Autumn Food, Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food, Winter Food

Vegan Banana Bread with Yuzu & Kinako

Everyone is making Banana bread at the moment it’s having a revival during these trying times. Maybe it’s because banana bread is that comforting moist treat that’s good toasted warm for breakfast or is nice with that cup of tea in the afternoon. I had some Bananas in my organic veg box delivery and bananas are not something I eat many of so they went soft and spotty sitting in my fruit bowl, which is perfect for making banana bread. However flour is also in short supply and the only flour I could get was sprouted spelt flour, then I remembered how I had previously used kinako ( roasted soybean flour ) in some of my other baking  recipes and thought why don’t I mix the two and try it making a banana bread. It turned out much more tasty than any banana bread I had ever made before! In these times when your normal ingredients are scarce you might find that using an alternative can either be a disaster or a success, but that is how new recipes are created, it can be very much trial and error. Many times I have experimented with ingredients so that I can bring to you the recipes on this website. Many at the time were not commonly used.
So I give you my friends a banana bread with a Japanese twist.

Heat up your oven to 180c and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Make 2 flax eggs ( x2 tablespoon of flax meal mixed with x6 tablespoon of water and set aside to set.

Then to a bowl add
x1 cup of spelt flour and x1 cup of kinako ( you can use oat flour but I really liked how the spelt and the kinako together gave it a lovely nutty flavour. I used sprouted spelt flour by Rude Health.

Addto the flour x1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.

Then in a food processor add 10 soft medjool pitted dates and to that 1/2 a cup of soy milk and 1-2 tablespoons of Yuzu juice. You can buy bottles of 100% Yuzu juice from Asian supermarkets online.


Give this all a good process until smooth, then while the food processor is still moving break up and drop in x3 over ripe bananas and your flax eggs. Make sure it’s all well blended and then fold in the mixture into your flour mix. If you have any candied Yuzu peel you can chop this up and fold into the mixture also.


Tip the mixture into a loaf pan and add sliced banana to the top.

Then use some ground sesame to sprinkle on the top. I actually had a packet of a combination of ground sesame and almond from Japan and I used that.


Bake in the oven for 1 hour and remove to cool. After about 30 mins you can lift out the banana bread with the parchment paper and place on a wire rack to cool more.
I had this the next day with a coffee for breakfast.
I really hope you can enjoy making this banana bread for yourself.

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Micro Season part 16 清明 Seimei (Pure and clear)

April 5–9 玄鳥至 Tsubame kitaru Swallows Return

April 10–14 鴻雁北 Kōgan kaeru Wild geese fly north

April 15–19 虹始見 Niji hajimete arawaru First rainbows

The Kitoku-in Temple in Kamakura which has the Great Buddha (Daibutsu) statue

The Ushiku Buddha in Ibaraki Prefecture ( one of the three largest Daibutsu in the world )

I have been lucky enough to visit these Buddha statues on my trips to Japan

April 8th marks the birth of Buddha, and is a special Buddhist occasion called Hanae Shiki or Hana matsuri . It is a flower festival which is very in keeping seeing as the cherry blossoms are still in bloom. Most temples set up a small statue of baby Buddha and decorate him with flowers. How can you tell a baby Buddha statue ? One of his hands will be pointing to the ground the other is pointing to the sky. The Buddha is sprinkled with a sweet tea called called am-cha made from ajisai leaves. Sometimes you might see lion dancing which is a tradition of this festival. Also a white  elephant statue or chariot, the white elephant is also a representation of Buddha as it is believed that  buddhas mother saw one the night he was conceived.

I always love it when I see the first swallows it gives me joy that summer is around the corner and this year more than most we need something to look forward.

All over the world at the moment rainbows are having a significant meaning. In my neighbourhood you will not walk far until you see pictures of rainbows (normally painted by the children in the family) placed in windows to bring a symbol of  hope to passes by. The rainbow is significant of the passing of a storm, showing that there is light after dark times. On my daily solitary walk I now like to count how many rainbows I can see in the windows of the houses I pass. At the moment as the country is on a lock down we are allowed to go out for groceries and one hour of exercise a day. So this could be a nice game for a child also to play with a parent.

