Japanese Version

A Taste of Culture by Elizabeth Andoh

May, 2016

A Taste of Culture Newsletter: BAMBOO WORDS

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© Copyright, 2016.  All rights reserved by Elizabeth Andoh.

Dear friends, colleagues and those who have expressed an interest in the FOOD & CULTURE of Japan:

 

Bamboo Words
Ta ké no ko Kotoba
たけのこ言葉

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Bamboo shoots inspire culinary creativity at table… and provide semantic fun in conversation.

Here are five quirky, linguistic manifestations of Takénoko:

 

 

Takénoko seikatsu
筍生活 ”living a bamboo life”

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The expression “living a bamboo life” describes dire financial circumstances. Pawning off clothes and household items one at a time to make ends meet is likened to peeling back the many overlapping layers of bamboo.

 

 

Takénoko zoku  竹の子族
”bamboo clan kids”

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In March of 1978 clothing shop BoutiqueTakénoko opened on Harajuku’s Takeshita Street. At the time, the most coveted fashion item was a “harem suit” — a billowy pant-and-cape outfit. Groups would gather near the entrance to Meiji Shrine in Harajuku on Sunday mornings dressed in these and other outlandish costumes to dance to music blaring from cassette recorders. Named for the store that started the trend, the wild youth were dubbed Takénoko zoku.

Takénoko no Oyamasari 竹の子の親まさり
“surpassing your parents”
Because bamboo shoots grow so quickly, their development is used as a metaphor for the rapid progress of child prodigies. Indeed, so rapid these whiz-kids soon out-strip their own parents in acheivement.

Takénoko Isha 筍医者 “bamboo doctor”
An especially inexperienced, clumsy, young practitioner will sometimes be called a “bamboo doctor” by unhappy patients. In other words, a bungling quack! A derogatory statement that hopeful does not describe your family physician…

Ugo no Takénoko 雨 後の筍
“bamboo shoots (popping up everywhere) after the rain”
New bamboo shoots seem to pop up everywhere after a spring shower. This phenomenon describes the rapid emergence of things like a chain of stores (Starbucks… everywhere) or a new and trendy hairstyle (dreadlocks, anyone?).
Two Ways to write takénoko in Japanese:

筍                竹の子
Takénoko    Také no Ko

(Bamboo Shoots)

 

 

Stay connected with Elizabeth Andoh.

Elizabeth is looking forward to your comments on the items she posts to her

Facebook page!

She does hope you like it!


February, 2016

A Taste of Culture

Setsubun

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© Copyright, 2016.  All rights reserved by Elizabeth Andoh.

Dear friends, colleagues and those who have expressed an interest in the FOOD & CULTURE of Japan:

 

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Setsubun marks the break between seasons and occurs several times during the year. Most Japanese today, though, think of setsubunbeing on February 3, corresponding to the start of the lunar New Year. In China and other parts of Asia this break is celebrated as New Years. But in Japan since the switch to using the Gregorian calendar in the Meiji period, Setsubun is celebrated quite apart from Osōgatsu (New Year activities, which come to a close in mid-January).

 

Rituals developed aroundsetsubun to insure that evil was left behind in the old year, and good things could (and would) happen in the year to come. In Japan, onimonsters personify bad things and are traditionally expelled by shouting and by
throwing dry-roasted soybeans (mamé maki).

 

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Kids get to pelt Oni (good-natured Grandpa) with roasted beans.

Want to make your own setsubun commotion? Buy already roasteddaizu (dried soybeans) called iri mamé (“roasted beans”) in an Asian grocery… or roast your own. Place daizu (dried soybeans) in a dry skillet and place the skillet over low heat to s-l-o-w-l-y roast them. Jiggle and/or swirl the skillet gently to keep the beans in motion until the skins on a few beans begin to split (about 20 minutes). Remove the skillet from the stove and let the beans cool in the skillet (they will keep for several weeks and make a great beer snack….)

Take a handful of the beans and throw them outside while shoutingOni wa soto! (Demons, get out!). They then throw another handful inside, shouting Fuku wa uchi! (Good luck, come in!). Finally, everybody gets to eat the same number of roasted beans as their age… plus one (its a good thing I LOVE iri mamé…)

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Although most of Japan does mamé maki bean-tossing with roasted soybeans, the Tohoku region (Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Aomori, Akia, Yamagata) prefers to use roasted, unsalted PEANUTS (落花生rakkasei) in their shells. The nuts are not removed from their shells until AFTER they have been tossed, and collected — certainly makes clean-up easier!

