Japanese Octopus Dumplings: Takoyaki

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This particular posting is dedicated to Lou Ginocchio who had the occasion to sample this food served by Japanese residents in Paraguay!

Please note that this is a very basic recipe. Especially concerning the sauce, there are so many ways to prepare it that it becomes very well-guarded professional secrets in Japan!
As for the contents, octopus is always there, but as for other additions, it varies from region to region, and from home to home!
Its existence dates back to the 1930’s and it is most popular in Osaka City presently, although many people aver that it originated from the Toyo area.
There is a similarly named dish called ikayaki but it is a broiled whole squid and bears no resemblance

INGREDIENTS: for 35~40 dumplings
-Boiled Octopus: 1 tentacle
-Flour: 1 cup/200 ml=110g
-Baking powder: 1 quarter of a teaspoon
-Salt: 1 pinch
-Egg: 1
-Dashi Stock (seaweed or fish): 300 cc
-Dry seaweed powder, green laver (“aonon”) (to taste)
-Katsuo Bushi/Dry bonito shavings (to taste)
-Worcester sauce (to taste)
-Ketchup (to taste)
(or okonomiyaki sauce instead of two above)
-Tempura scraps (“tenkasu”) : 1 handful
-Red pickled ginger (“beni shoga”): (to taste)
-Chopped thin leeks (to taste)
-Mayonnaise (to taste)

UTENSILS:
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Takoyaki Hot Plate (1 or up to 4)

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Pick to turn (flip) takoyaki around. If unavailable, use a long toothpick.

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Sauce Brush

RECIPE:

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Cut boiled octopus into 5~7 mm cubes/bits. If you prefer to have only one bigger bit in the middle of the dumplings, cut accordingly.

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In a bowl break the egg, add dashi, chopped pickled red ginger (Omit if you serve to children), and salt. Mix well.

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Add flour and baking powder. Mix wel a if to attain a pancake batter.

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Heat the takoyaki hot plate and oil well.
Pour in takoyaki batter inside holes from center to outring (important).
Do not worry about spilling batter between holes as it will be folded inside the holes later!
Put octopus bits (2~3 small bits or 1 large bits) in the middle of each hole.

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With the pick drag excess batter over each hole and flip every bowl around inside its hole.

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Keep flipping dumplings over until they attain a beautiful uniform light brown colour.

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Transfer to serving plate and brush an equal amount of Worcester sauce and ketchup (you may mix both beforehand or use an okonomiyaki sauce) over each dumpling.
Do not be afraid to brush plenty of it!

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Sprinkle plenty of dry seaweed and dry bonito shavings all over them.

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For a final touch (and if you like it so!), add chopped thin leeks, tempura scraps and mayonnaise!

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Oil Varieties

OLIVE-OIL-PRODUCTION
(The Manufacture of Oil drawn and engraved by J Amman in the Sixteenth Century/Wikipedia)

Once again, this morning during my bus ride to work (it’s pouring outside!), I was thinking of my vegan and vegetarian friends and also my omnivore (I’m one of them!) ones. As far as I can recollect, there is little written about oils and I thought I write up a useful posting for all to copy and borrow!

Have you ever wondered how many kinds of oil there are out there?

All right shall we start (and I’m sure to forget some along the way!):

OLIVE OIL
OIL-OLIVES

Now, we all seem to know what olive oile is all about.
But there is only one good type of olive oil: Extra Vrigin Olive Oil! That is what comes out first caused by the natural pressure of all these olives piled upon each other.
The rest is sub-standard, whatever the name.
Back in France (and most probably in may other countries) we have olive oil sommeliers/tasters!
have you ever heard of the expressions: fruitiness, bitterness, pungency, and mouth feel.
And I’m not talking about the olives themselves!
I will not tell and hope I got you hooked!

SWEET ALMOND OIL
OIL-ALMOND

Almond Oil was used as perfume in ancient times.
Light and very fragrant, it is particularly welcome in marinades (raw salmon seasoned with dill or basil) or drizzled over seafood, pasta or fish prior to serving.