Autumn Food, Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food, Winter Food

Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories Vegan Chicken Fried Rice

I have just finished watching series one of “Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories “ . A Japanese TV series about a man his customers call “Master”. He opens his diner at midnight and cooks people comfort food on request. It has a new recipe theme every episode with typical Japanese home style food. The characters are some new and some that follow through into each episode. I love the Golden Gai type setting which really gets me reminiscing of evenings in Tokyo. I have now started watching Season 2 . The first meal Master was asked to cook was Chicken Fried Rice. I thought to myself it might be nice to try to make a few vegan versions of the meals so today I made this meal. It’s an easy one pan meal that’s quick to make with just a few basic ingredients.
The ingredients used is for one person as a main meal or two people as a side dish.

Drain a can of jackfruit and separate in half put the other half in a container for another meal ( why not try my fake crab sushi ). You can then simmer the jackfruit in hot water to make it easier to pull apart if your not able to shred it. This time I used a new brand of jackfruit that I had never tried which didn’t need any further cooking before I used it. It was by Plant pioneers available at Sainsbury’s but you can use any brand you can get as long as it’s  in water and not syrup.

Defrost a handful of frozen peas in a bowl of hot water.
Then prepare your rice. I used one cup of Japanese rice washed and rinsed with two cups of water. When I say cups it refers to the cups you get with your rice cooker. This equals around 3/4 US cup or 180ml.

Set your rice cooker to cook or cook in a pan.
While your rice is cooking chop 1/4 white onion and around 3-4 regular mushrooms and add them to a frying pan with a little coconut oil or any oil of choice. Drain your frozen peas and add those and then add your jackfruit ( chicken substitute ). Sauté these until the onion and mushroom are tender, then if your rice is cooked add your rice. Stir this through and finally add a tablespoon of tomato purée. It is normally tomato ketchup that is used so it’s up to you if you use purée or ketchup. Sauté altogether and it’s done.

I’m looking forward to seeing what other meals Master cooks up for his customers next and maybe I might try making another vegan version. I was really surprised how this simple meal could be so tasty, try making it for yourself and transport your mind to a midnight diner in Tokyo.

Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food

Tofu & Vegetable Quiche With a Miso Potato Hash Crust


Even when I was vegetarian and not vegan I never liked quiche because I didn’t like eggs . This quiche made from silken tofu is really tasty hot or cold and gives you a few portions to give you meals for a few days. Served with salad and soup it makes a satisfying meal.

Preheat  your oven to around 180c (medium heat)

First make you hash brown potato crust . You will need three medium sized potatoes, peal and grate them into a bowl . Then you need to get out as much water as possible by using a muslin type cloth. I actually used the cloth I’d saved from the Christmas pudding. Tip your grated potato into a cloth and squeeze out all the water.

Then tip your potato into a bowl. Add a good heaped tablespoon of white miso paste and make sure it’s well blended into the potato .Take a pie/flan dish and brush with oil, tip the grated miso potato into the dish and spread it out. Using a sheet of kitchen paper give it a good press into the dish, the kitchen paper will help soak up any excess water, brush the surface with oil  coconut or olive, and bake until golden in the oven.

While your crust is baking, add to a food processor x1 block of silken tofu, x1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice, x1 tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce x2 tablespoon of nutritional yeast and salt and pepper. Give it all a good process stopping and scraping down the sides a few times.
Then in a pan add a little oil and add to it any chopped vegetables you like, this is a good way of using up bits of vegetables in the fridge, I used yellow and red bell pepper, zucchini, chopped tomato, onion and spinach. Broccoli and mushrooms work well also.


When it’s all sautéed and tender add this to your tofu mixture and mix together.
Take out your crust from the oven and spoon in your mixture, you could add a few cherry tomatoes to the top for decoration if you have any.

Put this back in the oven until the tofu is golden . Remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting.

Blog

Oroshi-Soba And Hanami Meal

This year many of us will not be able to have hanami parties outside with friends and will be celebrating at home . Just as the Sakura blooms and falls let’s hope that the world situation will pass in time . I decided to make a spring meal although the weather turned today from warm to windy and quite chilly, however I’m lucky enough to have a cherry tree in my garden and do not have to go outside for hanami and the warmth of the last few days had started to open the blooms.
My meal consisted of vinegared cucumber and vegan crab salad, Temari sushi with vegan sashimi, Oroshi soba and sake sakura kanten jelly.

