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JAPANESE MONTH: A SIMPLE ART: Japanese Salads, Pickling Vegetables

Please use this thread to discuss and review recipes from the chapters about Japanese salads, pickling vegetables and salads.

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  1. Even though I don't make Japanese food any longer, one item I really liked and used successfuly for pickling is I just noticed this still on a shelf this morning.

    http://www.amazon.com/Tsukemono-Pickl...

    Well, I shouldn't say, "don't make Japanese food any longer," just got through taking some salted seaweed out of the frig that had been soaking. Probably use in a miso soup.

    1. Sweet Vinegar Dressed Carrots, Amazu
      Japanese Cooking, page 242

      Quick Turnip Pickles, Kabu no Sokuseki-zuke
      Japanese Cooking, page 323

      I love pickles. Any kind of pickles! And both of these pickles are the perfect acidic counterpoint for the two entrees of our meal.

      I mixed rice vinegar, mirin and dashi to make the Sweet Vinegar dressing. I then dressed some julienned carrots and let them "cure" for about a hour before eating. In the future, I might also add some green onions to the carrots for a bit of interest.

      For the quick turnip pickles, I actually used Daikon radish since they looked good at the market. This is a simple preparation. Just dress the radish with some salt, drain the liquid and then place some kombu and lemon peel over the radish. Press with something heavy for an hour.

      Highly recommend both of these pickles as a light and bright accompaniment. I used the Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler for both of these pickles which makes them look so very beautiful.

      Served with:
      Miso Soup with Enoki Mushrooms, Enoki no miso-jidaté, Washoku pg 117
      Deep-Fried Marinated Chicken, Toriniku Tasuta-age,Japanese Cooking, page 234
      Mushroom Relish, Shiitake Kara-ni, Japanese Cooking, page 397
      Cooked White Rice, Gohan, Washoku pg 137

      1. Tangy White Salad (Shirazu- Ae) p. 421

        This is a cool, creamy tofu dressing with seasoned vegetables. This was not quick to make, so I made this a day in advance and kept the dressing and the vegetables separate so I could quickly put everything together after work. Andoh also has a recipe for this without vinegar (shira ae) that is also tasty, but not as complicated. Shiitake (reconstituted shiitake is simmered in dashi soy mirin and sugar- good enough to eat on its own), cucumber (thinly sliced and marinated in salt water and drained) , konnyaku (salted and boiled) and carrots (simmered in dashi, salt ,sugar and soy) are mixed with a dressing of tofu (boiled, pressed and pushed through a sieve to puree), sesame paste (neri goma), sugar, light soy (usukuchi shoyu), rice vinegar and dressing. Andoh’s dressing was different in that it only has carrots and konnyaku and the dressing has miso rather than sesame paste. Both dressings were nice, but I liked the variety and textural contrast that the vegetables in Tsuji’s recipe offered. This was nice paired with the Yuan-style grilled chicken.

        2 Replies
        1. re: BigSal

          Was Tsuji's recipe good enough that you feel the time spent was worth it?

          1. re: meatn3

            I like, but not love this dish. It is a nice complement to other dishes. I would make it again, but with Andoh's tofu dressing and Tsuji's vegetable treatment. I'd say if you were curious to try this, start with Andoh's recipe. I don't mind spending time in the kitchen, but I think you might find recipes that have a better time spent /taste ratio.

        2. Two Flavored Vinegar (Nihaizu) pg. 242
          (served over radish greens)

          What to do with lovely radish greens on the spur of the moment? This exceedingly simple dressing: rice vinegar + soy +dashi or water (water in my case), tossed over the greens made for a lovely simple salad.

          8 Replies
          1. re: qianning

            Ginger Vinergar pg. 243
            (served over cucumber)

            Two Flavored Vinegar (or you could use three flavored) + grated ginger, that's it. Served over cucumber it was a bit too assertive. I think if the base had been three flavored vinegar I would have liked it with the cucumber better, but with greens or sprouts this version of ginger vinegar might be nice.

            1. re: qianning

              Sweet Vinegar (Amazu), pg 242

              Rice vinegar + sugar or mirin (I chose mirin) + dashi. Had this over watercress last night, a lovely "lite" yet flavorful salad for a hot evening.

              1. re: qianning

                This may have to be made for round two tonight....I have the most perfect bunch of watercress I've ever laid my hands on just waiting for a simple recipe like this. (watercress around here is always in a sad state of affairs, so I had to jump on the opportunity)

                1. re: Allegra_K

                  Round two? LOL. You are a gourmet who is also a glutton for punishment!

              2. re: qianning

                Plum Vinegar, pg. 243

                This variation incorporates the sieved meats from umeboshi plums, plus vinegar, mirin and dashi. Very flavorful and intense. Now to figure out what to use it on.

                Last night it went on watercress for a simple salad to go with teriyaki salmon. A good match, but not perfect.

                I'm wondering if anyone out there knows what this dressing is "traditionally" used for?

