Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Salted Shiso Seeds

I grow my own Shiso and every year I look forward for it to sprout. The best way to enjoy salted Shiso seeds are simply with freshly cooked steamy white rice. I also remember as a child my grandfather use to serve salted Shiso seeds on the side with Japanese curry.
I will post recipes for Shiso leaves in the near future.

Salted Shiso Seeds

·      some Shiso seeds
·      kosher salt, 10% to 15% of the amount of Shiso seeds
·      some salt for the salted water

1.     Pluck the Shiso seeds from the stalks when they are fully plumped with some flowers left on top.

2.     Use your fingertips to gently slide the seed off the stem. Wash with water. Don’t worry about the small leaves attached to the seeds.

3.     Let the Shiso seeds soak in a lightly salted water overnight. Please change the water once in between.

4.     Pat dry the seeds well using paper towel.

5.     In a bowl, add Shiso and kosher salt and mix well. Place them in a clean container and into the fridge.

6.     After 2 to 3 days the salt will draw the liquid out so mix it up again.

7.     You can start eating these the next day but if not let it preserve in the fridge.

★If you are interested in Japanese cuisine then check out my other articles in the Washoku.Guide!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sautéed Kale and Small Fish

Sautéed daikon radish leaves with small fish seasoned with soy sauce, is a pretty common dish in Japan. This is really delicious served with rice. We often buy daikon radish with their leaves attached. We don’t want to waste the nutrition so we use the leaves to make tasty and healthy dish. Outside of Japan, it is very difficult to get daikon leaves so I use kale instead when making this dish. Kale’s season is summer and as you already know it has tons of nutrition. It blends perfectly with the flavors of this dish and it is just as good as daikon leaves…maybe even better. We get a good dose of natural calcium with kale and small fishes. I often make this dish and keep it in the fridge for a couple of days and use it as a side dish, seasoning for rice, or a healthy addition to any meal. As strange as it sounds I even like to eat this on the toast.

Sautéed Kale and Small Fish

·      250g of kale (1 bunch)
·      20g of Jako or Shirasu fish (whitebait fish)
·      1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds
·      2 to 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
·      2 tablespoons of soy sauce
·      2 tablespoons of Japanese sake
·      1 tablespoon of mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
·      1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

1.     Rinse the kale well and cut into small pieces.

2.     Heat sesame oil in a frying pan and fry kale or daikon leaves over medium to high heat. Add more sesame oil if needed.

3.     When the color of the leaves starts to change, add jako or shrasu small fish.

4.     Add soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sesame seeds, then continue to stir-fry until the excess moisture is gone.

*If you are not planning to eat them with rice, you can adjust the seasoning amount. But try them with rice and you will understand how delicious it is. You can use any type of kale, even swiss or rainbow chard. The flavor is just a little earthier.

★If you are interested in Japanese cuisine then check out my other articles in the Washoku.Guide!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Homemade Plum Wine (Ume-shu)

Plum wine, called Ume-shu is very popular in Japan. Plum wine is plum infused sweetened liquor. It is fun to make, looks cool sitting in the container, and the taste is well worth the wait. Here is my Ume-shu collection.

To make the plum wine we need these three ingredients: Japanese plums (ume), liquid, and rock sugar.

In Japan, when the plums are still green, we would soak them in Shochu (strong clear Japanese liquor) with rock sugar. Because it is difficult to get a big bottle of Shochu in Boston, I use vodka instead. Vodka is also strong and clear liquor. The good thing about homemade plum wine is that you can be flexible and add some variations. If you like vodka, that is a great choice for making plum wine but you can also use sherry or brandy too. I like the taste of these 2 liquors so I also make plum sherry and plum brandy too.

You can also change the sweetness of your plum wine. I like sweet plum wine so I use the full amount of rock sugar. Using rock sugar is actually an important point. It takes time to melt, so little by little the plum flavor is extracted into the liquor. It usually takes about 1 year for the Ume-shu to get the entire flavor from the fruit. I actually leave it for even longer to really build up its flavor. You can drink Ume-shu with club soda, ice water, or just on the rocks. I like to drink it on the rocks.

You can eat the soaked plums if you like, but keep in mind it has been soaked in the alcohol for a long time! We can also make jam or desserts with the soaked plums.

Ask the Japanese super market near you if they carry green plums. Usually they carry them from May to June. Enjoy your own homemade Ume-shu!

Homemade Plum Wine (Ume-shu)

·      1lbs of plums
·      1lbs of rock sugar
·      1liter of vodka, brandy, or sherry
·      big container for the plum wine

1.     Wash the plums and take away the black stem carefully with a toothpick. Pat dry or it will get moldy easily.
2.      Wash and dry the big container, then sterilize it with vodka.
3.     In the sterilized container, put the rock sugar and plums alternately in layers, and pour in the liquor.

4.     Store the Ume-shu container in a cool place and leave for a year or more.

5.     If you want to keep the Ume-shu for a long time, you should remove the plums.

★If you are interested in Japanese cuisine then check out my other articles in the Washoku.Guide!