Japanese food culture, Food event in Tokyo, Japanese unique ingredients and classes
The café is located right next to Tsukiji Honganji Temple, good place for escaping from busy fish market.
Whole glass window gets you full view of spacious garden to the beautiful Buddhist architecture.
Typically, the space is filled with moms who just sent their children to school and have spare time for once for a while breakfast with chatting, like I did.
The most fascinating menu is the morning plate. There are 18 kinds of tiny dishes come with warm congee and miso soup in a tray. The breakfast style is similar to the meal which is served in ryokan accommodation, serving many kinds of little food plates.
Since we prepare breakfast and lunch box, we call bento box, in the morning, we spend super busy time until family leave home. So we need something treat for every day's work, of cause with good and healthy food.
I believe the place is also desirable for tourists, because you can try many different Japanese healthy homey taste with nice and calm atmosphere.
The menu is not only for the breakfast. See the sweets varieties! The café opens from 8 am to 9 pm. There are lunch menus and other meal options as well.
Summer holidays was over. My sons went back to school. Now it's time to get prepare bento box in early morning.
Scramble egg and tuna flakes over rice.
Shrimp and spinach gratin
Cooked pumpkin with sweet soy sauce
Cooked broccoli.... is a must!
Tonkatsu, fried pork
Cooked broccoli... yes, must have!
Takikomi-rice, rice cooked with salmon and root vegetables
Tamago-yaki, egg omelet
Sautéed Japanese green pepper with curry spice
Pan fried sardine
Broccoli is taking a rest (^_-)-☆
sautéed hicken and cashew Chinese style
Cooked broccoli .... welcome back!
"Umami" is one of the basic five tastes, which affects the flavor of food. The tastes of sweet, salty, bitter and sour are common and most people are familiar to, and the umami is newly found taste by Japanese chemist in the late 19th.
There are many ingredients contains "umami"; Cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms and bacons, all are familiar ingredients for over the world.
Fermented foods through the world contain umami, that had been invited
fermentation by ancient peoples. People have known umami, something yummy taste from long long before. Now we appreciate the wisdom of ancestors.
Japanese food, we call washoku, was registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage in 2013. People through the world became more pay attention to our food culture.
The umami has important element to affect how Japanese dishes taste so good and has fascinated people through the world.
I prepared miso paste in March 22nd 2018, 2 month ago. Now the paste smells miso and the color become darker. The enzyme in Koji, rice malts activate in a plastic bag for fermentation.
The maillard reaction in Koji malt made the color darker, and the enzyme break down the protein in soy beans that made the soybeans very soft.
It seems like already miso paste, but I need to wait until May in 2019. I'll keep post how the miso paste will progress.
Most of Japanese elementary schools provide the school lunch for children.
Since the menus are organized by each school nutritionists, the lunch are well balanced and many children are looking forward to the lunch time. The parents also appreciate the lunch especially whose child are picky eater. Those children are good try to eat new food they don't eat at home, but with their friends. Children learn the food culture, what is the seasonal ingredients, and their local food through the daily lunch.
The menus are consist of carbohydrate, such as rice, bread or noodles, meat or fish for main dish, seasonal vegetables, soup and milk.
I was impressed to see the school lunch in the US, when I lived there, that the hot lunch at the school provided mostly pizza and potatoes. My son loved the lunch there and I thought it was wonderful that my son looking for something at the school.
This fried soft bread has been very popular, the unhealthy one 、since I was a elementary school girl. The bread is flied and dread with sugar. I believe this bread is on the menu once a month, and everybody looking forward to the day.
Since I'm a food education instructor, I have chances to instruct cooking to school children. Kids are always curious for ingredients and cooking I believe that come from their daily school lunch custom. Food that children eat effects the body and mental growth so the school lunch has an important role for them.
I've attended miso making class in Egami cooking school in Ichigaya, Tokyo. It was much easier than I expected.
Miso used to make each domestic house during winter time, around November to March. Because of the process of soaking dried soy beans in plenty of cold water for over night, the water should be very cold at this stage to prevent spoil the water. T
The teacher said, it was an annual event in each home and whole family member work together to make miso for year around for consuming.
Miso is made from dried soy beans, salt and malt. Malt is vary depend on the type of miso. We used rice malt at the class.
There are dried soy beans in a bowl
Soak the soybeans in water for overnight.
This is liquid to cook soy beans. Keep the liquid, this is fundamental role for making miso.
Making a handful size of ball and do catch balling in both hands to remove the air from the paste. The air make oxidize miso, that is risks for damage.
Make several balls and carefully transfer to a plastic bag. line the balls without air in the container.
Spread out the paste in a plastic bag. Remove any air in the bag.
Now, it is ready for fermentation. Leave it in cold area in my house for 1 year.
Looking forward to seeing the miso another one year! Hope you'll be fine. See you next spring!
People annually celebrate Girl's day on March 3rd for wishing the health and happiness of girls. Each family who has girls display special layers of dolls for the day. We call them Hina-dolls, so the girls day is also called as Hina-matsuri. It is sayd that Hina ningyo-dolls take the girls' bad luck away. The Hina dolls wears traditional costumes which is worn in Heian period, late 700 -1120. The set of the dolls represents the emperor, empress, their servants with many staffs that the empress brought with her when she got marry.
