hello, hello, hello

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Whooooops, I realise that it’s been a while since I last updated this blog post. (I regularly update workshop schedule though…) Nearly 1.5 years now….but I was doing a lot even I wasn’t that active on this blog.  In addition to running my business, I was fermenting lots of things, of course making rice koji and Miso, soy sauce, Mirin, Sake, Kimchi – these my life essential things, but also sea salt making, natural farming style gardening, picking mushroom from the forest, lot’s of Japanese pickling, working on my recipes, making room curtain from old kimonos, natural dying, making soaps, drying food….My days are full of fun crazy things!

 

Part of my business is running fermentation & cooking workshops. Teaching people how to make miso, nuka zuke, Japanese pickles and other Japanese fermented foods. At the moment, due to COVID-19, I’ve cancelled all of planned workshops, but once this settle down, I will start again as I already got many requests.

The reason why I didn’t (couldn’t) update my blog for a while was my computer! I had lots of issue with my computer, especially my photo storage…. wow wow, all just EXCUSE!!  I will try to post bit more often from now on so that I can share more recipes and…stuff! My instagram and facebook page is more regularly updated so please check x

Before I finish this post, I would like to BIG THANK YOU for everyone who is supported me, worked with me, worked for me, being my kind friends.  I will write about each event in different posts, but just quickly, here are some things/events (no particular order) happened last two years.   I’ve been super lucky to get all of these kind of love & support. Appreciate SO MUCH xx

Firstable, I have been featured on SBS television !!!  (OMG I was so nervous)

Thanks Brotherhood of St Laurence to give me the opportunity to start my life in Australia with this business.  Brotherfood of St Laurence provide free program called stepping stones to small business for women who are migrants, refugees and etc. They also listed my business on their business directory.

Some events from Melborune’s leading fermenting company ; Fermentary.  Founder, Sharon is respectfully energetic and a big heart person, and she kindly invited me to her events. One event called HAKKO, I had a great opportunity to meet great fermenters like Masaru san from Terada Honke in Japan, meet again Nancy Hatchisu, and food lovers, great chefs Holly Davies – the author of ferment yes, the the beautiful purple book! (photo in the middle left and Roger from behind(!!))  and Mellisa from Sake connect, Emma who makes beautiful ceramic pots for ferment from Pom-me-granite…and so more…. Among these people, I ran few workshops at the events. It was one of my big challenge and one of the satisfactional achievement.

 

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Also events from Fermentary & William Angliss institute, part of Sandor Katz Australia tour with Fermentary. Panel discussion : Ferment for hope. Talking about HOPE in fermentation with Sandor Katz, Sharon and ME !!! How amazing opportunity. My big worry was if I understood the people’s question at the stage. But it was ok! Not only MC Kelly, but even audience helped me. What a nice world I’m in 🙂 I gave Sandor my Miso and my garden harvested cucumber.

 

And finally, my amazing supporter, Global sisters. Global sisters is an organaisation who are amazingly supporting woman in so many ways. Not only migrants but all woman who has some sort of difficulties ( for example financially, physically, mentally, single mum, so many different reasons).  Since I met global sisters team, my life started to change. Look how much I am jumping in this photo !!! ;-p The founder of Global sisters is Mandy, she is such a super woman. I don’t know how much appreciate to her and her whole team. They have my story on their site, written by Daisy Dumas.

This was the SISTER PITCH 2018. My first experience in talking in front of over 100 people. Global sisters always give me the challenge to come out from my comfort zone.

I’ve done this pitch and had amazing support from all attendance, ( I won’t forget the day!) and from Myer, who took  beautiful food styling photos I am using my flyer and promotion. Myers photo team was super nice, and I learnt so much from them. Full of creativity, fun and cooperative.

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And also received photography technique workshop with Dianne, from Winky farm. She is Melbourne base, specialised in food photography. She is so cool and so nice. Great person to work with. If you want good food photos taken, she is the one to ask!

Oh and my facebook cover video of me in my kitchen at home! Global sisters also gave me this video opportunity as a The Maker Videos project. Video was taken by Humankind Enterprises.  I want to ask more video for my business to them.

And, Local Food Connect by Guy Palmer! He kindly introduced my business in local directory. Thank you! If you are in North east Melbourne, nice to get this news, great local information. Events,  workshops, markets…even seasonal cooking recipes. Nice be connected! Thanks Guy for your great work!!

And lovely publisher! PENCILED IN.  They are the first one who accepted my writing (as a paid article!!), well it was recipe illustration with writing. Definitely my printed magazine debut!!! Thank you thank you!! I remember I jumped on the day I received the magazine!! I will keep working on my illustration recipes.

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I am sorry I have not been adding very much here –  of course more teams and people that I want to mention, Melbourne Farmers Market, Melbourne Food Hub, my mentor, friends, family in Japan, and importantly my husband, who is always supporting me, but you can see more of my activity on Facebook and Instagram where I am much more active.

Take good care. Love you all. See you soon x

 

Japanese fermentation workshops

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Every month I run several Japanese fermentation workshops. Miso paste making, Shio Koji making & cooking, Nukazuke – rice bran pickling etc in Melbourne Australia.  Some of them are seasonal, some of them are regular.  Not only from Melbourne inner north, people come from inter states.  Amazing! All session is hands on workshop, lots of laugh and fun. Sometimes private group, sometimes combine of people from different area, quite interesting how the group create the mood of the class, but we always have something in common! Food! Food connect people 🙂

 

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It is my joy and honour to share knowledge and information I’ve learnt from my grandmother who’s lived for 102 years and my parents who still grow all vegetables and cook & preserve for family’s joy and health.

There is no electric cooking tools in my kitchen, not even electric kettle :-p  Some people are super surprised by it, but when you don’t use electric tools, your senses become more sensitive – what you can hear, what you can feel. I enjoy that little inconvenience, and use my full senses.

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I met so many lovely people through these workshops. These meeting is special gift to my life for sure! Fermenters, bakers, chefs, yoga/pilates teachers, food lovers, school teachers, students, medical specialists, ceramists, designers, photographers, environmentalists….etc. and I always learn a lot from them! About Australia, about their work, about their industries…. Running workshops opened the door to the community and connect to the interesting & lovely people!! How amazing! They also help me in many ways, sometimes teach me English words/ expressions, the places to get specific food – local information, and sometimes how to keep chocks in the garden or pick mushroom knowledge! I really appreciate all of your kindness and open mind to welcome me and show your desire to learn Japanese food culture. I feel so lucky!

Also, simply super lovely to see mother & daughter/son, couple, couple in their wedding anniversary, friends gathering for birthday. Always happiness is there. I’m lucky to be part of their celebration and sharing their joy moment of the life.

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Home food is love. Home cooking is communication. This is what fascinate me and what I am passionate about. So I think it is great way to learn together with someone you love and care.

Japanese (home) food is really about season and therefore seasonal food.  Starting of the season, moving to the peak of the season, ending the season and moving to the beginning of next season,  using the seasonal vegetable and enjoy the moment of the season with perfect vegetable. (Quite often vegetable tells us the season!)
Unfortunately, we can’t reach to special Japanese vegetables here in Melbourne, but we can still enjoy with what we have around here. Eat local is very important!

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All the vegetable I use for the workshop, I get some from my garden, and rest of the vegetable from local farmer’s market, which is super fresh and amazing produce. My parents always said “There is no other techniques rather than using fresh ingredients and proper seasonings”

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People who came to my workshops often says “Amazed how simple and easy it is”. Yes, that’s true, it is simple. When we use fresh & good produce, simple cooking is much better. Sometimes I feel bad to say “cooking” because it is too simple :-p

 

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Well, today, I just wanted to say big thank you to all- all workshop participants and blog readers for making place for me.

Spring love, Yoko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetarian scallop steak (gluten free)

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I love drying Enoki mushroom under the sun.  Doing it almost every week!

