Grating wasabi

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Grating wasabi for a refreshing tofu dish. That’s a combination of two interesting textures.

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A fresh wasabi root. I’ve simple grated it. That’s very different from the product in the tube. More flavored and less strong.

Okra (gombos). They have a huge jelly strength hidden in them. Like this :

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Okra tororo : blanched okra, chilled, pasted in the blender. Flavored to taste with grated wasabi and soy sauce.

You can, for instance, serve okra tororo with soba.

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Frozen cotton tofu (momendofu). I froze the whole block in its water. Thawed. Press to push out the water, cut in cubes. As you can see, it has a bread like texture now.

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In small cubes.

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I’ve poured the tororo on the tofu.

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Summer veggie tagine with merguez-keftas

Hot like hell ? Let’s escape. I’ve boarded the flying tagine for a culinary trip to couscous world.

Lots of veggies and grilled kefta-merguez.

Merguez are suppose to be sausages, the name implies the shape of ahem… Well I didn’t bother casing them.

I just prepared ground beef spiced like merguez filling. I made a random spice mix. There is garlic, a good dose of chili pepper and an insane amount of red paprika.

After forming round kefta balls, I pan-cooked them.

Then grilled.

Okra, bell peppers, aubergine, chick peas…

These watery veggies are hydrating, and the spicy balls help bearing the heat. Plus it’s mmmm….

With glue-glue sauce

A surprising spicy and playful vegan lunch. That’s very simple. I was not really inspired for the tittle.

3 quick plates :
-pasta,
natto (fermented soy beans) with steamed okra mixed with mustard
-freeze-dry tofu stir-fry

You can buy Koya-dofu (blocks of dried tofu) and rehydrate them, or freeze some leftover of fresh tofu (squeeze well after defrosting). The tofu takes a sponge-like texture and a milky after-taste. I briefly pasted them in soy sauce, turmeric and sansho (Japanese Sichuan paper) and stir-fried with the beans, olive oil and garlic.
That’s really full of flavor and a set of interesting textures.

Both okra and natto have their “glue” texture. Mix and play.

Four beans in a gumbo

A good stew. That’s slow cooking for lazy people. You fill the pot and it cooks by itself.

Gumbo z’herbes (vegetarian). Chicken and sausage gumbo.

I had frozen some gumbo roux. So I used it with other items I had in the freezer and fridge :

Gombos (okras). As we say in my place, if my uncle had none, I’d call him “my aunt”. If my gumbo had no gombos, I’d call it a cassoulet.

Broad beans AKA favas.

White beans.

Black soy bean.
Natto (not frozen).
The fermented flavor of natto (fermented soy beans) gave a great touch here. So I thought : Let’s be crazy ! And I have salted with miso, another fermented product.

Then spinach and fresh basil. Plus the Cajun spices.

A colorful stew. Delicious !

That’s a one dish meal. Enjoy with rice or bread.

Appam kabocha lunch

A simple Indian style one plate meal.

making appam pancakes

My plum chutney.
My chunky ume plum chutney

Kabocha stir-fried with green chili, onion, garlic, ginger, whole spices, ground spices and cooked chick peas.

Red okra marinated in lemon juice and coriander.

What more do I need ?

Cream cheese.
Well that’s easy, filling and full of flavors.

Frugal : soba with okra tororo

It’s hot and humid. Meals have to be simple.
This Summer in Japan, due to electricity shortage, we can’t afford living in the air conditioned world. I wouldn’t anyway. It’s hot. It will be hotter. Food can be our climatisation and help the body adapt to the season.

Neba neba ! It’s the onomatopea for this texture.
Sluggish food is an acquired taste… but when you got it, that’s yummy ! I’m addicted to it.

Okura tororo :
Okra (gombos) briefly blanched and cut, cut, into a paste. Plus lemon juice and a little soy sauce.

juwari soba , 100% buckwheat noodles.
soba soba-mania, many soba variation

With more nama shoyu (raw soy sauce).

