Vegan Japanese Cuisine: New Lotus Roots & Umeboshi

Lotus roots, when new and fresh, should be prized for their great natural taste. They can even be eaten almost raw after a little marinating. The Japanese have a simple and delicate way to prepare them with umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums, which should please vegans and vegetarians (and omnivores). It certainly makes for a great snack with Japanese sake or shochu!

INGREDIENTS:

-Lotus root: 1 piece, 10 cm long. Choose it absolutely fresh and comparatively slender.
-Umeboshi: 2
-Shiso/perilla leaves: 2
-Japanese sake: according to taste and preferences.
-Soy sauce: according to taste and preferences.
-Rice vinegar: according to taste and preferences.

RECIPE:

-Peel and cut the lotus root into hin slices. Wash them 2 or 3 times in cold clean water.

-In a pan heat some water to just before boiling point. Add some rice vinegar and cook the lotus roots in eat until they become translucent.
Do not overcook them. Drain them thoroughly and put aside.

-Take the seeds out of the umebshi and sieve the meat into a bowl. Add Japanese sake (or cooking sake) to make it into a thin liquid paste. add a few drops of soy sauce for seasoning. Taste. If it is too sour to your liking add some mirin/sweet Japanese sake.

-Add the umeboshi to the lotus roots slices and mix well so as to cover all the lotus root slices surface.

-Cut the shiso/perilla leaves in 3 first, then chopp them fine across.

-Serve as in the picture, lotus root sliced mounted on top of each other and topped with chopped shiso leaves.

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: Deep-fried Meat Balls

Meat balls are easy to make and they arepopular all over the world!
The difference resides in the way of cooking and ingredients.
Here is a favourite Japanese recipe you can enjoy all year round with Japanese sake, shochu or beer!

Deep-fried Meat Balls!

INGREDIENTS:

-Minced pork: 400 g
-Green leeks: 1 tablespoon (finely chopped)
-Ginger juice: half a teaspoon
-Grated garlic: half a teaspoon
-Egg: 1
-Japanese sake: 1 tablespoon
-Salt: half a teaspoon
-Soy sauce: 1 tablespoon
-Sesame oil: 1 teaspoon
-Cornstarch: 2 tablespoons
-Flour: 2 tablespoons

-Deep-frying oil

-Greens/green leaves: for decoration

RECIPE:

-Mix well all ingredients in a larg bowl.

-Shape balls of your preferred size (small is best!)

-Deep-fry. Now if the oil is too hot, only the outside will be well-cooked. Deep-fry at about 170 degrees Celsius and slowly/long enough to allow the inside to be well-cooked.

-As they are tasty enough as they are, just add a few greens and serve!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Social Culinaire, Sushi Nomads, Cook, Eat & Share, Gourmet Fury, 5 Star Foodie, Easy Does It Recipes, Oyster Culture, Once A Chef

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Vegetables facts & Tips 19: Yama Imo/Yama No Imo/Japanese Yam

Yama no Imo Plant

Yama Imo or Yama no Imo/山芋 is the Japanese name for Japanese Yam.
It has been picked in its natural form and cultivated for eons in Japan where it comes into many recipes, either as a vegetable of its own or as an additive to Japanese recipes as a liaising ingredient.
It is also extensively used in vegetarian (vegan) cuisine in this country.
It is also very much valued for its stamina and medicinal properties.

FACTS:

-Contains a high amount of potassium, calcium, magnesium, natrium and other minerals.
Rich in Vitamin B1, B2, B6 and C and vegetal fibers.

-Easy to digest and eat either raw or cooked.

VARIETIES:

There are quite a few varieties and can be all used in the same way:

Yama no imo: Nagaimo/長い芋

Shizenjyo is the natural and highly priced Japanese Yam!

Ichyo Imo

Tsukune Imo

Mukago

Mukago is actually the aerial seed and can be eaten. Slightly expensive considering the size, but great taste, boiled or deep-fried.

TIPS:

-Choose a specimen that shows a uniform colour without blemishes.

-Some people’skin might get irritated when cutting the yama Imo. In this case deep-freeze it first and cut it as it is.

-Preserve as a whole wrapped into newspaper inside the fridge.

-Preserve it cut inside an airtight vinyl bag in the freezer.

COOKING:

It is greatly appreciated just cut in thin slices/sticks with a little ponzu, shiso and ponzu!

It is often served as a component of an array of dishes into a full Japanese meal. Grated into paste, it is called “tororo”.

It can be sauteed/fried with olive oil, sesame oil or butter!

Grated, it can combined with tofu,

or into okonmiyaki!

It can also become a great appetizer when combined with agar agar!

Europeans and Americans will appreciate it as a gratin!

HEALTH FACTS:

-Combined with daikon, or turnips, or Chinese cabbage, or chili peppers, helps reinforce the digestive system and appetite.

-Combined with okra, or lotus roots, or nameko mushrooms, helps lower blood cholesterol and provides additional stamina.

-Combined with soy beans, or pomegranate, or myoga ginger, helps balance hormones and blood circulation.

-Combined with cabbage, or potatoes, or broccoli, or Chinese cabbage, helps combat cancer and ageing.

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Social Culinaire, Sushi Nomads, Cook, Eat & Share, Gourmet Fury, 5 Star Foodie

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Horsemeat Steak at Pissenlit

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!

