Tag

Amazake

Summer Food

Brown Rice Amazake Ice Cream with Kinako

The weather is starting to heat up and what could be more enjoyable on a hot summers day than a delicious ice cream. Well this one is not only dairy free but is made with brown rice amazake. I’m using the one from Clearspring which you can find from health stores or on line.

The amazake is made in Japan by using time-honoured production processes and just three organic ingredients, water, whole grains and salt. A koji culture converts the carbohydrates from the whole grains into simple sugars to make it naturally sweet and creamy.
I was inspired by ohsawa Japan cooking school to make this ice cream it’s so simple and delicious and takes little effort.

You will need :

x1 jar of brown rice amazake

x2 tablespoons of kinako (soy bean flour) plus more for sprinkling on your final ice cream to serve.

x2 teaspoons of white sesame paste (or tahini)

x2 tablespoons of good quality soy milk (I like bonsoy)

a pinch of salt

x2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil

Method:

Push the amazake through a fine sieve to collect the grains ( I used my misokoshi ) I have talked about this a few times for making miso soup ( available to buy from www.hatsukoi.co.uk) Using this will ensure you have a nice smooth texture. Do not throw the grains they are nice to add to a morning porridge or over night oats.

Add your amazake to a bowl and add everything else except the toasted sesame oil. Give everything a mix then finally whisk in the oil until it’s well combined.

Add your mixture to a container and chill well in the fridge.

Take it out to soften slightly before serving. Dust with kinako powder.

Why not pour over some kuromitsu to make it extra special.
Kuromitsu is a Japanese sugar syrup similar in taste to molasses. It’s typically made from unrefined kokuto and is an ingredient you will find as an accompaniment to many Japanese summer desserts like Anmitsu, Warabi Mochi and Kuzukiri.

It is made by extracting the juice of fresh sugar cane and crystallising it. It contains minerals like potassium and iron that are removed normally during refining. This sugar is mostly made in Okinawa and the people there refer to it as “life medicine” which is food that makes you feel good. You can buy kokuto in sugar granules or cube form. Kokuto is easily bought on line.

To make Kuromitsu for this dessert:

25g or 2 tablespoons of kokuto

25g of unrefined sugar

25ml water

Method:

Boil up in a pan once boiling reduce the heat to a simmer until it thickens and dissolved (takes just a few minutes).


Pour into a small jug or bowl for pouring and set aside to cool. You may find it goes very thick just add a little hot water and stir to desired consistency. You can keep any left over in a jar in the fridge to use next time.

Let’s enjoy summer with Japanese vegan food

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

The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House “Vegan White Stew”

The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House

舞妓さんちのまかないさん A series on Netflix about Food & Friendship set in a Maiko house in Kyoto.

Photo Credit: The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House, 2023. Netflix

From acclaimed filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda

Adapted from the manga series “Kiyo in Kyoto”by Aiko Koyama,

season 1 episode 6

“One-sided”

Part one : Amazake

Sumire is now officially an apprentice Maiko for this she gets her hair done in the traditional maiko style. To keep this style from becoming messed up when they sleep maiko have to sleep on a special wooden pillow. Kiyo knowing that Sumire will not get much sleep on her first night makes her a comforting drink of amazake waiting for her in the kitchen. Even though Kiyo  has to get up early to prepare food the next day this was truly a selfless act of friendship and simple act of kindness.
Amazake or sweet sake is a fermented rice drink made from koji (kome koji). The koji mold or Aspergillus Oryzae is used in the making of miso, soy sauce, sake and mirin. The mold causes the rice enzymes to break down and ferment into unrefined sugars. The sugar makes a sweet drink or can be used in desserts, smoothies or dressing. Amazake was was actually consumed in the Edo Period in the summer to battle against the hot Japanese summers and reduce fatigue. You can find a recipe to make your own in my recipe pages. Also I recommend the amazake from Clearspring which you can just add to a pan with water or plant based milk and a little ginger to make a comforting drink.

Part two: White Stew ホワイトシチュー

Kiyo is in the kitchen preparing a meal and talking to Momoko. Momoko asks Kiyo if she gets board making meals for the girls in the maiko house. Kiyo explains that she doesn’t because every time she goes to collect ingredients according to what is in season she can decide what she is going to make. She also explains that every time she goes to the market there is always some different, even the same vegetables tastes can change depending if they are early or late in season. This is why she greets the vegetables with “ Hello there and thanks” “ nice to see you again”.

