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Osechi Ryori The symbolic meaning behind Japanese New Year Good Luck Food

Happy New Year Akemashite omedetou 
 明けましておめでとうございます!
 
Many of the items served to celebrate New Year’s in Japan have symbolic meaning. It’s starts the night before on New Year’s Eve (oh-misoka ). At this time some Japanese people like to eat Toshikoshi Soba 年越しそば. 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  previous year.  This simple meal of buckwheat soba noodles is served in a hot dashi broth which is full of umami flavour and garnished with chopped green onions. I like to add aburaage to mine instead of the traditional Kamaboko fish cake to make it vegan. For the dashi I use a kombu shiitake dashi then mirin,tamari and yuzu rind. This year I brought back from my trip to Japan some special inaka soba noodles from Shirakawa-go. These noodles are darker in colour and have a much stronger buckwheat flavour. They are made by grinding unhulled buckwheat seeds into a course flour. The result is a thicker noodle without the need for adding a thickening agent called tsunagi.


Start New Year’s Day with a traditional Japanese breakfast. 
This breakfast soup said to be the most auspicious new year food and is part of Osechi Ryori. (Good luck food). Depending on the region in Japan the broth can either be clear or with miso .

Ozoni お雑煮 Enjoyed on the morning of New Year’s Day in Japan.

(Japanese New Year Mochi Soup – Kansai Style) . This style of soup from Kyoto region is made with Saikyo Miso (white miso from kyoto) and a round toasted Mochi. It is even more auspicious to add 5 ingredients.


Kanto style Ozoni (more popular in Tokyo and eastern Japan) which is a clear based soup known as Osumashi made with kombu dashi, mirin and tamari. I like to add a dried shiitake when soaking the kombu to add to the umami. The flavours are very delicate which is typical of Shojin Ryori . Ozoni お雑煮 means mixed boil which relates to the mixed ingredients you can use. This soup was believed to bring good luck to samurai warriors and was served on New Year’s Day. Mochi is served to represent long life because it stretches. Soak the kombu and shiitake over night. Simmer the dashi with carrot and daikon. Add some chopped komatsuna and a slice of Yuzu peel maybe . Toast your Mochi and put it all together. Serve on its own or with some simple rice and pickles, which makes a nice breakfast to start the day.

I make Osechi Ryori 御節料理 or お節料理 every year for New Year’s Day ( Ganjitsu 元日). Osechi Ryori are traditional foods normally packed in a tiered bento box known as ojubuko 重箱 enjoyed on New Year’s Day in Japan. I like to make what significant food I can with vegan ingredients. This year this is what I made. The majority of the food symbolism comes from Shintō and some of the meanings are a play on words.

Nishime 煮しめ (圧力鍋)

one-pot colorful stew of root vegetables, shiitake and koyadofu, simmered in dashi broth seasoned with soy sauce, sake, and mirin. These simmered dishes are called nimono (煮物). The various ingredients cooked together symbolise family unity.

  • Carrot – Welcome spring by shaping carrot into plum or cherry blossom shapes.
  • Lotus root – The holes of lotus root presents a clear and unobstructed future. 
  • Taro – Taro symbolizes fertility or descendants’ cut into hexagon that resembles a turtle shape represents longevity.
  • konnyaku made into a knot shape signifies good relationships and a harmonious family.

Namasu (なます) or also known as Kohaku Namasu (red and white)

(紅白なます) Red and white are considered celebratory colors in Japan and resemble celebratory wrapping strings used on joyous occasions. Julienned daikon and carrot pickled in a sweet vinegar with a hint of citrus. These vegetables symbolise a strong family foundation.

Kuri Kinton (Candied Chestnuts and Sweet Potatoes) 栗きんとんchestnut gold mash. This dish symbolises fortune and wealth for a prosperous year ahead. Japanese sweet potatoes with chestnuts in syrup called kuri kanroni (栗甘露煮.) The kanji for kinto turns into kindan (gold and silver treasures) evoking wealth.

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. 

Kuromame 黒豆 are Japanese black beans cooked in sweet syrup and are traditionally eaten at this time eating kuromame is considered good for your health for the new year.

Kuro means black but when the final vowel is extended it can mean hard work. Also mame means bean however again can mean sincere.