 

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March & April

2016

A Taste of Culture

Download a catalog from the

PROGRAM page

The March KANSHA Intensive Workshop is filled

but those interested in participating in a 3-Day Intensive Workshop later this year, please download a detailed description and application form.

Hands-On Cooking Classes:

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Other foods associated with Setsubun include plump sushi rolls called éhō maki. These are meant to be gobbled, uncut, while facing the “auspicious” direction for that year. The auspicious direction for 2016 is:

 

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Download éhō maki recipe from

KITCHEN CULTURE

TASTEofCULTURE.com

 

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January, 2016

A Taste of Culture 

by Elizabeth Andoh

December, 2015 Newsletter:

Three Friends of Winter

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© Copyright, 2015.  All rights reserved by Elizabeth Andoh.

Dear friends, colleagues and those who have expressed an interest in the FOOD & CULTURE of Japan:

Saikan no Sanyū

Three Friends of Winter

歳寒三友

123無題

Evergreen pine connotes unwavering strength, bamboo suggests both power and flexibility, while plum blossoms, unfurling on snow-laden branches, imply hardiness. Combined, shō (pine) chiku (bamboo) bai (plum) are known as saikan no sanyū or the “Three Friends of Winter.”  In Japan, they have come to symbolize the New Year holiday season.

 

Those who imbibe in saké, may recognize shō chiku baias Takara brewery’s best-selling label in America. It is indeed that, but… Other readers of this newsletter who are into gaming and anime may associate shō chiku bai with the name of an i-Pod application for pachinko. Shō chiku bai is that, too, but…

 

Those who frequent Japanese restaurants will be familiar with shō chiku bai as a pricing guide: pine (shō, or its alternate reading matsu) is always the top-of-the-line special, bamboo (chiku, or its alternate reading také) the mid-range, and plum (bai, or its alternate reading umé) the least costly menu item.

 

No doubt calling the cheapest dinner “plum blossom” sounds nicer than the descriptive nami (ordinary), though just how, and when, this practice of euphemistic naming began for menus is not entirely clear.

 

Why is pine ranked at top, and plum at the bottom? Again, there is no definitive explanation, though the linguistic ease of pronouncing shō chiku bai may be a contributing factor. That, and historic precedence likely plays a part in the pecking order: pine has appeared as an auspicious motif in many Japanese works of art and literature since the Heian period (794 to 1185 AD), bamboo since the Muromachi (1392-1568 AD) and plum, the relative newcomer, since the Edo period (1603 to 1868 AD).

 

To help you bring a multi-cultural, seasonal sensibility to your table, visit my KITCHEN CULTURE page where I provide instructions for making edible decorations, one each for our three friends. ENJOY!!!

 

At KANSHAcooking you’ll findinstructions for making Japan’s ubiquitous New Year’s soup:

 

OZONI

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At KIBOcooking you’ll find instructions for making:

KOMBU MAKI

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123無題

Additional Articles by Elizabeth Andoh

Autumnal Table
A Fish called Sanma
Kampyo
Satoimo
Tonkatsu

Elizabeth Andoh lectures internationally on Japanese food and culture and directs A Taste of Culture, a culinary program based in Tokyo, Japan.

Website, http://www.tasteofculture.com/


November, 2015

A Taste of Culture

October, 2015 Newsletter

Autumnal Tables

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@copyright, 2015. All rights reserved by Elizabeth Andoh.

 

 

秋の食卓

akino shokutaku

Autumnal Tables

Unlike the plebian pleasures of inexpensive sanma (the subject of September’s newsletter) menus offering matsutaké flaunt a penchant for extravagance. Just how costly can these mushrooms be?

 

Really Expensive…

 

The most prized matsutaké are foraged domestically. And, of native Japanese fungi, those taken from the forests of Tamba, near Kyoto are considered by many to be the ultimate culinary experience. Market prices for matsutaké change daily, and a statement to this effect is commonly added to restaurant menus and on-line vendors.

 

Its nearing the end of the matsutaké season and not wanting to miss out on my yearly ritual of self-indulgence, I scoured department store food halls for the best “deal” I could find: 2 medium sized, close-capped, stocky fungi for only ¥12,500!!!

