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JAPANESE MONTH: WASHOKU: Vegetables, Tofu and Eggs

Please use this thread to discuss and review recipes from the chapters about vegetables and tofu and eggs.

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  1. Carrots and Konnyaku Tossed in Creamy Tofu Sauce p. 197

    I made this version of the salad, along with Tsuji's so I could compare recipes. In this one, konnyaku is dry roasted and then drizzled with sesame oil for 1 minute then add carrots and cook for 1 minute. Add dashi and barely simmer with an otoshi-buta (drop lid) to keep vegetables submerged in the dashi. Once reduced by half, add soy and mirin to lightly glaze. Dress vegetables with a tofu dressing made of tofu (boiled and squeezed of excess moisture and mashed), Saikyo miso, pinch of salt and drop of mirin. This dressing is quite tasty (cool and creamy). It is slightly sweeter than Tsuji’s version. I would make this dressing again with the vegetables Tsjui suggests in his version of this. His version of the vegetables is more colorful, more flavorful (the simmered mushrooms add a lot), and have additional textures.

    3 Replies
    1. re: BigSal

      It is so interesting to look at these two books side by side, isn't it?

      1. re: qianning

        It sure is. I've noticed that Andoh's flavors are subtler than Tsuji's. I'll post more this weekend on some of the other things I've made, but my preference for the most part has been Tsuji. I think it is because it tastes closest to what I know. My mom is from the Hokkaido area. I think she'd call some of Andoh's seasonings a little weak for her.

        1. re: BigSal

          Hokkaido, really, now that is a pretty place.

          Making my first meal of some Tsuji and some Andoh recipes tonight, we'll see how it goes. Really enjoying reading your reports, total motivators!

    2. Red-and-White Pickled Radishes (pg. 221)

      Once you make the Sweet and Sour Sauce (which is pretty easy too) these go together in a heart beat. I made these yesterday late afternoon, and we had some with dinner maybe an hour or so after they went into the brine, and they were very good. there are some left over for later this week, looking forward to seeing how they change over time.

      5 Replies
      1. re: qianning

        How pretty!
        I must have skipped over this recipe a hundred times assuming that the radishes in the title were daikon rather than radishes.
        This kind of radish can be pretty expensive in Tokyo and I feel inspired. I'll start marinading the vinegar tonight and put the rest of it together tomorrow. If it works out I'll make a batch to take to my family in Japan next month (should be fine since the vegetables are processed).

        1. re: MoGa

          It is colorful, isn't it?

          Andoh says they only last a week, but Mr. QN often makes a similar Burmese quick radish pickle( more salty and less sweet) and we keep them in the fridge for weeks sometimes, so I would think these will last a while.

          1. re: qianning

            Perhaps it's about the radishes going a bit soggy after a week. They'll stay lovely and crisp for a few days, after that, whilst still good, the soft texture isn't so enticing. Crisp radishes are exactly what I want to be bringing with me as a gift seeing as I can't take along fresh ones.

        2. re: qianning

          A few days later and the pickles are still good (and still have some crunch), and they have turned a delightful shade of pink.

          1. re: qianning

            Red-and-White Pickled Radishes p. 221

            Made these yesterday and was very concerned the so much sugar will make the pickle super sweet but this did not happened. I did not like them very much yesterday but today after a long soak they taste yummy. And look so blushingly pretty:)

        3. Burdock and Lotus Root Chips p.213

          This was a fun and interesting way to use up some leftover burdock and lotus root pieces.
          My biggest issue with this was cutting the lotus root to tissue-thin slices. It was next to impossible to get whole pieces due to the resistance of the starchy root. Time for a mandoline.
          The burdock was easy enough to slice with a vegetable peeler.

