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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Posts posted by torakris

  1. If I recall correctly, it's a 10 minute presentation about Japan as a country and culture, so the food is just a small part of it. Strictly speaking, the food component isn't required, but most kids are doing it.

    With only 10 minutes I would definitely take something that could be passed out and eaten in a very short time. You will probably want to make a it finger food and fussing with utensils/plates can get time consuming not to mention the clean-up.

    I would also make it vegetarian unless you know ahead of time there are no vegetarians in the class.

    My vote would be for a futomaki style dish, it is a little more exciting than just a kappamaki and will fit in well with the kids image of Japanese food. 4 rolls (8 slices per roll) will feed the class and don't require too much prep. They can be prepared in the morning, sliced and individually wrapped (for easier serving). Using just vegetables (and possibly omelet) means refrigeration won't be necessary.

  2. As someone who has done various things like this in the past I have a couple of more specific questions.

    Is this just a small part of his presentation? Is he just going to pass these out at the end as a sample of Japanese food or is the presentation going to be built around this, meaning that food is the theme? How much time does he have? Is he the only student presenting that period, or does he have a set period of time like 10 minutes?

    Will he be taking the food in the morning when he goes to school (if so is there a refrigerator?) or will you bringing it later on or will you be able to make it at the school?

  3. Like Hiroyuki said you can keep it for some time. I buy 2L cartons and it takes a good 6 months to go through it. I keep it cool dark cupboard. I think for optimum drinking flavor you would want to use it up in a couple days but for cooking purposes you will be fine.

  4. I second Helen, please don't cook with the ume-shu, it should be saved for drinking. I really don't see it as a substitute for sake as the flavor is quite different.

    Sake has a much more subtle flavor than Chinese rice wine, I use both and while I would substitute sake for the rice wine I would rarely substitute the rice wine for sake.

    The only time I would substitute rice wine for sake would be in a marinade where I would prefer a stronger flavor. I would avoid it in sauces, things like teriyaki sauces or sukiyaki for example where it would be too strong.

    If possible I would also suggest buying "real" sake instead of "cooking" sake, if you don't have a Japanese market where you are trying looking in a liquor shop.

  5. I cook the chicken in a moderate amount of oil (2 to 3 tablespoons) and wipe it out of the pan with paper towels just before adding the sauce. I add the sauce for the last minute or two of cooking and let it bubble until slightly thickened. There is usually a couple tablespoons left in the pan.

  6. I prefer the non-marinated version.

    I use boneless chicken thighs making sure they are of equal thickness all over. I heat oil over a fairly high heat and cook skin side down until it gets nice and crispy. Then I flip them over and lower the heat until medium and let them cook through. Right at the end of cooking I add the teriyaki sauce and while it is thickening I flip the pieces a couple times so they are coated. This last part takes just a minute, so don't walk away!

    I then let the pieces rest on a cutting board for a couple minutes to let the juices redistribute before I cut it into strips for easy eating. After placing them on a plate I pour the leftover sauce from the pan on top.

  7. A lot of questions but I will give you my opinions. :biggrin:


    For me this depends on the store and the fish. This is just something you will just need to learn by seeing what is available in your neighborhood and tasting them for yourself. I have a couple stores I prefer to buy fish at but even then if the fish doesn't look good I will pass it up. If you are looking to save money and/or shop for the freshest fish know what is in season and buy that.

    Overfished and mercury

    I don't really worry about either of these as I believe in moderation. We eat fish one to two times a week and even then it is not the same fish over and over.

    Freezing fish

    A lot of the fish in the stores has already been defrosted, so refreezing will result in a loss of quality. I prefer my fish seasoned only slightly so I prefer to avoid refreezing. If the fish is going to be part of a stew or soup or something more highly seasoned I don't worry as much but still rarely do it. I prefer to buy the fish already frozen if I don't plan on using it immediately, unfortunately most supermarkets don't have a wide selection of frozen fish and the ones they do don't look very good. I normally only buy frozen fish from my co-op (Kanagawa Seikyo home delivery), they have some really great pieces.

    You can keep it in your refrigerator until the next day just keep it in the coldest part.

  8. Your new pan should work fine, I rarely use the "proper" pan for anything I make and you would never know from the results. I have used a similar pan (a small frypan) to make oyakodon and just last week used it for a katsu-ni (tonkatsu simmered in broth with an egg).

    Just be mindful of the warnings on the pan to only use it over low heat.

  9. It sounds like quite an impressive meal to me!

    The only changes that I would make is replace the hiyashi chukka with either somen (like Hiroyuki mentioned) or a rice dish. I can't recall ever seeing noodles like this in a kaiseki meal. Even somen served with a broth (either inside or seperate) would be difficult with the timing as you don't want them to sit for too long.

    I would have rice somewhere, either at the end with pickles and soup or as part of the tray. If it was me I would make the unagi a rice dish, either some type of maze gohan (mixed rice) or as unaju with the unagi on top of the rice.

