Potato Gastronomy: The Real Potato Chips!

Now, what are real potato chips?

Not the French fries, which are actually Belgian fries.

And not the poor imitations you wolf down with untold amounts of salt and preservatives!

Real potato chips, as known in Great Britain or France (!) are made with potatoes, real ones I mean, and they are easy to make and much, much healthier!

Now, what do you need?
Potatoes, of course, a (very) little salt and good oil.

How do you prepare them?

Your potatoes, being old or not, can be used with a simple technique.

If they are old, no problem.
If you brush them (with a real hard brush) under clear water, you will be able to reduce their outer layer to a very thin skin that is edible (actually most of the really beneficient matters are contained in their skin!).

Cut them as thin as possible (with their skin!).

Important: slices of different thickness should not be fried together.
Try to separate them as shown on above pic and fry them separately.
Great fun if you have the kids around!

Clean potato slices in cold running water. This is an important step unless you want them to stick together, turn black and make a mess!
Dry them thoroughly inside a large clean cloth (or the water will fly upon frying!).

Heat frying oil to 170 degrees Celsius.

This is how your chips should look just before frying!

Use long wooden chopsticks to prevent chips from sticking to each other.

Your chips will change colour and, if the oil is at proper temperature, swell nicely!

Once you are satisfied with their colour, take them out of the oil and let them rest for a very short while over a fine mesh to get rid of excess oil. Sprinkle a (very) little salt for taste. I personally like some parmegiano and pepper instead of the salt!

Don’t forget the “wrong shapes”! They make for great chips, too, especially with the kids!

I usually serve the round chips with oven-baked chicken or guinea fowl!

Did I mention vegans can eat these?

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Today’s Bento/Lunch Box (12/15): Wild Onions E.T. Bento!

Now, why the heck should I call a bento, “Wild Onions E.T. bento”? LOL
If you look carefully at the photo you will understand. I shall explain in good time!

For once, we shall start with side dish, an enormous salad!

The Missus said she included 7 vegetables.
Let’s see: Qing geng cai/Green pak choi sprouts, lettuce, chopped red pepper, green pepper, cucumber, red onion, and mini tomatoes. That’s right, seven!
She placed plenty of shabu shabu thin slices of pork sprinkled with golden sesame seeds. I used gomadare/sesame dressing I have at the office to season it all.

Now, for the wild onions E.T.!
First of all, the Missus mixed the plain steamed rice with myoga pickled in sweet rice vinegar.
She then decorated the bed of rice with “sleeping” ノビル/野蒜/nobiru, wild onions!

The wild onions come from Mr. Onuma’s garden in Okitsu, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City!
The Missus boiled them and then wrapped them in their own leaves twisted back around their own stems before seasoning them with a dressing made of miso, amazu/sweet vinegar and mayonnaise. She finally put eyes on their “faces” with black sesame seeds!

As for dessert, kumquats/kinkan/金柑, also from Mr. Onuma’s garden.
The Missus prepared them as compote with sugar, honey and Cointreau Orange Liqueur!

An extravagant bento? Yes!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Crustacean Species 3: Squiila-Mantis Shrimp-Shako-蝦蛄

A tropical squilla!

Squillae as found on Japanese markets.
Note the dun color as they come from dark northern seas!

The Squilla or “Shako” (蝦蛄in Japanese) is a delicacy that appears on the sushi bar counters from April to Summer, although different varieties can be found in Hokkaido markets (Otaru City in particular) almost all year round.
You will discover it under names such as “Shaku” and “Gazaebi”.
They are actually caught in almost all Japanese seas, but the best are supposed to originate from Hokkaido.

Served boiled or steamed on their own, they make for a great snack!

Like any crustaceans, they can be eaten in many ways.
The Japanese favor the small kind with a violet back. I had the opportunity to buy some very large specimen in Otaru, and eat them just boiled and served with rice vinegar mixed with a little Japanese mustard, or in salads.
They almost disappeared from Tokyo Bay in the 1960’s but reappeared in the 1970’s. Most fishermen in the Kanto (Eastern Japan) area will place them in boxes themselves to sell them directly at fish markets. The market value can vary wildly, but look for the genuine harbor markets and buy them yourself.

Simple nigiri with boiled/steamed squilla

Naturally, they are most popular as nigiri sushi. Customers jokingly ask for “garage” (in English) as “shako” also means (different kanji, of course: 車庫) “garage”!

Seasoned with “tare” sauce.

An unusual offering with grilled squilla!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Oil Varieties: An Introduction

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

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

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

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

OLIVE OIL
OIL-OLIVES

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

SWEET ALMOND OIL
OIL-ALMOND

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

ARGAN OIL
OIL-ARGAN

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

PEANUT and ROASTED PEANUT OIL
OIL-PEANUTS

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

CANOLA or RAPE SEED OIL
OIL-RAPESEED

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

HAZLENUT OIL
OIL-HAZELNUT

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

WALNUT OIL
OIL-WALNUT

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

PECAN NUTOIL
OIL-PECAN

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

GRAPE SEED OIL
OIL-GRAPESEED

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

PINE NUT OIL
PINE-NUT

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

PISTACHIO OIL
OIL-PISTACHIO

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

SESAME OIL
OIL-SESAME

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

SOY BEAN OIL
OIL-SOYBEAN

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

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

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Weird Japan (15): Elephant’s Haircut or Elephant Haircut?