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That’s about $105 for a pair of mushrooms that weigh less than 4 ounces combined! No wonder just a few slivers are added to dishes at top restaurants where full course kaiseki meals command hundreds of dollars per person.

 

Steam-poaching to Extract Every Drop of Flavor

 

Considering the cost, it is not surprising that the Japanese have perfected ways of preparing these precious mushrooms to maximize their distinctive qualities: deep, spicy, woodsy perfume and a slight crunch. Although kinoko gohan (mushrooms-and-rice) is wonderful, my personal favorite is a dish known as dobin mushi.

 

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Dobin are special teapots in which the mushrooms are steam-poached. The pot is lined with umami-rich kombu (kelp), packed with torn mushrooms (irregular edges yield greater flavor than knife-sliced ones), drizzled with saké and sprinkled with salt. A variety of other ingredients such as chicken, shrimp, or fish and ginko nuts and mitsuba leaves can be added to make a more substantial dish.

 

Served piping hot, fresh from the steamer, carefully lift the lid of the teapot and add a squeeze of sudachi lime. Re-lid and pour the broth into the small saké-cup that sat upon the lid when the dish was first presented. Sip and savor: autumn at table.

 

When the broth has been finished, remove the lid and nibble – nay, relish – the extravagantly expensive slivers of matsutaké mushroom and other tidbits.

 

DOWNLOAD a recipe from my KITCHEN CULTURE page at A TASTE of CULTURE

 

 

 

November-December 2015

A Taste of Culture

(click above to download a catalog)

3-Day Intensive Workshop

November 16, 17 & 19

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Osechi

Food for the (New Year) Holiday 

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On-Line WORKSHOPS

At two of my websites you’ll find Workshop pages that feature fall mushrooms. Recipes can be downloaded from the various pages. ENJOY!!!

At KANSHAcooking you’ll find instructions for making  KINOKO GOHAN, a basic recipe for making mushrooms and rice.

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At WASHOKUcooking you’ll find instructions for making a different kind of takikomi gohan (flavored rice), one that includes chicken and gobō (burdock root)

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At KIBOcooking discover IBURIGAKKO smoke-dried daikon pickles to pair with any sort of takikomi flavored rice.

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Stay connected.

I’m looking forward to your comments on the items I post to my

Facebook page!

I do hope you like it !


September, 2015

A Taste of Culture

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A Fish Called SANMA

@Copyright. September 2015. All rights reserved by Elizabeth Andoh.

 

Slender, sleek, and steely-colored SANMA are perfectly named. In Japanese these three calligraphy say it all!

autumn  秋

sword  刀

fish    魚

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After a long and blisteringly hot summer, fall is finally in the air. And so is the distinctive aroma of sanma on the grill. Typically, sanma  is sprinkled with coarse salt, then grilled, ungutted. Served with a small mound of grated daikon radish that is drizzled with soy sauce, and perhaps a wedge of sudachi lime, sanma  is one of the great plebeian pleasures of autumn.

Sanma has always been considered shōmin no aji, or “food for the masses.” All the major Japanese beer companies picture smoky, sizzling, slightly charred sanma  in their autumn ads, in distinct contrast to upscale saké producers who, in their commercials, offer images of outrageously expensive matsutaké  mushrooms (an aristocratic fall delicacy in Japan).

In a food culture that places importance on tableware — choosing vessels to enhance the food — its not surprising that some types of plates are named after specific foods. Case in point: Sanma-zara (literally “saury plates”) are long and narrow to accommodate the fish.

 

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sanma sara

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Find out more about WASHOKU, Japan’s traditional food culture.

Balancing flavors, colors, and preparation methods while sourcing ingredients from land and sea, a washoku approach creates harmony in the kitchen and at table.

 

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Kansha means appreciation. Demonstrating kansha in the kitchen and at table means using food fully while conserving energy, and preserving and sustaining our natural resources.

 

 

A Taste of Culture

Programs offer a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy Japan’s culture through its food. Classes offered in Tokyo combine spicy tidbits of food lore with practical, skill-building lessons on how to prepare Japanese food. Instruction is in English to meet the needs of foreign residents of Japan and visitors from overseas.

