Vegan Japanese Cuisine: Tomatoes marinated in Sweet Vinegar

Like the Aubergines/Eggplants, Tomatoes are available all year round!

Here is a very simple and healthy recipe that anyone can use and eat at will!

Tomato No Amazu tsuke/Tomeatoes marinated in sweet vinegar!

INGREDIENTS:

-Tomato: 250 g
-Onuon: 15 g (finealy chopped)
-Celery: 10 g (finely chopped)
-Coriander: to taste (fresh and finely chopped

Marinade:
-Sugar: 2,1/2 tablespoons
-Rice vinegar: 50 ml/cc
-Water: 100 ml/cc

RECIPE:

-Pour allthe marinade ingredients in a saucepan and heat until just before boiling point. Switch off fire, let cool completely and chill.
Chill chopped onion, celery and coriander inside the fridge.

-Plunge the tomatoes in hot water, then ice-cold water and peel.
Cut into small enough pieces and add them to the marinade. Chill inside fridge.

-Serve tomatoes with chopped vegetables on topas shown in above picture.

You may add optional chopped vegetables and leaves.
As for salt ot spices I would experiment very carefully!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES
Not-Just-Recipes, Bengal cuisine, Cooking Vegetarian, Frank Fariello, Gluten-free Vegan Family, Meatless Mama, Warren Bobrow, Wheeling Gourmet, Le Petit Cuisinier, Vegan Epicurean, Miss V’s Vegan Cookbook, Comestiblog, To Cheese or not To Cheese, The Lacquer Spoon, Russell 3, Octopuspie, Bread + Butter, Pegasus Legend, Think Twice, The French Market Maven

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Vegan Japanese Cuisine: Marinated Aubergines/Egg Plants

Aubergines/egg plants are available all year round and are so versatile.

Here is a simple recipe for vegans and vegetarians to expand on:
Marinated Aubergines!

INGREDIENTS: for 2~3 persons

-Aubergines/egg plants: 3
-Garlic: 1 clove (thinly sliced)
-Capsicum/red chili pepper: 1 (Cut into thin rings)
-Wine vinegar: 1 tablespoon
-Olive Oil (EV): 3 tablespoons
-Mint leaves

RECIPE:

Cut the aubergines into 5 mm thick slices.
line them in a dish with salt.
After 15 minutes, the aubergines should have expelled enough water.
Wipe the aubergine slices with some kitchenpaper.
Sprinkle with salt and deep-fry.

-In a dish spread the aubergines on top of each other. Place the thin garlic slices over the top layer. Place the thin rings of capsicum over the garlic. Sprinkle the whole with wine vineagar and olive oil. Place plenty of mint leaves over the top.
Chill thoroughly inside the refrigerator.
Mint leaves might change colour with the wine vinegar. You may add them last when you serve the aubergines.

You may add more garlic slices in between the aubergines layers for stronger taste.

Serve as shown in above picture.

Easy again, isn’t it?
Great with beer!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES
Not-Just-Recipes, Bengal cuisine, Cooking Vegetarian, Frank Fariello, Gluten-free Vegan Family, Meatless Mama, Warren Bobrow, Wheeling Gourmet, Le Petit Cuisinier, Vegan Epicurean, Miss V’s Vegan Cookbook, Comestiblog, To Cheese or not To Cheese, The Lacquer Spoon, Russell 3, Octopuspie, Bread + Butter, Pegasus Legend, Think Twice, The French Market Maven

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Japanese Cuisine: Taro & Chicken Stew

Taro/sato imo are a very eclectic vegetable. Like potatoes, they can be cooked with almost anything!

ere is a simple very Japanese recipe:

Taro & Chicken Stew!

INGREDIENTS: For 3~4 people

-Taro/sato imo: 400 g
-Chicken breast: 1
-Japanese sake: 1 tablespoon
-Salt: to taste

-Sugar: 2 tablespoons
-Japanese sake: 2 tablespoons
-Soy sauce: 2 tablespoons

RECIPE:

-First cut the chicken into bits-sized pieces. Marinate for a while in Japanese sajke and a little salt.

-Peel taro/sato imo and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Sprinkle with a little salt, than wash thoroughly.

-In a saucepan pour some oil (not included in above ingredients) and heat. Fry the marinated chicken until it has changed colour.

-Add the taro/sato imo. Lightly fry until the oil has covered all the taro/sato imo. Add sugar, Japanese sake and soy sauce. Bring to boil first, then lower fire to low. Cover with lid. Stew for 15~20 minutes until taro/sato imo are soft.

-Stir from time to time. When you are satisfied with the tenderness of the taro/sato imo, it is ready to serve!

-Place in a dish and eat while hot.
Decorate/season with a few sprigs or leaves.

NOTE:

-There is no need to add water.
-Season with a little sesame oil at the end!

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Japanese Seasonal Fish: Ishigarei/Stone Flounder

Ishigarei, イシガレイ、石鰈 in Japanese, is another popular flatfish/flounder in theis country. For the specialists the Englidh name is stone flounder, and its Latin name Kareus bicoloratus. Interestingly enough these fishes are commonly called flatfishes in Englis, wheeras the Jaapnese write them as “leaf Fishes”!

