versatile TSUKUNE (chicken patty) base 

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When I showed this picture to my friend, she said ” it will never happen to me“.

This is OBENTO for my husband.   I have been living in the US for more than 15 years now, and I know lunch styles are different for each country.  For us Japanese, as well as breakfast, lunch is also important, and we have a wonderful OBENTO culture.

Recently the word OBENTO ,or lunch box is often appearing in food magazines, and they suggest healthy and delicious lunch box menus.

My friend who was very surprised to see my OBENTO for my husband told me she could do PB & J, but she wouldn’t wake up early in the morning and prepare that kind of OBENTO.

I know sometimes it is hard to wake up early, but OBENTO culture is in my DNA! This is THE LUNCH for me. This is THE LUNCH mothers and wives would like to prepare for someone they love.  We have a special word for OBENTO made by wives.  That is AISAI BENTO, literally means BENTO made by wives with love.

Today I would like to  introduce one of the nice items not only for dinner but also for AISAI BENTO!

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That is TSUKUNE , chicken patty.

If you have been to Japan, you many know what TUSKUNE is.

Tsukune is made of grounded chicken and ,in some cases , vegetables such as green onion.

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(they are yakitori)

Wikipedia says tsukune is a Japanese chicken meatball most often cooked yakitori style.

The last two in the photo were tsukune.

My tsukune base is very versatile.  Once you make the base, you could make meatball with sauce, or put that in the hot-pot, or like I did, fill them into vegetables and pan fry them.

Besides, they freeze very well, so you can stock them in the freezer!  How nice!

Even my friend could prepare OBENTO then!

I sometimes make grounded chicken at home using standing mixer attachment, but you could use store-bought grounded chicken or turkey.

Depending your favor, you could use chicken breast or thigh.  When I ground at home, I put green onions and ginger at the same time, that way they distribute well into the meat.

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You may be able to use a food processor.  I used to do that.  Just chop meat by cube, and put all the ingredients you want.  Be careful not to run the machine too much.  We don’t want paste here.  We need some meat texture left.

Either home-made or store-bought, now  you have grounded poultry in your hand.  Then I will show one example of tsukune base.

Here are the ingredients example.

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  • 1 pound of ground poultry
  • 2-3 tablespoons of green onions, finely chopped
  • 2-3 teaspoons of grounded ginger or only liquid
  • 2 teaspoons of shiokoji (if you have)
  • 2 teaspoons of grounded sesame (optional)
  • some wild mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 medium size cooked carrot, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 large size egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons of potato starch (or any other starch)
  • 2 teaspoons of sake

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Remember, you can use any vegetable as far as you chop them fine, and they are easy to be heated through. ( if not, cook them beforehand.)

Egg is kind of MUST ingredient for tsukune to have soft texture, but you can adjust other condiments.  For example, when I bake tsukune with sauce, I don’t put any salt.

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When I prepare, I make two kinds of tsukune base.  One has lots of enoki mushrooms, which give tsukune crisp texture.  I use this for chicken patty for my husband’s obento.

 

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I shaped them and put sesame on both sides and sautéed them with shoyu based sweet sauce.

 

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The other  base in the bowl was for hot-pot.  I put lots of vegetables along with those tsukune ball, so I didn’t put any vegetable other than green onions and ginger.

 

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For this obento, I put tsukune base inside baby bell peppers.

 

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Half the peppers and fill tuskune base inside the peppers covered with potato starch.  Then pan-fried them, first meat side down, and then flip them and cover the pan with lid and heat them through.You can eat them with soy sauce and some citrus if you want.

 

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Would you like to make this kind of OBENTO for someone you love?

Set the alarm at 5!

I heard someone says NO WAY!!

 

 

 

Final Episode of EHOMAKI!

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Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

I know this coming Sunday is  St.Valentine’s Day, and I should write about chocolates,cookies, and bonbons, but we are still in,,,,,,

 

 

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SETSUBUN!

If you come to my blog for the first time, please check the last two articles.

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Yes, we are preparing those things for this final episode of EHOMAKI!

Finally we ROLL IT !

OK, let’s roll them!

