Imo: “Japanese Tubers”-The Varieties and Basic Knowledge


“IMO YOUKAN”, Japanese vegan cake made with sweet potato

Following the numerous queries on recently posted articles on “IMO” or “TUber” in Jaoanese, I thought it would come useful to froup all these articles into a single one for better comprehension and easier reference.

The problem is that “IMO/芋” in Japanese is a generic term used for all tubers, which mans totally unrelated species in some cases!

As far as the Japanese gastronomy is concerned, “IMO” can be divided roughly into 4 distinct groups:

SATO IMO/里芋, or TARO in English.
These are usually steamed or boiled and eaten as such or further cooked in stews. They can also be stewed directly by peeling and cutting them before throwing them into the pot.
It originated in Indonesia. Iy is becoming increasingly available in Asian markets all over the world.

YAMA IMO/山芋/ or YAM in English.
Yams can be eaten raw cut to size in salads, or grated as “Tororo Jiru/とろろ汁” (A specialty of Shizuoka Prefecture!) and served with rice, sashimi and so forth.
Grated, it also becomes a valuable liaise/link ingredient in Japanese gastronomy as a subsitute for wheat or cornstarch.
Varieties are found in many countries, but the Japanese use is very distinct.
Look for them in Asian markets.

SATSUMA IMO/薩摩芋/, or SWEET POTATOES in English.
Originating from the American Continent, they have become a universal treat.
Japan, on the other hand, has developped many local varieties over the years.

JYAGA IMO/じゃが芋, or POTATOES in English.
Like the sweet potatoes, potatoes Originated from the American Continent and have become the universal vegetable par excellence!
Japan, likewise, has developped many local varieties over the years.

Although plenty of explanations and suggestions will be found below, vegan and vegetarian should refer to VEGAN RECIPES where IMO is extensively represented, while omnivores should check SIMPLE RECIPES where they will have to look around!LOL

As this posting is for sharing do feel free to boroow and copy whatever strikes your fancy!

SATO IMO/里芋/TARO

Taro, also called Dasheen, and one of several plants called Cocoyam ,is a tropical plant grown primarily as a vegetable food for its edible corm, and secondarily as a leaf vegetable. It is considered a staple in Oceanic cultures. It is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants. In its raw form the plant is toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate, although the toxin is destroyed by cooking or can be removed by steeping taro roots in cold water overnight. Taro is closely related to Xanthosoma and Caladium, plants commonly grown as ornamentals, and like them it is sometimes loosely called elephant ear.

The name “taro” is from Tahitian or other Polynesian languages; the plant is also called kalo (from Hawaiian), gabi in The Philippines, dalo in Fiji, Alu (अळू) in Marathi, seppankizhangu in Tamil, chembu in Malayalam, Arvee, Arvi, or Arbi in Hindi, Kosu in Assamese, Kochu(কচু) in Bengali, and Karkalo in Nepali.

In Japan, it is called satoimo (サトイモ, satoimo), (kanji: 里芋) “village potato”. The “child” and “grandchild” corms which bud from the parent satoimo, are called imonoko (芋の子, imonoko). Satoimo has been propagated in Southeast Asia since the late Jōmon period. It was a regional staple food before rice became predominant.

The tuber, satoimo, is often prepared through simmering, but occasionally grated and eaten raw or steamed. The stalk, zuiki, can also be prepared a number of ways, depending on its variety.

It is a very popular tuber in Japan and although the best season runs from September to November, it is very easy to conserve and is extensively used in many Japanese dishes.

It is of especially great value to vegetarians and vegans!

Here are some sample of cooking amenable to special priorities:

Sato Imo An/Taro in sweet and sour sauce

Taro wholly fried and seasoned with umeboshi/pickled Japanese plums

Sato Imo Nikome/Stewed Taro

TARO/SATO IMO VARIETIES:

Ishikawawase, very tender once steamed. Must be peeled before consumption.

Dodare, with strong stickiness, very soft, prevalent in Eastern Japan.

Kyo Imo, also called Take no Ko Imo, very popular for its long shape.

Chiba Maru, great and elegant taste.

Ebi Imo, although called Tou no Imo, quite sticky.

Yatsu Gashira, “Eight heads”, great stewed.

Serebesu, little stickiness, can be cooked as normal potato.

Hasu Imo, is not actually the tuber itself but the stems, eaten as green vegetables.

Yamato Wase, from Niigate and Toyama Prefectures, very white, sticky and fine-grained.

Yahata Imo, from Niigata Prefecture, great for stews.

Dentouji Sato Imo, sticky. Stems can be also eaten.

