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Kitsune Soba

I’m really missing Japan . So much so that my heart aches for the place. I do not feel like I fit it to my life in the UK but I always feel I belong when I’m in Japan. It’s like feeling seriously home sick for a place that isn’t your home. I’m hoping this will help. Kitsune soba.

So simple but the secret behind the perfect kitsune soba starts with the  broth. Full of umami flavour,start with kombu kelp,and dried shiitake. Soak over night and then simmer for 10 mins and then discard the kombu . Take out the shiitake and squeeze the water out into the kombu water and put aside. When you heat your dashi add tamari and mirin. Kitsune soba or udon is named kitsune meaning fox after the deep fried fox fur colour of the tofu, others say that the foxes favourite food is aburaage . You may know the shrines inari and inari sushi comes to mind. Foxes are the spirt guardians or ( okami ) of these shrines and you may often see shops selling fried tofu near the shrines.

You can use soba noodles or udon just cook the soba noodles and rinse and put into the hot dashi broth when ready to serve. Also served with chopped green onions and the shiitake which has been sautéed in toasted sesame oil. Just add aburaage and some grated daikon if you like. For extra comfort food I made a yaki onigiri.

( as an extra umami flavour I like to add a slice of Yuzu peel when I’m heating up my broth ) I just sliced the peel off a Yuzu fruit and froze it and anytime I want to add Yuzu peel to a broth I just drop a slice  in. These kind of meals really take me back in spirit . 

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 . 

 

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!

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

Tofu Baked With Kabocha & Miso And A Simple Oden

This was a perfect autumn Teishoku meal.

First cut a piece of firm tofu in half and wrap in a paper towel to soak up any moisture. In a bowl add two tablespoons of steamed and mashed kabocha then add a tablespoon of sweet white miso and mix together. Remove the towel from the tofu and place on some parchment paper on a baking sheet. Coat all sides with the pumpkin mash except the bottom. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake until the coating is crispy. This will be crispy on the top but fluffy inside.

I served the tofu with sautéed purple sweet potato pieces and steamed kale in a sesame sauce. The sauce was white sesame paste,mirin and tamari.

With this I also made an oden style one pot soup. You can read more about this in one of my winter recipes just search Oden.

This one was made by soaking kombu and a shiitake to make a dashi,for a few hours. I then removed and discarded the kombu and sliced the shiitake. Added the shiitake back into the pot along with tamari,mirin,shimeji,aburaage,chunks of daikon and leaf shape carrots .I also added a few pieces of Yuzu rind I think this makes such a difference to the flavour. Yuzu is hard to come by in the UK. If we manage to ever get it it’s imported over from Japan and is very expensive. Normally sold at the Japan centre in London. If I’m lucky enough I buy one and take off the rind and slice the rind into pieces,I then freeze it to be dropped into stews when ever I choose. So because it’s frozen it’s well worth the investment. Everything is then simmered on a low heat until the daikon is tender,and everything and soaked up the lovely favours.

Serve with mixed grain rice and salad . There was also a warm amazake and roasted tiny satsuma orange. I had never thought of roasting an orange until I was watching a program about fire festivals in Japan at which they roast Mikan in the fires. I just popped mine in the oven with the skin still on and then peeled it after. The orange was small just enough for one mouthful but how sweet and warm the orange became . Give it a try.

Now the weather is getting colder why not make a Japanese oden to warm you up on an evening. Just simple ingredients but you will be surprised how flavoursome this dish is.

Autumn Food, Winter Food

Soy Milk Miso Ramen

This creamy ramen dish feels so decadent but is so quick and simple to make. First you will need dashi stock . Soak a piece of kombu and one dried shiitake in water over night then remove . Now prep your vegetables you can use what ever you like. I also pan seared some tofu and mushrooms . Now add some grated ginger to a pan with some toasted sesame oil and fry for a minute then add Kombu Dashi about 1 cup heat on a low heat. Now add 1 tablespoon each of mirin and soy sauce or tamari if gluten free and two heaped teaspoons of white miso paste and 1 cup of soy milk. Stir on a low heat to dissolve the miso.

Cook your ramen noodles these take just a few mins . Add these to a bowl and pour over your miso soy milk broth. I topped mine with pan seared tofu and maitake mushrooms, steamed komatsuna,baby corn,red onion and bean sprouts. Drizzle with some chilli oil for extra spice and add some toasted sesame seeds.

Perfect when you don’t have much time to cook but want a satisfying meal .

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Chawanmushi

Chawanmushi means steamed in a teacups,this is a savoury Japanese egg custard normally filled with ingredients like chicken,shrimp,mushrooms and ginkgo nuts.

I decided to make a vegan version using silken tofu and Japanese kabocha pumpkin.

First steam a quarter of a small kabocha pumpkin and leave it to cool slightly,then take off the skin ( it should easily fall off without much effort). In a food processor or blender add half a block of silken tofu and then add your steamed pumpkin. Process until smooth. Spoon the mixture into little teacups and add any filling you like ( I added a few ginkgo nuts,some leaf shaped carrot and shiitake mushrooms. Wrap the whole teacup in foil and steam in a steamer for around 15-20 mins.

The tofu will firm up and will give a nice custard texture. This makes a good starter to a meal.

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Takikomi Gohan

It’s starting to feel like a touch of autumn here in the UK. Berries on the trees are already ripe and the birds are loving it. Everything is starting to turn a gold hue and the mornings are a little cooler.

