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Mirin

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Ozoni (New Year ~Japanese Soup)

Part of the Osechi Ryori new year food in japan is Ozoni.
Eaten for breakfast on New Year’s Day ( Oshogatsu ) this is the Kansai style ( western japan ) Kyoto/Osaka which Is a white miso based soup with toasted mochi. I used Saikyo Miso which is a sweet miso paste from Kyoto also I added yuzu peel,daikon,carrot,komatsuna and tofu. This style normally has a round toasted mochi where as Kanto has a square mochi ( I only had round mochi ) .


The other style of Ozoni is the Kanto/Tokyo style ( eastern japan ) this is a clear based soup made with dashi known as Osumashi I added some pretty yaki fu to mine along with the toasted mochi and vegetables . I had this soup as part of my Osechi Ryori with my jubako bento box. Made with kombu shiitake dashi and added tamari and mirin,other ingredients could be chicken,fish cake and other fish and seasonal vegetable according to which area of japan you are from.

Of course mine was totally vegan

There is also Tottori Prefecture soup which is a red bean soup and toasted mochi like zenzai (oshiruko)

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Toshikoshi Soba ( Year End Soba noodles )

On New Year’s Eve ( oh-misoka ) some Japanese people like to eat Toshikoshi Soba. Toshikoshi means end the old year and enter the new year.
A hot bowl of buckwheat noodles eaten to symbolise good luck for the new year a head and it is also said to let go of hardships from the year.
I made a simple kombu dashi with shiitake,mirin and tamari and had this with my buckwheat noodles and topped it with aburaage ( fried tofu ) chopped green onion and yuzu peel.
Minasama shin-nen akemashite ometetou gozaimasu ( happy new year to everyone)

皆様、新年あけましておめでとうございます!

Blog, Winter Food

Damako Nabe ( Rice ball Hot Pot )

From the mountainous  region of Tohoku comes this local dish which is perfect for cold winter days.

After cooking your rice mash it and then sprinkle with potato starch and roll into balls then set aside.

Use a dashi stock for the broth I always like to make one in advance with kombu kelp and dried shiitake. Just place them in water for a few hours then take them out and add mirin and tamari.

The vegetables I used were leek,taro,carrot,mixed mushrooms spring onion,nappa cabbage,komatsuna and daikon radish.

Place your vegetables in your donabe pot with your dashi stock except the leafy greens.

Then simmer your vegetables and add your rice balls the rice balls soak up all the lovely juices.

You could also add tofu or yuba if you wanted.

If you do not have a donabe pot you could steam your vegetables or add them to a cooking pot.

Finely add your leafy greens when everything else is tender and a sprinkle of shichimi pepper.

A hot, healthy,cosy dish for a cold winter evening.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Kenchinjiru

Kenchinjiru is a hearty warming soup which originates from the Kencho-ji temple in Kamakura. This is my version of this Shojin Ryori Zen Buddhist dish. Full of root vegetables and crumbled tofu in a kombu,shiitake,tamari and miso broth.

Soak one piece of Kombu kelp and two dried shiitake mushrooms in a 1 litre jug of hot water. Leave for a few hours then discard the kombu and slice the shiitake for later.

Add some toasted sesame oil to a pan and sauté your root vegetables I used :lotus root,gobo ( burdock),carrot and daikon radish. Then add your dashi stock. Then add some crumbled tofu a tablespoon of tamari and mirin and shiitake and simmer until all the vegetables are cooked.

Ladle a cup of stock and dissolve one heaped tablespoon of miso and add to the soup. Do not boil the soup as this will destroy the enzymes of the miso.

Just before serving add any leafy green vegetables I used komatsuna and also snap peas.

Serve in a deep bowl and garnish with some sansho pepper to schichimi togarashi .

A wonder winter warmer.

