Today’s ramen, tan tan tan…

DSC05427-001

Inspired by tan tan men. But it’s really free style with what I had in stock. That was delicious.

Boiled ramen noodles and bok choi.

The ground mix : azuki beans, minced onion and garlic, chili paste, spices, stir-fried.

Added hot broth, and sesame paste (black and white, that’s why it’s gray). The paste is not very aesthetic, but it brings fat and creaminess. More chili. And parsley.

DSC05388-001

Some tempura (onion and tsubomina), as a side, to place on top.

DSC05398-001

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.

Parsley.

Broccoli.

Tsubomina, bud veggie

つぼみ菜 Another Japanese special vegetable. Tsubomi means bud. It’s the symbol of early Spring.
Well it seems the complete name is Hakata tsubomina as there exist another plant called tsubomina. Hakata is an alternative name of Fukuoka, the city of Kyushu.

This page gives some details.

They are the bud of a type of large size mustard green. The whole plant makes 3 to 5 kg but only the buds are gathered. The season is February~March.

I ate them in salad and in soup before. I think that most recipes for Brussel sprouts could be use. But they are particularly excellent in tempura.

The inside is white and creamy.


Ryori, a Japanese classic menu… (compilation by cooking techniques)

Quick list of Japanese “classics” to help you navigate on this site. That’s not complete at all. I tried to make it representative. I often make them with a twist, but I tell you in the post.

Short memo about the Japanese meal

-all dishes are brought at the same time, ideally served in individual dishes, one plate per item.
-there is rice + soup + three items. Or more.

The items, called okazu tend to be side-dish sized. On the menu in restaurants, traditional style was to present the okazu by cooking technique.

ONE :

GOHAN, rice
rice cuisine list ***** sushi list

and ONE :

吸い物,SUIMONO
A soup to drink !

DASHI (basic stock tutorial)
vegan dashi tuto
misoshiru (miso soup, in many posts)
shijimi miso soup
clear soup
O-zoni New Year soup
sake kasu Winter white soup

And THREE, FOUR, FIVE… many :

OKAZU LIST

お造り o-tsukuri
Normally, that’s a term for seafood sashimi, raw seafood. I don’t *cook* it of course.

scallop sashimi
calamari sashimi noodles
hamo no aburi (flamed sashimi)
hiya yakko (chilled tofu cubes)
konnyaku faux-sashimi

和え物,aemono
Cold dish with sauce.

shira-ae veggies
goma-ae kogomi (sesame fiddle heads)
snappy beans and shrimps in kimizu-ae (yolk sauce)

蒸し物, mushimono
Steamed.
egg tofu
dobin mushi (steamed soup)
okowa kabocha (steamed pumpkin with rice)
steamed scallop

御浸し, o-hitashi
Blanched.
mustard green o-hitashi
green leaf maki
reishabu (poached meat)

揚げ物 agemono
Fried dishes.

tempura (tutorial)
kakiage (mixed tempura)
karaage fish
agedofu, fried tofu DIY
kaki-furai (fried oysters)

焼き物, yakimono
Grilled dishes.

shioyaki (salt grilled fish)
kabayaki conger eel
yakiniku, beef BBQ
yakitori (chicken skewers)
teriyaki chicken(the “real” thing, recipe)
teriyaki fish
miso yaki chicken
miso yaki fish
dengaku (skewers)

鉄板焼き,teppanyaki
Grilled on the hot plate.
Beef liver teppanyaki
okonomiyaki (compilation)
ika-yaki (calamari)

煮物, nimono
Simmered.

pumpkin kabocha no nitsuke
kakuni (pork)
beef shigure
buri daikon (fish and radish)

炒め物 itamemono
Stir-fried.

champuru (Okinawan scramble)
kinpira

漬物, tsukemono
pickles
wasabi leaf tsukemono
daikon radish leave tsukemono
dashi’t, Obanazawa pickle
pink lotus root tsukemono

酢の物, sunomono
Quick vinegar pickles. Salads with lots of vinegar.

potato sarada
daikon ume sarada
kabocha sarada

O-cha-zuke… tea on rice.

Ochazuke, the Japanese tea soup.

Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! Click here (later today) to see other challengers’ dishes and 3 recipes.

As you may know it, I already had a number of recipes with tea as an ingredient (don’t click on photos) :

click here for savory dishes with tea.
click here for sweets with tea.

That’s something people prepare quickly for a light dinner. Or after a long night of drinking, before letting the guests go back home, you feed them a hot bowl. There is a nasty story about it. People of Kyoto are said to be very well mannered, you know, so they avoid saying things directly and harshly. Hypocritical ? nah… Let’s say you are invited in their home, and after a while, they think you should leave, they won’t tell it. They will ask if you’d like to eat an ochazuke. And if you are polite, you say : “No, no, I am soooo sooooorry, but I have to leave now.”.

You need cooked rice (here genmai, brown rice) and stuff to garnish : sesame seeds, leaves of kikuna (chrysanthemum), ribbons of nori seaweed…

A small slice of salmon. It is salted, not smoked, not dry. We can buy it this way here. It can be kept longer than fresh but still needs refrigeration. No need to soak it, it’s not so salty. Just don’t add salt in the rest of the dish.
I grilled it under the broiler.

Tenkasu are crumbs of tempura.

Everything in the bowl…

Just pour hot Japanese green tea. This time I have a mix of sencha (green tea leaves) and matcha (green tea powder).

