Carrot tsuyu for hand-pulled somen noodles

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Today somen, Japanese Summer chilled vermicelli, with two particularities.

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I have finer and better noodles than average. They are more expensive because they are still made traditionally.

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手延そうめん tenobe somen. Hand-pulled vermicelli noodles.
On the site of the brand 揖保乃糸Ibonoito (click here) you can see old prints of hand-making of these noddles. They have been introduced in Japan from China hundreds of years ago.

Here is a series of videos on how they are actually made now. Yes, there are 11 videos. Needless to say I’m not going to make mines so soon.

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I have seen this in a shop. I made carrot juice to make the tsuyu (dipping sauce). I’ve simply added grate fresh young ginger and a little shoyu soy sauce to the juice.

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Garnishing items : goya squash, red sweet chili, molokheya leaves, eringi tsukemono and tomato agar.
It’s called kake-somen or bukakke-somen when you pour the tsuyu on top.

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Reba-sashi, but fake. What could replace the Japanese carpaccio…

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レバ刺し reba sashi (liver sashimi). It’s an immensely popular food in Japan. A few years ago all the yakiniku, yakitori and izakaya restaurants proposed it. I find it delicious too.
BUT…
I guess you are wondering if it’s healthy to eat raw liver. The answer is unfortunately that it’s risky and a number of food poisoning cases have occurred, so now the delicacy has disappeared from menus. And people miss it. So food industry made “safe liver sashimi”. It’s planted based, maybe not fully vegan (I’m not sure about all coloring ingredient) but at 99%. It’s made of konnyaku.

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That’s how it is in the package. The faux-liver is in a liquid, you just need to rinse it. There is a sauce to marinate or to dip and sesame seeds. Sold less than 200 yen, that’s expensive for konnyaku but cheaper that the original liver.

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Perfect appearance. Taste ? None. You will only have the taste of the sauce. Let’s try.

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Served with mitsuba and onions (salted, rinsed).

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A dip in the sauce.

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Catching toasted sesame seeds and chili flakes that I’ve added.

VERDICT : YES… but NO.
Yes for the idea. As I said, you don’t have the liver flavor, it’s lost. but the texture and freshness is pleasant and goes well with the oily dressing. That could be good… with another sauce.
No, because I don’t like their sauce, this brand’s sauce. It’s too dominated by soy sauce and onion, too salty.

The classic sauce is usually simpler : a good ra yu (flavored sesame oil, infused with garlic and chili) and very little soy sauce.

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I made my version with argan oil, natural sea salt, a few drops of soy sauce, dry garlic chips, dry chili flakes. Mix, and after 15 minutes, place the faux-liver in it 5 minutes. The great taste of the oil is showcased.
You have a nice appetizer.

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Bouille bouille bouillabaisse

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The humble soup dish. This version is really frugal, made with fish leftovers that some people would discard and cheap veggies. The meal is still gorgeous. That’s the magic of the kitchen.

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With fish heads and bits they don’t use for sashimi. Keep away the cuts with meats on them.

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The first step is to make a soup by simmering the unusable parts with onion, garlic, herbs, tomato, salt, a little olive oil. Then passing gives a light broth. Blending, then passing gives a thick fish soup.

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2 batches of fish soup to stock in the fridge.

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Reheat soup with potatoes, more veggies, herbs, garlic…I’ve added paprika, red bell pepper, saffron.

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Add the fish at the end.

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It cooks quickly.

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Fish and veggies make the main dish. And the first dish is this scarlet soup :

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Tofu, natto and green caviar…

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A very nutritious and delicious Okinawan style dish. It’s plant based, and easy to prepare… if you have the ingredients.
Well, go and fish that green caviar sea weed :

DSC00119-003 umi-budo (more here)

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It’s very firm momendoufu (cotton tofu). I have pressed it with plate, slightly to extract excess water. The natto (fermented soy beans) is mixed with mustard and black rice vinegar. Around, you see bits of negi whites and shishito green pepper.

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The grapes of waves. Okinawa’s green caviar.

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海ぶどう umi-budo is an Okinawan delicacy. The name is literally a “sea grapes” and it’s a tasty seaweed. No, it’s the tastiest seaweed I’ve eaten so far, and I’ve tried a few in Japan.

It’s caulerpa lentillifera. It’s also called the “green caviar“. It’s not cheap for a sea produce here, but still affordable. Yes, the taste and mouth feel are caviardesque. It has some resemblance with salicornia or samphire too.

It is loaded with nutrients, particularly minerals like iron and others vitamin. That’s one more Okinawan super-food. But anything they graze there would have magic powers, so they have no merit to still look like kids in their 90′s… You can feel it is loaded with iodine, and very salty too. If you like strong taste seafood you’ll love it, but that’s surely not for everybody. It’s usually eaten raw, with some sour or vinegar sauce to contrast it.

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Try it some day !

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Veg veg burgers, and Bulldog

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Veg burgers again, but new ones. They are never the same.

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The carrot and romaine are the byproduct of juicing. I have added a little potato starch as a binder, and spicing is very light, salt, black pepper, a pinch of curry spices.

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They had to be “lightly flavored”, because I have put some Bulldog sauce on them…

bulldog Bulldog sauces
That’s a brand of Worcester-like Japanese sauces, that is relatively classic now as they started in 1905 it seems. Click here and follow the arrows. It’s in Japanese but thanks to the photos, you can see the ingredients of the sauce, fruits, veggies and spices, plus vinegar and salt. The 3 sauces are relatively similar but more or less liquid. I have the 中濃 (chuno) which is medium thick.
Well, I should make mine someday. They are usually called “so-su” (sauce) in Japanese conversation, as that’s the sauce by default.

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Heated rounds of bread to make sands.

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Sakura kit

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I’m equipped for the cherry blossom season that is looming… It’s really early this year. I’ve seen only pink ones so far, but within a few days, the country will be white.

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Japanese sakura sweets are flavored with pickles made the year before. I should make mines maybe, but well I’ve bought some. さくらの花(塩漬け), cherry blossom, pickled in salt.

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The leaves are also pickled but less salty.

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The flowers in the bin.

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They need a rinsing.

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Then you add petals to some food, let a pair of hours and they are magically flavored. You’ll see that in future posts.

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干菓子higashi (dry sweets) to go with matcha. I didn’t make those either.

Wagashi Saga : Japanese sweet posts and tutorials.

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