In Japan, depending upon the region it will be called other names, such as Ishimochi, Ishimochigarei or Shirogarei.
Their season is mainly in Summer in Hokkaido and Eastern Japan, although they might appear a lot earlier in Shizuoka.

Ishigarei is considered the best of all flounders in this country. People generally avoid to catch them during the female egg incubation, but the same egg-bearing fish are a delicacy in Tokyo.

Always choose “lively” specimens when buying them as the taste will soon deteriorate if the fish is not dressed quickly first.
If angler-friend of yours calls on the phone with one of them, don’t discuus and buy the fish!

Stone flounders make for such superlative sashimi that it becomes a bit of a waste to consume in another way.

But who would pass such a Japanese-style carpaccio?

Or an Italian Carpaccio?

Sushi lovers will appreciate it as a sushi nigiri!

A truly extravagant sushi nigiri display. Eat it quickly!

Alright, you were not lucky enough to get it absolutely fresh.
In this case simmer it the Japanese way as Ishigarei Ni (Ni stands for simmer) with soy sauce, sake, mirin and ginger!

Or do it the Italian way with olive oil and dry tomatoes!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
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Japanese Seasonal Fish: Tachiuo/Scabbard Fish

Scabbard Fish or “Tachiuo” is a summer fish very popular in Japan in spite of its great length.
Tachiuo in Japanese, 太刀魚, means “Great Sword Fish”, not the scabbard!
The Suruga Bay being warmer than the rest of Japan, we have scabbard fish in the dead of winter.
Like other fish it owns other names: Tachi (not in Hokkaido, where the word means ” Cod sperm sacs”!), Shirada and Tachinouo.
It is mainly caught off Wakayama, Ehime and Oita Prefectures.
In Shizuoka it is both caught by line or net.
In 1999, 37,000 tonnes were caught in the whole of Japan, but it fell to 23,000 tonnes in 2000.
It is also imported from Korea and China, although the fish is slightly different from the Japanese variety. More than half of imported fish are eaten west of Kansai.

Scabbard Fish Sashimi Plate

Tachiuo is bot popular raw and cooked.
Raw, it is usually served with ponzu instead of soy suce and topped with momijioroshi/grated daikon mixed with chili pepper.

Raw, it is of course popular as sushi nigiri,

cut into fine strips and served as gunkan.

As sashimi I personally prefer it “aburi” (slightly grilled) with a dash of ponzu and some momijioroshi (grated daikon with chili pepper), or with some finely cut vegetables.

The same applies for sushi nigiri as I like my scabbard fish a little grilled first.

Making incisions into the fish before grilling it will make for another prsentation!

It does not have to be complicated to be yummy!

In the Kansai/western Japan region it is very popular in oshizushi/pressed sushi thanks to its flat and long shape.

How about a combination of both raw and aburi style sushi nigiri?

How about an Italian-style sushi nigiri?

As for the cooked scabbard fish, grilling is the most commoon way here in Japan where it is served as simple and healthy food at many meals.

Sauteed with colourful vegetables (okra) make for great presentation in spite of the simplicity of the dish!

Deep-frying is also very popular especially with its bones when it is very fresh. Such deep-fried bones make for one vital source of calcium for the Japanese.

Fried scabbard fish salad.

Cooked, it is a very versatile fish and easy to prepare!

Grilled with lemon!

Cooked with chili peppers and miso paste, it makes for an intriguing sweet and hot combination!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
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Gastronomic Cycling in Shizuoka (3)

Eating Veal Kidneys at Pissenlit!

Venturing into side streets might be tantamount to tempting fate in some countries, but in Japan, and particularly in Shizuoka, it is more like opening an intriguing Pandora box!

The side street is called koya Machi and is parallel to the traditional merchant artery called Gofuku-cho.

Japan does not have fire hydrants but fire “holes”. Keep an eye at ground level and you are bound to discover some interesting “manhole covers”!

Koya Machi Street entrance in day time.

Any city in Japan shows two distinctive faces in day time and at night.
The same spot might look drab and even decrepit in the afternoon but come dusk and you enter another world.

Koya Machi entrance at dusk.

Koya Machi Street starts across from Shizuoka JR Station and is only a few hundred metres long (the continuing and busy Ryogae Street is much, much longer) but pack enough for investigation.

At the very beginning on the left side stands Fugetsuro, the abode of the klast Shogun of Japan, Tokugawa Yoshinobu who retired there after the failed Bakufu Revolt.

It has then been transformed into an expensive restaurant-hotel by his descendants. It surrounds the best private Japanese garden in the city, complete with pond, bridge and guest house.

View of the garden from the Ukidono Izakaya.

One of the annexes was transformed seven years ago to accomodate a better-class izakaya, Ukidono, but still cheaper than the unaffordable Fugetsuro Restaurant, a renown, if somewhat old-fashioned, kaiseki restaurant.

Ukidono is worth paying a visit because it has a very extensive list of Shizuoka sake!

Just across the street is Lavigne Wine Shop.

Lavigne seels exclusively French wine you can also savour at the standing pay cash on delivery bar until 10:00 p.m.!