Cinderella gourmande, recipes of golden carriage

Beware little pumpkin, the hunting season is officially opened !
Well, the kabocha (pumpkin) is on the tables year round in Japan.
Read more here.

photo kabocha menu

Most Japanese pumpkin are the sweet non-watery type (potimarron, chestnut-pumpkin). They are delicious just steamed or simply cooked… If you want more ideas for variation, here is a little compilation.

Japanese meal with kabocha skin and kabocha bread toasts

kabocha mousse

kabocha waffles

Velouté of kabocha

kabocha pizza

pumpkin bread

pumpkin samosa and roast kabocha

pumpkin tofu jewel cake

raw pumpkin pie

creamy pumpkin pie

kabocha cardaman buns savory tarte au potiron

Pure potiron

Foamy soupe de potiron
Pan-fried kabocha
Fitness creme de potiron

Japanese kabocha classics

Kabocha no nitsuke
Tempura with kabocha
Okowa (steamed sticky rice) in kabocha

Not on photo :
Summer food rainbow
Shrimp doria with kabocha
Dengaku tofu, kabocha…

World pumpkin

Noodles with kabocha and bamboo shoots
Spring rolls
Ramen soup with kabocha
Pumpkin “risotto”
Pumpkin rosemary spaghetti
Pumpkin couscous

See also :
Appam kabocha lunch
Eight treasures on domburi

Sweet citrouille

Kabocha yokan
Souffle de potimarron
Vegan pumpkin chi’cake
Thai steamed pumpkin custard

See also :
Compote de kabocha (kabocha spread)
Kabocha coco gelato

with soba (poached)
roast (chick sand)

Purée

kabocha salad
millas (cake)
chana dal chilled soup
kabocha yokan (Japanese sweet)

The grated raw flesh

August veg’
color slaw
shred veggies

miso soup
salad with fried tofu
mabo tofu


grilled
opened with the teeth
the green seed, to enjoy with a little salt


Let’s make tempura

Making the assorted tempura you see in this previous post.

Veggies. Sweet potato and kabocha pumpkin sliced finely. Otherwise, pre-cooking would be required,
Onion, kakinoki-take (persimon tree mushrooms) and shishito cook quickly.

Oysters are more often prepared as “fried oysters” with bread crumbs, but the tempura variation exists.
kaki furai (oysters fried with bread crumbs)

Seafood. Oysters are shelled and rinsed. Calamari is cut, you can take out the skin (as it retracts while frying, but you loose the red color). The shrimps : the tails are kept, the long black intestine is taken away. As shrimps and calamari curl, you need to support them with toothpicks or whatever, and then take away the picks before serving (pro style). I simply made them skewers (kushi katsu style).

*******************
Koromo (tempura batter, Japanese classic recipe) :

ice cold water
a cold egg
cold all purpose flour
(in Summer, store the flour a few hours in the fridge)

In a cup (it’s 200 ml in Japan), break the egg and complete with water. Pour in a bowl, whisk the egg and water.
Add 1 cup of flour, beat roughly. You want to get some lumps on flour still floating in the batter. These lumps will become the tempura blossoms.
Dip one item, fry…etc. You can add a little more flour each few items to get new lumps if they are all dissolved.
******************
This is the classic recipe they teach at school -yes, there are cooking classes. And that’s what most pros do too. You improve your tempura by training at it, getting a better gesture, adjusting the amount of flour. I have margin for improvement…

There exist alternative recipes for “vegan meals” (that the monks eat once in a blue moon, for occasions), and for health reasons, also for non-fried “tempura like” recipes. Otherwise, there is no reason, I think, to change the basic.

That said, supermarkets sell “tempura mix”, some powder that are supposed to be easier to use. Easier ? Some have the eggs included. Easier than breaking your own egg surely. Most have flavorings and MSG. They give less good tempura, in my taste. I am not convinced of the interest of such products.

I fry everything at about 160~170 degree Celsius, but it’s the approximative temperature regulated by my stove. A thermometer is useful if you don’t have a thermostatic system on your stove, it shows you if the oil temperature varies… but you still have to try and judge the aspect. A way is to pour a few drops of batter and see if they stay white (too cold), slowly turn to yellow-golden (good) or become brown quickly (too hot).
Normally, veggies require a lower temp (160) and little longer time than seafood. But I cut the veggies thin to fry everything the same way…

WARNING : tempura is a major cause of death in Japan.
No kidding. It’s not poisoning (well don’t keep the oil for years). It’s not people burning themselves while frying (be careful anyway). Most dramas happen because people get house fires.
WHAT YOU SHOULD NEVER DO :
NEVER make a mountain of fried food on a big deep dish. Because the temperature of the block of food concentrates at the center of it. And lots of food produce extremely high central temperature. It takes fire spontaneously. The dish is full of flames in a few seconds, then the kitchen, the house… They have video demonstrations that pass regularly on TV, that the firemen show around regularly. Fire start suddenly and violently.
HOW TO BE SAFE : Lay the fried food on large flat dishes or grills. Do not pile them ever. It won’t take fire by itself.

I didn’t know that before coming to Japan. We made mountains of French fries in my family and never knew that and never had a fire.
Maybe because we eat them all so fast just after frying ? Well don’t take chances. It’s nothing to do to lay the fries flat.

Another style of tempura “kaki-age” :
kaki-age tendon