Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ginger Rice

I found young ginger (also known as spring ginger) at the store other day and decided to make this ginger rice. Spring ginger is a fall crop imported from countries south of the Equator. Young ginger has the same shape as regular ginger but is milder and tenderer.

Ginger Rice

·      3 rice cups of short grain rice (1 rice cup=180cc)
·      3 ounces of young ginger (use half of the amount for regular ginger)
·      1 piece of “Aburaage” (deep fried tofu skin)
·      500cc of dashi broth (use salt-free, additive-free for powdered dashi stock)
·      3 tablespoons of light soy sauce
·      2 tablespoons of Japanese sake
·      2 tablespoons of mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
·      a pinch of salt

Tips: If you are using rice cooker, add seasonings first, then add dashi broth up to the line for 3 cups of rice. Cook normally after that.

1.     Rinse the rice in a bowl few times with cold water and drain well in a colander.
2.     Rub off the skin of the young ginger using the edge of a spoon and mince it.  Pour hot water over the “Aburaage” to remove excessive oil. Mince the “Aburaage”.

3.     In a pot, mix the rice, dashi broth, light soy sauce, sake, and mirin. Stir once. Add minced ginger and “Aburaage” on top. If you have time, let the rice soak for a little to make the rice fluffier.

4.     Cook over high heat with a lid on. Approximately 30 seconds after steam comes out, turn the heat down to low and cook for an additional 11 to 12 minutes.
5.     Turn the heat up to high for the last 20 seconds.

6.     Allow the rice to settle for about 10 minutes with the lid on. Mix the rice then serve.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Japanese Quince Wine

Try making your own quince wine! It is nutritional and helps you recover from exhaustion.

Japanese Quince Wine

·      5 small Japanese quinces
·      300g of rock sugar
·      some amounts of vodka

1.     Slice quinces into half an inch wide rings. Watch your fingers when cutting these hard quinces.

2.     In a sanitized jar (I use 1L size jar) add the sliced quince. Then add rock sugar on top.

3.     Pour vodka to fill the jar.

4.     Leave the jar to ferment for at least 3 months. It tastes the best after about a year!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Daifuku - Mochi with Red Bean Paste

“Daifuku” is one of the most popular Mochi desserts in Japan. It is a pretty simple dessert made from Mochi rice dough and sweetened red bean paste. The pre-made red bean paste packages can be found at Japanese or Asian supermarkets. The ingredients have a long shelf life so stock up on them when you find them!

Daifuku – Mochi with Red Bean Paste
(8 Daifuku)

·      250g of “Shiratamako” sweet rice flour
·      5 tablespoons of sugar
·      300ml of water
·      some potato starch
·      “anko” red bean paste (enough for 8 golf sized balls)

1.     Pour the rice flour into a microwave bowl and add the water slowly while mixing, until it is well mixed. Add water slowly otherwise the dough will be lumpy. Add sugar and mix well.

2.     Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and microwave on medium power for 1 minute. Take the bowl out and mix well with a wooden spatula. Microwave for 2 more minutes and mix well. Repeat microwaving for 1 minute and mixing until the dough turns glossy and elastic (this usually takes 2 or 4 more times).

3.     Spread some generous amount of potato starch on a baking sheet and put the mochi from the bowl onto the sheet. Split the mochi into 8 pieces. It is easier to split in half then make 4 out of each half.

4.     Make 8 small red bean paste (anko) balls the size of golf balls.

5.     Flatted each mocha piece by hand then wrap the anko ball with the flattened mochi. Close the opening and pinching together then place the closed side down. Serve.

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.