ARGAN OIL
OIL-ARGAN

Also called Moroccan Fennel Oil, Argan oil is an oil produced from the kernels of the endemic argan tree, that is valued for its nutritive, cosmetic and numerous medicinal properties. That tree is found only in North Africa.
Bold and wild in taste, it is a favourite of mine. Use it isparingly n salads, couscous and tagines. Works wonders on a beef carpaccio and on goat cheese.

PEANUT and ROASTED PEANUT OIL
OIL-PEANUTS

Peanuts oil is very common, all right, but roasted peanut has a startling flavour. Perfect for salad and cheese dishes. Suited to all warm climate cuisines: Mexican, African, Indonesian.

CANOLA or RAPE SEED OIL
OIL-RAPESEED

The Japanese eat the unopened flowers and young shoots after boiling them.
They reveal a full-bodied in taste with a distinct cabbage flavor. Enhances potato or beet salads. Try it on fresh cottage cheese!

HAZLENUT OIL
OIL-HAZELNUT

Another favourite of mine. I use it extensively in salad dressings.
Hazelnuts are rich in protein and unsaturated fat. Moreover, they contain significant amounts of thiamine and vitamin B6, as well as smaller amounts of other B vitamins.
Suave and lightly aromatic. Great in all types of salads. Replaces butter (vegans, listen!) on all starches, vegetables, fish, pasta, pastries. Adds a festive touch when drizzled on a potato, green bean or carrot dish.

WALNUT OIL
OIL-WALNUT

Another favourite of mine!
In France we make bread, pickles and liqueurs with them!
Walnuts are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, and have been shown as helpful in lowering cholesterol.
They have a pronounced nutty flavour. Well suited for bitter greens (endives, chicory, dandelion); excellent drizzled on starches. This oil is a good companion to a lightly seasoned fresh cheese. This oil fears heat!

PECAN NUTOIL
OIL-PECAN

Pecans are a good source of protein and unsaturated fats. A diet rich in nuts can lower the risk of gallstones in women. The antioxidants and plant sterols found in pecans reduce high cholesterol by reducing the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
It reveals a pronounced nut taste, in between walnut and almond. Good on any type of rice, cold, hot or in a salad.

GRAPE SEED OIL
OIL-GRAPESEED

Grape seed oil is also a preferred cosmetic ingredient for damaged and stressed tissues!
Neutral taste (it is unscented). Perfect for mixing with other more pungent oils; ideal for deep frying. Grape seed contains potent antioxidants such as vitamin E alpha and procyandanians, which contribute to its numerous health benefits.

PINE NUT OIL
PINE-NUT

Pine nut oil has a relatively low smoke point, and is therefore not generally used during cooking. Rather, it is added to foods for “finishing”, to add flavor.
It reveals a very subtle and mild taste. Enhances the flavour of any dish on which it is drizzled. Added in the final moments of cooking, it does wonders with seafood stews, sauces (especially wine) and soups (particularly minestrone).

PISTACHIO OIL
OIL-PISTACHIO

In July 2003, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first qualified health claim specific to nuts lowering the risk of heart disease.
Its oil has a very distinct, long-lasting taste. It is not suited to all types of vinegars: balsamic and honey are the best. A vinaigrette composed of this oil, balsamic vinegar, chives and seasoning is superb on an endive and smoked trout (or salmon) salad.

SESAME OIL
OIL-SESAME

In Japan, the best tempura is deep-fried in pure sesame oil only!
Used extensivley all over the World, it has a very strong roasted, nutty flavour. A few drops in a salad or stir fry gives the dish a definite oriental touch.
I use it extensively with tofu, natto and salads!