I prepared the cucumber by salting first, after I had washed the salt off after about 15 mins I  then added this to a bowl with jackfruit, lime juice, brown rice vinegar, chopped red chilli and sesame seeds. You can also see the vegan crab meat recipe on my recipe for Vegan crab sushi salad. Having vinegared cucumber always reminds me of a child when I would go round to my grandmothers house for Sunday tea. It would take her all afternoon to prepare a massive Sunday spread for the family. My mother would help my grandmother while my father and grandfather would go for a drink at the local pub. I would play outside in my grand parents garden often sneaking in to their greenhouse to pick a ripe tomato directly off the vine (nothing better).

I also made bite sized sushi balls known as Temari sushi. With seasoned sushi rice and mock tuna sashimi. You can find Temari sushi recipes on my recipe page plus how to make the vegan tuna on my recipe for tekka don ( tuna rice bowl ).

Oroshi Soba is a chilled minimalist dish, ideal for summer. It consists of chilled soba noodles in a dashi broth. Oroshi refers to the grated daikon. By adding this and a few simple ingredients like chopped green onion it makes a refreshing filling meal.

This was the last of my daikon I had brought back from London a few weeks ago when I went to see the kimono exhibition at the V&A.

Now we are all confined to our homes and getting ingredients is becoming increasingly harder, so for me not only was this meal special because of the daikon but the soba noodles had been sent to me from Japan . I’m already running low on Japanese food supplies as I was expecting to be in Japan in a few weeks but now that’s not the case and on line ordering is mostly sold out. Each meal is going to be precious as I use up the last of my ingredients. When all this is over I’m going to seriously stock up ! Probably taking empty suitcases to bring back food from Japan. I’m also really going to appreciate all the more my next trip to Japan and I think any of us will appreciate our travels and holidays a lot more from now on. For me even something so simple as going to the supermarket which was something I actually enjoyed is now full of anxiety.
It was with great joy I managed to add a veg box into my basket in my online delivery which had been out of stock all week. So many things we take for granted.
With the last of the sake in the fridge I added it to a pan with a little fruit tea ( you could use fruit juice ) and made a jelly with kanten flakes. Adding a salted Sakura into the jelly mould .

As I sit safe at home, I give thanks to all the hospital staff, doctors, nurses and people in the community, police, delivery drivers, super market workers and online shops, that are helping us all get through these trying times. Thank you to you all . I wish you all now more than ever health and safety, we can get through this in time. It’s going to be hard but we must remain strong. Now is the time to maybe start up a new hobby or rekindle an old one. Cherish loved ones and turn to simpler times. Hopefully as we go through the year things will get easier and more back to normal, but let’s not forget this and how we may often take things for granted. Like the Sakura life is fleeting.

Blog, Spring Food

Micro Season Part 15 春分 Shunbun (Spring equinox)

春分 Shunbun (Spring equinox)
March 21-25 雀始巣 Suzume hajimete sukū Sparrows start to nest 

March 26-30 櫻始開 Sakura hajimete saku First cherry blossom

March 31-April 4 雷乃発声 Kaminari sunawachi koe o hassu distant thunder.

Nature waits for no one, the seasons keep on turning no matter what else is going on in the world. I have been watching a pair of robins in my garden for the last few weeks hastily gathering to make a nest. The buds on my Sakura tree are about to burst open into bloom but the world at the moment is in so much distress.
Even though the micro season date for cherry blossom blooming is the 26th they have already started in Tokyo. Cherry blossom season in Tokyo is governed by one tree in the Yasukuni shrine. It is called the Metropolitan Index tree. Last week saw the first flower bud open.


Soon all the Sakura will be open in Japan .

Depending on where in Japan they are it can be now or a bit later in May for places like Hokkaido.
Many people’s trips and celebrations will be cancelled this year including my own trip which was supposed to be in May. The wisteria and the Sakura will flower and drop anyway and so it goes on.
I remember my trip to Japan in cherry blossom season, I think it was one of the most memorable times of my life. I was so over come with how beautiful the trees were and when the warm breeze blew the petals off the trees they would flutter to the ground like snow.

The spring Equinox in Japan is known as Higan or in the spring Haru no Higan. It is a Buddhist festival, and a traditional confection is made for the equinox, in the spring it is called Botamochi and in the autumn it is called ohagi. Botamochi is named after the tree peony Botan. In the autumn ohagi is named after the clover bush hagi.