So sorry to say this,   BUT we still have one more very important thing we need to prepare.

WE NEED RICE!

I already write how to cook white rice here,  but there are some different procedures, so I will show that again.

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Here I have 3 cups of rice, washed and rinsed well like we did for white rice.  Then drain them and leave them in a colander for 30 minutes.

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Differently from just white rice, I have KOMBU here.  You may notice that , I have two balls which I put every time I cook whatever rice.  They are potteries and they distribute the heat well. Of course you don’t need to have them.

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Kombu has white stuff on the surface, but you don’t need to worry.  This is not mold. This is mannitol, which is one of  umami, a sweet agent in kombu, so please don’t wipe it off.  Just rub gently to take dirt ( if it has) with paper towel, and it is ready to go.

Place two pottery balls in the rice, and pour water.  This rice will have vinegar later, so we need to cook somewhat a little dry.  Here I use 3 cup of rice, and we need  10% more water of rice amount.  In my case, I use a 200ml cup ,so for my rice, I need 660ml of water.

After pouring the water, put kombu in it, and  leave it for 30minutes for rice to absorb the water slowly.

Now we need to prepare sushi vinegar.

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Recently many grocery stores carry sushi vinegar or seasoned rice vinegar.  It is totally fine to use it, but sometimes it may contain corn syrup, so you might want to check the ingredients.  It should be rice vinegar, salt and sugarHow simple is that?

For one cup (200ml) of  rice, we need 20-25ml of vinegar, 4-5g of sugar, and 2.5g of salt.

I use 3cups of rice, so I need 60ml-75ml of vinegar, 12-15g of sugar, and 7.5 g of salt.

Most of the stuffing of my EHOMAKI has already cooked with sugar, so this ratio is not that sweet.  If you like sweet rice, you could increase the amount of sugar.

In a small sauce pan, put them all and heat it until salt and sugar dissolve.  Please don’t boil it!  The flavor of vinegar will be gone!

While you cook rice, prepare the large bowl and a fan.

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This is SUSHI OKE, a sushi rice container made of wood.  This absorbs unnecessary water, but at the same time leaves rice moist.  FANTASTIC!

My mom send this to me a while ago, and this is my first time to use.  Until then, I was using glass bowl (non reactive bowl), so it is totally fine for you to use a regular bowl, but you need a large one.

 

OK, rice is cooked!   Take kombu out, and fluff the rice with a large spoon lightly.  Then ,

 

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transfer the rice to a large bowl, in my case into sushi oke.

 

 

Now you have cooked rice and sushi vinegar in front.

READY?

 

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The reason I told you to prepare a large bowl and a FAN is because,,,,

 

 

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we need to make wind while mixing rice with sushi vinegar!

WHY?

One of the reasons is because rice shines when it cools down with sugar quickly.  The other reason is that we want rice to absorb vinegar, that is why as soon as rice is cooked, we put vinegar.  However at the same time, we don’t want rice to too wet , so we need to cool and dry rice to prevent too much absorption.

Don’t you think this work needs more than one two hands?

YES!

I called my husband to make wind!  I was lucky.

When I was a kid, I was always asked to do that by my grandma.  That is a sweet memory…

 

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You could adjust the amount of sushi vinegar.  After mixing some, taste it, and you can stop whenever you want.

Now we have sushi rice ready.

Finally we can roll!

Before roll sushi rice, please prepare 1:1 ratio of water and rice vinegar mixture for wetting hands.  Otherwise the rice stick to your hands.

 

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We have sushi rice, vinegar and water mixture, a bamboo mat, and seaweed!

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Everything is ready!

 

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Place a sheet of seaweed (nori) on a mat, short side in front.

By the way, do you know there is two sides for nori?  The smooth side is supposed to be seen, so in this case, the rough side is up, the rice side.

 

Then,,

 

 

wet your hands with the vinegar mixture, and grab rice and place it on the seaweed.

300g of sushi rice would be good for one big roll.

We will put ingredients in the middle of the rice, so we need to make an indentation in the middle.  The thickest part is the front and then the back, and the middle.

Don’t put rice at the far edge of the seaweed.  Leave about 1 inch.