Zuiki Imo, are actually edible shoots of sato imo, mainly cooked in stews.

FACTS:

-Very rich in potassium and phosphorus!
-Vitamins B1, B2 and C.
-Rich in fibers.

TIPS:

-Best season: September~November.
-Prevent them from getting dry. Wrap them in newspaper with their attached mud/soil and keep in a well ventilated place away from the light.
-When cut, the best specimens are uniformly white without specks or blemishes.
-Very beneficial against obesity.

HEALTH FACTS:

-Combined with eggs, or chicken, or sardines, or bonito, helps brain activity and increases stamina.
-Combined with tofu, or dry bonito shavings, or skimmed milk, helps brain activity.
-Combined with mushrooms, or devil’s tongue tuber, or burdock root, helps lower blood cholesterol and cobat high blood pressure and cancer.
-Combined with seaweed, or miso, or onions, or chili peppers, helps with digestion and blood flow.
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YAMA IMO/山芋/YAMS

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.

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SATSUMA IMO/薩摩芋/SWEET POTATOES

satsuma-1

Yams or “Satsuma Imo” were first introduced to Japan in the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa) in 1604 by the Chinese. It was then introduced in Kyushu in 1609, an area that grows 80% of the total Japanese production.
As rightly pointed out by Cometiblog, sweet potatoes should not be confused with yams or yama imo/山芋 in Japanese.

It has been recognized in this country for a long time for both its nutritional and pharmaceutical qualities.

satsumabeni_haruka

There are over a hundred species in Japan, but the most popular edible ones (not the ones exclusively used for making shochu) have red skins and light yellow flesh.

Beni Azuma, mostly eaten in Eastern Japan. Turns very sweet upon cooking.

Naruto Kintoki, popular in Western Japan. Considered elegant and sweet.

Tosabeni, also attributed “No 14 value (top)”, is very sweet and is a “brand name” sweet potato.

Cheese cake combination with Tosabeni Sweet Potato!

Manamusume, another “No 14 value” brand sweeet potato.

Gorou Shima Kintoki, particularly popular as baked sweet potato.

Kogane Sengan, considered as the top shochu sweet potato.

Tanegashima Mukashi Mitsu, a sweet potao with a beautiful orange colour and elegant taste.

Tanegashima Murasaki Imo, as above, but with a beautiful purple colour.

Annou Imo, rich in carotens, with a beautiful orange colour and very sweet.

Annou Imo cuisine!

Purple Sweet Road, an interesting name for a sweet tasty hybrid.

The same as above as hyokan Japanese jelly!

satsumatanegashima

My personal favorite is the “Tanegashima Gold Imo” grown in Taneko Island south of Kyushu. It has the particularity of being red when raw before chaning to a rich golden color when cooked. Among other varieties, the violet sweet potatoes are getting increasingly popular.

yummy
Tanekoshima sweet potato (deep yellow), “common sweet potato” (light yellow) and Murasaki/Violet potato.

The Missus particularly likes to mix the three above as a cold salad with mayonnaise or cream-based dressing.

FACTS:
-Season: September to November
-Main elements: Carbohydrates, Carotene, Vitamin B, C, E. Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, vegetal fibers.
-Beneficial to digestion. Good for the skin!
-Lose very little of its beneficial elements even after a long cooking.

TIPS:
-Choose specimens with nice color and a “fat/roundish” aspect!
-Plunge yam in cold water as soon as you have cut them. They will not lose their color!
-Boil, bake or steam long enough before taking skin off. Discard skin!
-Leaves can be eaten!

HEALTH FACTS:

-Combined with burdock root, or shiitake, or carrot, or spinach, helps combat colds, helps enhance skin health, helps combat llung and intestine cancer.
-Combined with devil’s tongue tuber, or hijiki sweet seaweeed, or beansprouts, or apple, helps combat cancer, constipation, obesity, and artery hardening.
-Combined with Judas ear mushroom, or shiitake, or seaweed, or hijiki sweet seaweed, helps lower blood cholesterol, helps combat obesity and diabetes.
-Combined with strawberries, or lemon, or pimentoes, helps combat stress, helps skin rejuvenation and intensifies appetite.

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JYAGA IMO/じゃが芋/POTATOES

potatoes

Incidentally (repeat!) nothing, pictures included, is copyrighted in my food blogs, so please feel free to use anything!

danshaku-potato
“Danshaku”

Potatoes were first introduced to Japan in 1910 by Baron Kawata from Great Britain/Ireland giving the name of “Danshaku/Baron” to the most commonly used potato in Japan, especially in croquettes and salads.

