Japanese Food Thread - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-06-2004, 09:15 PM
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I wanted to start a thread dedicated to Japanese food. Maybe some other people might like to discuss things they know about (or want to know about) traditional Japanese food.



I want to tell a story about Konnyaku



There is a food here called Konnyaku (they say Konjak too). I've lived in Japan just over seven years now, and I've steered clear of it because it looks stranger than usual (like jello Octopus).



This week I came face to face with my fears as one of my friends brought me a package of it to eat. I asked her if it has meat in it - she said no. I asked her if it had gelatin in it (looks like it would) - she just gave me a blank look. I asked her what it's made of then - and she said Konnyaku (big help).



We looked it up in the "calculator" (little adding machine looking translater) - and it said it's made from "devil's tongue". Hmmmmm..... Time go to the internet!



Turns out it's made from a special taro-like potato. The gelatin like nature of it is natural. Very low in calories too. I found it interesting that this plant is only cultivated for food in Japan (though it does grow naturally in other parts of Asia).



Here are some links I found while on my quest to learn more about this interesting food. A bonus is that the sites also talk about a lot of Japanese food - and some (if you poke around) have a lot of really interesting tidbits about Japan as well.



Now we can all know about Konnyaku!





http://www.shakespeare-w.com/english...ku/whatis.html

http://www.shejapan.com/jtyeholder/j.../konnyaku.html

http://www.nsknet.or.jp/~chrkaji/yasuko/kakou_e.html

http://www.ironchef.com/98/98_e17.shtml



EDIT to add: Konnyaku is sometimes processed using calcium from eggshells, so it isn't always vegan.
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#2 Old 04-06-2004, 09:47 PM
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Thank you. Very interesting.
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#3 Old 04-06-2004, 10:02 PM
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My friend and fellow Japanese major, Liana, keeps a journal that often features recipes, frequently of the Japanese persuasion: http://joechip.net/liana/



Two of her culinary persuits have been:


  • Okonomiyaki
  • Vegan Oden, Hideko-style



Please, enjoy.
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#4 Old 04-06-2004, 10:10 PM
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i posted my recipes for agedashi tofu, vegetable yakisoba, and goma-ae at http://www.livejournal.com/~kreeli back in february.



thanks for that interesting info, dv marie and dr. schmeebis! i'm going surfing to your links now!
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#5 Old 04-06-2004, 10:14 PM
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oh and check out kittee's pages on vegan sushi making!



http://www.pakupaku.info/sushiindex.shtml
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#6 Old 04-07-2004, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Schmeebis View Post

My friend and fellow Japanese major, Liana, keeps a journal that often features recipes, frequently of the Japanese persuasion: http://joechip.net/liana/



I don't know how to get to the exteneded version of her journal entries



I loved this: Tempeh: its got the strong taste everybody loves in natto, and none of the stickiness, softness, sliminess, or weird cheese-like threads coming from the beans. All Im saying is that the Indonesians got fermented soybeans right.
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#7 Old 04-07-2004, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvmarie View Post

I don't know how to get to the exteneded version of her journal entries



I loved this: Tempeh: its got the strong taste everybody loves in natto, and none of the stickiness, softness, sliminess, or weird cheese-like threads coming from the beans. All Im saying is that the Indonesians got fermented soybeans right.



On the right side of her site, there are category links. Just choose Recipes category.



Her archives are a bit wonky, I agree. But she's a sweet lady, and her husband and she invite me over for dinner all the time.
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#8 Old 04-07-2004, 11:08 AM
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Hey, how about trying some meharizushi. It's what Shingu is famous for! Dvmarie-san, you can probably buy the pickled leaves at a local supermarket. They're called takano and you'll need the pickled kind. You can also use spinich (hourenzou) and other varieties (sp?). Then you:



make some sticky rice and find your favorite filling (I like umeboshi).



create a sauce of shoyu, hon mirin, and sake (to your disired taste). Rinse your hands in the sauce and make a riceball (with filling in the middle).



Wrap the leaves around the ball.



Easy, yeah? I love these for lunch. They have more flavor than onigiri and are a good source of calcium.
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#9 Old 04-07-2004, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Schmeebis View Post

On the right side of her site, there are category links. Just choose Recipes category.



