Category

Autumn Food

Autumn Food, Blog, Summer Food

Tsukemen ( dipping ramen )

Do you know Tsukemen?

つけ麺 /dipping ramen

This is a popular summer dish in Japan when the weather gets hot and humid. As it’s turning cooler in the UK now I thought it might be nice to make this dish as one final farewell summer Japanese meal.

Cold ramen noodles are served separately with a hot dipping soup. Pick up a few noodles and dip into the soup. 

I had a can of organic tomato and basil soup which I used as one dipping broth adding some chilli oil for extra spice and then some left over Kuri pumpkin soup and I used @ohsawa_japan_group ramen. 

Served with some roasted vegetables ( purple sweet potato,daikon,carrot,lotus root and eggplant. Also a shaved fennel salad with salad leaves.  For the salad I made a sesame/miso dressing. 

Autumn Food, Blog

Japanese Micro Seasons Part 1

As the air turns cooler in the evening and in the mornings I can feel a shift in the seasons. The trees are starting to turn and the fields are golden. It’s getting towards the end of summer and the start of Autumn. In Japan they call this a micro season and there are actually 24  seasonal divisions in the calendar that break down further to 72. Autumn breaks down into six changing every few weeks. We are nearing the end of Risshu which is the first of the autumn micro seasons which is broken down into 3 . August 8-12 Suzukaze Itaru (cool winds blow ) August 13-17 Higurashi naku ( evening cicadas sing) and August 18-22 Kiri mato ( thick fog descends ).

We then move on to the next Shosho (which is manageable heat) August 23-27 Wata no hana shibe hiraku ( cotton flowers bloom )

August 28th-September 1st  Tenchi hajimete samushi ( heat starts to die down ) September 2-7 Kokumono sunawachi minoru ( rice ripens)

I think we can see our own micro seasons no matter if we live in Japan or not. Today a cool wind is blowing and I am starting to think about the new vegetables that will be coming into season soon. For now I am using late summer ingredients to make a soup curry with kuruma fu and lovely brown rice. Kuruma means wheel in Japanese. I also made dango. This is one you could think about making later in September for the moon viewing festival Otsukimi ( search for this for more information )

Why not start to think about your own seasons where you live. Notice the changes in nature. I think when we feel more connected to the earth we can start to use this in our cooking. Making everything more mindful from the choosing of ingredients to the preparation down to the eating of a meal.

This is the reason I like to make Japanese vegan food. It helps me feel more connected to a country I love deeply.

I used S&B curry spice with water and thickened the soup with kuzu. The kuruma fu were first soaked in a mix of water mirin and tamari then after squeezing out the liquid I dipped them in okara you could also use potato starch. Then I shallow fried them to make them lovely and crispy on the outside. The kind of remind me of an English Yorkshire pudding in texture and flavour. The vegetables I used were some lovely zucchini and potatoes  a work colleagues mother had grown on her allotment some summer kabocha which is lighter in flavour and some lovely crisp  biodynamic salad leaves that were locally grown. I had got some organic ridge cucumber in my vegetable box delivery this week so I pickled them  in ume vinegar.

I will be doing more posts on the next micro seasons so please subscribe so you do not miss them.

 

 

Autumn Food, Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food

Kyuri Itame

Cucumber is an ingredient that everyone uses in their salad making. It’s cooling in the summer and has a high water content so is hydrating. In Japan they even serve it at summer festivals resting on ice they are chilled on a stick . However in Japan they also cook cucumber and this was something I was intrigued to try out. We cook zucchini which is similar so let’s try cucumber.

This dish is so easy but so flavourful that after I made it I thought I really wanted to share it with you. Just simply serve on rice maybe with a miso soup and you have a wonderful meal.

I like to use a peeler and peel the skin into stripes it makes the dish more appealing but you don’t have to do that . I used ridge cucumber but you can use any cucumber you like. Depending on how many people your making this for I used half a large cucumber per person.

Cut the cumber at an angle into thick slices and then half the slices.

Put your slices into a pan. Mix together equal parts of  mirin,tamari or soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, a little salt and sesame paste . I use Japanese sesame paste if you can’t get it then use tahini. If you live in the UK you can buy it mail order from sous chef the link to their website is either at the bottom or at the side of the page depending on your browser.

