Ika to ikashiokara no nimono (calamari with calamari)

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The photos don’t always reveal the truth about the taste but that was particularly delicious today. That’s a simmered seafood dish a little unusual. I have used calamari in two states, fresh and as shiokarai.
Well how can I explain all the poetry of shiokarai seafood on a blog ? You should see it, smell it, try it. It has a very strong fermented iodine flavor. I am not sure most people would like it.

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イカの塩辛ika no shiokarai is the complete name, often shortenened in ikashiokara‎ too. “shiokarai” calamari. Shiokarai means salty, very salty, too salty. So it’s raw calamari, salted and fermented in its brine with its ink. Here is an example of how it is made (click). I buy it if possible, because I tend to fail when I make it… and it’s cheap and sold everywhere in Osaka. Someday we’ll even have vending machines.
The only problem of this food is it’s extremely salty, so you eat it in very small amount, a teaspoon maximum on the side of your meal or on your bowl of rice. That’s why I wanted to add more volume to it.

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A fresh calamar that has released its ink. No problem, I didn’t need it. I simply cleaned and cut it.

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First, I cooked in a little oil, onion, garlic, ginger, the calamari. Then I’ve added 1 tbs of ikashiokara and 2 glasses of white wine (rather sweet, otherwise a little sugar would be welcome).Let simmer and reduce. Added more fresh ginger after 30 minutes.

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It’s ready when the calamari is tender (that takes about 40 minutes). The red color comes naturally.

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Small aubergines, steamed then grilled. No seasoning is needed because they are excellent just grilled and the dish is still very salty.

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A side of kuri gohan (chestnut rice).

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Kikuna chrysanthemum greens and shikwasa island lime to refresh the plate.

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A moon filled of greens

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It’s shaped like a pupusa, but I think normally they are made of corn masa and filled with cheese. So this is a free style re-interpretation, I’ve just taken the shape. It’s very tasty, crispy and filling.

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The filling : miso + sakekasu (sake lees) and a little water to get a cream texture. Then minced onion, garlic and ginger. The greens are stalks of romanesco (diced) and cut kikuna (chrysanthemum greens)
The crust is likely to break a little, so the filling shouldn’t be too liquid.

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The dough is like for tortilla. Today : a mix of white and whole flour, chili flakes, black pepper, a little olive oil, hot water. I didn’t add salt as the filling is very salty already due to the miso. I cooked it in a frying pan without fat.

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Garnished with sauce for okonomiyaki (a veggie Worcester sauce).

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The nicest leaves of kikuna as a side salad with black rice vinegar and sesame oil.

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Then cut and eat while hot.

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Flower power pasta

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Two flowers and a dish of spaghetti. Happy !

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My beloved nanohana are back on the market. They are the unopened blossoms of rape (the plant to make rapeseed/canola oil) and the greens around.

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Lots of leaves… They sell some like that, with lots of stalk, cheaply. It’s possible to buy only the blossom part and the first leaves, and it’s more expensive.
The pasta dish is very simple. I blanched the nanohana in the pasta water (1 minute before the end). Then added on the pasta, with parsley, salt, olive oil.

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There are still some edible miniature chrysanthemum. I think it’s good to eat flowers to fight pollen allergy. So I just placed them as toppings.

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A side dish : natto, kimchi, and cut shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves).

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Dinner chuka

Chuka is an old word for Chinese. A short for chuka-ryori (Chinese cuisine in Japan). Well localised Chinese cuisine. Pass it at the sauce gourmande and add season produce, you have this simple dinner.

You can see a few colored leaves, but the trees are still very green, only a few fell. The cold air has been around for 2 in evenings only. So the dramatic color change of Autumn should start this week-end.

Stir-fry. Flavored with oyster sauce, tomato paste and ginger. It contains chicken liver, red onions, dried carrots, chili pepper, chrysanthemum leaves (added after).

Satoimo mochi. (see recipe here) It is served coated with Thai sweet chili sauce.

Gyoza dumplings (bought ready to stir-fry). I eat them dipped in Chinese black vinegar.

Yes, I cheat, I buy ready sometimes. Why not ? But making gyoza is possible. The thing is you need days of 25 hours to make the gyoza + the 2 other dishes. I’ll “gyoze” another day.

home-made Osaka gyoza (click here)

Caramelised veggies on Thai noodles

You’re in fusion-city. Noodle-mania ward. Abebia street, near Natto square.

Thai rice noodles, seasoned with nam pla fish sauce, a little black sugar, coriander leaves (frozen), chili… finished with a little Chinese black vinegar and sesame oil.

The carrots and akebi were pan fried together and caramelised a little (it’s not burnt, it’s sweet).



Natto
, a scrambled egg, steamed shungiku leaves.

Lunch tray to eat on the balcony.

Aka-dashi… a mega red miso soup

Red miso soup, with lots of shimeji mushrooms, iriko (dried fish), stalks of shungiku (chrysanthemum), cubes of momen-tofu.
Leaves of shungiku as a salad.
Seki-han, red rice, made with brown rice and azuki beans.

Soup made with the black miso paste is called “aka-dashi” (red broth). That’s synonym with miso-soup as Japan is a very conformist country and during many years, many restaurants all over the country have presented an invariable set of “standard dishes” and the standard miso soup was red… Now if you look at specialties of different places, familial habits, it’s very different and miso soup is made in all shades.

The shungiku (chrysanthemum) leaves have fresh and slightly bitter taste. A bit like ruccola (rocket salad), but less pronounced.

They “cook” very quickly, so they are often used for hot pots. I have added the dressing (spicy fragrant sesame oil, black rice vinegar, shichimi 7 spices) after taking the first photos. Because that imediatly becomes this :

Cal432.9 F12.8g C69.2g P33.3g