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Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. November’s mission is to share ‘Five Japanese Favourites‘.

I guess we’re all sorry that this will be the last mini challenge for a while. But we have a fun time to look back upon and as I joined in the first challenge, I couldn’t miss the last! As a ‘tribute’ I decided to list my five favourite Hello Japan! topics for this task!

5 Favourite Hello Japan tasks!

Hanami 2009 in Japanse kersenbloesemtuin

The Hello Japan! mini missions started in 2009, shortly after I stumbled upon In Spring it is the Dawn. Tanabata’s blog struck a chord with me and has been one of my favourites ever since. I consider her a friend, even if she lives far away and we’ve never met. ;) Now that she’s moving, I missed the chance of meeting her in Tokyo — but no doubt there will be another chance somewhere else in the future! ;)

Looking back, I really feel like sharing my five favourite Hello Japan! mini challenges.

Looking at this list I seem to like challenges that A. fit exactly in my comfort zones (dôh) and B. leave room for interpretation. I regret that the topics actually relating to Japanese culture didn’t make it into my top-5. It doesn’t mean I don’t like these, because I do! Like Temples and shrines of Kyoto and Japanese flora.

There are also four (nope, not five ;) challenges I desperately wanted to do but didn’t get around to.

If you’re interested, here are all the Hello Japan! mini challenges I participated in!

I’d like to end with a huge THANK YOU!!! to our generous host Tanabata who thought up this challenge and kept it going for so long. Each time she awarded a fitting prize to one of the participants — and althought the missions would have been just as much fun without them, I’d be lying if I denied these were an incentive. ;) So kudos Tanabata!!!

Spring birthday gift with origami flowers

In april I wrote about getting reacquainted with origami. Remember I made some flowers to decorate a present?

Some of you asked how I did it and I decided to make a video… Let me tell you: that’s easier said than done! ;) But I’m going to present my 7-minute amateur film anyway, since this month’s mission for Hello Japan! is to create some origami. And who wouldn’t want to be eligible for that awesome prize consisting of kawaii origami paper and droll geisha bookmarks?

If you’re familiar with the art of paper folding, you may want to know that we’re starting of with a bird base (of which the well-known origami crane is created), folding it into a ‘small kite’.

And if you’re an origami newbie and I’m working too quick for you — or the video is too vague, knowing this will enable you to search for additonal instructibles on the web. ;) But try and watch this first!

I have also scanned the instructions I originally used myself. They’re in Dutch so I will redirect you to some English sources and roughly translate the part I couldn’t find online.

It’s best to choose some flamed origami paper for this flower.

  1. Start with a square base with the coloured side of your paper down.
  2. Continue to make a bird base.
  3. Follow the instructions accompanying the picture below.
Instructions for Origami flower
  • Hold your bird base in front of you with the open point downwards.
  • Fold the ‘wings’ down to make a small ‘kite’ shape.
  • Now unfold the whole figure!
  • Using the same creases, fold the coloured part inwards and flatten the paper. You’ll get a 33° pyramide shape; I guess you’ll really have to watch my video for this to understand.
  • Slightly open all four sides and curl the leaves outwards with a chopstick or pencil.
  • You’re done!

Have fun!

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task relating to some aspect of life in Japan.

Chinese woodblock print of orchids (postcard)

Hanakotoba is the language of flowers: emotions or messages are communicated through the symbolism of flowers. Since it turned summer on June 21st, I figured I’d tell you about the meaning of orchids.

Mahjong Guardian Stone Summer OrchidAs a mah jongg-player I thought it was THE flower of the season, orchid being the Summer Guardian Stone. But having looked into Japanese flower symbolism, I seem to be wrong! Yeah well, mah jongg is originally Chinese, so.. :) Never mind. As the game is being played in Japan as well, this post is still relevant as my submission for June’s Hello Japan! mini challenge about Flowers & Japanese Gardens. ;)

Mahjongg Card Summer OrchidStarting of with a haiku by Yosa Buson (1716 ~ 1783), translated by R.H. Blythe.

An evening orchid,
Hidden in its scent,
The flower’s whiteness
yoru no ran
ka ni kakurete ya
hana shiroshi

The orchid represents refinement. It is no common plant and it’s pleasures are reserved for the privileged few, so it is also a symbol of the rare and precious. The essence of refinement is an continual process of improvement until absolute perfection is reached.