So it is said that eating kuromame in syrup for new years translates to those who are sincere and  work hard will have a good new year.

On my trip to Japan this year I stumbled across a store in Hase (kamakura) 2 minutes walk from Enoden “Hase” station, that  Specialize in Kanbutsu 乾物 dried foods ; seaweeds, mushroom shiitake and dried beans They sold a variety of dried foods, including local Shonan specialty hijiki and natural seaweed, as well as carefully selected beans from all over the country.

Ishiwata Genzaburo Shoten 石渡源三郎商店

 www.yamagen-mame.co.jp

Unchanged since its founding in the early Meiji era I spotted some hana mame beans (plateau flower beans). The beans from Gunma Prefecture are very large and have a very rich flavour. I had been given a precooked canned variety of these beans cooked in syrup a few years ago so I decided to buy some to make my beans in a sweet syrup this year.

You can use this recipe to make your own kuromame using other black dried beans.

Purple flower beans from Gunma Prefecture

~Delicious way to enjoy~

Rinse the beans in cold water.

Soak one cup of the beans the beans in three cups of cold water and one teaspoon of baking soda over night the day before cooking.

As the beans soak, they will swell

Change the water then boil in plenty of water over low heat until it boils. Once it boils change the water. Repeat this process  3 or 4 times. Then simmer them until they become soft. Whilst they are simmering skim off any scum and keep topping up the water so that the beans are submerged in at least 1 inch of water at all times. Check your beans are soft by pinching one of the beans they should yeild without squashing. This can take up to two hours.

Finally make your sugar syrup seasoning.

Add 2 cups of sugar to 1 and 1/2 cups of water to a pan and simmer to dissolve the sugar. Reduce to a syrup to about one cup.

Add the syrup to the beans and simmer.

Let the beans cool completely before storing them in an airtight container in the fridge.

shinodamaki 信太巻き
In the Kansai region, a dish using abura-age is often called shinoda (written as 信太 or 信田).

This originates from the legend of foxes living in the forest of Shinoda, and abura-age, which is believed to be their favorite food. I made shinoda with carrot and daikon tied with gourd known as kanpyo. I also made inari sushi.

Datemaki (伊達巻き) is a rolled sweet omelette. They symbolize a wish for many auspicious days. It resembles a scroll so also symbolises academic success. This year I tried to make a vegan version. I think it came out quite well.

I blended a vegan liquid egg replacer with half a block of silken tofu along with 2 tablespoons of mirin, 1 tablespoon of sake, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce  and 1 teaspoon of vegan honey.
Pour the mixture into a square pan 8×8 inches lined with parchment paper and place it in a preheated oven 180 degrees C  for 25- 30 mins.

It’s done when the top is nice and golden. Lift the cooked mixture out of the pan using the parchment paper. Lay a sushi rolling mat on top of the cooked mixture with the smooth side facing up, flip it over and peel off the parchment paper.

Make slight scores with a knife the same direction as the slats on the bamboo mat be careful not to cut all the way through, this will help it roll. Now roll your datemaki and secure either end with a rubber band. Wrap the hole thing in film and leave over night in the fridge.

Unroll your datemaki and slice.


2024 is the year of the dragon, why not read my next post about what’s in store for us as we head in to the year of the mythical beast.
良いお年を!( Have a great New Year ! )

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

Japanese Micro Season 10 夏至 Geshi (Summer solstice)

夏至 Geshi (Summer solstice)

Summer solstice, the sun rises behind Mt Fuji and travels across the sky taking its longest path. This is the day with the most amount of daylight. Even though this marks the beginning of summer, now the days will slowly start to shorten . This time seams to occur between the planting and harvesting of crops.

June 21–26 乃東枯 Natsukarekusa karuru Self-heal withers

June 27–July 1 菖蒲華 Ayame hana saku Irises bloom

July 2–6 半夏生 Hange shōzu Crow-dipper sprouts

This is the time in Japan of hot humid rainy days, a time when people might not feel like preparing food so cooling food that’s easy to prepare would be eaten. Things like watery  fruits and vegetables cucumber and tomato to be eaten simply with cold noodles and a chilled broth. You could try zaru soba, cold soba noodles with a chilled dipping sauce. The name zaru refers to the sieve or strainer the cold noodles sit on. Often served with condiments like grated daikon, chopped green onion and sesame.