SOY BEAN OIL
OIL-SOYBEAN

Soy bean oil is mainly used as a bulk cooking oil especially in South Asia and in the Middle East.
The most important point regarding the use of soybeans for human nutrition is the absolute necessity to cook the soybean with “wet” heat in order to destroy the trypsin inhibitors; serine protease inhibitors.
Soybeans are considered by many agencies, including the US Food and Drug Administration, to be a source of complete protein.

MUST-SEE WEBSITE:
1001 HUILES (Engish & French)

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Tofu Recipe: Tips for Easy Snacks

TOFU-OIL

I was thinking of the “Tofu Tribe” (Terecita, Elin, Jenn and Jennifer) when riding the bu to work this morning. No bicycle these days as we are in the midlle of the rainy season!

The day before the Missus had served a quick snack (see pic above) consisting of tofu on which she poured extra virgin olive oil, coarsely ground black pepper and a little salt.
Very simple. Not very artistic, I admit, but the idea was there.

Now, many vegans and vegetarians like their tofu, but are running out of ideas…

How about, for example, creating a plate (use a large one with “compartments” for better effect!) with an assortment of tofu pieces seasoned with different varieties of oils, ground peppers and other spices, finely chopped vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers for good colouring. I love my tofu mounted with chopped shiso/perilla leaves, umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums meat and a dash of ponzu!
And what about natto/fermented beans with chopped shiso leaves and grated fresh ginger?

You could do the same thing with fried tofu, deep-fried tofu and aburaage.
How about a piece of fsh tofu mounted with freshly cut and fried aburaage, wasabi, grated fresh ginger and ponzu?

Endless bliss!

Will be introducing oils in my next posting!

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Tofu Recipe: Tofu Manju with Ankake Sauce/Tofu Dumplings in Sweet and Sour Sauce

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(Courtesy: Blue Island)

Here is another simple tofu recipe dedicated to Elin, all tofu lovers, vegans and vegetarians:
Tofu Manju with Ankake Sauce/Tofu Dumplings in Sweet and Sour Sauce!

INGREDIENTS:
-Tofu (momen tofu style9: 1 “Cho”/200 g
-Carrot: one fifth
-String beans: 2~3
cornstarch: 1 large tablespoon
-salt: a pinch

For sweet and sour sauce:
-Dashi (Konbu dashi/seaweeed stock): half a cup/100 ml
-Soy sauce: half a large tablespoon
-Sugar:2 large tablespoons
-Rice vinegar: 1 large tablespoon
-Cornstarch dissolved in water: to one’s personal liking

RECIPE: For 2 people

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Press water out of tofu. Sift it completely. Boil finely cut carrots and string beans until soft enough. Drain all water.

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drop tofu and vegetables in a mixing bowl. Mix in cornstarch and salt. Divisde in 4 and make balls. Wrap each individually in cellophane paper. Twist cellophane warap and secure with rubber band or string.
Steam for at least 4 minutes.

Sweet and sour sauce:
Heat dashi stock, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar, stirring all the time. Mix in cornstarch dissolved in water.
The sauce is ready.

Serve dumplings on plate and cover them with the sauce!
Enjoy!

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’09/44)

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Apparently as far as the Tuesday’s bentoes are concerned, the Missus has turned into “Sandwich mode”!

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Now, for the greens, she had come with the interesting notion of a veg sticks dip with celery, boiled asparaguses, cucumber and red radishes (and their leaves). One half-boiled egg for the balance and mayonnaise/mustard dip.

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The sandwich, once again, was a big affair.

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As for the filling, she first fried duck confit, then potato sticks in the remaining fat and inserted them in the French bread (soft type) with lettuce, cassis mustard and French conichons.

This time she didn’t forget the dessert: Japanese cherries!

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Sashimi Plate at Tomii (’09/06/22)

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Just came from a “quick fix” at Tomii as I was too hungry to continue work! (I’m back at the office right now!)

Just ordered “o-tsukuri/Sashimi plate” as the calories are non-existent (the Missus is preparing dinner!).