In the art of fortune telling with mah jongg cards or stones, the Orchid Guardian protects young girls. If it appears in response to a question about a daughter or a younger female relative, it serves to allay any anxieties regarding their welfare.

I have a white orchid at home. It was a birthday gift from my aunt several years ago. White seems appropriate for a flower like this, since it indicates purity and cleanliness in traditional Japanese society, and is seen as a blessed colour because of its sacred nature: it’s the colour of the gods and therefore free of all ‘contamination’. But what is maybe best — if you’re into Zodiac signs that is (which I’m really not) — the white orchid belongs to my sign of Pisces.

White orchids

I’ll leave you with the Japanese version of a beautiful song about flowers by Einstürtzende Neubauten: Blume, sung by Etsuko Sakamaki-Haas. I invite you to listen to the English translation afterwards.

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. June’s mission is ‘Flowers and Japanese Gardens’.

Hello Japan! mini challenge logoHello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan.

MAY‘s mission was ‘Mystery and Mayhem‘: to enjoy a Japanese mystery story. And I did, but never got around to telling you about it. Until today! :)

My reading comfort zone is literary fiction. But every once in a while I’m in the mood for some suspense. A bookcrossing copy of All She Was Worth, by de Japanese author Miyuki Miyabe (translated by Alfred Birnbaum), dropped into the mailbox to meet my needs at exactly the right time.

Cover All She Was Worth (Miyuki Miyabe)All She Was Worth can be read as a straightforward detective story about the beautiful office girl Shoko Sekine who goes missing the night after her fiancé informs her the bank has turned down her request for a credit card. Police inspector Shunsuke Honma, single parent of a 10 year old boy, is asked to conduct the search.

But this book contains more than just the solving of  a mystery. It’s an intelligent tale about [this is a spoiler so you will have to check out the remark below if you want to know], contemporary Japan and life in a big city (Tokyo). I learned about how different it still is today being male or female, and about the pressure on women to marry before their early twenties — or you’ll be considered a spinster and not worth much. Hm, rather sounds like the age of the Brontë sisters! But we’re in 1992, after the money bubble exploded. The story unfolds linearly from January 20th on.

To be honest, all the background on the credit-based economy of Japan was the only thing that made me zone out every once in a while. Miyabe does a good job explaining but I just wasn’t interested. For the rest All She Was Worth is a real page turner and I would love to read more about Inspector Honma; an imperfect but likeable human being to whom I could really relate.

There’s just one more thing I feel I should add. Although the crime(s) described in this book may be horrible, the narration doesn’t contain any ‘gore’ like one might expect from a Japanese thriller. So don’t let that keep you from reading All She Was Worth! And don’t just take my word for it. ;) It won the prestigious Yamamoto Shugoro Literary Prize, which is awarded annually to a new work of fiction considered to exemplify the art of storytelling.

Original title: Kasha (火車)
ISBN: 0-395-96658-2
Publication date: 1999 (first publication 1992)

Sunday Salon logoThe Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of book lovers on the web, blogging about bookish things of the past week, visiting each others weblogs, and oh — reading books of course ;)

*** SPOILER ALERT ***
I learned a lot about identity theft — how scary: it sounds so easy!
[back to where you came from]

Japanese Literature Challenge #5 logo

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task relating to some aspect of life in Japan. This month’s mission is ‘Back to School‘: to learn something, anything, about Japan.

I’ve been getting reacquainted with origami. In my early teens it was one of my biggest hobbies that started when I discovered how to fold a butterfly on an Asian open air market. It was probably the first Japanese thing I really got into — not counting my father’s enthralling stories about his childhood in a World War 2 Japanese prison camp… :\

Somewhere along the line I lost interest in the art of paper folding, but I never stopped using my golden paper fir trees as Christmas decoration! Unfortunately I can’t show you ’cause they’re stowed away in the basement. You’ll have to wait till X-mas time! ;) Or ask Mr Gnoe whether it’s true.

