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Lotus Root

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Midnight Diner Shinya Shokudo (深夜食堂) Vegan Tonjiru


ビーガン豚汁

Vegan Tonjiru Soup

Inspired by Midnight Diner

Shinya Shokudo (深夜食堂)

Tonjiru is a classic winter dish which is popular all over Japan when the weather is cold. Some people call it Butajiru (豚汁)

As you know I am in love with the Japanese series  ‘Midnight Diner.’ And “Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories”. I have already made lots of the recipes on my website inspired by the episodes making them more suitable for a VEGAN diet and talk more in-depth about the characters and meals.

The owner (known as Master) only has 4 things on his menu: Pork and Vegetable Miso Soup (Tonjiru), Beer, Sake and Shochu. However  Master will cook anything on request so long as he has the ingredients.

As Tonjiru is the only food actually on the menu on the opening sequence of the start of each episode you will see “Master” prepare this meal.

Tonjiru translates to “pork” (ton) “soup” (jiru)

The soup is full of seasonal root vegetables and to replace the meat I added torn konnyaku and sliced aburaage. It’s a perfect miso soup on a cold day. Why not cosy on down at home with a  nourishing bowl of root vegetable miso soup and watch episodes of Midnight diner to warm the soul while the soup warms your body.

If you would like to read more about this check out the rest of my midnight diner series here on the website.

Here is what went into my soup.

You will need to make a kombu shiitake dashi by soaking them in water over night. Discard the kombu and take out the shiitake and slice them ( I used three shiitake).

Then prepare all your veggies this is what takes the time but after this it’s quick to make. I used carrot, daikon, Gobo, satoimo, lotus root, komatsuna, satsumaimo, aburaage, konnyaku.

I bought Gobo ( burdock root with the soil still on it so I gave it a wash and scrub, sliced it and put it in water so it didn’t go brown.
Slice lotus root into chunks and again leave to soak in water.

Peel satoimo ( taro potato and soak in water ) you can leave the skin on the satsumaimo ( Japanese sweet potato ) if you wish just slice and soak in water. This helps to remove the starch.

Cut your carrot and daikon into wedges and set aside.

Drain the konnyaku and rinse under running water then rub a little salt into it, tear into pieces and simmer in boiling water for ten minutes.

When it’s done drain and add to a pan this  is your pork substitute. Sauté the konnyaku in a little toasted sesame oil for a few minutes then add sliced shiitake, carrot, daikon, drained lotus root and Gobo.

Sauté and then add your kombu dashi. I normally make around 500ml of dashi to top up with 500ml of water. Take a piece of aburaage and pour boiling water over it to remove excess oil. Slice it into strips and add this also to your pan. Add a dash of mirin and tamari or soy sauce, gently mix and then simmer with the lid on.
In another pan I add the drained potatoes and cook those in water at the same time. I find potatoes easily get damaged as they knock about with other veggies so I cook them separately and add them at the end.

Just keep an eye on the water level as they simmer and top up the liquid with either dashi or water as needed. When the potatoes are not quite done add them to the pan to finish with the rest of the veggies.
When the veggies are tender, turn off the heat and with a ladle add one tablespoon of miso to a ladle ( I used an organic red miso ) brown rice miso or barley miso would be nice also. Lower the ladle half way into your soup and with another spoon start to mix liquid with miso. This helps break down the miso so it’s not all in one clump.

Add some chopped greens of choice like komatsuna which are Japanese mustard greens or you could use something like choysum. These will wilt in the hot broth.
Serve up into your bowls. Can be eaten like temple food with simply rice and pickles.


When people finish their day and hurry home, my day starts. 
My diner is open from midnight to seven in the morning. They call it “Midnight Diner”. Do I even have customers? More than you would expect……

Blog, Spring Food

Chirashi sushi Scattered Sushi for Hinamatsuri

On March 3rd in Japan it is Hinamatsuri a special girls day festival held every year for parents to celebrate their daughters if they have them and pray for their health and happiness. It is the second in the five seasonal festivals this one also known as peach blossom festival or dolls day. The peach blossom are blooming at their peak now and ceremonial dolls are displayed in households.