You could also try making a cold soba salad with a simple dressing and lots of watery vegetables.
Another meal that is popular in Hiyashi Chuka or cold ramen you can find the recipe for this on my summer recipes or just search Hiyashi Chuka.

People in Japan also like watery fruits in the summer. Large peaches are in season, melon is also very popular and is the quintessential hydrating summer dessert.  Maybe you could try my thirst quenching recipe for a melon drink on the summer recipes.

All across Japan at the moment the iris and the ajisai (hydrangea) are blooming. In the U.K. the hydrangea doesn’t bloom until later in the summer, but I did find some lovely iris on one of my evening walks and there were lots of small blue dragonflies darting around them.


The micro season calendar mentions the self heal or prunella a low growing creeping plant with clusters of violet coloured flowers. In Japan this plant blooms in the winter and withers in summer. Another plant mentioned is the crow dipper which is a thin green grass and they turn white in the summer.

At the end of June people in Japan like to eat a seasonal sweet called Minazuki. Made from kuzu starch and rice flour it is cut into a triangle shape and is said to resemble ice. It is topped with sweet red beans, the sweet is said to ward off evil and disease. You can find out more on my minazuki posts and also the recipe.

Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food

Soba Sushi Rolls

I decided to try to make sushi rolls but instead of using rice, I used soba noodles. I thought I would share with you how I made them.
First decide on your filling, I decided to use shiitake mushrooms using dried shiitake.


After soaking them in warm water, remove the shiitake but keep the water as this makes a great dashi for miso soup.

Slice the shiitake and this time I used a teriyaki sauce by clear spring, which I just sautéed in a little toasted sesame oil.

You can use anything you like for a filling tofu, veggies etc, like cucumber, avocado, carrot, asparagus etc.
Take one bundle of dried soba noodles and tie them at the top with string. Heat a pan of water until boiling and drop in your soba, cooking them until done. Drain the soba keeping on the string and wash them well in cold water.

Lay the noodles flat on a clean towel and dab them gently with kitchen towel to absorb any excess water off the noodles. Then sprinkle the noodles with sushi vinegar. I used the clear spring sushi seasoning.

Cut the string off the soba and section into two.

Take one sheet of nori and place this with the rough side up towards you on a sushi mat.

Lay one half of your noodles on the nori and spread them out, add your fillings and then cover with the remaining soba noodles.


Roll the soba just like you were making normal sushi. Cut the sushi with a sharp knife and arrange on a plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and make a dipping sauce. I made a citrus ponzu with Yuzu juice a little of the shiitake stock and tamari.
I think this a nice refreshing sushi and I want to try making them with somen next time.

 

 

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Oroshi-Soba And Hanami Meal

This year many of us will not be able to have hanami parties outside with friends and will be celebrating at home . Just as the Sakura blooms and falls let’s hope that the world situation will pass in time . I decided to make a spring meal although the weather turned today from warm to windy and quite chilly, however I’m lucky enough to have a cherry tree in my garden and do not have to go outside for hanami and the warmth of the last few days had started to open the blooms.
My meal consisted of vinegared cucumber and vegan crab salad, Temari sushi with vegan sashimi, Oroshi soba and sake sakura kanten jelly.

I prepared the cucumber by salting first, after I had washed the salt off after about 15 mins I  then added this to a bowl with jackfruit, lime juice, brown rice vinegar, chopped red chilli and sesame seeds. You can also see the vegan crab meat recipe on my recipe for Vegan crab sushi salad. Having vinegared cucumber always reminds me of a child when I would go round to my grandmothers house for Sunday tea. It would take her all afternoon to prepare a massive Sunday spread for the family. My mother would help my grandmother while my father and grandfather would go for a drink at the local pub. I would play outside in my grand parents garden often sneaking in to their greenhouse to pick a ripe tomato directly off the vine (nothing better).

I also made bite sized sushi balls known as Temari sushi. With seasoned sushi rice and mock tuna sashimi. You can find Temari sushi recipes on my recipe page plus how to make the vegan tuna on my recipe for tekka don ( tuna rice bowl ).