Now that I’m having some kind of burnout, I’ve been looking for activities that are less intense than computer stuff, reading or watching movies. Enter: cooking, ‘gardening’ (on our small balcony), hiking & my old pastime origami. My brain is SO hazy I can’t remember a thing, not even how to fold the butterfly that I must have made a thousand times. So I started from scratch again by buying second hand copies of the instruction books I owned back in the days. Of course I had hung on to my multiple cute papers! :)

I’ve been learning how to do some of the old fav figures, but I had to learn something new for this month’s Hello Japan! challenge. Since I’ve also been looking into origata, the (related) art of gift wrapping, I here present the combined result: a spring birthday present with origami flowers I’ve never made before.

Spring birthday gift with origami flowers

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Edited to add: there’s a post up on Graasland explaining how to make these fancy origami flowers!
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As the gift is a book (Crossroads, by Niccolò Ammaniti), I also taught myself how to fold a crane bookmark. In Japan cranes are a symbol of longevity.

The mark is made of gold & blue paper: both colours symbolizing wealth. The feminine blue also represents self-cultivation, calmness and purity and pale blue is specific for April. The warm gold & cold blue tint are in harmony (yin & yang).

A present: novel & origami bookmark

But that’s not the only thing I’ve been learning this month… I also set my mind to learning how to count to ten in Japanese. I already knew how to get to eight, but now I’m trying to recognize the characters, know the digits out of order and to sum up to ten. And yes, I’ve got some proof! Listen to this. :)

1 t/m 4 in Japanese

I hope you’ve also contributed to April’s Hello Japan!? For each and every participant our host Tanabata is donating $6 (¥500) to either the Japanese Red Cross or — even more up my alley — Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue Support (JEARS)! No need to have your own blog, commenting on the challenge post is fine too.

I’ve already donated to JEARS but their work is so important that I hereby pledge to follow Nat’s example with the equivalent of €4,- per person. So please join us if you’ve got a chance!

Here’s why.

Postcard from Takayama

This fabulous Easter Monday I’d like to share with you the goodies I found in my mailbox last week. Starting with a postcard my friend R. sent from Takayama. Her journey to Japan went through since she wasn’t really going near the disaster areas – and she had been preparing and looking forward to her trip for a long time! Remember we went to watch Chef of South Polar with her and our hostess had made us a mega batch of sushi?

That day I made shiro miso soup for January’s Hello Japan! mini challenge, ”Something New’. It was good training for the cooking topic of the following month, in which I made rice patties & vegan gyoza. And I won! Here’s the prize I found in the mail this week: an ultra cute tiny bento box and Norwegian Wood postcard set. Kawaii! Thank you so much Tanabata!

My prize in February's Hello Japan! mini challenge (What's Cooking)

There’s still time to enter this month’s Hello Japan! challenge at In Spring it is the Dawn. Your mission is to learn something Japanese / about Japan. You can either write a blog post about it or comment on the challenge post — please do, because for every participant Tanabata will donate an amount one of the following good causes: JEARS (Japanese Earthquake Animal Rescue Support) or the Japanese Red Cross Society.

Then I had two books delivered:

  • De filmvertelster (‘The Movieteller‘) by Hernán Rivera Letelier, a gift from one of my Wandelgrrls hiking buddies after she’d heard I was doing a short course on film reviews. A big Thank You to L. too!
  • a Bookcrossing book ring I have been awaiting quite some time: All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe.

I already started reading Miyabe’s “Best Mystery and Best Novel of the Year” and will be taking the book to the park once I’ve published this update.

Now what happened to Kenzaburo Oë’s Voetballen in 1860 (The Silent Cry)? You may remember I wrote I really felt like reading a detective story but picked up Oë instead because of the Japanese Literature Book Group. Well, discussion on the novel starts today and I’ve only gotten to page 20… So I put it aside. It’s not that I don’t like it — and I do want to read it — but right now I need some easier stuff: suspense, plot & pageturning. Not having the right book for my mood kept me from reading. And that’s no good at all! ;)

Book 'De filmvertelster' ('The Movie Teller')Bookcrossing book All She Was Worth

It’s Monday, what are you reading? is hosted by Sheila from Book Journey.

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. February’s mission is ‘Cooking Japanese’!

I’ve wanted to try gyōza for ages. I never had any and I don’t know where to get a vegetarian/vegan version around here, so there was no other option than to make them myself. With a little lot of help from Mr Gnoe, because it’s fun to cook together on a Sunday night!

