Was just feeling nostalgic for such incredible Japanese food as I enjoyed on my recent trip & thought I would share a few things I picked up along the way…. When lunch looks like this, the idea of returning home starts to make me feel a little anti-homesick
One coping mechanism in the past has been to make a note of what I really enjoy, and to research how I might be able to make it myself at home… And one important factor in many Japanese food is rice.
I’ve owned a rice cooker for many years, but it was just a normal rice cooker – it worked ok for normal rice, like you might have with a curry, but for sushi rice it was always a bit lacking… And if you’ve watched the great doco Jiro Dreams of Sushi you will know what an art cooking rice is in Japan so I started doing some research.
First stop was Yodobashi where they had a huge selection, but I noticed they were all 110V only… after asking one of the staff I was directed to the export models (in a totally different section) and after much discussion and research settled on this model: Yojirushi NP-HIH10
The cost was Y37,000 (=US$325) and I freighted it off home via EMS, paid a little duty & GST when it arrived in NZ, and its been frankly awesome! It has about ten different settings, depending on the kind of rice.
Using the sushi setting it took about 45 minutes to cook a cup of rice, and once cooked it was super sticky, almost forming balls for nigiri straight away. I was surprised by the time involved, but after a few more uses discovered it doesn’t vary eg half a cup took the same amount of time. But maybe this isn’t surprising as it heats up slowly, and cooks the rice under pressure – a far more sophisticated method than my old rice cooker. I’ve since cooked normal white rice and it came out very light & fluffy, so all & all a very worthwhile upgrade!
Next mission was to make these salmon sushi
Many times I’ve watched sushi chef use those small gas burners to lightly blast salmon, the same gas burner that is presumably used for making creme brulee… so it wasn’t hard to find a similar burner at local foodie supermarket Moore Wilsons. And it is unreal how the flavour changes, with even a very quick blast – oishi!
Next on my agenda was to find a source & method of making ice tea. Since I was in Japan in summer and often lugging lots of equipment around with me, staying hydrated was a challenge and after much research the best solution that I liked was ice Jasmine tea.
Apart from buying it at Combinis the times I really noticed how great it was, was when having ramen where they always had a jug available full of ice. And it wasn’t that the flavour was strong, quite the opposite – many ice tea have an after taste that I dont really like. But weak jasmine ice tea was just perfect, so I did a bit of shopping in Japan and bought a few packs of Jasmine tea bags, but then had to do some research as to the best way to cold brew it.
Turns out the solution was ex Australia and a company called T2 who along with many flavorus of tea, also sell these very handy ice tea jugs which work with tea bags or loose tea leaves…
I leave 2 tea bags in the big T2 jug for about 8 hours and the result is the perfect summer drink!
One food I cannot find locally is hotate – we have scallops in New Zealand, but they just are not like the Japanese variety… oh well, cant win them all!
I love clam miso soup, and plan to try an experiment using local clams (& maybe mussels) with miso..
I also bought a few soy holders but never found a soy jug as cute as this one – love its form
Last food photo makes me laugh… it was taken about 10pm the night we camped out on the shore of Lake Biwa. Along with a tent etc we rented a charcoal BBQ which took quite a while to get going, due to simultaneous wind, light rain, and too many beers… As some of the yakitori we bought was chicken, I was very keen to make sure it was very well cooked… hence not eating until 10pm…
The small spicy sausages were also delicious, and we kept most of them to eat for breakfast… But I was woken in the middle of the night by our tent rustling and only woke enough to make a noise & scare away whatever it was… Not soon enough to save our leftovers though! I hope the cat, or whatever it was enjoyed them!