The biggest potato exporters to Japan are China and India, although more and more grown locally.
Over the years Japanese famers have greatly expanded the number of varieties, and it has became an embarrassment ofchoices.
Below are varieties found in Japnese supermarkets:

kitaakari-potato
“Kita Akari” used for mashed potatoes and croquettes,

mayqueen-potato
“May Queen” used in stews,

toyoshiro-potato
“Toyoshishiro” used for fried potatoes,

redandespotato
“Red Andes” used for croquettes and Pot au feu,

incanomezame-potato
“Inca No Mezame” used for stews.

“Inca No Hitomi”. Also called “Inca no Mezame”, they are popular for their nutty taste.

“Hokkai Kogane”. Grown mainly in Hokkaido Island, they have the particularity to oxydize and change colour a lot later than other potatoes.

“Tokachi Kogane”. Can be stocked and preserved a long time. Make for great fried potato chips!

“Mathilda”. Fine-grained and usually vey regular-shaped, theycan be presented whole for good effect.

“Touya”. Very good for long cooking as they don’t break away easily.

“Star Ruby”. A relatively new viety very apt for stews.

“Cynthia”. Recently imported vaiety from France. Very fine grain. Does break up even after being cooked long time.

“Kita Murasaki”. Very unusual potato with skin and flesh of the same colour. Better fried than boiled as wate will get couloured.

“Red Moon”. Also called “Red May Queen”, great for stews.

Potatoes are available all year round, but are at their peak from May to July in Japan when new potatoes can be eaten whole!
New potatoes can be found from Februray to June.

FACTS CARD:

-Season: All year round
-76 kcal per 10 g
-Main elements: carbohydrates (high energy), Vitamin C1, B1, B2, B6 (thanks to a large amount of natural starch in potatoes, the vitamin C will resist heating!), Potassium, Magnesium, Iron.
-Preservation: Wrap potatoes inside newspaper and keep them in a dark, well-ventilated place away from the sunlight.

TIPS:

-Choose specimens well-rounded and with healthy skin. Avoid specimens with buds or of greenish colour (risks of diarrhea). Cut out all “dark spots”!
-Preserve them together with apples to prevent buds from coming out!
-To avoid a change of colour, wash potatoes in water after peeling or cutting.
-If you want to keep your potatoes for a while after boiling them, plunge them in (change it as many times as necessary) cold water until completely cooled down. They will not break or crumble when used later.
-After boiling cut potatoes, throw away water and keep heating them until they have lost a great part of their moisture. They will attain a crispy enough nature without resorting to deep-frying!

HEALTH FACTS:

-Combined with kiwi fruit or cucumber, or green tea, or mayonnaise, they help combat cancer, high blood pressure and ageing.
-Combined with Chinese cabbage, or peach, or banana, or honey, they help combat digestive disorders.
-Combined lemon, or strawberries, or spinach, or broccoli, they help combat stress, constipation and cancer.
-Combined with vinegar, or chicken, or bonito (katsuo), or oysters, they provide extra body stamina.

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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Chinese-Style Sashimi!

Sashimi is not and should not the sole property of Japanese gastronomy.
After all, carpaccio is nothing but a varietyof sahimi!
I remember savouring this Cinese=style sashimi for the first time in Shizuoka City in a great French restaurant!

So next time you get your hands on a nice piece of fresh white-fleshed fish, why don’t you try experiment?
Below is the method. Do experiment with quantities!

Chionese-Style Sashimi!

INGREDIENTS: For 2~people

-Sole, Seabream, Snapper: a large fillet
-White leek: 1
-Fresh coriander: as appropriate
-Wantan, wonton, wuntun wrappers: as appropriate
-Peanuts: as appropriate
-Fresh ginger: as appropriate
-Lettuce: a appropriate
-Lemon or lime: as appropriate
-Peanuts oil: 2 tablespoons
-Sesame oil: 2 tablespoons

Sauce:
-Soy sauce: 3 tablespoons
-White leeks: 1 tablespoon (Chopped finely)
-Red chillies (sliced thin): 1
-Coriander (finely chopped): 1 tablespoon (chopped finely)
-White Sesame oil: 1 tablespoon

RECIPE:

-Cut the fish into thin slices.

-Cut the white leek into very thin strips, leave in water for a while and drain well.

-Cut the lettuce into 1 cm wide strips.

-Cut the wanton wrappers into 1 cm wide strips and deep-fried until crispy. Place them on a kitchen paper to absorb excess oil and cool down.

-Crush the peanuts in small bits.

-Cut the fresh ginger into very thin strips, leave in clean water for a while, then drain thoroughly.