There are words used in Japan like Kisetsukan basically meaning attention to the seasons or Fubutsushi the little things that signal the changing seasons. This could be from the cherry blossoms in spring or seasonal foods appearing at the market. Hashiri is a word meaning that eagerly awaited produce that is coming soon into season, where shun refers to the produce in peak seasons. Why not read more about this on my four seasonal posts called “Live by the shun the philosophy of seasonal eating”.

Kiyo puts all her love, attention and enthusiasm into making her meals even though they might be thought of as mundane or ordinary dishes. In this episode we see her preparing a meal called “white stew” sometimes called “cream stew”. A family, home cooked (yōshoku) 洋食  dish meaning Japanese with a western influence. In Japan it is pronounced “Howaito Schichu” appearing in Japanese school lunch menus in 1947 when the government wanted to introduce nutritious meals to children. I even remember having something similar myself at my own primary school for lunch. The stew is made with carrot, potatoes, onions and chicken in a Béchamel sauce . Made using milk, Japanese families often use cream stew roux (a bit like curry cubes) to make this a quick and easy meal, but as neither are vegan I wanted to share my vegan recipe with you all omitting the chicken for tofu and using plant based milk and cream. This may not look like the most appetising dish, but I make this often as it’s so delicious, creamy and comforting. Cream stew has also appeared in another favourite Japanese drama of mine “Midnight Diner” season 2 episode 6 titled “Cream Stew” for which I have done a series of vegan recipes that go with the series.

White Stew

You will need:

A handful of small button mushrooms kept whole.

Three medium potatoes with skin on cut into chunks

One onion cut into slices

Two carrots peeled and cut into wedges

Broccoli florets

One block of medium firm Tofu cut into cubes

Two cups of vegetable stock keeping more for later if needed.

Method:

Add the onion to a large pan and sauté in a little melted vegan butter then add your carrots, potatoes, mushrooms and tofu.


Then add your vegetable stock, the stock should just cover the vegetables. Put a lid on the pan bring to a boil then simmer on a low heat for ten minutes.


While that’s simmering make your sauce mix.

Three tablespoons of vegan butter

One cup of soy milk

Three tablespoons of plain flour

One 250ml carton of vegan cream

1/4 teaspoon each of ground white pepper and nutmeg

Pinch of salt

Warm up one cup of soy milk either on the stove or in the microwave.
Add to a pan three tablespoons of vegan butter heat until melted and then turn down the heat to low. Sprinkle the flour into the butter stirring constantly. Start adding the warm soy milk gradually whisking as you do.

Check your vegetables at this point your potatoes should be nearly cooked but should not fall apart. Turn off the heat.
With a ladle spoon some of the vegetable stock into your flour roux and start to whisk.


Gradually keep doing this until your sauce can be poured into your vegetables. Add the sauce to your vegetables. Then add one carton of plant based cream to your pan with the vegetables and roux and gently stir it in. Add your white pepper nutmeg and salt. Do not omit these as it gives the stew its distinctive flavour. If you feel at this point your sauce is too thick add a little extra stock.

Turn back on the heat and simmer for a further five minutes. At this point just before serving blanch your broccoli in boiling water. When ready to serve drain the broccoli and add to the dishes after serving keeping the lovely bright green colour visible.


You can serve this on its own in a bowl like Kiyo did for Momoko with maybe some crusty bread. Or along side rice.

This meal can be enjoyed all year round, Kiyo suggests turning any left overs into something called “Doria” a Japanese take on a gratin, but made with rice. It is believed that Doria was invented by French chef Saly Weil at the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama back in 1930. It is a rice gratin dish in again in the Yoshoku style. I also have another Doria recipe on my recipe pages for curry Doria.
Add to a gratin dish some butter and smooth it around all the sides. To this add a layer of already cooked rice. Then spoon over your white stew. Finally finish with a layer of vegan cheese and some panko bread crumbs sprinkled on top. Place in the oven until warmed through and your cheese has melted and breadcrumbs crispy and golden.

I suggest serving this with a nice salad.  I hope you will give this recipe a try it has definitely become one of my favourite meals perfect for a family or giving you left overs to use or freeze for later. Enjoy.

Blog, Winter Food

My Osechi Ryori for 2020

Happy New Year Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu 明けましておめでとうございます!

Did you make toshikoshi soba last night to bring in the new year and cut ties with the old ?  2020 is not only the start of a new decade but its the year that Japan will be hosting the summer Olympics and I will be visiting Japan again myself at the end of April ! I’m so excited to be back.

I make Osechi Ryori 御節料理 or お節料理 every year for New Year’s Day ( Ganjitsu 元日). Even though I am not in Japan I can bring Japan closer with my food.

