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Everything posted by easternsun

  1. growing up it was fork in the left, knife in the right. fork turned over and both fork and knife at twelve o'clock to indicate the end of the meal. i eat with chopsticks and spoons and my hands these days. my husband and i agree to disagree when it comes to table manners. it is not uncommon in japan to see famous actors or musicians on the television chatting with a mouth full of food. i have learned not to comment on this quirky bit of japanese culture. noodle slurping is the norm and i admit i spent years perfecting my soba eating skills i find that the slurping also extends to soups, hot beverages and even soft foods. there are some with excellent table manners but i dont know any of those people. i shudder when we travel to canada to visit. i am prone to daily lectures on what is considered rude and what is not appropriate. it is a nightmare but i get through it! culturally, this is one of the places where we clash the most. my question is: if you are in europe and you are not using a knife (maybe you are at home) do you eat with the fork in the left hand? (assuming you are a right handed person) lets say you are eating a piece of cake/dessert - which hand do you use? while reading this post i am "mimeing" eating with a fork (it really has been a long time since i used one ) my instincts say that i use my right but i know that if i have both utensils, the fork is in my left! now i am going to have to go buy some cake to check out this theory as for leaving the last bite of food - some buddhists leave the last bite as an offering and/or to show a lack of greed
  2. dh has recently taken to tai ochazuke with cold oolong tea. i am sticking to my (hot) sake (salmon) chazuke with cheese
  3. Not so!!! Just find yourself a little old lady raised in one of the old-established Sakai families, and get her to teach you tea or some ridiculously old-fashioned style of singing or something - you'll soon find there's a gentle Osaka dialect, though maybe it's all but disappeared! I think what happened was that the rich and educated took to the standard dialect as "NHK" Japanese became the standard, so only the "poor people's" Osaka-ben has survived. I still love to hear that questioning upward lilt that Osaka, Kobe, and Okayama ladies give every statement! (Thinks desperately how to make this sound food related, gives up...) ← i take ikebana with a lady who is on NHK, so maybe i dont hear the kansai dialect in her . my husband takes cha (tea ceremony) and his teacher is lovely. i am thinking of taking cha but i have to choose between cha and toge (pottery)...i cant afford both (time and money wise). i keep thinking about how lovely it would be to serve food on plates and dishes that i made myself but i hear the learning curve is steep. then again, the meditative quality of tea ceremony is so appealing as well. there just isnt enough time! i do think the "poor people's" Osaka-ben is the most common. i really like it and feel that it is friendly, however, i am trying to stop speaking that way
  4. i dont really think it is impolite but if i am being rude - then so are millions of other people honestly, i never even heard the term agedama until i joined egullet. now i am on the look out at the super to see how many packages say tenkasu and how many say agedama. i will report back after my next trip to the super! i dont think osaka ben sounds very feminine any way you slice it.
  5. these days there are some great 100 yen shops that sell only kitchen items. i adore them! i can always find something that i dont need - like bamboo baskets to serve stickey rice , on "thai night" or a mini cast iron soup pot (help me if you know what this is really called - it sits on a stand and you put one of those blue flame things under it to keep the soup hot and bubbling at the table) it is also used on thai night . generally i avoid 100 yen shops because i will buy things i dont need. like more dishes when i dont have room to store the ones i already have! there is one exception - when i need spices that i know i am only using for one recipe - i usually get them at 100 yen because i can get just a small amount and not worry about finding ways to use the rest. almost all my christmas baking was done with spices from the 100 yen shop. now i am feeling the urge - it is like a drug! just some pocket change and i can have new stuff!! and really the dishes are so pretty and they have such a variety.....dangerous territory for me!
  6. well, i made the okonomiyaki last night and i did make my own sauce (3 of them actually ). what i learned: lea and perrins Worcestershire Sauce is not the same as japanese sauce! that never occured to me until this little experiment. i basically used a 4 tbsp of shoyu and 2 tbsp of everything else approach and then added some extra worchestershire at the end of the cooking process. out of the three batches i added dijon to the second and karashi to the third. the original sauce won and was used on both the okonomiyaki and the yaki soba. the funny thing is that it really tasted different once applied - in the bowl it just did not taste "right". on the okonomiyaki it was just great! dh was honest enough to tell me that he had his doubts and wondered why i didnt just buy sauce like "everyone else" but in the end, dinner received the seal of approval and five stars (a game we play every night - how many stars always preceeds gochisousamadesu!) now what am i going to do with the other two batches of mustard flavoured sauces
  7. why do tokyoites say age-dama and osakans say tenkasu for the little tempura bits? i asked dh (who is trying desperately to reform my osaka-ben speaking ways into a polite lady who uses teinei ) but he just said tenkasu is not polite - then why is it on the packages ? any thoughts?