From top clockwise:
-Madai/Japanese Snapper species
-Aburi Tachiuo/lightly grilled Scabbard Fish
Note the shiso/perilla flowers in between!
-Hata/Grouper
-Murasaki Uni/Violet Sea Urchin from Aomori Prefecture
-Hamo/Pike Conger Eel, lightly boiled
-Aka Ika-Kensaki Ika/Red cuttlefish-Squid
In the middle:
-Mebachi-maguro/big-eyed Tuna Akami/lean part

I honestly wish you were all here!

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Crustacean Species 6: Kuruma Ebi/Japanese Imperial Prawn

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Kuruma Ebi, or Japanese Imperial Prwan, is probably the most popular prawn in Japan!
It has different names depending on its size: Saimaki (up to 5 cm), Maki (up to 10cm)

Its season lasts from late Autumn to the end of Winter.
It is found south of Hokkaido Island down to the Indian Ocean until depths of 50 metres.
It had been successfully artificially grown for some time until diseases put a momentary stop.
The prawn has steadily become a rare morsel. Altogether, natural and human raised specimen, the annual catch amounts only to 2,000 tonnes.

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Raw, or

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boiled, they make for great decoration on top of suucculent taste!

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They are very much appreciated a sashimi, especially after having been made to “dance” in Japanese sake!

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Grilled on the stick would tempt many an officionado!

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They make for extravagant tempura!

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As sushi Nigiri, they are equally popular raw, or

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boiled!

If you the chance to buy tem alive (In shizuoka, we do have them kicking), put them in a pan with Japanese sake under a lid. Wait until they have grown “quiet”, and prepare them right away!

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’09/43)

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Mondays, for all the Missus’ grumpiness, see typical Japanese bentoes coming my way! Weekends mean busy days at work at my other half works for an orthodontist, meaning that most patients visit the clinic on weekends.
Although I did cook some tasty cold pasta and seafood salad for dinner last night, The Missus hadn’t forgiven me for not checking the wine avaibility!
A back massage this morning did some good in re-establishing a modicum of peace, though!

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The main dish did take some work to do:

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The rice was steamed with red miso-flavoured konbu/sweet seaweeed mix, making for the unusual colour of the musubi/rice balls.

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The Missus’ specialty: Japanese-style (twice) deep-fried chicken with deep-fried renkon/lotus root chips (with some lemon handy).

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Homemade pickles: Mini-melon with salt-preserved cherry blossom.

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The salad was a very simple affair: lettuce and boiled string beans, “grated” carrots, mini tomatoes and walnut (was the last for dessert?)

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Japanese Cakes/Wagashi 12: Recipe-Dango/Sweet Dumplings

DANGO-1a
(Mitarashi Dango)

This simple recipe is particularly dedicated to my friends at Bouchonfor2, Bread + Butter, Eeyoreblues 27 and The Sophisticated Gourmet!

Japanese dango are not complicated, although it might be better to make a lot at a time!

INGREDIENTS:
-Rice (“Uruchi Kome”/normal Japnese round rice): 200g
-Water (for dango): 130cc
-Water (for sauce): 60cc
-Cornstarch: 1 teaspoon
-Sugar: 1 teaspoon
-Soy sauce: 2 teaspoons

RECIPE:

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Wash rice thoroughly.
If rice is no-wash type, skip 3 first steps.

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Once the rice washing water is coming out clean, drain rice and spread ontowel. Take off all excess humidity.

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Let the rice dry for two hours.

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Pour rice in Blender/mixer. First work the blender for only a few seconds at a time until all the rice has been broken completeley. Then blend three times 15 seconds at a time.

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If the rice does not turn into powder easily, sift rice as many times as necessary until all rice has been reduced to powder.

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Finish the job with mortar and pestle.

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Once the rice has been reduced completely topowder, work the pestle in for 5 more minutes.

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Add water and mix well with spoon.

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Divide into small portions and steam for 15 minutes.