          Deep frying went as expected. The lotus root took a few minutes to brown, but the burdock cooked quickly, which is why Andoh suggests turning the heat down for the frying of that veg. I have since learned that burned burdock is not especially tasty.
          The lotus root crisped up to a potato chip-like texture, kettle style. Nice and heartily crunchy. The burdock was shatteringly crisp, yet dissolved on the tongue. A unique sensation.
          I topped the chips with ocean herb salt, which went well with the medley.
          I doubt that I would fry up burdock again, but the lotus chips were very well received.

          1. Asapara no kuro goma ae (Asparagus Tossed with Crushed Black Sesame) p. 198

            Grind toasted sesame seeds, then add mirin and soy gradually. Add this to boiled asparagus. This is a pretty dish (black sesame seeds contrast against the bright green asparagus). I think the addition of a tiny bit of sugar would benefit the dish, at least with the asparagus I had. I like this rendition of the dish better than Andoh’s version, but I only use about a third to half of the sugar called for. http://www.justhungry.com/asparagus-b...

            1. Onsen Tamago (Impatient Coddled Eggs) p. 292

              I used my sous vide machine (174 F for 1 hour - will try lower temp next time) to make the egg. This results in a loose egg white and a very softly set yolk. The egg is dressed with lightly flavored sauce (dashi, mirin and soy), green onions and wasabi. A tasty treat.

              1 Reply
              1. Spinach Steeped in Broth (horenso no ohitashi) P. 190

                In the midst of winter, I prefer to make as few trips to the grocery store as possible, and consequently end up with a multitude of short-lived vegetables that need to be used up quickly. A bag of rapidly wilting baby spinach was one such victim. This recipe came to the rescue!

                Spinach is tied in small bundles, blanched, refreshed, and drained. I was not about to spend hours tying a jumbled pile of tiny greens into neat piles, even for the sake of presentation, so I opted out.
                The wilted leaves are then steeped in a small amount of seasoned soy concentrate(p.96) diluted with dashi for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. I left it to mingle for several hours on the counter-top. When ready to serve, the leaves are drained and drizzled with a few more drops of soy concentrate and topped with roasted sesame seeds and/or a sprinkle of katsuo-bushi.

                This was really an excellent way to enjoy spinach. The sesame seeds provided a welcome nutty crunch to the dish, and the soy sauce mix complemented the greens beautifully. I served this as a light lunch with Toasty Hand -Pressed Rice.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Allegra_K

                  Spinach Steeped in Broth (horenso no ohitashi) P. 190

                  Delicious version of this dish. I'm not sure how often I'd make this version if I didn't have the seasoned soy concentrate already made. Now that I do have the soy concentrate, I'll try this treatment with green beans.

                2. Ginger-Stewed Eggplants (Nasu No Suzu Ni), 192

                  Having two long Japanese deep purple eggplants in the fridge crying out to be cooked, I found this recipe to be perfect. The eggplants are sliced in half lengthwise then with cut side down on a cutting board the only the skin is slit in shallow diagonal slices from top to bottom. Using a large skillet heat a bit of oil (Peanut) sear eggplants skin side down pressing with a spatula. Turn eggplants over and continue to sear for another minute or so. Add dashi, sake, sugar, ginger peels, bring to a gentle simmer and cover with an otoshi-buta or similar. Cook till liquid is reduced by half. Add soy sauce, discard ginger peels, simmer another minute. Now add ginger juice and cook another few seconds. Taste for seasoning and add mirin or a little more light soy sauce to balance everything out.

                  The eggplants cool for a bit, still covered, in the sauce then when ready to serve slice them into bite size pieces. Poppy seeds are sprinkled over as a garnish but I omitted them.

                  We liked this very much and will continue to make it. The balance or salty/sweet/spicy was just right. I served the eggplants with a bowl of gohan and slices of roast chicken.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Gio

                    Wow, this does sound very similar to Tsuji's recipe, swapping the ginger for chilies. Another one for the list!

