreshing salad. It is a simple variation of vinegared Cucumber and Octopus I blogged about on June 7. This dish is really a no-brainer. Kamaboko keeps in the fridge for about a month, so it's good to have a block around. I said, the cucumbers should be sliced thin, about 1/8-inch but they definitely look thicker in my photograph, don't they. Doesn't make a good picture so be careful. Slice them thinner than mine!
Vinegared Cucumber and Kamaboko
VINEGARED CUCUMBER WITH KAMABOKO
|Posted on June 7, 2009 at 11:17 AM||comments (1)|
Octopus and ginger. This combination is wonderfully refreshing. The photograph I took of the Octopus arms made them look huge but in reality they were rather small. Just enough to make two of t hese salads.
VINEGARED OCTOPUS AND CUCUMBER