Hope to have the pleasure of cooking with you in my Tokyo kitchen this fall…

 

Download the AUTUMN 2015 CATALOG for details on FALL FISH Intensive Workshop Osechi: Holiday Foods

 


August, 2015

 

A Taste of Culture

JULY, 2015 Newsletter:

Kampyo(Sun-Dried Gourd Ribbons)

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© Copyright, 2015.  All rights reserved by Elizabeth Andoh.

かんぴょう

干瓢

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Looking a bit like a spool of thread set on a latge bobbin,pale green pumpkin-gourds called fukube are set spinning against a sharp blade. Ribbons of coiled gourd are then hung to dry in the sun. In this drying process minerals and sugars are concentrated yielding an aroma vaguely reminiscent of dried apricots. Kampyo (gourd ribbons) are used to tie up any number of edible packages in the Japanese kitchen.

 

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To tenderize the dried gourd it is soaked in water and given an abrasive salt rub.The salt is rinsed away and neither affects the taste, nor becomes an issue for those on a sodium-restricted diet. The liquid that remains after soaking dried gourd becomes a delicately flavored stock. Be sure to source naturally sundried gourd as the liquid from soaking chemically-dried gourd contains unwanted elements.

 

 

On-Line WORKSHOPS

At each of my websites I have created a Workshop page that featureskampyō. Recipes can be downloaded from each site. ENJOY!!!

At WASHOKUcookingkampyō is used to tie up “treasure bags” filled with meat and vegetables.

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At KANSHAcookingkampyō is transformed into a sour and spicy pickle, hari hari-zuké.

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At KIBOcooking you’ll find kobu maki (kelp rolls tied with kampyō) that can be made with kelp that is leftover from stock-making. Thrifty, and tasty.

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Born, raised and educated in America, Elizabeth Andoh has made Japan her home for more than four decades. A graduate of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Andoh’s formal culinary training was taken at the Yanagihara School of Classical Japanese Cuisine (Tokyo).

Andoh is the author of six books on Japanese cooking, including two IACP award-winners, An Ocean of Flavor (Morrow, 1988) and Washoku (Ten Speed, 2005). She was Gourmet’s Japan correspondent for more than three decades and was a regular contributor to the New York Times travel section for many years. Andoh lectures internationally on Japanese food and culture and directs A Taste of Culture, a culinary program based in Tokyo, Japan.

Elizabeth Andoh’s website, http://www.tasteofculture.com/


October, 2014

5 Colors, 5 Flavors, 5 Ways

goshiki  五色

5 Colors

 

 

When you choose a colorful range of foods, nutrients “naturally” come into balance without doing complicated dietary calculations. Although the specific nutritional profile of foods in the same color category are different  — carbohydrate and fiber-packed corn and vitamin C-rich lemons are both yellow; low-sodium, calcium-rich black sesame seeds and low-cholesterol, Vitamin E-rich nori are both black —  by including some food from each of the five colors you are sure to achieve variety. And when combined with the other considerations of including various flavors and cooking preparation methods, balance — and harmony — is the result.

 



 

Umeboshi Maguro Tuna

RED 赤 aka

The category RED contains fruits, vegetables, meat and some dried beans. The palette ranges from orange & russet tones to pink & magenta, and includes crimson & ruby hues, too.  Although artificial red food dye does not contribute to the nutritional profile of a food, tinting foods such as umeboshipink with the natural food dye processed from dried red shiso (called aka-jiso or yukari, in Japanese) will qualify a food for inclusion in this category.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Okome Rice Tofu

 

WHITE 白 shiro

The color category white includes rice, and many other grains, cereals, and seeds in addition to several vegetables and tubers. The white category, also includes tofu and soy milk. Mild-flavored, delicate white-fleshed fish (shiromi-zakana, in Japanese) and “white meat” chicken and pork can also be counted in this group.

 

 

 

 

 



 

Mackerel Fish

 

GREEN 青 ao

The word ao in Japanese means both “green” and “blue.” This category includes many legumes, leafy vegetables and herbs (aquatic and terrestrial) in addition to oily fishes such as mackerel and sardines, called ao-zakana (literally “blue” fish).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Kabocha

YELLOW 黄 ki

This category includes fruits and vegetables, eggs, and some grains and nuts. Although artificial yellow food dye does not contribute to the nutritional profile of a food, tinting foods yellow with the natural food dye processed from dried gardenia pods (called kuchinashi no mi in Japanese) will qualify a food for inclusion in this category.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Fresh Shitake Mushroom

 

Black Sesame Seed

 

BLACK 黒 kuro

Very dark foods such as nori laver, eggplant skins, shiitakemushrooms, black soy beans, and black sesame seeds comprise the color category of black.

