Tag Archives: Potatoes

Sweet Potato Croquettes: Japanese Recipe

Croquettes (called “korokke/コロッケ in Jaoanese), especially made with potatoes (versions made with thick white sauce are also very popular) must be one of the most celebrated comfort foods all over the world.
I don’t exactly know when they first appeared in Japan but people here certainly consume them with a vengeance! I stopped counting books and magazines entirely dedicated to the delicacy in this country!

Now, sweet potatoes (satsuma imo/薩摩芋 in Japanese) offer a very interesting variation and should be appreciated by all members of a family with the added sweetness!

Sweet potato croquettes/Satsuma Imo No Korokke/薩摩芋のコロッケ!

INGREDIENTS: (for 2 people or 8 small croquettes)

Sweet potato: 1 (200 g)
Chicken breast: 80 g (after having taken skin and fat away)
Onion: 50 g (finely chopped)
Salad oil: 1 tablespoon (for frying)
White sesame seeds: as appropriate
Egg: 1 large
All-purpose flour: 2 tablespoons
Black pepper: a little
Salt: a pinch
Soy sauce: 1 teaspoon
Sesame oil: 1 teaspoon

RECIPE:

Cut away both tips of the sweet potato.
Wrap it in a wet kitchen paper towel.
Cook in a microwave oven at 600 W for 4 moinutes and 20 seconds to soften it.
You may do this inside a steamer, too.

Peel the potato and mash it in a bowl.
You may want to leave out a few solid bits for a better bite that you will mix with the whole later.
Keep the mashed potato aside in its bowl.

Chop the chicken breast finely.
If you haven’t done it yet, chop the onion finely.
You may chop them together.

Heat a frypan. Heat the oil. Fry the onion and chicken together.
Once the heat has penetrated the meat and onion add some salt and pepper (not included in ingredients above) to your preference. Add soy sauce and fry until the chicken and onion are properly cooked. Do not overcook!
Let cool down for a while.

In the bowl containing the mashed potato add the cooked chicken and onion, the flour, the salt, the black pepper, the egg and the sesame oil. (You may add spices of your liking then!)
Mix the whole well.

Divide the mixture into 8 equal quantities.
Spread oil on the palm of your hands and make 8 patties of similar size and shape.
Flatten them a bit for equal cooking.

Coat one face only with sesame seeds.

Pour some oil on a frypan.
Fry croquettes sesame-coated face down first.

Cook for a little while. Cover with lid. When the bottom face is cooked to a nice brown color (lifting up the lid from time to time is no problem!) turn over and continue frying.

To check if yor croquettes are properly cookd, press their middle with a finger. The finger shouldn’t sink easily.

Place croquettes on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.
Serve them as soon as possible as they are.
No need for sauce or extra seasoning!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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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Croquettes: Japanese-Style Recipe

Since I’m planning to run a series of recipes on potatoes and sweet potatoes, I thought it would be a good idea to first re-introduce the Japanese basic way of preparing Croquettes or “Korokke” as they say in thos country!

Here is the basic recipe prevalent in restaurants and homesteads.
Naturally it can be expanded and modified at will.
I will not bother you with measurements this time as the method is the point of this posting!

INGREDIENTS:

-Potatoes (you will have to decide which variety! In Japan, “Danshaku” are best!)
-Onion
-Minced meat (of your choice!)
-Salt and pepper
-Flour (of your choice)
-egg
-Milk
-Breadcrumbs (fresh if possible)
-Oil
-Lard (skip if you don’t like, but a pity!)

RECIPE:

-Boil the potatoes with their skins.
Peel the skins off just out of the water when very hot. This way, the potatoes will not be too wet.

-Mash the potatoes roughly with a wooden spoon/spatula. Add salt and peepper and mix roughly. Cover with cellophane paper to keep the potatoes warm as long as possible.

Chop the onions finely and fry in lard if possible for better taste. If you don’t like lard, use oil. You could add chopped garlic and small pieces of bacon.
Add minced meat of your choice. Season with a little salt, pepper, sugar and soy sauce according to you preferences. Fry until the minced meat is cooked.

-Add the mashed potatoes. Mixing them all atogether at the same time fry until potatoes have become dry enough.
Let cool completely and transfer to a storage dish. Cover with cellophane paper and leave overnight in the refrigerator to allow taste to permeate the potatoes. This is an important point as not only it will enhance the taste but make the croquettes easier to shape.

-Spread a little oil over your palms and shape croquettes to you preffered size.

-Roll in flour and “shake” croquettes so that not too much flour adheres to them.

-Prepare (you might better do that first, LOL) the croquettes egg dip by mixing beaten egg, flour and milk to your preference.
Dip the croquettes in the batter completely.

-Roll the croquettes in the breadcrumbs.
One way to make breadcrumbs is to use real bread which had turned completely solid, soften it in milk, let it dry again and crush it into powder!

-Deep-fry croquettes at 170 degrees Celsius until they have reached a colour of your liking.
As everything is already cooked inside, don’t worry if they are not enough cooked.
Point: add a little sesame oil to your frying oil for extra taste.

There are all kinds of sauce and decoration you cane serve croquettes with, unless you like them plain with a little mustard for example.

Here is a little suggestion for good taste and appetizing presentation:
Prepare a light white sauce/bechamel in the aurora style sauce with plenty of white pepper and boiled green peas.

