Archives for January 2012

Udon Japanese noodle soup dish

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udon cutting Udon Japanese  noodle soup dish.  You may heard the name Udon, before.  Udon means noodles in Japanese.  I went to Takamatsu this winter.  There are famous for Sanuki udon (讃岐うどん).  It is a noodle soup dish popular in the Kagawa Prefecture,in Japan.  The main ingredients are udon (wheat-flour noodles) served al dente with tuna and kelp. Sanuki udon are named after the previous name of the Kagawa Prefecture, Sanuki Province.  Iwrote how to make dashi before on this page but this Sanuki udon Japanese noodle soup dish soup use different ingredents.  If you want to know more about Udon, see this page. sanjuki This picture is Udon and raw egg. The udon was just cooked from boiled hot water so it cook raw egg in this bowl. I put topping graind ginger and negi (onion) and Agedama. It comes with dashi in the small container. You pour that before you eat it. It was VERY GOOD!  It’s called KAMATAMA.  (kamaage udon and tamago=egg) Around Tokyo, there are Mizusawa udon and this is close to where my mother grow up with so Mizusawa udon is the more familiar to me. By the way, Mizusawa udon is a one of three famous udon in Japan. And this is a very East-side type of taste of Udon.  I wrote this Osaka udon before, see this page. Also, Curry Udon page.




See this page for very intereting dashi color change where you go to West to East. East (Tokyo) is darker in color, and West (Kyushu) is lighter color. Osaka is left of the pink arrow on the picture. Tokyo area usualy uses Katsuobushi (bonito flakes) for dashi (broth). Kansai (Osaka) area uses Konbu (sea weed) dashi and Shikoku area uses Iriko (sardine) dashi. Iriko is baby dried sardine and I often use them for my Japanese cooking. Bonito and Konbu are kind of a delicacy in taste for cooking but Iriko is more likely ordinary mother’s taste. However Sanuki udon uses a high gluten noodle needs strong dashi flavors. Also Kagawa in Shikoku is the district the Iriko is the caught so they use strong Iriko dashi for Sanuki udon. I have been in the United State so long, I have never went to a self service Udon restaurant. They started self service udon restaurants in Tokyo area about 15 years ago. I think it is like Japanese fast food like American McDonalds. sanuki self service udon shop Any way, this is my first time going to a Self service Udon restaurant. You can choose the Udon topping. sanuki sanuki sanuki when i asked him to taking a picutre, he smiled at camera, thanks! sanjuki this is like American Cafe (like college cafe self-service) you can pick Tempura, Tonkatsu, Eggs, Korroke and put on your Udon or side. And if you want, you can buy Onigiri (rice ball) or other things. They have Oden, too. sanuki sanuki udon This is the other restaurant Udon.  I choose Tempura, but this tempura is not what you think.  This is not what Amrican know from Japanses restaurant Tempura. There are also free toppings.  there are ground ginger, agedama (same as Tenkasu: crunchy bits of deep fried flour-batter used in Japanese cuisine, for example in takoyaki, okonomiaki, and udon.  Tenkasu is also called agedama), long onion, sudachi. This is an other Udon restaurant, but this is like a Mom and Pop restaurant. Customers keep coming in to eat udon for about 15min and leave. They don’t stay long. Yes just like fast food restaurant. udon shop udon shop udon restaurant inside inside mom pop udon shop udon cooking inside the shop cooking udon self service udon You are pouring Udon dashi soup into your bowl. Self-service.




oden This is Oden, you can pick the stick. sanuki udon

 







Global Santoku is the best Japanese kitchen knife

Global Santoku

Global Santoku is the best Japanese kitchen knife, I think.  I tell you Global Santoku Japanese kitchen knives are the best Japanese kitchen knife for daily use in the ordinary kitchen both cooking Japanese or non-Japanese.  If you buy one knife that fits all for cooking, what would you need to buy? I really recommend Global Santoku kitchen knife. I tell you why you should buy Global Santoku and especially for Japanese cooking.

I volunteer a lot at my friends’ kitchen. They know I can cook and they enjoy my food so I cook for them. But I have problem (most of the time, if my friends are not Japanese) because they don’t have good knives to cut food. They usually have a Chef’s knife, also known as a French knife. Those non Japanese kitchen knives are not suitable to use for Japanese cooking. Well, some Japanese person would say it is perfectly fine but I don’t like to use it for my Japanese cooking.  Simply, those are difficult to use.

