Tag

Shiso

Blog, Summer Food

Obon & How you can celebrate even if you are not in Japan.

The 13th-15th of August marks a period in japan known as Obon お盆. A Buddhist custom to honour the spirits of ones ancestors. The Buddhist festival has been celebrated for more than 500 years. It is a time of celebration as people feel they are reunited once more with loved ones who have passed away. It is a time for sato-gaeri, or “returning home” not only for departed friends and family but for living people in rural areas that may have moved to cities for work or education that return home to visit family.

Obon starts with welcoming fires (mukaebi 迎え火) lanterns known as chochin may also be lit outside people’s houses to guide the spirits home.

Food offerings (osonae/ozen お供え/御膳)  are made maybe on a family alter or tokonoma. It could be the person favourite food or seasonal produce. As well as food offering mukaé bi (welcoming) rituals  are practiced and you may see cucumbers and eggplants made into animals by giving them legs made of tooth picks. These are called Shouryouma 精霊馬 and are said to depict horses and ox that spirits travel on two and from our world. The horse is said to ward off evil and serve as fast travel to earth where as the cow is slower to travel back when the spirits depart. On the last day of Obon the cow and horse will be left by the river bank. Why eggplants and cucumbers? I think it is because these vegetables reach their peak season  during the summer around the time of obon. This is known as shun ( peak seasonal produce).

As well as making cucumbers and eggplants in to spirit vehicles I thought it might be nice to share with you an easy recipe you maybe might like to make over obon to utilise these abundant veggies which can be used in a multitude of ways.
山形だし Yamagata Dashi
This is very different to the dashi you might be aware of that’s made as a soup stock from things like shiitake and kombu. This dish is an iconic specialty from Yamagata prefecture mainly eaten in the Murayama region, which is surrounded by mountains and has extremely hot and humid summers, and was initially a popular dish for farmers to make as they picked their crops fresh from the fields.
Nowadays you will find this enjoyed in restaurants even outside Yamagata prefecture. This healthy and refreshing vegetable dish is a bit like a Japanese equivalent of a salsa. With raw finely chopped eggplant, cucumber, Myoga ginger and Shiso leaves and sometimes other vegetables like green onion, okra, corn, chives, edamame and shishito peppers.
Yamagata Dashi is commonly seasoned with soy sauce but is also very light and refreshing with a citrus ponzu to pour over noodles and tofu.
Ingredients:
1/2 a small eggplant
1 small cucumber or 2 mini cucumbers
1 bulb myoga ginger
1-3 fresh Shiso leaves
Plus any other vegetables and herbs listed above .
Salt and soy sauce
Method :
First slice and chop up finely your eggplant add this to a jar or bowl with water and 1 teaspoon of salt . Keep the eggplant submerged to soften by putting a plate on top leave for an hour then tip out the water, squeeze the eggplant and add to a  bowl.
Slice your cucumber in half and scrape out the seeds. Dice the cucumber and place in a bowl with a teaspoon of salt gently rub in the salt and leave for half an hour then rinse the cucumber and add to the bowl with the eggplant.
Wash the leaves of the Shiso and trim off the stem, pat them try with kitchen towel, slice in half stack them on top of each other, then roll them up tightly and cut into thin slices. Add them to the bowl with the cucumber and eggplant and toss them gently.
Cut the Myoga ginger in half then slice into thin shreds and add to the bowl. 
Add any other ingredients you like. You could maybe substitute shiso leaves for fresh basil. I have found shiso and myoga in places like natural natural in London and ichiba so try your own local asian supermarket.
Add a few tablespoons of soy sauce and maybe a some fresh yuzu juice or a squeeze of sudachi or lime. And you’re done.
As temperatures and humidity rise on hot summer days it can be enjoyed on top of chilled somen noodles
or cold silken tofu
or enjoyed simply on fluffy rice.
It’s even delicious stuffed into vegetables why not hollow out a tomato or pepper and add your dashi inside.


