Abura-age is deep-fried siced tofu.It is made by deep frying thinly sliced tofu. It is the key ingredient for making Inari-zushi. It is also called AGE, or USU-AGE. They are mostly sold in packages of four. Some Abura-age are sold in larger pieces of two, and may need to be cut in half to make two pouches.
ABURA-AGE in packages of four inari size pouches.
ABURA-AGE paired with daikon radish and scallions to make miso soup.
Suggestions for cooking: To remove excess fat, blanch the abura-age with hot water before use.
Storage: Fresh, they keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator. Or store in the freezer and defrost it as needed.
|Posted at 09:31 PM on December 03, 2009||delete edit comments (0)|
The Burdock root can grow to 3 feet (1 meter) long.
Burdock tastes like a cross between a potato and an artichoke. It is particularly enjoyed for its crunchy texture. Burdock has a naturally brown color like a potato and the good earthy flavor is all in the skin, so don't shave or peel the skin all off. Gently scrub to remove the dirt and hairy roots.
These Burdock roots, GOBO, in the picture measure nearly 3 feet long. How can they grow so long? And for me the frequently raised question is how do I get these home from the market? It's always a challenge with the longer ones. You can buy water packed, peeled and shaven burdock but the flavor is inferior to fresh burdock, and contain additives, so I don't recommend them. When I get home, I cut the Burdock root in half, wrap it in a wet day old newspaper (Not the FOOD section!) and plastic to keep them fresh in the fridge. When Burdock roots are old, they get pulpy, shriveled, and tough. Make sure you find one that feels thick, firm and flexible. The fresher they are, the crispier the texture. You can eat them raw when they are very very fresh. Burdock improves digestion and is full of fiber.
Ginger is a tuberous root which is used as spice for noodles, tofu, and vegetables. It brightens the flavor of grilled meats and seafood. Grated ginger is an essential condiment for sashimi, particularly for silvery skin fish like mackerel and bonito, and for octopus and squid. Brewed as tea, Ginger has a warming effect to the body; it is a folk medicine that used to cure colds. Look for ginger root that is firm, with large shiny knobs.
Suggestions for cooking: To make slicing and grating easier, peel the skin of the ginger, and soak it in water for a few minutes.
Grated ginger. The juice is precious.
Storage: Wrap ginger in plastic and keep in the fridge.
|Posted at 02:21 PM on December 08, 2009|
Categories: Vegetable and Seaweed Dishes
Shirataki are sold water packed in plastic bags or plastic containers
Shirataki noodles are thin, chewy, and translucent noodles made of yam. They are flavorless in nature but used in combination with other foods such as stews, hot pots like sukiyaki, Chanko nabe, and sauteed dishes. They are low in calories and carbohydrates so they make a nice subsitute for wheat noodles but Japanese people don't eat shirataki to go on a diet. They like to eat them for their texture and high fiber content.
Blanch Shirataki before you use them. It has a slight odor
but this will go away when you blanch them.
To use Shirataki: Take the shirataki out of the package and drain water. In a medium size pot, add water and shirataki and bring it to a boil. Cook shirataki for a few minutes. Drain water. Shirataki noodles are ready to be used. Cut them in half of thirds before using them.
Storage: Store in the fridge. Check packages for expiration date.
SHIN SHOGA is young ginger. It provide the freshest taste. The outer skin is creamy white, with blushing rhizomes. You can occasionally find them in the Asian markets.
Suggestions for cooking: Use fresh ginger like you would regular ginger. You can make pickled sushi ginger with fresh ginger.
MAITAKE means Dancing Mushrooms in Japanese. These mushrooms are commonly known as Hen of the Woods or Sheep's Head. Maitake has a very appealing earthy fragrance, with nutty and smoky flavors. I use fresh Maitake mushrooms for making mushroom rice and nabe dishes. Maitake are also appreciated for their medicinal properties - to aid in enhancing the immune system, regulating blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They are rich in minerals and vitamins.
Dried Maitake Mushrooms are used for making vegan broths. The flavor of dried Maitake mushrooms is milder than dried Shitake mushrooms. I use homemade dried Maitake mushrooms, HOSHI MAITAKE to make my vegan broth. You can find dried Maitake, HOSHI-MAITAKE in the dried mushrooms section in the Japanese grocery store. Maitake is appreciated in Japan and China for their medicinal properties.
Dried Maitake -HOSHI-MAITAKE
Storage: Keep the dried mushrooms in a sealed container.
SHITAKE is a mushroom that has been cultivated in Asia for more than 1000 years. It is appreciated for its flavor, fragrance and its medicinal properties - helps enhance the immune system, lowers cholesterol, and is said to have an anti-cancer effect.
Look for the ones that have a firm shiny cap and white gills.
Storage: Cover Shitake with plastic or put in a Tupperware and store it in the fridge.
Packaged Tororo Kombu
TORORO KOMBU is shaved kombu. Ochre in color. It can easily be mistaken as shreds ofcloth. In ancient times, TORORO KOMBU used remnants of kombu that Japanese kombu growers used in enhancing soups and dishes; later TORORO KOMBU turned into a delicacy. The kombu is brushed with vinegar and shaved into fine threads. As in all kombu, it has a lot of umami, savoriness, and is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibers. The texture of hydrated TORORO KOMBU is slimy but this sliminess is a texture many Japanese people adore. Other slimy foods are natto (fermented soybeans), okra, yamaimo potato.
Suggestions for cooking: TORORO is used as an incgredient for clear soup (SUIMONO) or miso soup. Just add a couple of tablespoons of dried TORORO directly into the soup and season it with soysauce or miso. TORORO adds a nice savory flavor to soups.
Storage: Keep in air tight container;
Yuzu is a citrus that looks like a golf size grapefruit. It has bumpy skin and lots of seeds, and doesn't look like much, but in Japan, it is prized for its aromatic zest and tangy juice. Yuzu is used as a garnish for a variety of dishes, and to enhance flavors of dipping sauces. In the U.S., you can find unripe green Yuzu in the fall; the ripe yellow ones come out in late November. Both are very fragrant. Yuzu can be found at the Japanese markets. Yuzu makes an aromatic bath water. I use left over yuzu halves and throw them into the steaming water. The fragrance is incredibly calming.
Unripe green yuzu
Ripe yellow yuzu
Suggestions for cooking: Mince, chop or use slivers of the zest. The juice makes a delicious ponzu sauce for grilled vegetables, meats and seafood. You need just a few slivers or a pinch to enhance the dish.
Storage: Keep it wrapped in plastic and store in the refrigerator.