Every time I dry it, I make this steak, less waste cooking – using (normally throwing away/composting) lower stem part.

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This is Enoki mushroom if you haven’t seen it before!

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When people use Enoki mushroom, they cut of stem – 5 to 10cm!
But we can use that part! Very close to the bottom. Change it to yummy dish!

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Cut of the very very edge only. Using stem part (very close to the edge) – “THIS PART”  for steak.

Keep this whole cut as it is.

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Coat them with potato starch.

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Put some oil or butter in the pan, and cook garlic lightly.

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Saute the Enoki stem. Prepare sauce – it’s just mixture of Miso, soy sauce and Mirin.

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That’s it!

Look at this! Doesn’t it look like scallop?

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Not only looks like scallop, it amazingly tastes like scallop!  Great texture. Looks salty? Not at all, it is quite mild.

 

Enjoying limited sunny time in Melbourne winter.  Hope you enjoy the crisp.

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May & June workshop schedule

Thank you for waiting!
Finally May & June workshop schedule has released.

If you want to have workshop at your place with your family and friends, maybe for birthday party, celebration or just for catching up with friends, just contact us.

May & Jun schedule

May & Jun schedule (1)

Homemade food & wine festival 2018

Hello food lovers, hello fermentation lovers. How’s your week started?
It is lovely weather today in Melbourne, and I’m enjoying walking around in Kimono today.

This is a little announcement for the people who are around Melbourne.
I am demonstrate my home-style cooking at Darebin Homemade food & wine festival 2018 as a local legend!!! Amazing. It is an honor, and I am very excited about it.
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It is a great opportunity for you to check & learn, how EASY to make healthy Japanese food at home, and taste them!
Come along and let’s make fun night together!!
http://www.darebinarts.com.au/whats-on/darebin-homemade-food-wine-festival-2018

May 29, 2018 (Tue) 6:30-8:00pm
Melbourne polytechnique Preston campus
Fee : $10
Booking from here :
https://sa2.seatadvisor.com/sabo/servlets/TicketRequest?&presenter=AUDAREBINAEC&event=18FWZC&tck=true

Also there are so many great events during this festival, check them out as well!
I will be super busy visiting all these events and learn from local talented people !!

See you on May 29!!

 

Morning boost – Ama Koji

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I normally have miso spread on toast to start my day, but sometimes, it feels like a bit heavy, then I chose fresh fruits and Ama Koji (Amazake / Sweet Koji) for that type of morning.

Cut fresh fruits and mix with Ama koji. If you like, you can spread some favourite flakes for crispiness.  Ama koji is already sweet (natural sweetness from rice – rice has broken down into glucose by Koji during Ama koji making process!!), so you don’t even need to add any syrup or honey.

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The Ama koji is high in nutrition (Thanks Koji!!), very very gentle to digest. Instant energy source.

Adding your favourite fruits makes this bowl so fresh and colourful, great for staring your day!  Boost your day up! If you are smoothie lover, you can add Ama koji to your smoothie, and take advantage of Koji in your daily life.

How to make Ama koji -> click here.  In this article (omg, it is from 5 years ago!) , I used rice cooker to make Ama koji, but I don’t have rice cooker anymore! – I tried not to have electrical appliances in my kitchen as much as possible – I simply cook rice with a clay pot now and for Ama koji making, I use the “Suttle chef” from Thermos.

Have a nice day x

 

Vegan zucchini potage

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I planted 4 zucchini sprouts this year, and they producing so much zucchini every day! More than I can handle for family of 2. My instagram and facebook post become all about zucchini, I’m sure my friends are sick of my zucchini posts, but when you have more produce than what you can consume,  your head space is filled with it! Asking friends if they want some, giving away to neighborhood, thinking about new recipes…..

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Happy zucchini.

Melbourne weather is all over the place as usual, Feb is officially summer but since yesterday’s afternoon, it became like winter. Gray & windy. I am wearing ugg boots and already missing summer!  Having this weather for a half day, and all of sudden I realised I forgot to make soup! I love making soup from veggie. OH! this is it. The way to consume lots of zucchini! Zucchini potage! So I started making this potage 10 min to midnight 🙂

But my vegan potage is very simple and easy.

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Ingredients:
Zucchini
Onion
Shio koji
Soy milk to adjust final texture (option)

I normally use 1 onion for any type of veggie potage. slice them. If you have celery and carrot, add some slices of them. It bring nice aroma, not too strong, but just nice. I didn’t have them, I made with simply with onion & zucchini only.  Easily cut/slice zucchini as well. Put them in the pot. I cut 5 zucchini, including 1 super giant size.
Add 2-3 table spoon of Shiokoji on top depend on how much zucchini is there.
Put the lid on and cook without water. (If you are afraid of burning it, you can just pour a bit of water) I don’t touch it, I don’t even mix it. Just leave it.

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All the juice come out from zucchini, and start smelling SO beautiful from combination with ShioKoji. Already yum. Very rich aroma.  Zucchini is covered by their own juice, and become very soft.  Blend them with hand blender.
Add soy milk to adjust texture if you like.

That’s all. Actual working time is less than 5 min.
Wash veggies, cut veggies, add Shio Koji. Blend them.

If the day is hot, you can enjoy as cold soup. For like today, Melbourne’s cold weather, we want hot version for sure. With nice sourdough from Loafer bread organic bakery.

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Having soup in the pot makes me so happy and my weekend become nice & cozy with it. Hope my knitting project finish before proper winter comes!

Onion Miso

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I want you to try making this Onion Miso. It’s pretty good!!
Last few months, I mostly use this miso for my miso soup.

100g   Onion
100g   Aged Miso

Mince the onion. Mix with Miso paste.Leave it in the jar.
You can start using straight away, but if you leave it, onion become brown (Miso pickled onion!) and become quite yummy.

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This one is just made 10 min ago. Fresh one.

I felt little bit cold, then I thought, ” I need onion miso  soup right away to get rid of my cold from my body!!” so I made new jar.

Good thing about this onion miso is… you can take all of raw onion goodies, such as keeping the blood in a smooth state with a low viscosity,  helping absorb B1, antioxidant and promoting fat burning etc. as well as miso goodies!!

Normally it is too strong to eat raw onion so it need to be put in the water, but you don’t need to do that for this onion Miso.

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And from the onion extract, this miso become milder. Even sweeter. I recommend to use aged miso than young /white miso for this onion miso since young/white miso with onion might become too sweet. (we want good balance of saltiness for Miso soup!)

Normally I use Dashi to make miso soup, but I also understand, you might feel too tired to make Dashi for a cup of Miso soup!  Why you bother! But wait! You don’t need to go instant!
If you are too busy or too tired to make Dashi, go with this onion Miso. Even without Dashi,without adding any vegetables, you cam make tasteful enough miso soup from this onion miso! (of course, you can use Dashi and use this onion miso! )

Of course, not only for miso soup, you can use for other cookings as well! Dressing, dipping sauce, marinade fish/meat….infinite usage 🙂

Keep the jar in the fridge!  Hope you enjoy it xx

Feb & Mar Workshop schedule

Hello!
We started to take booking for Feb & Mar workshops from this week!
Some Feb’s schedule has be changed, so please check it again.

Copy of Feb & Mar Workshop schedule

Copy of Feb & Mar Workshop schedule (5)

Copy of Feb & Mar Workshop schedule (6)

New workshop!
“Shio Koji making & cooking”
We are so happy to start running this workshop, as we have many requests from people who loves Japanese and fermentation foods.
Once you have Shio-koji in your pantry, you can’t live without it. It is so good!!
Of course, the one you make your own is SO different from what you can get from shops! I’m sure this is going to be very useful seasoning for your cooking! Check it out!

Nuka duke – rice bran pickling is also newish, this might be a start of your fermented life, very interesting world is there. So fascinating!!

Any private workshop request, also any functions, parties and events inquiry, please send us message.