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Now place the ingredients in the middle.  If some stuffing is shorter than the length, like egg here, adjust the length, adding some.

Like rolling cakes, rolling sushi makes me excited and also nervous.

I have to do it at once!

 

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GO! GO! GO!

ROLL IT!  ROLL IT! ROLL IT!!

You have to roll tight, but don’t squash the rice.

Try to the end of the mat into the roll and make shape for finishing.

 

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Finish!

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You can serve as it is, but for it to be looked neat, let’s cut the edges.

 

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Wet the paper towel with the left over the vinegar and water mixture, and apply it to the knife.

 

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Now we can eat!

As I mentioned in the previous article, when you eat this, you have to face this year’s lucky direction.  This year South Southeast!

Ohhhhh, I wish I could show you my husband’ eating this.

I don’t know why, but he stood up and held the sushi in both hands,and finished it!

He will be healthy all year long!

 

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Would you like to be healthy and  get luck, eating EHOMAKI?

 

EHOMAKI PART2 -7 ingredients-

 

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As I mentioned in the previous article, February the 3rd is a very traditional Japanese event called SETSUBUN, and there are several things we do on that day, including throwing soy beans towards ogres.  As well as seasonal events in the US,  some Japanese events are associated with foods, and SETSUBUN is not an exception.  That makes events more exciting, don’t you think?

I have a Japanese style omelet ready, so let’s move on to other ingredients for EHOMAKI and, finish making it and eat it!

Along with TAMAGO YAKI, we need to prepare more stuffs.  It is told that we need seven kinds of ingredients in total.  To be honest with you, I didn’t know that.   At the dinner table,  my husband told me that, holding  in both hands a big sushi roll which only had six ingredients.  HA HA HA….

You could put whatever you want! 

Tuna, salmon, avocado, alfalfa, broccoli sprouts, asparagus, shrimp, and ANYTHING!

Anyway I will briefly show what I prepared besides TAMAGO YAKI.

Here are what I prepared for my sushi roll.

 

One of them is cooked shiitake.

I soaked dried shiitake in the water over night, and take stiff axes off, then cooked them their own liquid with soy sauce and sugar until they absorbed all the liquid.

By the way, I kept axes for that night’s miso soup!

 

 

 

Next I cooked carrots.

Peal them, and cut them vertically.  Then cook in dashi stock with a little sugar.

I use shirodashi again here since it has both saltiness and umami flavor, so we don’t need to make dashi from the scratch.

Cook them for about 5minutes, then drain it.  You can throw the liquid here.

Cool them completely.

 

Then move to the other ingredient, green beans.

To keep the green color bright, cook them for 2 minutes in the boiling water, and shock them in the cold water (the left photo).

Then cut them diagnostically, and cook them for the second time with shirodashi and sugar.

Cook them for about 2 minutes, and drain and cool them flat.

Then,,,

cucumber!

We need to cut it vertically as well.  Make sure you have enough length of the length of NORI, seaweed.

OK.  Now we have,,,

 

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TAMAGO YAKI, cooked shiitake, cooked carrots, cooked green beans, cucumber, and KANPYO (the upper left in the photo).

WAIT!  I didn’t see you preparing KANPYO and WHAT IS KANPYO?

 

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Sorry, I cheated it.  My mom sent this prepared KANPYO from Japan!  Kanpyo is dried shavings of calabash, a type of gourds.  Dried KANPYO is long and white, and this one was already cooked with soy sauce and sugar, that’s why they are brown.

Now including KANPYO, we have 6 ingredients.  I add one more while I was rolling.  That is,,,,

 

OF COURSE, LOVE!!!

 

By the way, this article is getting longer again, and we don’t have even rice yet.

What would you do?

 

I would do,,,,,,

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I would introduce how to prepare sushi rice and how to roll it in the next article.

I promise!

SO,,,

See you soon!

 

EHOMAKI PART 1 -tamago yaki-

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February the 3rd is SETSUBUN, a very traditional Japanese event.

SETSUBUN literally means ”division of seasons“.  It is used to mark the end of winter according to the old lunar calendar, which we don’t use any more.