I always make this wagashi every year this year I made Botamochi in the three spring colours and displayed them like a dango. They are made with pounded sweet Mochi rice with a red bean filling . If you would like to make them yourself you can find the recipe in the Spring recipe section.

I hope if your plans for hanami celebrations or your trips to Japan are cancelled that maybe you can like me make some Japanese food to help you feel closer to Japan.

When things are finally balanced again in the world I will see Japan again.

Blog, Spring Food

Micro season Part 14 啓蟄 Keichitsu (Insects awaken)

Japanese micro season part 14

啓蟄 Keichitsu (Insects awaken)

March 6–10 蟄虫啓戸 Sugomori mushito o hiraku Hibernating insects surface

March 11–15 桃始笑 Momo hajimete saku First peach blossoms

March 16–20 菜虫化蝶 Namushi chō to naru Caterpillars become butterflies

Before the Spring Equinox we have this micro season. Insects and animals start to feel the first warmth of spring and slowly start to move around awakening from their winter slumber. It is a time of change and new life emerging. Buds start to swell and shoots start to poke through the thawing soil.
In this micro season on March 14th is White Day in Japan. February the 14th is Valentine’s Day and on that day girls give gifts to guys. This can be friends, teachers, work colleagues, as well as that special someone. White day is the day the guys return the gifts. This can be in the form of white flowers or cookies, white chocolate or items in white wrapping. Home made gifts are extra thoughtful it shows people have taken the care and time to source ingredients and prepare and wrap a gift. Why not make my white day Sakura cookies or tofu yuzu donuts the recipes are on this website.

Or make white heart shaped chocolates sprinkled with petals.

I also think wrapping a gift in a beautiful cloth would be extra special.

You can find some lovely hand made ones at nugoo jp ( Japanese site) and nugoojapan.com ( English site) the link to their website is at the bottom or at the side of these pages depending on your browser and they ship internationally.

They  sell other items like tea, scarves, purses and umbrellas.

They also sell gorgeous wagashi ( so pretty you won’t want to eat them but these would make a wonderful gift for white day ).

Blog, Spring Food

Micro Season Part 13 雨水 Usui Rainwater

雨水 Usui ( Rainwater )

The micro seasons for this part are as follows:

February 19–23 土脉潤起 Tsuchi no shō uruoi okoru. Rain moistens the soil.

February 24–28 霞始靆 Kasumi hajimete tanabiku. Mist starts to linger.

March 1–5 草木萌動 Sōmoku mebae izuru. Grass sprouts, trees bud.

At the start of spring in Japan before the cherry blossoms bloom another tree has its moment. For people in Japan this is just as imported. When the stunning  plum blossoms arrive it begins the arrival of spring by symbolising renewal and hope. One of the best places to view over 2000 ume trees is the Kitano Tenmangu shrine in Kyoto. They have a plum blossom festival which is held on February 25th the grounds are full with plum blossom and a special outdoor tea ceremony called Baikasai is held. Maiko serve hot matcha tea with wagashi ( Japanese sweets ) they also have a flea market at the same time.
This micro season couldn’t be passed by without talking about Hina matsuri on the 3rd of March. This is also known as dolls day or girls day. On this day parents celebrate their daughters happiness and good health. Traditionally when a girl is born parents or grand parents will buy a special set of Hina dolls, sometimes they are passed down from generations. These dolls are displayed in the house from the end of February until March 3rd. The dolls are a representation of the emperor and empress .

These are my friends Hina dolls that she has displayed in her house. Instagram (@dokodemotokyo)

Sometime girls will invite friends for a party and have traditional foods.
There are lots of foods associated with this time.
Temari sushi, decorated sushi balls take their name from the Temari balls children played with. Temari means hand balls and they are beautiful embroidered balls that are now normally used for decoration. These bit sized sushi balls are easy to make just search Temari sushi for instructions.

Sakura Mochi a traditional spring wagashi for Hinamatsuri and the coming Sakura seasons. Sakura Mochi is a Mochi rice cake with a sweet red bean paste filling and then wrapped in a salted pickled Sakura leaf. It’s a nice combination of sweet and salty. Just search Sakura Mochi for the recipe.


There are three colours associated with Hinamatsuri white for purification, green for health and pink for luck. Often you will see dango in these three colours which are popular at this time. These are also called hanami dango or Sanshoku dango. Just search dango for recipes.

Cherry blossom cookies are also a nice one to make. Recipe on this website.