Found this in Kikugawa City on my way to another work…
What do you think tha shop is?

A beauty salon! or a hair salon!

I wonder if they have ever heard of pink elephants?

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Gastronomy: Vegan Japanese Simmered Egg Plant

Egg plants or aubergines, originating from India, are very popular in Japan and chefs have come up with many simple and succulent recipes in this country!

Here is a very simple one to satisfy the priorities of a vegan or vegetarian.
It makes for a great snack with your drink!

Japanese Simmered Egg plant/Nasi no Ni Komi/茄子乃煮込み

INGREDIENTS For 3 egg plants

Egg plants: 3 shortish and round
Soy sauce: 2 tablespoons
Sugar: 3 tablespoons
Dry short chili (鷹の爪): 1
Sesame oil: as appropriate

RECIPE

1)
Take/cut off the sepals and puncture the egg plant with a tooth pick in dozen places.

2)
In a wok or saucepan drop the egg plants and add soy sauce, sugar and chili. Switch the fire on to hot.
Rool the eggplant in the juices regularly.

3)
Once the liquid has reduced to half, turn the fire down to medium.

4)
Once the liquid has been absorbed by the eggplant add the sesame oil and roll the eggplants in them.
Switch off fire and serve!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Crustacean Species 2: Large Sweet Prawn-Botan Ebi-牡丹海老

Botanebi/”Botan” Prawn, or “Pandalus nipponesis” for the specialists, is a large prawn found in all seas of Japan, especially off Hokkaido Island, at depths varying from 300 to 500 metres. They are caught at 200~300 metres depth in Suruga Bay and along the Western coast of Izu Peninsula In Shizuoka Prefecture. Once abundant, they have become scarce and only small specimens are found, whereas Hokkaido produces up to 20cm-long prawns.

They are known under different names: “Toyamaebi and Kijiebi”.
It is not a cheap morsel in Sushi bars. But it is interesting to note they are essentially eaten raw as like “Amaebi”. They become very sweet after some time in the refrigerator.

They make for big servings as sushi nigiri!

Now, if you are lucky enough to find them fresh with their eggs, ask your chef to dress them as above for sashimi…

as sushi nigiri,…

or even better, put the eggs on top of a “gunkan nigiri”!

And one more thing, if they are fresh again, don’t forget to ask for the heads deep-fried!

Incidentally, botanebi change sex (gender) with age to end up as big juicy females!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Weird Japan (14): Planning for Divorce?

I don’t know what this shop/company deals with, but they probably meant “best Wedding”!
Probably a wedding or introduction company…

What would be a second wedding? LOL

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Sushi: Oshizushi-Pressed Sushi-The Techniques

1) Salmon Marinated in Seaweed/Sake Sushi Konbushime

Sushi exists under many forms and guises.
It not all nigiri and (more ubiquitous) sushi rolls!
Have you ever heard of Oshizushi?

Oshizushi (押し寿司, litterally pressed sushi), is a pressed sushi from the Kansai Region, a favourite and specialty of Osaka.

Oshibako unmounted

It is made with the help of a block-shaped piece formed using a wooden mold, called an oshibako/押し箱.

Oshibako lined with toppings

The chef lines the bottom of the oshibako with the toppings, covers them with sushi rice, and then presses the lid of the mold down to create a compact, rectilinear block.

Cutting Grilled Eel Oshizushi

The block is then removed from the mold and then cut into bite-sized pieces.

It is great fun to experiment at home for large parties or the family as you can include almost anything.
Moreover, oshizuhi is easy to transport and include in bento!

The recipes and techniques I’m introducing here are professional, but with a little practice I’m sure you will become a specialist

——————————

Oshizushi/Pressed Sushi Techniques 1: Salmon Marinated in Seaweed/Sake Sushi Konbushime

For sushi rice preparation, check HERE for previous posting!

Konbushime/昆布〆means that the fish is “marinated with seaweed.

Konbu/Seaweed is now readily available on Japanese and Asian markets all over the world or on the internet.

Two types of konbu/seaweed are used:
-Dark/black thick Konbu/Seaweed is bought dry and has to be softened in lukewarm water for a while. That particular step is very easy to learn.
Keep in mind it is edible, although after marination, it should be discarded.

-Thin, light coloured (almost transparent) is used as an ingredient both for taste and the finishing touch. If not available, you may replace it with fine green leaves.
It is called “Kagome Konbu/かごめ昆布”.

An even better light seaweed is called “Take Kawa Konbu/竹皮昆布/Bamboo Skin Saweed” and is widely used by professionals.

Both light coloured seaweeds have to be softened in lukewarm water, sponged off and spread into thin sheets first. But it is really worth the work!