Her archives are a bit wonky, I agree. But she's a sweet lady, and her husband and she invite me over for dinner all the time.



Why, what a kind thing to say ^_^



Sorry about the archives. I don't really put a lot of thought into my weblog these days, I hadn't even realized you couldn't access extended entries, so I just took the path of least resistance and put them in the main entry.



As for konnyaku...I amused myself by serving oden to my family once (my mom had read about it in my weblog and wanted to try it); the konnyaku was, shall we say, not a hit. The high point of the meal: my brother bouncing it off my kitchen floor. (And it does, indeed, bounce quite satisfyingly.)
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#10 Old 04-07-2004, 06:36 PM
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Why, what a kind thing to say ^_^



Sorry about the archives. I don't really put a lot of thought into my weblog these days, I hadn't even realized you couldn't access extended entries, so I just took the path of least resistance and put them in the main entry.



As for konnyaku...I amused myself by serving oden to my family once (my mom had read about it in my weblog and wanted to try it); the konnyaku was, shall we say, not a hit. The high point of the meal: my brother bouncing it off my kitchen floor. (And it does, indeed, bounce quite satisfyingly.)



Knowing what a referral log maven you are, I figured this would be the best way to nudge you into joining the boards.
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#11 Old 04-07-2004, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liana View Post

even realized you couldn't access extended entries, so I just took the path of least resistance and put them in the main entry.



Thanks for putting them out there.

I used to love Okonomiyaki - it's popular here at any festival. Sadly - there's more egg in it than I can ingest without guilt (I'm a "trace ingredient" kind of egg person now)



Yes - Konnyaku=boing! boing! boing! I feel the same way as your brother. I ate it three times this week trying to find something I liked. No luck. I want to experiment at home though - I think I can use it in different ways and make it more to my liking.



I asked my friends about Konnyaku powder (I heard about it on the internet). Not one is familiar with it. My chef says he's heard of it - but that's about it. He says he's never seen it in a grocery store - maybe it's sold in an organic store (HFS). I'm on the lookout - there is a HFS in Kamakura - and I'm going there this weekend, so I'll try and find it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ShinguVegan View Post

Hey, how about trying some meharizushi. It's what Shingu is famous for! Dvmarie-san, you can probably buy the pickled leaves at a local supermarket



I've had this - it's yummy! I never thought to make it at home, but you make it sound so easy - now I am motivated to try!

(p.s - I'm an ume boshi addict - the fresh kind that crunches like a pickle when you take a bite is my favorite)
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#12 Old 04-07-2004, 09:07 PM
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I didn't work up the nerve to try natto while I was in Japan, even though it was available on the Japanese side of the breakfast buffet.



I did try daikon maki at Bikkuri Zushi in Roppongi. Between that, the inari, and kappa maki, I had quite a good lunch that day! I found soymilk at the 7-11 and had it on my cereal, and the tofu they offered at breakfast in Kyoto was divine. It was silken tofu, boiled, I guess...and so smooth and soft and delicious that I already miss it. I sprinkled scallions on it and poured a bit of soy sauce on and it was just...mmmmmm.



My favorite discovery was the kombu onigiri that I bought at a convenience store in the station before boarding the Shinkansen. The tour group had ordered ekiben for the trip, but as they were not vegetarian, I was responsible for finding my own food. The tour conductor went with me to the convenience store and helped me read labels.



I think I'll miss the tofu breakfast and the kombu onigiri the most.

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#13 Old 04-07-2004, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by dvmarie View Post


Yes - Konnyaku=boing! boing! boing! I feel the same way as your brother. I ate it three times this week trying to find something I liked. No luck. I want to experiment at home though - I think I can use it in different ways and make it more to my liking.



I had it once where was actually pretty good... at a temple famous for its fall colors and its konnyaku. It was sort of grilled somehow and had a miso-based sauce on top of it. Don't remember any more than that, though. Good luck finding a use for it. I know they make konnyaku noodles, but I've never tried those.

(Fellow umeboshi addict, by the way! mmm, good stuff)



Quote:
Originally Posted by ceryna View Post

I didn't work up the nerve to try natto while I was in Japan, even though it was available on the Japanese side of the breakfast buffet.