Others are strawberry daifuku,cherry blossom rice balls,inari sushi and chirashi sushi (scattered sushi

This year I will be making a chirashi sushi which resembles a cake in the three spring colours known as Chakin sushi.
Seasoned sushi rice which you can either layer using the colours in-between or colour the rice. I like to use natural colours so I used beetroot juice for pink mixed into cooked sushi rice and matcha tea.  You can then add the toppings to the top of the rice cake.
I think this would be a lovely one for a party or gathering.


You could even make mini ones cup cake style or make three layer onigiri.


I also decided to make onigiri in the shape of Hina dolls.

If you would like to see things I have made in previous years just search Hina matsuri, I hope this gives you some inspiration for your own celebration.

As I have no children it has also been suggested to me that girls day is a nice day to spend with girl friends or sisters. Maybe if you have no girl children you could plan a day out or go for a meal or celebrate women in general.

 

 

 

Blog, Winter Food

Kuzu-yu 葛湯

Kuzu or Kudzu starch is a Japanese powdered root and I often use to thicken my curry sauces. It is highly valued in the macrobiotic diet for having many health benefits from helping stomach illnesses, regulating blood sugar and high blood pressure to comforting cold and flu symptoms. This is why it makes a wonderful drink to have in the winter months, especially if you are sick. I chose to make this as it is also believed to help with migraine and ease neck and shoulder pain, which I had been suffering from, also it is helpful in regulating estrogen levels.
The kuzu tea  or as it’s known kuzu-yu is a hot sweet syrupy drink so would be helpful in easing tired muscles and aiding with sore throats.
(yu) means hot water in Japanese .

It is easy to make with just a few ingredients

x1 tablespoon of kuzu root powder, x1 cup of COLD water, x1 teaspoon of  grated ginger, x1 teaspoon of Yuzu juice or lemon and sweetener of choice to taste.

Add the kuzu to a pan and crush into a fine powder , at this point if you would like to make the drink with matcha powder rather than ginger you can add this here and mix into the root. Take your cup of cold water and add a little to the root and mix to a paste then add the rest. Heat on a gentle heat stirring all the time until it thickens.
Pour into your favourite mug or tea cup and sip to enjoy.

If you are making the matcha version it is sometimes served as a hot dessert in Japan with small rice cracker toppings called arare.

Another popular alternative is to use apple juice instead of water and make a syrupy apple drink, maybe adding ginger and cinnamon and a few cubes of fresh apple to finish.

I think this is a perfect winter beverage to warm your body.

Blog, Spring Food

Micro Season Part 12 立春 Risshun (Beginning of spring)

I actually started writing about micro seasons half way through the 24 seasonal divisions back at the beginning of autumn Risshu. Now we are entering Risshun the beginning of Spring. Did you celebrate Setsubun yesterday? I talked about this in my last micro season post.
This micro season is broken down into three subdivisions.

February 4–8 東風解凍 Harukaze kōri o toku East wind melts the ice
February 9–13 黄鶯睍睆 Kōō kenkan su Bush warblers start singing in the mountains
February 14–18 魚上氷 Uo kōri o izuru Fish emerge from the ice

This is an important time for farmers in Japan especially tea farmers, because it is the first of the 24 divisions in the solar calendar it is considered the start of life and from this day 88 days are counted until the first tea picking, so Risshun is used as a reference point.
With the term Risshun comes Haru Matsuri or spring festival, and it’s definitely a positive sign. Bulbs and flowers are starting to push through the frosty earth and the birds are getting busy looking for potential nest sites.
You can feel a glimpse of spring now.
In Japan you might start to see plum blossoms blooming or hear the call of the male (uguisu) bush warbler (Japanese nightingale).

The bush warbler or Uguisu is a little green bird and at this time wagashi shops start to sell Uguisu Mochi . A chubby cake similar to the shape of the bird. It is a Mochi rice cake filled with red bean paste and dusted in green kinako made from the freshest soy beans.
I decided to make this as I had some Uguisu kinako which is the name given to the green soy bean flour.


I made it with Shiratama rice flour and inside was home made bean paste.


I feel like a little bit of Japanese springtime has arrived in my home.