However, the most of our seasonal events follow the lunar calendar, and we keep SETSUBUN as well.

On this day, we throw soy beans from inside of our houses to the outside, saying ONI HA SOTO, FUKU HA UCHI, evil out and happiness in.  Usually ogres are the symbol of evil, so one of family members has to play this role, putting a mask of an ogre on the face, and be a target of throwing beans.  Of course, usually fathers do this role. No question.

We throw beans at night.  On the same night for the dinner, we have EHOMAKI, a big and long sushi roll.   We shouldn’t cut the roll.  While eating, we wish for our health and happiness, and should eat it at once without breath.  We hold this sushi by both hands, and  eat it as if it is a burrito.

When we eat this roll, we have to face toward the year’s lucky direction.  This year the direction was South-southeast.

 

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Eating a long sushi roll on SETSUBUN has been a KANSAI (west side of Japan) area’s long tradition, but  Seven-Eleven had started this as sales promotion in 90s, then it spread quickly because Japan is a small country!

That’s why I didn’t have EHOMAKI when I was a kid.  I lived in Tokyo.  The first time I had EHOMAKI was when I was here in the US!

Now because I am away from my home country, I am trying to be a JAPANESE harder, so I have to make EHOMAKI like many Japanese people do!

 

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I would like to show how to make EHOMAKI, but before that, I would write about TAMAGO YAKI, one of the ingredients of EHOMAKI.

 

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TAMAGO YAKI is not only the stuffing for sushi roll, but this could be a dish!

We eat TAMAGO YAKI for breakfast, put it in obento, and also many IZAKAYA style restaurants offer this as appetizer.

TAMAGO YAKI is very simple and very Japanese, and everyone loves it.

Each house has its flavor, a little sweet or a little salty.

My mom makes it a little salty, so I like that way, but we could change depending on situation.

Here is how to cook TAMAGO YAKI.

Ingredients are 3 eggs, shirodashi (you could use salt instead), and oilThat’s it!

However we need special equipments.  Makisu, bamboo mat, and a special pan for TAMAGO YAKI.

 

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You could use a regular pan, but there is a pan only for TAMAGO YAKI in Japan.

I believe every mother has one in her kitchen.

My mom sent this pan for me 10 years ago, and this is not the popular style.

This is an easy TAMAGO YAKI maker, and it curves for us to roll eggs easily from one side to the other.

You have no idea what I am talking about, so I will show you.

 

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By the way, when you cook eggs, do you take the chalaza off?

In Japan, I think many people take this, and I had been seeing my mom always taking that, so I thought it was so crucial.  When I took a biology class here in the US, I learned this is not harmful at all.

I get accustomed to not taking this, but when I want eggs to finish smooth, I take it off.

Then beat the eggs.  I heard that when you make omelet, we need to beat at least 80times with a fork.  I do that for omelet.

 

You can use salt for eggs, but I used shirodashi because it has UMAMI flavor along with saltiness.

Add a just half teaspoon of shirodashi or salt.

Heat a tamago yaki pan or a regular small sized pan well with a little oil, pour about 1/4 of beaten egg to the pan, then immediately distribute it evenly.

When the most of the surface looks cooked,

 

roll the egg towards the other side with a spatula.  Roll it until it hit the other end.

 

If necessary, wipe the pan with a paper towel with a little oil again, then pour another 1/4 of egg to the pan.

Here is a key. Try to pour the egg under the cooked part.  That way it attaches the cooked part.

Then like the first roll, distribute the egg evenly, and when it looks cooked, roll it towards the other side, in my case, towards the right.

 

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Then repeat the same  another one or two time.

If you prefer sweet TAMAGO YAKI using some sweet agent, it easily gets burned, so do quickly.

 

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This is going to be my 4th time roll.

When you finish rolling, put the cooked egg onto a bamboo mat.

 

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Here the egg is a kind of cylindrical shape.   You can eat as it is, just cutting into several pieces horizontally.

I want this egg to be in my long sushi roll, so I want to cut it vertically.

For that, I want it to have angles.

That’s why I need this bamboo mat!