If you have any questions about workshop, ask us from here.
Or simply send us email hello.cookingwithkoji@gmail.com

See you at the workshop xx  or somewhere on the street 🙂

Happy new year! Mirin is ready!

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I can’t believe how quickly January goes. It is already 23rd of January! Happy new year to every one! Hope you had a great festive season. And also hope the rest of (almost) 11 months will be nice & happy days x

One of the thing I did this year is started to use homemade Mirin after more than 1 year of slow conversing into sugar from brown rice by koji – actually by the enzyme which was made from Koji.

It went really well!!
Smells beautiful, amazing amber colour. Very sweet. I am very happy about this outcome!
For squeezing, I used a hand-sawed cotton bag, but of course you can use any bags. Here is some other bags I use – recycled flour bag & cheese cloth FYI.

Inside of jar is like this.
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and just pouring this liquid, and separated from lees.
I normally use this wooden mould, which is for tofu making originally. You can use any sort of strainer.
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Mirining(!!) for just 2 bottles for this moment. I like this way. Bottling little by little and leave the rest for keep fermenting. And the lees (the one in the red bowl) !!! This is also amazing as well as Mirin.  Don’t throw it away, it can be used for many ways!  I mixed it with Miso and made marinade sauce this time.
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I’ve just realised I didn’t write anything when I made this Mirin in 2016. I will write about it shortly!!!
Sweet Mirin. Sweet 2018.  Hope you had a nice start of 2018.

Miso marinaded grilled Salmon

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Salmon fillet in your fridge?
Wanna try something new?

What about Miso marinade!!

First, place your salmon fillet on the kitchen paper.
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Then sprinkle some salt on the fillet and leave it until water comes out.
Wipe the water with paper towel.
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Now, prepare Miso sauce.
Use unpasteurised Miso paste if you can.
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Then add some Mirin to make the miso paste softer. This makes easy to spread on the fillet as well as giving some sweetness to the miso sauce.
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Something like this.
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Now, spread this prepared miso sauce around the fillet!
Leave it for few hours to few days. Probably 1 day marinade is my favourite, but depend on my time and schedule, sometimes I cook within few hours, sometimes after few days. No stress.
While marinading, Miso’s enzyme works on salmon’s protein – changes this protein into Umami!! This is the beauty of using unpasteurised Miso!!
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Then grill it! or Oven it! until it become nice and golden! Crispy on surface.
Miso sauce can easily get burnt, so make sure you put aluminum foil on top or grill on low heat.

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I would normally serve this with rice, but out of stock today! so I served with burgur. Japanese food meets middle eastern! It worked quite all right.
Miso sauce on top of the fillet become nicely caramelised golden brown, this colour and smell stimulate appetite! The saltiness of Miso is perfectly matches with salmon.  Yum.

 

Garlic Miso

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Have you tried Garlic Miso?
It’s pretty good! Once you make it, then it can be used for many ways! Today I was a bit hungry and needed little snack, so I toasted sliced sourdough bread and toss cucumber with garlic miso. Quick and easy snack, and super yummy.

So, how to make garlic miso. Super easy.
Here is my recipe.
6 Table spoons of aged brown rice miso.
2 Table spoons of Mirin
1 Table spoon of honey or 2 Table spoon of Rapadura sugar
1 Tea spoon of grated garlic

Mix all of them and heat it with low until Mirin’s alcohol will be gone away. That’s it. 1 tea spoon of garlic is pretty mild, so you like garlic garlic, you can add bit more garlic.
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That’s it. Keep it in the clean jar and store in the fridge.

Cucumber x miso always works well, and of course, this garlic miso is very nice with cucumber. (If your cucumber is not super yummy one, then garlic miso will fix the flavour :-))

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No extra cook or anything. Just toss it up and serve.
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Aside to that, spread Garlic Miso on toast is very nice, too!
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Just a little snack make me happy. Have a nice weekend xx

Christmas voucher is now available !

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So hot in Melbourne yesterday! Did you survive all right?
Our small car doesn’t have air condition, and parked under the sun for 3 hours.
OMG, the air in the car was so painful! I think my skin was nicely grilled by the heat in the car!

Christmas is around the corner, and I had some requests for Christmas voucher!
We haven’t informed it yet, but yes, we have! Sorry for late information!!

It’s $95, comes with 1 x fun workshop you can choose from, and also 1 jar of 1 year fermented miso to bring home, or $80 without jar of miso.
Please contact us and we’ll organise it for you.

I was walking Preston Market today, and found looks yummy egg tart.
I’m not sweet crazy person (I prefer savery), but just a few moments through the year, wants to eat egg tart! and it was today!!
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And dinner was Kale salad. We make this pretty often during summer.
Sometimes with Miso dressing, sometimes with Mango, depend what we have.
While I was in Japan, people didn’t believe our lunch/dinner can be done with one dish, but we really often do! One dish, but we like to put lot’s of ingredients and I eat a lot. I mean, a lot!
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Enjoy summer and ready for Christmas xx

We are back in Melbourne!

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After months of study tour in Japan, we are finally back in Melbourne! Thank you very much for all the messages while we are away and some of them waited for workshops.

I put several garlic cloves into my garden just before I leave for Japan, and look at these beautiful garlic from the garden! My very first garlic harvest! So happy! Thank you nature!! One clove become one whole garlic, isn’t is wonderful?
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Garlic works so well with Miso and Soy sauce. Garlic Miso! Garlic Soy!  (Oh I need to write about Garlic Miso soon…)  These are my favourite and so glad to make them with my organic super local(from my garden!!)  garlic. Lucky me!

So nice to be back here, beautiful flowers and blue sky, lots of spaces and nice people! Bees seems also happy!

Still got so many photos and article from study tour in Japan. Excited to write more and share with all of you.  December is always busy time of the year. In Japan, we say “month of even teachers are running” ha ha!

Have a nice summer (for those who are in South hemisphere)and have a nice winter ( for those who are in North hemisphere).  Love and greeting from Melbourne x

 

Jan & Feb cooking workshop schedule

Hello lovely people! We started to take booking for Jan & Feb cooking workshops.
Very excited to announce that we start new workshops from this summer.
Japanese pickling! This summer, we will make Japanese Nukaduke, rice bran pickling. We make Nuka bed from scratch, and you can keep making this Nuka pickles forever as long as you look after it. Exciting!!

Also, Miso cooking workshop. This workshop is for somebody who has miso in the fridge but don’t know what to do with it. I would like to share some ideas – how to use Miso in your cooking, also share the knowledge about benefit of having miso.

For booking, please book from WORKSHOP page or simply email us.
hello.cookingwithkoji@gmail

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Just is case, you can’t see this schedule well from this picture,
here is the details

Jan 06 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Miso paste making
Jan 09 (Tue) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Miso cooking
Jan 13 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Miso cooking
Jan 16 (Tue) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Japanese cooking basic
Jan 20 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Japanese cooking basic
Jan 23 (Tue) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Seasonal Japanese cooking
Jan 27 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Japanese pickling (Nuka-duke)

Feb 03 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Miso paste making
Feb 06 (Tue) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Miso cooking
Feb 10 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Miso cooking
Feb 13 (Tue) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Japanese cooking basic
Feb 17 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Japanese cooking basic
Feb 20 (Tue) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Seasonal Japanese cooking
Feb 24 (Sat) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30 Japanese pickling (Nuka-duke)

Hope to see you at workshop xx

Japanese cooking workshop in Tokyo !

For those who are in Tokyo this weekend, lucky news!
We will run Japanese cooking workshop in Japan (first opportunity for us!).

Very nice part of Japan (my favourite area in Tokyo),Sendagi(千駄木), part of area called Yanesen (谷根千),
nice & old downtown where you can find lots of small shops and cafes.