There are many traditional foods that are eaten on this day for instance, hina-arare bite sized crackers, a fermented sake drink called shirozake, strawberry daifuku, Sakura Mochi, Temari sushi, kompeito small candy sweets, Dango and inari sushi to name a few. You can find out more about these in previous years posts. This year I have decided to make a special sushi known as Chirashi Sushi or Chirashizushi. This starts with sushi rice, lovingly preparing the sushi rice as normal washing it thoroughly  until the water runs clear and then cooking it in my rice cooker. When it was done I added ume plum vinegar to keep in with the theme of the blossoms at this time carefully mixing it in and fanning it cool. Then scattering over  some organic toasted sesame seeds to set the base for the rest of the toppings. Some of the ingredients were prepared in advance like sliced lotus root, cut into flower shapes and pickled in shiso vinegar for a week before hand. Chirashi Sushi  translates to scattered sushi. You will often find the one made for Hinamatsuri decorated with lotus root and slices of omelette, known as kinshitamago, I made a vegan omelette and this was my first topping. Then I scattered some kiriboshi (dried daikon) that had been soaking in warm water to reconstitute. It is tradition to add fish like salmon roe, crab meat and maybe shrimp but as I am making a vegan sushi I added, peas, sliced shiitake, snap peas, pickled daikon flowers and carrot flowers, preserved salted Sakura and shredded nori known as kizami nori.

This is the perfect meal to make and share at a party or gathering.
In Osaka Chirashi Sushi is known as Barazushi or Gomoku Sushi sometimes topped with unagi eel. In Tokyo it is known as Edomae taken from Edo and features an assortment of sashimi.

It is also traditional to make a clear clam soup known as ushio-jiru to go with a Hinamatsuri meal. As I wanted a vegan soup I made a similar clear soup known as Suimono. Starting with a cold water dashi the day before with kombu kelp, dried shiitake and Yuzu peel then the next day discarding  the kombu and slicing the shiitake adding  just mirin, tamari and a little salt to the broth. Pouring it over silken tofu (kinugoshi) and adding pretty fu flowers,with a few other ingredients bamboo shoot, shiitake, broccoli stem and mitsuba. The flavour is very delicate but full of umami.

To make the meal extra special some seasonal desserts, pink tofu dango topped with a rhubarb sauce, Sakura Mochi and a white peach sherbet jelly from the Japanese wagashi shop Minamoto Kitchoan.

Happy Hinamatsuri 🌸🌸🎎🌸🌸 I hope you can make a special meal or something to celebrate the beginning of spring even if you do not have a daughter.

Blog, Winter Food

Pickled Lotus Root (Su Renkon) 酢れんこん With Yuzu

A few days to go before new year in Japan it’s time to start preparing what food to make for Osechi. The new year Osechi Ryori is considered the most important meal of the year, and lots of time and care is taken to prepare it. It starts a few days before with deciding what will be made and collecting any ingredients needed.
Here is a shopping list of things you might need to buy.

kombu and dried shiitake for making dashi stock

mirin and tamari to add flavour to broths and marinades

Brown rice vinegar for making tsukemono (pickles)

konnyaku for adding to simmered vegetables

soba noodles for New Year’s Eve plus aburaage

Mochi rice cakes for ozoni New Year’s Day soup along with white miso paste.

Kuri Kanroni ( sweet candied chestnuts for making Kuri Kinton

Kuro-mame black soybeans

Vegetables lotus root, carrot, daikon radish, mongetout, taro potato, Kabocha, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms, Japanese sweet potato,gobo,green onion, komatsuna or mizuna.

Yuzu and Yuzu juice

Sake and amazake

I like to start by making any tsukemono Japanese pickles so they can stay in the fridge a few days to be ready on the day. This year I am making Su-Renkon. Lotus root (renkon) is an imported food over the new year, the holes symbolises an unobstructed view to the future.

You can use fresh or boiled vacuum sealed lotus root depending on what you can find.

It is popular to make Hana-renkon flower cut lotus root for decoration. Which is easy to do. Cut your piece of lotus root in half and cut down in between the holes and take out the slices like this.

When you have done this you can cut the lotus root into slices.

Use a cup of water and a piece of kombu and let it soak with the lotus root for 30 minutes in a pan.


In another pan add two tablespoons of sugar, one tablespoon of mirin, a few slices of Yuzu rind and half a cup of brown rice vinegar and a little salt. Heat up the vinegar until the sugar dissolves then pour it into the pan with the kombu and renkon.
Start to heat the pan and then just as it starts to boil take out the kombu, then simmer down for about 15 minutes.

Pour your lotus root and liquid into a container, add a few slices of sliced red chilli pepper and a drizzle of fresh Yuzu juice over the lotus root. Let it cool then seal and refrigerate. Serve as part of your Osechi on New Year’s Day.