Oroshi Soba is a chilled minimalist dish, ideal for summer. It consists of chilled soba noodles in a dashi broth. Oroshi refers to the grated daikon. By adding this and a few simple ingredients like chopped green onion it makes a refreshing filling meal.

This was the last of my daikon I had brought back from London a few weeks ago when I went to see the kimono exhibition at the V&A.

Now we are all confined to our homes and getting ingredients is becoming increasingly harder, so for me not only was this meal special because of the daikon but the soba noodles had been sent to me from Japan . I’m already running low on Japanese food supplies as I was expecting to be in Japan in a few weeks but now that’s not the case and on line ordering is mostly sold out. Each meal is going to be precious as I use up the last of my ingredients. When all this is over I’m going to seriously stock up ! Probably taking empty suitcases to bring back food from Japan. I’m also really going to appreciate all the more my next trip to Japan and I think any of us will appreciate our travels and holidays a lot more from now on. For me even something so simple as going to the supermarket which was something I actually enjoyed is now full of anxiety.
It was with great joy I managed to add a veg box into my basket in my online delivery which had been out of stock all week. So many things we take for granted.
With the last of the sake in the fridge I added it to a pan with a little fruit tea ( you could use fruit juice ) and made a jelly with kanten flakes. Adding a salted Sakura into the jelly mould .

As I sit safe at home, I give thanks to all the hospital staff, doctors, nurses and people in the community, police, delivery drivers, super market workers and online shops, that are helping us all get through these trying times. Thank you to you all . I wish you all now more than ever health and safety, we can get through this in time. It’s going to be hard but we must remain strong. Now is the time to maybe start up a new hobby or rekindle an old one. Cherish loved ones and turn to simpler times. Hopefully as we go through the year things will get easier and more back to normal, but let’s not forget this and how we may often take things for granted. Like the Sakura life is fleeting.

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

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 . 

Blog, Summer Food

Soba Noodle Salad With Dressing

When the weather starts to warm up salads are always a good choice. This is a cold soba noodle salad and is a great way of using up veg in the fridge.

First prep what vegetables you would like to use. I used sweet corn,radish,cucumber,edamame,green onion,red cabbage,mizuna,steamed broccoli and baby corn and grated daikon. For a topping I also diced some silken tofu and minced an Umeboshi.

Then make your dressing one tablespoon each of sweet white miso,mirin,brown rice vinegar,sesame oil and yuzu juice. Also some grated fresh ginger. Add this to a jar pop on the lid and give it a good shake. If it’s still to thick add a little water or more vinegar.

Finally cook your soba noodles . I like to use the fresh kind if you can get them that literally take minutes to cook. I used green tea soba noodles but normal soba noodles are just fine. Cook your noodles and as soon as they are al dente drain and wash in cold running water.

Place your noodles in a bowl and toss in a little sesame oil now add your prepared vegetables and mix them in. Top with your toppings,daikon,Umeboshi,sesame seeds maybe some shredded nori if you like. Drizzle around the outside your dressing and your done.

A pefect summer salad with a Japanese twist.

 

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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!

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Sakura soba noodles

I wanted to use the last of my Sakura soba noodles as it’s cherry blossom season .
I chose to make a simple kitsune soba.
Kitsune means fox in Japanese and it is said that the fox spirits are very fond of fried tofu so hence the name kitsune soba as I added aburaage to my soba noodles. The broth was just a simple tamari and mirin.
I added a few toppings of carrot flowers,furikake,sesame seeds,diced green onion and komatsuna.
It makes a really satisfying meal so quick and easy .
Now I’m off to watch ghost in the shell.
狐そば
さくらおはぎ

Blog, Winter Food

New Years Eve Soba

It’s nearly New Years in Japan and to celebrate I’m having for lunch a hot bowl of soba noodles which is a traditional New Year’s Eve meal called toshikoshi soba.
Meaning end of old year and beginning of the next.
The noodles symbolise the bridge from the old to the new year and bring long life, strength and good fortune.
I made this really simple with a tamari and mirin soup stock some lovely soba noodles I bought in Kyoto and topped it with chopped green onion,aburaage and a little fresh yuzu peel .
Eating this meal took me back to the lovely setting at kiyo mizu in Kyoto where I had simple soba noodles.
I want to wish everyone in Japan a happy new year and health and good fortune .
年越し蕎麦
明けましておめでとうございます??????