Tag Archives: Japanese Gastronomy

Rutabaga Vegetarian Veloute

I have noticed a great interest for rutabaga or Swede turnip 8actually comes with many names) and have always been wndering about many recipes.
It can be prepared almost in the same way as pumpkins, kabocha and potimarrons.

Here is a simple French cuisine-inspired recipe:

Rutabaga Veloute!

INGREDIENTS: For 4 people

-Rutabaga: 1 kg
-Onion: 1 large
-Carrot: 1
-Garlic: 1 clove
-Milk: 750 ml/cc
-Water: 250 ml/cc
-Sugar: 1 tablespoon
-Salt & Pepper: to taste
-Fresh cream: 100 g
-Safran: a few threads
-Chervil: a few leaves

PREPARATION:

-Peel and cut the rutabaga in cubes.
-Peel the carrot and onion and slice.
-Peel and crush the garlic

RECIPE:

-In a large saucepan, drop the rutabaga, carrot, onion and crushed garlic.

-Cover with the milk and water. Add the sugar, salt and pepper.

-Bring to boil, reduce fire so to simmer for 40 minutes.

-Blend the soup in a blender/food processor. or with an electric mixer.
Add the fresh cream and mix.

-Serve decorated with a few safran threads and finely chopped chervil.

NOTES:

-You may add to this soup cooked chestnuts or fried mushrooms!

– You can serve it hot or chilled!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES
Not-Just-Recipes, Bengal cuisine, Cooking Vegetarian, Frank Fariello, Gluten-free Vegan Family, Meatless Mama, Warren Bobrow, Wheeling Gourmet, Le Petit Cuisinier, Vegan Epicurean, Miss V’s Vegan Cookbook, Comestiblog, To Cheese or not To Cheese, The Lacquer Spoon, Russell 3, Octopuspie, Bread + Butter, Pegasus Legend, Think Twice, The French Market Maven, Fuji Mama, Great Teacher Sato, Peas Love Carrots

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Vegetables Fact & Tips 11: Renkon/Lotus Root (amended and expanded)

lotus-root1

In Japan we are near the end of Lotus Roots season, but eat them all year round!
Lotus roots come from a plant called Nelumbo nucifera, also known by a number of names including Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, or simply lotus. This plant is an aquatic perennial. Under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years.
A common misconception is referring to the lotus as a water-lily (Nymphaea), an entirely different plant.

Native to Greater India and commonly cultivated in water gardens, the lotus is the national flower of India and Vietnam.

The flowers, seeds, young leaves, and “roots” (rhizomes) are all edible. In Asia, the petals are used sometimes for garnish, while the large leaves are used as a wrap for food. In Korea, the leaves and petals are used as a tisane. Yeonkkotcha (연꽃차) is made with dried petals of white lotus and yeonipcha (연잎차) is made with the leaves. The rhizome (called ǒu (藕) in pinyin Chinese, ngau in Cantonese, bhe in Hindi, renkon (レンコン, 蓮根 in Japanese), yeongeun (연근) in Korean is used as a vegetable in soups, deep-fried, stir-fried and braised dishes. Petals, leaves, and rhizome can also all be eaten raw, but there is a risk of parasite transmission (e.g., Fasciolopsis buski): it is therefore recommended that they be cooked before eating.

FACTS:
-Season: September~December in Japan.
-Beneficial elements:
Lotus roots have been found to be rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B1 & B6, phosphorus, copper, iron and manganese, while very low in saturated fat.
Various parts of the lotus are also used in traditional Asian herbal medicine.

TIPS:

-Choose specimens with a clear white cut section. There should not be any black spots.
-Use large specimen as they are easier to cut and use.
-To prevent oxydising, warp cut specimen into wet kitchen paper.
-Add vinegar to water when boling them to keep them white.
-The easiest way to peel them is to use a potato peeler!

