Japanese ingredients, techniques, & methods gleaned from spending endless hours reading/watching about Tsukiji Market.
This is going to be more of a living document as I experiment, consolidate notes and learn more. If this kind of thing turns you on, you might want to bookmark this page.Love, Jimi
- Commonly sold as Perilla or Sesame leaf at Asian markets
- Combination to try: shiso, sansho, yuzu
- Is excellent when laid over Hamachi, Kanpachi, and Aji Nigiri, ask your Itamae for a few leaves to experiment with while you eat.
- AKA Yakinori – yes the “green paper” stuff that holds your sushi roll.
- Only get Japanese-sourced, expect to pay for it.
- Yes, it’s worth it.
- No, don’t ask me how much I’ve spent figuring this out.
- Okay, the Koreans do a pretty good job, but see Side Note below for what really shines.
Application to Italian cooking
- Dissolve shredded nori in water, strain, and add cream to dissolved nori
- Add saute Garlic, onion, etc
- Use for pasta sauce
Koreans have a product called Gim, it’s a seasoned (salt, oil) version that comes in small squares (and is flakier), and I cannot recommend it enough for every Asian rice bowl you eat. It’s amazeballs.
Broad flat seaweed used in Dashi (below)
- Rishiri grade has lightest flavor
- High in Glutamic Acid
- White dusty stuff is good, brush off excess/loose stuff before steeping
- 2 six inch sections of Kombu – soak for Two hours min. (or overnight) in 6C of water
- Then bring to simmer 56c (no hard-boil)
- Add Shot of cold water
- Then katsuobushi (aka bonito), allow to sink completely (about 1min)
- Strain to new container
In addition to Dashi 01…
- Add ~1T soy sauce
- Add ~1 sake-cup of sake
As above, but substitute Katsuobushi with a dried…
- Niboshi (very small fish)
Takahashi Dashi – in addition to Kombu
- Magurobushi or
- 50/50 Katsuobushi & Magurobushi
- Surume – dried squid
- Chewed as jerky
- Used in stock and soup
- Excellent flavor for sushi rice
For Noodles & Pasta
- Toast surume, Lightly Golden
- Simmer in water to make stock
- Strain and cook noodles/pasta in stock
- Slice surume thin and toss
- Best Season – summer
- Simmer with daikon to soften meat further
- After you’ve beaten the ever-loving shit out of it on a rock, or do as the Japanese do – dedicate a clothes washing machine for it and set it on a Heavy cycle–I am not making this up.
- Junior Itamae get the “honor” of having to hand-massage this hentai-fodder for nearly an hour, it’s like pounding/kneading dough-made of pure muscle. And it looks like the opposite of fun.
- Most store bought ‘sashimi grade’ is pre-softened and cooked – go that route.
- As sashimi: commonly dipped in black pepper or sansho (it is seriously good dipped in shoyu and then in sansho)
- Best Season – Summer/July
- Chances of getting outside Japan – lol, next to zero (sad-face.jpg)
- Very small sweet shrimp, may be able to find dried
- Amaebi – similar in flavor, often at a sushi bar as nigiri
- Serve with fresh ginger and rice cooked in kombu-dashi
Masaba: Japanese Mackerel
Aji: Horse Mackerel
- Grilled with rice
- Slow-Cooked with miso
- Aji is seasonally available at some sushi houses, request it. It’s a treat.
- Coat in salt
- Set skin side down for 1hr @ room temp
- Rinse in water and drain for 3min
- Marinate in 200ml rice vinegar & water, 2tsp sugar, 1tsp soy, 2 piece kombu, then fillets on top
- Cover with plastic
- 15min, flip
- 15min, Remove and drain
- Remove skin
- Score and slice on bias
- Marinate ‘eel-belly-cut’ cucumber in water and salt
Small black clam ~2cm (~ 1 inch)
- Goes well simmered in miso soup
- Possible substitute – Asari clam
- Also simmered with sake and salt and starch for a broth
- Or with puree meat and add butter to the above preparation
- Soak raw meat in ice water and sake
- Yes this works for North American Lobster as well
Japanese “peppercorn” (more accurately a blossom, related to Szechuan pepper, same metallic numbing effect, but milder)
- Can be eaten Raw when Green
- Dried green without black seeds are best
- Oil is also available
- Use in soy and mirin sauce
- Found at Hmart, next to Nonami Togarashi (and other common rice & udon seasonings)
- Look for lots of bumps, pinkish shell = meat is better quality.
- Chances of finding this raw outside the North Pacific are <0.
- But steaming with sake works
- Often eaten at celebrations (esp. New Years)
- Whiter inside the holes = fresher
- Heavy for weight is also good
- Boiled/simmered in dashi with tamari soy for about 4hrs
- Soak in water
- Marinate in rice vinegar
Cantaloupe, honeydew, etc.
- $200/each (at lower end, lol, srsly)
- Lol, gl finding (or even affording) that
- Look for J recipes that may accomodate USDM versions?
- Peel and cut 1” triangles
- Pan fry until soft
- Top with fried white miso (mixed with mashed corn)
- Garnish with dried sansho
Various Pickled Vegetables (Ref: Italian giardiniera)
- Konjacu (tuber root, often processed)
- Hearty Greens, etc.
- Don’t mix batter thoroughly
- Fry in sesame oil
- Floats & should weigh less when done
More research needed…
- When boiling spinach boil stems first for 30sec, then fully immerse the rest, then cook another 30sec
- Remove and blanch in cold water
- Serve as bunches, dress with dashi & soy mix, then top with katsuobushi (try katsuo fumi furikake)
Japanese Radish, can use Korean or Chinese as subs
- Closer to top of stem is sweet, progressively more bitter towards the bottom.
- Simmer with tough meat to soften, also removes gamey smell.
- Similar to western technique of “packing” tough meat in minced onion for several hours.
01 Night Before
- Simmer 1” thick daikon in water for 20min, then set aside overnight
- Soak kombu overnight in water
02 Day of Service
- Half hour kombu simmer
- Heat kombu 56c then remove
- Add twice as much katsuo as normal
- Strain katsuo after all has sunk to bottom
- Simmer 1” thick daikon in some dashi with soy, salt and sugar
Other preparation (sleet soup)
- Add to a dashi…
- Grated fresh daikon
- Mushroom powder mixed with warm water
- Serve over pre-simmered daikon topped with mandarin zest
[ To Be Continued… ]