-Prepare the sauce. in a bowl drop the soy sauce, chopped white leeks, thinly sliced red chili, chopped coriander and white sesame oil and mix well. If you warm this sauce up a little before pouring it over the fish, the flavours will be enhanced.

-On a serving dish (look at the picture!), place the slices of fish on a bed of lettuce and sprinkle with a very small amount of salt and pepper.

-Top with a much as you want white leek strips, ginger strips, deep-fried wanton wrappers, crushed peanuts, appropriately cut fresh coriander, lemon or lime slices and pour the sauce all over.

-As a last optional touch, heat peanuts oil and sesame oil (2 to 1) until it smokes and pour it over the top! You could also press a lemon over the top and add more spices in the sauce!

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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White Strawberries Tart!

Do you remember this posting about Strawberries Facts & Tips?

I introduced the “Hatsukoi no kaori/the Scent of First Love!” White Strawberry developped in 2006. Probably the most expensive strawberry in the world!

I also mentioned that 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.

Just discovered that Qu’Il Fait Bon, a large cake store has just been advertizing their new tart under the name of “Shiroi Ichigo~Hatsu Koi No Kaori/白いイチゴ~初恋の香り/White Strawberries=the Scent of First Love”!

At 1,575 yen a portion (16 US $) or 11,970 yen for the whole tart (125 US $), one (s) had better make sure this first love is the last and true one!LOL

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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Italian Restaurant: “Quick Fix” at Il Paladino

Rainy day/evening…
Having a break…
Il Paladino almost next door…
A no-brainer!

And I was there before I could say “it’s still raing cats and dogs outside!”.

“A plate of antipasti misto and make it small as I have to eat dinner back home!”
“Bona!”

Madago/octopus and Uikyou/Japanese fennel salad, Fritatta of zucchini and eggs, Broccoli AOP Peperocino with anchovy seasoning, and marinated tomato. And home-made focaccia and bread!

“You know, we have these big white asaparaguses from Holland…”
“Not fair! OK, I’ll have one of them!”

For another view.
The asparagus is simply grilled and served with a delicious dressing.
The new bamboo shoot is fried. It is actually the extremity of the shoot called “himekawa/姫皮/Princess’ skin”. The inside is almost fruity and part of the “leaves” are edible and crunchy! A great asociation of European and Asian vegetables!

Now, how was I going to explain that to the MIssus….

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Sicilian Cuisine. Top-class Italian wines and great collection of Grappa.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables.

Tratorria . Il Paladino
420-9839 Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajo, 2-8-19
Tel.: 054-253-6537
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30, 17:00~22:00
Closed on Mondays
Credit cards OK (Dinner only)

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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Steamed Sushi

A new foodie friend of mine, Michelle Karam, whom I met on Social Culinaire, was just mentioning she could not wait to come to Japan to eat sushi, as it was just frustrating and terribly expensive in her own country.
Well, why not making it yourself, then?
“It’s too difficult and one cannot get the ingredients!”
Really? There must be enough stores all the world by now which sell the basics. So why don’t you try this simple recipe for a start!

Steamed sushi!

INGREDIENTS: For 3~ people

-Rice: 3 cups/600 cc

Sushi vinegar:
-Rice vinegar: 3 tablespoons
-Sugar: just under 3 tablespoons
-Salt: 1 teaspoon

-Conger eels (anago/穴子): 3 (can be bought frozen
-Soy sauce: 2 tablespoons
-Mirin/Japanese sweet sake: 2 tablespoons

-Dried shiitake mushrooms: 3~4 (medium-sized)
-Dashi/Japanese soup stock: 1 cup/200 cc/ml
-Sugar: 1 tablespoon
-Soy sauce:1 tablespoon

-Trefoil or Italian Parsley: 1 bunch

-Eggs: 5
-Sugar: 1 teaspoon
-Salt: 1/2 teaspoon

-Amazu jinja/ginger marinated in sweet vinegar: as appropriate for decoration/seasoning

RECIPE:

-Wash rice and steam in the normal way

-Unless you can buy the conger eels already cooked and seasoned, vut their heads and tail, cut in half lengthwise and across again into one-bite sized pieces. Fry slowly with soy sauce and mirin/sweet sake until cooked and well-impregnated with seasoning sauce. Set apart.

-In a pan pour the dashi/Japanese soup stock. Add the dried shiitake and stew until the mushrooms have become soft. Add the sugar and soy sauce. Keep simmering until all liquid has disappeared. Let cool. Cut into fine slices. Set apart.

-Drop the trefoil in hot salted water for a few seconds. Drain well and cut into 2 cm long pieces.