Walking past Lavigne, you will see this small curry restaurant with a somewhat strange name, Kabocha, written as “Kabo Cha/Kabo Tea” instead of the real name, “Kabocha/南瓜/Southern Gourd”.

just a little further up stands the oldest Izakaya (founded in 1922!), Takano!

Notice the real flower arrangement outside!

More real flowers outside!

The entrance at night.

Takano has recently been voted one of the best true izakayas in Japan!
It serves true local food such as sakuraebi kakiage/sakura shrimps tempura.

The present generation speaks fluent English!

The sashimi plate is simply a bargain!

And the Japanese sake is exclusively from Haginishiki Brewery in Shizuoka City!

Go across the street again and you will find Life Time, the other place owned by Fugetsuro.
It is a cafe opening late until night with a selection of drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and the jazz concert place in Shizuoka City!

Life Time on a cold winter night.

On the right at the next corner, stands a thin building.
on the second floor you will find an izakaya called Ichi. Never been there but must be very old, because…

the sake, Kikugenji/菊源氏, advertised on their sign was brewed by a brewery called Toyo Shuzo (Izu eninsula), which disappeared more than 10 years ago!

The sign makes clear you have to climb the stairs up to the second floor to Ichi in case you don’t know!

Ichi at night.
The sushi bar on the first floor has not much interest unfortunately.

A litle further up and you notice people busy delivering bottles of sake and beer to this busy and cheap izakaya.

The same place at night.
The name means “Showa Era Hormones”! (hormones are actually animal intestines).

Another ubiquitous “Ramen Shop”.

“Five Bucks Bar” or “Fine Bucks Bar”?

I wonder what customers drink there!

Beware! The larger and the most colourful the poster, the more forgettable food!

back again to the Showa Hormones Izakaya for more investigation!

I found this “notice” pinned on the wall at eye-level in the men’s toilets.
The notice says:
“Genki no nai Otoko ha mamushi sake!”/Viper Sake for people (men) not feeling energetic!”
This is real sake in which a snake was marinated!
The note says above that you should be careful not to drink too much, or you will suffer from nosebleed (Japanese men supposedly go through this predicament when their libido is overstimulated!).
Actually, orders are limited to a single glass. It had better work as it costs a whopping 22 US$!
Last, but not least, as if men needed more incentive, they added a picture of a “well-endowed” man (face not shown!) wearing snake skin pants!

N.B.: A lady friend told me that there was nothing hanging on the wall inside the ladies’ facilities!

More seriously, the place also serves “oden/Japanese pot au feu”. Shizuoka Oden is famous all over Japan!

Behind the place I found this notice.
It says, “Open form 15:00. The earlier you come, the fresher the food!”
Thank you for telling us!

The same place at night. Empty…. I wonder why….

On the first floor of the next building stand this sign introducing no less than 26 watering holes!

Some names are worth a second look!
Oratoire, in French! I wonder what people are visiting this place for!

Lay back maybe?

Back across the street you will find a horror show of a restaurant (?) sign! Interesting grammar notwithstanding…

The sign in question to prove I’m not kidding you!
Now, for the horror show!
Take your time and read slowly!

Aargh!

Tears….

Blast me!

I definitely trust you!

At night….. empty…..

Next: Ryogae Street!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Bread + Butter, Comestilblog, Greedy Girl, Bouchon For 2, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Mangantayon, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles, Lexi, Culinary Musings, Eats and Everything, Bite Me New England, Heather Sweet, Warren Bobrow, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Ramendo, Alchemist Chef, Ochikeron, Mrs. Lavendula, The Gipsy Chef, Spirited Miu Flavor, Wheeling Gourmet, Chef de Plunge, Sushi Nomads, Island Vittles, The French Market Maven, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glas, Palate To Pen, Tokyo Foodcast, Good Beer & Country Boys, Tokyo Terrace, Think Twice, Jefferson’s Table

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Perfect Napolitana Pizza Trio at Venty Due!

Margarita Pizza!

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great cleanliness
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Real Napolitan Pizza baked on wood fire
no-smoking-logo1 Completely Non-smoking!

I had to come back to Venty Due and taste all their pizza on the same day/evening!
But I certainly couldn’t do it on my own and had to wait to find a friend to help me!
Finally this I could achieve last night!

As I explained before, the pizza will be on your plate within 3 minutes from the moment you order it: crusty to a perfection with all its ingredients cooked as they should be!
Why and how?
That is where “simple” becomes extravagant:
the pizza is cooked inside a real wood oven.
All wood is “nara no ki/Japanese oak” delivered all the way from Tottori Prefecture on the other side of Japan!
It takes two hours to bring the oven to the right temperature of 450 degrees Celsius, but then the pizza will come litterally smoking on your plate.

So we ordered the Margarita as a start since I had already tasted for better comparison with next two:

Marinara Pizza, with fresh tomatoes, peccorino, organo and olive oil!

Bianca, all peccorino!

The three of them quickly disappeared with a few glasses of solid Itlian red wine!

Did I say simple is best?

22 Venty Due
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajyo Machi, 3-21-20
Tel & Fax: 054-260-4522
Business hours:18:00~21:30
Closed on Sundays
Reservations advised.

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
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Sushi Gadgets

Sushi Erasers!