What is Santoku knife?
If you want a great knife for ordinary use, I recommend Global Santoku kitchen knife. This is not only for Japanese cooking but also any kind of your cooking!  You may have heard of this name. Santoku translates from Japanese to – “developed knife”. San means three the number and Toku means benevolence. That means you can have three times benevolence. Because this knife is good benevolent for meat, fish and vegetables (three). Also these are very popular knives in a Japanese household.
And I found it is not heavier than a Chef’s knife and it is usually shorter. So especially for women, I think it is easy to handle this Japanese-knife than Chef’s knife. You can even peel the vegetables or fruits skins with it. Chef’s knife is too difficult to do so.

The best Knife for Japanese cooking
Vegetables are big ingredients for Japanese cooking because Japanese people eat so many vegetables. Also, they cut them very small or thin. Cutting small is important for Japanese cooking.
Japanese use chopsticks, not knives and forks. You can not really cut anything using chopsticks. I think Japanese cooking is prepared to eat in a one bite size so you don’t need to cut on the plate (actually you can not cut it). So if you were a chef, you have to prepare to cut a certain way for people who can eat the food easily.

Japanese or German brand
I usually recommend my friends Japanese or German brand knives. Those two countries are very famous for knives. Both have very good knives traditionally. Also Gloval Santoku knife is coming from Japan but German company makes this Santoku type.
You can choose whatever you like, but I will put my two recommendation here.

My favorite Japanese kitchen knife
I tell you my favorite Japanese knife name. Global knife is Japanese brand and I have this one for my own Global Global G48 7-Inch Hollow-Ground Santoku. You may also like Global 5-1/4Inch Hollow Ground Santokuor Global G-46 7-Inch Santoku Knife.
I like Global brand because it is light weight and is made from one piece of metal. No wooden handles to worry about. It is very easy to clean and stylish also.  Most of all, very sharp and very good quality.

The second best Japanese kitchen knife

If you would buy a second knife, I recommend Global Petty knife. Petty knives are the Japanese version of a paring knife. Actually, this is my favorite. I use this knife for almost everything! They typically are thin without a bolster on the blade and are very light. This is very good for pastry cooking or fruits. It is great as a peeling, paring, boning and carving knife for vegetables, fruits, herbs and other delicate work. It will also take on some of the slicing and dicing jobs of a large chef knife. Also, it is small and light – very handy! Actually, I like this size knife so very much and I am usually use this knife most of the time. Time to time, I need to have bigger knife so I use santoku. If you have Chef knive you already satisfy, but looking for next one, I strongly recommend this one!
gloval petty1
Global G48338 3-Piece Hollow Ground Santoku Knife Set

However, I prefer having Global Santoku and Petty knives when you start cooking Japanese. If you try it, you maybe surprised that you are enjoying cutting many things on the board!
You may think, all knives are the same. I just need to cut food. Well, the way you can makes your end result which food taste different (believe me!). Also looks better (presentation) like art. Plus, it is easy and make enjoyable when you cook food!

When I bought this Global Petty knife and cut Chinese scallion first time, I was very surprised the way I cut them. I am telling you, probably it was my first time I cut them like a professional very skilled person. I cut them for Yakumi (small cut vegetables for flavor) for Soba (Japanese buck wheat noodle) and it was a very fine cut. I used the same technique, so it was obviously that my new tool, which is Global knife, is the difference. So I really recommend this product for your happy Japanese cooking.

By the way, Amazon doesn’t sell Perry knife alone, so if you are interested to buy Global knife, this is the set Global G48338 3-Piece Hollow Ground Santoku Knife Set. They have Santoku and Petty knife in the set.
I really recommend this. I think you will appreciate and be glad that you have these Japanese knives for your kitchen!

The first tools hat human being have invented were the knives, which were made of stone. Thus, cutlery is the most important tool for humans to live. After the Stone Age, in a long period of history, no matter which region in Europe, people have offered knives with wishes for prosperity at wedding and festival. Of course, cutlery is still important in our daily lives. With wishes to make a happy family life, please use the Global knife.

Characteristic
The design which integrates the handle and the blade into one is beautiful, not only in the kitchen, but also on the dining table. It has been receiving a high appraisal from Sweden, Germany, Italy, Holland, France, England, United States, and other countries all over the world.