Blog, Spring Food

Japanese Micro Season Part 11 大寒 Daikan Greater cold

January 20–24  冬華   Fuki no hana saku  Butterburs bud

January 25-29 水沢腹堅  Kiwamizu kōri tsumeru Ice thickens on streams

January 30- February 3 鶏始乳 Niwatori hajimete toya ni tusku hens start laying eggs

I actually want to talk a bit about what happens right at the end of this micro season on February 3rd. This day is regarded as particularly important as it is the transition from winter to spring. The day before the first day of spring on February 3rd is called Setsubun. On this day there are a few customs in Japan one of them is to eat an uncut makizushi called (eho-maki ) while you sit in silence facing the years lucky direction, 2020 being west south west and make a wish for the rest of the coming year. The eho-maki must have seven ingredients, these relate to the seven lucky gods Shichifukujin.

Another Setsubun custom is for the male person of the house to wear a demon mask called ( oni ) and then throw roasted soy beans at other family members and out of the door while shouting “ Oniwa soto Futuwa uchi ! ” meaning demons out luck in. This ritual is called Mamemaki or bean scattering and as well as doing it at home shrines and temples hold this ritual also and many people go to partake in the Oni oi-Shiki ceremony. Women may sometimes wear the otafuku mask which is Lady Luck.


As well as the roasted soybean scattering it is custom to eat as many soybeans as your age plus one for the year to come to insure a year of good health.
Why not try making a long sushi roll for yourself this year. Fillings can be anything you like . Try asparagus, cucumber, tofu, kanpyo, shiitake, carrot or a vegan style cutlet.
I always like to celebrate Setsubun to welcome in the new spring season, although spring still feels a very long way off at the moment but the small signs are there if care to take a look.

Autumn Food, Blog, Spring Food, Winter Food

Miso Curry Soy Milk Ramen

Miso Curry Soy Milk Ramen 味噌カレー豆乳ラーメン

I have made this meal once before and shared it on my Instagram feed. If you think this combination sounds strange bare with me it’s well worth making it for yourself.

The distinctive soup which has become Aomori city’s local dish is a blend of miso based soup and milk with curry powder and it always has a butter topping along with bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and wakame seaweed. Normally made with cows milk but I made it vegan by using soy milk and vegan ramen noodles .

The taste is sweet and spicy and has a creamy texture. The ramen is a hot comforting meal on a cold day, I guess that’s why it’s so popular in the colder regions of Japan in winter time.

Even though this dish is a speciality of Aomori it is originally from Sapporo. Mr. Kiyoshi Satoh, who moved from Sapporo to Aomori wanted to promote Sapporo-style ramen outside Hokkaido and made this curry miso ramen as his signature dish.

Why not try a steamy hot yellow bowl of this miso curry milk ramen for yourself and be surprised with how delicious it is. Don’t omit that butter topping, you can buy vegan butter, my favourite in the UK is the organic vegan butter block by Naturli. I also recommend a good quality soy milk like Bonsoy. As for the curry powder you can buy vegan curry powder in Japan or you can use S&B curry spice powder but this will not thicken your soup so you may need to use a little kuzu powder. There is a new vegan store just opened in Tokyo in Asakusa and they sell a good range of vegan curry powders. As for vegan ramen I used Samurai ramen or you could use ramen by Ohsawa  which I always buy in Japan, also available on Amazon.

When I’m in Tokyo my favourite vegan ramen place to eat is Ts Tan Tan well worth a visit to either their ramen shops in Tokyo station and Ueno  or restaurant at Jiyugaoka, they even have a noodle bar at Narita airport at T2. They do not have curry ramen maybe they should, but non the less they have really good vegan ramen to try when your in Tokyo.

To make this miso curry milk ramen gather your ingredients serves 2 people.

White miso paste x1 heaped tablespoon

Soy milk 500-800ml

Curry powder x3 tablespoons

Ramen noodles x1 pack of samurai ramen this has two servings ( do not use the sauce inside the packet )

Vegan butter a small square each when serving

Bamboo shoots I bought the vacuumed sealed type which has x1 whole bamboo shoot, slice this into quarters. The remaining will keep in water in an air tight container for a few days in the fridge ( why not search bamboo shoots for ideas on how to use the rest of it up ) take the 1/4 piece and slice it. If you cannot get a whole piece of bamboo shoot you can use tinned. I got mine from the Japan centre in London, they also sell them through out Japan.

Wakame seaweed I used dried seaweed and just added it to hot water in a bowl to rehydrate you will only need a small piece. Slice into pieces

Bean sprouts x1 1/2 bag

You can also add sweetcorn which goes well with the butter.