Nameko mushroomWe took the recipe on Something to Eat for guidance but skipped on the tofu, added some nameko mushrooms to the shiitake and used white cabbage instead of Chinese. We poured boiling water over the thinly sliced cabbage in a colander and left it to cool. A major improvisation is that we sautéed the mushrooms, garlic and spring onions first, mixing it up with the cabbage, soy sauce and sesame oil in the end. The filling should actually cook within the skin, but we are a little pigheaded. ;)

Using a small bowl I cut some square wonton wrappers into circles. And then, finally, we got to use the handy gyōza press mold that had been waiting useless in our kitchen for some months now! ;)

Molding gyoza with our special kitchen tool

We followed the steam-fry method Something to Eat describes and the yaki-gyōza turned out delicious, although a bit ‘mushy’ — no way we could eat them with chopsticks so we had to use a regular knife & fork. LOL We dipped the dumplings in a sauce I had whipped up from two tablespoons of tamari, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, some splashes of tabasco chilli sauce (since we don’t have any hot oil) and a little yuzu powder. YUM!

Steam-frying gyoza

Next to our Japanese potstickers we had some improvised mushroom-miso soup with ginger. (Of course I really should have been reading In the Miso Soup because discussion in the Japanese Literature Book Group starts today… uh-oh) “Not a lot of veggies?” I hear you say, but we’d had spinach quiche in the late afternoon, so a big or balanced meal wasn’t really required.

Sunday dinner: yaki-gyoza & miso soup

We’ll probably have the leftovers for dinner this Meatless Monday.
Are you eating vegetarian today as well?

I’m definitely going to make gyōza again, trying different recipes (with tofu or minced seitan) and cooking methods (steaming, boiling, frying). The lazy days are over for our gyōza kitchen tool! ;)

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New recipe(s) tried for the Whip Up Something New! Challenge!

Whip Up Something New! button

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Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!

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Recipe submitted to Vegan Mondays & Midnight Maniac’s Meatless Monday.

Vegan Mondays button

Meatless Monday

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. February’s mission is ‘Cooking Japanese’!

A while ago I promised you the recipe for Japanese sesame-crusted rice patties from The Vegetarian Table: Japan cookbook by Victoria Wise. They’re easy to make and you can do that from scratch — or use leftovers like I did. Don’t you just love leftover cooking? It feels like spring cleaning! ;)

Ingredients

This is what you need according to the recipe.

  • 1.5 cups basic steamed rice, warm or reheated
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 0.5 ts salt
  • 1 large or 2 small scallions, trimmed and minced
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds, preferably black
  • vegetable oil for frying

And here’s what I used instead. ;)

Ingredients for Japanese rice patties

As you can see I took some wilting leek, a mix of black & (toasted) white sesame seeds and ordinary cooked (not steamed) leftover Surinaamse long-grain rice.

Preparation

  1. Place rice, flour salt and scallions (= everything except sesame seeds and oil) in a medium bowl.
  2. With wet hands, mix until well blended.
  3. Form the mixture into ca. 6 patties, rewetting your hands as you go to keep the rice from sticking. But if you’ve ever made sushi you know that, right?
  4. Sprinkle both sides of the patties with sesame seeds, set them on a plate, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour. I put them in the fridge and continued the next day.
    Japanese sesame-crusted rice patties resting before processing
  5. When ready to cook, pour a small amount of oil (more than enough to coat the pan but not so much as to float the patties), into a frying pan and heat until beginning to smoke.
  6. Place as many patties as will fit in the pan and fry over medium heat until lightly golden; about 1 minute. 
  7. Turn and fry until golden on the other side, about one minute more. Note: the frying took a little longer on both sides in my case and I actually turned them over twice.
  8. Transfer to a platter and continues until all your rice patties are fried.
  9. Serve right away.

Appreciation

Experimental Bento, 27-01-2011Now it’s important to look at the last remark. Serve right away. That’s not what I did: I left them to cool and put them in the fridge for next day’s lunch. So I have no idea what they taste like warm… Pretty dumb, I know. :\ And when I had them in my bento the following day, well, I admit they were a bit dry. This may have been caused by either one or all of next three options:

  • that I didn’t serve them right away,
  • refrigerating the patties, both before and after frying (refrigerating is known to dry-out rice, you shouldn’t really put sushi in your fridge either),
  • the use of Surinam long-grain rice instead of Japanese, which is supposed to be more sticky i.e. more moist.

