Japan Eats

Japan Eats Podcast, Episode 22: “Is that gochujang in your hand luggage?”

This week we get all hot and bothered talking about Tokyo’s love affair with Korean food.

The Japan Eats Podcast is presented by Garrett DeOrio, Marcus Lovitt and Christopher Pellegrini. To listen, click play on the audio player below:

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You can also subscribe to the fortnightly Japan Eats feed via iTunes or directly with our RSS feed.

Find the Japan Eats Facebook page here. Have something to say? Drop us a line.

Here are some links to what we discussed this week:

You can e-mail us at lovitt@japaneats.tv

Follow us on the Japan Eats Twitter feed. And please “Like” Japan Eats on Facebook.

Recipe: Kizami-kombu to satumaage no nimono (stewed kizami-kombu)

Kombu is used for more than just dashi.

Whether it’s as an ingredient in miso soup or as a wrapping for onigiri, seaweed is synonymous with Japanese cuisine. Kombu (kelp) is best known as one of the main ingredients in dashi, but is equally good served as part of salads or stews. It’s loaded with umami, and therefore dishes in which kombu is an ingredient don’t require added flavor. Kizami-kombu is dried kelp which is shredded to produce a stringy texture. Usually it’s simmered with thinly sliced vegetables or used in asazuke (Japanese pickles) to add umami.

Satsuma-age (fried fish cakes) add volume to the stew. Made from ground fish, flour and seasoning, satsuma-age originate from southern Kyushu, but are found throughout Japan.

Thinly sliced deep-fried tofu pouches, shiitake, boiled edamame (soy beans) are also nice additions to this dish.

Kizami-konbu to satumaage no nimono

Kizami-konbu to satumaage no nimono

Ingredients (for 6 – 8 people)

  • 25 g of kizami-kombu
  • 80 g of carrot
  • 2 sheets of satsuma-age (120 g)
  • 400 ml of dashi soup
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1.5 – 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of soy sauce

Method

In 1 liter of cold water, rinse the kizami-kombu and soften for 5 minutes (refer to the instructions on the kizami-kombu’s package) before draining.

Next, place the satsuma-age in a colander and pour 100 ml of hot water over the fish cakes to remove any excess oil.

Cut the carrot into 4 – 5 cm long square strips so that they resemble matchsticks

Place a saucepan with a tablespoon of vegetable oil on a medium heat, and sauté the carrot for 2 minutes. Add the kizami-kombu, mix well and sauté  for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the satsuma-age and mix again.

Pour in 400 ml of dashi soup, 1.5 – 2 tablespoons of sugar and soy sauce. Turn the heat down low, simmer for 15 – 20 minutes with the lid on and serve.

Japan Booze Blind: Wheat Beer

Guests Duncan Sculpher and Albrecht Stahmer join host Christopher Pellegrini in testing three types of wheat beer.

Several episodes of Japan Booze Blind actually predate the JapanEats.tv website. They were uploaded to YouTube, then pretty much ignored… until now! We recently raided the archives and will be posting the shows here over the coming weeks.

Marvel at the shaky camerawork! Thrill to the fuzzy audio! Gasp at Chris’s ever-changing facial hair! As always, we welcome your comments on these early efforts.

In this episode, Chris has guests Duncan Sculpher (proprietor of Kokubunji’s Lighthouse) and Albrecht Stahmer (notorious reprobate) blind-taste three wheat beers: Baird Brewing’s Wheat King Ale (Japan), Hitachino Nest’s Weizen (Japan) and Paulaner (Germany).

Recipe: Hijiki no nimono (stewed hijiki)

This classic seaweed dish is simple and healthy. Add it to your next bento, or serve it alongside rice as a main meal.

Hijiki is a well known seaweed in Japan. There are two kinds: me-hijiki, (hijiki buds) which is relatively easy to prepare, and naga-hijiki, the stem of hijiki seaweed. Naga-hijiki takes longer to soften but has more texture.

Hijiki no nimono is considered to be “mother’s home cooking” (“ofukuro no aji“) and is rich in fiber, iron and calcium.

