Autumn leaf daigaku imo

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大学芋 Daigaku imo, literally “the university’s potato”, is a street stall sweet. It’s certainly of Chinese origin, but theses sticky potatoes have become part of the furniture in Japan. Osaka has a famous shop that makes some special ones, dipped in crack maybe, as you can’t stop if you start eaten one. I don’t know their secret. Maybe there is none. You take good satsuma imo (Japanese sweet potato), you fry them and coat in a syrup.
And the results depends on the quality of your ingredients and how you master the process.

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Flat and small is easier, so I cut shapes of 5 mm of thickness.

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I cook them in 3 steps : steaming till they are half-cooked, then I stir-fry them at 160 degrees C till they soften. I put them aside and bring the oil at 180 degrees, to cook them a little more and get crispiness. I put on oil absorbing paper 2 minutes.

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Syrup : 1 tbs of sugar + 1 tbs of honey or mizuame (glucose jelly) + 2 tbs of water. Simmer till it starts getting thicker. Add a few drops of fragrant sesame oil. Pass the freshly fried potatoes (still hot) in this hot syrup.
Decorate with black sesame.

NB : I fry them in normal neutral frying oil, not the dark sesame oil for seasoning. It’s possible to fry in sesame oil but only if you have a different white frying sesame oil.

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They have to be soft inside crispy around. They are better if you eat them warm, just after making them.

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Bunny panisses

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Panisses are chick pea based appetizers and street stall snacks from the South of France. They exist in different shapes but I guess the bunny style is rare. My recipe is also alternative. Normally you need chick pea flour that I didn’t have. So I found another way.

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Soak a cup of dry chick peas. Put them in the blender with 2 tbs of olive oil. Add enough water to get a creamy sauce. Simmer on /medium low heat, stirring till you get a cooked thick paste. That takes 15 to 20 minutes. Add salt, and flavoring if you want. It has to be well dried.

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Spread on cooking paper. Let cool. Put one hour or more in the fridge.

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Cut and fry or stir-fry in olive oil.

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Serve hot, with salt or a sauce of your choice.

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Harissa for instance.

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I joined white cucumbers and basil leaves. These are fried garlic chips. I fried them as I was testing my oil heat.

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I also fried the cut out bits. I flavored them with that toppings.

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Both were yummy.

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Sesame sweet and sour tofu

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Tasty tofu. Good tofu is tasty. A tasty tofu dish.
I don’t like when people say “it’s a recipe for people that don’t like such ingredient”. If you don’t like tofu, there is no obligation to eat some. But,but… Let’s say this is a recipe that makes tofu taste and feel differently. It is marinated and prepared in a Chinese style sauce.

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It’s very firm momendoufu (cotton tofu). I’ve put a plate on the block during 15 minutes to squeeze out excess water.
Cut, and mixed with a marinade (1 tbs soy sauce, a pinch of sugar, 2 tbs Chinese wine, 1/2 ts wuxi 5 spices mix) and let 1/2 hour.
Then I passed the cubes in a plate of potato starch and stir-fried till golden.

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For the sauce :
Heat 1 tbs of sugar (here kurozato black cane sugar), when it’s getting into caramel.
On lower heat, add in water, paprika powder or paste, grated garlic, the rest of the plate of starch and the plate of marinade.
Stir till it takes texture. Add some black rice vinegar. Check salt, add chili pepper to taste, more water if you want.
Reheat the tofu in the sauce.

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Top with a little fragrant sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.
Yuummmmm….

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As a side a salad of lettuce, onion, parsley and umi-budo “sea grapes”.

DSC00119-003 umi-budo (more here)

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Served with genmai (brown rice).

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Mint cha gio, all your green leftovers inside Spring rolls

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Veggies to use or lose, combined to an envy of nems as we say in France. I mean cha gio, the Vietnamese Spring rolls, that are a French favorite deli food. These rolls can be made in great style with many ingredients, deep fried and all. It’s a quick and casual version.

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The filling is very simple : Minced lettuce, mint, garlic, onion and ginger. Salt, pepper. Mashed white beans. Fold in rice paper. Let a few hours to allow flavors to mix.

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They could be eaten raw… if you don’t mind raw garlic and onion that are a bit strong. I pan-fried them.

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The sauce : pounded garlic, brown sugar, a pinch of salt, chili and plenty of rice vinegar.

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One side dish is a quick tsukemono (pickles) : grated daikon radish, broccoli leaves, cut sakura leaves, a little salt. Let 20 minutes then squeeze away excess liquid. A second dish is a “stalk” stir-fry in the space of pan next to the rolls. The menu :

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Tofu no masago-age, beach sand croquettes

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Masago means beach sand, and it’s used for food with a sandy texture. Here it’s fried scrambled tofu, a retro Japanese family dish. You get a golden crust, with a creamy crumbly filling and many colorful crunchy bits…

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It’s cotton tofu (momen, firm). It is mashed with a fork into a sand like texture. Add 1 tbs of potato or corn starch for a cup. Flavor to taste with soy sauce and mirin (or soy sauce, sake and little sugar).

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Add “pebbles”. Some recipes use minced chicken meat, some diced shrimps. You can just take blanched veggies like here : carrot, bell pepper, garlic stalks, onion, negi leeks and edamame beans.

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Then form balls or patties. Pass them in starch and fry at 170 degrees Celcius. I like mines with a little lemon juice or chili sauce.

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Today’s ramen, tan tan tan…

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Inspired by tan tan men. But it’s really free style with what I had in stock. That was delicious.

Boiled ramen noodles and bok choi.

The ground mix : azuki beans, minced onion and garlic, chili paste, spices, stir-fried.

Added hot broth, and sesame paste (black and white, that’s why it’s gray). The paste is not very aesthetic, but it brings fat and creaminess. More chili. And parsley.

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Some tempura (onion and tsubomina), as a side, to place on top.

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Red and fried snow pellets. Duet of savory arare rice crackers.

In Osaka it’s just snowing mochi.

あられ餅(霰餅) arare mochi.
Arare mochi are cubes of dried mochi of about 1 millimiter. So they look like graupels. Yes, you know graupels ? They are snow pellets.
Arare means “snow pellets / graupels “. OK, I’m not sure what it is exactly, it’s a snow amount, bigger than a snow flake and smaller than an avalanche…
And that also the name of the arare rice crackers made with these cubes.

We can buy them, but I made mines from a block of mochi (see here).

When they are dry, you can fry them. That takes a few seconds till they triple of volume, then take color.

They are very crunchy. You can eat them like that, for the nice taste of fried rice. Or flavor them :

I’ve mixed hot chili (togarashi) and also mild paprika to moderate the fire. And a little salt. Just roll them in the spices.

It’s transparent. It’s “wasabi powder” .

More here.

So you get a set of home-made salty crackers. You can keep them a while… I imagine.