 

 

 

 

 

Blog

Toji 冬至 ( How to celebrate the winter solstice )

If you have been following my Japanese micro seasonal blog posts you will know by now that Japanese people like to mark the changing of the seasons. The winter solstice or Toji as it’s known in Japan is another one of those celebrations. I love the winter solstice in the fact that we know after the darkest day of the year the light and warmth will start to return.
People in Japan love to visit onsen and it is a winter solstice custom to either visit an onsen or take a hot bath with Yuzu citrus fruit on this day.


This bath is called Yuzu-yu, Yuzu grow on small thorny trees and have the taste between a grapefruit and mandarin, the smell of the fruit relaxes the mind and relieves stress. It is also said to ward of cold and viruses and as the Yuzu signifies good luck it is said to protect you from evil spirits. The juice also has a softening effect on the skin.
Yuzu juice is also really tasty and I like to slice the rind and freeze it to drop in a dashi broth or use in refreshing drinks in the summer. I often buy the juice in bottles already done to use in desserts. You can find many recipes on my pages that include Yuzu.
Why not try recreating an onsen at home for a real act of Japanese self care.

There are foods in Japan that are said to be auspicious Kabocha and red azuki beans are some of the Japanese good luck foods. Why not have a winter zenzai breakfast on the day of the solstice. A sweet azuki bean soup with simmered pieces of Kabocha and a toasted Mochi.


There is also something in Japan called “unmori” this is something that has an auspicious nasel sound of “n” which means fortune so it’s considered lucky to eat udon, daikon, ninjin (carrot) and renkon (lotus root). I made a lucky miso hot pot with these seasonal vegetables. Eating seasonal foods nourishes the body and gives us the vitamins we need.

I hope you can celebrate the solstice and welcome back the light returning.

Autumn Food, Blog, Summer Food

Lotus Root & Tofu Mushimanju

These little dumpling or steamed buns are inspired by Shojin Ryori or Buddhist cuisine. I actually added onion to mine which in typical Shojin Ryori they would not do, as they do not use onion or garlic in their cooking.

First start by peeling then finely grating a piece of fresh lotus root around 6 inches in length. Put the grated lotus root in a sieve and push out all the liquid until you are left with a pulp. To this add 3/4 of a block of drained silken tofu. I then added some black salt and chopped green onion for extra flavour, you could leave them plain if you wish or even add more veg like finely chopped carrot or sweetcorn.

Mix the tofu and lotus root pulp together. Then cut three squares of muslin cloth and in the middle of each add some mixture. Gather the ends and squeeze any liquid out through the cloth,then tie each one with string and steam for ten mins.

Take each bun out of the cloth and now you can use them as dumplings for soup if you wish.

This one is with a sweet sesame miso sauce,just white miso paste and sesame paste with Mirin.

Again could be a perfect dish as part of a Teishoku set meal.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Macrobiotic Soup With Miso Buckwheat & Lima Beans

In the U.K. Where the weather is very changeable we very rarely get much in the way of hot summers,so it’s a good idea to make meals with a macrobiotic approach. Not only eating what’s in season but eating for the temperature. So when the summer weather is more like mid Autumn why not make a nourishing warming soup. This is a good one as we head off in to Autumn and you can change the vegetables you use accordingly.

To make the stock for the soup I used kombu good for the thyroid as its high in iodine, you just add a piece of dried kombu to water and gently heat for ten minutes then take out the kombu ( this can be chopped and used in salads if you wish)

I also used miso in this soup a good source of iron,calcium,potassium and B vitamins and beneficial bacteria and enzymes. Miso helps to stimulate the digestion and energise. No wonder people in Japan start the day with it. Make sure your miso is GMO free and organic and unpasteurised.

I added a grain to this soup you could use things like brown rice, quinoa,millet,amaranth or barley . In this one I’m choosing to use buckwheat. Buckwheat is a rich source of protein a very nutritious grain which is also gluten free.

Adding a bean of some kind really gives it extra sustenance  and also adds to it being macrobiotic. You can choose what ever you wish in this soup I’m using butter beans also known as Lima beans rich in protein,fiber and B vitamins.

Lots of veggies like carrot,potato,burdock,kale,shiitake and daikon and butternut squash when in season kabocha pumpkin would be wonderful also.

Maybe top with some fresh chopped herbs and a few pieces of tofu if you like.

Just what you need to curl up with on the sofa as the nights start to draw in.