The Japanese love horsemeat.
Whereas the French will eat it in the shape of fried steaks or steak tartare (did you know that the real tartare steak is made from horsemeat?), the Japanese will eat it as sashimi. They also will let it mature frozen and thaw justenough before savouring it!

Pissenlit, being a French restaurant in Shizuoka City, the approach is naturally totally different!

The meat is prime horsemeat from Normandie horses raised in Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu Island.
Chef Tooru Arima will fry it slowly to perfect tenderness and serve it with a red wine sauce of his own.

He will place the steak on a slice of kooushi daikon and surround it with other organic vegetables: kikabu/yellow turnip, Stick Senior/Broccoli variety, kiiro and aka ninjin/yellow and red carrots, mekabetsu/Brussels sprouts, Milano daikon. All vegetables are grown in Mishima City, Shizuoka Prefecture except for the Brussels sprouts from Kyoto.

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Social Culinaire, Sushi Nomads, Cook, Eat & Share, Gourmet Fury, 5 Star Foodie

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Vegan Treats at Yasaitei

Once I explained the notion of “Jooren” or “regular customer” in Japan.
Whereas in many other countries patronizing the same establishment on a regular basis might be considered at best as an ostentatious show, and a disreputable habit at worst, eating and drinking out in Japan is a sine qua non prerequisite to a successful life, both professional and social. Therefore it always is a good idea to ptronize a few etablishments even if it is for a quick drink or snack.
It also makes conversation so much easier and the visits more welcome as it provides a pleasant break from the usual coded life of the Japanese.

good Japanese chefs will always tackle the challenge to satisfy culinary priorities, including vegetarianism and veganism. After all, most omnivores’ food is over 80% vegetarian. Don’t be afraid to ask for precise explanations of your food!

This “o-toshi”/snack served with first drink consists of komatsuna/Japanese Mustard Spinach, enoki mushrooms, mitsuba/trefoil and nameko mushrooms prepared in o-hitashi style/slightly boiled and cooled down before being served in their own juices.

As for drinks, do not worry as Japanese sake and shochu are vegan.
This particular shochu is a bit extravagant. It was distilled by Takashima Brewery in Numazu City, Shizuoka, from the white lees of supelative sake before being matured for a couple of years in sherry barrels imported from Sapin!
Tastes like a soft flowery whisky!

vegerables are plentuful in Japan, and especially in Shizuoka.
They make for beautiful presentation with a minimum of care and improvisation.
Back home, first choose a nice tray to present to your friend or family!
The concept is almost like a flower arrangement!

The best “sauce” for such a vegan sashimi is a mixture (according to your preferences) of sesame oil, sea salt and dark miso!

Wherever you are, I’m sure you will find plenty of vegetables to work with:
In our case,we have form the left: Myoga ginger sprouts, Ice plant, Ameera/very sweet tomato and young ginger roots. It is the season for the laterr and they are so tender that they make a very tasty, crucnhy, raw treat!

Daikon (choose the upper part, as the pointed end is a bit too strong!) on a leaf of shiso/perilla and thinly sliced Spring onions from Shizuoka, radish, kiirokyo ninjin/Yellow Kyoto carrot and those crunchy Japanese cucumbers!

A “side view” to help you understand the presentation!

And another one from the other end!

I sincerely hope this will have given you a few ideas!

YASAITEI
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-Cho, 1-6-2 Green Heights Wamon 1-C
Tel.: 054-2543277
Business hours: 17:30~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Reservations highly recommended
Seating: 6 at counter + 20 at tables
Set Courses: 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 yen
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Guinea Fowl White Liver Terrine at Pissenlit

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!

Pissenlit, one of the very best French restaurants in Shizuoka City is rapidly earning a lot of attention, not only because of the supreme quality of all the ingredients Chef Tooru Arima uses, but also because of the originality and concept of many of his creations!

I recently had the fortune to discover and savour a terrine made of the “white liver” of guineal fowls raised in Iwate Prefecture, a region celebrated for its Japanese sake and oysters.
The concept was very similar to foie gras (listen, Arnie!), but lighter and I would dare say, more elegant. The pork fat/lard around it (I d not eat it) preserved the texture and taste to perfection.
Just a little toasted bread, roughly ground black pepper and dry figs made for a simple and perfect complement.

A leaf of Kyoto-grown Italian Funtaretta (chickory) provided for the vital tangy association to the sweetness of the terrine and a healthy dose of Vitamin and fibers!

It just shows you don’t have to go too far to have a taste of France!

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
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Social Culinaire, Sushi Nomads, Cook, Eat & Share, Gourmet Fury, 5 Star Foodie

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/15)

The Missus made this bento today because she is having her annual check-up tomorrow morning, meaning she will have to eat dinner before I arrive back home. Since I’m on a diet, I will do with a protein drink tonight!

In such cases she opts for “open sandwich” bentoes, with the result of an easyand healthy lunch.

She toasted English muffin and provided me with a small pot of salmon paste.

As for the garnish, it included lettuce, red radishes and their leaves and dip (I always eat the leaves!), seasoned salad of celery, cucumber and red cabbage, mini tomatoes, raw ham, cheese and walnuts and plenty of fruit: pink grapefruit, kiwi fruit and benihoppe/red cheeks strawberries. the latter two are grown in Shizuoka!

Colourful and plenty of Vitamins (real ones!)

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet

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