When you make sushi rolls with this mat, this helps sushi to be round, but also this could help egg to be angular.

 

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While the egg is still warm, make angles with this mat and leave it.

 

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That’s it!

When it gets cool, I cut this vertically into 6 pieces.

 

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I like the smell of TAMAGO YAKI.

 

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You could put this in obento like this.

 

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Did you get how to make TAMAGO YAKI  now?

Now I could move on to the main topic, EHOMAKI!

That will be in my next article!

I am so tempted to eat this TAMAGO YAKI, though……

 

 

OSECHI RYORI

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It is already in the middle of January, BUT

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

AKEMASHITE  OMEDETOUGOZAIMASU!

 

Thank you very much for visiting my blog last year, and thank you  for coming back this year again.

In my first article of this year, I have to write about OSECHI RYORI.

Yes, HAVE TO!

For me and, I think, for most of Japanese people, a new year breakfast is the most important breakfast of the year.

As Thanksgiving is very important for you, New Year is very special for us.

All the families get together and enjoy the first morning of the year.

There are lots of preparations before a new year comes.  We have to clean our houses perfectly to welcome a new year, and mothers are preparing very traditional Japanese dishes in boxes, OSECHI RYORI.

According to some resources, this tradition started in the Heian-Period (794-1185).

WOW!

We prepare OSECHI RYORI in a special lacquer-ware, callede as  JUBAKO (or OJYU).

They look like bento boxes, but they are stacked three or four.

In each boxes, we prepare several dishes which have some good connotations.

I was out of town on the New Year day this year, so I couldn’t prepare OSECHI RYORI.  However , luckily, we could order it from one of the best Japanese restaurant in NY!

 

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Look at the beautiful dishes in the picture above.

This was not only beautiful, but so detailed and so delicious!

Thank you very much, WASAN.

I will explain some of the dishes, using my OSECHI I made before.

I didn’t have a big JUBAKO (which is very expensive!), so I use a small JUBAKO and presented OSECHI RYORI on the plate.

 

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As I told you, OSECHI usually have three to four boxes, and I got to know for the first time, there should be an empty box along with the boxes filled with delicious foods.

WHY?

That indicates we will fill more food in this empty box, wishing more wealth in the coming new year.

I didn’t know that!

I would add two or three empty boxes then!

 

In these boxes, we  put foods neatly, according to some rules.

Yes, there is a certain order.

Let’s go from the first box.

The first box is called ICHI NO JYU (ichi means the first).

In the first box, we usually put appetizers such as KAZUNOKO, KUROROMAME, and TADUKURI for enjoying OTOSO.

 

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OTOSO is the New Year’s spiced sake.

This is very auspicious, and there is also a certain ceremony to have this, but,,,,we just drink these days.

 

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The three yellow triangle in the picture above is called KAZUNOKO,  herring roe.

The large number of herring roe symbolizes the prosperity of our offspring.

KUROMAME is the black beans in the middle.

 

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How far black and shiny they get is very important, and there is some technique for that.

We cook an old nail with black beans for them to enhance their anthocyanin.

If we cook them in an iron pot, we could get the same result, so we don’t need to put a nail.

KUROMAME is cooked sweet differently from black beans here.

MAME means beans, and also it has another meaning , and that is “health”.   We usually say MAME NI HATARAKU, which means work healthy.

We wish we could be healthy all year long and work well.

 

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Tadukuri is dried sardine, and cooked sweet as well.  Sardine is used as fertilizers in the rich filed in old days, so it symbolizes good harvest.

For us agricultural tribe, this is very important.

Among lots of delicious foods, my favorite one  is ,,,

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KURI KINTON!!

KURI KINTON is chestnuts in mashed Japanese sweet potato, and it requires  lots of work to make this, so I modified that time.

My mom always sweats a lot when she makes this, and she get sore arms the next day.

KINTON‘s KIN means gold, so this implies our hope to have abundant fortune in the coming year.

 

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Now on the left side of chestnuts in the picture above , you can see KOMBU.

Kombu is getting very popular in the US these days, so you know how good for the health this is.

We call this dish KOBU MAKI (rolled kombu).