 

 

A TASTE OF CULTURE culinary arts program combines spicy tidbits of food lore with practical tips and skill-building lessons on how to prepare Japanese food. Programs are conducted in Tokyo, Japan, and offer a unique opportunity for foreign residents and visitors from overseas to explore and enjoy Japan’s culture through its food. Instruction, by Elizabeth Andoh, is in English.

 

 

 

 

Born, raised and educated in America, Elizabeth Andoh has made Japan her home for more than four decades. A graduate of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Andoh’s formal culinary training was taken at the Yanagihara School of Classical Japanese Cuisine (Tokyo).

Andoh is the author of six books on Japanese cooking, including two IACP award-winners, An Ocean of Flavor (Morrow, 1988) and Washoku (Ten Speed, 2005). She was Gourmet’s Japan correspondent for more than three decades and was a regular contributor to the New York Times travel section for many years. Andoh lectures internationally on Japanese food and culture and directs A Taste of Culture, a culinary program based in Tokyo, Japan.

Elizabeth Andoh’s website, http://www.tasteofculture.com/


July, 2014

梅雨入り

Tsuyu iri “Entering the Rainy Season”

by Elizabeth Andoh

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Most of Japan has been enveloped in record-breaking heat these past few days. Even Hokkaido hit 37 Celcius (98.6 Fahrenheit)! Its supposed to cool down by week’s end, as most of the archipelago enters the rainy season.

 

Once tsuyu arrives in earnest the weather report will vary little for 6 weeks or so: some days the rain might be a light drizzle that manages to float up under umbrellas, while on other days, heavy downpours will create mud-splattering puddles – the kind that keeps the dry-cleaning industry busy. But most days it will be steady showers… and for me, a constant reminder of just how curly (spell that f-r-i-z-z-y) my hair is!

 

To cope with the relentless, high humidity during tsuyu Japanese households launch jiméjimé taisaku or “anti-dampness campaigns.”  Makers of modern cleaning products bring out new, and improved (or so they say) items at this time of year – lots of moisture-absorbing silica gel and (musty, mildew) odor-absorbing charcoal in pellets and packets.

 

Old-fashioned strategies rely heavily upon the (non-culinary) power of vinegar (su) and green tea (ryokucha). Applied directly to various surfaces including tableware (ceramic, glass, cutlery), cutting boards, and cooking utensils (chopsticks, otoshi-buta dropped lids, rice paddles) both vinegar and green tea possess anti-bacterial, anti-microbal properties. Green tea rubbed on wooden surfaces is is especially effective in curbing mold-growth.

 

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tsu        yu        tai        saku

 

 

su (vinegar)

 

 

Fill a bowl or small tub with a solution of  7 parts pure vinegar (no additives) and 3 parts water. Soak problematic tems in the solution for at least 15 minutes and up to several hours. Drain, and allow items to drip-dry, naturally.

 

 

緑茶

ryokucha (green tea)

 

 

Use ready-to-fill tea bags or wrap loose tea leaves in cheesecloth to make packets.

Brew and enjoy as a beverage. Use the leaves (in their bag or cheesecloth) tosponge down wooden surfaces.

 

 

On-Line WORKSHOPS

 

At WASHOKUcooking you’ll find a great way to use rice crackers that have gone soggy dispite your most diligent efforts to keep them crisp. Enjoy these Spicy Smashed-Sembei Sliders!

 

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At KANSHAcooking you will find a tasty way to use the bits and pieces of kombu that accumulate after stock-making. The recipe I offer makes use of tongue-tingling sanshō pepper.

 

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At my KIBOcooking site you’ll find Taste of the Tohoku, a page that features local dishes. This summer edition offers information and a recipe for what is called DASHI in the local dialect. You’ll discover its a refreshing salsa-like topping for noodles, rice or tōfu.

 

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Born, raised and educated in America, Elizabeth Andoh has made Japan her home for more than four decades. A graduate of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Andoh’s formal culinary training was taken at the Yanagihara School of Classical Japanese Cuisine (Tokyo).

