Naniwa-mae sushi (Osaka style)

I think this style is less known outside Japan. Well, I should travel around the world to check and be sure.
What you see everywhere with sashimi on hand-shaped nigiri is called Edo-mae sushi . Yedo, or Edo is the old name of Tokyo. Osaka had another, older style of sushi, and an old name : Naniwa. That said, it’s just Osaka sushi. Naniwa-mae is for the sake of parody…

Unagi, eel, grilled in kabayaki sauce.
The legend says it started this way. At the market they were selling the grilled eels. To prolong their shelf lives, they were displaying the fish on rice, so it didn’t dry. From that, over the years … they added vinegar and flavoring to the rice. Some started to eat the set. It became this sushi. I added black sesame to my sushi rice today.

Shime-saba is the second classic.

Saba, mackerel is cured with salt and rice vinegar.

Oboro kombu in the middle.

It’s made with seaweed.
BTW, a very informative page in English about kombu seaweed. I don’t know them nor the products they sell, the “encyclopedia” part is well made.
Kombu seaweed encyclopedia.

I like those with kinome.

And these with raw ginger.

Kinome flavor on ankake agedofu (wood fragrant glazed fried tofu)

Tofu is the uttermost delight ! No, I am not crazy. i have not lost my tastebuds.
I know it has bad reputation. Well I have tried to eat those blocks of rubber that are called tofu in the West (ello, Old Europe) and in the East (East of here, that’s you, America) and I didn’t like that.
We have great tofu in Japan. It can be eaten like that bare feet in front of the fridge at night… And if you add a great recipe, it’s the paradise of flavor.

Freshly fried tofu, topped with hot ankake sauce full of veggies, flavored with kinome leaves… Eat without waiting. You can’t reheat that, it would lose crispiness and freshness of fragrances.

basic recipe of fried tofu

ankake is a sauce thickened with starch. I used katakuriko (potato starch), oyster sauce, salt, chili pepper, fresh ginger, garlic, shimeji mushrooms, young onion, sweet peppers…
Final touches : spicy fragrant sesame oil, cubes of lemon and :

Kinome. The taste of those leaves is very powerful and just a few transform the whole dish.
Sansho, la saveur boisee de la cuisine japonaise. (The wood flavor in Japanese cuisine.)

Pour the sauce delicately and place veggies for the photo.
Or go crazy : pour the sauce pan of sauce onto the place.

Le rouleau de printemps du jour : crevettes, estragon et matcha miso (shrimp, tarragon and green tea miso)

I know that looks weird, but that tasted really great. I’ll make it again.
It seems the soup series will be replaced by the fresh Spring rolls, AKA rouleau de printemps in my native dialect. I have a big pad of rice paper, maybe 500 pages, so you’ll see more in future.

Shrimps, boiled and refreshed on ice-cubes.

Negi leeks and tarragon.

With mungo bean sprouts, rolled inside rice paper.

Voila !

So that’s the UFO. It’s not water from Mars. I simply mixed chunky white miso, rice vinegar and matcha (green tea powder).

You could think the encounter of shrimp, negi, tarragon, miso and matcha is explosive in taste. Sure, it was. Like fireworks. Really pleasant.

Yuzu tofu, with kinome. I have a little tree with these leaves, I’ll show you soon. This pair was great too.

Another Spring fun meal, ready in a few minutes.

Shio-yaki sanma and sashimi yuba. Season fish.

Summer is peak season for sudachi lemon and start of the season for this long fish called sanma.
They are often associated, very simply. Shio-yaki is salted and roast.

This is yuba. Those sheets are the skin that appear when you boil tonyu (soy milk). They are sold raw or dry. They can be used to wrap different ingredients.
These are the raw “sashimi” ones, a specialty of Kyoto, delicious just like that. With kinome leaves.

Pour a little nama shoyu and add a little wasabi :

Cal 644.9 F34.7g C40.8g P36.9g

Yes, sanma is fat, but it’s full of the healthiest fats that fight all illnesses and smooth your skin with more class than botox. And it’s easy to eat even on a hot day.

Let’s not-cook guaca-corn!

Avocado, fresh corn (“marinated” 15 minutes in natural salt), meyer lemon (juice + zest)…

The guaca-corn can be jazzed up with Okinawan awamori-chili sauce, celery stalks, toasts…

Fava ‘n kinome : fava beans, capers, new shallots, quail eggs… and leaves of kinome.

