Tag Archives: Cooking

Vegetables Facts and Tips (1): Potatoes


The Japan Blog List

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potatoes

This is the first of a series of articles on vegetables, which I hope will help my vegan and vegetarian (I’m not!) friends.
Incidentally、 nothing, pictures included, is copyrighted in my food blogs, so please feel free to use anything!

POTATOES

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.
The varieties found in supermarkets are:

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.

Potatoes are available all year round, but are at their peak from February to May when new potatoes can be eaten whole!

FACT CARD:

-Season: All year round
-Main elements: carbohydrates (high energy), Vitamin C1, B1 (thanks to a large amount of natural starch in potatoes, the vitamin C will resist heating!), Potassium
-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”!
-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!

Japanese Fast Food

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Fast food is not an American invention. And our friends on the other side of the Pacific Ocean may not even boast the dubious title of the biggest junk food producer. The Chinese and Japanese are way ahead!

jap-fast-4 jap-fast-5 jap-fast-6 jap-fast-7

Italian “invented” slow food, but as far as as fast food is concerned, the French may claim to be the initiators when Napoleon ordered the production of the first-ever canned food in 1810!

junk

Japan, as demonstrated in other firleds, is a living contradiction. Here you have nation which prides itself, deservedly, in creating arguably some of the best gastronomy in the World. On the other hand, it has become a paradise for junk food packet collectors!
Some establishments go as far as advertising their food as “junk food” (see pic above taken in Shizuoka City)!
An interesting twist is that the Japanese make a point of advertising their “fast food” as “instant food”!

jap-fast-8

Americans have the hamburger, which incidentally could make for a properly balanced meal if fries (don’t call them French, they are Belgian!) and soda drinks (no names here as someone might sue me!) were not adding as many calories (empty) on top of the most popular meat contraption (no names, either!) in The US and the World.
jap-fast-2
Ramen is the exact replica in Japan when it comes to unwanted salt, empty calories and what else when served at cheap food stands, or dehydrated in “convenience stores” and supermarkets.
Do not misunderstand me: ramen can make for a great meal too with the correct addition of fresh greens, fresh meat or fish!

jap-fast-3

But more dangerous, because they are the epitome of practicality, are the notorious “Cup Noodles” whose concept has been adopted under many guises all over the World, even on planes!
Next time you order or buy one cup for a quick fix, ponder a while on the amount of salt, preservatives, additives and more that you are going to inject into your system!

N.B.: Whereas I’m careful about citing American brand names, “Cup Noodles”, although a brand name, is considered as a variety of food, not a particular brand.
That is unless someone somewhere begs to differ!