                    1. re: Gio

                      Fiery Parsnips (Kimpira), Pg. 215

                      Another dish we enjoyed is Ms. Andoh's variation of the classic hot and spicy Burdock Kinpira. In her recipe Ms. Andoh uses 2 or 3 unpeeled but shredded parsnips. Other recipes include shredded carrots and daikon as well. Since I had all three vegetables I used some of each to create a larger amount of the finished dish.

                      I scrubbed 2 parsnips, scrubbed and scraped 1 large carrot, shredded both. Did the same with about a quarter of a huge daikon. G used a wok to stir-fry all 3 vegetables, one at a time, in sesame oil. Add sake and stir-fry, add sugar and stir every so often till vegetables are lightly caramelized. Add soy sauce and stir-fry till vegetables are tender and coated with a glaze. Sprinkle with shichimi togarashi, toss well, take off heat, cool to room temperature..

                      We loved this. It can be as spicy as you want so we used a large pinch of the togarashi. It went well with the rice bowl with ground meat, peas and corn.

                      1. re: Gio

                        Fiery Parsnips (Kimpira), Pg. 215

                        I don't have much to add to the wonderful description Gio gave. I made this only with julienned parsnips and couldn't stop snacking on them as they cooled while the chicken was cooking. I love the mixture of salty, sweet, sesame, and just a hint of heat. I didn't have togarashi and after reading the description decided that hot Hungarian paprika would be close enough given the small amount used. It seemed to work.

                      2. re: Gio

                        I made the Ginger-Stewed Eggplants for lunch today, and this was another very successful vegetable recipe. It was quite similar in flavour to Tsuji's spicy eggplant, though a touch less sweet and smokey. The ginger added a nice peppery bite in place of the chilies, and this was altogether a very pleasing dish that I wouldn't hesitate to make again. The leftover sauce at the bottom of the bowl was excellent with a small mound of steaming gohan.

                        1. re: Gio

                          Ginger-Stewed Eggplants (Nasu No Suzu Ni), p. 192

                          I missed this recipe during COTM, but was reminded of it on the 2012 COTM worth repeating post. Thanks to Allegra_K for mentioning it. My mom is visiting so we are cooking Japanese food and this eggplant recipe was a great addition to the mix. It has a nice balance of flavors with a fresh gingery bite. I will definitely make this again.

                          1. re: BigSal

                            It is good seeing your additions to these threads. Mr. QN & I were just talking about how we haven't been cooking enough Japanese food lately. Time to rectify that. And looking at you posts adds incentive.

                            1. re: qianning

                              Looking forward to seeing your posts. It's hard to stray from the tried and true favorites (kinpira gobo, ganmodoki, etc), but I love it when I discover something new (like this and the soba zushi. I'm also thinking about making the radish pickles you made).

                              1. re: BigSal

                                So true about the "tried and true", what Japanese food we've had lately has been in that category, but I've got my eye on a few new things in Tsuji & the Izakaya book to try soon. Looking at the threads definitely adds incentive.

                        2. Smashed Burdock Root w/ Crushed White Sesame pg. 200

                          Well, the jury's still out for us on this one for us. First the burdock, which is a new ingredient to me for cook, we liked the sweetness and the crunch, but I wish I had cut the pieces a bit shorter than 1.5", which we found a little too large for "bite size". Also, I boiled them in the water and rice vinegar for 3 minutes, but they still seemed underdone, and so I left them on for another 2 minutes, then drained. I think this was about right, but my long ago memory of having burdock in Taiwan is that it was a bit softer than these, so I'm not sure what I should be aiming for texture wise.

                          Now the sauce, which is a sesame based paste very similar to the sesame dressing for spinach in Tsuiji's book, and since we had that the night before my taste memory was pretty much in tact, and the sauce for the burdock was much saltier (makes sense since it was to top the sweet burdock) and a bit thicker. As an "all purpose" sauce, I would prefer Tsuji's version.

                          Taken together the burdock w/ the dressing was nice, but not a wow. I'll probably try another type of dish the next time I find some Gobo.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: qianning

                            I'd recommend making kinpira with the gobo (Tsuji's recipe or Andoh's from "At Home..." are both good).