  8. i decide to make okonomi for dinner and wanted to make my own sauce. the thing is - i want it to taste like the sauce at the little hole in the wall shops we frequent i do have a recipe for sauce but i thought i would put it out here for you all - what is the best store bought sauce? what is the best sauce recipe? sauce with dijon or sauce without dijon (i cant decide) one more thing, why do tokyoites say age-dama and osakans say tenkasu for the little tempura bits? i asked dh (who is trying desperately to reform my osaka-ben speaking ways into a polite lady who uses teinei ) but he just said tenkasu is not polite - then why is it on the packages
  9. brilliant! thanks so much for the offer! maybe one day you could show me where these indian groceries are located i used to be able to get indian goods at mediya near sakai-suji /hommachi - but my last trek up there was a sad one as the shop has closed i must get to kobe! i will admit that i am clueless when it comes to your city....please be my guide incidentally, i had gobi chili, dal and chappati for breakfast and well, lunch too time to undo the top button on my pants and time to stop eating! they are much better today after being in the fridge overnight. i agree that the flour is the problem but i also think they needed more moisture. i had a good laugh at the gas stove comment as i think each one was cooked using a different "flame level" do you grease the pan?
  10. well...i am still working on the perfectly round thing!! i am not sure they would hold up in the post! ← You can always make a large one and use a pan, cake tin or such an implement to cut a round disc. ← ok, i admit i cheated last night and used a plate to make them round it is much easier but i still endeavour to roll them out round! another question if i may: last night i used canadian wheat flour (there is no indian grocery in osaka) - the first one was rock hard (is that like pancakes where the first one is always crap??), the second one came closer as i added butter to the pan. the rest were ok but i think that i need to modify the recipe. i am using about 300g wheat flour, 1 tbsp of veg. shortening and 1 cup of hot h2o. more water? more shortening? is chapati making like baking where you need to measure things out precisely? ok, more than one question - my bad! btw, if anyone wants me to mail them some dal - i made enough to feed the village i used to live in lets hope it freezes well.
  11. with shoyu (japanese soy sauce) yum! or thai chili sauce if i am feeling the need for sweet and spicy
  12. Let me see if I can get all your questions answered -- 1. Sambhar powder comes from the south of India and is used to season sambhar (prepared with lentils and if done right is to die for). I have used it sometimes to season sauteed potatoes. Gives them a great tang. Most stores sell them. 2. Yes I grow them.. and they have not died yet.. its been six months - that is a record for me. Just be careful curry leaves and curry plant are two different things. One is edible the other one is not. I think my previous post said curry plant -- it is curry leave plant 3. The small papads -- My son loves them so I make the colored ones. No nothing special other than just that 4. Cilantro Chutney -- I make mine with cilantro, mint, lemon juice, a touch of garlic and on occasion grated coconut. I used to hold events at Whole Foods and here is how we served it -- Take thick slices of warm french bread, spread on some sweet cream butter, top with the chutney and then place a thinly sliced English cucumber on top -- YUM Hope that helps and keep reading ← thanks for the responses. i was not clear -- i was actually wondering how to make my own instead of buying the packaged version. i found two recipes last night. i think i will attempt it once the current stock runs out....either that or use it as an excuse to go back to india
  13. i agree that fresh pasta is the way to go -- and the more i think about how supposedly time consuming it would be, the reality is that it takes more time (lets use lasagna for example) to boil the individual lasagne noodles than it would to whack up a batch of fresh stuff. thank you albiston and monavano for the inspiration. you know, living in japan is not often that i see anything other than spaghetti/penne or macaroni at a regular super market. i saw the canelloni and started thinking about spinach and cheese stuffed creations. now the reminder of how good the fresh stuff is has me thinking about pumpkin ravioli which can only be done by hand! and turkey lasagne that people will barter their children and spouses for a "ake home" piece..thanks for reminding me that the easy way is not always the easy way
  14. hi monica, this blog could not have come at a better time! my beloved has just returned home from india today! mr easternsun is back with a massive bag of mustard seed and heaps of sambar powder (what is in that anyway?) i dont have an indian grocery (we live in osaka, japan) so i sometimes struggle to find the right ingredients. masala dosha is our fave -- and the reason (well the tea and bikkies didnt help) that i gained 5 kilos in india last year i was living in kerala last year and did manage to study cooking for two plus months while i was there. he also brought me back "recipes for all occasions" mrs. b.f. varughese, parts one and two....bless! now i see you have a cookbook - i need to get that one too! i also have a question about curry leaves. have you ever tried to grow them and would they grow on on an urban veranda? my other question is why are your papads tiny and colourful? are they some extra special ones? ok, one more will you be sharing the cilantro chutney recipe with us? pretty please i am so excited about your blog this week. i hope it is as much fun for you as it is for me!
