Chinese Cuisine: Home-Made Sweet Bean Paste/Tiánmiànjiàng

Sweet bean sauce also known as sweet bean paste, sweet soybean paste, sweet flour sauce, or sweet noodle sauce, is a thick, dark brown- or black-colored Chinese sauce made from wheat flour, sugar, salt, mantou, and ground fermented yellow soybeans (that is, what is left of the soybeans after the fermentation of soybeans into soy sauce).

Not only the Chinese, but the Japanese use it a lot when they make their own-style Chinese food!
You can avoid looking for it by making it yourself and at the same time control the ingredients.
Here is a simple suggestion for a home-made recipe!
And it has the merit to be vegan/vegetarian!

INGREDIENTS:

-Red miso: 600 g
-Sugar: 300 g
-Soy sauce: 5 tablespoons
-Japanese sake/Cooking sake: 3 tablespoons
-Water: 3 cups/600 cc/ml

RECIPE:

-Pour all ingredients into a large enough pan and stir well.

-Switch on fire and cook over low fire stirring all the time.

-The water will gradually disappear. When large bubbles break out on the surface, switch off fire and let cool completely.

-Transfer into a vessel you can securely close and keep in the fridge.
The sauce can be preserved for 4 months in the fridge.

USE SUGESTIONS:

With tofu:
Vegan, vegetarians can fry vegetables with tofu and sauce.
Omnivores can add minced meat fried beforehand.

With noodles:
Vegan, Vegetarians can fry vegetables and nuts in the sauce before topping the noodles (non-egg noodles)

Can be added to stewed beef (and sprinkled with some chopped leeks just before serving).

Can be used in sauce for “Hayashi Rice”, a typical Japanese beef and rice dish.

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, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Bento Boutique, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento

Please check the new postings at:
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Yakitori Recipes: Sasami 1

My friend Island Vittles has decided to start a series on that worldwide known Japanese specialty that is “Yakitori/焼き鳥/”Grilled Chicken”.
I hope that this series of postings on various basic recipes will help her and all other foodies interested in that simple, healthy and so delicious delicacy!

“Sasami/ささ身 or 笹身” may be roughly translated as “white light chicken meat”. It is found in the breast (see picture above) and is considered the most tender part of the chicken.

“Sasami” as sold in Japanese supermarkets.

SASAMI RECIPES 1: Soft sasami on skewers

INGREDIENTS: For 10 sticks

-Chicken Sasami: 400 g (or 10 sasami)
-Skewers: 10
-Japanese sake: as appropriate
-Chicken soup stock (powder): 1/2 tablespoon (best is Chinese chicken bones soup stock powder)
-Sesame oil: as appropriate

RECIPE:

-Cut each sasami into 4~6 pieces for each skewer.
Drop all the cut chicken in a bowl and add just enough sake for seasoning/marinating. Add chicken soup stock powder and mix well by hand.
Let marinate for 30 minutes.

Drain chicken (throw away the “juices) with a sieve or “Zaru” (Japanese bamboo sieve). Transfer into clean bowl and add enough sesame oil to season the whole. Stir with hand for even seasoning.

-Skewer the sasami pieces.

-Grill both sides.
Don’t overgrill. No “black spots” should appear.

-Serve.
Best served with real wasabi.
You may of course serve them with a little salt, or pepper or whatever you fancy.
Have lettuce handy for a great and simple combination.
For foodies of all ages!

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, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Bento Boutique, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento. Island Vittles

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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Vegan Japanese Cuisine: Yuzu Miso Dressing

Vegan and vegetarians do sometimes experience problems making dressings for their food.
The Japanese have an easy and very tasty way to remedy for such an issue:
Yuzu Miso Dressing/Lime and miso dressing!

INGREDIENTS: To accompany 5 steamed turnips

-White miso: 150 g
-Dashi: (Check HERE for Vegan Recipe!): 2~ tablespoons
-Japanese sake: 2 tablespoons
-Sugar: 2 teaspoons
-Yuzu/lime juice: 2 teaspoons
-Yuzu/Lime zest (finely chopped or better, grated): 1/2

RECIPE:

-In a pan drop the white miso, sugar, sake and dashi. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved. Switch on fire.