Mix together adding a little water. I used one tablespoon of each for each half a cucumber also add a teaspoon of grated peeled ginger.

You could also add a little miso as an alternative to the sesame paste for a different flavour .

Heat your pan and pour in the mixture and sprinkle in some sesame seeds. I also added some radish for colour. Stir fry until browned slightly and the sauce has thickened. Spoon out onto warm freshly cooked rice.

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

Hojicha Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are made with hojicha a Japanese tea. The green tea is roasted so it has a slightly earthy aroma so goes well with spices in this cookie recipe.

Put on your oven to warm ( moderate temperature)

Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a large baking sheet you may need two if your baking sheets are small.

First use one heaped teaspoon of hojicha tea and steep in one cup of hot water for a few minutes and then drain off the tea leaves so you are left with the liquid. You will need 1/3 of a cup to start and then you will need to add the rest as needed .

In a bowl add 2 cups of chickpea flour ( if you cannot use chickpea flour for health reasons then try soybean flour or buckwheat however this may give the cookies a different flavour )

Then to the flour add 2 teaspoons of baking powder,and two teaspoons of cinnamon and a little Himalayan pink salt .

In another bowl add 1 cup of coconut palm sugar,1/2 cup of coconut oil and the 1/3 cup of hojicha tea.

Mix the wet mixture into the dry half way through mixing add 1/2 cup of vegan chocolate chips .

Carry on mixing and start to add gradually the remaining tea until you get a nice dough but not too wet. Form into a ball and place in the freezer for about 5 mins so it’s easy to work with.

Take your dough out of the freezer and scoop heaped tablespoons of the dough and roll into balls . Place the balls on your baking sheet give them some space between and flatten each one with the palm of your hand ( don’t flatten to thin as you want a nice fudge type cookie ).

Do this until all your dough has been used up and place in the oven for 15-20 min.

Leave your cookies to cool. They last well in an airtight container for up to a week or you can freeze some of them.

They are a soft type cookie and are not all that crunchy but are also perfect for making ice cream cookie sandwiches.

If you want why not try chai tea or rooibos tea as an alternative to the hojicha. You could add nuts like pecan instead of chocolate chips.

Enjoy maybe with a nice coffee as a snack .

 

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

Yuzu Citrus Granola Energy Balls

I love whipping up a batch of these energy balls for a healthy snack I can grab on the go or just sit and chill with one with a tea.

I like to add Japanese Yuzu citrus to these it gives them a refreshing flavour. I finished them off by rolling them in granola for extra crunch but you could just as easily roll them in chopped nuts or coconut or rolled in matcha or kinako giving them even more of a Japanese taste .

You will need a food processor add to this 100g of ground almond flour + two more tablespoons , to this add a pinch of Himalayan pink salt and a cup of raw cacao powder, give it a pulse to blend then add two tablespoons of Yuzu citrus and set your blender working and start to drop in pitted medjool  dates . I normally get organic ones in a 200g box. The dates are your sweetener. Keep blending until all your dates are in . Your dough should press together . If it’s too dry add a little more Yuzu juice to wet add a little more almond flour. Pick up heaped tablespoons of the mixture and roll them in your hands into a ball . Then roll them in your chosen topping. Store in the fridge for up to a week in a sealed container. Enjoy !

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

Japanese Style Breakfast Iridofu

A Japanese style breakfast 

和風の朝食

Iri-dofu 炒り豆腐,ごはん, みそ汁

Iri  means stir fry and Dofu is tofu . It’s more like a scramble than a fry with minimal oil. Also the tofu pieces are kept a little larger. It’s a delicious healthy meal full of protein and a great meal for breakfast.

Soak two-three dried shiitake over night ( this will also become stock to use in the cooking process ) 

Blanch a block of tofu for a few mins in boiling water then drain and pat dry with a clean towel. Break up your tofu into different size pieces.

Squeeze out the water in your shiitake and slice. Slice thinly carrot and snow peas . Add a little toasted sesame oil to a pan and add your veg and tofu . In a pan add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce or tamari,the same in mirin and two tablespoons of mushroom stock and warm through add 1 tsp of sugar and dissolve . Pour this over your tofu and veg and sauté

Serve with miso soup and rice with pickles for a traditional style vegan Japanese breakfast . 