  15. ← thank you! this is what i was thinking too. they will be in the oven for awhile covered in sauce, so the pasta should cook. do i need to increase the baking time? it looks like i am going to be eating a lot of pasta this week testing this recipe for the weekend! thanks for all the replies!
  16. i found some canelloni and thought i would make it for a friends birthday dinner. i dont think any of my japanese friends have ever had it, so i thought it might be special. where do i start? none of the tubes were stuffable! i did not over cook the pasta or rather i followed the suggested time on the box. there wasnt even one tube left - so i ended up making a spinach and cheese layered shredded pasta in tomato sauce & bechemel sauce. it tasted like it should have but it looked terrible - not like stuffed pasta at all! one of my mates always makes her lasagna without cooking the pasta first. would this work for canelloni too? any tips? thanks!
  17. kristin you are an amazing woman on so many levels! i really enjoy your blogs. the photos of your kids are gorgeous and i am getting some great food ideas from you too. thanks! i am really glad my husband cant read english as i would have some explaining to do: 40,000 for one month for a family of five i am in awe. i will keep reading and hopefully learn how to spend less on food i wanted to ask if your kids get meals at school and what do they serve them for lunch? do you have any say in what goes into the school lunches?
  18. i came across this article today. i thought i would pass it along.
  19. the outside food banhas been lifted!! i am sure this will make this expo more affordable for a lot of japanese families. comments?
  20. panisse! ohhhh....well i guess that japanese pronounciation is a little off the chef who was preparing the dish cut it from a roll (almost looked like a roll cake) and i thought it was fois gras at first. what do you normally eat it with? ps thanks for the french lesson!
  21. From 'Freedom In Exile', HH Dalai Lama stopped eating meat after he saw an animal being slaughtered which was later served for a dinner function at which he presided. Before this, he ate meat as much as any other person and without getting tangled in Westerner's unnerving and obsessive methods of analysing absolutely every word while totally missing the inherent point or meaning of the words. Yaks, Humans and some plants are among the few species (edible) which can survive at altitude on Tibet high plateau, so it doesn't take too much imagination to figure out that although the people of Tibet are almost by default Buddhist, that they are also meat eaters. Nomadic tribespeople, followers of The Dalai Lama and Buddhists elsewhere hold that His Holiness is a reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara and often go to extreme lengths to meet him and practice his teachings. If that includes not eating meat because His Holiness chose not to then that is their choice but as many learned Buddhists will tell you, it is better to reach your own conclusions than to follow the words and actions of another, while using Buddhism as a method of discovering what it means for you. Make no mistake, Buddhism, including The Dalai Lama has it's own fair share of political agenda and if you look hard enough, you'll see the cracks. We are only human after all and enlightenment can take several thousand human rebirths to achieve which also depend upon your actions forming positive Karma. It's a little bit like if you haven't been a good boy/ girl this year, Santa won't bring you presents. Go figure. A distinction must be made between ordained sangha (monks, nuns) and the general population of people who practise Buddhism in some form (Laeity) who have not taken special vows which restrict their conduct and in this case to not cause suffering to any 'sentient being'. The Pali Cannons and texts which hold the main Buddhist teachings of the root guru's and distingushed poets and teachers is way too vast to skim through and lift salient points from without taking years to understand their inherent meanings or without someone else entering into an out-quoting contest (which is sort of like a duel or standoff) in order to prove their superior learning. Ironically this is based in Ego and does little to aid understanding thereby creating the conditions or causing suffering to another sentient being. Essentially, the only way to ensure that you don't cause suffering to another sentient being is to separate yourself from them and live the life of a hermit, which is precisely what some folk do though this is more about reducing the