Although the recipe didn’t call for an accompanying sauce I made a spicy soy-lemon sauce from the same cookbook for a dip. Alas, that was no real solution since it was too strong for the patties and took away their subtle flavour.

Will I make this recipe again? Yes, but only when I’ll be eating the sesame-crusted rice patties right away and/or have some Japanese rice to use up. I rather like Victoria Wise’s cookbook, so the fault probably lies with me. ;)

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New recipe(s) tried for the Whip Up Something New! Challenge!

Whip Up Something New! button

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Join Beth Fish’s weekend cooking with a food-related post!

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Cover Pinball, 1973 (Haruki Murakami)On Sunday several tweeps held a low-key minireadathon and some of us decided to buddyread Haruki Murakami’s Pinball, 1973 together. I think @Chinoiseries, @inspringthedawn and @Owl59 accomplished more than I did… I got distracted by the fine hiking weather (still rare these days) and this month’s Hello Japan! mini-challenge which seemed such a great conclusion of my Murakami day: cooking (and eating) Japanese.

Japanese dinner, Sunday February 13th 2011

After making shiromiso soup for January’s Hello Japan! mini mission I had an open packet of aburaage (bean curd bags) that desperately needed finishing, so I put inarizushi (tofu puffs) on this week’s menu plan. But who can resist preparing some maki rolls as well when making a batch of sushi rice? Especially now that I had some avocado waiting in the fruit basket!

Next to that we had steamed broccoli with sesame seeds and lemon wheels. Pickled ginger, soy sauce and sake could not be omitted. ;)

Cover Vegetarian Table: Japan (Victoria Wise)All recipes for our Sunday dinner came from a fabulous cookbook that I’ve mentioned before, The Vegetarian Table: Japan (Victoria Wise). For our sushi rolls I didn’t follow a recipe but picked the ingredients from what I had at hand:

  1. avocado – wasabi veganaise – leek sprouts
  2. shiitake mushrooms – cucumber – spring onion – pickled ginger
  3. avocado – wasabi ‘mayo’ – shiitake – spring onion – (white) sesame seeds

They were all very nice but I think no.’s 1 and 3 were my favourites. Having leek sprouts was a lucky coincidence — and I’m definitely going to remember that for next time!

The tofu puffs contained carrot, broccoli stem and black sesame seeds mixed into the rice.

A good thing about eating Japanese is obviously that possible leftovers make a great bento. And what a surprise, Mr Gnoe opted for a small Monday bento too!

Hello Japan! Bento, 14-02-2011

Mr Gnoe’s bento (left container)

  • Tofu puff
  • Oak leaf lettuce
  • Assortment of sushi rolls
  • Soy fishy
  • Pickled ginger
  • Shiitake ‘slug’
  • Cucumber
  • Japanese strawberry candy

Gnoe’s bento (middle container)

  • Cherry tomatoes and shiitake mushroom on red leaf lettuce
  • Maki sushi
  • Cucumber

Right container

  • Shiitake mushroom
  • Lemon wheels
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumber
  • Soy container (hiding)
  • Batavian lettuce leaf
  • Pickled ginger
  • Inarizushi
  • Garden cress
  • More sushi rolls

On the side (not shown)

  • Apple
  • Ontbijtkoek

Gorgeous gift from a generous soul!Now I’d like to put the spotlight on those lovely chopsticks you see in the picture. I got them for a present from a kindhearted fellow bentoïst on my 3-year bentoversary. I use them regularly but rarely with a bento because most times a spoon suits my European-style lunches fine.

Don’t you love these bright sakura hashi? I instantly get a spring feeling when I hold them! And I even got another pair of chopsticks and some more goodies along with it. *Lucky grrl!* Months have past but I am still immensely grateful for this kind gesture.

Bentoïsts make the world a better place! ;)

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge
focusing on Japanese literature and culture.
Each month there is a new task which relates
to some aspect of life in Japan.

Oh nooooos! Reading up on some of the Weekend Cooking posts I stumbled upon a new challenge Margot mentioned: Whip Up Something New! *SIGH* I just updated my Challenge Page & sidebar yesterday and now they’re not up-to-date any more. Behind again! Yeah well, I had to join, right?