New year is a very important time and food has a lot of special meaning. I have made a few posts on Osechi over the years  and this year also my last blog post is on other new year symbolism in Japan.

Osechi Ryori are traditional foods normally packed in a tiered bento box known as ojubuko 重箱 enjoyed at New Year’s Day in Japan. I have made a vegan selection of these dishes. There are other popular dishes but they are not vegan.

Ozoni 関西風お雑煮( Kansai – style ) new year soup This style of soup from Kyoto region is made with miso and toasted Mochi. I added daikon,carrot, komatsuna and Yuzu peel.

Candied chestnut and sweet potato ( Kuri Kinton )  栗きんとん .This golden mash symbolises wealth and fortune.

Kinpira Renkon (Japanese Lotus Root Stir Fry) きんぴら蓮根

Sweet black soy beans (Kuro-mame) 黒豆 Symbolises good health.

Daikon & carrot salad (Namasu ) 紅白なます.These are colours of celebration. I served it inside a Yuzu skin.

Nishime 煮しめ simmered vegetables is a must for a New Years meal and the lotus root is a symbol of an unobstructed view to the future. I used carrot, taro potato, Kouya dofu, lotus root, kabocha,shiitake,konnyaku and snow peas all simmered in a kombu shiitake stock with tamari, mirin and Yuzu. 

I also made some inari sushi いなり寿司 ( because I like them ) and Furofuki daikon 風呂吹き大根  simmered daikon with miso and a tofu, kabocha and Yuzu mousse topped with sweet red beans.

Mitarashi dango みたらし団子 chewy soft warm dumplings with a with a sweet soy sauce glaze.

Amazake 甘酒 is also popular at new year along with sake. Many Shinto shrines sell or provide amazake on New Year’s Eve. There is also a herb sake called O-toso drunk at new year. Drinking O-toso is said to ward off infectious diseases like colds for the year.

Dried persimmon hoshigaki (干し柿).These ones are pretty special they are stuffed with sweet white bean paste and are a wagashi called Suikanshuku (粋甘粛) . It is traditional to eat dried persimmon over the new year as the wrinkled skin is said to be associated with longevity. The Japanese word for persimmon (not dried is kaki ) which means luck. 


What ever your plans for 2020 I hope it brings health, happiness and everything you could possibly wish for. The new year and new decade is full of possibilities.

Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food

Amazake blondies

What’s a blondie? Basically it’s a brownie but with out using cacao powder and is normally made with brown sugar,eggs and flour with a vanilla flavour and either white or dark chocolate chips.
I set out to make a blondie using clearspring brown rice amazake.

They turned out so good that they didn’t last long. Feel free to substitute dark chocolate for white I’m definitely going to be trying it out myself next time.
First in a food processor add
One can of drained cooked chickpeas,
1/2 cup of soy milk or any other you prefer
1/2 teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar
Half a jar of clear spring brown rice amazake which equates to 190g if you are using your own amazake.
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence / extract
Blend all this until smooth
In a bowl add
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar
3/4 cup of almond flour
1/2 cup + x2 tablespoons of gluten-free oat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Himalayan pink salt about 1/2 teaspoon
And some chopped chocolate buttons or chocolate chips (I will leave how many up to you.)
Stir to mix
Add the batter ingredients to the dry and mix in gently to combine.
Line a brownie pan with parchment paper and spoon in your mixture. Place in a moderate oven for around 30 mins until the top is golden. Leave to cool completely and then cut into squares.

Oh and just so you know this works just as well warm with ice cream and chocolate sauce as it’s brown counterparts.

 

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

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, Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food, Winter Food

Amazake ( not just for winter )

Amazake or sweet sake is a fermented rice drink made from koji (kome koji). The koji mold or Aspergillus Oryzae is used in the making of miso,soy sauce,sake and Mirin. The mold causes the rice enzymes to break down and ferment into unrefined sugars. The sugar makes a sweet drink or can be used in desserts,smoothies or dressing.

Amazake is a popular winter drink and is often had at New year. You may find it served by street vendors or at shrines and tea houses,but did you know Amazake was not always a winter drink and was actually consumed in the Edo Period in the summer to battle against the hot Japanese summers and reduce fatigue. Amazake is made up of B vitamins, and all the vitamins and mineral components found in an IV drip . It has high levels of glucose so is perfect to have in the morning for breakfast or if your feeling tired. As it is high in protein and vitamins it helps to boost the metabolism and is good for the digestion as it is has probiotics due to the fermentation.