I’m alway on the lookout for gadgets representing my favourite food, namely sushi!
Not very easy actually, unless I start collecting (or stealing!) the pleastic sushi models you can find in the window displays outsie the cheaper king of sushi restaurants.

Well, I found 3 of them.
All ordered and distributed by Japanese companies but all made in China!

Sorry for the fuzzy pictures but I don’t want to take the contents out unless I can find at least 2 samples of each!

Sushi Magnets!

Sushi (Conveyor Belt Sushi) Stickers!

If you can help with my burgeoning collection, I’ll be very grateful!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Bread + Butter, Comestilblog, Greedy Girl, Bouchon For 2, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Mangantayon, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles, Lexi, Culinary Musings, Eats and Everything, Bite Me New England, Heather Sweet, Warren Bobrow, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Ramendo, Alchemist Chef, Ochikeron, Mrs. Lavendula, The Gipsy Chef, Spirited Miu Flavor, Wheeling Gourmet, Chef de Plunge, Sushi Nomads, Island Vittles, Jefferson’s Table

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Vegan Japanese Cuisine: Taro in Sesame and Miso sauce

Here is another vegan recipe that is not only healthy and easy to pprepare but will also give you plenty of satisfaction:
Taro In sesame and Miso sauce!

INGREDIENTS: For 3~4 people

-Taro/sato imo: 3 medium to large
-Miso: 1 tablespoon
-Sugar: 1 tablespoon
-Mirin/Sweet sake: 1/2 tablepoon
-Ground sesame seeds: 1/2 tablespoon

RECIPE:

1- Wash the taro/sato imo and wrap as they are in cellophan paper. Cook them in a microwave oven at 600W for 7 minutes. Turn them over halfway.

2-Take them out and peel them. Shi\ould be easy by hand.. Cut them into pieces of your preference.

3-Mix the miso, sugar, mirin and ground sesame and season the taro/sato imo with them.
Serve in individual or large plate.
Add some freshly chopped greens or sprouts.

Bear in mind that depending on the size of the taro/sato imo, you might have to amend the cooking time.
Don’t forget to turn them over once halfway.
You can also vary the quantity of ground sesame!

Easy again, ain’t it?

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES
Not-Just-Recipes, Bengal cuisine, Cooking Vegetarian, Frank Fariello, Gluten-free Vegan Family, Meatless Mama, Warren Bobrow, Wheeling Gourmet, Le Petit Cuisinier, Vegan Epicurean, Miss V’s Vegan Cookbook, Comestiblog, To Cheese or not To Cheese, The Lacquer Spoon, Russell 3, Octopuspie, Bread + Butter, Pegasus Legend, Think Twice, The French Market Maven

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Strawberries: Facts & Tips

I was going to start an information series on Fruits like I’m doing for vegetables, but after realizing the enormous task I decided to limit myself to the fruits popular and grown in Japan.
Believe there are enough!

Why do I start with strawberries?
Can you guess?
Shizuoka Prefecture with more 1,500 strawberry commercial growers officially registered is called “Ichigo no Ookoku/Strawberry Kigdom” in Japan!

The garden strawberry is a common plant of the genus Fragaria which is cultivated worldwide for its fruit, the (common) strawberry. The fruit is widely appreciated, mainly for its characteristic aroma but also for its bright red color, and it is consumed in large quantities — either fresh, or in prepared foods such as preserves, fruit juice, pies, ice creams, milk shake, etc..

The garden strawberry was first bred in Bretagne/Brittany, France in 1740 via a cross of Fragaria virginiana from eastern North America , which was noted for its flavor, and Fragaria chiloensis from Chile and Argentina brought by Amédée-François Frézier, which was noted for its large size.

Cultivars of Fragaria × ananassa have replaced, in commercial production, the woodland strawberry, which was the first strawberry species cultivated in the early 17th century.

TIPS:

-Best season for natural Strawberries is May~June
For green house-cultivated, hydroponically or not, specimens the season is from December to April.

-To preserve them, don’t wash them, cover themlightly with cellophane paper and keep them inthe vegetable compartment of your refrigerator.
If you want to freeze them, get them rid of their leaves and stem first, then wash them and drain them thoroughly.

-if you wish to wash them, leave them in clear cold water for 5 minutes. If you take the leaves and stem out before washing them, they will lose a lot of their vitamin C.

-Wherever possible, don’t take the leaves and stem out before eating them. Strawberries in decoration cakes have lost large amounts of tehir beneficial elements!

-Eat strawberries after drinking alcohol or when stressed! You will be surprised how much they help!

VARIETIES:

Although Japan was late in starting growing strawberries, they probably have the largest number of varieties!

“Benihoppe/Red Cheeks”
A recent cultivar developped in Shizuoka Prefecture!
Really sweet, but with a striking balance with just enough acidity.
Most of them go to Tokyo!

“Amaou/Sweet, Round & Big”
From Fukuoka Prefecture. Sweet and a little acidity.

“Nyohou”
From Tochigi Prefecture. Juicy. Cultivation has recently decreased.

“Tochiotome”
From Tochigi Prefecture. The most common in Japan. Very sweet.

“Moikko/One More Please”
From Miyagi Prefecture. Round and refreshingly sweet.