                          2. Green Beans Tossed in Creamy Sesame-Miso Sauce (Ingen No Goma Miso Ae) p. 198


                            I first made this recipe last week. I made the Goma Miso (Creamy Sesame-Miso Sauce) with ready-made sesame paste (goma neri). It comes in a tube and looks like peanut butter. The paste is mixed with Saikyo miso (sweet white miso), pinch of salt and dashi. The sauce was much too thick for my liking. I did not enjoy the extra creamy texture. I like sesame paste (neri goma), but will use it for other sauces (like banbanji).

                            Today, I made sauce with crushed fresh roasted sesame seeds that are mixed with Saikyo miso, dashi and a touch of salt. This dresses the green beans. The texture and taste was so much better. This is a very different and more delicate version than Tsuji’s. This one has more sesame seeds and less miso. This one uses a sweeter miso (white) and Tsuji uses red, but he adds sugar and mirin (no dashi).

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: BigSal

                              Thanks for pointing out this recipe. I'll have to look more closely at Andoh's recipe. Tsuji's version is a "standard" for us with grilled fish in the summer, but it would be nice to try something a little different.

                              1. re: BigSal

                                I wonder if Tahini could be used instead of sesame paste - it is the same thing, no?

                                1. re: herby

                                  Tahini is made with un-roasted sesame seeds. As far as I know most Japanese sesame pastes (and virtually all Chinese) use roasted sesame seeds. The tastes between raw and roasted sesame are remarkably different, and usually they aren't recommended as substitutes.

                                  1. re: qianning

                                    I did not know that - thank you for explanation, Qianning! I have lots of sesame seeds and will pan roast and grind. Wonder if the taste of black and white sesame seeds is significantly different.

                                    1. re: herby

                                      Not sure about the taste difference between white and black sesame, but the texture is very different. I've never tried to grind black sesame, no idea how that would work out, but toasted white sesame is very easy to grind in a mortar and pestle, and fun as it smells divine while being pummeled.

                                  2. re: herby

                                    I agree with qianning. I don't think tahini is a substitute for sesame paste (neri goma). If your market, doesn't carry neri goma, check the Chinese isle for sesame paste. If you are looking for something with that very smooth texture and cannot find any sesame paste, peanut butter is a better substitute than tahini in recipes like banbanji chicken or the sesame sauce served with the steamed chicken (toriniku shio-mushi). http://tinyurl.com/8xullcw

                                2. Rolled Omelet, Kansai Style p. 289

                                  I liked the flavor of these eggs a lot, but I found the rolling instructions to be impossible. Perhaps this recipe shouldn't be attempted before noon or perhaps I would've had an easier time with chopsticks rather than a spatula, but the rolling process just didn't work for me. Even with the frustration of the method though, I found the slight sweetness of the eggs a pleasant change of pace.

                                  The original calls for jumbo or extra-large eggs, but I only had large on hand. Next time I would probably use 5 large eggs as once I strained the egg mixture I had closer to 3/4 cups instead of a cup of the mixture (although my strainer did not want to release about 1/4 cup of egg mixture!). The eggs are mixed with dashi, sake, mirin, soy sauce, and some salt then strained. She suggests removing the white squiggly clumps that cling to the egg yolk, but my strainer did an excellent job of taking care of those, so I'm glad I didn't fuss with it myself. A pan is heated and then brushed with vegetable oil (I used a pastry brush). The egg mixture is poured in 1/4 cup at a time and cooked, then rolled, then another 1/4 cup is poured in the pan and the process repeated until you have a lovely even roll (or in my case a horribly misshapen mound). Presentation issues aside, I liked the taste and can see myself making this again.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: TxnInMtl

                                    Did you have a rectangular shaped pan? I am reluctant to buy such a pan [how many pans can one person's kitchen hold?] but love the idea of trying this recipe.

