Lunch on a Family Memorial Day (Hohji)

The main reason I went back to Japan this time was that my family had a Buddhism memorial service called ‘Hohji (法事)’. A Monk visited our home and gave us a prayer service. It lasted about 30 minutes to an hour. It was not that long but you had to be seating on a ‘Tatami (たたみ)’ mat and that was the toughest part of it. We of course sat on a cushion ‘Zabuton (座布団)’ but since I’ve been living in the UK for a while now and not used to seating on my leg … My legs became numb. The monk told us to sit in any position we felt comfortable and followed by telling us that he knew somebody who had broken her/his bone because s/he had tried to stand up and stumbled due to numbed legs. It was a hilarious story that we thought a little too extreme. Anyway we finished our prayers, thanked and said good-bye to the monk. None of us broke our bones luckily.

Before the service we had a special lunch for the day.

Hoji whole

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Recipe: Kuri Gohan (栗ごはん) – Rice with Chestnuts

Kuri Gohan

So it is officially Autumn now. Whilst I stayed in Japan I had a chance of eating ‘Kuri Gohan (Rice with Chestnuts)’ twice. It is one of the seasonal food you MUST have in Autumn.

I visited a famous land of ‘Kuri (Chestnut)’. I spotted great looking Chestnuts sold at a tiny train station so I brought some back home.

Kuri

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Chilled Salad Ramen / 冷やし中華

chilled ramen 2

When the temperature starts rising and Summertime is coming closer, you see these kind of poster or flag at the entrance of restaurant in Japan.

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It says ‘We have started serving Chilled Ramen’. Oh yes, Chilled Ramen! We like Ramen very much and we eat it cold too. It is our Summer Tradition. Summer in Japan is very hot and humid. We cannot survive without eating Chilled Ramen!

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Matcha Soy Latte (Chilled)

Matcha Soy Milk

It is mid summer now. Even here in London it is very hot. I always have afternoon tea with a piece of cake and a cup of Earl Grey Tea or Coffee, but sometimes I rather want to have something cold instead of a hot drink during summertime.

This chilled Matcha Latte is used with Soy milk so if you are allergic to dairy or just don’t wat to have any milk products this is just the drink for you.

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What is Kinako (きな粉) ?

Kinako

Have you heard of ‘Kinako? If you like Japanese sweets, Kinako is one of the ingredients you come across occasionally. It is a yellowy powder substance that is made of Soybeans. You can make it at home but I recommend to get it from a shop because it is very hard work and also it is probably much nicer, from my experience anyway.

When I was a high school student our domestic science teacher made us study about certain Japanese food ingredients. My group chose ‘Dried Shiitake Mushroom’ and some other group chose ‘Kinako’. They made home-made Kinako and we tried tasting it during the class. I remember that it tasted quite the same as the one from the shop but the texture was far too dry and we felt almost like choking. So, you don’t have to try making it by yourself. Get it from a Japanese Food shop.

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Anko-ruffles

Anko-ruffle

Although I haven’t manage to post ‘How to Make An/Anko’ yet (‘Tsubu-An’ Making has been posted now), I decided to go ahead with this post by thinking that presumably some readers know what ‘An/Anko‘ is and where to get it. But if you don’t know I will post how to make it shortly.

So have you heard of ‘Anko-ruffles’ before? No? You might have guessed it. Yes, it’s a made-up name from ‘Anko’ + ‘Truffle’ by me. These are Japanese Sweets I created but just look like Chocolate Truffle, don’t they? The taste and texture are completely different. This is one of the easiest Japanese Sweets to make. If you can gain some ‘An/Anko’ by either making it yourself or buying it.

 <Anko-ruffles> (Gluten/Dairy/Oil, Fat Free)

Anko-ruffle with TeaAn/Anko is the most essential ingredient in Japanese Sweets ‘Wagashi’. It is sweet bean paste. The one I used for this sweet is ‘Tsubu-An’ which is made from Azuki beans. If you have a little amount of ‘An’ (An is sometime called ‘Anko’. They are exactly same things) and some powder ingredients, you can make Anko-ruffles!

As the dry powder ingredients I used ‘Matcha’ Green Tea, another Japanese substance ‘Kinako’ and Chocolate Powder for this time. I will talk about ‘Matcha’ Green Tea and ‘Kinako’ in separate posts.

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Ginger Pork Salad

Ginger Pork Salad

This is a Salad suitable for summer time. It is the Salad as a main dish when you want to eat lots of fresh vegetables/salad and also meat to energise the weakened body in heat. I had diced pork which is normally used for stew or curry but I did not want to cook anything for long time. Summer time cooking should be simple & quick.

When I use Pork I always associate with ginger without a fail. Not just because the favour combination goes well, but ginger kill the porky smell. And most amazingly ginger has the enzyme which breaks down protein so that any meat becomes much more tender by marinating with it. Also Ginger is famous for lots of health factors such as immune system booster, anti-oxidant or anti-inflammatory etc… So why not use fresh ginger more often?

Ginger Pork Preparation

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Food Industry Art in Japan

Window Display of a Restaurant in Japan

They look delicious, but you cannot eat them?!

This is the last post on the Report of my visit to Japan. It is also supposed to be the post for Day 4 (yes, I am a little bit behind) of the ‘Blogging101’ so I am adding an element  I haven’t done yet.

Pasta ModelsWe Japanese say “Eat food with our eyes”. As well as being tasty Food has to be colourful & beautiful.

Looks delicious but not edible

You might know there is a unique Industry in Food Business in Japan. It is Food Model making for window displays. In my childhood they were everywhere. Almost all restaurants had them at their entrance. The purpose is simple. They show what the foods of the restaurant look like, the kind of ingredients the dishes have and most importantly they are there for attracting customers!

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Depa-Chika with Beautiful Sweets & Hanami Bento

Prawn Crackers display デパ地下 和菓子 えびせんべい

‘Ebi-Senbei’ – Prawn Crackers are famous savoury/sweets from Nagoya

If you are Foodie and when you are in Japan one of the places you must go is ‘Depa-Chika’. It is the shortened name for the Basement (Chika) of the Department Store and it is basically a Food Court. Lots of small food shops gathered on one or two floor in the Basement of a Department Store that sell all sorts of food, savoury or sweet, and drink.

Depa-chika デパ地下

A very noticeable thing in the Depa-Chika is that their products are displayed so beautifully, particularly in the Sweets shop section.

Depa-chika Japanese Sweets Wagashi デパ地下 和菓子

Wagashi – Japanese sweets on display

Depa-chika Prawn Crackers デパ地下 和菓子 えびせんべい

Prawn Crackers with pretty patterns

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‘Hitsumabushi’, Tofu and Ultimate Fast Ramen in Japan

restaurant web

During my stay in Japan I went to several restaurants and enjoyed Japanese food very much. Only the problem was that I tend to forget taking photos. So these are the only photos I can show you here and the rest of the food just stays in my mind and my stomach. Sorry.

My home town Nagoya became one of the Foodie Capitals (check ‘Nagoya Meshi’) in the last 10 years or so. That was after I started living in the UK so I am not quite sure which food actually belong to this category, however, I can tell you that the biggest of all Nagoya-Meshi is certainly ‘Hitsumabushi’.

Hitsumabushi web

‘Hitsumabushi’ – Grilled Eel in O-Hitsu the wooden pot

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