“Sagahonaka”
From Saga Prefecture. Extensively sold in Western Japan. Very sweet.

“Hatsukoi no kaori/the Scent of First Love!”
Developped in 2006. Probably the most expensive strawberry in the world.

Its flesh is completely white while the skin is ivory with red seeds. It is not an albino strawberry!
But the taste is somewhat average.

“Aiberi/Love Berry”
From Aichi Prefecture. High qaulity and expensive. Great balance. Red flesh.

“Toyohime”
Very popular with “strawberry picking tours”. Very sweet.

“Sachinoka”
High in sugar. Popular for its high sun resistance.

“Yayoihime”
From Gunma Prefecture. Ver sweet. Especially available in December (in time for the celebrations!).

“Hinoshizuku”
From Kumamoto Prefecture. High in sugar, low acidity. Available from December, too!

“Yumenoka”
From Aichi Prefecture. Very juicy and great balance.

FACTS:

Strawberries contain a great amount of Vitamin C and flavonoids.
7 medium-sized strawberries contain enough Vitamin C for a whole day for an adult human!
Thy also contain Vitamin B1, B2.and B6, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium and a little iron.

They also contain a lot of digestible vegetal fibers, helping digestion a lot.
They also contain a lot of collagen, helping skin against blemishes!

HEALTH FACTS:

-Combined with yams, or yoghurt, or chickory, or shiso/perilla, helps strengthen the stomach, helps combat cancer and ageing.

-Combined with broccoli, or pink gapefruit, or tomato, or red carrot, helps combat cancer, stress, and helps the skin and stimulates brain activity.

-Combined with wakame seaweed, or onion, Judas’ era mushroom, or peanuts, helps prevent high blood pressure, heart diseases and blood vessels hardening.

-Combined with oyters, or kiwi fruit, or lemon, helps the skin and combats stress (and over-drinking!)

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Vegetables facts & Tips 8: Leeks (Expanded and amended)

negi-1

Leeks, or “negi” in Japanese, are an almost universal vegetable.
It is used in cuisine at restaurants and homes on all continents and have been recognized for ages as very beneficial plant.

Recent research has demonstrated that They are an effective cure against colds in particular, not only for humans, but for many animals, too.
Some people do not appreciate them because of their pungent smell and taste, but this can be taken care of with a couple of simple steps.

Back home in France, we boil the central part of fat leeks and eat them under the name of “poor man’s asparaguses”!

FACTS:
-Season: leeks can be bought all year round, but the best season is from November to February in the Northern Hemisphere.

-Main beneficial elements: Carotene (green part), Vitamin C (white part), Calcium, Vitamin B1 (beneficial for blood circulation), B2, B8, Potassium, Calcium (in big amounts!), Iron, Manganese, vegetal fibers.

TIPS:
-Fatter specimens will have more taste.
-Choose specimens with a “wet” bottom cut.
-If you use large specimens raw in salads, first cut 5~8 cm long sections, then cut them thin lengthwise and leave them some time in clean cold water. The pungency will greatly diminish.
-To chop leeks for cooking, cut them first in 5~10 cm sections, then cut them thin lengthwise, and only then, chop them crosswise.

VARIETIES:
There are innemurable varieties in the World, but I will introduce here the main varieties encountered in Japan:

negi-senju
“Senju”
The most common and popular variety

negi-hakata-manno-negi
“Hakata Manno”:
A choice specimen raised in Kyushu Island

negi-hime
“Me” or “Hime”:
Could be called leek sprouts,too.
Eaten raw in salads, sushi, finger foods.

negi-ito-negi
“Ito” or Thread Leek, used in the same way as “Me/Hime”.

negi-kositsu-negi
“Koshizu”, another common and popular variety.

negi-kujo-futo-negi
“Kujo-Futo”:
A choice specimen originting from Kyoto.

negi-kujo-hoso1
“Kujo Hoso”. Same as above, but a lot thinner.

negi-riiki
“Riiki”
A short fat specimen popular for “nabe” and soups.

negi-shimonita-negi
“Shimonita”.
A fat variety with a short stem and long leaves. Popular with soups and “nabe” (Japanese-style pot-au-feu)


“Aka Negi”
Red Leeks in Japanese, soft with little pungency. Considered as a delicacy.

HEALTH FACTS:

-Combined with Juda Ear Mushrooms, or sardine, or mackerel, or seaweed, heolps lower blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, and prevents blood vessels hardening.

-Combined with umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums, or Japanese sake, or ginger, or shiso/perilla, helps prevent and cure colds, combats ageing and helps recovery from diseases.

-Combined with onion, or cucumber, or garlic, or Judas’ Ear mushrooms, helps blood flow and combats blood clotting.

-Combined with seaweed/wakame, or sweet potato, or lotus root, helps combat constipation and obesity.