COOKING:

The stamens can be dried and made into a fragrant herbal tea called liánhuā cha (蓮花茶) in Chinese, or (particularly in Vietnam) used to impart a scent to tea leaves. The lotus seeds or nuts (called liánzĭ, 蓮子; or xian liánzĭ, 鲜莲子, in Chinese) are quite versatile, and can be eaten raw or dried and popped like popcorn, phool makhana. They can also be boiled until soft and made into a paste, or boiled with dried longans and rock sugar to make a tong sui (sweet soup). Combined with sugar, lotus seed paste becomes one of the most common ingredient used in pastries such as mooncakes, daifuku, and rice flour pudding.

Japanese popular Renkon dishes:

lotus-root-nimono

“NIMONO”

lotus-root-sumono

“SUMONO”

lotus-root-kimpira

“KIMPIRA”

“STUFFED LOTUS ROOTS”

“DEEP-FRIED LOTUS ROOT SANDWICH”

lotus-roots-chips

“CHIPS”

HEALTH FACTS:

-Combined with liver, or beef, or pork, or chicken, helps revitalize human blood and organs.

-Combined with turnips, or daikon, or beansprouts, or trefoil, helps digestion and bowels.

-Combined with leafy vegetables, or potato, or apples, helps combat cancer and obesity.

-Combined with konnyaku, or celery, or lettuce, or green peppers, helps lower blood cholesterol. helps combat artery hardening and prevent heart diseases.

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES
Not-Just-Recipes, Bengal cuisine, Cooking Vegetarian, Frank Fariello, Gluten-free Vegan Family, Meatless Mama, Warren Bobrow, Wheeling Gourmet, Le Petit Cuisinier, Vegan Epicurean, Miss V’s Vegan Cookbook, Comestiblog, To Cheese or not To Cheese, The Lacquer Spoon, Russell 3, Octopuspie, Bread + Butter, Pegasus Legend, Think Twice, The French Market Maven, Fuji Mama, Great Teacher Sato, Peas Love Carrots

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Vegetables Facts & Tips 10: Egg Plants/Aubergines (amended & expanded)

aubergines-1

The eggplant, aubergine, or brinjal (Solanum melongena) is a plant of the family Solanaceae (also known as the nightshades) and genus Solanum. It bears a fruit of the same name, commonly used as a vegetable in cooking. As a nightshade, it is closely related to the tomato and potato and is native to India and Sri Lanka.

That for the Wikipedia definition. The word Aubergine is mainly used in Europe. It comes in many shapes, sizes and even colours, but they share the same facts.

FACTS:
-Season: June to September in the Northern Hemisphere, but are available all year round thanks to greenhouse cultivation.
-Main beneficial elements: Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin C and B1, B2
-90% is water, but the skin contains a lot of polyphenols so useful against ageing and arteries cleaning!
It is also of a great help to fight diabetes.

VARIETIES:

As mentioned above, aubergines come in many varieties, but I am introducing here only the varieties and hybrids grown in Japan.

The first one I would to make known is particular to this country:

aubergines-mizu

“Mizu Nasu”, litterally “Water Aubergine”
It has the particularity that it can be eaten raw cut and served like sashimi! With miso, pickled plum flesh, wasabi or soy sauce, it opens all kinds of possibilities fro vegans, vegetarians and raw food lovers!

“Bei Nasu”
An American hybrid popular for its large round size.

“Ao nasu”, or green aubergine
Also called “Midori Nasu”. The skin is hard but will soften quickly upon cooking. Appreciated grilled.

“Shiro Nasu”, or white aubergines.
The white colour is due to the absence of Nathnin.
Will get very soft upon cooking.

“Naga Nasu”, or litterally “Long Aubergine”.
Can grow up 30 cm long. Soft flesh, it is most popular grilled.

“Kamo Nasu”
A typical variety originally grown in Kyoto. Small and round with a finely-grained texture. Very popular in higher class gastronomy.

“Zebra Nasu”
Also called Italian Aubergine. Valued for its colourand designs.
Appropriate for slow cooking as hard.

“Tozen Nasu”
Small variety.

The small size of Tozen Nasu Aubergines makes it popular for pickles inparticular.

“Batten Nasu”
From Kumamamoto Prefecture. Sweet and containing a lot of water. Can be eaten raw.

“Okita Nasu”
Another small variety.