There are a number of theories as to the origin of the word “Dashi” (soup stock), for example, because “Dashi” brings out the best in other ingredients; “Dashi” comes from the word “Kiridasu” (cut from) used when vegetables are chopped into small pieces and “Dashi” comes from the word “Dasu” (serve) used when vegetables are quickly served at the table after being chopped and seasoned.
As well as using this recipe to utilise eggplant or cucumber you could also try “Eggplant Agebitashi” a fried and soak summer dish or “Nasu no nimono” (simmered eggplant) or “Kyuri Itame” a cooked cucumber dish. All of which can be found on this website.
During this period people pay respects at family graves this is known as  (ohakamaeri お墓前り)
It is not a somber time but a time to reflect and celebrate some one’s life. The obon celebrations often involves a  special matsuri where people may dress up in their finest Yukata and dance a celebration dance known as ( bon odori 盆踊り). This matsuri is a time for families to get together and enjoy lots of street food like Okonomiyaki, yakisoba and takoyaki.
You could also think about cooking up one of your favourite Japanese street foods if you cannot visit a bon odori festival yourself at home and put on your favourite music and have a dance!
Lastly at the end of Obon are farewell fires & lantern processions known as okuri-bon (送り火、灯籠流し) to guide the spirits back for another year. In recent years floating lanterns (toro nagashi) have gained popularity. The lanterns are lit and placed in a river that runs to the sea to symbolically send their ancestors spirits home.
In the UK we do not have such a tradition but I thought it might be nice to make Shouryouma and light some incense to remember my father, cat and good friend who have passed away and place photos of them on my tokonoma, in my tearoom at home. A tokonoma is a recessed space it could be an alcove or a special corner in your home. It is normally a place that would have a hanging scroll and a ikebana display of seasonal flowers. 
I also have a lantern which I will be leaving on to guide their way.
You could do a similar thing yourself maybe by just having a photo of someone who has passed away whose life you wanted to honour. Why not light a candle or incense and add some flowers by the side. Maybe they had a favourite chocolate bar you could add that too. If you’re wanting to welcome home pets that have passed, do you still have something that belonged to them? A collar or a favourite toy. However you want to celebrate it is a wonderful way to remember loved ones that have passed don’t you agree?
Autumn Food, Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food, Winter Food

The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House. Vegan Tempura

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 5

“Choice”

Do you believe in destiny? Many of our choices in life take us on different paths. For me, when I started following a vegan lifestyle over twelve years ago now, I became interested in cooking. This then lead me to start to try and create vegan (plant based) recipes for Japanese food which wouldn’t normally be vegan. This incorporated my love for Japan, animals and food.
Even though Kiyo was told she would never be a maiko she found that rather than it being a set back, it lead her into a new life’s path. She discovers new pleasures in every day life, from shopping for seasonal produce at the markets to deciding what she will make for food for the maiko house.
In episode five which it titled “Choice”, we see lots of characters reflecting on the choices they need to make or have made. A lot of them are over love interests.

At the beginning of the episode we see Kiyo making tempura, all the girls are discussing love interests while they eat. Tsuru asks Kiyo if she has any love interests and for a moment Kiyo shocks everyone with her reply , “You know what? I’m actually in love…. with my frying pan Tetsuko”. Kiyo is also asked how she makes her tempura batter so crispy she explains she keeps the batter in the fridge. Keeping the batter extra cold is indeed key to making the perfect tempura batter.

The perfect tempura vegan batter:

You will need a selection of vegetables for your Tempura you could choose sliced kabocha, sliced Japanese sweet potato, lotus root, shiitake, bamboo shoots, shiso leaves, and maybe asparagus.  Prepare your vegetables and put them to one side, keeping potatoes in water to remove the starch, lotus root is also best kept in water once sliced.

I like to slightly steam or microwave root vegetables so they do not take as long to cook, just 1-2 minutes in the microwave. So just before you’re about to cook your tempura drain the sweet potatoes and lotus root pat them dry with kitchen towel and slightly cook them with kabocha squash if using.

Make your batter:

Add to a bowl 1 1/4 cup of plain flour, 1 tablespoon of potato starch, 1/4 teaspoons of salt and 1/8 teaspoons of baking powder and mix.

