Warm mushroom soba soup

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The weather is getting a little chilly. The time of warm soup is back. The official season of sake kasu is open, even if I didn’t wait.

Asian cuisines are very careful about seasons of dishes. You’ll say that’s everywhere that wise people try to eat season produce. True, but they have kept a concern that was important in European Medieval cuisines and has since been neglected, which is the effect of food, whether they are cooling or warming. So these are two food said to be “warming” :

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Sake kasu (sake lees). The soup made with it, kasujiru, is present all along the cold season in Kansai.

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Buckwheat, here in soba noodles. It’s also seen in sobagaki.

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I soaked a good handful of mixed dry mushrooms, then added onion, frozen and thawed tofu, garlic, soy sauce. Simmered.

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For the sides, I’ve steamed kabocha and reheated hana mame (flower beans) with soy sauce and a little sugar.

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I’ve added the soba and sake kasu in the soup, more soy sauce to make it saltier.

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And to spice it up a tonic mix : diced ginger, garlic, negi leeks, and chili pepper. Just mixed in, reheated and served.

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Kimchi in the kabocha.

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A flower on the beans. Lunch is ready.

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Pumpkin curry with wined chestnuts, cilantro falafels

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A deliciously flavored soup curry, with kabocha, wine flavored kuri chestnuts and hanamame giant beans. And a side of cilantro falafels. Some people are genetically designed to hate cilantro/coriander and it takes a really bad taste in their mouth. That’s really sad. I have to luck to appreciate this herb and I never have enough of it.

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Soaked chick peas, mixed with onion, coriander (root, stalk, leaves), chili flakes, Sichuan pepper, salt.

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Served with a dip of harissa… well it’s mixed with tomato sauce. Cucumbers, cilantro (the leaves) and shikwasa citrus salad.

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Mmm… a dream if you love both falafels and coriander.

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Kabocha pumpkin curry :
A cut of steamed kabocha, steamed with skin. Pasted with 1/2 block of tofu, 1 tbs of Japanese curry spice mix, 2 tbs of sakekasu sake lees, salt, water. I simmered the mix till it became thick. Garnished with hanamame beans and wined chestnuts :

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White wine chestnuts :
That’s ideal if you have chestnut that start to dry a little.
Soak them 2 hours, then you can easy cut out the hard shell.
In fresh water, soak overnight, you can then take away the inner skin. Most of it. A large part of it. Actually, you want to leave a small amount for flavor. Break them in 2 or 3 parts.
Then I’ve drained the chestnuts, put in rice cooker, added a glass of white wine, a little sugar, a pinch of salt, 1/2 glass of water (to cover). Switched on. That stopped when the liquid had evaporated. You can do it in a pan or a crock-pot, simply simmer very gently.
They are good to add to sauces and dishes, just a few to pinpoint. You will discover the refined taste.

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A nice meal, rich in legumes and fragrances.

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A whirlpool of black sesame steamed crepes…


Purple lunch. Nutty small steamed crepes and huge beans.

Actually they are more like tortilla or Chinese chunbing.
Recipe :
I mixed a cup of flour, 2 tbs of nuka (rice brans), 2 tbs of black tahini (pasted black sesame), a little salt, hot water. Kneaded a little. Formed those rounds. And I cooked them in frying pan (with a lid and humidity).

Garlic veggie mix (zucchini, bell pepper, fava beans) from frozen vegetables.


Spicy hanamame big beans.

Swedish mean balls

Oh they’ve done nothing bad. It’s just they are not made of meat so they needed a new name. And they’re served with Japanese greens. That’s still the Nordic and Swedish inspiration for flavors. As you know, I’m a bean maniac, so here is another delicious way to get my daily serving of great plant protein. It’s a vegan menu.

Double bean, onion and negi balls, baked 20 minutes.

I’ve used hanamame giant beans and black soy beans, both are mashed, mixed with minced onion and negi leek white, spice with Chinese miso, a little pasted sesame, thyme, laurel, nutmeg, pepper. For the binding some buckwheat flours. The greens are komatsuna.

A laurel and thyme flavored onion gravy with a little bit of oil and flour to start a small roux, very little, just for the color. I’ve let it simmer while the balls were baked and passed the mixer at the end to smooth it.

The balls and a few beans reheated in the gravy. I’ve added a little veg’ cream.

That’s how they look inside. A nice texture, a bit crunchy around.

The veggies are briefly stir-fried with just a little oil. No seasoning.

I had no cranberries or whatever similar preserve. So I’ve soaked prunes and mikan orange peel in strong hot tea, and after one hour, roughly mashed. That gives a Christmas mood jam, high in citrus flavor but not too sweet.

The veggies, the sauce, the balls, all together… Yummm…

Dark green curry with bean balls and hana mame

A green curry soup garnished with big and small tasty bites…
Made on the model of Indian spinach curry, but using komatsuna greens, it’s quick to prepare, and deliciously spicy.

Made some more black soy bean balls (like here), fried some onions, reheated the balls, some big beans (hana mame), then added the liquid mixed in the blender :
-lots of komatsuna greens, a few slices chunks of green lemon, a 1 tbs of Japanese curry spices, turmeric, black pepper, 1 tbs of potato starch and salt.

Garnished with green and red togarashi chili pepper, wedges of lemon and some garam masala powder on the balls.

I had a kaki persimmon for dessert.

Two bouquets of flower beans, konnyaku curry…


Two dishes with these huge murasaki hanamame, the flower beans. Then a curry and a pasta salad. That makes a pleasant little lunch.

Konnyaku, boiled kabocha skins, onions, hijiki sea weeds and curry spices reheated together. The kabocha flesh makes the sauce and brings sweeteness. That’s a good match.

A quick pasta salad : tomato sauce pasta l.o. plus cabbage, red sweet chili and black Chinese vinegar.

I’ve added natto in the beans’ cooking broth. Then salt and toasted sesame.

For dessert : honey sweetened beans (see here).

Purple hana mame, sweet giant beans


That’s the season for new dry beans. So here are the first hanamame (flower beans ) of the season.

They are that big. They need long soaking time in spite of freshness.

After 24 hours.

Boiled till they get tender.

Then I soaked them one night in a syrup (honey plus a litte mirin and soy sauce). And I get those delicious dessert beans.