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Q&A -- Japanese Cuisine

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Great info!! I hate to be so stupid, but I'm totally unfamiliar with Japanese food. What IS dashi? Is it available in American grocery stores? Will I have to go to an Oriental Market to get it? The sesame dressing for veggies sounds awsome.

Thanks so much


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Dashi is the "stock" that the Japanese use for soups and sauces. The most simple is a kombu (kelp) dashi made simply out of kombu and water.

The most common dashi is made from konbu and katsuo bushi (bonito flakes) and there is another one that is made with niboshi (small sun dried sardines).

Although it is quite simple to make from scratch, many Japanese buy a powdered type called dashi no moto that they dissolve in water, they also have a tea bag type where you jsut pop the bag into the hot water and instant dashi.

If you aer going to make a sumashi (plain) style soup I would not use the instant stuff, but I find with soups like tonjiru (the one in the lesson) where there is a combination of flavors the subtle taste of homemade dashi is lost.

You should be able to find dashi no moto is boxes or jars at any Asian grocery and even well stocked supermarkets in the Asian section.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Here are some examples of what to look for:

http://www.quickspice.com/cgi-bin/SoftCart...shtml?E+scstore

Though it isn't pictured here, the most popular instant dashi in Japan is Ajinomoto's Hon-dashi (it is a white box with blue and red)


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Great class!

Kristin, when you use sesame oil for sauteeing, do you use an oil from toasted seeds, as is common in Chinese dishes, or is it an untoasted type?


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
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Kristin-

I thought the eel and rice dish was very interesting, can you expand on the eel though. Is there a specific brand name to look for in the US?? Is it normally boneless?? Are the packages frozen when bought so they need to be thawed???

Thanks

FM


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Great class!

Kristin, when you use sesame oil for sauteeing, do you use an oil from toasted seeds, as is common in Chinese dishes, or is it an untoasted type?

I actually have 3 types of sesame oils in my house and the dark sesame oil (the one made from toasted seeds) is the one I use for sauteeing. I save the lighter (more refined) ones for salad-y type dishes.

I would estimate that about 95% of sesame sold in Japan is of the roasted variety, Kadoya is a good Japanese brand.

The one I have in the picture is a Korean brand that I prefer because I find it has a stronger taste compared to the milder Japanese ones. I have never tried a Chinese one, but I am sure any roasted sesame oil would be fine.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Kristin-

I thought the eel and rice dish was very interesting, can you expand on the eel though. Is there a specific brand name to look for in the US?? Is it normally boneless?? Are the packages frozen when bought so they need to be thawed???

Thanks

FM

There aren't really any specific brand names to look for when buying eel, they are labeled according to place of origin and everyone in Japan has their favorite. In past years the Chinese imported ones have been of quite inferior quality but recently are starting the rival the Japanese ones taste wise. I would avoid a Chinese one for your first try as they can tend to be mushy and amy turn off first timers. As with most things the more expensive the better. :biggrin:

A freezer case in any Asian store should have a couple different ones. They are not boneless per se, there are some very fine bones that are not really noticable and are are eaten along with the eel. If you aer feeding small children I would suggest giving it a quick look over, I usually remove even the finest bones for my youngest.

You may find a refrigerated one but I am pretty sure they mostly frozen out of Japan, simply thaw in the refrigerator. In Japan theya re mostly sold in the refrigerated cases (already cooked) and ocasionally frozen.

They have about a 3 to 5 day shelf life in the refrigerator.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Yes, I posted this in the Dinner! thread, but thought it bares repeating here:

  • Kris, that is the best gomae recipe. It tastes almost exactly as it does in restaurants. I'd only had it with spinach before so I was suspicious of Jason's suggestion of using it on our leftover greenbeans, but it was FABULOUS. I have to be honest, I used my coffee/spice grinder to do the sesame seeds & sugar then mixed in the liquids in my morter & pestle. But my m&p is a lot smaller than the suribachi you recommend in your lesson. I think a mini-food processor would also work and then everything could be mixed in one container.
    Really, I cannot emphasize enough how much I loved this. I've tried making gomae before, usually with tahini and it just didn't work. This is it. So happy.

Hmm, to be extra honest again, we didn't actually steep our own dashi, but used Kikkoman Hon Tsuyu (Japanese Soup & Sauce Base), which mostly seems to be a dashi convenience product.

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Kristin,

I have fallen in love with the braised lotus root with soy and sesame and red chili flakes at Matsuri. I know they don't serve anything approaching traditional Japanese food, but does this kind of preparation ring a bell for you at all?

Thanks so much,

Maggie

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To add to Rachel's post, the Hon Tsuyu is basically extracted bonito and japanese niboshi sardine oil mixed with soy sauce, so we simply cut down on the soy sauce a bit. Not exactly the same taste as dashi mixed with soy but very close.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Perlows,

I am glad you enjoyed it! :biggrin:

It is really a wonderful dish that is really easy to make but every tinks would be very difficult.

Even in Japan most people don't make their own, they either buy it already made (and is already mixed with a vegetable) or else they buy a sauce mix to pour on the vegetable, neither taste as good as homemade! :biggrin:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Kristin,

I have fallen in love with the braised lotus root with soy and sesame and red chili flakes at Matsuri. I know they don't serve anything approaching traditional Japanese food, but does this kind of preparation ring a bell for you at all?

Thanks so much,

Maggie

Maggie,

that sounds a lot like kinpira to me,

I just started a kinpira thread, look here:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST...ST&f=19&t=31225


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Thank you so much, Kristin -- and thanks for posting at this hour! :biggrin:

I've never cooked lotus root before -- in fact, I never knew I liked it, having had only horrible slimy canned versions. But this I gobbled up, and I'm delighted to have a sense of how to make it myself.

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Thank you so much, Kristin -- and thanks for posting at this hour! :biggrin:

I've never cooked lotus root before -- in fact, I never knew I liked it, having had only horrible slimy canned versions. But this I gobbled up, and I'm delighted to have a sense of how to make it myself.

at this hour?

It is 5:00pm :biggrin: here

I know, I know I should be working on dinner instead of sitting at the computer :biggrin:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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It is really a wonderful dish [gomae] that is really easy to make but every tinks would be very difficult.

Even in Japan most people don't make their own, they either buy it already made (and is already mixed with a vegetable) or else they buy a sauce mix to pour on the vegetable, neither taste as good as homemade! :biggrin:

Do you always make it by hand? Have you tried whizzing it up in a blender or food processor? Is there much of a difference in the end product?

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It is really a wonderful dish [gomae] that is really easy to make but every tinks would be very difficult.

Even in Japan most people don't make their own, they either buy it already made (and is already mixed with a vegetable) or else they buy a sauce mix to pour on the vegetable, neither taste as good as homemade! :biggrin:

Do you always make it by hand? Have you tried whizzing it up in a blender or food processor? Is there much of a difference in the end product?

Because I have a suribachi I tend to it in there, I aslo use it as a serving dish, so there is one less thing to wash up! :biggrin:

I avoid using my blender and food processor because they are kept in a cupboard and are a pain to pull out and clean and then store again.


Edited by torakris (log)

<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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