If using S&B curry powder

Kuzu powder if your using just curry spice powder like S&B, use x1 tablespoon of curry powder and x1-2 teaspoons of crushed kuzu root in a little water around x1 teaspoon to make a slurry before adding to your warm milk.

You will need two pans one with boiling water for your ramen to cook and to lightly steam your bamboo shoot and bean sprouts and one to make your soup.

First add your milk to a pan and heat slowly do not boil, when it’s warm add miso and dissolve, then add your curry powder and mix in well. The curry powder will thicken the milk, however if your using S&B then add the powder mix and then add your kuzu slurry and mix well to thicken. You may need to turn the heat up slightly with the kuzu but as soon as it thickens turn it all on to a low simmer. Then steam your bamboo and bean sprouts for a few minutes, take the steamer off if using the same pan you can can just use the boiling water to now cook your noodles. Keep the lid on your steamed veg to keep warm. When the noodles are done, they only take a few minutes add some miso curry soy milk to your bowls then drain your noodles and add these to your soup. Top with bean sprouts, sweetcorn if you like and bamboo shoots. Don’t forget that butter.

You can also add some sautéed sliced king mushrooms. This ramen normally has slices of pork on top so I think the mushrooms make a good substitute for this. You can sprinkle with an extra dash of curry powder and a drizzle of chilli oil to finish if you wish. 

I hope you will be pleasantly surprised like I was with how well all the flavours blend together and make a delicious ramen.

Blog, Winter Food

Kuromame Daifuku Mochi

I went to a new year mochi pounding this January which was then made into Mochi with sweet red bean paste and was served to the spectators.


Mochi is often eaten as a symbol of long life in Japan and the breaking and eating of the Kagami Mochi ( known as Kagami Biraki ) see other posts for more information on this, is a ritual celebrating the transition to a new stage in life.
The 13th of January this year in Japan is coming of age day Seijin Shiki 成人式. It is held on the second Monday in January and is the day when people in Japan that turned 20 the previous year are now welcomed into society as an adult. It may be common to see people in elaborate costumes visiting shrines to pray for health and success.

Inspired by seeing the Mochi pounding I decided to try making my own Mochi which is the symbol of longevity as it’s so stretchy  and make kuromame Daifuku. Daifuku translates to great luck and the sweet black soy beans are a symbol of good health and are eaten as part of new year food (osechi).

Daifuku is a Japanese wagashi ( sweet ) consisting of a small round glutinous rice cake stuffed with sweet filling, most commonly anko sweetened red bean paste made from azuki beans.

These are the ingredients I used which I bought easily from the Japan centre Asian food super market in London, they also sell on line.

 

Top row: Tokyo Potato starch powder 150g, Hashimoto Tsubuan chunky red bean paste 350g ( both originating from Hokkaidō ).
Bottom row : Hakubai sweet Mochi rice 2.27 Kg  ( this is a big bag but is perfect for making ohagi / Botamochi for spring / autumn equinox for which I have recipes. Finally Shiga Shoten Tambaguro kuromame simmered black soy beans 150g

First wash and soak over night one rice cooker cup of sweet Mochi rice. In the morning cook the rice in your rice cooker or pan with two rice cooker cups of water. A rice cooker cup is what comes with a rice cooker if you do not have one 1 rice cooker cup equates to 3/4 of a normal measuring cup or 180ml .
After your rice is cooked keep the lid on and steam for a further ten minutes. Transfer the cooked rice into a bowl or Suribachi ( grinding bowl) and start pounding your rice with something like a rolling pin or something like a surikogi which is the mortar part of a pestle and mortar. Keep wetting the end as it will start to get very sticky indeed !
When its all smooth and stretchy dust a work surface or board with potato starch and tip the Mochi out. Dust your hand with potato starch as this will stop your hands sticking to the mochi  then knead the mochi in the potato starch and pull off pieces about the size of a heaped tablespoon. Flatten it out and add your sweet black soy beans and a ball of anko in the middle.

Fold the mochi with the circle of soy beans over the anko to make a ball. Shape and it’s done.


This was the first time I have ever made these and the more you do the better at it you become. I was really pleased how they turned out. Serve with a matcha tea to celebrate a long and healthy life

( no matter if your celebrating coming of age day, life is a celebration  ! )