Don’t they look nice like that!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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

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

Japanese Vegetables: Potatoes (updated)

potatoes

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 are grown locally.
Over the years Japanese famers have greatly expanded the number of varieties, and it has became an embarrassment of choices.

FACTS:

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.

-Analytic data (as per 100g):
Energy: 76 kcal
Water: 79.8 g
Carbohydrates: 17.6 g
Proteins: 1.6 g
Inorganic qualities:
Potassium: 410 mg
Magnesium: 20 mg
Phosphorus: 40 mg
Iron: 0.4 mg
Zinc: 0.2 mg
Manganese: 0.11 mg
Vitamins:
B1: 0.09mg
B2: 0.03 mg
B6: 0.18 mg
C: 35 mg
Dietary fibers: 1.3 g

TIPS:

-Preservation: Wrap potatoes inside newspaper and keep them in a dark, well-ventilated place away from the sunlight.

-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 with 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.

VARIETIES

danshaku-potato

“Danshaku”

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.

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
With a Glass,
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, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

Organic French Fries at Uzu/An Interesting Cooking Technique

Service: excellent, easy-going and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: very reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Very fresh local ingredients, especially organic vegetables extensively used. Local sake. Home-made umeshu. Great shochu list.

The other day when I visited Uzu with the Missus, I had found the fried potatoes included in the Vegan Oarganic Salad so intriguing that I couldn’t help ordering them separately!

The potatoes are of two kinds:
Pinkish ones called Red Moon and the other yellowish called Inca Mezame.
Both were gron organically by Mr. Matsuki at Bio Farm in Shibakawa Cho in Fujinomiya City at the foot of Mount Fuji.

Now the cooking technique was a bit out of the ordinary:
The potatoes are first steamed whole with their skins.
Instead of slicing them or cutting them into sticks, the potatoes are broken by hand. The potates are chosen small enough to be broken only in two to four chunks of irregular shape.
They are then deep-fried in high quality oil.
The fact their shape is uneven allows for a bigger outer surface with a lot of crispiness, especially when accounting with the skins!
Having been steamed, the potatoes have acquired the perfect balance of outside crispiness and inside tenderness, but keeping their firmness at the same time, allowing for a deep and satisfactory bite!

Do try it!

UZU
Shizuoka City, Otowa-cho, 3-18
Tel.: 054-249-6262
Business hours: 17:00=23:00
Closed on Mondays and first Tuesday
Reservations recommended
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope; Jacqueline Church

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

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.
———————————————-

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.

—————————————–

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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Fried Potatoes, the healthier and tastier way!

fried-potatoes

Fried potatoes have been temptying us since the 17th Century when the Belgians first experimented cooking them in oil. At the time, deep-frying, imported by Crusaders from the Middle East, was the only absolutely safe way to cook, especially in the “flat countries” as Belgium and Holland were called at the time, because water was a bed for all kinds of diseases.

Now, eveyone knows that boiled potatoes are healthy, if somewhat bland in taste, whereas fried potatoes are tasty but hideously high in unwanted calories.
Time and again I use a simple method half way which will enable you to enjoy your favourite snack/main dish with a lighter heart (and midriff) and at the same time allow you to serve a savoury dish to your ravenous friends or family! (But don’t overeat them!)

INGREDIENTS
(for 2 to 4, depending whether it is an accompaniment or full dish):

-4 large potatoes
-1 large echalotte/shallot (if unavailable, half a red onion is great!), finely chopped
-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
-Bacon (vegan and vegetarians, please skip this but keep in mind you will have to add a little salt)-1 large rasher cut in small pieces (half a cm square or half the size of your little finger nail, cut short!)
-Parmesan/Parmiggiano Cheese (vegans, please skip this or use alternative), freshly grated, 3 large tablespoons.
-Salt (for the potatoes boiling water, otherwise as little as possible, as bacon and cheese will contain enough!)
-Pepper, nutmeg. Foodies who like their food Indian-style may add a little powdered curry mix and chili pepper.
-Olive oil: 2 large tablespoons

RECIPE:

-Boil potatoes in plenty of salted water. If you do not add salt to the water, the potatoes will end up very bland in taste.

-Once the potates are boiled at about 80%, plunge them into cold water. This little trick will prevent them from breaking up later.

-When potatoes are cold enough, peel and cut them in wedges (the size is up to you). If the potatoes are new,leave the skin on.

-In deep enough frying pan dry-fry (no oil added) the chopped bacon until it becomes a nice crisp and dark. Put aside on a small dish. For non-vegan/vegetarians, do not wipe the pan, or you will miss a lot of taste!

-Pour two large tablespoons of olive oil in the same frying pan. That is enough, and the oil will be “sucked in” by the potatoes with the result that the potatoes will not be “greasy”. Use olive oil, extra virgin, as this is best, not only for taste, but for health (the vitamin C contained in olive oil do not disappear even cooked for a long time).

-When potatoes have almost reached the wanted colour, drop in shallots, garlic, fried bacon, pepper, nutmeg (and salt if you absolutely must use some!). Toss-fry until shallots have turned transparent.

-Pour the lot into a serving dish and sprinkle parmesan over it.

Enjoy at once!

Sometimes, simple is best!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Bread + Butter, Comestilblog, Greedy Girl, Bouchon For 2, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Mangantayon, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles, Lexi, Culinary Musings, Eats and Everything, Bite Me New England, Heather Sweet, Warren Bobrow, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Ramendo, Alchemist Chef, Ochikeron, Mrs. Lavendula, The Gipsy Chef

Please check the new postings at:
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