I had decided to make a Japanese feast this Sunday. Miriam had requested that it be a vegetable forward and a low sugar meal. Japanese dishes seem to have a lot of added sugar, but I could work with that. I found a site with a list of nine Japanese vegetables dishes to go with my main dish of chicken yakitori.
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I made this poke as a filling for my onigiri, but it could easily be served just as it is with maybe some steamed rice.
Miso soup is an almost daily staple of a Japanese diet. In the West many soups start with a base of chicken broth. In Japanese most soups start with dashi. The dried soup base, Hon Dashi, is sold in most supermarkets (at least on the West Cost). I have never been sure how much to use so I think I have been using too little, because if there are instructions on the bottle they are all in Japanese. One of the websites I was on while researching this meal was recommending 1 tsp. of Hon Dashi per cup of water. Since the bottles only contain about three tablespoons, it would take almost a whole bottle to make a soup for the family. See Karl’s Yosenabe for instructions on making it from scratch.
Daikon radishes tend to be very large, as much as 18 inches long and 2½ inches thick. Even though I bought the smallest radish in the bin I still had half a radish left after I had cut up the portion I was using in the Yosenabe. What to do with it? I had already made cucumber pickles, but how about daikon pickles? I switched the radish for the cucumbers in my Quick Pickled Japanese Cucumbers. Since the radish is a bit firmer than the cucumbers, I gave it an hour in the salt before rinsing it off.
One of the things I love about J-town is San Jose Tofu. This is a small (if there are more than three customers someone has to stand outside), unpretentious shop with one goal—making fresh tofu daily. The difference between today’s fresh tofu and the stuff everyone buys in the plastic tubs is the difference between a fresh-picked, vine-ripe tomato and what you get at the supermarket, technically the same, but not.
Our favorite restaurant, Gombei, is right next door and you know where they get the tofu for their Cold Tofu sidedish. The following is my attempt to replicate something close to their dish.
I forgot to start the pickles I was planning to make the day before, so I wanted to come up with a faster way to make Japanese cucumber pickles. I decided to use the technique of Persian hot pickles, heating the pickling liquid and the cucumbers to speed up the process. They came out very much like my favorite cucumber pickles from Gombei.