Additive Free Miso

I make my own miso, so I haven’t bought any in years. I was surprised to learn that not all miso still has a live bacterial culture. Some of it has flavoring and additives. Last time I went to the supermarket I snapped some pictures of the ones that were still living and are additive free. As an aside, I didn’t see any that were one or the other.

What to look for:

生 (nama)- live (as in live culture)
無添加 (mutenka) – additive free
酵母が生きている (koubo ga ikiteiru) – the yeast is living
生詰 or 生詰め (namatzume) – “packed with life”, as in the culture is still alive

Note: the miso I make has three ingredients soy beans, rice malt and salt. Some misos will have barley as well.

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Curried Pan Fried Japanese Pond Smelt

Curried Pan fried japanese smelt wakasagi

I whipped this up one morning to put in lunches. As it was cooking, I found myself getting excited for lunch. It smells great. Not having grown up near the ocean, it sometimes doesn’t occur to me to buy fish. I love fish but we rarely ate it when I was a child. I went through a fish poor couple of weeks and decided to try something new. Small fish are good for you so I picked up some Japanese pond smelt (ワカサギ wakasagi) on a whim. When I find a new ingredient, I often turn to Cookpad.com (I use the app so it is the Japanese version but the English site is supposed to be great). This recipe is so simple and tasty.  It takes less than five minutes from start to finish. Continue reading

kabu-onion-soup

Kabu and onion soup

kabu-onion-soup

I wanted something nice and light for lunch yesterday so I decided to try making a soup that I had the day before at Earthen Place Cafe here in Zushi. It was a kabu (a white turnip) and onion soup so I gave it a try and was happy with the results. Click here for a picture of the kabu. Despite the texture resembling the daikon radish, which takes a long time to cook through and become tender, kabus cook very quickly. This soup can easily be vegan, gluten-free or any other allergen free simply by changing your bullion cube.

Kabu and Onion Soup

500mL water
1 bullion cube 
1 medium onion
1 medium to large kabu
salt and pepper, to taste

Put the water in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, peel and thinly slice the onion into half moon shapes. When the water has boiled, add the onion and bullion cube and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the onion turns translucent. I let mine get soft because I don’t like onions that are still firm. While the onion is cooking, peel the kabu, cut in half, then each half into thirds. Finally slice thinly. You basically need to cut a thin slice into six pieces. Once the onion is ready, add the kabu and simmer until it becomes tender. This should only take about five minutes.

Other soups you may enjoy:

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sweet-potato-takikomi-gohan-rice

Sweet potato and black rice takikomi gohan

sweet-potato-takikomi-gohan-rice

A couple of weeks ago I picked up three cooking magazines at the local bookstore, カラダ温めレシピ (recipes to warm you up), Esse Special edition of their most popular bentos and 楽々スープジャーレシピ (thermos recipes). Now I have tons of ideas for lunches. I found the thermos recipe book the most interesting, conceptually. Almost everything is cooked in the microwave but I can easily make everything on the stove.

This recipe is the second one I tried from the warming recipes magazine. The first one I tried was carrot and ginger rice and none of us liked it. This one, on the other had, was delicious. I used orange fleshed yams (annouimo 安納芋 あんのういも) instead of sweet potato and I don’t think I can go back to regular sweet potatoes. The yams were so smooth.

Goma shio is a mixture of salt and black sesame and is a common rice topping. To mix, use one part salt to ten parts black sesame seeds, by volume.

Sweet Potato and Black Rice Takikomi Gohan
さつまいもと黒米の炊き込みご飯

From Sakura Mook 23 (カラダ温めレシピ)
Serves 2

1/2 sweet potato (I used about 70 grams)
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tablespoon black rice
1/3 teaspoon salt
goma shio for topping

Wash the rice, add the appropriate amount of water and let sit for at least thirty minutes. Chop, but don’t peel, the sweet potato into small cubes and soak in water for about fifteen minutes. Drain and rinse the sweet potato and it and the salt to the rice. Give it a quick stir and then put it in the rice cooker and cook on the regular white rice setting. I haven’t tried the quick setting but it is probably okay if you are in a pinch for time. If you don’t have a rice cooker, cook it the same way you would rice. Serve topped with goma shio.

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