You still might have a chance, if there's an Asian market around you... I know it's at the two I go to around here. A friend of mine really likes the stuff, is how I know... I've grown to distrust his taste, that's for sure. My host father said that it was good hot over rice, with green onions and a raw egg on top. guuh.



Technically, I've tried it, but I've only had one bean's worth... I'm not sure if that counts, but then, who's counting?
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#14 Old 04-07-2004, 10:06 PM
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Yay Cernya - I'm glad you found lots of good veggie food on your trip



Didn't I tell you that 7-11 type stores had tons of great eats??? hahaha



Aww... you didn't try Natto? Too bad - it's the best here!! (and you can get it at 7-11......haha)
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#15 Old 04-11-2004, 10:28 PM
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being half japanese, i grew up eating natto. I LOVE IT I LOVE IT.

Okonomiyaki is also a fav of mine.

Anyone here like shiso leaves?
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#16 Old 04-11-2004, 10:49 PM
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Oh I like shiso leaves (in moderation....haha).

Did you know it grows like a weed? The plant is called Perilla (or beefsteak plant).
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#17 Old 04-12-2004, 10:12 PM
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my family grows it in the backyard, didn't know that it grew like a weed. Maybe that's why it always seems to be on hand...
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#18 Old 04-28-2004, 11:09 AM
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Konnyaku - holy smokes...sounds good. Wish I could try it



Anyway, I love asian food in general...not just japanese, my faves being: thai peanut satay salad rolls, cucumber maki rolls, shiitake mushrooms fried with baby corn and chop suey in general, tofu and seitan dishes, rice porridge and bean curd dishes too. And red bean cakes, but VERY rarely cause they are so 'globby' in my stomach and so rich.



-Linz
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#19 Old 04-28-2004, 12:43 PM
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the only japanese foods i've had are vegetable maki or california rolls, miso soup, and teriyaki stir fry (oh and i did try sushi with raw fish before i went veg, and actually really liked it. surprising since i always hated seafood )



i'd really like to try more though. i think if i'm ok money-wise come september i'll go visit a friend and take her out for japanese for her birthday (and mine!)

but i have to go to the toronto area for that, my little town doesn't have any asian markets and i think has one restaurant that serves japanese but is for the tourists so is very expensive.

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#20 Old 04-28-2004, 12:48 PM
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Two of my favorite Japanese ingredients are hijiki (or hiziki) and fermented bean curd (or foo yu or fu yi or fu yu or foo yi)... at least I think they are Japanese.



I used to be able to go to Chinatown in NYC and buy hijiki really cheap in bulk as well as find many brands of fermented bean curd. I just moved to Ann Arbor, so I haven't found good buys or good selections yet. Any help would be greatly appreciated.



Jim
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#21 Old 04-28-2004, 06:40 PM
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I like Hijiki as a salad mixed with vegetables

I think fermented bean curd is traditionally Chinese, but I'm sure it is eaten in Japan too.



I'm going to be in the same boat as you soon. I'm very much hoping that there is a good asian market in San Antonio (or at least Austin....I'm willing to travel!!)
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#22 Old 04-28-2004, 06:57 PM
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I always wondered what konnyaku was. I saw it listed as an ingredient in some of the vegetarian mock meats I picked up at the Asian market and couldn't find any information about it anywhere.
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#23 Old 04-28-2004, 10:22 PM
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Oops - guess there are some options for me when I get to my new home:

http://heartofsanantonio.com/just4fu...oods/index.asp
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#24 Old 04-29-2004, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimdavis View Post


I used to be able to go to Chinatown in NYC and buy hijiki really cheap in bulk as well as find many brands of fermented bean curd. I just moved to Ann Arbor, so I haven't found good buys or good selections yet. Any help would be greatly appreciated.





Jim: welcome to Ann Arbor! I image the selection might be compared a little unfavorably next to Chinatown in NYC, but all is not lost... Tsai Grocery is a very good Asian grocery store in Ann Arbor. It's off of Saline Road on 3115 Oak Valley Dr. If you happen to have gone to the Meijers in that area, you'll be able to find it. It's next to an excellent - but expensive - Japanese restaurant. There are some other Asian grocery stores in Ann Arbor (a couple down off Plymouth, some I haven't been to) but I like Tsai Grocery best.
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