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In a pan add cornstarch to water (for the sauce). keep stirring over a low fire. once the water has been become transparent add sugar and soy sauce and mix well until you obtain a smooth syrup. take off fire.

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Fill a glass with water and keep within arm’s reach.
Drop all the steamed dango paste into mortar.
Work dango paste with a wet wooden pestle.
Once the paste ahas been become sticky and elastic, form small balls (the operation should not last more than 10 minutes).
Wet them to prevent them from sticking to each other.

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Push a wet (important!) stick through the balls (4 or 5 at the most).
Grill the balls (or not) for better effect.
Serve them smeared with syrup.

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Crustacean Species 5: Ise Ebi/Japanese Spiny Lobster

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Ise Ebi, or Japanese Spiny Lobster is one the Spiny lobster varieties so popular all over the World.
The Japanese variety is smaller, or more precisely is more popular under a certain size.

Also called Kamakura Ebi, it is caught off the shores of Chiba, Wakayama, Mie and Shizuoka Prefectures.

The best specimens are aught in Winter, although imported lobsters can be found at other seasons.

The annual catch is fairly stable at 1,000 tonnes a year.
Imprted specimens account for 10,000 tonnes, mainly from Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.
In the case they are also called Minami/South Ebi.

The Japanese appreciate their lobsters raw.

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As o-tsukuri/sashimi plate they are quite spectacular!

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For a closer look!

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And of course as sushi nigiri!

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French Restaurant: Lunch at Pissenlit (third visit!)

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Service: excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Interesting wine list. Great use of local products.
no-smoking-logo!

In Shizuoka, during the reainy season, when it rains, it just pours!
The Missus workingon Sunday, and me having to cook in the veening, I just escaped from our stuffy home and took the bus to taown. I already had in mind where I was going to use this rare break from Sunday Cricket: Pissenlit!
This is my third lunch, which might be considered as an overkill, but since I’m going there again on Friday evening with friends, there a couple more things I wanted to check!

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Chablis 2006, Domaine Alain Pautre

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For a moment, I was thinking of ordering wine by the glass, but what the hell, I asked for the full ottle and shared it with the chef and staff!

Melinda, Rachael, Etsuko and Jen are going to kill me for the succinct review, but I’ll make with Friday’s tasting:

Colour: rich golden hue, very clear
Aroma: Fresh, flowery
Taste: Solid attack, flowery, backed with dry, slightly tannic back-up. Longish tail, Stays solide with food.

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This time I didn’t bother reading the menu and just went for the carte (written on a blackboard!).
I had been dreaming about the Foie Gras Marbre (Marbled Foie Gras, sorry Arnie!) for some time. Now, I was going to enjoy it! (If someone wants the Missus to kill me, just tell her, but this will be the end of this blog!)!
Surprisinfly light and supremely elegant affair. Not to mention the organic green tomato!

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It was then I was going to order the Escargots de Bourgogneet Morilles (Morels), when the Chef said “Hang on!”. Blimey I already knew I was going to be deprived of my favourite home specialty! Had better be good!

I was told they had just received this organic Poulet Noir (Black Chicken) bred according to the French Label Rouge regulations. The difference is that it is raisedd in Hamamatsu City, Haruno in a secluded mountainous part near the Tenryuu River by Mr. Mastoshi Uchiyama who has been raising these little beauties for the last 15 years in his farm, Forest Farm Meguri! The chicken is “cooped” in quasi freedom, eating only selected organic food for 120 days.

Akright, alright, I will have the snails on Friday, then! Mind you, it was not difficult to convince me when I was told I would be the first customer in Pissenlit to be served the morsel!

And morsel it was:
Above is a”yakitori” stick of the Black Chicken giblets with shiitake!

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Next came a typically Japanese way and though of cooking: Chicken sasami/Brest fillets, “tataki”/half cooked style marinade with yuzu koshio/lime pepper. I know a lot of French “critiques” who would fall over each other to taste that in an overpiced instiyution back home!