Andoh is the author of six books on Japanese cooking, including two IACP award-winners, An Ocean of Flavor (Morrow, 1988) and Washoku (Ten Speed, 2005). She was Gourmet’s Japan correspondent for more than three decades and was a regular contributor to the New York Times travel section for many years. Andoh lectures internationally on Japanese food and culture and directs A Taste of Culture, a culinary program based in Tokyo, Japan.

Elizabeth Andoh’s website, http://www.tasteofculture.com/


December, 2013

里芋

 

Sato Imo “Country Potatoes”

by Elizabeth Andoh

Sato imo (“country potatoes”) Colocasia esculenta are also known as taro potatoes in many markets. They boast a creamy texture and a low Glycemic Index (unlike other potatoes with a high GI that cause peaks and crashes in blood-sugar readings). The tubers are thought to have originated in eastern India and have traveled east to Southeast Asia, China and Japan… and west to Egypt, West Africa and from there to the Americas.

Cultivated for their edible corms (tubers, or “potatoes”) and stalks (these are sold sun-dried as zuiki), the plant contains (toxic) calcium oxalate that must be treated before consumption.

Possibly the earliest known cultivated plant, sato imo remains an important staple in many food cultures throughout the world today. In Japan, there is evidence that the tubers were first consumed by Jōmon-jin, the hunter-gathers who inhabited the archipelago thousands of years ago.

Before they can be eaten, sato imo must be washed and boiled (or otherwise cooked). If the tubers are peeled raw, naturally occurring but irritating oxalic acid can cause hands to itch. The Japanese down-home remedy for this is vinegar; washing itching fingers with acidulated water does bring relief.  Many Japanese cooks, though, prefer to avoid peeling altogether. Instead, they rough-wash the raw tubers imo arai-style to the point they can be cooked with their thin, tasty and nutrient-rich “skins” intact.

IMO ARAI potato-washing is done either by harnessing Nature’s energy in the form of a fast-flowing stream (the imo arai kuruma wheel, to the left).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or, by hand with paddles in a barrel (the community-sponsored, post-harvest festival, below).

 

imo arai ・washing sato imo

Goro goro, goro goro

… the sound of tumbling tubers being rubbed and scrubbed…

 

IDIOM of INTEREST: the phrase imo arai is used to describe people in over-crowded conditions. Peeking inside the barrel, you can understand why the agitated action of potato-washing is a fitting way to portray packed trains at rush hour and swimming pools with standing-room only!

Detox methods include steaming, par-boiling, and/or soaking for at least 8 hours in an alum solution (yaki myōban sui).  Instructions for this are included in this downloadable recipe:

Country Potatoes with Chicken Sauce (Sato Imo no Tori An Kaké)

 

My cookbook, WASHOKU:Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2005) provides a solid introduction to the principles and practice of harmony and balance (washoku) in the kitchen and at table. This workshop page enables me to guide you further.  ENJOY!

 

 

On-Line WORKSHOPS

 

At each of my websites I have created a Workshop page that features SATO IMO. Recipes can be downloaded from the workshop pages. ENJOY!!!

 

 

At KANSHAcooking sato imo are soy-stewed with root vegetables, thick fried tōfu and shiitaké mushrooms to make a satisfying main course.

 

 

 

At KIBOcooking you’ll find a Tohoku hot-pot classic from Yamagata: Imo ni kai. This meat and potato casserole is served at community and family gatherings.

 

 

 

 

 

Born, raised and educated in America, Elizabeth Andoh has made Japan her home for more than four decades. A graduate of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Andoh’s formal culinary training was taken at the Yanagihara School of Classical Japanese Cuisine (Tokyo).

Andoh is the author of six books on Japanese cooking, including two IACP award-winners, An Ocean of Flavor (Morrow, 1988) and Washoku (Ten Speed, 2005). She was Gourmet’s Japan correspondent for more than three decades and was a regular contributor to the New York Times travel section for many years. Andoh lectures internationally on Japanese food and culture and directs A Taste of Culture, a culinary program based in Tokyo, Japan.

Elizabeth Andoh’s website, http://www.tasteofculture.com/


May, 2010

Tonkatsu

Steve here: I have invited my friend, columnist, author and educator,  Elizabeth Andoh, to share with us a little about the history of  Tonkatsu in Japan.