amount of sentient beings present though it's not only about that. A sentient being could be a flea, mosquito, elephant, butterfly etc so to kill one could be seen to be taking the life of a being who, as all beings which are not Human are reborn animals of a lower status than Humans are, your mother. The thing about killing an animal/ insect/ amoeba etc is that Buddhist teachings say they could once have been your mother so by killing one you are killing your mother. It's all about the inherently unproveable concept of 'rebirth' which means that your 'negative Karma' ripened at the time of your death thus causing you to be reborn in a different form often 'lower' than Human, for example, a lesser spotted bandicoot. As in the case of HH choosing not to eat meat when he did, he had been The Dalai Lama for many years up to that point, not including his previous incarnations ,many rebirths as a Human and had eaten meat since day one so you see, Buddhism is a process of discovery, a path which you follow alone, in your own time and at your own pace. You do not have to know everything that has ever been written or said about Buddhism to be a Buddhist as that is for Ordained sangha to deal with. At the end of the day, religion is not a constant. It changes continuously to accommodate the needs of the times. Apart of it remains in the past and a part in the present. At times these may come as contradicting. I think people are just doing what is practical. His Holiness included.
  22. This is a subject I have spent too many hours reading and thinking about in relation to my own dietary & spiritual beliefs. I have read before that buddha ate wild boar...(some people believe he died from eating spoiled meat) I also read that the scriptures were translated incorrectly and he didnt eat "hogs flesh" but the "food pigs love" (maybe truffles) There is a very good book by Roshi Philip Kapleau, which I recommend to anyone interested in the topic in general, and specifically how it relates to Buddhist beliefs. It's called "Cherish All Life". It's a very thin book, but packed with things to think about. He maintains that the sanskrit term was misinterpreted as "pig's flesh" instead of "pig's delight", which would be truffles, which, as everyone knows is a kind of mushroom. Plenty of poisonous mushrooms out there... A Zen Buddhist teacher friend told me --on the question of meat-eating-- that the early buddhists took alms and essentially ate everything that was given. When buddhism reached China the act of seeking alms was frowned upon, Chinese believed that if you don't earn your way you don't eat, no free lunches there. So the early monks had to become gardeners in order to survive, they essentially became vegetarian in China. In a book called "Fruits of Paradise, a vegetarian year-book" it has this quotation from the Buddha in The Lankavatara Sutra, : "To avoid causing terror to living beings, let the Disciple refrain from eating meat...There may be some foolish people in the future whom will say that I permitted meat-eating and that I partook of meat myself, but...meat-eating in any form, in any manner, and in any place, is unconditionally prohibited for all." My internal debate continues! PS I had a terrible time eating on my last visit to Korea - it was very difficult with my limited knowledge of Korean language to find vegetarian meals. I ate a lot of "guk" and "bap". (Soup and Rice)
  23. i went through almost all 24 pages of the daily nihongo thread and i came up with this picture of kasago. thanks to kristin in the japan forum!! i also just checked my french dictionary but i did not find panisa....is it french?
  24. bonjour! i was watching a japanese cooking show on marseille. all the dishes contained kasago -tai??(sorry i dont know the word in french, but it is red and has really thick scales) one of the dishes used panisa. i could not figure this out. it was very delicately fried, then a baking ring was put around it. the panisa was covered in sauteed red & green peppers and finally, it was topped with the sliced fish. the fish was covered in evoo and then it was baked. any idea what this dish is called? and how do i make panisa? merci beaucoup ps - i did a search and i kept hitting thai and vietnamese web pages about a khmer woman who won the miss thailand crown
  25. i really like campari - it is my "summer" cocktail. i drink it with soda. i recommend mixing it with blood orange juice for first timers. it is an acquired taste! it is quite popular in japan - they drink it with pineapple juice and grenadine quite often.
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