“Nanakusa gayu” (7 spring weed congee)
According to Wikipedia,
“The seventh of the first month has been an important Japanese festival since ancient times. The custom of eating nanakusa-gayu on this day, to bring longevity and health, developed in Japan from a similar ancient Chinese custom, intended to ward off evil. Since there is little green at that time of the year, the young green herbs bring color to the table and eating them suits the spirit of the New Year.”
As well as it is for resting & healing the hard worked stomach from the new year’s rich, festive food.
I can’t have the plants until spring in Vancouver, but wait! Found some green plants outside.
However..I don’t have that much desire to go to wet forest ( Vancouver is rain almost all winter).
So that I made western version of the congee - less number of plants but I’d call “Nanakusa” risotto.
My method is hybrid of risotto & cooking rice in Japanese style. Japanese cook rice very thoughtfully. Control the heat, water- all for the texture of rice.
I found the idea of Risotto is a bit similar to japanese rice cooking method because Italians really think about the texture of rice and the liquid.
Nanakusa risotto - Yeld for 2people
Onion 1/4 piece, small diced
Garlic I clove, minced
Carrot 1 inches Julian
Radish red or white with top 1 piece, radish top : chopped. Raddish : Very thinly sliced
Rapini 2-3 pieces cut in 1 - 2 inches
Watercress cut in 1-2 inches
(If you can find dandelion leaves, that’s great adding too)
Dashi stock 2Lb
Evo 2 TB or more
Nutritional yeast 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil or evo to finish(2TB or as you like)
Salt to taste
Put oil in a frying pan, on medium high heat, stir fry the onion and a little bit of salt until slightly caramelized.
Add rice and toast them until the rice mixture have gotten good smell, then lower the heat as medium heat.
Add dashi stock carefully at first, little by little. You will continue keeping adding liquid, about 1cup each time.
At first 15 min, on medium heat and sort of boil the rice to be fluffed up them but keep stirring. Then change the heat to medium low heat . Keep stirring, wait to add next ladle until the rice absorbed the liquid.
Keep adding the liquid, at this point (photo), lower the heat. Keep stirring sometimes but not too often to avoid breaking the rice.
When the rice get your desired point(aldente or whatever), as well as until the sauce gets creamy, add seasoning.
Nutritional yeast and salt, add rapini, to get them slightly to be cooked.
Add carrot, chopped radish top.
Lastly add water cress and sliced radish.
Finish salt, coconut oil.
Add “good amount” of salt is a key point since the vegetables are just slightly cooked, the moisture would thin out the saltiness.
Happy new year to all.
I was abundant this blog for a while.. It have been crazy busy for two month.
So new year. In Japan we have several new year dishes.Osechi is a new year meal that traditionally in beautiful wooden boxes, every component has meanings.
I made some of them as vegan last year. See my last year's post.
So this year. I didn't have time to make a big project so just had a "new year's mochi soup". We have this soup on the new year's day morning.
Mochi sounds difficult to handle?
You don't need to pound sticky rice or don't need to buy square shaped dried mochis.
You just need sticky rice powder.
Here is an easy recipe.
New year's mochi soup
Yield : 2
Sticky rice powder 1cp
Water 1/2 -3/4cp
A pinch Salt to taste. The soup is going to be salty so not too much.
Ice bath in a bowl
Dashi stock 1L Click to see how to make.
Carrot small piece, thin juliene
Green onion small piece, thin juliene
Boiled green vegetables (if you desired) for garnish
Salt for taste.Very good amount.
Heat up the dashi until boiling. Add good amount od salt, taste like right before sea water (but drinkable) and stop heating.
Salty soup makes the mochi taste better.
Make the mochi.
Boil water in a small pot for boiling mochi.
In the mean time add sticky rice powder and salt in a bowl, adding water little by little with mixing the dough by hands.
As we often use the word for the texture of the dough, "until the softness of your earlobe" .
Then start making the shape. There's no rules but small round, flat shapes are easy to cook.