In this workshop, you will learn basic technique of Japanese cooking and knowledge by making full meal.
It’s vegetarian menu! (Sorry vegan, we use egg in one dish, but if you are vegan, please talk to us previously, then I will come up with Vegan friendly dish)

It will be fun xx

Date : Nov 19, 2017 (This Sunday!!)
Time : 1️⃣12:00 − 14:00
2️⃣15:30 – 17:30
Place: Konfuan (The restaurant in Sendagi – 1min. walk from Sendagi station)
(Chiyoda line)
We’ll send you a detail of the location when you book.
Fee : 3000 yen / person (The first cooking workshop in Tokyo Special price)

Booking essential
Please contact us through this blog’s contact page

See you this Sunday 🙂

Sea salt making in Japan

For a long time, I was interested in how natural salt was made.

Salt brings the original taste of ingredients in cooking.  Salt is such a basic basic seasoning, but quite important seasoning !!

Rock salt is most popular salt in the world (Apparently, 60% of salt is rock salt),  but not in Japan. There are no rock salt or salt lakes in Japan, but Japan is surrounded by seas, so sea salt was made and used in Japan for a long time. That is the reason I believe sea salt is the best much for Japanese cooking and Japanese preserved/fermentation foods!

However, Japanese salt making process was not easy like other countries.  Japanese weather is not great for salt making.  Rain. Humid. These element doesn’t help for salt making. Fortunately (in this case, I probably should say unfortunately) it rains a lot in Japan, therefore Japan is called Water country.

 

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Its geographic doesn’t help either. More mountain area, compare to flat area. (About 75% of Japanese land is mountain area) Well, that’s why many Tanada  (photo above) can be seen in Japan to use mountain surfaces for farming, especially for rice production, to get land as much as possible (Stunning and beautiful though!!)  But beautiful Tanada can’t be used for salt making. Therefore,  making sun dried salt in a big saltpan/salt field wasn’t a reasonable way to make salt in Japan. we needed to came up with various ideas and probably some inventions to make natural sea salt in Japan. Come up with the ideas and tried new methods were the Japanese salt making history.

 

Here in Itoshima/Fukuoka, there are salt making studio which makes premium sea salt – Mataichi Salt またいちの塩.  For sea salt, ingredient is only sea water. How clear it is, how rich it is, environment around this area, speed of sea water circulation and so on…lots of condition are considered.

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Mataichi salt believes that Itoshima peninsula covers all of these conditions, and provide  strong umami sea water which contains richness from seaweeds.

The view on the way to Mataichi was just amazing.

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People put a lot of effort to make sea salt in Japan and still is! Here in Mataichi, they built this bamboo tower to reduce moisture from seawater, right next to the sea side. This is one of their invention!

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After reduced moisture (depends on the weather condition, but 10 days  to a month until the saltiness of the water become 9-10%), then bring these water to inside, and start heating with recycle woods.

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This is how sea water is changed to sea salt. Slowly slowly.

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Mr. Nagatomo, who is the salt maker at Mataichi told me that salt making here is really interesting, because it is all manual, not automatic. Human power  and intuition are quite involved.

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Using recycled woods makes fire control more difficult, but it makes more interesting. The recycle woods came from housing materials, so sometimes they are pine, sometimes they are cedar, all different woods, which have different character. For example pine contains more oils than other woods so when you put pine into the stove, fire become very strong all of sudden, but it doesn’t last that long as fuel….  It was so good to see happy enjoying salt maker.  Just love to see all manual process!  Their love and passion in there!

For the first 2 days after start firing, they want to keep 60 degrees. They don’t just boil sea water. This is the technique to make salt with Umami.  The salt makes food yummy. What their pursue is to make salt which helps the ingredients to be used to the fullest to make the dish delicious. There is philosophy there.

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It is amazing location. People who visited this salt making studio can take advantage of this location while eating some of their cafe menu.  Just come here with your favourite book and enjoy reading and view at the same time, then when you become hungry, get some food and drink! What a precious weekend would be!!

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There are several options apart from coffee and healthy drinks, but apparently this salt pudding is the most famous one!

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Also, you can taste their 2 different type of salt, Takishio (left) and Yakishio (right).  Right Yakishio is roasted salt. which was one more steps from Takishio. Depend on the dishes, you can use separately.

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Also,  you can try salt making in this studio ( or just tour is available)  if you like.

After visiting Mataichi, Now I want to make Tofu with their Nigari.  Enjoy cooking x  (Oh! Tofu making workshop is coming  soon when I back to Melbourne x)

 

Visiting a Soy sauce brewer in Shodoshima

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There are VERY important Soy sauce brewer in Shodoshima/Kagawa. It’s Yamaroku soy sauce. I visited their descendant in the fifth generation, Mr. Yamamoto.

Soy sauce island – Shodoshima

Shodoshima is a island in Seto inland sea, where is famous for making soy sauce.
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What is great about Shodoshima’s soy sauce is they are made by traditional method, and more importantly, they are mostly made in wooden barrels.  Apparently, ONLY 1 % of all Japan made soy sauce is brewed in wooden barrel. Only 1 %!!  I believe soy sauce made in wooden barrel by traditional method is the real soy sauce, but these soy sauce is so precious nowadays. But still, there are some artisan who puts effort to make real soy sauce. In Shodoshima, you can find these people.  1/3 of the 1% of Japanese wooden barrel made soy sauce is from Shodoshima!!

Bacteria lives in mud walls and wooden barrels
In Yamaroku soy sauce, visiter can enter the special room, which is registered tangible cultural property. This is the room to ferment the base of soy sauce.  The liquid before squeezing called Moromi, so accurately, it is “Moromi room”.

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There are not many soy sauce brewers allow us to be in the Moromi room. However, here in  Yamakuro, kindly, they let us in! Very lucky to see, hear and smell them directly. So precious moment!! In Yamaroku, there are 60 wooden barrels and wall of this Moromi room is old mud wall. This is the treasure of Yamaroku, bacteria live in these places, and works for soy sauce. This is the secret of making yummy soy sauce.

Can you see the stick? (bit dark!)  The Soy sauce master stands on this floor, and mix soy sauce with this long stick.

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This barrel is 150 years old.  Over these periods, lots of different kinds of bacteria has been lived in the barrel, and helped to make unique soy sauce. (According to Yamakuro, more than 100 different type of bacteria!! That’s just amazing!!)

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This is sort of squeezing soy sauce machine, but actually they don’t squeeze. They just let soy sauce to come out from the bag, just using gravity to make clear taste soy sauce.

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The passion! The love! The sense of mission!

The Mr. Yamamoto has a strong determination which I really respect (and almost made me cry!).  Wooden barres last about 200 years. In Yamaroku, most of wooden barrels are 100-150 years old. That means, they can keep making real soy sauce for next 50 years, but not anymore – not to the his grandkid generation. He felt a sense of crisis. He thought this was the real problem. His determination is to remain REAL soy sauce made with cedar wooden barrel to his kids & grandkids generation, and so he decided to to become an artisan to make wooden barrels as well as being real soy sauce brewer. He thought it might be reckless, but nothing can be achieved without trying. Then he launched the project called “Revive wooden barrel artisan project” since 2012.

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Japan is facing serious situation.  In spite of wooden barrels are the best and perfect fermentation container as bacteria can live in the wood, obviously we are loosing this wonderful proper fermentation culture as you can understand that only 1% of Japanese soy sauce production is made with wooden barrel. It resulted into the situation that only one company remains in Japan who can make big wooden barrels! And sadly, this company will close their business in 3 years.  If we don’t learn from him now, we have absolutely nobody who can make these beautiful and important tools anymore, which means no chance to order big wooden barrels anywhere in the Japan, probably in the world. That is the reason which made Mr. Yamamoto moves urgently.  He thought ” I have to try this NOW”.

Check his project in this video!

 

He started a new career as a wooden barrel artisan, and Mr. Yamamoto and his project keep making 3 – 4 barrels every year since then. Some barrels stayed in Yamaroku, some delivered to other soy sauce brewers. (One is in Milan, Italy!!)   I really appreciate his decision and effort. There are more important thing than efficiency.  I don’t think it is too much to say that he saved Japanese fermentation culture. Hope more brewers use wooden barrel to make real soy sauce!