 

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

Green Burger & Citrus Coleslaw

This green burger is great to make with what ever greens you have in the fridge. To start with you will need one cup of cooked beans I used 1/2 tin of broad beans but you could use edamame or peas if you like . Then I gathered together some greens cabbage,kale,broccoli and spinach just a handful of each . Chop them up quite fine and steam them until tender. I also threw in the half a tin of broad beans to soften. Add this to a food processor with some herbs and spices. I used some fresh chopped mint and basil along with a dash of paprika. Give this a process but not to much then add two-three tablespoons of vegetable soup. I actually used the winter greens soup from Tideford organics for this but you can use homemade or tinned soup. Give it another process and empty into a bowl . Then add a teaspoon of matcha powder and a tablespoon each of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds and mix in. Then start to add some flour a little at a time I used oat flour but chick pea ( gram flour ) will work well too. When it becomes more of a dough make two balls and flatten them out . Don’t make your burgers to thin. Mine made two burgers. Add some oil to a pan and cook them on both sides until golden.

Serve with fries and salad.

An excellent accompaniment to my green burger is my citrus coleslaw.

First grate half a bulb of fennel and one carrot into a bowl. Slice thinly some red cabbage and add this to your bowl. Then make your dressing in a separate bowl  or in a jar add the juice of 1/2 a blood orange ( normal orange will do ) and one tablespoon of Yuzu juice ( you can buy the juice in bottles at Asian supermarkets). To this add one teaspoon of white miso paste and a teaspoon each of mirin and tamari. I like to use a jar as you can put the lid on and give this a mix by giving it a good shake. Pour your dressing over the shredded vegetables then add one to two tablespoons depending on how creamy you like your coleslaw of vegan kewpie Japanese mayonnaise or any mayonnaise you wish. Give this a mix. Finally I like to add a few raisins and flakes of almonds (optional)

 

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

Kuruma Fu Amazake Japanese Toast

Fu is a macrobiotic meatless protein  often used in shojin Ryouri cuisine . It’s made from the gluten that is extracted from wheat flour. Yakifu is raw fu that has been dried. Dried fu is pretty tasteless but It’s like a sponge and soaks up any flavour you soak it in so it’s great for soups and stews. Kuruma-fu is a specialty of Niigata prefecture,it gets its name from its round wheel like shape kuruma meaning wheel. 

I thought because of its bread like texture I would try making it into a style of French toast . I call it Japanese toast . 

First you need to soak the dried fu in warm water for 10 mins then press  out the water gently . Then either soak your fu wheels in amazake mixed with soy milk or if you do not have amazake you can use a mix of soy milk mixed with a little plain flour to thicken you can add cinnamon and vanilla for that traditional French toast flavour or as this is Japanese toast you could make them more citrus and add Yuzu juice. 

After you have coated both sides and let them soak for 15 mins or so heat up a pan with your chosen oil and fry until golden on both sides. If your interested in making your own amazake I have another post on this and I can definitely recommend making your own but if you don’t you can normally buy it from Asian super markets or Clearspring do their own version. 

Serve with a dusting of icing sugar and fresh berries. Perfect for a Sunday breakfast .  

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

Matcha Shortbread Biscuits

These creamy shortbreads are perfect for afternoon teatime . I just came back from a long winter walk the sky was clear blue the air crisp and fresh. It was lovely to come back to these little shortbreads to enjoy warming up with a tea.

If you would like to make them here’s how.

Put your oven on a moderate setting to warm and add a sheet of parchment paper to a baking tray.

You will need

Sift into a bowl

1 cup of oat flour,1/2 cup plain flour,2/3 cup ground almonds ( almond flour) and one tablespoon of coconut flour, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and one tablespoon of matcha powder.

In a separate bowl add 1/4 cup melted coconut butter and 1/2 cup of maple syrup.

Add wet to dry and mix to form a dough. Work with your hands to form a ball.

Put your dough ball on your parchment paper and flatten to a thickness of around 3/4 inch ( I like my shortbreads pretty thick ) then cut into slices,I like to tidy the sides up a little so they are straight.

Place in the oven for around 20 mins but do not let them burn. I turn mine around half way through cooking. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before taking them off the tray . Best eaten within a few days. Keep in an airtight container.

Happy Teatime.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Tonyu & Miso Nabe

Tonyu means soy milk in Japanese and nabe is a kind of one pot dish.