Whip up something new! logo

Whip up something new! is a monthly challenge for the many of of us who promise ourselves that we’ll try new recipes and yet we end up cooking the same old things. Although it was inspired by organising those ripped/cut out recipes, if you don’t have such a pile of paper to sift through, feel free to make something from one of your cookbooks or from the hundreds of fabulous cooking blogs. The point is to try cooking new things!

As I try some new recipes each month (often even weekly) this really isn’t much of a dare to me. The hard part is blogging them! I’m hoping this challenge will help me do just that. Fits perfectly with the newly set blogging routine of 2×4 hours I decided upon; I might even need to make a monthly topic schedule! LOL

Anyway, as January’s Hello Japan! mission is to try Something New as well, I thought I’d share  the white miso soup recipe I tried yesterday.

Miraculous Miso Soup

Undeserving picture of white miso soup

I made this dish to bring along to a friend’s house, where we were going to watch Chef of South Polar, about a Japanese cook making marvellous meals for a small research team on Antarctica. It was just a small offering compared to the work she put in making us vegetarian sushi, which even turned out completely vegan. One of the maki rolls contained kanpyo: sweet pickled pumpkin which I had never had before and tasted wonderful! It’s on my grocery list ;) and I’m looking forward to making onigiri with it!

Cover The VegetarianTable: Japan (Victoria Wise)

But on to the White Miso Soup recipe I took from The Vegetarian Table: Japan cookbook by Victoria Wise (page 41). It is absolutely delicious! I don’t think I ever want to try another recipe ;) The picture above really doesn’t do it justice.

I had made some parboiled carrot flowers and small bundles of mustard cress for decoration — which unfortunately dropped straight to the bottom of the bowls… :( Well, lesson learnt ;)

Ingredients
Serves 4.

  • 1 tofu puff sachet (aburaage) cut in 8 thin slices; can be substituted by 115 gr / 4 oz soft tofu in cubes
  • 825 ml / 3.5 cups vegetable dashi (Japanese stock)
    Note: prefab dashi usually contains bonito, which is a type of fish. You can sometimes buy a vegan version in health stores or well-stocked Asian stores, but why not make it yourself? I’ve used the recipe from Victoria Wise’s cookbook, freezing portions for quick future use. I have no doubt Maki’s on-line recipe is quite as good. Since I’m now out of dashi stock I might just try it myself!
  • white part of 1 small leek, sliced into very thin rounds and well rinsed
  • 5-6 tbs white miso
  • 12 strands (about 4 cm / 1.5 inch each) of lemon zest ~ use organic!
  • personal addition (optional): thin slices of carrot (pre-cooked), any kind of cress or finely shredded cabbage

Preparation

  1. Place the tofu slices in a colander and pour boiling water over them to rinse off the oil. Set aside.
  2. Optional: prepare other decorative ingredients.
  3. Put the dashi in a medium pot or microwave bowl and bring to a boil.
  4. Place the miso in a small bowl, add 125 ml (0.5 cup) of the warm dashi and whisk to smooth. Set aside.
  5. Add the tofu puff slices, leek and optional carrot to the dashi an simmer very gently for about 2 minutes until wilted.
  6. Stir in the miso, taking care not to let the liquid boil again.
  7. Ladle into soup bowls, dividing the ingredients equally.
  8. Garnish with lemon zest (and optional cress).
  9. Serve right away. Itadakimasu!

The easy part

This soup is really easy to make and it only takes a little time when you have all the ingredients at hand.

The hard part

The hardest part was cutting my slices of lemon zest, even though I have a special tool for it — called lemon zester ;) I guess I’ll need to practice! Since the soup is cloudy and ingredients sunk to the bottom, it also wasn’t easy to share them equally.

White miso

I’m submitting this post to January’s Hello Japan! because I haven’t used shiromiso before. At least not to my knowledge — although Mr Gnoe disputes that. There are three major types of this Japanese fermented bean paste: white (shiromiso), red (akamiso) and awasemiso; which is a blend of both.

For many years we’ve only had red miso (like I said: solely, as far as I can remember), which is much saltier. I’m now dying to try miso tamago with the more subtle flavoured shiromiso — the way it’s supposed to be made! Better do that before my ExtraVeganza pilot starts next week ;)

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Join Beth Fish’s weekend cooking with a food-related post!

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