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Bamboo Shoots

Blog, Winter Food

Japanese Year Of The Boar Osechi

Happy New year . It’s 2019 and the year of the boar ( inoshishi) the final animal in the zodiac cycle. The boar is honest and helpful,they are affectionate and kind to loved ones.

It is traditional in Japan to make a special meal for New Year called Osechi . I have covered this is previous posts and the symbolism behind it but thought it would be nice to just share a few of the recipes with you.

Below is my Osechi,which consisted of Onishime,kuro-mame,Kuri-Kinton,Namasu,shojin steak and simmered kabocha. Also served with Ozoni and some yatsuhashi I brought back from Kyoto on my last trip to Japan.  If you would like to make simmered kabocha you can find this in a previous recipe.

Kuromame are Japanese black beans cooked in sweet syrup and are traditionally eaten at this time.

Kuromame (黒豆) which literally translates to black bean are black soy beans cooked in a sweet syrup.

First wash your black soy beans you will need around 100g then soak them in water over night. The next day add them to a pot with water and add 80g of organic granulated sugar with a tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil then gently simmer for around three hours. Let them cool in there own juice and then refrigerate.

Eating kuromame also is considered good for your health for the new year.  

Onishime or simmered vegetables

Another traditional meal . First you will need to prepare a dashi stock, I leave a piece of kombu and a dried shiitake in water overnight then put this in a pan and simmer,then remove the kombu and discard,remove the shiitake to use in your meal. Then add mirin around 3 tablespoons to three cups of dashi and 3 tablespoons of tamari and 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Prepare all your vegetables. shiitake,,bamboo shoots,taro,carrot,shiitake,daikon,freeze dried tofu ( Kouya Dofu ) and lotus root. The lotus root is very significant as it represents a happy future with out obstacles. Add the vegetables to your dashi except the snow peas and carrots ( I like to blanch these and add them at the end) . Cover with a drop lid ( or otoshibuta )

Simmer until your vegetables are tender. This dish is often served in a new year bento box called Jubako.

It is custom to make Ozoni for breakfast on New Year’s Day. This year I made it with a citrus twist and added Yuzu peel in my dashi when I made the miso broth. If you would like to know more about this dish see previous post Ozoni .

I will be updating my travel section this year with places that I visited on my last trip to Japan.  Places of interest, and restaurant reviews. If you are planning a trip to Japan why not take a look at my travel section for some ideas of things to do .

I also have lots of new ideas for dishes so why not subscribe so you never miss a post this year. Thankyou to you all for all your support both on my website and on Instagram. I hope you all have a happy and healthy 2019!

Blog, Spring Food

Gomoku Gohan

Gomoku gohan is Japanese mixed rice ( five ingredients mixed with a dashi stock ). Go means five and gomoku means five items with out including the rice or any toppings or seasoning. It can also be called takikomi gohan which is rice cooked with vegetables,meat or fish. This is known as takikomi in the Kansai region but in Kyoto/Osaka it can be known as Kayaku gohan.

You can put what ever ingredients you like into your rice which can make for a good fridge clear out day. Some items could be as follows, daikon radish,carrot,tofu,aburaage,burdock,meat or fish if you wish. Mine of course is vegan and so is the dashi used.

First start by making your dashi by simmering a kombu kelp and dried shiitake in water for about 20 mins, then add a dash of soy sauce or tamari, this dashi will be used to cook your rice in and will add flavour. I used spring inspired vegetables like Takenoko which is a traditional spring vegetable in japan and is bamboo shoot. Avoid the tinned variety and if you can not buy fresh then see if you can get the vacuum sealed precooked type. As well as bamboo shoots I added to my rice sliced shiitake,edamame,broccoli and sweetcorn.

Add your rice to your rice cooker or pot and then the required amount of dashi liquid. As I was mainly using vegetables that didn’t require much cooking I steamed my vegetables on the top of my cooking rice. However you can just add vegetables to the top of your rice and let it cook then after mix the vegetables in. When my rice was ready I mixed in my vegetables.

