#022: Handmade gomashio recipe – Japanese sesame salt condiment that’s worth their salt!

Japanese gomashio (gomasio) recipe from www.basicsofhappy.com

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.

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#021: Food will be extra delicious depending on how you cut it! (considering the fibre direction together with the Ying and Yang-ness)

 

Cutting the vegetables, meats and fish in a certain direction according to the direction of the grain or muscle will change the mouthfeel, as well as the taste such as level of bitterness and sweetness. It even changes the nutritional intake.

I find this a logical way to go about cooking; there is the how and the why with the enhanced results. It makes sense to adapt the style of cutting to suit the dish for culinary excellence.

In simple speak, cutting AGAINST the grain means that you are cutting the fibres short. This means that the ingredient would be less chewy as you won’t have to chomp down as much. But it also means it won’t hold shape so well (think pillars and columns missing on a building = it doesn’t have a strong structure and so would crumble down readily). By cutting against the grain, as the cutting knife glides through, you’re essentially slicing in to the cell structure and damaging and rupturing it, and from here, the aroma compound, the flavour compounds, the nutrients readily oozes out. Perhaps this sound horrendous, with all those lovely compounds escaping out, but, the art is in the knowledge that this can be advantageous at times: for example, you can enjoy the maximum fragrance of the herb if you clap your hand on it and rupture the cells which would release the aroma compound. Continue reading “#021: Food will be extra delicious depending on how you cut it! (considering the fibre direction together with the Ying and Yang-ness)”

#020: Devilled jackfruit salad on grilled sourdough bread

Devilled jackfruit salad on grilled sourdough bread

Here is a recipe using the ingredient that’s having it’s moment, de rigueur of our modern way of eating for sometime. I’m talking jackfruit, but wait, no need for alarm, it’s not a ‘another’ vegan version of bbq pulled pork that seems to win the popularity vote when it comes to jackfruit recipes on the internet.

Instead, in this recipe, jackfruit stars in a healthy and refreshing salad, that is easy to make (hardly any cooking involved) and quick to put together (less than ten minutes).
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#017: Top 10 tips for holiday in Iceland

Iceland holiday tips

This summer we went to Iceland for 10 days. It’s truly a nature wonderland and we had such a marvellous time there. It lived up to my expectations as a dream destination and we’d wholeheartedly recommend a holiday there to everybody! Having been, there’s definitely some information worth relaying, so here’s my top 10 noteworthy pointers to you future travellers from a person that’s been there.
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#015: Tofu and soya mince vegan/ vegetarian meatballs recipe

inside the soya mince balls in teriyaki sauce - vegetarian macrobiotic

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.
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