FOODSTEPS: An Inspired Japanese Meal and a Home Pickling experiment.

#LaterBlog written in July.

There is something fun behind anticipation and wonder when you put something into action.

The curiosity if something would or would not work.

The day before, I had decided on whimsy there and then to try come up with a Japanese inspired meal.

That was – After watching a few episodes of Shinya Shokudo 深夜食堂(シンヤショクドウ).

I wanted something simple, wholesome and yet a challenge (Meaning something I have not tried to do before) to make.

Pickling.

An assortment of Japanese side dishes I made for a meal.

An assortment of Japanese side dishes I made for a meal.

Making pickled food has been an idea i have been toying in my head for the longest time, and finally taking action to try it.

Perhaps the idea of trying to trace back to traditional influences and methods to preserve food and serve it differently.

Also, to attempt making homemade side dishes that goes so easily with rice and without any preservatives.

That didn’t deviate from my first memories of Japan – Nagoya.

Of early morning breakfasts i the winter, with steaming hot rice, miso soup, Sweet Kidney Beans and Pickles of different types.

How do I bring a memory back?

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I chose to have the sweet, the sour and the salty to showcase different taste experience.

The Savoury and Fragrant.

Here is the menu I planned and the inspirations I got from it.

  • Daigakuimo (Caramelized Sweet Potato supposedly eaten as a dessert, I chose to serve as a side dish)
  • Pickled Japanese Cucumber 
  • Shoyu Tamago (Soy Sauce Soft Boiled Egg)
  • Ingen Goma-ae (Goma-ae means sesame sauce. I had replaced with peanuts and flaxseeds. Served with Sugar snaps)
  • Green Tea Rice balls (Cooking the rice was a last minute decision. Which I thought would balance out the taste of the meal)

There was a certain admiration behind the simplicity behind preparing Japanese meals.

I have much to learn.

For now, trying out new flavors is a must, and exploring options as I compromise certain ingredients used.

Like crushed peanuts for Sesame Seeds.

Jasmine rice for Short Grained Rice.

(*Update: I have them all in my kitchen now!)

I am attaching the links to the original recipes below.

JAPANESE MEAL:
Japanse-Style Shoyu Tomago (Soy Sauce Boiled Egg) Made in Advance
Green Tea Rice Balls
Japanese Pickled Cucumber Made in Advance
Ingen Goma-ae (String Beans with Sesame Seed Seasoning)
Daigakuimo (Sugar Glazed Sweet Potato) Made in Advance

The few basic ingredients used here are:

  1. Soy Sauce
  2. Mirin
  3. Sugar – I use Black Sugar from Japan.
  4. Sake – That is if you have it on hand.

It had been a really interesting experience with taste, as one figures out the preference with Vinegar ratios.

And how simple ingredients and methods can give comfort in the food made.

Trying to cook a soft centered egg takes some skill! Need practice.

The satisfaction behind making your own pickles, and having ready food on hand when a meal needs to be quick and simple.

And also, enjoying a vegetarian meal (which I never thought possible before) because of a diet used to meat in my meals.

Lastly, the acknowledgment of  taste  as it changes with time and additives.

I have much to learn.

Trial and error.

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