More about kinome :
Sansho, la saveur boisee de la cuisine japonaise. (The wood flavor in Japanese cuisine.)

Cal 561 F18.8g C87.5g P23.7g

Sansho, la saveur boisee de la cuisine japonaise. (The wood flavor in Japanese cuisine.)

Leaves and green peppercorns of sansho.

Sancho is a “pepper” tree. It’s an extremely important source of flavor in Japanese cuisine.
Actually, it’s “Sichuan pepper”. Well, posting from Japan, I am not allowed to write it ?
Look at it on wikipedia. Travelling in the South of China, North of Thailand, I have seen leaves and green seeds of Sichuan pepper and I couldn’t tell the difference. But well, I was been *lectured* several times by Japanese people that “that’s different” and they showed me the pink dry Sichuan pepper.

The difference is in Japan, the peppercorns are used when they are green only. If they are dried, it’s from the green seed. In China, they make the “hoajiao” with mature red peppercorns, and use the green ones mostly fresh.


The young leaves are called “ki no me” (tree sprouts). They are sold as herb. You can also buy a pot with a 30 cm high sansho bush and keep it on your balcony… to feed the local caterpillars -well, my “neighbours” have been seen clearing all the green of a bush in less than one hour.

The leaves can be added to many dishes, soups, sushi rice, etc. I also like pasting some and adding white miso, to make a sauce.

Combi-meal French-Japanese ~Part 2~ Suimono, kinome, wasabi and sake.


The green fresh peppercorns can be used directly in dishes. We find them in June only. I freeze some, that doesn’t change of taste or anything.

A few dishes with fresh sansho :

Al dente folie. All that in my pasta ?

Sansho no nikomi – Sansho peppercorn fish stew

Dry soba for rainy season


It’s a preparation of ingredients simmered in soy sauce, mirin, sake, salt and sugar. In different proportion according to the *only* recipe of each cook… That becomes a condiment, strong in taste and salty, to use in small amounts, on a bowl of rice, or to accent a dish, a meal.
I made these 2 :

Sansho tsukudani.

Kombu seaweed and sansho tsukudani.



5 days later. The “fruits” opened.

I took out the “stones”. I’m not sure I’m using the proper botanic term. Well, you can see.
Then I’ll powder then in a pepper mill, just before using. You can buy powdered sansho in Asian grocery stores.
It’s often served with unagi (Japanese eel).

Combi-meal French-Japanese ~Part 2~ Suimono, kinome, wasabi and sake.

Now the Japanese part of the meal. Cold suimono soup with shiitake mushrooms and yakko tofu. Natto with wasabi and half-boiled egg. And kinome leaves.

Suimono means “water thing”. It’s a light flavor watery soup, that comes aside a Japanese dish. A soup, a drink, both. I simply boiled the asparagus, then the mushrooms in that water. Added soy sauce. Refreshed with ice-cubes. Added mushrooms, cold tofu and kinome.
(more about kinome soon)

Rice, natto mixed with grated wasabi (from a tube), leaves of kinome, the yolk of an half-cooked egg. Topped by the egg white.

About wasabi. Did you know that the tube of green paste you buy in grocery store are mostly made of horseradish (colored in green) and rarely contain any wasabi ? Certain persons prefer horse radish (in Lorraine, most people I guess).
For others, in Japan, certain brands are a mix of horseradish and wasabi. I can still “taste” the horse turnip in it. A few contain mostly wasabi. Some refrigerated versions, 95% wasabi…
If you want the real thing, buy a root and grate it. But you can’t store it long. Frozen, it loses taste. So I still have a tube for when I don’t buy it fresh.

A tip : wasabi or horseradish are great to take away the bad smell in your fridge. My fridge has a high tech de-skunking device, but too much kimchi or fish can beat the technology. So a serving of wasabi…

(the whole meal with asparagus)
Cal 624.5 F23.0g C73.3g P30.5g

I received an omiyage (souvenir present) from Ishikawa. A fruity sake, to serve very cool. That was good with it. Even if I drunk a homeopathic amount (alcohol + me is not a good pair).

Second half of June 2010 : Illustrated Menu

First half of June 2010 : Illustrated Menu