Egyptian gumbo z’herbes

This is my contribution for the Daring Cook Challenge of May. It is hosted this month by Denise from the blog “There’s a Newf in My Soup”. See recipes and other participants’ gumbos here : click.

I also made :
chicken sausage gumbo

Second version : O’ z’herbes… It’s a vegan gumbo, for Lent. I added Egyptian ingredients to it. It’s a fusion of two dishes that are actually very close to one another.
That tasted great.

The roux, really roux in color.

My cheating card : I had frozen moloukhia, already simmered with garlic and onion (click here for more info).
I have never seen the original gumbo filé, no chance to find it here. I guess that’s an appropriate substitution as the texture seems close.

The fresh greens, very green too… Negi leeks, celery greens, green Korean chili, mint.

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I added some chopped okra to the roux at the same time as the moloukhia.

Served with stir-fried veggies (gombos and bell pepper), black beans with habanero sauce and grits-in bread.

grits and corn bread

Inspiring recipe from this page :

Gumbo Z’herbes

By Regan Burns

Gumbo z’herbes, a smothered greens dish, is traditionally served on Good Friday during Lent. It’s a great way to use up vegetable greens such as beet or carrot tops, though feel free to experiment with different combinations—original versions contained seven different cooking greens for good luck. The roux base adds so much depth, you won’t miss the meat. In fact, this vegetarian gumbo was the most popular among our kitchen staff, beating out shrimp-tasso and chicken-andouille versions.

This recipe was featured as part of our Jazz Standard: Gumbo story.

INGREDIENTS
For the greens:
5 bunches greens, such as collard greens, chicory, dandelion greens, mustard greens, spinach, parsley, beet tops, carrot tops, or turnip tops (enough to equal about 3 pounds)
3 cups water
For the gumbo base:
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced, green tops reserved for garnish
1 large green bell pepper, medium dice
4 celery stalks, medium dice
1 large garlic clove, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (either purchased or homemade)
2 whole cloves
3 allspice berries
2 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon minced marjoram leaves
Green Tabasco
INSTRUCTIONS
For the greens:

Rinse and trim the greens, removing any dried-out parts or tough stems that don’t break easily. If you’re using collards, remove the tough inner rib that runs up the center of each leaf.
Fill the sink with cold water and submerge all the greens. Leave undisturbed for about 5 minutes, then lift from the water and place in a colander. (Don’t drain the sink with the greens still in it: Soaking the greens allows all the sand and grit to settle to the bottom of the sink—if you drain it, your greens are left sitting in the silty stuff.) If necessary, repeat this process.
Chop or tear the greens into large pieces and place in a large saucepan or pot with a tightfitting lid. Add water and season generously with salt; place over medium-high heat. When the water in the pot begins to simmer, tightly cover and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook the greens, occasionally turning with a pair of tongs, until they are very soft and wilted, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Strain the greens, being sure to reserve the cooking liquid. (You should have about 3 1/2 cups.) Allow the greens to cool slightly, then chop them into 1/2-inch pieces. Take about half of the chopped greens and purée them in a food processor or blender (if the greens will not blend, add a little of the reserved cooking liquid to help them along); set aside.

For the gumbo base:
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. When it is hot, slowly sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly with a wire whisk to prevent any lumps from forming. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook the roux, stirring constantly (and taking care to scrape out the corners of the pan), until it is a nutty brown color (the color of peanut butter) and emits a toasted aroma, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Use a wooden spoon to stir the onion, scallions, bell pepper, celery, and garlic into the pot. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened and the garlic is no longer raw-smelling, about 5 minutes.
Add the reserved cooking liquid along with the vegetable broth or water, stirring well to incorporate. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir in the measured salt, Cajun seasoning, cloves, allspice, and bay leaves and simmer, stirring often, until the gumbo base is soupy and thick and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the chopped and puréed greens and marjoram; cover the pot and simmer 10 minutes. Add Tabasco to taste and serve over cooked white rice, garnished with thinly sliced scallion tops.