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES
Not-Just-Recipes, Bengal cuisine, Cooking Vegetarian, Frank Fariello, Gluten-free Vegan Family, Meatless Mama, Warren Bobrow, Wheeling Gourmet, Le Petit Cuisinier, Vegan Epicurean, Miss V’s Vegan Cookbook, Comestiblog, To Cheese or not To Cheese, The Lacquer Spoon, Russell 3, Octopuspie, Bread + Butter, Pegasus Legend, Think Twice, The French Market Maven

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Wild Table visits Hunt’s Point Wholesale Fish Exchange in the Bronx-NY. by Warren Bobrow

You thought that Tsukiji in Tokyo was the one destination to see all the best fish in the world packed into one location!
You will have to think again!LOL

Join Warren Bobrow, Contributing Editor at Wild River Review, on Wild Table visits Hunt’s Point Wholesale Fish Exchange in the Bronx-NY. and leave your comments to encourage him to do even more!

A must-read!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Bread + Butter, Comestilblog, Greedy Girl, Bouchon For 2, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Mangantayon, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles, Lexi, Culinary Musings, Eats and Everything, Bite Me New England, Heather Sweet, Warren Bobrow, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Ramendo, Alchemist Chef, Ochikeron, Mrs. Lavendula, The Gipsy Chef, Spirited Miu Flavor, Wheeling Gourmet, Chef de Plunge, Sushi Nomads, Island Vittles, Jefferson’s Table

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Takuan/Japanese Pickled Daikon: Basic Recipe

Takuan (沢庵), also known as takuwan or takuan-zuke, is a popular traditional Japanese pickle. It is made from daikon radish. In addition to being served alongside other types of tsukemono/Japanese-style pickles in traditional Japanese cuisine, takuan is also enjoyed at the end of meals as it is thought to aid digestion.

Takuan is made by first hanging a daikon radish in the sun for a few weeks until it becomes flexible. Next, the daikon is placed in a pickling crock and covered with a mix of salt, rice bran, optionally sugar, daikon greens, kombu/Dry seaweed, and perhaps chilli pepper and/or dried persimmon peels/even flowers for colouring. A weight is then placed on top of the crock, and the daikon is allowed to pickle for several months. The finished takuan is usually yellow in colour, although most mass-produced takuan rely on food coloring for this effect.

Takuan is popular also in South Korea, and is called danmuji (단무지). It is used as a filling for gimbap, or as an accompaniment to Korean dishes, typically jajangmyeon.

Here is a simple basic recipe to make when you get hold of plenty cheap daikon. Since it is vegan in nature, it shoild please everyone!
Check the extra recipe for ideas!

INGREDIENTS: Bear in mind that the bigger the batch, the better!

-Daikon: 10~15 with their leaves!
-Rice bran: 15 % of the dried daikon weight
-Salt: 6% of the dried daikon weight
-Brown Sugar: half a tablespoon
-Chili pepper: half one, chopped, fresh
-Konbu/dry seaweed: 3~5 cm piece chopped thin
-Fruit peel (persimmon, orange according to colour): 2 fruits
-White sugar: 1 tablespoon per daikon

FIRST RECIPE:

Wash the daikon with their leaves. It is important to dry them with their leaves as to prevent a loos in quality. Place them to dry in a spot well exposed to the sun and wind. Let them dry for 1~2 weeks. Bring them inside at night if you think morning dew will come on them!
They will be ready the moment they bend easily.

-Wipe daikon with a clean towel.
Weight the daikon then and prepare rice bran (15% of daikon weight) and salt (6% of daikon weight).

-Cut the leaves with the end of the daikon. Cut enough of the daikon so that the leaves hold together. Put leaves aside. You will use them later!

-Put each daikon (work on one at a time) on a working table. Roll it by solidly pressing your palms on the daikon all along its length to soften evental hard spots and even the humidity inside.

-In a separate bowl pour in the rice bran, salt, brown sugar, chopped konbu/seaweed, chopped chili pepper and white sugar. Mix well.

-Use a large pickles jar/bucket.
First line the bottom with some of the pickle mixture.
Line a first layer of daikon, leaving as little sapce between as possible.
Sprinkle with pickle mixture.
Fill any space left with the daikon leaves.
Repeat same procedure with the rest of the daikon.

-Line the top with the remaining daikon leaves.
Press down with your hands, putting all your weight behind your hands.
Sprinkle some extra salt over the top to prevent mold from forming.

You can use a special pickle vat as in picture above and screw down the lid for maximum pressure.
If you uve a normal vat, plce a clean wooden or plastic circle on top of the daikon and lay a weight/stone at least 3 times the weight of the daikon.
In the latter case cover with newspaper and a lid to prevent any dust insid.e

-Pickle for 4 weeks in winter, or 3 weeks in summer.
Clean them quickly in clean cold running water before cutting and serving them!

SECOND RECIPE: Traditional but the process is the same!

INGREDIENTS:

-1) Dried daikon: 12 kg
-2) Rice bran: 1.5 kg
-3) Salt: 720 g
-4) Kaki/Persimmon (frozen): 5~6
-Chili peppers: 10 (cut in halves9
-Konbu/seaweed: 40 cm (to be chopped)

Look at the pictures, the process is the same!

Drying

Soft enough to bend

Cutting the leaves away

Pickle mixture

Pickle mixture added with kobu, chili peppers and persimmons

Fitting the daikon in tightly

Covering with the pickle mixture

Covering with the leaves

Putting the weights on top!

Two months later.