You will then need to add to your dry ingredients 200ml of ice cold carbonated spring water. Stir in the water to make a lumpy batter but do not over mix. Chill in the fridge while you heat up your oil.
You will need to heat four cups of cooking oil suitable for a high heat like rapeseed, vegetable or sunflower oil, in a deep pan. Heat the oil and test it by putting a chopstick in the oil if you see little bubbles gather around the chop stick it’s ready.

Put a wire rack to one side of the pan and your vegetables and batter to the other side. Remove your batter from the fridge give it one final mix and then start to dip the vegetables into the batter and then drop them into the oil. Do not over crowd your pan just cook a few at a time for 1 minute until golden and crispy and transfer to your wire rack.

Finish with the shiso leaves if you have them. Dip the underside of the leaves in potato startch before  dipping one side only in the batter. Drop them for a few seconds in the oil until the batter is crispy then remove.


Now your Tempura is ready to serve. You can serve them just simply with a dipping sauce known as Tsuyu .

You can make this with 1/2 cup of dashi (kombu and a dried shiitake left over night in 1 litre of water then discarded.) Add to 1/2 cup of dashi, 3 tablespoons of tamari and 2 tablespoons of mirin. I also love the concentrated noodle broth by clear spring just use four parts water to one tsuyu which makes it super easy and quick to use.
You can also add your tempura on top of rice this is known as “Tendon” Tempura rice bowl.
I definitely recommend making more tempura than you need and freezing the rest. Just defrost on a wire rack when needed and place in the oven to crisp and warm back up (do not microwave as it will go soggy).

Tempura is also delicious with soba noodles. A popular dish is “Tenzaru” cold soba noodles served in a sieve or basket  with tempura and a dipping sauce “Mentsyu” or for short “Tsuyu” served in something called a“Choko cup” with condiments like grated daikon and ginger and chopped green onions, maybe even a little wasabi. Just dip the soba and tempura into the dipping sauce.

Another variation could be Tempura soba in a hot broth. Just use the clear spring concentrate for ease or make tsuyu and add more dashi and tamari to taste. You can also add maybe some steamed greens and chopped green onion. Be sure to add your tempura at the last minute.

This whole episode seamed to be about fried food tempura then croquettes and finally karaage (fried chicken) please see my vegan recipe made from wheat gluten on another recipe page.

Kiyo makes karaage as a surprise for Sumire but it turned out to be a celebration meal as Sumire is told she will be officially a maiko earlier than expected. As they both sit in the kitchen it is then that Sumire asks Kiyo that when she is officially a maiko she would like the tiny sandwiches eaten by maiko that do not ruin their makeup. She explained she had always dreamed of having them. It was decided that Sumire will have a maiko name “ Momohana” taken from sister Momoko and combined with hana. Momo means peach in Japanese and hana means flowers so Sumire’s new name is peach blossom.

Photo taken in Kyoto

 

Blog, Summer Food

Live by the (Shun) 旬 The philosophy of seasonal eating part 3 Summer

Have you heard of the term Dog days of summer? A period in the farmers almanac from July 3rd- August 11th. This is a term used to describe the hottest sultry days. This is a time when the sun occupies the same region of sky as Sirius the brightest visible star in the night sky that’s rises and sets with the sun. Sirius also known as the Dog Star and is part of the constellation Canis Major. This star was connected with heat draught and sudden storms.
We seam to spend a lot of the summer looking up into the sky in Japan. Maybe to view the spectacular fireworks that explode in the summer sky or to witness the form of the fluffiest of summer cumulonimbus clouds that signify a down pour might be on its way. The clouds even even has a sub micro season named after them Taiu tokidoki furu ( Great rains sometimes fall). The whole micro season is called Taisho meaning Greater Heat and you can read more about this in my separate micro season posts. As the temperatures start to climb we are reminded once more by scents, feelings sounds and images that evoke memories of the changing  seasons. This is known in Japan as Fuubutsushi. What does summer in Japan mean to you? I think like every season we are aware of Mono no aware “the pathos of things” basically the awareness of impermanence. Every season you are made aware of the powerful emotions associated with the changing seasons. From the cherry blossoms of spring to the kouyou colours of autumn. It is the key part of helping us centre on the hear and now and celebrate each season with the passing of time. Summer in Japan brings with it  its own impermanence. The sounds of cicadas is a quintessential sound that signifies summer is here. Cicadas live for seven years underground before escaping to the surface only to live but a short seven days above ground. The Hasu or lotus flower pops open in the early morning dew like the fireworks that are over so quickly the blooms of the lotus last but four days. In Buddhism the impermanence of life states we should use this to let go of attachments. Maybe the way to appreciate life to its  fullest  means we concentrate on the hear and now allowing each day to be lived in the moment.