After having softened the dark konbu, spread it over a clean working table and place the fresh (fresh, please!) salmon slices over one sheet and covering the lot with another sheet.
Wrap it in cellophane paper and leave it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

During that time soften light seaweed in lukewarm water and spread it over a clean cloth.

Line the bottom of the oshibako/box with one layer of salmon (no dark seaweed!). Spread light seaweed over the salmon and spread a first layer sushi rice.

Repeat the same operation once more and press.

Unloose the sushi out of its box.
The fish should be on top.
Grill the top of the fish lightly with a hand burner just enough to change the colour.
That step will enable to savour two different tastes at the same time!

Place very thin slices of lemon (clean organic, please!) on top of the rice.
It will abate the “fishy smell/taste”.

Lay another layer of fine light seaweed over the top.
Cut and serve!
————————-
2) Seared Prime Beef/Gyuniku Aburi

Japanese prime beef has become a registered trademark all over the world be it from Kobe or other regions.
The present sushi was made with “Kuroge Gyuniku/黒毛牛肉/Black Hair Beef from animals raised to the age of 12 months in Fukui Prefecture.
Do check the origin of your beef!

When preparing this slightly extravagant sushi, choose a large slice of prime beef with plenty of “fat veins” as shown on the above picture.
Don’t choose too thick or too thin, either. Think of the proportion of the beef and rice. Bear in mind that the the seared beef will also loose some of its thickness.

Sprinkle the beef with quality ground balck pepper and salt.
Sear it or grill it lightly on both sides quickly.
This process will enhance the sweetness of the meat.

-Slice the meat into bite-sized portions as shown in above picture at a slant after having cut off the fatty extremity.

Lay the bottom of the oshibako/box with slices of beef as shown in above picture in a “staggering” fashion. If you don’t, the slices will slideaway from each other.
Cover with shiso/perilla leaves.
Cover with sushi rice and press.

Soften light seaweed in lukewarm water and spread it over a clean cloth.
Unloose the sushi out of its box.
The beef should be on top.
Spread the light seaweed over the top.
Cut to size and serve immediately for maximum enjoyment!

—————————-

3) Egg Bearing Snow Crab/Seikogani

Seikogani is the Japanese name for the female Snow Crab or Zuwagani, when she is bearing her eggs.
Contrary to many other kinds of crabs, the female snow crabs, even when bearing eggs, lose little of their food and taste quality with the added advantage of an extra delicacy and taste. On the other hand the main food is found inside the shell instead of the legs and pincers for the males.

Snow Crab/Zuwagani

Therefore, if you get your hands on such a specimen, do not ignore it, even if they are noticeably smaller than their male counterparts!

Boiled snow crabs.

The best is actually to combine both male and female into a combination sushi.

Above are the shells of two snow crabs, the large male one containing white flesh and red brains from both male and female, the smaller female one containing the eggs, and the flesh taken out of the male legs after boiling and cooling.

See above picture for better view of the edible morsels: white flesh, red brains (don’t forget these!) and eggs.

As there is a danger of a general crumbling out of the ingredients, line the bottom of the oshibako/box with a good layer of light seaweed first instead of doing it after you have unloose the sushi out ofits box.
Then place legs flesh tightly parallel to each other to form as compact as possible layer. Cover the leg flesh with the eggs and red brains into a pleasing design.
Finally fill with sushi rice and press.

Unloose sushi from its box and cut to size before serving!
————————————–

4) Seared Seabream/Tai no Aburi

Seabreams or Snappers come in so many varieties all over thw orld that it becomes quite easy to find and adapt to various cuisines.
The Japanese are extremely fond of it either raw or steamed with rice.
When using it as sashimi or sushi, choose a fresh fis. Look at their eyes and press with fingers. And use your nose!

Madai/真鯛 or “True Seabream”, the most commonly used type of seabream in Japan.

For an extra finishing touch for the taste, use fresh leaves of sansho/山椒 or Japanese pepper (also called ki no me/木の芽).
The English name is Shichuan Pepper, although we are talking of the fresh plant here.

In Japan the dried and powdered leaves of Zanthoxylum sancho are used to make noodle dishes and soups mildly hot and fragrant. The whole fresh leaves, 木の芽 kinome, are used to flavour vegetables, especially bamboo shoots, and to decorate soups. Typically the young shoots are used in this way giving an aromatic lemony flavour to food. They are used to denote spring seasonality in food. The buds, seeds, flowers, and hulls are also used.

Chop some leaves finely enough to use with sushi, but not to fine. Cut them as short as shown in picture.

Soften light seaweed in lukewarm water and spread it over a clean cloth.

Line the bottom of the oshibako/box with slices of seabream fillet as tightly to each other as possible.
Sprinkle with chopped sansho leaves.
Fill with sushi rice and press.

Unloose oshizushi out of the box.
Brush the surface lightly with some soy sauce (I sweeten it a bit by mixing it with a little mirin/sweet sake).
Sear the fish lightly.
Repeat the same process twice more so as to cook only the surface and make it take a nice colour.
This way you will be able to taste the fish in two different ways inside your mouth!

Spread the light seaweed over the top.
Cut to size and serve immediately for maximum enjoyment!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery