Tag Archives: 富士宮市

Yakisoba: Fujinomiya Yakisoba makes its Italian Debut at Event in Rome!

Add the sauce: A Japanese cook makes “Fujinomiya yakisoba” pan-fried noodles at a special event in Rome on Tuesday.

Roma
Kyodo
Article appeared on the Japan Times on Wednesday. July, 11th

Popular pan-fried noodles known as “Fujinomiya yakisoba” made their debut in Italy on Monday when they were served during a Japan-related event in Rome for local people and Japanese expatriates.

It was the third time the noodle dish from the city of Fujinomiya in Shizuoka Prefecture has been promoted overseas, following events in New York last August and in Seattle in April.

“I had been saying half-jokingly that it would be good if we could introduce it in the home of pasta, and the dream has come true as we have been urged by the Japanese Embassy in Italy to do so,” said Hidehiko Watanabe, 53, head of a citizens’ group promoting the dish.

The party endured an anxious wait for the noodles to arrive from Jpan on the day of the event, as Italy is known for its stringent customs clearance regulations for food products.

A local reporter said Italians will enjoy the noodles even though they are totally different from pasta, while a 46-year-old civil servant thought the flavor should be changed somewhat as sweet sauces in general are unpalatable to Italians, although she said she enjoyed the noodles.

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Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), 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!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

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Japanese Vegetarian & Vegan Cakes: Wagashi/和菓子5: Creation 1-Birthday Cake

WAGASHI-VARIETIES-1

Here is an example of what could be done by a Japanese chef as Wagashi/Japanese Cake!
This particular Birthday Cake creation is the work of Chef Maeda at Kouseido in Osaka City!
Will look around and post other creations whenever I can!

Here is a breakdown of the above:

WAGASHI-VARIETIES-MOMO

“Momo”/Peach

WAGASHI-VARIETIES-MIKAN

“MIkan”/Orange

WAGASHI-VARIETIES-TSUBAKI

“Tsubaki”/Camelia

WAGASHI-VARIETIES-SAKURA

“Sakura”/Cherry Blossom

WAGASHI-VARIETIES-ICHIGO

“Ichigo”/Strawberry

WAGASHI-VARIETIES-MELON

“Meron”/Melon

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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 Vegetarian & Vegan Cakes: Wagashi/和菓子4: Recipe-Mochi

WAGASHI-SAKURA-MOCHI
Wagashi/Sakura Mochi

Mochi/餅 is probably the most ancient sweet/cake confectioned by humans in Japan as its main ingredient is glutinous rice.
It is the more popular as it can be eaten and made all year round.
Kinako/黄粉 is a powder made from roasted soy beans (next article).
The combination of the two and other ingredients such as sweetmeats/anko/餡子, also made from soy beans, make for a valuable, tasty and nourishing food!
Read notes below!

Here is a simple way to make mochi.
Bear in mind that mochi can be eaten fresh as it is, especially with wagashi cakes, and that it can be mixed with other ingredients for colouring. It can be also dried and grilled and also included in soups and other recipes such as mochi pizza!

INGREDIENTS:
Glutinous rice: 3 go (Japanese measure): 540 cc (2.8 cups)
Kinako (to taste)

Notes on kinako and glutinous rice:

MOCHI-KINAKO

Kinako (黄粉 or きなこ), also known as soybean flour, is a product commonly used in Japanese cuisine. In order to create the soybean flour, soybeans are toasted and ground into powder. Its flavor is commonly compared to that of peanut butter.

Kinako, being composed of soybeans, is a healthy topping and flavoring which contains B vitamins and protein. It can also be used as a drink;. For example, warabi mochi is a famous kinako-covered sweet.

I will introduce a recipe soon!

MOCHI-TRADITIONAL

Glutinous rice (Oryza sativa var. glutinosa or Oryza glutinosa; also called sticky rice, sweet rice, waxy rice, botan rice, biroin chal, mochi rice, and pearl rice) is a type of short-grained Asian rice that is especially sticky when cooked. It is called glutinous (Latin glūtinōsus) in the sense of being glue-like or sticky and not in the sense of containing gluten; on the other hand, it is called sticky but should not be confused with the other varieties of Asian rice that become sticky to one degree or another when cooked.

RECIPE:

MOCHI-1
Wash the rice and let it soak in water overnight.

MOCHI-2
Pour water in steamer. Bring to boil. Set a clean cloth inside. Drain rice. Pour rice inside cloth. Dig a “well” in the middle for better cooking.

MOCHI-3
Steam over a medium fire for 20~25 minutes.

MOCHI-4
Pour hot water inside pestle bowl and leave the wooden sticks inside water for long enough to have all of them well impregnated with water. Throw water away just before next step. This will insure a better mochi!

MOCHI-5
Check rice for an even cooking. No water should be left or the mochi will be runny. If you make a small quantity, softer rice than usual is better as it will tend to dry faster than a large quantity.

MOCHI-6
Now this is the hard part!
You will need three adults to press hard on the rice with the wooden sticks at the same time to crush the rice completely. It might take as long as 10 minutes.

MOCHI-7
Now that the rice has been softened, one can continue on his own or work in shifts. Pound the rice in the middle 10 times. Turn over the rice from outside to inside and continue always around the clock.
Important: always pound in the middle, never on the sides or you will break the bowl!

MOCHI-8
That is how it should look. Make balls by twisting rice out.

MOCHI-9
Roll mochi in kinako mixed with sugar to taste. They are ready to be eaten!

MOCHI-10
This is how they are served in Japan for children (and adults!)

MOCHI-11
If you want to preserve them for a while before eating, roll them in rice powder. Rice powder will come in useful if you want to fashion the mochi into thin sheets or else.

MOCHI-12
That is how they look grilled!

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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 Vegetarian & Vegan Cakes: Wagashi/和菓子3: Recipe-Shiro Anko/White Sweetmeats

WAGASHI-SHIROANKO-1

In my previous article, I introduced the recipe for “red sweetmeats” or just “anko” in Japanese, an important ingredients in Wagashi.
But the red/violet colour is not always wanted.
Another popular way to make anko is to use “ingen mame”/kidney beans (US), or string/French beans (Europe).
Note that soy beans/”daizu” are not used in this recipe!
The advantage are multiple, as the “white” (actually beige) colour can be modified by adding green peas (green), pumpkin (yellow or orange), fruit pulp from papaya and mango (orange). Variations are practically unlimited!

INGREDIENTS:
Kidney beans: 500g
Sugar: 400g
Salt: three small pinches

RECIPE:

WAGASHI-SHIROANKO-2
Put beans with 3 times their volume of water in a large pan. Let soak for two nights. Change water twice a day.

WAGASHI-SHIROANKO-3
Beans should have lost their “wrinkles” by then.

WAGASHI-SHIROANKO-b
Bring water to boil over strong fire. Simmer for 5 minutes over medium fire.

WAGASHI-SHIROANKO-4
Drain water, making sure beans don’t dry up. The skin of the beans should peel off easily. Take skins and dark spots away.

WAGASHI-SHIROANKO-5
Simmer again peeled beans until they get soft and start breaking up. Start on a strong fire to bring to boil, then lower to medium fire.

WAGASHI-SHIROANKO-6
Heat until most of the water has evaporated. Beans will pass through sieve more easily.

WAGASHI-SHIROANKO-7
Pass all the beans through the sieve. Wash and dry the pan.

WAGASHI-SHIROANKO-8
Add sugar to sieved beans and stir/mix over low fire.

WAGASHI-SHIROANKO-9
Sugar becoming liquid upon heating will give a watery aspect to the mixture. Heat over low fire, stirring all the time for 25 minutes.

WAGASHI-SHIROANKO-10
Once satisfied with the paste consistency, add salt, mix and stop fire.

WAGASHI-SHIROANKO-11
Transfer to another dish for preserving until use. Do it at once while it is still hot.
Make sure it does not dry up.
Cover with a lid.
If lid does not close well enough, wrap the whole into cellophane paper.

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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 Vegetarian & Vegan Cakes: Wagashi/和菓子2: Recipe-Anko/Sweetmeats

WAGASHI-4

One main ingredients in traditional Wagashi/Japanese Cakes is “anko/餡子” (or more simply “an”) which can be translated as “sweetmeats” or “bean jam”.

I would like here to introduce a simple way to make one’s own “anko” at home:

INGREDIENTS:

Azuki/Adzuki/red beans (in Japanese: 小豆): 150 g
Sugar: 150g
Salt: a little

RECIPE:

a) Wash azuki lightly. Put in a large basin with an equal amount of water and turn on heat to high.

b) Bring to boil. If beans level is higher that of water, add water till beans are completely covered. Let simmer. Add water 2 or 3 times as soon as the water does not cover completely the beans and this until beans stop floating on water.

c) Drain beans, put them back into basin with same amount of water and turn fire to high. Repeat a) operation.

d) Cook as c) for 40~60 minutes.

e) Mash azuki beans lightly. Add sugar. Simmer and stir to mix, making sure the jam does not overboil.

f) Add a little salt (to your taste) and mix.
Let cool completely.
You can eat it as it is of course, but you will need it to make your cakes!
You can either sieve it to make it a very fine paste, sieve a part and mix it with the unsieved part, or use it as it is. In any case it will be easy to fashion!

WAGASHI-ANKO

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Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, 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, My Bento Box, 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

Shiitake Mushrooms Cultivation without Agrochemicals: Shizuo Nanjyo in Shizuoka City!

It is never too late to become conscious of health and to contribute to its betterment!
I did not enquire about his age but Shizuo Nanjyo is definitely my elder but he has never lost his enthusiasm and belief when it comes to insure a healthy product of the highest quality.
A second-generation tea grower for 58 years but a first-generation shiitake mushroom grower for 50 years he decided to get away from the beaten tracks this year and assume not only the cultivation but also the marketing of his shiitake mushrooms.

Logs to be used for shiitake cultivation.