I had bought some organic brown Rice Koji from the macrobiotic shop ( link to their website is down the side of the page) I decided to give making amazake a try.

First you need to make Okayu a rice porridge. Use one cup of Japanese rice and wash well as if you were making sushi then add this with 5 cups of water to your rice cooker and cook. When it is done mix in 200g of Rice Koji and 200ml of water. Set your rice cooker to warm and place over the top a towel. The day I made it was a very warm day so I just used a clean jay cloth and then put the lid on a jar. You need to keep the temperature between 50-60 degrees Celsius so many people check the temperature with a thermometer. I didn’t have one so I actually winged it. If the temperature is too warm the amazake will not ferment sweet and too cool it may turn sour. I was very lucky it turned out so sweet and delicious . You need to keep the amazake on this setting for 10 hours stirring a few times in between.

You can then store your amazake in the fridge for up to 10 days ( I don’t think it’s going to last that long ) or you can freeze it for up to 6 months.

Now you can use your amazake to make delicious drinks and desserts.

The most simple way to have your amazake is to gently warm it 1-1 with water adding a little grated ginger.

You could also use soy milk. Do not over heat your amazake as it will kill the enzymes.

How about trying the above chilled with a little Yuzu juice for a refreshing summer drink.

You could also use it to make sweet chai tea. Steep one 1/2 cup of hot water with black tea with spices like cardomom and star aniseed,cinnamon bark and clove. I actually have a premade chai tea blend and used about a tablespoon . Strain then add this to a pan with 1/2 cup soy milk and one tablespoon of amazake and gently heat. This will add a lovely sweetness to your chai tea.

You can make a delicious smoothie or shake by adding to a blender two tablespoons of amazake,one cup of soy milk and one to two bananas depending on how thick you want it. Blend and chill for a delicious breakfast with fruit and maybe some granola.

Why not add it to porridge to make it extra sweet and creamy just add it to your porridge after cooking up the porridge so it doesn’t kill the enzymes.

I even made a chia pudding with it. Just add two tablespoons of amazake with two tablespoons of chia seeds and 1/2 cup of soy milk. Mix well and leave in the fridge to set. Perfect when topped with yogurt and fruit.

 

If you do not want to make amazake for yourself you can buy it . Clear spring do a lovely range or if you can get it you can buy Japanese amazake drinks from an Asian supermarket .

Amazake can be enjoyed at anytime of year.

 

Blog

Ogura Toast

Good morning
Ogura toast with home made anko,coconut yogurt ( instead of the normal cream) and strawberry flowers . A latte and some grapefruit and orange segments on the side .
Nagoya specialty dish with warm toasted bread, topped with red bean paste is my Japanese-theme breakfast to day.
Have a wonderful day everyone.
Ogura Toast 小倉トースト
自家製のあんこ、イチゴ、ココナッツヨーグルト

Blog, Winter Food

Amazake Yuzu Juice Custard Pot Dessert

Good morning/evening/afternoon
I hope your all keeping warm it’s freezing cold here.❄️❄️❄️
This is the amazake yuzu juice custard pot dessert I made using @clearspringuk Amazake, kuzu,rice malt syrup and kanten flakes.
I topped it with a little candied yuzu peel.


1 cup Amazake
1 cup almond milk
1/2 tea of powdered vanilla
1/2 tea yuzu juice
1 table spoon of rice malt syrup.
Add these to a pan .
3/4 of a tablespoon of crushed kuzu made into a paste with a little water .
Add this to the pan.
Sprinkle over the surface around 3/4 tablespoon of kanten and heat up stirring well.
Pour into pots and chill for a few hours. Top with yuzu peel .


The yuzu juice and peel you can buy if your in the UK from @japancentre
You could add other fruits or flavour instead of yuzu if you like.

Blog, Winter Food

Macrobiotic Hot Ginger Amazake

Warming up this morning with a macrobiotic hot ginger amazake . This drink is often served in shrines and temples in the winter months in Japan. Made with fermented rice and koji it is very nutritious containing vitamins and dietary fibre. A healthy drink rich in enzymes often associated with new year.
I used brown rice amazake about one cup then equaled that with water added fresh ginger juice and brought it to a simmer . Then I strained it ( you don’t have to ) but it gives a smoother drink. I then topped it with a little yuzu peel.

With my amazake I had something called Ogura Toast as I had some sweet red azuki beans left from yesterday’s Zenzai . This is a breakfast speciality in Nagoya cafes.
This gave me a satisfying Japanese style breakfast this morning