                1. re: qianning

                  Glad to see you back in the kitchen. Some ideas are:
                  renkon (lotus root), hamo (a white fish) and yama-imo (mountain yam which has a gooey texture -- a positive for the Japanese, but not for the slime averse like my husband).

                  ETA: These are three separate ideas(not all three ingredients together).

                  1. re: BigSal

                    Starchy root vegetables make great sense--we like mountain yam, but have it rarely and then it is the Chinese version in hot pot. Is "Hamo" a specific white fish, or any white fish?

                    1. re: qianning

                      After some googling, hamo is actually pike conger eel. Ha! I've only eaten prepared and it looked like a white fleshed fish to me. :)

              3. Spinach with Sesame Dressing (Horenso no Gome-Ae) pg 253

                I had intended to make either Tsuji or Andoh's Horenso no Ohitashi (soused spinach), but left myself too little time, and so fell back on this old favorite, which isn't a bad thing as we both love this dish.

                Parboiled, drained, chopped spinach mixed with a dressing of toasted sesame seeds that have been pounded in a mortar and pestle and mixed with sugar, soy and dashi. That's it and it is delicious. I love making it too; because the aroma of the sesame seeds as they are being worked is just heavenly. If you like spinach and you like sesame, do make this salad it is lovely.

                18 Replies
                1. re: qianning

                  This is a family favorite. If I leave it out too early before the meal, there is often very little left before the actual meal because of the snackers that swing by the table for a little taste..and another. This sesame dressing can also be used with with green beans, asparagus, and broccoli rabe.

                  1. re: BigSal

                    The dressing isn't pretty (hence no picture) but it is delish, isn't it? You're broccoli rabe suggestion sounds wonderful, and gets me thinking this might be very good on Jielan (Chinese broccoli) or Youcai (oil vegetable?), certainly would make a nice change from the standard Hoisin.

                    1. re: qianning

                      Finally made this with Youcai the other night--excellent!

                    2. re: BigSal

                      What about chrysanthemum leaves? I picked some up the other day, having no idea what to do with them but thinking that there was a recipe in one of the books in which the leaves took on a starring role. However, I can't find said recipe in either! Would the dressing work with or against the shingiku?

                      1. re: Allegra_K

                        fwiw, garland chrysanthemum is excellent in hot pot (sore subject?), and they are mentioned in one of the hot pot recipes, can't remember which book.....thinking about it the only way i've ever had them was in Beijing style hot pot....which is usually served with a sesame paste sauce!

                        1. re: Allegra_K

                          Yes, I think they would definitely work. I think qianning's hot pot idea is spot on too. That's how I usually end up using my shungiku.

                          1. re: Allegra_K

                            The hot pot I made last night called for chrysanthemum leaves, with the suggestion of spinach as the alternative. I used spinach since Miso Market was out of the leaves.

                            1. re: smtucker

                              Perfect! I just purchased a cheap-o donabe this week, with the hope of getting some use out of it this month. I shall give it a whirl.
                              If I may be permitted to ask a couple of ignorant questions about hot pot....I've been wanting to try it out for quite a while, but haven't the faintest idea where to begin. What type of heat source can I use? I noticed the markets sell small cans of fuel...I am assuming this is for indoor use; do I need to have some form of ventilation? What type of stand is required for such an item? Would a hot plate be a good stand-in? Other tips or words of wisdom would be welcome and appreciated!
                              Wow, okay, so it's more than just a couple of questions......

                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                Allegra, watch a short video at Amazon by the two authors of the cookbook, Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals. They prepare a hot pot and explain the procedure clearly. Just scroll down till you see the video screen...

                                http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1580...

                                I'm making my first hot pot tonight. Wish me luck...

                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                  I was reading one reviewer at
                                  http://www.amazon.com/review/R3E8I0HW...

                                  Posted on Dec 20, 2011 4:27:55 PM PST
                                  J. Wang says:
                                  Chinese also cook hotpots (aka steamboats, huo guo). These days we don't use the traditional chimney style pot with those tea light candles in the bottom. Most homes now use something like the Sanyo electric multi-cooker (one of the pans is for shabu shabu), or they use induction burner with a steel pot. I was lucky because when I bought my induction burner, it came with a Pyrex 5 qt pan made for induction. I like donabes, but those you have to use over a gas flame, and I don't like the gas flame on the dining table. The induction is safer if you have children."

                                  I am not keen on butane use in my kitchen (while others may not mind).

                                  I just have never seen any pyrex for induction burners and wondering if anyone else here has.

                                  1. re: Rella

                                    For my table top hot pot I use an induction cooker (picked up for a very reasonable price years ago at KamMan Market place), I love it, but it has to be used with a steel or cast pot, no donabe and no pyrex (never saw pyrex for induction, but then I've never looked for it either).