Elizabeth Andoh: Chef Motojiro Kida of Rengatei, the first yoshoku-ya (western-style restaurant) to open to the public in the Ginza, is credited with first serving pork cutlets to a curious but appreciative clientele. At the time (1895, the 28th year of the Meiji Era), he called them poku katsuretsu. The current name tonkatsu  (the “ton” is an alternate reading of the calligraphy “buta” meaning “pig”) was coined later, at the beginning of the Showa era by another owner-chef, Shinjiro Shimada, of Ponta near Ueno. Interestingly — and rather telling of the rapid rise to popularity and continued devotion to this dish — both of these family-own-and-run restaurants are still in business today!

Rengatei (the name means “brick abode”) has several branches, all carefully preserving the legacy of founder, Motojiro. The third generation Akitoshi (76 years old) and his son, Koichiro are at the helm of the Ginza establishment (3-5-16 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. Phone: 03-3561-3882). Established in Meiji 38 (1905) by Chef Shinjiro Shimada, Ponta’s current chef is 4th generation Yoshihiko. Located near Okachimachi station (3-23-3 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo. Phone: 03-3831-2351). If you are in Tokyo wanting to sample classic tonkatsu at either of these venerable establishments, be forewarned that neither takes reservations.

For those of you without access to Tokyo, or preferring to try your own hand at making tonkatsu, download the recipes below. ENJOY

Classic Tonkatsu

豚カツ

(Tonkatsu)

 

 

 

Download the recipe

 

Elizabeth Andoh bio here.  Link to A taste of culture homepage.


 

Born, raised and educated in America, Elizabeth Andoh has made Japan her home for more than four decades. A graduate of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Andoh’s formal culinary training was taken at the Yanagihara School of Classical Japanese Cuisine (Tokyo).

Andoh is the author of six books on Japanese cooking, including two IACP award-winners, An Ocean of Flavor (Morrow, 1988) and Washoku (Ten Speed, 2005). She was Gourmet’s Japan correspondent for more than three decades and was a regular contributor to the New York Times travel section for many years. Andoh lectures internationally on Japanese food and culture and directs A Taste of Culture, a culinary program based in Tokyo, Japan.

Elizabeth Andoh’s website, http://www.tasteofculture.com/


March, 2009

Weekend at Gora Kadan- a Legendary Inn in Hakone

Of the dozens of ryokan inns where I have stayed in Japan, a few are truly superb.   One such legendary inn is Gora Kadan in Hakone, where I stayed this past weekend.  It was my first visit there and it was a perfect experience.   After we enjoyed a long soak in an outdoor hot spring bath landscaped with large stones and plants, dinner was served in the suite of one of my traveling companions. The three-room suite had its own garden, as shown below.

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The hors d’oeuvres course consisted of mixed vegetable sushi wrapped with a paper thin fried egg, round shaped sushi with sea bream, junsai in vinegar sauce (my friend, Japanese food authority Elizabeth Andoh explains junsai well), tiny broiled calamari with mustard and vinegar sauce, prawn, deep fried lily bulb, fu (gluten) shaped like a cherry blossom, burdock root wrapped in unagi, beans and cubes of  Japanese omelet.


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The soup was a puree of fiddle head fern, with tofu and lily bulbs.

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The sashimi course included sole, ise lobster and otoro fatty tuna.

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Fresh grilled ayu, a seasonal river fish, was served with bamboo shoots, pickled ginger and sudachi citrus.

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Next came a light dish of fresh seaweed and mitsuba leaves.

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The stewed dish included a very tender Wagyu beef, potatoes and canola flowers.

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Rice was served with assorted Japanese tsukemono pickles.

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The miso soup was made with a dark, red miso.

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The dessert course contained assorted fresh spring fruit set in a light gelatin.

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Born, raised and educated in America, Elizabeth Andoh has made Japan her home for more than four decades. A graduate of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Andoh’s formal culinary training was taken at the Yanagihara School of Classical Japanese Cuisine (Tokyo).

Andoh is the author of six books on Japanese cooking, including two IACP award-winners, An Ocean of Flavor (Morrow, 1988) and Washoku (Ten Speed, 2005). She was Gourmet’s Japan correspondent for more than three decades and was a regular contributor to the New York Times travel section for many years. Andoh lectures internationally on Japanese food and culture and directs A Taste of Culture, a culinary program based in Tokyo, Japan.

Elizabeth Andoh’s website, http://www.tasteofculture.com/

Author: stevebeimel

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