I served my vegetable rice with spring peashoots and Hiyayakko which was topped with pickled ginger and had Ume shiso seasoning .

 

 

 

 

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Sushi Lunch

A sushi lunch to day.
Mini cucumber sushi rolls and Gunkan maki sushi .
Gunkan actually translates as warship .
This is super easy just seasoned sushi rice wrapped in nori with various toppings . Just make sure you cut your nori a little higher than your rice to hold your toppings.
My toppings included maitake mushrooms with bamboo shoots,avocado and pickled red cabbage, broccoli and asparagus,umeboshi,Sakura,hijiki and sushi ginger.

軍艦巻寿司

Blog, Spring Food

Takenoko Gohan

Takenoko Gohan
Takenoko Gohan
Takenoko Gohan

Spring time in the countryside of Japan you can see bamboo shoots starting to grow .
This is Takenoko Gohan (bamboo rice ) (竹の子ご飯)
Takenoko means bamboo child and is a perfect Japanese spring dish. Have you seen Princess Kaguya? It’s a Studio Ghibli animated film about a child found in a bamboo shoot . They called her Takenoko

Unfortunately I cannot get fresh bamboo in the UK but I was able to get the boiled vacuum packed kind from the Japan centre in London. This is far better than the canned variety as they have lots of preservatives.

Slice some of your bamboo into thin slices if when you cut it you find little white gritty bits it’s totally fine it’s just rice bran that they cook the bamboo shoots with just rinse them off with water.

I had already had some kombu kelp stock in the fridge so after washing a Japanese measuring cup of rice I added two cups of kombu stock to my rice cooker with the rice. I then added a teaspoon of mirin and a teaspoon of tamari . I put the sliced bamboo shoots on top of the rice and cooked the rice and bamboo shoots together in the rice cooker.

As simple as that.

 

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Bamboo Nigiri-Zushi

To night I was again inspired by @norecipes to make this bamboo nigiri-zushi (seasoned rice with toppings)
I like these already cooked bamboo shoots but they don’t come in a can with lots of nasty preservatives . They are boiled and vacuum sealed . You can get them at @japancentre if you live in the U.K. . I was lucky enough to be sent some also from Japan .
I love bamboo shoots in the spring time.
竹の子にぎり寿司

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Osechi Ryori

Another Osechi Ryori
お節料理
O’zoni お雑煮
Namasu and Kiriboshi
紅白なます
Nishime (simmered vegetables) 煮しめ
And kuromame with candied yuzu peel
黒豆
For the simmered vegetables I used taro,carrot,daikon,freeze dried tofu
shiitake,mangetout and bamboo shoots. I did mean to use lotus root and completely forgot so will use it in another dish .
It was a lovely sunny day to day much better weather than yesterday so we went for a lovely walk in the countryside. I hope everyone is enjoying their New Year so far.

Blog, Winter Food

Oden (winter stew)

In the winter in Japan you can often walk in to stores and find lots of things simmering in piping hot stock for you to choose and have a hot meal . This is called Oden . I made my own oden winter stew.

It is traditional to use a donabe pot but if you don’t have one you can use what ever you have .

First make your broth to simmer your vegetables in I used water that had been soaked over night with a piece of kombu kelp about 1 litre add to this some mirin and tamari ( or soy sauce) about one tablespoon .

In your donabe set out your veggies I used sliced daikon ,tofu,bamboo shoots,lotus root,tofu sausage,shiitake mushroom and aburaage parcels filled with cabbage bean sprouts and vegetables. These pouches are called kinchaku or fukuro.

If you do not have a donabe you can use another pot or even a steamer and arrange them after.  If you decide to use a steamer steam your vegetables and make a separate broth to add your vegetables to after . I prefer to cook the vegetables in the broth as they soak up the flavour.

Pour in your stock and simmer your pot on low with the lid on if it looks like the water is running low add a little more stock.

When your vegetables are tender take a little stock and in a bowl add a little miso . Dissolve the miso and then pour this over your vegetables to finish.

I would of liked to of added a few other things that I didn’t have but I’m glad with how it turned out.

Served with rice it was a delicious filling meal for a cold winter evening