-Cook on a small fire for 7~8 minutes. Switch off fire. Add the yuzu/lime juice and grated yuzu/lime zest. Mix well.

-Pour over steamed vegetables and serve immediately.

Easy, isn’t it? But delicious!

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, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Bento Boutique, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/24): Hail, Cherry Blossoms & Imo

Now, you may ask why I gave this “subtitle” to Today’s bento!
“Hail” for bento? Unless it is an ice-cream bento…

Actually we had a good 10 minutes of hail in Shizuoka City yesterday afternoon, and this only in our city! On the other hand some people were blocked for the night in the vicinity of Mount Fuji.
If I recall properly, itis only the third time I witness such an event in 34 years of lif in this town. No wonder the TV crews were out in force downtown!

Now cherry blossoms are easier to understand.
Japan, like many other countries in the Northern Hemisphere has gone through a very unseasonably cold winter. At long last cherry blossoms are litterally exploding into full bloom around us.
The above picture was taken along the moat of Sumpu Castle.
On the other hand I don’t know if these flowers will last until the Shizuoka Festival starting on the 1st of April as the next two days will see more rain…

For today’s bento the Missus used the other cedar wood box she bought from Akita Prefecture. Contrary to yesterday, this box is made of sturdy lacquered cedar wood. The two tiers can be used a single box with the second tier becomeing the lid. A “belt” is also provided for securing it.
It is also cheaper, but still expensive at a little less than 50 US$, but it is very resilient.

First the rice or staple “dish”.

The Missus steamed plain rice with a piece of konbu/seaweed.
Having filled the box with it, she sprinkled the middle first with “katsuo soboro/鰹そぼろ/”, that is coked bonito “powder” (not dry) and then with Japanese-style (chopped) cucumber pickle for a colourful contrast.

She added two types of pickles: home-made sweet (sweet vinegar) carrot pickles and pickled daikon slices I got from a friend who travelled to Niigata Prefecture on the other side of Japan. The latter is very crunchy and tasty.

And then for the garnish “dish”.

The meat is Japanese-style char siu/kakuni pork she cooked in a jiffy in a pressure cooker, and the egg is another specialty of hers, half-boiled and sprinkled with roasted/black sesame seeds.

The opposite extremity was filled with boiled peas in their pods and home-made sweet pickled myoga ginger.

The middle is occupied with what justifies the third element of the title: imo.
She simmered yellow and violet satsuma imo/sweet potatoes together with a dash of honey (she wouldn’t tell me more…).
Cetainly makes for great colours and taste.
Sorry for the slightly fuzzy pictures (the Missus is giving me hell for that, but that gives her an incentive to take her own ics!LOL).

For dessert, Shizuoka-grown Benihoppe/Red Cheeks strawberries!

Do I need to tell you I’m looking forward to next week?

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, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Bento Boutique, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi; Happy Little Bento

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Japanese Snack/Dessert: Daigaku Imo/”University Sweet Potatoes”

Daigaku Imo litterally means “University Sweet Potato”!
This snack/dessert became popular in the 1910’s in the vicinity of kanda in Tokyo where students were queuing at food stands serving them. They made for a hearty, cheap and nutritious food for hungry students, men and ladies alike. In the late 1920’s Tokyo University students were selling for pocket money. In 1940 they were sold by Mikawaya Store.
They are still very popular and are often cooked at homes or in Izakayas!

INGREDIENTS: For 1~2 people

-Sweet Potato (Satsuma Imo): 1
-Oil for frying: as appropriate
-Black sesame seeds: as appropriate

Sauce (tare)
-Cane sugar: 2 tablespoons
-Honey (liquid): 1 tablespoon
-Soy sauce: 1/2 tablespoon
-Water: 1 tablespoon

RECIPE:

-Clean the sweet potato and cut into one-bite dices (keep the skin on, it’s full of nutritious ingredients!). Throw them in a large pan. Pour oil on top and fry over a medium fire.

-The oil will heat up until it reaches 170 degrees Celsius. At that time the sweet potato will have attained a golden colour. Take the sweet potato dices out and let them rest on a kitchen paper to take off excess oil.

-Empty the pan of its oil and wipe the indide with kitchen paper and pour the sauce (tare) ingredients into it.