Okita Nasu are minuscule, making them very popular for pickles!

“Aka Nasu”, or red aubergine.
Large and beautiful, with little acidity, it is one of the most popular varieties in this country, especially grilled.

“Ko Nasu”, or litterally small aubergine.
Sweet, soft skin, almost containing no seeds, it is popular for pickles. Also exist round.

“Stick Taste”
A new variety, about 10 cm long and svelte. Popular stir-fried. Will keep its colour and design even cooked.

“Thai Nasu”
Small, roundish. Hard variety with a lot of seeds. Slow cooked in curries.

TIPS:

-Choose specimens with a deep colour, bright appearance and comparatively light weight.
-To preserve them, wrap them individually in cellophane paper before storing them in the refrigerator.
-Before cooking them, cut them and leave them in clear water util usage to prevent oxydizing.
If you want to fry them, cut them first and rub them with a lttle salt to take excess water out of them.

HEALTH FACTS:

-Combined with konnyaku/Devil’s Tongue Tuber/Elephant Foot Tuber, or okra, or enoki mushrooms, or burdock root, helps combat artery hardening, cancer and high blood pressure.

-Combined wiyh carrot, or kabocha, or spinach, or pink grapefruit, helps combat cancer and colds, helps skin rejuvenation.

-Combined with wax gourd, or tomato, or cockles, or small clams, helps combat diabetes, cancer and obesity.

-Combined with miso or enoki mushrooms, helps combat cancer, helps lower blood cholesterol and stimulates blood flow.

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES
Not-Just-Recipes, Bengal cuisine, Cooking Vegetarian, Frank Fariello, Gluten-free Vegan Family, Meatless Mama, Warren Bobrow, Wheeling Gourmet, Le Petit Cuisinier, Vegan Epicurean, Miss V’s Vegan Cookbook, Comestiblog, To Cheese or not To Cheese, The Lacquer Spoon, Russell 3, Octopuspie, Bread + Butter, Pegasus Legend, Think Twice, The French Market Maven, Fuji Mama, Great Teacher Sato, Peas Love Carrots

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Doughnuts/Donuts: The best in Shizuoka at Hara Donuts!

It is the first time in my life I found something worthwhile writing about doughnuts or donuts as they are sometimes spelt!
I’m not going to rant about the dangers of fast food and sugar absorption, but these are the reasons why I have been avoiding the wares sold by the many famous chain shops (no names!) for so long!

There is only a single Hara Donuts Shop in The whole of Shizuoka Prefecture.
They originated from Kobe City where the original shop is still kiciking and alive. Apparently there are more in large citieslike Tokyo, Nagoya and Kobe. Look out for them!

The original recipe for Hara Donuts was created Mrs. Hara, the owner of a tofu store in Kobe City in 1968.
Now the interesting thing is that all ingredients, even including sugar are made or found in Japan!
Moreover soy milk is used instead of milk! Great for lactose allergics!
The sugar content is low and only real sugar cane sugar is used. No “Company Miracle Recipe Mixture”, preservatives, colorants and what’s not there!
Although it could be considered a chain company now, all donuts are made on site from scratch with the same selected ingredients!

Count a minimum of 10 regular donuts and at least 5 seasonal donuts everyday!
They also make great vegetable donuts!

I chose before taking them withmy coffee to the tiny cafe behind the oven room.
This one (sorry for the fuzzy pic!) is the straight Hara Donut.

This one is a seasonal spinach donut!
Very light but surprisingly fullfilling!
Well-balanced with just enough sugar!

The cafe at the back is tiny and can sit only a maximum of 12 guests.

It’s cozy and extremely clean.
The toilets, a bit small, are state-of the art! (all computer-activated!)

All non-smoking incidentally!
Coffee and tea, cold or hot and in different varieties are available.
Just order your donuts and drink together and a smiling staff will bring it onto your table! Pay at the counter first.
As for take-out, don’t be surprised if you fnd out queuing, it is popular!
Especially with ladies.
Being situated along Aoba Koen-Tokiwa Koen/Aoba-Tokiwa Street Park across Showa Street, it will give you the opportunity to stroll at leisure before reaching the place!