I finally managed to pay him a visit thanks to my good friend Asami Ito who kindly drove me all the way up the Abe River in Shizuoka City into the middle of wasabi and green tea land (mountains) in Do District.

Mr. Nanjyo grows his shiitake in a large greenhouse in a very clean environment without the use of any agrochemicals to ensure the heath and safety of his products.

As a further proof of his attention to health he had the government survey his crop and give him a certificate stating that his mushrooms are radioactivity free!

Insects and pests are taken care of with sticking tape traps (can you see the yellow pieces overhead?)
The wood logs come from kunugi/椚/Sawtooth Oaks (90%) and nara/楢/Japanese Oak from neighbouring Yamanashi Prefecture.

Logs are first inoculated with shiitake mushroom mycelium (also from Yamanashi Prefecture).

The logs are then soaked into clean water to help the mycelium to spread inside the log.

When the first tiny mushrooms start appearing the logs are then stacked and stored outside for 6 months.

They are protected from the sun, rain and big temperature gaps with reeds imported all the way from lake Biwa!
What about that for ecology!
Vinyl sheets are ineffective as they don’t allow air drafts and actually negatively help the temperature to rise under them.
This type and method of cultivation is only a return to traditional farming after all!
Logs are used for 4 years and then will be sent to specialized companies who will turn them into compost or sawdust for effective recycling.

When the logs are ready for fructification Shizuo will then move them inside the greenhouse kept at a regular temperature of around 25 degrees between October and May. Each log will be dated to know exactly when the mushrooms will be ready for harvest.

After that it is a question of timing as some customers want their mushrooms small,…

Others larger…

Shizuo kindly offered me to choose mine from those beauties as a souvenir!

Actually, I was still very busy talking with the kind producer about farming in general and Asami kindly picked some (plenty!) for me (in her left hand!), but Shizuo would not let me go without accepting an even bigger bunch of them (in Asami’s right hand!)!

Not only that, but I also ended up with two succulent daikon and a truly enormous cabbage from their personal garden!

Their garden is very popular as they have to protect it with a double netting to fend off monkeys, wild boars and deer which regularly pay an unwelcome visit to farms in the mountains!

It was only natural to put all these beautiful super fresh mushrooms to good use and bring plenty of them to Yasaitei Izakaya to be served and introduced to customers!

There is no better way to advertise great produce than having them served at once to happy gastronomes by knowledgeable chefs!

Shizuo Nanjyo, Shiitake Grower
Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Do, 504-2
Tel.: 054-298-2155
Individual orders welcome
Mr. Nanjyo’s shiitake mushrooms will also be on sale every Sunday from 9:30 to 12:30 from December 11th at the car park of Marufuku Tea Company, Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu, 112.
Fpr more details call Ms. Asami Ito: 0120-36-4188

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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 Vegetarian & Vegan Cakes: Wagashi/和菓子1: Introduction

WAGASHI-1

There is a traditional way of making cakes in Japan that ought to please no end vegans and people allergic to wheat flour and dairy products, namely Wagashi!

Wagashi (和菓子) is a traditional Japanese confectionery which is often served with tea, especially the types made of mochi, azuki bean paste, and fruits.

Wagashi is typically made from natural based (mainly plant) ingredients. The names used for wagashi commonly fit a formula—a natural beauty and a word from ancient literature; they are thus often written with hyōgaiji (kanji that are not commonly used or known), and are glossed with furigana.

Generally, confectioneries that were introduced from the West after the Meiji Restoration (1868) are not considered wagashi. Most sorts of Okinawan confectionery and those originating in Europe or China that use ingredients alien to traditional Japanese cuisine, e.g., kasutera, are only rarely referred to as wagashi.

WAGASHI-2
Assortment of wagashi for a tea ceremony

During the Edo period, the production of sugarcane in Okinawa became highly productive, and low quality brown sugar as well as heavily processed white sugar became widely available. A type of sugar, wasanbon, was perfected in this period and is still used exclusively to make wagashi. Wagashi was a popular gift between samurai, in significance much like a good wine. Wagashi is served as part of a Japanese tea ceremony, and serving a good seasonal wagashi shows one’s educational background.

WAGASHI-3
Wagashi in the shape of rape flowers/Na no Hana

There are many, many kinds of Wagashi.
I will (re-)introduce them in the next postings, followed by other postings on the basic preparation.

WAGASHI-ABEKAWAMOCHI-2
Shizuoka’s Abekawa Mochi

Just know that about every region in Japan has its own traditional Wagashi!

Avaibility:
Wagashi is widely available in Japan, but quite rare outside it.
Minamoto Kitchoan (源 吉兆庵)
Has a varied selection, and stores in New York City (shipping throughout the US), London (shipping throughout Europe), and Singapore, in addition to Japan.
Toraya (とらや)
Has a full Paris store, stores in Japan, and sells a limited selection (yōkan only) at New York stores.
Fugetsu-do
Family owned and operated in the USA, since 1903, Fugetsu-do now ships anywhere in the USA.

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, 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, My Bento Box, 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