Seaweed takes about 45 days to grow.
Japanese konbini always have a ton of fun flavours for crackers and chips. Anything shiso, or ume flavoured are insta-buys for me. I remember chips with a wasabi and ume flavour <3. Stuff like that isn't as available in Montreal, but at least you can find other things like shichimi togarashi! If you like spicy savoury snacks, this is for you!
Ume and shiso aren't anything like shichimi togarashi. Originally, i wanted to make senbei but since i recently purchased a bag of chickpea flour, i wanted to have a recipe using that. Senbei is typically made with rice flour and/or rice left-overs. I don't have rice left-overs on hand, we usually just eat it all on the same day. I never make extras.
When i decided i was going to make this, i didn't have any shichimi togarashi left, so I made my own! if you have a well-stocked spice rack, you can easily make it yourself. 'Shichimi togarashi' means '7-flavour chili pepper'. If you have some already at home just use that, but if you don't all you need is to grind these spices together -
2 tbsp chili flakes but if you don't all you need is to grind these together - 2 tbsp chili flakes 1 tbsp sanshou (sichuan peppercorns) 1 tbsp roasted orange peel 1 tbsp black sesame seeds 1 tbsp white sesame seeds 2 tsp ground ginger and 2 tbsp nori (or aonori).
Some people substitute sichuan peppercorns for black peppercorns, i don't reccommend doing that. They're not interchangeable, sichuan peppercorns is what makes it taste awesome. It's a numbing pepper, with a really distinctive taste and aroma. If you eat one peppercorn, you'll notice right away that it numbs your tongue and alters your sense of taste.
I've had the image of a black nigiri on my mind for some time. It's been sitting there, in my list of ideas for months. Couldn't think of what to top it off with, then a little while ago, i found out about Burmese tofu.
Yellow on black, needed to make it happen.
Burmese tofu is not really tofu, i know, that's confusing. At first, i thought it was tofu blended with turmeric. It has a yellow tint, and it's because Burmese tofu is chickpea based! The cool thing about it, is that it takes 10 minutes to make and sets 1 hour. It's a great soy-free alternative, and the texture is comparable to that of silken tofu.
I bought Chickpea flour for the first time around xmas, wasn't sure how to use it. I often purchase ingredients i don't know, and learn how to use them. I found a re-write of a chickpea tofu recipe online. The original recipe, I believe, was sourced from a book called The Burmese kitchen - recipes from the golden land by Aung Thein.
This recipe will use up about half of the burmese tofu, which means you'll have a whole other half to use in other meals.
I decided to make a mock eel nigiri, like the one i made a few months ago. The sauce that is served over eel kabayaki is sweet, with hints of caramel. I thought it would taste great atop of the burmese tofu.
Most japanese sauces are easy to make, and usually require around 3-4 ingredients. These almost always include soy sauce, sake, mirin, or rice vinegar. If you want to cook japanese food, having these around is a must. Hope you enjoy this mock-eel recipe!
Even if I don't live in Tokyo anymore, I try and keep up with what's happening over there. I still follow the news, and try to translate some simple texts to see how many kanji i've forgotten. My favourite kanji, is the one for bone '骨' (pronounced 'ho-ne'). I also love the kanji combination for jellyfish or '水母' (pronounced 'ku-ra-ge'), which beautifully translates to 'water mother'. These two words come together to create this expression '水母の' or 'jellyfish bones'. It is used when talking about something that you would not expect to exist, like bones in a jellyfish. I could go on, but seeing as how this has nothing to with food, here goes. The recipe i'm sharing with you today is japanese inspired, and is also currently part of a craze over there. I made some onigirazu, a sort of hybrid, japanese rice ball sandwich.
The word onigiri (or nigiru) means to press into shape using your hands, while "razu" means the opposite. Free form onigiri! This is perfect for people who have a hard time making rice balls, as is the case for me. Onigirazu has the same great taste, without the fear of imperfection. All the shame is hidden away under a blanket of nori, and fillings.
The concept of this rice sandwich, is perfect when you don't have the right type of rice available for onigiri. You can use just about any type, i tested it out with some Minute Rice and it worked perfectly. I was given some coupons to try out their products, i'm all for experimentation so i picked up a box of whole grain brown Minute Rice. It was my fist time trying it, I generally purchase rice in bulk. Bulk is cheaper, and has a lot less packaging. After cooking with it though, i do see the appeal. The rice is 'parboiled', which means that you wont have to wait very long for your meal to be ready. Your rice will be cooked in 1/4 of the time it takes for traditional brown rice. As you all know sticky rice takes a long time to cook, I don't mind having to wait after my rice, but I know that not everyone has that luxury. It's a good thing that this option exists, it means it's even easier to cook great meals, rapidly at home.
The rice was seasoned with miso for added flavour, and was filled with carrot kinpira. Kinpira means "sauteed" (sually with a mixture of mirin soy sauce and chili peppers.) It's a sweet, and spicy dish that is often served in bentos. I knew I wanted this as a filling for my onigirazu, to satisfy my sudden craving for japanese food. This would have been amazing with gobo, but finding the root here in Montreal is no easy task.
You should try and make your own version of onigirazu at home! As i said, it's no-fail and with some parboiled rice it can ready in under 20 minutes (you can also parboil your own rice). I may not live near a 24h kombini, with readily available onigiri anymore, but i know i can make some at home easily, and quickly.