Hygienic Concern
The idea of easy grip makes the handle fit firmly inside the hand. By all-in-one structure of blade and handle keeps the knife sanitary and rejects bacteria.

Resistance
The all in one structure of the blade and handle is easy to wash and keep sanitary. As a matter of fact, it solved the problem of the handle slipping off from the blade, caused by rust.

Sharpness
The secret of the long lasting sharpness of the thin blade, it the super hand molybdenum vanadium stainless steel which contains 18% of chrome. This stainless steel is the same grade used for the medical implements, which were developed in the medical science field. Therefore, it is tougher and more durable than previous knives.

Caution
DO NOT cut the bone of fish and meat directly. The blade may chip. Please cut at the joint.
To avoid from damaging the blade, DO NOT use this knife to cut frozen food.

Maintenance
DO NOT use dishwasher or dish dryer. The ingredient of detergent used for the dishwasher and the use of dish dryer is uncongenial to the stainless steel. They may cause rust on the knife.
Please wash with dishwashing liquid and after washing, wipe the water completely off from the knife. The knife will not rust if properly cleaned and dried before putting away.

 




Japanese New Years Food Osechi Ryori

2012 new year japan

I wrote Japanese new years food Osechi Ryori before and it is this page.  This is my second time writing about Osechi.  So it:s been 2 years after I startedd this blog.  I just came back from Japan visit my parents this New Year.  I post pictures of my mother’s Osech and my family’s Osechi.

osechi ryori

osechi

The term osechi originally referred to o-sechi, a season or significant period. New Year’s Day was one of the five seasonal festivals (節句 sekku) in the Imperial Court in Kyoto. This custom of celebrating particular days was introduced from China into Japan. If you read more about Osaechi ryori, go this page.

I realized this year that Osechi doesn’t have much meat. Traditionally, Japanese people eat fish. So, there are many cooked fish and vegetable foods. Also those are preserved foods, so they use a lot of sugar. I figure out, that is why I like Osechi Ryori so much!

Some of my friends said they don’t care about Osechi. I love this food very much and I must have them once a year, otherwise, I don’t feel like New Year come.




sushi

assuage tofu

new year food

nimono

kegani crub

Also i write about my family traditions here. We have a New Year’s reunion every year. I missed it these past 2 years, because I didn’t go back home.

My grandmother is very good with Osekihan which is red bean (azuki) bean rice. Azuki bean rice is famous for celebration food. It is very popular that Japanese people eat this rice when they have some celebration. (ex:new year, marriage ceremony, have a baby, etc) If you want to read more about Osekihan, go to this page.

I think still my grandmother’s Osekihan is the best, but her son’s wife (my aunt) is continuing making it every year after my grandmother passed away. Those are mother’s taste which is comfort food for Japanese and rustic food but I love them. She is very good at making it just like my grandma. Some of the other dishes on this page, I made these differently. I truly love my aunt taste of those foods when I go to her house for New Year’s day reunion.




Yamato Japanese Stakehouse Restaurant in Charleston SC

Yamato Stake House in Charleston SC

This is my favorite Japanese restaurant that I go out to if I want to eat Sushi. The sushi Chef is Japanese and he knows about raw fish. Recently he started using real dashi, not artificial powder dashi which has MSG in it, for their miso soup, recently.The soup tastes different if you use real dashi or artificial dashi. He also said he started to prepare fish by himself. For example, mackerel sushi, which mackerel was treated with salt and marinated in vinegar. Many restaurants use frozen ingredients. Restaurant food supply companies sell  already prepared frozen fish in the bag. However, the Yamato Japanese Steakhouse Restaurants in Charleston, Chef Mura, does his own preparation. Those things make a difference than in other restaurants.  That makes me want to go back to eat sushi there. Plus, I can talk to him in Japanese, also. He knows what I want without telling a lot because he knows the real Japanese taste. I trust his cooking and preparing for me, I feel like I am at home in Japan.




This is what he made for me, last night. I had rice and miso soup with it.  Just like Japanese sashimi teishoku. I felt like I was in Japan! If you want to eat real Japanese sushi, go this restaurant and say hi to Chef Mura.

Sashimi

By the way, the right top fish is his own preparation Saba, mackerel, sashimi.