In Japanese language we say  YORO KOBU when we get happy, so we metaphor this in KOBU MAKI.

 

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I tied KOHAKU KAMABOKO, which is red and white fish cake.

Red color represents the joyfulness and white color represents holiness.

In  good occasions such as wedding or some celebration, we use red and white color together.

 

Then let’s move to the second box, NI NO JYU.

We usually put SUNOMONO (pickled vegetables with rice vinegar) and some baked dish in it.

 

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KOHAKU NAMASU is pickled daikon and carrot.

KOHAKU means red and white in Japanese, and here again, it implies the joyfullness and holiness.

 

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This is very similar to a  pickles of Vietnamese food.

You may know it in banh mi.

I didn’t prepare any baked meat or fish for my OSECHI, but in the second box, we put meat and fish.

The one we ordered from WASAN had grilled salmon marinated with sake,simmered abalone, lightly simmered shrimp, bluefin toro, roasted duck and thicken beef tongue!

Shrimp is also very auspicious.

Shrimp implies “healthy until the hip bends like a shrimp”, so we wish our longevity.

 

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In the third box, SAN NO JYU, we put NISHIME, which is  a dish in which a simmering cooking technique is used.

Traditionally each vegetables are cooked separately to enhance and enjoy each vegetable’s flavor.

Another auspicious thing is pine, bamboo, and plum, SHO CHIKU BAI.

 

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I shaped  carrots as plum flowers, cooked bamboo shoots, and shaped cooked freeze-dry tofu as pine tree.

Any good luck motif are welcomed here, so I cook eggs, shaping as HYOTAN, gourd as well.

WHY GOURD?

There are some reasons, and one of them is because the shape of gourd is widen toward the end, which we Japanese think very auspicious.

We call this type of shape as SUE HIROGARI like the shape of the number 8.

That is why the number 8 is the lucky number in Japan along with 7.

Also I shaped cooked dried tofu as HAGOITA (the bottom left in the picture), a battledore, which we only play during New Year holidays.  It is like badminton.  We use shuttlecock , so I made a shuttlecock with carrot and green beans.

Ohhh, this article is getting  long!!

You could see how much I am excited, just remembering those festive dishes!

One more thing!

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In the New Year morning, we enjoy OZONI, rice cake in the soup.

There are tons of variations of OZONI, depending on the area.  I am from TOKYO, and TOKYO style is soy sauce base.

I made dashi stock with kombu, dried sardine, and bonito flakes.

Then I  add chicken thigh and some vegetables , usually nappa and carrots.

I finished up with soy sauce and salt, and put rice cake.

That’s it!

 

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 Until eating OZONI, I couldn’t feel like the New Year has arrived!

 

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Now you could see why I miss my country especially during this New Year holiday season.

 

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This is my mom’s Ozoni.

I miss Japan and miss my mom.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

how to make a good MISO SOUP !

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When I came to the US, I was so amazed to see people eating SUSHI.

I had never thought that they knew any Japanese foods and more over eating raw fish was very challenging for them.

It has been more than 15 years since then, and now we could find many Japanese related foods in restaurants and grocery stores.

Even some American or Mexican restaurants have Japanese fusion food  in their menus, and we could easily find soy sauce, sake, or other Japanese condiments in grocery stores.

I love reading food magazines, and I notice lots of recipes  don’t to hesitate using miso these days.

Before people only enjoyed MISO in miso soups in restaurants, but now I think some families have miso in the fridge, and use it as one of regular condiments.

Today I introduce very basic menu using miso. That’s right!

MISO SOUP!

Do you recognize what they are in the photo below?

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I believe they are now familiar to you.

They are KOMBU.

I always keep cut KOMBU like this in pantry for easy use.

Because of their rich nutrients, KOMBU tea or water is now popular, and I often see them in stores (although I have never tried them.).

Here are ingredients for today’s miso soup.

(for 2 people / serving size a large bowl)

  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 inches of KOMBU
  • dried seaweed (hydrated)
  • 1/4 onion (sliced)
  • chopped green onion (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of miso ( you could adjust the quantity ar you like)

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For the stock of  miso soup, I usually use KOMBU and NIBOSHI (small dried sardines),  but I was out of NIBOSHI now,  so today I only use KOMBU.