    Also I would avoid anything deep fried with panko, as those types of dishes tend to be more western in origin and normally don't appear in a kaiseki.

  10. For me the preparation will depend on how the fish has been salted, take a look at the label.

    in stores you will find the shiosake often labeled according to how much salt they contain:

    甘口 amakuchi 甘塩 amajio

    are lightly salted, up to about 2.8%

    中辛 chuukara 中塩 chuushio

    these are in the medium range somewhere between 2.8% and 4.8% salt

    辛口 karakuchi 辛塩 karashio

    these are the saltiest with about 4.8% salt or higher


    namasake, namazake, namashake (however you care to pronounce it )

    fresh salmon

    and also


    furishiosake (again use the pronunciation you are comfortable with)

    This is salmon that is sprinkled with salt, usually after being cut into slices to be sold. It can also be referred to as dry salting. This is different from shiozake which is usually salted whole in a salt water solution or salted inside and out for longer periods of time.

    I usually avoid the heavily salted ones as they are usually too salty to eat straight, they do make great onigiri though.

    In season I like to get the pieces of fresh salmon and salt them myself before grilling.

    Though cheap pieces that you are referring to look hard because they are still frozen, they soften up once you defrost them. These pieces are usually lightly salted and are usually imported and farmed fish, they have very little salmon taste and the only thing I use them for is more making a salmon cream stew/chowder. I always rinse these as they tend to get scales all over by rubbing against the other pieces in the big boxes.

    For straight eating I would stick with the slightly pricier packaged pieces preferably with as little salt as possible. They are best cooked in the fish grill for just a couple minutes. I use the highest heat and turn them once (maybe 2 to 3 minutes a side?). I prefer salmon without any garnishes/seasonings but for oily fish I like a squeeze of citrus.

    I salt any fish that hasn't been already salted. Normally I salt it a little heavier than I would season it, let it sit for a couple minutes than rinse it off and lightly salt it again. More salt for whole fish and less on filets.

    As to the umeboshi paste, it is of course personal preference but it goes nicely with oilier fish that have been deep fried or simmered. I would also add a touch to any raw white fleshed fish.

  11. We had the most incredible time in Seoul, not one of us wanted to leave! We will definitely be going back in the near future, my husband is insisting we go back this Golden Week (early May) but with a summer trip to the US and next winter in Hawaii I don't think it will be financially possible...

    I will start off with Insadong as well. This was probably one of my favorite areas of Seoul. We picked up most of our omiyage (souvenirs) here and had what was probably our favorite meal.

    I think it was Rona who recommended it but I can't remember now but we had lunch at Koong (Gung).

    Since it was our first time we had to try a little bit of everything. :biggrin: This is where traveling with 5 people comes in really handy.



    seafood pacheon


    soup mandu and steamed mandu


    the inside of the mandu


    acorn jelly salad


    Believe it or not all that food set us back only about $30.

  12. Like Hiroyuki, I haven't given to much thought to using yuzu because they are so plentiful. With only one or two I would try to get the most of it peeling taking off the peel and using it for pickles or a garnish on a vegetable dish. then I would use juice or slice it up and use it as a marinade for either fish or poultry. If there is anything leftover toss it into the bath!

  13. Hotteok is definitely food from the gods! Our first morning here we hit namdeumun (probably slaughtering that) market and the first thing we say was a vendor. We picked up 5 of them and went on our way. Afterwards the kids kept begging for more so after dinner we hit another vendor....

  14. We leave for Korea in 5 days! I just scanned through this thread and am about to go back and print pages/takes notes but I wanted to share this wonderful link first as I think others might find it incredibly helpful.

    How to read a menu from a kimbap place from maryeats

    I printed this out and am memorizing it. I have a feeling we will be doing a lot of eating at these kinds of places as we can get something to please everyone!

    If anyone has recommendations on kimbap places or specific menu items I would love to hear them.

  15. Carrefour--the only thing I ever buy there (that I really need) is Thai rice, and it's now a whopping Y4000 for 5kg!!  I just paid Y2400 in September.  What the heck happened?

    Costco has some nice Cuisinart enameled cast iron pots (3L size) for only about Y7000.  Much cheaper than le Creuset, and I really liked the colours!

    I didn't notice the pans are Costco when I was there 2 weeks ago, did they have anything bigger?

    4000yen for the Thai rice!? I am almost out and was thinking of making a Carrefour run to get some more, ouch!

  16. I have only seen leeks in International supermarkets in Tokyo and they are usually about 700 to 800yen for 1! Normally they are labeled in katakana as riiki but I have seen them once or twice as poronegi.

    I make potato-leek soup quite a bit (both hot and cold versions) and I always use the plain old supermarket naganegi with no problem.

  17. Erin,

    That is a beautiful bento! I hope he did well.

    My daughter really enjoys cooking and makes her own breakfast every morning as well, usually some kind of variation of omu-rice.

    She always prepares her bentos in the morning, my kids are early risers (before 6am) so she has plenty of time...

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