This dish usually contains carrots and deep-fried tofu pouches. Small pieces of chicken, shiitake mushrooms and edamame (boiled soy beans) can be added to the recipe.

This is a dish is good on the day it is prepared and even better the next.

Hijiki no nimono

Hijiki no nimono

Ingredients (For 6 – 8 people)

  • 25 g of me hijiki (dry)
  • 1 deep-fried tofu pouch
  • 80 g of carrot
  • 80 g of burdock roots
  • 80 – 100 g of boiled soy beans
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of sake
  • 1 tablespoon of mirin
  • 3 and a half tablespoons of soy sauce

Method

Fill a bowl with 1 liter of cold water and soak me hijiki for 15 – 20 minutes (refer to the me hijiki‘s package) before draining the seaweed.

Cut the carrot into rectangular strips 4 – 5 cm long and 2 mm x 2 mm wide.

Fill a small bowl with 500 ml of cold water and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Wash the burdock root and cut it into long thin strips, shaving it as though sharpening a pencil. Soak in the bowl of cold water to remove any bitterness and drain.

Pour 100 ml of hot water onto the deep fried tofu pouch and remove the excess oil. Cut into pieces 5 mm thin and 3 – 4 cm in length.

Place a pan on a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the carrot and burdock root, then sauté for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the me-hijiki, mix the ingredients well. Sauté  for a minute more. Finally add the aburaage.

Add 200 ml of dashi soup,and turn the heat up to medium-high. Once it comes to the boil, turn the heat back down to medium-low and add 1/2 table spoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of sake, 1 tablespoon of mirin and 3 and a half tablespoons of soy sauce.

Simmer until the liquid is almost gone and serve.

Japan Eats Podcast, Episode 21: “Curious About Shochu”

On this week’s episode, we talk with Chris about creating the group Curious About Shochu.

The Japan Eats Podcast is presented by Garrett DeOrio, Marcus Lovitt and Christopher Pellegrini. To listen, click play on the audio player below:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

You can also subscribe to the fortnightly Japan Eats feed via iTunes or directly with our RSS feed.

Find the Japan Eats Facebook page here. Have something to say? Drop us a line.

Here are some links to what we discussed this week:

You can e-mail us at lovitt@japaneats.tv

Follow us on the Japan Eats Twitter feed. And please “Like” Japan Eats on Facebook.

Recipe: Nanohana and bacon pasta

A bittersweet spring dish.

Nanohana (or rape-blossom in English) is representative of spring. Like wild vegetables such as fuki (butterbur), taranome (the buds of Japanese angelica) and udo, nanohana is a seasonal vegetable with a slight bitterness. For this reason, nanohana goes well with two of the dish’s other ingredients: butter and bacon. These add a sweetness that offsets the initial bitterness of the vegetable.

I recommend adding a little butter to the olive oil (or vegetable oil) to sauté the nanohana.

Nanohana and bacon pasta

Nanohana and bacon pasta

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 80 g of bacon (thinly sliced)
  • 140 – 150 g of rape blossom (canola)
  • 150 – 160 g spaghettini
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 dried whole chilli pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 10 g of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of spaghettini‘s broth
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce

Method

Place a large saucepan with 2 liters of cold water on a high heat and bring it to the boil. Add 20 g of salt, then cook the spaghettini.

As soon as you start to cook the spaghettini, you should also start preparing the sauce. Cut the bacon into slices 3 – 4 cm wide. Remove 1 – 2 cm from the bottom of the nanohana‘s stem, and cut into pieces 3 – 4 cm wide. You don’t need to remove the bottom of the stems if they are fresh and still soft.

Break the dried chilli pepper into 2 – 3 pieces and remove the seeds. Place a frying pan with olive oil, butter, finely chopped garlic and dried whole chilli pepper on a low heat and sauté the mixture until it produces an aroma.

Next add the bacon and sauté for another 1 – 2 minutes on the same low – medium heat.

Add the nanohana (stems first, then the leaves) mixing and softening them quickly.

Turn the heat down to low, and add 4 tablespoons of the spagettini‘s broth, mixing well. Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, mix again and turn off the heat.

Add the spaghettini, coating the pasta with sauce. Serve.