Washed, cut and served!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Bread + Butter, Comestilblog, Greedy Girl, Bouchon For 2, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Mangantayon, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles, Lexi, Culinary Musings, Eats and Everything, Bite Me New England, Heather Sweet, Warren Bobrow, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Ramendo, Alchemist Chef, Ochikeron, Mrs. Lavendula, The Gipsy Chef, Spirited Miu Flavor, Wheeling Gourmet, Chef de Plunge, Sushi Nomads, Island Vittles, The French Market Maven, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glas, Palate To Pen, Tokyo Foodcast, Good Beer & Country Boys, Tokyo Terrace, Think Twice, Jefferson’s Table, While mY Sautoir Gently Weeps

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Wasabi: All you need to know!

For all my agnosticism, I sometimes think I am blessed to be born in Dijon, Bourgogne, France and lived in Shizuoka City, the birthplace of Wasabi!

The sign at the entrance of Utogi, the birthplace of wasabi!

Around 1600, farmers in Utougi District, some 33 km from Shizuoka JR Station along the Abe River, first started experimenting with the culture of that particular plant, which they already knew as a wild vegetable used for pickling. At the time they were only processing the stems, leaves and flowers.

Utogi Village

If you want to visit Utogi, where you will find a soba restaurant and other shops as well as the possibility of trekking and festivals watching in April and October, either go by car (55 minutes) or take a bus (Shizuoka JR Station/75 minutes). The trip along the Abe River is worth for its own sake with all the changing landscapes and vistas!
I did it by bicycle, but it took me 5 hours for the return-trip from the city centre and had to push the bicycle along forthe last 3 kilometres. Even a maoutain bike would have made it!

Another view of Utogi

Wasabi Monument in Utogi.

They even have their own “Mon/Arms”!

This is still a very popular kind of pickles in Shizuoka where they are sold in season.
In 1604, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the Japanese Overlord/Shogun, who had just moved to Sumpu (presently Shizuoka City), grew extremely fond of the grated root and helped spread its use all over the country. Its present culture has expanded outside our Prefecture, especially in Nagano, but Shizuoka still produces not only 80% of the whole crop in Japan, and the best wasabi are grown in Utougi and in the Amagi Range in Izu Peninsula.

This gentleman is the 17th generation of the first wasabi growers in Utogi! Check His homepage (Japanese) where you can order a whole array of products! Look at him in his field on youtube!

Tamaruya stand at Haneda Airport

The first and oldest wasabi shop, Tamaruya, is still very much in business in Shizuoka City and even has a stand in Haneda Airport, Shizuoka City!

Wasabi growing is backbreaking work. You need a constant temperature, so you have to be located at a certain altitude (weel over 1,000 metres in some cases) as extreme heat is not welcome, as well as extrem cold.

Pure, soft, constant water is a must. Shizuoka water is known as the best in Japan as demonstrated by its superlative (and rare) sake.

Fields need constant care during the two years it takes for roots to be mature. You can drink the water in these fields without any fear!

WASABI IN JAPANESE CUISINE

If you want to grate your own wasabi, you will need a grater.
The best (above) are made with shark skin!
Grated wasabi is the most common use for the plant, especially with sushi and sashimi.

Wasabi Flowers.

But the stems, leaves and flowers are extensively used.
The leaves can be eaten raw and are great with miso!

The stems are a delicacy marinated in rice vinegar.

Wasabi zuke/wasabi stems and flowers pickled in sake kasu/sake white lees.
Wasabi zuke in Shizuoka is simply extravagant as the sake breweries sell their best white lees/sake kasu (after the sake has been pressed) to the local farmers and producers!

Soon I will post an interesting home-made recipe for wasabi zuke!

The same leaves, once pickled, can be included inside inari zushi for the pleasure of vegans!

Na no hana/rape flowers boiled and seasoned with wasabi mayonnaise.

Now, you might know it, but thinly sliced wasabi root is not as strong as grated wasabi. In Shizuoka, as it is not that expensive, try and ask your favourite sushi chef to cut it in very thin strips and roll as it is in a “maki”. It’s called “namida maki/tear maki” or “bakudan maki/bomb maki” (the real one, not the buster made with grated wasabi!). A favourite of mine!

FRENCH CUISINE

Wasabi is getting more and more popular in French and other cuisines all over the world.
The above dish was created by Dominique Corby a great French Chef who learned his craft at the Tour d’Argent in Paris, among others, before coming to Japan to look after the kitchen of the Sakura Restaurant in the New Otani Hotel in Osaka and of the 6eme Sens in Tokyo.

His cuisine was created with whole wasabi (1 metre long!) i sent him by cool box from Shizuoka.
These are the best grown in Utogi. Very fat, clean, with no black marks and with enormous stems and leaves. Dominique steame the leaves and stems before serving them with fish seasoned with a wasabi sauce reduction from the roots!

FANCY FOODS

Wasabi Dango!

Wasabi comes into many kinds of fancy food for the pleasure of all, young and old!

Wasabi soft Ice-cream!

DERIVATED PRODUCTS

Wasabi comes into a whole array of derivated products worth exploring:

Wasabi Dressing 1

Wasabi Dressing 2

Wasabi dressing is not that strong and can be used in cold and hot/warm dishes.
The Missus uses it extensively with dtir-fried veetables and meat.