 

Blog, Summer Food

Goya Chanpuru

The fruit known as bitter melon or Goya in Okinawa or Nigauri in the rest of Japan looks a bit like a cucumber but with lots of bumps. It has many medicinal properties used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 3,000 years helping to maintain blood sugar,lower cholesterol and helping fight viruses and bacteria it helps in strengthening immunity it is also high in vitamins B,C,E and K .This fruit is very popular in Okinawa the southern most prefecture of japan and one of the worlds five blue zones ( where people live the longest) It must be an important fruit over there as they even have a day spent honouring it. People seam to use it in Japan to fight off summer heat fatigue and build up immunity for Autumn.  Goya is a very aquired taste it  didnt get its name bitter melon for nothing. After slicing it in half and scooping out the seeds and slicing some people soak the Goya in salted water or steam it. I have found it most palatable when soaked in hot water with a little mirin . So this is what I do to prepare it.

I wanted to make a classic favourite summer  Okinawan dish called Champuru a stirfry that normally contains egg,tofu,Goya and pork or spam. Champuru means mixed . You could use a vegan meat substitute for this but after considering this I went for the whole vegetable option as most contain wheat .

I made an easy tofu scramble with mashed tofu and a little turmeric and nutritional yeast and set to one side. I used about 1/4 block then used the rest cut up into cubes and baked them in the oven ( you could stirfry these on fry them if you like but I wanted a healthy option.

I then sliced some oyster mushrooms and stir fried these in a little toasted sesame oil ( this was to be my pork substitute). Then I threw in my tofu scramble and drained sliced Goya but I didn’t rinse off the mirin as it adds a little sweetness I think. Stirfry this and then add your baked tofu.

Then add a teaspoon of miso paste to a bowl with a cup of kombu dashi stock and dissolve then pour this over your stirfry. Mix and your done. I served mine with simple Japanese rice.

An alternative recipe to this would be to make my tofu omelette recipe and cut into strips and use this as your egg substitute maybe with vegan bacon.

 

 

Blog, Summer Food

Vegan Kabayaki Bowl (mock eel)

Around this time of year in July there is a tradition in  Japan called Doyo-no-Ushi-no-hi. It falls this year on the 25th of July 2017. This is a day when some people eat eel . (Unagi) It is said that eel helps with the summer heat. Well I don’t know about that but I thought I would make a vegan version of this dish using eggplant . This mock eel dish doesn’t look particularly pretty but then neither does a dead eel and I’d much rather eat an eggplant .

First of all prick your eggplant with a toothpick to stop it exploding in the oven when baking and score around the top of the egg plant this will help when peeling off the skin.

Bake in the oven until tender. Take out the oven and when it’s cool enough to handles strip off the skin. Cut down the eggplant but leave a little bit attached at the top so it fans out into two halves.

Then make your kabayaki sauce using two tablespoons of  tamari or soy sauce two tablespoons of mirin  and a teaspoon of unrefined sugar.

Add this to a pan and put the egg plant into the pan cook and then flip over to coat both sides and let the eggplant soak up the sauce. Then cut some nori and add this to one side of your egg plant and place under the grill to make a crispy skin.

Serve this on rice mixed with gomashio ( a dry condiment like furikake made of sesame seeds and salt) topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds,sansho pepper and chopped onion or chives.

I think you will agree it may not be eel but a lot more ethically friendly.

Blog, Summer Food

Vegan Tekka Don (tuna bowl)

Tekka don is a rice bowl dish topped with raw marinated tuna sashimi.

I wanted to make a refreshing but vegan friendly version of this dish and this is what I came up with.

You will need three large firm tomatoes cut a small cross section on the bottom of each tomato and drop into a pan of boiling water. To cook the tomato doesn’t take long you will know they are done when the skin starts to peel. Plunge the tomato into cold water to cool and then peel off the skin from the cross section you cut into the tomato.

When the tomatoes are peeled cut them into quarters discarding the seed part.

Make a marinade of tamari,lime juice and mirin ( around two tablespoons of each ) you can add some shichimi spice pepper if you like. Coat the tomatoes in the marinade and chill in the fridge

when you want to serve your Tekka Don wash and cook some sushi rice in your rice cooker and when your rice is done place into the bottom of a bowl.