This thick and creamy nabe is full of vegetables and tofu it is comforting and filling but also healthy.

Its so quick to make all you need to do is prepare what vegetables you want to use.

I used napa cabbage,kale,leek,broccoli,carrot,pumpkin,tofu and a selection of Japanese mushrooms.

Start by steaming the vegetables first that take the longest so the carrot and the pumpkin and leave things like the kale and broccoli until the last minute.

In a pan add two cups of kombu dashi (leave a piece of kombu submerged in water over night or simmer for 15 mins) and two cups of soy milk,add one tablespoon of mirin and bring to a gentle simmer. Add your miso about two tablespoons and gently stir in.

Pour your broth into a large pot and add your vegetables and tofu. Serve with rice. (If you have a donabe pot like this one you can cook them all together in the same pot, just add your broth and vegetables pop on the lid and simmer )

A perfect meal for a cold day but so easy to make.

Autumn Food, Blog

Chard & Tofu Rolls With Roast Vegetables

This colourful dish is created using rainbow chard but you could just as easily use cabbage. First roast some vegetables i used fennel,carrot,beetroot and tofu. Add these to some foil with some bay leaves and make a parcel and roast until tender. Steam some leaves and they them out flat. Fill with your roasted vegetables and tofu and roll them up and secure with a tooth pick . Make a broth of tamari,kombu dashi and mirin and warm in a pan. Arrange your filled chard in a bowl and pour over your broth. Why not decorate with some steamed carrot that has been cut into leaf shapes.

Perfect served with rice and a soup on a cold day.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Houtou (Hōtō) ほうとう

It has been a typical autumn day today. The wind has nearly blown all the leaves off the cherry tree. The seasons go by so fast. No sooner am I enjoying the beautiful Sakura blossom than it quickly falls to make way for bright green summer leaves which then turn all to soon yellow and orange. Today they have nearly all dropped to reveal the dark naked branches.

I wanted to make a cosy autumn dish so I chose Hōtō . A comforting miso noodle soup originating from Yamanashi in Japan. This is normally made with large flat udon style noodles but without making some or having any in my store cupboard I decided to use a gluten-free alternative made by Clearspring, brown rice wide noodles. They worked a treat.

I first simmered a selection of winter vegetables daikon,carrot,parsnip,brussels sprouts,napa cabbage,kabocha,maitake and kale,with enough water to cover and a drop lid or otoshibuta. Add leafy greens at the end of simmering the vegetables.

When the vegetables are tender and you have added your greens mix one tablespoon each of Hatcho miso and white miso paste in a bowl with a little cooking liquid to dissolve,then add to your pot . The hatcho miso gives the soup a nice earthy rich flavour .

Soak your rice noodles for 10 mins in a bowl of hot water to soften and then add them to the gently simmering pot for a further 10 mins.

Or if you are using fresh udon add them directly to the pot.

Now cosy up on a dark autumn evening and enjoy.

Autumn Food, Blog

Simmered Kabocha (Kabocha no Nimono)

This meal was so flavourful and it made me feel like autumn had truly arrived . Using Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) this is a typical simple seasonal dish in Japan.

Make some kombu dashi by soaking a piece of kombu in water over night. Then the  next day discard the kombu.

First cut a large wedge ( around a quarter of a large pumpkin ) and take out the seeds,place on a plate in the microwave for a few minutes to soften (this will make it easier to cut and also cut down your cooking time). Take out your pumpkin from the microwave and cut into equal wedges and lie skin side down in a pan. Add enough kombu dashi to cover along with 1 teaspoon of sugar,1 teaspoon of mirin and 1 teaspoon of tamari or soy sauce. Give the pan a swirl and cover with a low drop lid or otoshibuta if you have one. Simmer the pumpkin until tender. Place a few pieces of pumpkin in a dish and ladle over your sweet dashi broth.

I served this with Nasu Dengaku. I cut a whole eggplant in half length ways and then scored a deep grid pattern into the flesh. Get a pan with hot oil and pan sear on both sides. I mixed two miso pastes together a sweet white miso and a more rustic brown rice miso with a little mirin. Then I added this to the top of the eggplant and placed it in the oven. It turned out so delicious. The flesh was so tender but the miso was slightly crispy .

It made for a perfect Teishoku meal with miso soup,yaki onigiri and a persimmon tofu mousse for dessert.