Blog

Chirashi Zushi

To night is a traditional meal for Hina-matsuri
Chirashi Zushi ( scattered sushi )
Seasoned sushi rice with seasonal toppings .
As Hina-matsuri is also known as dolls day I put one of my kokeshi in this photo that was sent to me from @tohokukokeshi if you get chance to read her book it’s very interesting.
Also a big thank you to @malamala for the beautiful Hina-matsuri cloth ???
Happy Hina- Matsuri Japan
幸ひな祭り
ちらし寿司

Blog

Salad Donburi

Salad donburi .
I’ve been wanting to recreate a salad I had in Kyoto at Kousocafe85
I enjoyed the salad don so much .
Underneath all that salad is warm rice with azuki beans.
The salad was a mix of lots of different leaves spinach,baby red leaf,mizuna,chive,parsley,baby coriander,salanova,butterhead,
Rocket and celery leaf.
Mixed in to the leaves were chiquino peppers,chopped celery,cherry tomato,grated carrot,radish,cucumber wedges,raw cauliflower florets and raw tender stem broccoli and asparagus tips,blanched beansprouts,lotus root and burdock,hijiki seaweed and avocado. I also remembering how nice it was to have a bit of mango in my salad I threw in a few pieces of chopped mango . In fact I only had half this salad as it was so filling and saved the rest for lunch tomorrow.
I made a miso dressing and had this with a simple miso soup and a small dessert of yuzu ice cream with sweet bean paste.
Mixing in the salad in to the warm rice was so delicious. A little bit like having a scattered sushi bowl.
If your in Kyoto I really recommend finding kousocafe85 I found it by accident it’s a vegan organic cafe and was a very memorable visit .

Blog

Pizza or Toasted Open Sandwich

This is kinda of a mix between a pizza and a toasted open sandwich . Toasted bread topped with sweet tomato purée then spread with mochi cheese and roasted veggies . Veggies were red and yellow peppers,aubergine,lotus root, eryngii mushroom and snap peas and cress. Served with salad and miso tofu dressing .
ピザオープン野菜サンドイッチ
餅チーズ
サラダ
豆腐みそドレッシング

Blog

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

Kenchinjiru

This is a traditional Zen Buddhist shojin Ryori cuisine which originates from the Kencho-ji Temple in Kamakura .  Jiru means soup and Kenchin is derived from the temple name.

This soup is full of umami flavour using kombu,shiitake mushroom,toasted sesame oil and tamari ( or soy sauce )

The soup consists of root vegetables in a shiitake kombu stock ( you can also add miso if you wish .) This soup also has tofu it is said that you tear the tofu into the soup instead of cutting the tofu as it is supposed to be divided equally between the residents of the temple regardless of status.  This dish contains no onion,devout Buddhists believe that onion is not good for your peace of mind so not good for meditation.

First make you stock

I normally leave a piece of konbu to soak over night in water the konbu comes with a white powder on its surface do not wash this off as this adds to the flavour just simply wipe with a cloth.  ( for this recipe I used 3 cups of  konbu stock and 1 cup of shiitake stock .

After you have soaked your konbu place the water and konbu in a pan and turn on the heat remove the konbu just before the water starts to boil.  Make shiitake stock by soaking a few dried shiitake in one cup of water for around 20 mins ( place a small bowl over to submerge the shittake to stop them from floating.  After 20 mins take out the shiitake and slice them and add the stock to the konbu soaked water .

Now you need to prepare your vegetables

You can use a variety for vegetables Burdock root,daikon radish,carrot,lotus root,taro komatsuna  or any leafy green vegetable,you can also add konnyaku (konjac) but I just used tofu in this recipe . I didn’t use burdock root as I couldn’t find any and I didn’t use taro .

chop your vegetables and add about a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil to a deep pan sauté your root vegetables for a few minutes then add your stock  but do not add your leafy greens until the soup is nearly ready to serve.  Simmer until the vegetables are tender then add 1 tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce and one tablespoon of mirin .

take a block of drained tofu and crumble it into the soup in large pieces  and finally add your chopped leafy greens .

Now your soup is ready

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha ( pumpkin) curry

A super delicious filling curry using pumpkin to thicken the sauce .

you will need a quarter of kabocha squash ( Japanese pumpkin) this has a lovely nutty flavour steam the kabocha until tender scoop out the flesh and discard the skin.

Cook your Japanese rice and leave on warm in your rice cooker or pan with lid.

In a pan add the kabocha and some of the cooking liquid from steaming  about one and a half cups , add to this one tablespoon of S&B Japanese curry spice mix or any Japanese curry spice you can find ( I get mine from the Japan centre in London ) and simmer the kabocha down . If you need to thicken it you can add a 1/2 teaspoon slurry of kuzu powder.

Steam some lovely vegetables until tender I cut the vegetables nice and chunky to really get the flavour I used zucchini,peppers,daikon,carrot,lotusroot and more kabocha.

Add some rice to a plate or bowl and laden your curry sauce around and top with steamed vegetables and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.