If you ever come to Seto inland sea, (I know many people visit Naoshima or Setouchi Triennale), I recommend to visit this Yamaroku Soy sauce brewer in Shodoshima! Check their Moromi room and taste these yummy ice cream and pudding with soy sauce!! (Amazingly, It really works)
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Of course, you can purchase their real soy sauce! Two types.

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Best wishes to brave Mr. Yamamoto and Yamaroku soy sauce brewer.

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Summer drink – Shiso Juice making 2017

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One of the seasonal drink, and this is definitely summer drink in our family. We make this juice every year, normally after making Umeboshi (because we need good red shiso for Umeboshi making) and enjoy this drink all through the summer.

This is called Shisho juice (Shiso = perilla) or Shisho drink. As you know there are red Shisho and green Shiso, but we only use red Shiso for this juice.  This is amazingly refreshing juice and I really like its colour.  It is expected many benefits such as helping to recover from exhaustion, helping digestion, detoxing, helping anti-ageing and more!!

Very easy to make!
What we make here is concentrate. When you drink, pour some water or fizzy water and make perfect taste you like! Here is my family recipe, but basically no rule!

Ingredients
Water            2L
Red Shiso     300g ~  (more is totally OK!)
Vinegar        400cc  (or 3-4 lemons / citric acid 20g)
Sugar            500g

First wash Red Shiso leaves.
We grow our own Shio leaves at the little farm, so this is freshly harvested from there! Yes, Organic Shiso leaves.  If you want to buy Shiso leaves from shops, try Asian grocery stores.  They have Shiso leaven when it is season.
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Then, put them into boiling water pot.
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Stir gently. Soon the water colour become dark purple.
Then take leaves out from the pot.
Check if the leaves become green. If all the red pigment moved into the water, then Shisho leaves looks green. Not red anymore.
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Now, the water colour is like this! Not yet nice colour.
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Add vinegar and sugar. We use rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar. But other vinegar might work, just try it! (Probably balsamic vinegar won’t work though…) After you add vinegar, see the colour of the liquid! Love this moment! It become elegant colour. And I’m sure you are enjoying its smell already.
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That’s it! Done! Super easy.

Pour into jar when it is still hot. Keep it in the fridge, it will last 1 year.  In case of my family, it doesn’t last that long, because we drink so much during summer and finish them all by the time autumn starts.
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For somebody who works outside during summer, this would be great drink. It will give you the energy for next day, and it really heals your tiredness!! You will love it!!

Although sometimes we find Ume juice (plum juice) at the cafes or festival, we don’t find this Shiso juice so often at the cafe or restaurant. for some reason.  (I only found once in a small cafe in Tokyo! I was so happy to see this pink juice in the menu, so of course I ordered one. The cafe menu said “Summer special drink” :-)).
Probably this is the drink we make at home for family’s wellbeing.

Hope you had a nice summer xx
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DASHI – Base of Japanese cooking

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People often ask me how to make miso soup and continue “Just pour hot water onto miso paste”?

My answer is “No- not quite”
Missing DASHI (and Gu – which means some ingredients to add, such as vegetables)!

For those who have cooked Japanese food before, probably know how important DASHI is in Japanese cuisine.

Simple easy explanation of DASHI is… clear broth or soup stock from either fish, vegetable, seaweed or combination of these.

However,  there is a very interesting deep world of DASHI, and it expands Japanese food culture!!  DASHI is base of Japanese food. Base of Umami comes with beautiful aroma.

I was in Kumamoto/Japan, and visited Ms Hayashi, representative of Yamaichi – DASHI company (specialised Kezuribushi, shaved dried fish) and learnt more about DASHI.

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Leaning about difference of each fish DASHI, the purpose of using specific DASHI. How you can blend these DASHI… so interesting.

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Here is the today’s 4 type of DASHI. (There are heaps more options!!)

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From the front pot, dried sardine flakes, dried mackerel flakes, dried bonito flakes and Rausu kombu. To make easy fish flake DASHI,  put some flakes in the pot and pour hot water. Not 100 degree, around 80-85 degree. Same as green tea, easy to remember. That’s all. How easy way to make DASHI.

Taste each DASHI, all different characteristic. Colour is different, aroma is different!  Taste of course different.

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What amazed me was… when you blend these DASHI.
It is not 1+1=2. 1+1=4? 5? The flavour expand so much by blending. Chemical reaction works in really good way.  Amazing.

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For example, Kombu-DASHI 1 : Bonito DASHI 2 (Ratio)
Very elegant and gentle. But much better than single DASHI. This DASHI is good for simple DASHI soup, thin noodle, with boiled vegetables, savoury egg pudding, with rice etc.

Add half mackerel DASHI (1/2) to the above (Kombu : Bonito = 1:2)
Ohh, more familier flavour. This is perfect for Soba noodle!!
When you make soba noodle soup with this DASHI (make it cold!), this DASHI is full body, but doesn’t disturb Soba-buckwheat aroma when you eat. So you can simply enjoy soba itself! What a perfect balance. Then, when you finish eating soba noodle, then you can pour Sobayu into your soup cup. Sobayu-is soba boiled water. Soba has many nutrition such as fiber, Vitamin B1, B2, protein, Rutin. They are water‐soluble so you can perfectly take all of soba’s nutrition by drinking Sobayu! Normally Sobayu is hot. When you pour this hot Sobayu into your cup, then all of sudden, you can smell beautiful aroma from noodle soup with DASHI!! DASHI’s aroma stands out when it is hot (with steam). So make sense. Enjoy soba’s aroma with soup’s umami first, then with Sobayu, you can enjoy DASHI’s aroma. I love this DASHI’s moderate attitude.

Back to DASHI.
Add quoter of sardine’s DASHI to above (Konbu 1 : Bonito 2 : Mackerel 1.5).
Well balanced strong DASHI now. Umami, Aroma, both strong.
This DASHI is perfect for Udon noodle. Also for hot pot, Oden, stew etc.

 

Shaving bonito block. To make these block of fish, takes 1 month – it is a fermentation process.  Yes, real bonito flakes are fermentation food. Although, there are not fermented bonito flake. Price will tell.

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You can adjust the blade to make thin flakes to thick flakes.
Just for safety reason, wear the glove.

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It’s pretty hard. Do you know that proper bonito block is the hardest food in the world? It is harder than crystals! Just little bit softer than diamond 🙂

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And making fresh DAShi. Proper way!
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What a beautiful colour! Clear-golden. The room is full of aroma!!  Happy aroma. This aroma makes people (at least Japanese) at rest, relaxed, satisfied and calm. This is the aroma we want to smell when we get home (Hopefully when we open the door!).

Taste comparison. 1- DASHi without squeezing flakes. 2- DASHI with squeezing flakes. I’ve never compared these but it really tastes different!
1 is very very elegant clear flavour. Taste fancy.
2 is…taste little bit sourness in the soup. A bit country flavour. Still yummy though.

They are different, but for home cooking, I think 2 is totally fine. You get more soup! (cost performance ◎)  1 is taste of fancy restaurant. So when you want to make something special, we can use 1.

At the super market, there are many instant powder to make soup (they call it Dashi), but it is just so different thing. Specially aroma. Natural flavour ummai and beautiful aroma makes our life so satisfying. DASHI is so important and so base of Japanese food. Why don’t we make real DASHI, not fake? Making Dashi is not difficult at all and I will guarantee it aroma makes you satisfying.

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Thank you Ms. Hayashi to share interesting world of DASHI.

Dear vegetarian, I know many yummy vegetable DASHI, I would like to share them in the future post x

Garlic soy

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This is so useful thing to have in your kitchen for your cooking.
So simple. So yummy. Amazing aroma.

What you need is only Soy sauce (or Tamari) and garlic cloves!
Peel garlic skin and drop peeled garlic cloves into the soy pot.