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For the bread lovers, I was served these exquisite and small soba/buckwheat bread buns!

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Tebasaki/Wing grilled with Teriayaki sauce amde with fond de veau/veal stock and balsamico vinegar. To be eaten with your fingers only! (you are allowed to lick them!)

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And ten,…

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One whole breast roasted and served on chou frise with a Sauce Supreme. Simple, exquisite and finger-licking! I usually don’t go much for chicken skin, but I must admit I was convinced this time!

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As for dessert I didn’t want to put my health to risk on their enormous dessert plate and just asked for the creation of the day:
Loquat compote (cooked in Bourgogne White Wine) and vanilla ice-cream (plenty of vanilla bits there!)! The perfect ending to an extravagant lunch!

PISSENLIT
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 2-3-4
Tel.: 054-270-8768
Fax: 054-627-3868
Business hours: 11:30~14:30; 17:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday evening
Credit Cards OK
Homepage (Japanese)

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Japanese Cakes/Wagashi 11: Dango/Sweet Dumplings

DANGO-1a
(Mitarashi Dango)

Dango (団子) is a Japanese dumpling made from mochi-ko (rice flour), related to mochi. It is often served with green tea.
In Edo times, they were very popular at tea stands along the country roads.

Dango are eaten year-round, but the different varieties are traditionally eaten in given seasons. Three to four dango are often served on a skewer. One variety of dango from Hokkaidō is made from potato flour and baked with shoyu (soy sauce).

Types of dango:

There are many different varieties of dango which are usually named after the various seasonings served on or with it.

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Chadango: Green-tea flavored Dango.

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Dango served covered with anko

Actually, if you want to write all about Dango, you’d need to publish a whole book!

Chichi dango: Slightly-sweet light treats usually eaten as a dessert.

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Hanami dango: Also has three colors, Hanami dango is traditionally
made during Sakura-viewing season. Hence the name Hanami (Hanami means “flower viewing”; hana meaning “flower”, and mi meaning “to see”).

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Kushi dango: Dango held by a skewer

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Mitarashi: Covered with a syrup made from shouyu (soy sauce), sugar and starch.

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Japanese Dessert: Kakigoori/Shaved Ice with Syrup

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Kakigōri (かき氷) is a very popular Japanese dessert made from shaved ice flavored with syrup.
It was served for the first time in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1869!

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Popular flavors include: strawberry, cherry, lemon, green tea, grape, melon, “blue-Hawaii” sweet plum, and colorless syrup. Some shops provide colorful varieties by using two or more different syrups. To sweeten Kakigōri, condensed milk is often poured on top of it.

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It is nearly identical to a snow cone but can have a slightly rougher consistency and a spoon is almost always used. The traditional way of making kakigōri involves using a hand cranked machine to spin a block of ice over an ice shaving blade. However, electric ice shavers are most often used, though street vendors can still be seen hand-shaving ice blocks in the summer.

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In addition to the streets, kakigōri is also sold in festivals, convenience stores, coffee shops, and restaurants. During the hot summer months, kakigōri is sold virtually everywhere in Japan. Some coffee shops serve it with ice cream and sweet bean paste. Convenience stores may also sell it already flavored and packaged similar to ice cream.

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In other countries in East Asia, similar varieties can be seen.