Get the ice bath bowl near you. Put shaped mochi dough in the boiling pot and wait until they are floating. After floating, wait about three minutes and take them into the ice bath.
If you desired, you can torch the mochi to increase the fravor.
Add vegetables and mochi in a small soup bowl, and pour hot dashi liquid over.
I got bunch of green pea pods from a farmers market and it inspired me.
Then tried to make fresh green peas rice - this dish brings me back memories from my mom's cooking.
She makes green peas rice when its season. Actually, in Japan, we cook rice with seasonal vegetables often when they are in seasons. It is like a celebration and appreciation for the season.
In spring, bamboo shoot or mixture of mountain wild vegetables, in summer, green peas, in autumn, chestnuts or pine mushroom, in winter,gingko nuts .. and more.
I didn't realize when I grew up in Japan but now I know such rich food culture my home country has.
So.Here is the green peas rice recipe.
The photo is with barley but this recipe is for white Japanese rice. You must change the amount of water if you substitute with brown rice or mixing with other grains.
This is pretty authentic one. Most of old time Japanese moms know.
Rice (Japanese rice) 2cups
Water 2 3/4 cups
Salt 1 pinch, for taste
Kelp (Konbu) about 2 inches square strip
Fresh green peas, depods around 10 pods
Wash the rice 30 min beforehands and drain well.
How to wash the rice : If you want to know how Japanese rice lovers wash,see this. Otherwise you can wash it 3 times until the water looks without milky fog.
Dissolve the salt in the water then pour over the rice and add kelp in your medium sized, tall( has a depth), heavy cooking pot.
Add peas, cover with a lid, then start cooking with medium high heat.
The point of cooking rice is controlling heat.
Wait until the water just being boiled, then change the heat to high make it to super, highly boiling.
The lid would be bounced by the boiling.
Then let the lid open just a little bit (max 1/4 inch), and let it boil likely 2-3 min, change the heat as low.Professionals don't let the lid open but I don't like to make my stove dirty so I do this.
Cook until the rice absorb all liquid. I found that the rice looks very slightly wet is better for another process.
Turn off the heat, then let the lid back to fully cover the pot, let it leave15-20min.We call this process "steaming". This is very important to rest the cooked rice to be fluffy, perfectly moist.
With rice spatula(we call it "shamoji"), gently flip the rice in the pot with sideways, like slicing rice.
It is very important to keep the texture of rice for fine cooking, however.. this is home cooking and also this time is with peas then no worries too much!
Then serve with rice bowls. Bon appetit.
I will separate this method how to cook rice in a pot sometimes soon.
It is pretty simple.
There are a few method to get it better, but I will write simplest method here.
2 inch by 1/2 ich kelp
2 litteres of water.
If you like to get more umami, add a few pieces of dried shiitake.
Boil a piece of Konbu( and shiitake) from cold water, once it reached boiling, stop heat and leave it for a while.
Konbu will be slimy so take it out when it's cool down.
You can keep it in your freezer or fridge.
Sunchokes.I didn’t like them before. I thought the smell is similar to rhinoceros beetle.Don't laugh. Seriously smells similar.
Now I like them.Good flavor specially with the skin.
You need a little bit of process to clean them since their shapes are so weird but it worth to take time.
I received bunch of them from my friend’s garden for my vegan dinner series “Far East ( check it out #fareastyvr)” and I got some leftovers then made potato salad.
Interesting texture & flavor, more bites than using regular potatoes.
For the vegan mayo, I used special iori from my recipe( secret.sorry..), but you can make mayo from soy milk or aquafava( chick pea liquid).I put some links below.
Those beans have proteins and other components those reacts similar to eggs does - making form / emulsifying.
Sunchokes : image : Nasi's organic produce
<Ingredients> *about 2 serving
Sunchoke, about 1 lb 3-4 pieces
Cucumber, cut in cubes , or your choice, salted
Raddish, very thin slice, put in cold water
Vegan mayonaise 1/2 cup
Salt and pepper
Vegan mayo recipe: Here is some good recipes from Minimalist baker and Seitan is my motor
Wash the sunchokes. Use scrubby, just take off the dirts.