                                    1. re: smtucker

                                      No, I was using a round pan which likely added to the headaches!

                                    2. re: TxnInMtl

                                      We made this today too. I'll post more this evening, but here are instructions on how to do this without the rectangular tamagoyaki pan. http://www.justhungry.com/tamagoyaki

                                      The key for me is, even if it looks ugly, keep rolling and it eventually it looks better, especially after shaping it in the sudare (sushi mat).

                                      1. re: BigSal

                                        Thanks for the link. The photos help a lot (and I feel a bit better about my finished product!). I'm curious to hear your report as well.

                                      2. re: TxnInMtl

                                        Rolled Omelet, Kansai Style (Dashi Maki Tamago) p. 289

                                        We made this as part of our lunch today and this is a more savory version than the Tokyo Style Omelet. The taste of the dashi comes through on this. A nice little snack.

                                      3. Lemon-Simmered Kabocha Squash (kabocha no sawayaka ni) p. 204

                                        Truth be told, I found a kabocha squash of undetermined age in the farthest reaches of my cupboard, having completely forgotten about its existence. The thick-skinned winter-hardy vegetable was probably a little worse for wear, its skin a tarnished green-yellow, a far cry from the usual deep forest hue, but food-worthy nonetheless. Upon slicing it open (quite a feat in itself!), the flesh was still a vibrant tangerine, and I so found myself perusing squash recipes to make use of this discovery.

                                        Enter this lightly seasoned, citrusy summer-like creation.
                                        Kabocha is cut into large beveled chunks, with the skin intact. I chose to remove some of the skin in an attempt at hiding the less-than-pristine appearance of my vegetable. I left a bit on, which did provide a nice textural difference in the pieces. The squash is then gently simmered with an otoshi-buta in a mixture of lemon juice, dashi, and mirin until nearly done. Soy sauce is swirled in and cooked mere minutes longer to infuse the veg with mild flavour. It is then cooled to room temperature or served chilled (a hot weather favourite) in its liquid with bits of lemon zest freckling the top of the dish.
                                        I found this to be a refreshing way of eating squash. Very lightly flavoured with a lovely brightness. I can see why this is popular in the summertime. If the skin of my kabocha had been of proper colour, it would have looked very beautiful in the bowl as well. I would make this again.

                                        1. Rolled Omelet, Tokyo Style (Atsu Tamago Yaki) p. 287

                                          This is made just like the Dashi Maki Tamago, but is made of eggs, sake, sugar and salt. It has a sweeter taste than the other omelet. Definitely my husband's favorite.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: BigSal

                                            I've had this style made for me by a friend's mom! Japanese but not sure that they refer to it "Tokyo Style." The ingredients the same, cooked in a wonderfully much loved and used kind of rectangular styled Japanese flat grill pan. The sake and sugar to this style is really really good. So good it's nice enough with a Japanese style salad and eaten for dinner.

                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                              What a treat to have your friend's mom make tamago yaki for you. The rectangular pan is one of my many uni-taskers. :)

                                          2. Sweet Potato Simmered w/ Kelp, pg. 209

                                            We loved this. I'd been eying the recipe for a while, but kept thinking it would be too sweet for us, it finally occurred to me that reducing the sugar (from 1.5 TBS to 1 tsp) might work, and for us it definitely was the right call. Otherwise I made this dish per Andoh's instructions.

                                            A well scrubbed unpeeled sweet potato is cut into chinks, soaked in an alum solution, rinsed and drained. Meanwhile soak some kombu and cut into strips. The kombu and potato are placed in a pot with dashi, covered with a drop lid (improvised from parchment and a small cover in my case) brought to a boil and simmered for 10 minutes. Uncover, add sugar, light-colored soy, and mirin, swirl and simmer for 2 minutes, add soy and simmer two additional minutes. Let everything rest in the pot off heat. Remove the sweet potato and kombu to serving dish(es), if the sauce is too loose reduce, which I did it took about 5 minutes, pour over the potato.