The cooling sounds of summer are felt by the tinkling of a fuurin “Japanese wind chime” when a sound is heard people know there is a light cool breeze. After the blistering heat of the day it is tradition in Japan to enjoy the cooler evenings maybe by taking a walk to watch fireflies in the early twilight or  watch the sunset with a glass of sake after a evening bath. This is a habit called Yusuzumi “enjoying coolness by looking at things”.

Uchimizu is another practice originating from the sado tea ceremony. It is the act of enjoying the sprinkle of water on a stoney path. The act causes vaporisation and decreases the ground temperature. You may in the summer see shop keepers also do this outside their businesses.

Summer brings a sense of nostalgia in Japan it is known as  Natsukashii. I remember long hot days that seamed to never end as a child, riding bikes, climbing trees, making dens, playing with newts in the pond, (I was a bit of a Tom boy ) but they were good memories and simple pleasures.

As the crops begin to turn golden and sunflowers (Himawari) dance their sunny heads in the fields  (another symbol of summer) the obon festival is almost upon us, a time to remember family and friends that have past over from this world. For a short time it is said they visit us again and join us in dance and song until it is time to say farewell for another year.


Summer brings many eagerly awaited produce at the markets and “Shun” refers to the time they are at peak season. Enjoy the bounty of nature that summer brings us edamame, suica, Goya,eggplant, cucumber, okra and sweet bell peppers are all perfect right now . When you see fresh corn at the market why not pick some up to make this summer rice dish.
Using corn on the cob with vegan butter to make a Japanese summer favourite sweetcorn rice bursts with the flavour of summer. The secret is to use fresh corn not the tinned variety. Rinse your rice like you would normally and add this to your rice cooker or pan. For one rice cooker cup add one rice cooker cup of water and two teaspoons of soy sauce or tamari. Leave to soak for a few hours. Cut off the corn from the cob and add this to the top of your rice but do not mix and place the cobs on top you may need to cut them in half to fit them in. Cook your rice and when done take out the cobs and add fresh ground pepper and vegan butter. Cover the lid and let the rice steam and butter melt. When ready to serve fluff up the rice mixing the rice and corn together. If you have made any furikake this is perfect to sprinkle on top.

I decided to grow some of my own vegetables this year and I have taken great pleasure in going out each morning checking up on the progress of growth each day.


I decided to grow Mizuna and Mibuna mustard greens, both considered Kyoyasai “green treasures of Kyoto “ there are 37 varieties documented as kyoyasai and have played a key role for centuries in the food culture of Kyoto. Mibuna a close sibling of mizuna received its name from the Mibu- dera temple. I grew mizuna for salads as it contains 10 times more vitamin C and 3 times more fibre than lettuce and Mibuna to use like spinach. I also grew Kabu and daikon radish. I think I’d like to go into more detail in another blog post about Kyoyasai at some point, but for now would love to share a simple recipe with you for daikon furikake.
Furikake is a Japanese condiment often sprinkled on top of cooked rice. Shop bought ones can often not be vegan as they may consist of dried fish. For the first time ever as I was growing my own daikon I had daikon leaves to enjoy as well. Daikon do not often come with leaves attached in the U.K. which is a real shame as the leaves are delicious blanched and eaten like spinach or are wonderful chopped up and just mixed into warm rice.
As I had an abundance of daikon leaves I picked them to make easy furikake.

Pick and wash the leaves, then blanch for a few minutes in boiling salted water.


Have a bowl of ice water ready and plunge the boiled leaves straight into the water to avoid any extra cooking.
Remove from the water and shake off excess then pat dry with some kitchen towel.

Bunch up the leaves and chop finely, then spread out onto some parchment paper on a baking sheet.


Place them in the oven and dry out on your ovens lowest setting until they become dry.