Put sunchokes in a pot, pour water to cover them, add 1 table spoon of salt, heat up the water.
Once they boiled, take them out from the pot and cool them down. Cut in small sizes with skin.
Put the sunchokes, cucumber and mayo, toss well.
Make taste with salt and pepper, put sliced radishes on top.
Christian world is Easter now and people may cook birds and hunting eggs..but this Omelette is without eggs.
Omuraisu is another popular comfort food in Japan. The name came from Omelette (and) rice.
The inside of rice is mostly ketchup rice, but can be other sort of fried rice.
When I make this recipe, I tried to use just Tofu, flour and corn starch,and a little bit of oil, it wasn't succeed.The texture wasn't the best, the omelette was too soft to flip.
Many people uses chickpea flour for omelette, but I didin't want to make complicated recipe so just tried using simplest ingredients.
I was thinking about the texture - How can I get the curdle-y, sort of gel-ish texture like cooked eggs.
Then tried adding Agar agar. I assumed it would be cooked while cooking the omelette.
Then it was succeed.The inside is curdle-ish, outside is crispy.
Here is the recipe. With Japanese-y tomato sauce.
<ingredients, 2 servings>
Silk tofu about 1 cup
Soy milk or other neutral milk 1/4 cup
Flour 2 Tbsp
Corn starch 1 Tbsp
Agar agr 2 Teaspoon
Salt and pepper
< For filling>
Left over cooked rice 2 cups
*Left over vegetables : chopped in small dice. : Optional
Garlic 1 clove, minced
Tomato Ketup or tomato sauce , 2 Tbsp
Salt and pepper
<Japanese ish tomato sauce>
Tomato paste, 1/2 cup
Celery, 2 steaks, diced
Onion,1/4 piece, diced
Garlic, 1 clove, chopped
Capers, 1 tea spoon
Apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoon
Kelp, strip,1 inch long, 1/2 inch wide
Agave syrup or other sweetener 2Tbsp (As your taste buds.)
Salt and pepper
Make tomato sauce first.
Put water and kelp in a small pot, boil until fully boiled, then leave from the heat,leave it around 15 min and take out the kelp.This is easy dashi stock.
Put all ingredients in the dashi stock pot, then heat up with medium high, when it is bubbling, change the heat as low heat, leave it 20min.
Blend the tomato mixture with hand blender, set aside.
Make the filling.You can do it while you are waiting to done the tomato sauce.
Fry the rice with a little bit of frying oil, if you want it with vegetables, veggies first (does it sound like ladies first?! Dad joke).
Mix in ketchup or tomato sauce with the fried rice, make taste with S+P.
Put it on a plate, make it like nice small hill.
Blend all ingredients with hand blender, beside frying oil.If the mixture was too thick, add more neutral milk.Make it as the same texture of pancake dough.
Fry the tofu mixture.
Put little bit of oil in a frying pan, put it on medium high heat.
Ladle the tofu mixture in, about 1/4 cup (4oz). You can eyeball it.
Spread it as your size, change the heat as medium low, wait until the edge looks dry.
Make sure the bottom of tofu mixture was fully fried, then flip. You will get nice crust on the top.
Fry it for 1-2 min or so, put it on the ketchup rice hill.
Put the tomato sauce.Done.
So I used this tofu, it is fermented with something special. Will tell you later. You can use normal firm tofu, you must squeeze out the moisture.
Nettles, hand full.
Boiling water with salt in a pot
A bowl of ice bath
Tofu(firm) , 1 inch square, quater inch thick, squeeze moisture with paper towel etc.
Soy sauce , 1 Tbsp
Maple syrup, 1 Tbsp
Tahini, 1/4 cup
Dashi stock or water, 1 Tbsp
Boil the nettles. Be careful with the soft needles..you need to put gloves when you handle them fresh.
Boil the water in a pot with a salt. Make ice bath in a bowl.
Put nettles in the pot when the water got simmered. Boil them for 4-5 minutes, drain, put in the ice bath.