That’s it.
Then pure Soy sauce become garlic soy.

Int the soy pot, garlic clove become like this – very black after while.
You can use this clove for your cooking as well. (sumer yummy)
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If you smell this garlic soy, I’m sure you will come up with lot’s of ideas what you want to cook with it. Really beautiful aroma. It stimulates your appetite.

For example, this is what I ate today.
I wanted to make something very quick but yummy. Kind of healthy but not too light.

Umeboshi pasta with garlic soy
Ingredients
Pasta (wholemeal)
Umeboshi
Tuna
and Garlic soy

I use genuine Umeboshi, which I made with my mom.
Wanna know more? about Umeboshi making? ->Making Umeboshi.
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While you are cooking pasta, make Umeboshi into paste using knife.
Mix with cooked pasta and add tuna.
Pour garlic soy at the end and mix. That’s it!

If you have greens from the garden, nice to add.
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Also, if you have seaweed in your pantry, cut them thin and use them as a garnish.
It makes this pasta all of sudden Japanese flavour.
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Hope you enjoy garlic soy x

Soy sauce making workshop

Soy sauce making workshop
I am very happy to run this Soy sauce making workshop this winter!!

May 28, 2017 (Sun) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30
June 3, 2017   (Sat)  10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30

I believe making (fermenting) these important condiment at home is a wonderful thing and very happy to share these technique with you!
In this workshop, we will use all Australian organic ingredients and start brewing your OWN soy sauce in Japanese traditional way.

It will be a exciting project for you! You will get high quality soy sauce which you can never purchase from supermarket!!

Just a allergic information. We use SPELT grain in this workshop.
For those who have trouble having spelt, please wait for Tamari workshop, which might been run in the future x

Please book through Contact page and let me know your requested date and time.
Looking forward to seeing you soon xx

Wooden barrel for Miso

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This is my lovely wooden barrel.
Beautifully made by artisan.
The joint is amazingly made.

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This miso (Brown rice miso) is just made (mixed), so the colour is light.
Over a year in this wooden barrel, it ferments nice and gently.

Surface is sealed with this bees wax wrap.

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After that, all we do is wait for the Miso to mature in this wooden barrel.

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I just love this handsome look.

Miso making workshop this weekend

Getting colder, miso making weekend is coming!
This weekend, April 29 and 30, 2017, miso making workshop will be held in Melbourne-Preston.

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It’s 2.5 hours workshop, you will make YOUR OWN miso by yourself!! There are 4 sessions over the 2 days, so please chose your convenient day & time, and let me know by “Contact form”.

Today’s brekkie

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All of sudden, it became cold in Melbourne. And all of sudden, I felt that I wanted to do something “Right for me”, which is to make proper Japanese brekkie.

Under this weather, I prefer cooked veggie. In Japanese cooking, we often use “simmer” technic、 because it is believed that raw veggie (salad etc) will make your body and guts cold, which we want to avoid. Dried food is perfect for simmer food, because we can get Dashi (Yummy stock) from dried food when we soak them in the water!

We often says “Eat 30 different things a day” and it is not so difficult when you eat Japanese food. For example, it’s already 27 from this morning.

Rice
Bi-Dynamic short grain rice
Amaranth
Kanten
Black sesame seed

Miso soup
Dried taro stem (From dad’s garden)
Dried Dikon soaked water (as Dashi)
Dried little fish (as Dashi)
Home made 1 year miso (Soy, Rice koji, Sea salt)

This dried taro stem, perfect preserved food!! I wasn’t fan of this when I was kid, but now like them so much.


After dried, cut in small pieces, and use for soup, simmering…etc all through the year.

Pumpkin skin Kinpira
This is basically the off-skin when I made simmered pumpkin.
Waste food recycle. Every time I cook pumpkin, I make this, just extra 2-3 min work and get another little dish.

Pumpkin skin
Soy sauce
Chilli
Buckwheat grain as garnish.

Simmered Pumpkin
Pumpkin (from our garden!!)
Shio koji
This is cooked with Shio koji, but check how to cook here. It’s sweeter version.

Simmered Kiriboshi Daikon 
Check how to make here

Kiriboshi Daikon (Dad’s Dried Daikon)
Spring onion from the garden
Fu/Seitan
Goji berries (I wanted to use carrot, but there is none, so use Goji berries to add some colour!)
Shiitake
Soy
Mirin

Pickles 1
Ginger pickled in Rice vinegar

Pickles 2
– Nuka (Rice bran) pickling
Cucumber (From the garden!)
Pink radish
Purple radish

I felt so right after having this meal.
I realised again, beauty of Japanese food is not used “oil” so much, but still very yummy.

Home made shio Koji

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Shio-koji is one of the key seasoning in my cooking, so I regularly make it so that it never run out.
My version of Shio-Koji is fermented more than 1 month before using. Long and slow ferment. This length brings deep and complex taste.
(Well, I don’t use fridge, so…actually my Shio-Koji’s fermentation will keep going until I finish it)

So easy to make it by yourself!
What you need is….

Rice koji           300g
Natural salt    100g
Water               300ml

This is the Rice koji I made recently.
Nice and fluffy!

I normally use Australian one, but this time, I used NZ natural sea salt.
You can play with your favourite salt as long as use natural good quality one!

And mix them well !!!!  That’s it.
Actually, it already smells good! When you use good fresh Koji, that’s happens.
Love this moment.

Steam-grilled asparagus with Shio Koji

Feels like “Spring has come” in Melbourne.
This is what I felt last week. And this week…back to winter?

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We had Australian grown asparagus this week at the shop I work. The first asparagus of the season!! We call it “Hatsumono (初物)” in Japanese and there is a saying with this word. When eat Hatsumono, your life will be extended for another 75 days. Lucky you!

My favorite way to enjoy asparagus is steam-grilled asparagus with Shio Koji. The sweetness of asparagus can be enjoyed as mush as possible, I believe.

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Nothing complicated, simple & easy.
Pour little oil into the pan.
Put asparagus onto the heated pan.
Leave it for a minute.
Pour little bit of water and put lid on! (steam-grilling!)
Take the lid off, and mix it with little bit of Shio Koji.
Serve with crushed black pepper.

3 min cooking xx

Morning precious time with Miso toast

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Do you start your day with toast?
Have you tried spread miso on toast?

This is the easiest way to use Miso paste,
quick and yummy. It’s healthy and gives you a energy to start your day!
(Make sure you use properly aged miso!)

 

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You don’t need much. Just spread little bit.
If you use butter, it works perfectly.
(Miso x butter is magically works!!)

Do you have avocado today?
If so, you can put sliced of avocado on top of it!
It is more than YUMMY.

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Today, I sit outside, had this slice of toast, looked my garden and beautifully blossomed neighbour’s Cherry tree.  Quick. Easy and my body feels so good. It was only 10 min, but absolutely precious time before going to work!

 

Miso cucumber

Happy new year xx
Hope you had a good one!!

This is my summer memory flavour.
Freshly picked from garden cucumber and home made miso.
This is what my family believes the best way to eat cucumber.

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My dad has a garden and he grows most of vegetables through the year.
Every summer, we had heaps of cucumbers, tomatoes, corns, eggplants….and more and more. When I was young, his garden was my playground.

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We had this Miso cucumber quite often during summer.
It was a joy of summer.

Now I have my own garden and grow some vegetable. Today, I found little cute cucumber. The first one in this season.

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Of course, I wanted to eat it in this way as I grew up.
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You can even cut in half.

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Dip the miso..
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and…bite into it!!
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Cucumber is full of water and potassium, which makes your body cooler. (Yes, summer vegetable!)
Eat it with Miso gives you a good balance.

If you are not growing vegetable,
try to get fresh one from farmers market.
This is very simple dish, freshness is very important !!
Of course, with good Miso 🙂

Miso Mayo

Miso x Mayo.