Traditionally, clam clear soup has been prepared for the day. A twin of clams would not match any shell other than their counterpart. So parents or grown ups wishes the girl will meet a partner and live together in happy union till parted by the end.
I actually didn't celebrate the day at home because I am the only woman in family member. However, I had good time with mom's friends to have lunch.
Do you know what miso is made from? The ingredients for miso are mainly three: Rice miso is made from malted rice, soybean and salt. Barley miso is made from malted barley, soybean and salt, while soybean miso made from malted soybean added with salt. Actually, I saw chick pea miso in Tsukiji fish market. Miso is a representative fermented seasoning as important as soy sauce in Japan.
Miso is also categorized depending upon the kind of malt used, the flavors such as salty or sweet, the color such as white, red, or light colored. Rice miso makde up about 80% of the miso produced throughout the nation, while barley miso is also called country-miso since it is generally a farmer's home cooking. However, nowadays barley miso is regarded as local miso in Kyusyu ( south part of Japan) area.
Miso is rich in nutrients and said eating miso keeps the doctors away. There are various quotes that relate miso and health. I'm impressed how miso has nutrients and has been keep people healthy by taking miso frequently. That is the wisdom of ancestors to today.
These are nutrients in miso paste.
Miso soup is now well known in universal, people eager to learn how to make miso soup at my class. Japanese eat miso as miso soup and there are various menus using miso.
Dengaku-miso is sweet seasoned miso, which is often served with juicy cooked daikon radish during winter and fried or pan fried eggplants in summer. My cooking teacher told that commonly serve white miso for winter and red miso for summer time.
This is Deep fried eggpant with sweetened miso sauce.
I often cook this side dish for my cooking class. People like the combination of saltiness, sweetness and umami.
Since miso contains Umami, it goes with variety of seasonings and ingredients.
Mixing same amount of miso and mayonnaise is miso dipping sauce. You may enjoy miso flavor to your table easily.
It is now in season of cherry blossom blooming in Japan. The forecast says blooming this year is almost 9 days earlier than the average year. According to the latest weather report, the blooming starts on March 19th and full bloom is expected in Friday 23rd to Monday 26th.
We Japanese have been looking forward to appreciate the beauty of spring bloom. The season of full bloom is almost same as new employees start to work at the company. It is said that traditionally, the new workers first duty is organizing Hanami-party, which means a party with appreciating cherry blossom. The employees have a welcome party for new employees after working time.
You can enjoy seeing the bloom not only the daytime, but also in the evening. You may encounter people who enjoy a party under the tree, they are not only company's gathering. This is an annual event that people bring their own picnic sheet, food and drink and having great time in the beautiful scene. Students who are visitors from other country in my cooking class say they can't imagine that Japanese drink outdoor and drunken.
I used to attend the Hanami party and it was so much fun. My colleagues and I prepared nice decorated bento box, sweets, wine and sake then enjoy drinking there. Now there are choices to order pizza and meal catering from closest branch so people enjoy hot pizza and food for the party. Moreover, some groups enjoy nabe ( hot pot), oden ( simmered daikon radish, eggs and fish cakes) and barbeque. I'm very interested in what people eat in outside more than cherry blossom because I am foodie.....
I hope you enjoy local experience. You can get a disposable picnic mat, cutlery and plates in 100 yen shop. There are many stores and food shops offer nice varieties of bento box and drinks, so you can get nice food there. Then you bring all the staffs to under nice cherry blossom and enjoy the party!
Happy New Year!
I had such a great new year days with my family. We spent 4 nights in our country house in Karuizawa, Nagano pref. Karuizawa is much colder than Tokyo, average 10 degree selcious lower through the year.
After Christmas day, I began to prepare to cook those food little by little and stored in a freezer. I cooked thirteen different lucky food items stored in zip locks and brought to the country house.
In our traditional custom, we eat soba noodle as new year's eve dinner for wishing longevity. I prepared dipping sauce with duck and spring onion and was lovely.
Then on New Year's day morning, I packed all the food I brought from home in a beautiful stacked square box. According to Weblio "The style of packing foods in nests of lacquered boxes represents multilayer happiness (for the same reason, it is said that one should ask for a refill when eating zoni)". So I tried to pack nicely and carefully to make nice box.
Those are made of julienne daikon radish in vinegar and sesame sauce, oven roasted dried sardine, roast beef, chicken loaf, rolled fish and egg roll, chicken with root vegetable roll and sweetened black bean in a same box and the other box is filled with cooked chicken and vegetables, we call it as nimono. I also prelared Mochi, stickiy rice cake with clear soup and red bean paste.
I cooked each items big batch, so our family kept eating same food and dishes almost 2 whole days, That is our traditional custom. Many people become tired to eat Osechi-ryouri , that is our custom either.
We had great meals during the days in karuizawa and had enough good rest there.
Wishing you happy new year of 2018!