-Make a thin omelette with the eggs beaten with sugar and salt. Cut into thin threads.

-Once the rice has been steamed, transfer it into a large vessel (wooden preferably, but a large ceramic dish will do). add the rice vinegar, sugar and salt evenly over it. Mix by “cutting in” the rice with a wet paddle. Add conger eels and their juices, shiitake mushrooms and mix lightly.

-Place an equal amount of the rice into bowls and steam (with a lid on) for 15 minutes over a strong fire. Open the lid, placean equal amount of eggthreads and steam again for 1 more minute.

-Serve topped with trefoil and sweet vinegar marinated ginger!

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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Zucchini Flower Fritters

Zuucchini flowers have been a long-time favourite of people living around the Mediterranean Sea, especailly in Italy and French Provence.
The Japanese has recently grown fond of not only zucchini, but laso their flowers and are growing them with a revenge!
It is little wonder they come up with their own, if much simpler, version of zucchini flower fritters!

INGREDIENTS: For 4 people

-Zucchini Flowers: 4
-Prawns/shrimps: 6 (medium-sized)
-Mozzarella Cheese (they make it in Jpaan, now! And that from real water buffaloes!): 1
-Onion: 3 tablespoons (very finely chopped)
-Flour: as appropriate (or if you are Japanese food cognizant, use tempura batter)
-Lemon juice: 1/2
-Baby leaves mix for accompaniment: as much as you like!
-Salt: as appropriate
-Pepper: as appropriate
-White wine: a little

RECIPE:

-Take the pistils out the zucchini flowers.

-“Peel” the shrimps if necessary and clean them. Cut them into 2 cm long pieces. Cut off half of the zucchini green part (not the flower) and cut again into 1 cm long pieces.

-Lightly fry the zucchini and shrimps with olive oil. Season with a litlle salt, pepper and white wine. Transfer into a bowl and let cool for a while.

-Cut the mozzarella into small pieces and add into the bowl. Mix the lot.

-Delicately open the zucchini flowers and fill them with the above mixture. Do not fill completely as you need to close the flower by twisting their extremities.

-Either wrap the flowers in a little flour or tempura batter and delicately them fry in shallow olive oil.

-Serve with baby leaves seasoned with a very little salt, some pepper and wine vinegar, and a wedge of lemon/lime.

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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Italian Restaurant: Acqua di Fonte

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: very clean all around
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Central and south Italian-style cuisine. Very reasonables prices. Very reasonably-priced wines.
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking at tables and most of the counter!

Acqua di Fonte/The Fountain Water followed in the steps of the good Italian restaurants in Shizuoka City when it opened this year on March 11th.
It is located in a former fashion shop in the Takajo district, which is fast becoming a reference in the whole Prefecture when it comes to tasting gastronomies from all corners of the world in a single area, and this at the highest level. As there arejust enough seats for 8 at the counter and 12 at tables, it is a good idea to reserve.

Young chef Hidetake Suzuki is a local as he was born in Fujieda City. Before working in another Italian restaurant in the same city, he spent no less than three and a half years studying his trade in Napoli and Sicilia, and it shows. Notwithstanding the great taste his cuisine is light, precise and very traditionally Italian in concept with great products and this at very reasonable prices.

The wine list is a welcome show of reasonability:
White and red wines are listed in three different parts at 2,800, 3,800 and 4,800 yen a bottle.
You can also order by the glass at 550 yen.

I ordered a very solid wine for 4,800 yen from the Campania region, KLEOS, Luigi Maffini, Aliano grapes.

Very deep red with a good fruity flavor. Very solid with welcome tanginess. Very good with meat in particular.

Dinner set menus are priced at 4,200, 6,000 and 8,000 yen but the carte is worth exploring with 9 Primi Piatti, 5 Secondi Piatti and 3 Dolce.
A short carte, but to the point and with some unusual discoveries.
Here is what I chose for my first visit:

Caprese salad. The tomatoes are Ameera Tomatoes from Shizuoka. The luccolla is wild luccolla!

Solento Gnocchi

Vitello Taliata/Veal with a sauce made with chestnut flower honey, red wine and balsamico!

A plate of Italian charcuterie!

The Focassa is home-made.

Semi-freddo di Mandorle/almond ice-cream!

Second visit planned soon! I certainly need to take better pictures next time!LOL

ACQUA DI FONTE Antica Osteria
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 1-10-10, Pia Takajo, 1F
Tel. & Fax: 054-266-6440
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00, 18:00~22:00
Closed on Wednesdays and first Tuesday
Credit cards OK

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