When the nettles got cool down, squeeze the water.
Traditional Goma-ae recipe is grind the sesame seed until it turned into paste, however..this is quick recipe so I used tahini.
Crush the squeezed tofu in a bowl.
Mix all ingredients for the sace, don't worry about chunks.
*Traditionally, we strain the tofu to make it smoother.If you like, do it!
I haven't had clementine before I came here.
According to wikipedia, it is crossing mandarine orange and sweet orange.
First time I knew about the orange was in a movie, Secret life of Walter Mitty.The main character's mom made a clementine cake for him.
I was inspired by it and made a cake when I saw it.
Anyways, it was a few years before and was with regular oranges.
This time, about a month ago, I saw a box of clementine and seemed like it was from middle east..I was curious how is the taste of the oranges then bought it.
The clementines were taste so good.Sort of special for me, the balance of sweetness and tanginess were perfect.However..I didn't think I will finish just eating one small box of fresh oranges before they went bad.
I dicided to make marmalade.
The ingredients are simply, just clementines and the same amount of brown sugar (or white sugar if you like lighter color).
You can use less sugar, but don't decrease too much.
The method is a little bit of work with clementine because they are small and have lots of seeds.
I am writing recipes here as simple and easy..so this is a little bit lazy way than traditional marmalade recipe.
Wash the clementines, take the orange skins off from the fruits. Don't leave too much white skins.
Normally take out of fruits meats from the segments but so, this is "easy" way, juice them with cheese cloth.
Then keep the white skins and pulps, put the juice and sugar into the pot.
Wrap the skins and pulps with cheese cloth and close it. This components are for pectin.
Chop the orange skins. Very thin julian, or the size of your choice.
Put the chopped skins, the cheese cloth bag in the pot of Juice and sugar, and stew them.
First medium heat, once it went boiling, reduce the heat, simmer it with very low heat for 40min -1 hour or more until the orange skin got softer.
Vancouver's winter weather is mostly rain.This is tough for me because I am originally from Japan, even so I have been in this city for a while, still I can't get over this rainy season.
I like to make nice breakfast or brunch for curing my winter blues - the photo above is vegan soufflee (gluten flee).
The photo below is the first experiment, I put marshmallow on the soufflee, it looks cute but the soufflee dough was dense and wasn't succeed.
I was thinking to add aquafava form, however.. it would take too much time for quick breakfast.
Then the topping gave me an idea - how about mix the marshmallows in the dough!
I make vegan marshmallows from scratch, it takes time forever so I usually buy commercial one for quick solution.
The vegan marshmallows has egg replacers and glue-ish staff for the ingredients ..I thought it would be perfect for the soufflee.
Then tried, when I saw the soufflee puffed up in the oven, I had little victory scream.
The texture was perfect. Airly, formy.
So this is the recipe.Quite easy.
Recipe & idea courtesy of ©Tomoko Tahara / Cook hatter
Yield : make 1 small shallow maison jar
<wet ingredients >
1/4 cup vegan marshmallows
1/4 cup vegan chocolate
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup almond milk or non daily milk
1Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp spelt flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
some cacao nibs
Perheat the oven 350f
Make the wet ingredients melt with bain marie(double boiler).
Boil hot water in a pot and put a bowl of ingredients on top of the pot, stir the mixture sometimes, then melt them completely.
In the mean time, mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Then add wet ingredients to the dry bowl, mix.
Then put the dough in the jar. May fill 1/2 inch below from the jar top and put topping, take it in the oven.
Bake 20-25 min. The photo is when I took the dough out from the oven after 2 min. It would puff up on the centre while in the oven.
Tomoko Tahara A.K.A.#cookhatter
<Restaurans in Vancouver>
The Acorn : Vegetarian restaurant
The birds and beets : Cafe
Cacao Vancouver:Modern latin
The mackenzieroom:Modern coastal
Birds and beets
Tempea food: tempeh maker
<Restaurant in Japan>
Bon Gout: Bakery and wine
Bar Pancho:Spanish tapas
Takanoya :Gastro pub