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Have you noticed this is a great combination?
Miso bring a deeper taste and flavour in ordinary Mayo.

Very easy. Just mix both.
What a easy way to make gourmet mayo.
You can also put chopped caper if you like.

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For example, you can serve with raw vegetable.

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Also cucumber, carrot, cabbage is recommended♪
simple yummy dish.

This dip is also good as spread for your sandwich.

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Taste the difference.
Merry Christmas
Have a great miso time xx

Our miso will be at the market this week

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This wednesday, 11/11/2015, we will be at Blender Lane Artist market, Melbourne CBD. 5:00pm to 10:00pm.
Those who are around Melbourne, please come and check this cool market.
You can find lots of hand made craft, art and design!
Of course, you can taste our home made Miso, too!!

See you there.
Benders lane Artist Market
110 Franklin St, Melbourne CBD 3000

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Herb rice cake making – Gulten free

Found wild Yomogi at Merri Creek!!

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Yomogi is a old Japanese wild herb, which is so good for our body,
great for detoxing.
At spring time, you can pick up soft sprout and can use for many things.
You can make Kusa mochi, Tempura, steam it, or use for tea.
You can also use this herb for a bath – Yomgi bath.

Yomogi is a group of Chrysanthemum, has specific flavour.
When you pick them from the creek, make sure the other side of the leaf is white.
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Yomogi rice cake making is a joy of spring.
In Japanese, we say Kusa mochi.
Kusa means grass, herb, weed.
When we say Kusa mochi, we normally use Yomogi.
Yomogi lives all over Japan, especially around the creek or rice paddy.
Mochi means rice cake.
So, rice cake with Yomogi is Kusa mochi!!

What do you need to make this cake?
Rice flour
Yomogi
Sugar (optional)

That’s it! Simple, easy.
The beauty of Japanese sweets is..we don’t use oil at all.
Also, it is gluten free 🙂

First, pour the hot water into Rice flour and mix.
and make flat ball, like biscuits.
If you put little bit of sugar at this stage,
the mochi’s softness can last longer.

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Then, cook the Yomogi leaves. About 1 min.
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and make them cool down.
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While waiting Yomogi leaves cool down,
cook the rice flour biscuits in the boiling water.
(You can use the hot water which you used cooking Yomogi leaves)
Cook them about 4 min.

Once it is cooked,
mix it with Yomogi leaves.
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and mix and knead by your hand!!
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See, the mochi paste become green!
So beautiful. Smells great, too.

Then just sqeese them to make a shape.
You can make whatever shape you like,
but this is the really quick way, and also easy shape to eat!!
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That’s it. Ready to eat already!!
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If you have time, you can cook Azuki beans,
and put them into this Kusa mochi.
That is super yummy, too.

I love this green.
If you put more Yomogi, you can make greener cake!!

Happy Spring!!

How to use Daikon !?

People often ask me, “Hey how can we use the white long vegetable??”
This white long vegetable is calaled Daikon (大根)and great in winter.
(but still possible to get summer daikon)
Daikon in winter is sweeter than the one in summer,
and better texture.
Nothing can beat to seasonal vegetable.
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Daikon is such a useful vegetable. (MY vegetable ranking No.1)
It can be changed to many different style.

1. Cut – eat in raw. Great in salad!
2. Grated daikon is another way.
3. Of course, you can cook! Sometimes in the soup, sometimes become main dish.

Ok. Salad. Daikon salad is one of my favourite salad.
(Check other Daikon salad recipe – click Daikon salad – Tahini & Soy sauce dressing)

Cut like this.
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Add some other veges, too.
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I like to have green and red with Daikon.
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Actually, great with avocado!! and nuts!!
(This photo looks too much happening, doesn’t it?)

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Use any dressing. Soy-ginger, Balsamic, you know, whatever you like.
Easy salad for your healthy life.

Here is another way to use Daikon.

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Thinly cut, (if you use leaves, looks nicer in colour and become rich in nutrition) and lightly stir-fry with soy sauce.
Shoyu-koji is even better!
Mmm. yum.

Making dried Daikon is popular in Japan.
Cut/slice, or even whole daikon, then leave then under the sun.
It become rich in nutrition, and you can keep it for a long time.
It was a great idea from old days to keep vegetable for the family.
Preservative food.

This is my entrance door.
I hung Daikon just like Christmas wreath 🙂
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It is called Kiriboshi Daikon, (Cut-Sundried-Daikon)
and I already introduced how to cook/use Kiriboshi daikon previously.

Don’t forget to try this yummy Simmered Daikon & salmon.

There are so many other ways to cook it.
I will show you as mush as I can!

Have a great Daikon winter!!
(Spring is almost there!! – in Melbourne)

Barley Miso is ready !!

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Barley Miso I made this January, is already bringing us so good aroma.
It seems like ready already!!

Barley Miso’s ingredients are simple as well as Rice Miso.

Soybeans
Salt
Barley Koji.

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This is Barley koji and salt. Mixed.

Cook soybeans until it become really soft,
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then mash it. This time I used roller pin.
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I sometimes use Suhibachi, sometimes mashed by hands.
I enjoy all different methods.

Make balls.
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And put them into the jar.
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Look how dark the colour is already.
Smells really good in the room.
Taste sweet. (Not sweet like chocolate!! of course!!)
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Oh, I love making miso.

Fermentation Shrine in Japan

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Sake barrels in Shinto Shrine! This is worth to see!!

There is a Shrine in Japan which strongly supported by Fermenting / Brewing people.
Matsuo Taisha. One of the oldest shrine in Kyoto. (Since 701)

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This is the gate.
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Once you get through the gate, very spacious and feel refreshed.

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Beautiful main building. This construction is called Matsuo dukuri. Stunning.

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These sake barrels are donated by brewers, because this shrine is famous as Fermenting /brewing shine.
Lots of different sake from all over Japan!!
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The reason for this believe is…..
this spring water from the mountain in this shrine.

You can walk back of this shrine main building,
and you will find these red Torii.

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People who make sake, takes this spring water and use for their sake making!!
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They also have 3 beautiful gardens, designed by Mirei Shigemori, famous garden designer.
These gardens become his last master piece.

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This is the stamp you can get from this Shrine.
Hand writing & stamp – called Gosyuin 御朱印。
Normally, Shrine’s philosophy will be written.

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So close from famous Arashiyama area in Kyoto,
but such a peaceful atmosphere, very quiet.
I highly recommend you to visit here if you have chance to visit Kyoto.
And receive benefit to your fermentation life!!

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Making Umeboshi (Vol.5)

This final step to make Umeboshi needs 3 sunny days. (Both day time and night time)

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Isn’t is a beautiful scene?
Drying pickled Ume plums outside under the sun!! Sun dried Ume = Umeboshi.
In Japan, when rainy season finished, people starts drying pickled ume plums.

While pickling Ume plums with red shiso,
Ume plums would be dyed vivid nice red.
(See Making Umeboshi (vol.4) for previous steps.)

Once they turned to red, just take them from the container and dry them under the sun!
But make sure you check the weather forecast for next 3 days.
Please wear clothe which may be stained red ! And wearing gloves is recommended.

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Take Ume plums gently so that you don’t brake these nicely pickled Ume plums accidentally.
Nice and gently.
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If sudden rain starts, you need to take these inside as soon as possible.
Rain drops may cause the molds or black spots while preserving.
So, these 3 days, you cannot go out 🙂 Be around Ume !!
Have a nice homey day! Maybe gardening. Baking. Cleaning 🙂

It’s worth to do this, because these Umeboshi will last years and years if you store properly!!

After taking all ume plums for drying, red liquid will remain in the container.
This is the true Ume-zu (Plum Vinegar).
You can find it at the health foods store, but this is the free gift for you by making Umeboshi by yourself.

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Making Umeboshi (Vol.4)

Now! Really fun part !!

