There is something innately lovable about making fermented foods from scratch. For starters, they are that ‘Mr Cool’ that sit by the quiet corner in your kitchen, being the prideful symbol for ‘doing it for yourself’, sticking two fingers at commercialism. And secondly, they become the ‘My Baby Project‘ since something like miso has to be nurtured over a very-very long period of time. Note, the apt word here is ‘baby’ and ‘nurture’, because “The thing is ALIVE!!!” (think B-movie with some-kinda green lagoon here), with microorganisms such as yeast and good bacteria thriving in it. They are the busy bees working their socks off to make it tasty. What’s more, what’s not to love about a ‘baby’ that’s not one for needy attention? Fermented foods like to be left alone, rather, they’d prefer to quite happily take care of themselves, working it’s fermentation-magic in their own sweet time. (Don’t laugh, because it’s silly I know, but as they are live things, I call my miso ‘my baby’, and name my sourdough starter ‘Jessica’. My rice-bran pickle-bed ‘nukazuke’ is simply and affectionately called ‘Nuka-chan’.)
Anyway, Let’s cut the malarkey. You’re here for the recipe. It’s below. And It’s pretty long. I tried to cover everything I know about it. Sorry.
Continue reading “#023: How to make homemade miso 101”
Gomashio is a popular table condiment in Japan. Most of the time, it is sprinkled over rice, especially over the sticky rice with red azuki bean called ‘Sekihan’ that I absolutely love! The super glutinous rice has a naturally sweet tone, as do the azuki beans, and when you eat it with a sprinkle of salty gomashio (also spelt ‘gomasio’), I feel deep-down happiness because it conjures the memories of eating this rice on happy occasions with my family.
The sekihan isn’t something you eat on a daily basis, it’s served on special occasions (the red colour symbolises happiness), so I sprinkle gomashio over my usual brown rice, and also whenever I make onigiri rice balls for my daughter’s bento, to make the rice taste slightly salty, nutty, and aromatic. Cold rice need a helping hand like that because it could taste bland. Other than using it as a rice seasoning, it can be uses to add pizazz on salads and boiled vegetables, and it could make a great salt replacement that make the salt consumption become more modest in your diet.
There are two ways to make gomashio sesame salt.
One type is a simple mixture of sesame and salt. No cooking involved, it’s literally sesame and salt pounded in to semi-powder in a mortar, that’s it.
And the other type is the sesame that’s ‘coated’ with salt, which is my preferred method, and what the recipe below is for. This method is still very straightforward to make: we simply chuck in the sesame, water and salt in a pot and cook them down until the water completely evaporates. I guess the only trick is to really evaporate the water, so that by the end of it, the sesame seeds are toasting at the bottom of the pan. They’ll turn a perfect golden colour and award us with sweet roasted aroma.
Continue reading “#022: Handmade gomashio recipe – Japanese sesame salt condiment that’s worth their salt!”
This protein-rich vegetarian recipe truly makes a satisfying eat.
There are two major secret tricks to make this good:
One is to up the umami by incorporating shiitake mushrooms, which is famous for having oodles of umami. As you’ll see in the recipe, I use them still frozen. When you freeze mushrooms, the guanylic acid (a chemical compound that is the source of umami) becomes 1.9 time more. When this is combined with hijiki seaweed, onion and ginger, it creates what’s called an ‘umami synergy’, whereby it amplifies the umami, elevating the dish from lacklustre to mouth-wateringly hard to resist.
Continue reading “#015: Tofu and soya mince vegan/ vegetarian meatballs recipe”
The standard teriyaki sauce has just 4 ingredients, which are soy sauce, Japanese sake, mirin and sugar.
And to figure out how much of each ingredient, you can simply apply the following ratio 2:1:1:1 (double of soy sauce compared to each ingredient). It’s that simple that it’s easy to remember off by heart.
Continue reading “#013: The best recipe for maple (or honey) teriyaki sauce that I know!”
When I was writing my guide on how to make Japanese brown rice in my previous post, I always thought I should lead up to writing about miso soup, as, for every Japanese person, rice and miso soup go hand-in-hand. (Here, I was wondering what the western equivalent might be: Burger and patty? Fish and chips?)
Continue reading “#009: The ABC of miso soup (poster)”
I’d like to introduce to you my go-to recipe for brown rice. It’s probably going to look like no-frills (it’s just rice after all!) but it is perhaps THE apt one to be featured as my first recipe. Because being Japanese, rice is my staple food. It forms the foundation of my meals. It’s so often that I eat it that it makes sense for me to try & make my rice meals healthful by opting for wholegrain brown. Continue reading “#002: Recipe for fluffy & plump Japanese brown rice”