Remove from the oven and grind in a Japanese grinding bowl known as a suribachi. (More about this in a bit ).


I decided to add toasted white sesame seeds and goma shio black sesame seeds and salt to mine, I then put them in a jar to use on top of rice.

Now the suribachi bowl and surikogi wood pestle is the Japanese equivalent of a mortar and pestle and is used in Japan to crush and grind ingredients like toasted sesame seeds for instance. The bowl is glazed on the outside and has a rough pattern on the inside called Kushi-no-me. You could use this for making a sesame dressing for spinach called goma-ae or a mashed tofu dish called shira-ae both of these can be found on my recipe pages.


I had received from nama yasai farm some kinome the leaves from the Japanese sansho and decided to use my suribachi to crush the leaves to make a pesto.
All I did was add the sansho leaves to the bowl and added some other leaves like basil and peppery nasturtium and started to crush them.

Then add some oily nuts this could be in the form of walnuts or pine nuts and again start to grind them add a little olive oil and a pinch of salt as it all starts to combine.


If you like you can add more ingredients like maple syrup or sesame paste maybe some soy sauce. Even some Yuzu juice would be nice. Experiment to see what you like and add this to pasta or a potato salad. Another similar thing you can do is grind toasted walnuts and then mix in some sun dried tomatoes with some of the oil they come with for another kind of pesto.
As well as the mizuna Mibuna Kabu and daikon I am growing two kinds of pumpkin Kuri and Kabocha. Did you know that everything is edible from the flesh and seeds to the flowers and leaves. I decided to use some of the pumpkin leaves as wraps.


Steaming the leaves then adding some of the pesto I had made with tofu and finally wrapping the tofu up with the leaf.

One of the things being a new vegetable grower I didn’t realise about pumpkins is they have male and female flowers and rely on bee pollination for you to get pumpkins . If the female which looks like this

isn’t pollinated the small pumpkins will not grow and will just wither and die. You can help this along by using a soft brush and collect pollen from the male and brush it onto the female.

I actually found this out quite late but luckily I have a few starting to grow.


It’s all nature but sometimes it helps to give it a helping hand.

The last thing I have been growing is shiso a healthy Japanese herb, be it red or green they both have health benefits. The green leaves are often used with sushi as they have antibacterial qualities and are also good to help stomach upsets. Shiso also has a high iron and calcium content. Good for the respiratory tract and immunity I think that shiso is definitely something people should be using more of especially with things as they are at the moment. Related to the mint family shiso is also known as perilla. So what can you do with it ? How about steeping a few leaves in boiling water to make a relaxing tea. You can even make a pesto like the ones I mentioned above just use 1 cup of shiso leaves and grind with lemon a pinch of salt olive oil and nuts ( pine or walnuts) . I decided to make a red shiso syrup, I had been seeing it a lot served in the summer mixed with ice and soda as a cooling summer drink in Japan and wanted to give this a try.
Depending on how big your red shiso plant is you might be able to make more. I used 24grm of washed shiso leaves.

Add these to a pan with 300ml of water and bring to the boil. Add 4 tablespoons of sugar and boil until the sugar dissolves and the leaves turn green and your water purple.


Then add two tablespoons of lemon juice this will make the colour really pop. Drain and leave to cool . It’s as simple as that. Add a little to a glass with ice and soda or use as a topping drizzled over ice cream or kakigori. My only regret is not growing more as this tastes amazing . Next year for sure !

What are the things you remember most about summers in Japan? We know they are notoriously hot and humid and there are many things people do to help overcome the heat, like eating kakigori shaved ice, using a Uchiwa paddle fan or wearing a light cotton  yukata. All of these along with the summer firework festivals make summer just that little bit more bearable.
As the nights are noticeably getting shorter we can grasp on to the final rays of sun until the cicadas sing their final song and we say good bye to the swallows until next year and hello to autumn.

 

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

Yakumi not just a condiment

Yakumi are small amounts of condiments that are seasoning to to bring out the umami of a particular dish. They are said to bring out the five tastes, amai (sweet), nigai (bitter), suppai (sour), karai (spicy) and shio (salty). Think of the paring together of wasabi and sushi. Some dishes have yakumi on the side where as others are incorporated into the meal it’s self, like sauces and dashi.

