Green nest sushi

DSC01552-001
DSC01558-001

That’s my ideal. Good simple food. With a twist.
Here is a new version of mehari-zushi (sushi in pickled leaf). Again ? Well, those leaves can be stored years when you buy them -or when you make them properly. But mines have to be eaten within the week…

DSC01546-001

Hatsuga genmai (germinated brown rice) and ukon (turmeric). This yellow spice is a common addition to the pickle.

DSC01548-002

Green egg shaped edamame (boiled green soy beans).

DSC01554-001

Wrapped in leaves of takana (mustard greens, pickled). So technically, they are not sushi without vinegar, but they become sour enough thanks to the leaves.

DSC01387-001about takana-zuke (click here)

DSC01556-002

With sencha green tea. That’s all what you need.

DSC01564-001

Takana-zuke pickled leaves at home (failed and corrected)

DSC00855-002

高菜 takana (literally ‘tall leaves’) is a type of large mustard green very popular in Japan. There are even different types of it. Usually it is prepared in tsukemono (pickled) called 高菜漬 takana-zuke.

DSC00860-001

First weight the leaves. Then wash them under fresh water and put them to dry outside in the sun.

DSC00872-001

After 2 hours : They are dry, still soft.

DSC00865-001

Necessary ingredient : 2% of the weight of leaves of natural sea salt.
Optional for flavoring : a piece of kombu seaweed, a dry chili

DSC00876-001

Put the salt all around the leaves. I put some on the stalk and fold in 2. Put them in a freezing bag with the flavorings.
After 15 minutes, they are already softer, push out the air and close the bag. Place in the fridge.
You are supposed to press the veggies in a pickle press. I have no idea where mine is. So I squeezed the veggies very tight, then placed the bag under something heavy. And squeezed again the next day…

DSC00876-001

Then… that doesn’t work ! After 2 days, the progress was too slow. FAIL !!!!
So I have added water to cover the leaves and 3 grams of salt per cup. So that’s another recipe now. The next day :

DSC01374-001

Yeah, much better. I can now make :

DSC01393-001
mehari sushi

DSC01387-001

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 :

tofu boxshop

These days makers also use metal boxes.
This, below, is a vegetable press, to make tsukemono (Japanese pickles), Sauerkraut, etc.
tsukemono-ki shop
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).