Top the warm rice with the marinated tomato chopped green onion a sprinkle of sesame seeds sliced lettuce  kizaminori ( shredded nori) and angel hair chilli threads if you can get them they are called Ito togarashi if you live in the U.K. You can get them from www.souschef.co.uk

Blog, Summer Food

Nasu Dengaku

A popular summer dish in Japan is Nasu-dengaku eggplant with a miso glaze. Eggplant dishes in summer are popular all round . Traditionally using Hatcho miso from Nagoya it’s a very simple dish to make.

You can either slice your egg plant whole in half length ways or just slice thick circles which is what I have done here this time.

First score the cut flesh and then bake in the oven.

While they are baking make a miso glaze . Add miso, sugar and mirin about a tablespoon of each to a pan and heat until combined and thick. The sugar and mirin balances out the salty miso.

Spread this on your cooked eggplant and add a sprinkle of sesame seeds  then place under a warm grill when done add and some chopped green onion or chives.

I actually served mine on top of rice and it was delicious

Blog, Summer Food

Soba Noodles With Crunchy Vegetables & a Spicy Peanut & Miso Dip

Noodles and stir fried veggies always make a quick meal. So are great to make in the week when you don’t have much time to cook.
First make your dip,in a bowl mix together one tablespoon of peanut butter a teaspoon each of mirin,brown rice vinegar,maple syrup,miso and tamari add 1/4 teaspoon each of hot chilli pepper and paprika and a tablespoon of water. (If you prefer it more citrus you could add lime instead)

Cook your soba noodles as the packet instructs drain and rinse I keep mine in a sieve with a bowl of cold water under until I’m ready to stirfry them.

Chop up your veggies I used a mix of bell peppers,snow peas,sliced shiitake mushrooms and shimeji mushrooms,sliced asparagus,chopped komatsuna,asparagus,broccoli,carrot and bean sprouts.
(You can use what ever veggies you want)
Add a little toasted sesame oil into a hot pan and throw in your veggies and stirfry them quickly then drain your noodles well and throw them in and make sure you stir the veggies in well . If you do not want to add more oil and you find the noodles sticking just add a little water.
Throw in some crunchy tamari roasted soy beans last minute before plating .
I like to dip my noodles but if you prefer you can mix in the sauce when your stirfrying.

Blog

Somen Inari

Somen are very thin noodles and I always think these delicate noodles are at their best served cold.
Instead of stuffing my Inari pouches with rice I decided to stuff them with somen noodles and add a light no oil dressing .
The dressing was really simple just yuzu juice,mirin and brown rice vinegar.
This makes a really refreshing summer dish
Why not give it a try.

Blog, Summer Food

Agedashi tofu

Hot crispy golden tofu which makes a delicious appetiser . Normally deep fried but I shallow fry mine and it works well.

I use firm tofu as it doesn’t fall apart so easily.  Drain your tofu and I wrap mine in a cloth to soak up excess liquid .  Cut your tofu into cubes add some add some plain flour or potato starch into a bowl.  Roll your tofu in the flour and coat well .

Then make your sauce 1 cup of dashi 2 tablespoon of tamari and 2 mirin and 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Combine these in a pan and heat until boiling .  Add a slurry of kuzu liquid 1 teaspoon kuzu to 1/4 teaspoon of water to the boiling sauce and stir until thickened turn the heat down  and leave on low to keep warm.

Heat a tablespoon of coconut butter in a frying pan until hot and place your tofu into the hot oil turned and each side goes nice and crispy .

Add a little of your sauce to a shallow bowl and place your tofu on top. Add grated daikon and chopped green onion and grated ginger to garnish . If you like it a bit spicy add some schichimi spice

I recommend using a Japanese ginger grater to grate your daikon and ginger .

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.

 

Blog

Nabe (Hot Pot)

To night I made a nabe ( hot pot ) I was so cold at work to day it felt like it got right into my bones so needed a hot broth to warm me up .
I used a shiitake kombu broth with a little mirin tamari and a little ginger and yuzu juice .
The vegetables I used were carrot,napa cabbage,burdock root,daikon radish,shiitake mushroom,aburaage,
yaki fu,bean sprouts and some lovely tofu. I’ve been using some great organic tofu just recently by @tofooco available at Tesco . I topped it with a little chicory . It felt like I was having a lovely Japanese style dish