HARA DONUTS
420-0034 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 2-4-5, Tokiwa-Cho Emple Court, 1F (along Aoba Koen?Tokiwa Koen)
Tel.: 054-2708653
Opening hours: 10:00~19:00 (or if donuts are sold out!)
HOMEPAGE

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES
Not-Just-Recipes, Bengal cuisine, Cooking Vegetarian, Frank Fariello, Gluten-free Vegan Family, Meatless Mama, Warren Bobrow, Wheeling Gourmet, Le Petit Cuisinier, Vegan Epicurean, Miss V’s Vegan Cookbook, Comestiblog, To Cheese or not To Cheese, The Lacquer Spoon, Russell 3, Octopuspie, Bread + Butter, Pegasus Legend, Think Twice, The French Market Maven, Fuji Mama, Great Teacher Sato, Peas Love Carrots

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Vegan Japanese Dessert: Sweet Potato, Apple & Gardenia Seeds Kinton

It is always a bit complicated for vegans and vegetarians alike to create desserts without using eggs or dairy products, unlessyou start using derivatives and susbstitues, which is not always a good idea.
The Japanese must be, without knowing it, the greatest creators of vegan desserts thanks to such techniques as found in the making of wagashi!

One variety of wagashi is called Kinton.
Kinton, or きんとんin Japanese is a Japanese tradtional dessert made with chestnuts/kuri/栗 and sugar.
Originally created in Gifu in the late 1870’s it is now found and available almost everywhere in Japan for the pleasure of all, vegans and vegetarians included.

Kuchinashi (Japanese) or Gardenia jasminoides (also known as Gardenia augusta) is a fragrant flowering evergreen tropical plant, a favorite in gardens worldwide. It originated in Asia and is most commonly found growing in Vietnam, Southern China, Taiwan and Japan.
The fruit is used as a yellow dye, which is used for clothes and food (including the Korean mung bean jelly called hwangpomuk).
Medicinal uses:
Gardenia jasminoides fructus (fruit) is used within Traditional Chinese Medicine to “drain fire” and thereby treat certain febrile conditions.

Kuchinashi no Mi/Gardenia fruit.

Kuchinashi no mi/Gardenia fruit, dried as found in Japanese stores.

I took the precaution to go through these preliminary explantaions before introducing the following dessert:

Sweet Potato, Apple & Gardenia Seeds Kinton!

INGREDIENTS:

-Apple: 1 large
-Sweet Potato/Satsuma Imo: 1 medium
-Lemon juice: 1/4
-Sugar: 1 tablespoon
-Gardenia seed/Kuchinashi no Mi: 1

RECIPE:

-Peel the sweet potato, cut in four legthwise and across again every 2 cm. Leave aside in clear cold water.

-Peel the apple, cut into 8 wedges and slice again every 5 mm. Drop in a stainless pot. Add lemon and sugar. Cover with lid and simmer on a low fire until softened.

-Cut the kuchinashi no mi/Gardenia seed in two and insert it in a small cooking bag (gauze as for bouquet garni).

-In a different pan, drop the sweet potato with ebnough water to boil them. Add teh kuchunashi no mi/gardenia seed. Boil until the sweet potato is soft enough to be easily skewered with a bamboo/wooden toothpick.

-Throw the water of the sweet potato out. Keep cooking the sweet potato to let their water evaporate.

-Add 1/3 of the apple to the sweet potato and mix well.

-Serve the sweet potato topped with the cooked apple.

NOTES:

-Roast some some walnuts and top the dessert with them!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES
Not-Just-Recipes, Bengal cuisine, Cooking Vegetarian, Frank Fariello, Gluten-free Vegan Family, Meatless Mama, Warren Bobrow, Wheeling Gourmet, Le Petit Cuisinier, Vegan Epicurean, Miss V’s Vegan Cookbook, Comestiblog, To Cheese or not To Cheese, The Lacquer Spoon, Russell 3, Octopuspie, Bread + Butter, Pegasus Legend, Think Twice, The French Market Maven, Fuji Mama, Great Teacher Sato, Peas Love Carrots

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

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