Nori/seaweed and miso seasoned with wasabi is another great vegan seasoning!

Wasabi salt by Tamaruya!

Stewed wasabi by Tamaruya!

Wasabi Shochu!

The only true wasabi shochu is made by Bandai Brewery in Shuzenji, Izu peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture! (don’t be fooled by unscrupulous producers/traders!).

HEALTH FACTS:

-Wasabi is a natural medicinal herb as it contains big amounts of Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin B2 ad C.

-Combined with vinegar, or mustard, or ginger, helps combat fppd poisining, obesity and helps blood flow.

-Combined with Chinese cabbage, or cabbage, or yam, helps combat ulcers and cancer.

-Combine with onion, or leek, or galic chive, helps combat blood vessel ageaing and heart diseases, as well as preserve skin health.

-Combined with chili peppers, or umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums, or orange, or grapefruit, helps appetite and quick illness recovery, helps skin rejuvenation and helps combat ageing.

FOR RESIDENTS AND VISITORS IN SHIZUOKA CITY:

On every first Wednesday of the month, a small but very special fair is held in the basement of Isetan Store in Shizuoka City.
It is called “Shizuoka Utsurogi Ichiba” after a group of farmers residing and conducting business up Abe River in Shizuoka City, up to an altitude of 1,500 metres, around Utogi, the birthplace of wasabi, and still considered the best in the world.
Try to come as soon as Isetan opens as it can become quite a unashamed tussle with all these local grannies fighting for the best morsel!
All products on sale are purely local and practically devoid of industrial fertilizers. It is actually a paradise for vegetarians as only vegetables are represented there. A multitude of succulent and extravagant wasabi pickles, pickled plums, onions, etc.
The names, addresses and even phone numbers of the farmers are clearly stated, making all purchases eminently traceable.

But the pinnacle is some incredible fresh vegetables, including enormous fresh wasabi roots at ridiculously low prices. I grabbed tis couple of fresh bouquets of wasabi stems, leaves and flowers for my better half (worse?) who loves them as tempura or home-made pickles! I wonder what people in Tokyo would have to pay for that!

It is possible to travel up to Utogi and buy directly from the Farmers Cooperative at:
422–8031 Shizuoka City, Yumei Cho, 2-20
TEl.: 054-2869018

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Bread + Butter, Comestilblog, Greedy Girl, Bouchon For 2, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Mangantayon, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles, Lexi, Culinary Musings, Eats and Everything, Bite Me New England, Heather Sweet, Warren Bobrow, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Ramendo, Alchemist Chef, Ochikeron, Mrs. Lavendula, The Gipsy Chef, Spirited Miu Flavor, Wheeling Gourmet, Chef de Plunge, Sushi Nomads, Island Vittles, The French Market Maven, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glas, Palate To Pen, Tokyo Foodcast, Good Beer & Country Boys, Tokyo Terrace, Think Twice, Jefferson’s Table, While mY Sautoir Gently Weeps

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Vegan Japanese Cuisine: Grilled Aubergines-Egg Plants and Garlic Chives Dressing

Looking through my notes I found another easy vegan Japanese recipe with aubergines/egg plants that requires only little work and provides plenty of beneficial elements!

Chinese Chives, or Garlic Chives (English), Ciboule de Chine (France), or Nira/韮 in Japanese have a dintinct taste and are widely used in Japanese cuisine for fried foods.
Both leaves and the stalks of the flowers are used as a flavoring similarly to chives, green onions or garlic and are used as a stir fry ingredient.

Garlic Chives and tofu.

The flowers may also be used as a spice. In Vietnam, the leaves of garlic chives are cut up into short pieces and used as the only vegetable in a soup of broth.

Grilled Aubergines/Egg Plants and Chinese Chives Dressing!

INGREDIENTS: For 3~4 people

-Aubergines/Egg plants: 3
-Garlic Chives/Nira: 1 bunch
-Soy sauce: 1.5 tablespoons
-Rice vinegar: 1 tablespoon
-Sugar: 1/2 tablespoons
-Sesame oil: 1/2 tab;espoon
-White sesame seeds: 1 tablespoon

RECIPE:

-Chopp the garlic chives finely. Drop tthm in saucepan with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Mix well. Let marinate for 15 minutes, stirring form time to time.

-Cut the stem end of the aubergines./ egg plants
Grill the egg plants/aubergines directly over the flame on a grill.
Doing it in the oven is fine, too.

-Once the the egg plants/aubergines have been evenly grilled and become soft inside, peel them completely.

-Cut the aubergines/egg plants into bite-sized pieces and serve topped with plenty of garlic chives dresing.

-Can be savoured hot, lukewarm or chilled!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES
Not-Just-Recipes, Bengal cuisine, Cooking Vegetarian, Frank Fariello, Gluten-free Vegan Family, Meatless Mama, Warren Bobrow, Wheeling Gourmet, Le Petit Cuisinier, Vegan Epicurean, Miss V’s Vegan Cookbook, Comestiblog, To Cheese or not To Cheese, The Lacquer Spoon, Russell 3, Octopuspie, Bread + Butter, Pegasus Legend, Think Twice, The French Market Maven

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