Today’s post is yet another half-finished piece taken from my ‘slush-pile’ of items that, for one reason or another, ended up languishing in blog limbo. Some time ago, I had in mind doing a series of posts featuring a very popular Japanese braising technique in which meat and vegetables are braised in Dashi. I still mean to carry on with the project at some point, but, for now, I thought I’d share the dish I made back on September 5, 2014, the same day I harvested the homegrown Daikon used as one of the vegetables. The notes I made that day are as follows:
Fatty Pork browned in fat. Daikon, carrot and shiitake strips added and quickly sautéed then Dashi added to barely cover. Simmer fairly vigorously until only 1/3 of liquid remains (about 20 minutes). Blanched and chopped daikon greens added for last few seconds then served hot.
During my vacation from writing blog posts over this past summer, I was experimenting quite a bit with the Japanese class of dishes known as ‘Nimono’ or ‘Simmered Things’. Essentially, these are dishes in which the main ingredients are simmered in a ‘Shiru’, or broth, chiefly made with Dashi and other seasonings such as Soy, Mirin, or Miso. I will be looking at quite a few different sorts of Nimono in the upcoming months but today’s post illustrates a very simple example of the technique and allows me to use some of the Mizuna my wife grew over the summer… Continue reading “Potato Mizuna Nimono”
You would be hard-pressed to find a Japanese restaurant that does not have a miso soup somewhere on the menu, and any aficionado of Japanese cuisine will have tried it at one time or another. Strictly speaking, a miso soup could be any soup given an umami boost with the addition of the Japanese fermented soy-bean paste known as ‘miso’ but generally, the soup base is the rich sea-stock called Dashi. There are countless other additions that can be made, of course, but a traditional favorite version simply includes a little tofu, along with scallions and Wakame seaweed. This is the type I will be making for you today… Continue reading “Miso Soup – The Basic Form…”
In Japanese culinary parlance, Dashi, in the strictest sense, simply refers to a stock typically made from seaweed, mushrooms, dried fish, or a combination of these. Unless the type is actually specified, however, the bare term ‘Dashi’ means a stock made from Kombu and Katsuobushi. This very basic preparation is used in countless Japanese dishes including soups, hotpot or stewed dishes (nabemono) and a variety of sauces. Accordingly, it is one of the very cornerstones of the national cuisine… Continue reading “Dashi – Japanese Sea-stock”
Katsuobushi is a preparation of fish, specifically Skipjack Tuna, but also Bonito, that is dried, smoked and then fermented using a mold similar to that used for making soy products like soy sauce and miso. As it is a primary ingredient in the ubiquitous Japanese stock known as Dashi, it is thus one of the cornerstones of Japanese cuisine… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Katsuobushi”
You may, at one time or another, when walking on the shore, have come across a variety of large, ribbon-like seaweed cast up on the shore, possibly with the olive-green fronds still attached to a thick, rope-like stem. For years, I knew the basic type simply as ‘Kelp’ but, point of fact, that name actually includes a whole range of very different seaweeds (many of which are edible) and the sort you see pictured above is more properly referred to by its Japanese name ‘Kombu’ ( or, less frequently, ‘Konbu’).
This edible algae (of which there are a number of different varieties) is not widely used in western cuisines but it is very popular indeed in the far east. It is harvested and eaten in Korea, and used to a lesser extent by the Chinese, but it is in Japanese cookery where the seaweed really shines. Indeed, Kombu is more than an occasional ingredient; it is an essential item in the Japanese pantry and, as we shall see below, is a foundation stone in the cuisine as a whole… Continue reading “Edible Seaweed: Kombu (and How to make Kombu Dashi)”