-Simmer over a medium fire. When bubbles appear, throw in the sweet potato dices and toss them until they are well-coate with the sauce.

-Serve hot on a plate with a generous sprinkling of black sesame seeds!

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, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Bento Boutique, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/23): Akita Cedar Wood Bento Box

The Missus at long last received the two cedar wood bento boxes she had ordered from Akita Prefecture in the far north of Japan!
The one she used today cost a whopping 90 US$ although she managed to buy it through the Internet for a little less than 60 US $.

The reason for such a cost is that all boxes are manually fabricated with the best cedar wood cut into very thin sheets to be later shaped with molds and then affixed to each other in painstaking process. Such boxes are washable, although they need some care then. The fact is that the cedar wood will add extra flavour to the food!

The box comes into two tiers with a lid, a small inner mobile partition and its own lacquered cedar wood chopsticks. A “belt” is also provided to secure the box before the Missus wraps it in napkin.
Traditional multi-tiered bento boxes used to be secured with bamboo twine or tightly wrapped into a large piece of cloth.

The boxes seem to be of small small size at first look but they contain more than one might think thanks to their depth.

Not only the box, but the meal too as very traditionla today!
The rice was plain rice steamed with konbu/seaweed and later mixed with home-sweet vinegar pickled myoga ginger and sprinkled with roasted yellow and black sesame seeds.

The Missus fried the salted salmon she bought at the local supermarket in a teriyaki sauce of her own. Shee added some home-pickled wasabi stems for extra punch.

The garnish box was filled to the brim!

The vegetables are separated with a small cedar wood partition:
on the right is mixture of yama imo/yam, red and green pimentoes and carrot strips fried together in spicy sauce with hijiki/sweet seaweed;
on the left salad of rapeseed flowers with their stwms and leaves seasoned with gomadare/sesame dressing and sprinkled with ground roasted sesame seeds.
Note that the salads are placed inside paper cups to avoid too much direct contact with the wood.

As for dessert, The Missus included freshly fried plain tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette.
Tamgoyaki is readily available in supermarkets amd are tasty enough, but contains large amounts of sugar and preservatives. The Missus never touches them.
On the other hand the sweet beans were bought at the supermarket, although the Missus from time to time uses beans cooked by her mother.

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, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Bento Boutique, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi; Happy Little Bento

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Japanese Dessert: Beni Imo Cheese Cake/Violet Sweet Potato Cheese Cake

Debra at Hapabento mentioned that she calls her Violet Sweet Poatatoes Okinawa Sweet Poataoes. Actually, Okinawa is famous all over Japan for its Violet Sweet Potatoes/Beni Imo/紅芋 and cakes made with the same!

Here is an Okinawa-inspired cheese Cake recipe:
Violet Sweet Potato Cheese Cake/Beni Imo Cheese Cake!

INGREDIENTS:: For a 12cm-diameter mold

-Beni imo/Violet Sweet Potato: 120 g
-Cream Cheese: 90 g
-Cinnamon: 1/2~1 teaspoon
-Honey (liquid): 2 tablespoons
-Biscuits: 9~

Syrup:
-Sugra: 1 teaspoon
-Water: 1 tablespoon
-Liqueur of your choice: 1 teaspoon

-Egg yolk for “nappage”: as appropriate

RECIPE:

-Bring cream cheese to room temperature. Wrap the violet sweet potato into cellophane paper and heat in microwave oven until soft.

-Prepare the syrup: Mix water and sugar and heat in microwave oven for 1 minute to dissolve sugar in the water. Let cool and add liqueur.

-Work the cheese cream with a spatula until it has become smooth. Add violet sweet potato (take off the skin and mash it first), honey, and cinnamon in that order and mix well one at a time.

-Line a mold with baking paper. Line the bottom with crushed biscuit.

-Pour syrup over biscuit lining and wait until the biscuits have absorbed it.

-Pour the violet sweet potato cream cheese mix.

-Leave the mix inside the mold as it is or try and make it more decorative as above.

-Brush plenty of egg yolk all over the surface.

-Bake it 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.

-You may pour the mixture into an oven dish as above without the biscuits lining.

Simple, ain’t it?
The kids will love it!

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, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Bento Boutique, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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