                                            The potato was so hearty and good, and the kombu strips were just right too, I kept at them until there were none left.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: qianning

                                              This sounds wonderful with this cold weather. What kind of sweet potato did you use (Japanese or other)?

                                            2. Citron Pickled Chinese Cabbage, pg. 218

                                              One of my goals for this month was to try and make a few home made Japanese pickles. This recipe looked a little less intimidating than one in Tsuji, so it seemed like a good test case. And it worked!

                                              Chinese cabbage (the Taiwanese variety in my case, lankier and a bit sweeter than Napa) is cut into wedges and salted with a combination of kombu strips, coarse salt and citrus peel (mix of lemon and lime zest in my case, as the only yuzu peel I can find comes frozen in 1 lb packages, more than I can handle). After about 10 minutes when the cabbage begins to sweat, squeeze to extrude some liquid, then add some more of the salt/citrus peel and strips of dried chili pepper to the mix (I also added a few drops of yuzu juice), weigh everything down under a flat plate, a small pie dish in my case with large pot full of water balanced on top, and let the brine do its magic. After 8 hours remove the cabbage and kombu from the brine, place in a jar and add a second brine made of rice vinegar, citrus juice, mirin, & light-colored soy, let cure in the jar for another couple of hours.

                                              Not only did it work, but these are delicious, citrus-y and bright. They didn't quite go with last night's dinner, pork!, but I think they will be fantastic with grilled fish.....later this week.

                                              1. Help!

                                                If anybody happens to see this....

                                                My library copy of "Washoku" has long since been returned. But I'd like to make a batch of the Red & White Radish pickle that's on page 221 of the book...I have "At Home with Japanese Cooking", and that has a recipe for Andoh's amazu (Sweet & Sour sauce), but I can't remember is there are additional steps other than brining the radishes in the sauce. If someone with the book could let me know I'd very much appreciate it.

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: qianning

                                                  I do not have the book but did a quick search that brought this page up: http://www.tarladalal.com/Red-and-Whi...

                                                  Do not know if at all helpful but in case no one sees you post....

                                                  1. re: herby

                                                    Thanks Herby, looks good, but definitely different from the Andoh recipe.

                                                  2. re: qianning

                                                    On a conference call, but when they stop babbling, I will run downstairs to get you the recipe.

                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                      Conference calls....my sympathy.

                                                      If you do have a chance, I'd love to know what steps I'm missing....the library copy I had was inter-library loan, so it would take ages to get the book back.

                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                        1/2 cup rice vinegar
                                                        3 tablespoons sugar
                                                        1/4 tsp salt
                                                        1 piece kombu

                                                        [paraphrased] put everything into a saucepan and let soak for at least 20 minutes before placing over low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt, slowly bringing to just under a boil. when the sugar and salt have completely dissolved, remove from heat and let the sauce cool. Then you can put it all into a glass jar, cover the top of the jar with plastic wrap and then put the lid on.

                                                        page 98


                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                          Aha! Different than the Sweet & Sour Sauce in her "At Home with Japanese Cooking"....Thank you, thank you! That totally solves the "where to add the kombu" mystery.

                                                          You're a peach for doing this, thanks.

                                                        2. re: qianning

                                                          pickled radishes

                                                          10-12 small red radishes, trimmed
                                                          1 tsp coarse salt
                                                          1/2 cup sweet-and-sour sauce

                                                          place the radishes into a bowl and sprinkle them with the salt; letting them sit for about 5 minutes. when they start to sweat, gently toss increasing the pressure with your fingertips, pressing to wilt the radishes. pour off any liquid and rinse the radishes to remove all of the salt. press them again. put all of the radishes into a glass jar, cover with the sweet-and-sour sauce and place the kombu piece on the top, cover with plastic wrap and then the lid. let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. if uneaten after one day, place them in the fridge.