It is OK.

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KOMBU sometimes have white substance on its surface.

This is the sugar mannitol, one of UMAMI substances.

If you have an overactive thyroid function, you need to be careful of not taking it too much, but otherwise it is good to take KOMBU because it is an excellent source of the vitamin B and is rich in iodine. calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Before using Kombu, we need to take dirt just in case, but try not to take UMAMI substance on its surface, so…..

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just wipe  with a wet towel very gently.

Then,,,,

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put KOMBU in water for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Then heat the pot, BUT!

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You have to save this KOMBU  before it gets boiling.

If you boil KOMBU water. KOMBU’s sticky substance comes out, and DASHI gets thick.

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I saved KOMBU, and I don’t want to throw this away, so

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I always save it for other use such as topping on TOFU or salad ,or as an accent of pickles.

Now we have DASHI stock for miso soup.

How about other ingredients for soup?

You can put anything you want!

Today I return to the basic, so I will use,,,

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WAKAME, seaweeds.

There is fresh WAKAME in Japan, but here we can not get it, so I use packed seaweeds.

There are two kinds of seaweeds here.

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I believe you could get this type of dried seaweeds in any grocery stores these days.

It is very easy and covenient to use.

Just put some in water, and wait for 5-10 minutes.

Then you could get hydrated seaweed in front.

Today I will introduce the other type of packed seaweeds, which is,,,,

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wet type.

It is called ENZO WAKAME, which literally means salted seaweeds.

As you can see,,,

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they are being preserved in salt.

I have to wash out these salt well before using, then,,,,,

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do water bath for about 10 minutes.

They absorb the water gradually and get hydrated.

After 10 minutes, it changes ,,,,,

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like seaweed you see in the sea!

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Smells like ocean!

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I really like the way they look!

Just one handful of dry seaweed becomes like,,,

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THIS!!

Don’t you think it is AMAZING?

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This gigantic seaweed has a thick string on top, so,,,,

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take it off!

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Now I can cut in a bite size.

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I put the knife in 2 inches.

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Like this.

Then WAKAME is ready for the soup.

Other than these WAKAME, I will add,,,,

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onion slices.

By the way, my husband’s favorite combination of miso soup ingredients is onion and potato, but I don’t like it, SO it seldom appears at my kitchen.  If you like potato, you would love onion and potato combination.

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When you put more than two kinds of ingredients, you want to add the one which needs more time to be cooked.

In this case, seaweed is edible as it is and also seaweed melts when it is cooked too much, so we want to add seaweed at the very end.

Now we can add MISO!

I have two kinds of miso at home now, and they are,,,,

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white miso (right) and red miso (left).

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White miso has milder flavor, so it is easy to use for anything from miso soup to dressing.

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On the other hand, red miso (which actually is brown) has relatively a strong  deep flavor of UMAMI, so it might overwhelm mild dishes, but is perfect for hearty soups, braises, and glazes.

Today I mix two of them.

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This is the tool for MISO I believe every household in Japan has.

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With this amount of white miso, I will add a little bit of,,,

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red miso.

You don’t want to boil the soup after you put miso because you lose its good flavor.

Dissolve miso gradually until it reaches adequate saltiness.

If you make good DASHI base, UMAMI enhances the flavor of soup, so you don’t need lots of saltiness.

That is one of the reason why you’d better make good DASHI!

Also as I told you, it is better to add WAKAME at the end.

Just warm the soup, trying not to boil.

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If you want,  you can add chopped green onions.

We don’t  use a spoon to enjoy miso soup.

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Eat the ingredients with chopsticks, and just drink directly from  a bowl!

My husband noticed I added a little bit of red miso today, and he loved it!

Here are some suggestion of ingredients for miso soup.

  • wakame (seaweed) and tofu
  • onion and potato (yellow)
  • napa
  • cabbage
  • daikon radish

My father likes putting oiled tuna! Also he likes put a little bit butter before drinking!

Use your imagination and try putting anything!