Calling the Spring with a green tempura

Japanese tempura would be related to Christian Lent. That sound weird but it seems the dish appeared when the Portuguese Jesuits visited the reclusive Japan of 16th century and brought many new things. The habit of frying food in batter is one of them. Particularly, the missionaries would do donuts for the Carnival preceding tempora (Lent in kitchen Latin), so the Japanese associated fried food and the word tempora, tempura~whatever and it became tempura. Maybe.

Greens. Fresh herbs and veggies.

Fried into tempura.
It’s totally plant-based as it’s a simple eggless tempura batter. The batter is flour, ice cold water and tempura baking powder that I bought. It is like ordinary BP with turmeric added for the color.

tempura tutorial

The freshly made tempura are excellent dipped in tsuyu (dashi broth, soy sauce and a little mirin, reheated together). I add chili pepper to mine.

It’s tsubomina (click here to read about this veggie).

Broccoli leaf.

The leaves of broccoli are excellent, don’t throw them away. That’s what you’d lose :

All herbs can be fried in small bunches. Dill.



Cassoulet de la mer. Fish and beans.

Diet today ! This is the “fasting day” cassoulet. Oh, I can explain :
Cassoulet du vendredi

The dose of tomato was generous.

After a long while, these white beans get soft…

3 types of fish. Raw cod fish. Slightly salted salmon…

… and shishamo (Hokkaido eperlan) that are also salted and with eggs inside.

The fish and beans layered in the big cassoule (cassoulet pot)

Hot from the oven…

Kabocha and carrot kibbeh

I have followed the trend of the pumpkin kibbeh recipe on this blog Hommus w tabbouli. A kibbeh is some dish made of bulgur, and often mixed and stuffed with ground meat. This one is a Lent recipe from Lebanon. It’s meatless. And it’s a baked kibbeh.

When it’s baked it’s a sort of pie. You can see the filling with chick peas.

Overnight soaked bulgur. I’ve added a puree of kabocha pumpkin and carrot, a few spices (mace, ras el hanout, black pepper, flour), and some flour. Let one hour in the fridge.

I’ve used what I had : the chick pea, onions, spinach. The nuts are replaced by sunflower seeds. I’ve cut in small bits the green rind of kabocha. I stir-fried in olive oil, with a little garlic.

The filling is sandwiched between 2 layers of bulgur mix. Baked like a gratin.

That’s crispy on the top, and very filling. I liked it a lot, but I should used more spices. I’ll know next time. That was not a problem as I had a spicy side dish.

Imam bayildi.

Becoming cassoulet. From beans to bliss.

Steps to a fish cassoulet for the Daring Cook Challenge .

Serving the fish cassoulet
Definition : dry beans, slow-cooked in fat, then baked with lots of garniture in a cassole.

You need dry beans, because if they are canned, they miss a part of the cooking in the aromatic broth… and that affects the taste. I already did it, of course, with precooked beans. It didn’t have the distinctive taste of cassoulet, and the texture was not giving that velvety sauce and the crust.
The French white coco beans are nowhere around here. Sometimes I get tebo mame that are close. Sometimes I don’t get them. These are tiger beans, tora mame. They are good for Osaka as our base-ball team are Tigers too…

Rehydrated one night, boiled 10 minutes, then drained from water.

Morue, salted dried cod fish.


Rehydrated 24 hours, changing the water a few times.

Poached a few minutes in boiling water.

Dry salted shishamo (Hokkaido smelt), bought that way.

A full head of garlic, onion, clove, laurel, a chili pepper, fried slowly in olive oil. Then the aromatic veggies, tomato (puree), carrot, celery. Plus the beans, plus plenty of water. Bring to a boil. Simmer slowly all day.

The cooked beans.

Alternating the 3 fish (cod, smelts and sardines in oil) and the cooked beans in the cassole dish.

About 2 to 3 hours in oven (not too hot). A crust is formed. And broken with a spoon. Baked again till a new crust is formed. That should be 7 times ? Honestly, that was 5.