Mushroom ratatouille and mozuku

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An autumnal ratatouille and a Japanese sea weed. モズクmozuku is a sea weed from Okinawa that looks like small leaves in a jelly. They are sold already prepared or with a sauce aside like here.

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I had veggies to finish : onion, white aubergine, purple aubergine, sweet green peppers.

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Mixed dry Italian mushrooms including porcini.

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I soaked and stir-fried the mushrooms with garlic. Then cooked my veggies in the same oil.

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I completed with tomato paste, thyme.

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I mixed the mozuku sea weed with its sauce (sweet vinegar) and added a few pieces of ginger. That can be drunk like a little soup.

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Cabbage, konnyaku and natto.

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Brown rice.

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My lunch.

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Pomelo and sea grape temaki-zushi (green sushi cones)

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Temaki means hand-roll. Temaki-zushi are casual, and ideal for sushi party at home. You put the ingredients on the table :

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And guests make a cone pocket with nori seaweed sheet, and fill it with rice and whatever they like. That’s like when you fill your newspaper cone with hot chestnuts, anybody can do it.

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Easy no ?

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Today, the sushi-meshi (flavored rice) is a little special. The classic version is white rice with a vinegar/sugar/salt seasoning. My rice is polished hatsuga (germinated rice). My seasoning is pomelo juice + kurozato (Okinawan black sugar) and very very little salt. Because this is a salty filling :

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Umi-budo, ‘sea grapes’ seaweeds (more about it here)

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More veggies.

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And you get a sushi that tastes like a tropical sea breeze…

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Tofu, natto and green caviar…

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A very nutritious and delicious Okinawan style dish. It’s plant based, and easy to prepare… if you have the ingredients.
Well, go and fish that green caviar sea weed :

DSC00119-003 umi-budo (more here)

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It’s very firm momendoufu (cotton tofu). I have pressed it with plate, slightly to extract excess water. The natto (fermented soy beans) is mixed with mustard and black rice vinegar. Around, you see bits of negi whites and shishito green pepper.

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The grapes of waves. Okinawa’s green caviar.

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海ぶどう umi-budo is an Okinawan delicacy. The name is literally a “sea grapes” and it’s a tasty seaweed. No, it’s the tastiest seaweed I’ve eaten so far, and I’ve tried a few in Japan.

It’s caulerpa lentillifera. It’s also called the “green caviar“. It’s not cheap for a sea produce here, but still affordable. Yes, the taste and mouth feel are caviardesque. It has some resemblance with salicornia or samphire too.

It is loaded with nutrients, particularly minerals like iron and others vitamin. That’s one more Okinawan super-food. But anything they graze there would have magic powers, so they have no merit to still look like kids in their 90’s… You can feel it is loaded with iodine, and very salty too. If you like strong taste seafood you’ll love it, but that’s surely not for everybody. It’s usually eaten raw, with some sour or vinegar sauce to contrast it.

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Try it some day !

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Tofu : tout !

Reblog from the “tofu page”

It’s compilation on the tofu topic…I add data regularly.

3 main tofu textures :

You have Japanese tofu that is :
kinu-dofu, silky tofu
momen-dofu, cotton tofu (translated as *firm tofu* in English)
Both are soft and watery. The first is very soft like egg pudding, the second is soft like starch pudding.
Really firm and dry tofu, the one that has a texture closer to meat is popular in China. It’s uncommon in Japan, except ….

Bottom line : If you like firm tofu…

Read more (click here)

My tofu in my champloo

Veggie champuru (Okinawan scramble).

I’ve used my home-made Okinawan style tofu, very grainy.

Onion, shiitake mushroom, shimeji mushroom…

Many other items : ginger, garlic, carrot, spinach, cabbage, goya, chili pepper, soy sauce, awamori sake…

Pressed tofu from beans, the Okinawan way (day 1)

That’s a tutorial to make VERY firm tofu. (read about tofu texture, types, recipe of soft tofu, click here)

In Osaka, this tofu from Okinawa is quite expensive as it seems it travels by plane in first class, or just because it is uncommon so there is a rarity tax. I wanted to make mine. It’s not complicate, that takes 5 minutes to soak the beans and 15 minutes to make it later. I wonder why I have not done it years ago.

This is not a personal recipe, I have taken it here and even if it’s in Japanese you should go to see the photos. The author is the owner of a store selling Okinawan products.

Shopping list :

-Dry soy beans
Nigari, the curding product
-Cotton gauze or cheese cloth

-Pressing box (optional)

You will also need a simple blender (or a very good hand-cranked vegetable mill).

I use medical cotton gauze (sterile, pure cotton, no added product) because they sell it cheaply in any pharmacy. Cheese clothes, well tofu clothes or similar pieces of fabric work too.

The box is optional. You can squeeze the tofu in the gauze and press it in any spring form mold for cake or whatever box you have. And if you have no box, squeeze the cloth strongly, and you will get a ball of tofu.
Mine is not a specific tofu press, it’s a box to make oshizushi (pressed sushi) and I already had it. It’s very similar to a wooden tofu press :

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These days makers also use metal boxes.
This, below, is a vegetable press, to make tsukemono (Japanese pickles), Sauerkraut, etc.
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I don’t think that would be the most convenient in this case as you can’t close it with the cloth. I’d buy it for the pickles. Confidence: I own one that I have never used in years as I squeeze them with my hands and then I remember the existence of the gadget.

Ingredients :

You need soy beans, of course. They are called 大豆 daizu in Japanese. Here GMO plants are totally forbidden, and unless they are cheating us, all those we buy are non-GMO.

Soaking :

The night before, rinse some, and place them in a bowl with 4 or 5 volumes of clean water. The time depends on the weather and age of the beans. They double of volume and take a longer bean shape.

にがり Nigari is made traditionally from sea water. We buy it in bottles. It mostly contains magnesium chloride. From wikipedia :

Magnesium chloride is an important coagulant used in the preparation of tofu from soy milk. In Japan it is sold as nigari (にがり, derived from the Japanese word for “bitter”), a white powder produced from seawater after the sodium chloride has been removed, and the water evaporated. In China, it is called lushui (卤水). Nigari or lushui consists mostly of magnesium chloride, with some magnesium sulfate and other trace elements. It is also an ingredient in baby formula milk.

Convenient set-up :

That’s to make the soy milk : I place a cloth in a metallic sieve, an prepare a salad bowl.

That’s to shape the tofu : I wash my box (or whatever) and a cloth, and I install them in a dish-washing basin.

So put the beans to soak and come back tomorrow (or jump here if you are reading from the future).