                                    1. re: qianning

                                      Well, we're using an old (and well used) stainless steel Farberware fry pan with a cover on a gas range. We'll plate from the pan in the kitchen then eat in the dining room. I had thought about and researched all the usual and preferred cookware and portable burners, etc. but decided the plate and serve method will be best for us. Mr. Salat says a Dutch oven or other enameled pot is fine to use too. I just might buy a braiser if I think we'll be making more hot pots after the month is finished, but will wait to see how it goes first.

                                    2. re: Rella

                                      I wasn't aware that a donabe can't be used on electric stoves.....drat, that throws a wrench in my plans.
                                      What is it about butane that you aren't fond of? Is methanol gel any different....would it put out sufficient heat to cook the food?
                                      Is there a hot pot for dummies book out there? Haha. 'Cause that's what I feel like. I'm starting from ground zero here. Thanks for your help, everyone.

                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                        Can't you use a donabe on a radiant electric burner with a heat diffuser? That's how I use my Chinese clay pot on a radiant heat electric range. (induction wouldn't work though, for that you need metal).

                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                          Some say that extraneous smells don't matter to them, but I can smell anything unusual, and that would include any kind of butane burner. You can guage my comment as to my sensitivity by my comment re candles: I can't abid them :-))

                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                            "I wasn't aware that a donabe can't be used on electric stoves.....drat, that throws a wrench in my plans." Did I say that? If I did, I spoke mistakenly - because I don't know that they can't be used with some sort of diffuser - I've not tried it.

                                            1. re: Rella

                                              Sorry, my mistake--I didn't realize that you were quoting a review.
                                              Will attempt to use a diffuser on my cook top and see how it goes.

                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                Let me/chowhound know what you use. I've never used a diffuser on the cook top.

                              2. Green Beans with Sesame-Miso Dressing (Sandomame Goma-Miso Ae) p. 420

                                http://books.google.com/books?id=fby2...

                                A dressing made of red miso, toasted and ground sesame seeds, sugar and mirin covers the barely tender green beans. It is quite tasty and has a much stronger taste of miso than Andoh’s (who uses more sesame seeds and a sweet, white miso). Because it is served at room temperature, one can make this in advance. Spinach can be used instead of the green beans.

                                1. Soused Spinach (Horenso no Ohitashi) pg. 429

                                  Could have sworn someone had already written this one up, but looking back it is Andoh's version that got attention last year. Given that I decided we were eating Japanese food for dinner at around 5:45 this evening in the grocery store, and we wanted to eat at 7, I was looking for something quick. With a little, gulp, instant dashi, this dish fit the bill. And even with the short cut (and a much shorter than suggested steeping time) this simple spinach dish really came through.

                                  Blanch spinach, refresh and drain, chop, reserve. Make sauce: boil dashi, add salt, mirin, soy, take off heat and quick chill. Steep chopped spinach in the chilled sauce, mine only had 30 minutes in the sauce, the original recipe calls for a much longer steeping. Take the spinach from the sauce, plate, add a little sauce and a little bonito flake. Very nice, and as Tsuji suggests, a wonderful side for the pan broiled salmon. Which is, btw, another really quick and easy dish.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: qianning

                                    Soused Spinach (and other greens) p 429

                                    Made this recipe up to go with cold soba, and it was a pleasant addition to dinner. I had a spinach/arugula blend to use up, and then supplemented that with beet tops from the garden, so perhaps my greens were a touch too earthy for this mild sauce, but it was tasty anyway. I too didn't have six hours to let this steep, maybe one, tops, and ran out of bonito flakes so instead topped with toasted sesame seeds. Though this was tasty, I think I prefer Andoh's version--but wouldn't hesitate to use this recipe in a pinch.

                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                      I will have to look at Andoh's version.

                                      1. re: qianning

                                        The only thing that would prevent me from making Andoh's on a regular basis is that it requires a seasoned soy concentrate--which I'm sure keeps for ages, but takes some planning ahead to make. I probably have some in the depths of the fridge...hmm, wonder if it is still good. But really, it is a delicious rendition.

                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                          I seem to have exhausted my supply of Japanese soy and bonito flakes, so Japanese food is on hold until I get down to Boston, but will definitely take a look at the Andoh recipes again soon. Somehow the Japanese food the past couple of nights has really hit the spot for us; I'd forgotten how suited it is to dining during hot sticky weather.

                                      2. re: Allegra_K

                                        It's been a while since I've made this. Regardless I'm surprised to see the sousing liquid described as a "mild sauce." I've been pretty strict about squeezing excess water out of the greens and also the six hour setting time. I usually make it a day ahead, and have had greens sitting as leftovers in the liquid for multiple days.

                                        My experience is the spinach absorbs the dashi and ends up tasting strongly of the dashi: quite pungent and smoky.

                                    2. Asparagus with Mustard Dressing, pg. 424

                                      This is easy--blanch asparagus, shock, then drain. Make the dressing--powdered mustard moistened with water, then mixed with an egg yolk and some soy. Would never have looked at this salad except Tsuji recommends it as an accompaniment to Steak Teriyaki; and indeed they go together very well, that plus some rice was dinner.