Some common yakumi are green onion,ginger,wasabi, shiso, oroshi daikon, Myoga, and sesame seeds. There are also citrus like sudachi and Yuzu. Spices can be also yakumi like sansho and schichimi seven spice pepper. Getting the idea?
Noodle dishes eaten cold often have yakumi on the side with a dipping sauce oroshi (grated daikon), chopped green onion and sesame seeds.

One of my favourites that incorporates this is Hiyayakko or chilled silken tofu, often with a citrus soy sauce called ponzu that your pour over. Yuzu juice which is added to make ponzu is said to be good for the immunity.


Yakumi is written in Japanese like this 薬味 which translates to medicine flavour, this is where it gets interesting, the condiments used are not just to add colour or enhance flavour but they carry medicinal properties as well. Wasabi helps with digestion, and is also antibacterial so this is why it is added to raw fish like sashimi and sushi. Ginger is also good for the digestion and so is shiso. Shiso has natural antiseptic qualities and you will often see it used as dividers for food in bento boxes to help keep the food fresh.When you grate daikon it has the same effect with digestive enzymes Oroshi daikon is high in vitamins, fibre,calcium and iron it is also an anti inflammatory. Another one good for inflammation is green onion, often seen in miso soup or served with a dipping sauce.
Why not make some of the recipes on this website incorporating yakumi . Today I decided to make Yudofu basically translates to hot water tofu.


Often a meal served in Buddhist temples. You would think something so simple as just tofu in hot water would have no flavour but this is where the yakumi really come into their own. Tofu is cooked with simply water and kombu kelp in a pot. When you serve the tofu just pour over some ponzu and eat with some of the condiments. Itadakimasu!

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

Hambāgu Steki ハンバーグステーキ

I first came across Hambagu Steki at a vegan cafe in Tokyo, the steak came out sizzling on a platter served with potatoes and vegetables in a rich Demi glacé. Sadly the cafe is no longer trading, but I always wanted to try making it and when I saw some pea and rice plant based mince in my local super market I just knew I wanted to try and make them.


Hambagu Steki is normally made of ground meat, with some kind of sauce. With this one I decided to make a Mikan sauce with some delicious shiso delight juice I had got from the wasabi company ( link at the side of the page) the juice is made from mikan, shiso and ume plum. If you can’t get this I suggest maybe making a ponzu style sauce with Yuzu juice and tamari or soy sauce. You will need to make 1/2 cup a blend of tamari or soy sauce, juice and water.


Dice finely 1/2 an onion and sauté in a little oil in a pan until soft.

Then to a bowl add 1/4 cup of either Panko or like I did gluten free breadcrumbs. Add to the breadcrumbs x4 tablespoons of soy milk and mix together.
To a large bowl add the mince, sautéed onions and bread crumbs. Knead all together with clean hands. Flatten at the bottom of the bowl and divide into four equal portions. Take each portion and mould into thick oval ball shaped patties.

Add some oil to a pan and fry the patties on both sides until golden. Then add your ponzu sauce. Put on a lid and reduce for a few minutes.

Serve with a topping of grated daikon radish and chopped shiso leaves.



To grate the daikon finely use a Japanese style grater suitable for wasabi, like a ceramic Kyocera or Oroshigane  metal grater.

Blog

Wafu Pasta

Wafu means Japanese style,so basically any non Japanese meal that is made with Japanese ingredients and given a Japanese twist is Wafu. One of the most well know wafu pasta is Naporitan or Napolitan. In one of my other posts I have explained about this meal and I have given an alternative to using the traditional sausages. Normally the ingredients are tomato ketchup sausages,onion,mushrooms and green bell pepper .

Other well know pasta dishes are Mentaiko, a sauce made with mayonnaise or butter with added fish like cod or shrimp.

Another is Ume shiso, this is made with olive oil,salted pickled plums and shimeji mushrooms, topped with shiso . I used toasted sesame oil with pickled shiso and Umeboshi.

This one is miso pasta. Interesting to know that miso pasta ingredients include bacon,scallops and potato in a miso sauce. I used eringii for the scallops and coconut bacon with sautéed potato.