With that said I know Japan is still very hot but I wanted to make a traditional autumn dish called takikomi gohan as I had a lovely mixed punnet of Japanese mushrooms I wanted to use up. The rice dish is about the seasoning in the rice. You can use what ever you like in this dish traditionally it would be meat or fish but I am obviously making this vegan. If you use five ingredients in this dish it would be known as Gomoku Gohan. A similar dish called Maze Gohan does not have the vegetables cooked with the rice they are simply mixed in after the rice is cooked. This mixed rice recipe starts with making the dashi stock. I soaked two dried shiitake and some kombu in water over night. Then took out the mushrooms and sliced them to add to the rice ingredients. I washed one cup of Japanese rice and put this in my rice cooker. (when I say one cup it is the cup that comes with your rice cooker)To this I added 1 1/2 cups of dashi and 1/2 cup water. Then I added 11/2 tablespoons of Mirin and the same in tamari. Tamari is gluten free but you can add soy sauce if you wish. I also added about 1 inch of grated ginger. Also I like to use the small packets of mixed grains you can buy they have a mixture of brown,red,green and black rice,millet and Job’s tears. Add this if you have some .

I let the rice soak while I prepared my mushrooms. I used a mixture of shiitake,shimeji,enoki,maitake and eryngii. I also sliced thinly some carrot and aburaage. Gobo ( burdock root ) sliced thinly is also a traditional ingredient in this dish. Now place your ingredients on top of the rice but do not mix in. Now put your rice on cook.

When it is done mix the vegetables and rice together and serve. It makes a lovely dish just on its own or it can accompany any meal.

Cooking the rice and vegetables together gives the rice a lovely rich flavour. If you want something more delicate then remember to add vegetables that have been cooked separate to the rice and mix them after.

 

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 .

 

 

 

 

Blog, Spring Food

Teriyaki Shiitake Sushi Burgers

I decided to make these delicious sushi burgers I made them quite small so they were almost like sliders. The difference between these and my rice burgers is that you use seasoned sushi rice and do not cook the rice on top in a pan.

First make your sushi rice and season the rice ( I like to use the Clearspring brand sushi seasoning it makes things really easy.)

Then decide how big you want to make them and choose a small bowl and place clingfilm wrap inside. Then put some rice into the bowl and press down making burger buns.

Then make your teriyaki shiitake. Slice up some shiitake mushrooms and sauté in a little toasted sesame oil. Make your teriyaki sauce I used tamari,mirin and maple syrup. Add this to your mushrooms and reduce down.

After you have made all your tops and bottoms you can fill your sushi burgers. I first spread some vegan kewpie mayo on the bottom of the rice then added sliced cucumber then lettuce,red pickled cabbage,sliced avocado and a square of toasted nori, then I added the teriyaki shiitake mushrooms. Topping it with another burger rice bun a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and some dried kombu. I served these with soy sauce,pickled ginger and wasabi.

Perfect for a Hanami picnic or for entertaining guests.

Continue reading…

Blog, Winter Food

Ganmodoki

Ganmodoki or Hiryouzu are tofu fritters or balls with vegetables often found as one of the ingredients for oden Japanese hotpot dish.

They are crispy on the outside and soft inside. They are mostly bound with egg but I’m going to let you into a Japanese secret to help you bind them together.

First you will need a block of firm tofu mashed with something like a rolling pin or pestle. Then for the secret ingredient. In japan they normally use a Japanese yam but I could not find this in the UK so I used something else that had just as a sticky texture ( taro potato ). As it’s a starch it will help to bind all your ingredients together. Chop off the outer skin and grate three small taro with a Japanese ginger grater.

Add this to your mashed tofu,then add your vegetables. I used grated carrot,chopped green onion,diced shiitake,chopped hijiki and some grated ginger.

See below ( the white in the middle is the taro )

Mix together

Then to a bowl add some starch (I use potato starch from Hokkaido)

Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and form into a ball in some plastic wrap then add this to your bowl with the starch and roll it around until covered. Do this until all the mixture has gone.

Heat some oil and a few at a time fry your tofu balls until golden on the outside. And they are done. These balls are sometimes referred to as flying dragons head.

You can then add them to a hot Dashi Stock with sautéed mushrooms like I have done below and serve with rice.

Or as part of a meal below I have added some hot chilli sauce.

I think you will find these quite versatile.

 

 

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.

 

Blog, Winter Food

Bifun Soup

As the weather is turning considerably colder I find myself craving soups, stews and nabe ( hot pots ). This one is especially good for keeping those colds at bay with warming ginger and spices.

First I made a stock I used one litre of vegetable stock in a pan and I added to that a tablespoon of tamari,some sliced ginger,half an onion cut into four large pieces,a star anise and half a stick of cinnamon. I put this on a gentle simmmer for about 20mins.

In the mean time I pan seared some tofu and sautéed some shiitake mushrooms. I steamed some broccoli,komatsuna,baby corn,snap peas and bean sprouts. Chopped some mint,coriander basil and sliced a red chilli pepper.

I then cooked my bifun ( rice vermicelli noodles) for a few mins and then drained them in cold water to stop them from cooking further.

Then I drained the liquid on the broth and discarded the rest.

I placed the noodles in a bowl added my stock and the rest of the toppings. Finally I added a wedge of lime,chilli oil,a teaspoon of smooth peanut butter and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.