Halo halo: Filipino shaved ice topped with sweetened beans, nata de coco and ice cream. “Halo-Halo” literally means “mix-mix” in the Tagalog language. Some shops in Japan also sell these sweets.
Bingsu (빙수) Korean shaved ice. The most popular kind is patbingsu. It is topped with sweetened red beans, canned fruits, and soybean powder. Many other varieties can be found throughout the country.
Bàobīng (刨冰) in Mandarin Pinyin or Chhoah-peng (剉冰) in Taiwanese POJ: Taiwanese shaved ice. There are many varieties in Taiwan. Some of them are topped with fresh fruits, fruits syrup and condensed milk. Some of them are topped with sweetened beans, glutinous rice balls and brown sugar syrup, while others will even use seafood. Some vendors use milk ice to make finer shaved ice, and some vendors may sometimes use a hand blade to shave block ice in order to produce rough crushed ice.
Ice kacang: Malaysia and Singapore Shaved ice topped with sweetened syrup of various colours and flavours, condensed and evaporated milk, and sometimes also durian pulp or vanilla ice cream. Beneath the ice sweetened red beans, canned fruit, attap seeds and grass jelly are usually added. Electric ice shavers are often used; though some vendors may use a hand blade to shave the ice in order to produce a rough texture. A variation of this would be Cendol which is shaved ice with sweet green coloured glutinous rice noodles drizzled with palm sugar it is usually accompanied with kidney beans and canned sweetcorn.
Nam Kang Sai: Thai Shaved Ice. In Thailand, this kind of cold dessert is very popular as well. The differences from other countries’ shaved ice is that in the Thai version the toppings (mixings) are in the bottom and the shaved ice is on top. There are between 20-30 varieties of mixings that can be mixed in. Among them are young coconut that have been soaked in coconut milk, black sticky rice, chestnuts,sweetened taro, red beans, sarim (thin strands of cooked flour that is very chewy and slippery) and many more.

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Japanese Cakes/Wagashi 10: Youkan: Easy Recipe-Mizu Youkan

MIZU-YOKAN-1

Youkan come in many guises. Here is an easy and ver basic recipe for “Mizu Youkan” that you will be able to adapt into many creations of yours! For vegans, vegetarians and omnivores!

INGREDIENTS:
-Boiled azuki beans: 1 can (430 g)
-Brown sugar: 60 g
-Salt: a pinch
-Agar agar Powder (“kanten” in Japanese): 4 g
-Water: 300 ml + 300 ml

RECIPE:

MIZU-YOKAN-2

Blend beans and 300 ml of water until smooth.

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Pass mixture through fine sieve.

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In 300 ml of water drop agara agar. Bring to boil, stirring at the same time. Then keep stirring vern medium fire for 1 minute.

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Switch off fire. Pour sugar and salt. Mix well. Add bean paste. Mix well.

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Pour in recipients of your choice (that is when the fun starts!) and let cool completely. Keep in fridge (not too cold, please). Take out of recipient and serve!

More recipes to come!

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Japanese Cakes/Wagashi 9: Youkan

YOUKAN-JELLY

Here is another popular type of Japanese Wagashi fit for Vegans and Vegetarians: Youkan!

YOUKAN-MIZUYOKAN
Mizu Youkan

Yōkan (羊羹) is a thick jellied dessert made of red bean paste, agar (寒天/”kanten” in Japanese, and sugar. It is usually sold in a block form, and eaten in slices.

There are two main types: neri yōkan and mizu yōkan. “Mizu” means “water”, and indicates that it is made with more water than usual. Mizu yōkan is often chilled and eaten in summer.
Although most yōkan found in Japan and abroad are typically made with red bean paste, yōkan made from white kidney bean paste (しろあん, 白餡, shiro an in Japanese) are also relatively common. This type of yōkan is milky and translucent with a much milder flavour than that made of red bean paste.

YOUKAN-GREENTEAYOUKAN
Tea Youkan

As such, they can be effectively flavoured and coloured by using green tea powder.

YOUKAN-TRICOLOUR

MizuyōkanYōkan may also contain chopped chestnuts, persimmons, whole sweetened azuki beans, figs, and sweet potato, among other additions. Sugar can be also be substituted with honey, dark brown sugar, or molasses to alter the taste of the yōkan produced. There is also shio yōkan, which uses small amounts of salt as a sweetener.

Other Pictures of Youkan:

YOUKAN-BICOLOUR

YOUKAN-CHERRY

YOUKAN-PINK

I will introduce an easy recipe soon!

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