This is the Ume from Making Umeboshi (Vol.2)

Take all of Ume and Ume Plum vinegar (the water comes from Ume itself!) to the container now.
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Then mix it with Shio leaves from Making Umeboshi (Vol.3) !!
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Can you see the calour started to change?!
See well!
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When Shiso leaves meets vinegar, the colour change vivid !!
Amazing.

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Put all shiso leaves.
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Just like this!
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Isn’t it crazy colour?! I love it!
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This is the trick of Umeboshi colour.

One more step to go !!
To be continue.

Making Umeboshi (Vol.3)

Once water from Ume itself comes up to the surface, now you are free from danger of having mold.

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Normally before the rainy season ends, you can find Shiso leaves around you in Japan.
(In Melbourne, these shiso leaves can be found in Chinese market)

 

So! Pick the Shiso leaves.

This gives Umeboshi colour, red! Very red, but they are natural colour.

Picking Shiso leaves from the garden.

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Use only leaves part, so take them from stalk.

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Then wash them well.

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Drain off water.

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Sprinkle salt.

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and rub it with salt.

Look! Now you can see very dark purple colour water. They are harshness, so please don’t use.

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Drain off water well again.

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Now, sprinkle salt again.

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So quick! Done!
Now it’s ready to use with ume!!!

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Continue to Making Umeboshi (vol4)

Home breakfast in Japan

Here are some of my breakfast photos at parents while I was visiting them in Japan.
I thought it was interesting to share, because they look very different from western ones.

Now I live in Melbourne and have very different breakie (or even skip breakie) what I used to have with them,
but every year when I visit them, I enjoy typical(?) style Japanese breakfast.

It looks a lot, but many Japanese eat a lot from the morning.
Of course, it needs lots of preparation, but people make it for family.
Sometimes some left over from the dinner might be served.(It often happen in my family)
There is no natto in these photos, but sometimes natto will be served, too. (yum!)

Nothing special, everyday breakie at my parents since I was little.
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-Rice with 5 grains
-Miso soup (Daikon + fried tofu)
-Nimono (fish cakes, bamboo shoot, Shitake mushroom, ginger)
-Tomato
-Fish cooked vinegar soy + grated Daikon
-Cod roe
-Rolled egg with spinach
-Cucumber with Shio koji + Japanese herb
-Umeboshi
-Green tea

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-Rice with 5 grains
-Miso soup (egg, Daikon leaf)
Kiriboshi Diakon (Dried Daikon, carrot, shiitake mushroom)
-Fish cooked with Miso, grated Daikon
-Okura with bonito flakes
Ama koji (Amazake)
-Potato salad
-Takuan (Pickled Daikon) and Cucumber Nukazuke)
-Umeboshi
-Barley tea

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-Rice with 5 grains
-Miso soup (Daikon)
-Ama koji (Amazake)
-Tomato
-Grated yam
-Green leaves with bonito flakes
-Cucumber Nukazuke
-Grilled Salmon
-Kiriboshi Daikon
-Umeboshi
-Barley tea

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-Rice
-Miso soup (Onion)
-Cauliflower cooked with egg
-Cod roe
-Pea with sesame sauce
-Tomato
-Pickled cucumber
-Pickled Daikon

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-Rice
-Miso soup (cabbage)
-Fish cake, onion, carrot cooked with soy sauce
-Teriyaki fish fillet
-Steamed egg plant
-Pickled cucumber
-Pickled Daikon
-crown daisy with enoki mushroom
-Umeboshi
-Barley tea

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-Rice
-Miso soup (Wakame + tofu)
-Grilled egg plant with ginger
-Grilled egg with lettuce and tomato
-Grated daikon + enoki mushroom
-Pickled Daikon
-Ama koji (Amazake)
-Cabbage cooked with salmon

Making Umeboshi (Vol.2)

When you work with Ume (Ume shigoto), you can enjoy beautiful Ume aroma.
This is my big joy to share this beautiful aroma with somebody who are working with.
(Normally with my mum! I learn these things from mum by doing together)
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Well, the second day of Making umeboshi.
Here is the post of the first step(the day before), Making Umeboshi (Vol.1)

Now, bring all the ume to the colander, and drain off water.
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Then wipe the Ume by towel.
Water become the cause of having mold, so very important to dry them very well. Properly!
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When you wipe the Ume very well, you can see cute soft hair on the Ume’s surface. 🙂
Cute!
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Now it is ready to pickle them.
Place the well wiped Ume into the container.
Not all of them, just one layer.
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Then spray Shotsu for sterilising (optional).

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Then sprinkle salt. Enough salt.
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It looks like snowing on Ume!
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It looks a lot of salt, but you don’t eat many umeboshi per day, so don’t worry.
Salt is very important to keep Umeboshi away from mold.

Repeat with second layer, third layer… until all of your Ume comes into the container.
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Tighten up the plastic bag and put weight on it.
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Now, need to wait a few days until water from Ume comes up to the surface.
All ume needs to be covered by water from ume itself.
If the water(from Ume itself) doesn’t come up to the surface within few days,
you may have a chance to get mold. (at least in Japan, because it is rainy season!!)

So next few days will be the nervous but exciting moment.
To be continued!

Making Umeboshi (Vol.1)

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Umeboshi!! Salty & sour dried plum, we used it in Japanese cooking and also take this as medicine.
When I lived with parents, they always told me, “Take one Umeboshi everyday”, and all of family had one in the morning.
Nowadays, I have one when I don’t feel good, or the day I have too much food,
apart from using in the cooking.

June is rainy season in Japan, and people make Umeboshi over this season.
It is a long process, depending on the weather, it needed to be dried for 3 days (day & night) so, we do this last process when the rainy season is finished.

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First process is…
take this little thins out.

Ca you see?
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Then soak all of them in the water. Over night.
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To be continued.

Update on Mirin (Vol.2)

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Thank you for waiting this so long.
I received many requests on this progress and result.

If you would like to read previous post, here are the ones for you.
-Making Mirin in Melbourne
-Update on Mirin

After more than 6 months….
Opened the bottles and checked its aroma.

Mirin with Sake.
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Oops.
This is not right!!
This aroma is not right. Not too bad, but not quite right.
When you deal with fermented food, I think it is very important to believe your nose.
Use your five senses, especially sense of smell.
So it was unfortunate, but I gave up to taste this.

What about one with Shotsu??

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This one actually smells sweet.
This aroma is good one!! 🙂 Smells just like Mirin.

Good! Now strains it!
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At first, with rough strainer.
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By the way, the things you got out of this strainer, you can use it for cooking,
especially….as fermentation pickling paste. I use it with fish.
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Then with fine cloth.
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Here is the freshly squeesed?? mirin!!
Still muddy (ricy?) thought, it will settled later.
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Like this.
Times make this more mellow.
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I took supernatant liquid and moved to the little bottle.
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It’s the Mirin, made in Melbourne!!
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I don’t know the real reason why my Mirin with Sake didn’t go well,
but my guess at the moment is alcohol contain % in Sake was too low.
Shotsu has more alcohol than Sake.
Next, I will try again with higher alcohol % contain Shotsu, 35% alc one.

Make your own “Sushi Mix”

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If you prepare and store this “Sushi mix” in your fridge, you can make Chirashi-sushi(ちらし寿司) anytime you feel like it.
You can keep it for a month, very useful, isn’t it?

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By the way, Chirashi-Sushi has mainly 2 different styles.
A) Sushi items on the Sushi rice
B) Sushi items mixed with Sushi rice

Depend on the place you are, you get different type of Chirashi-sushi when you are in sushi restaurant.

It seems like (A) can be seen sushi restaurant in Kanto Area (Around Tokyo)
If you order Chirasi-sushi in Kansai area (Around Osaka, Kyoto), you will get (B).

However, when you make Chirashi-sushi at home, more people make (B) style.
My family is from Kanto area, but we always made (B) type.
This is my mum’s version.
She always mix with grilled salmon. We call it Salmon Chirashi. (One of my favorite!!)
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I’ll show you how to make “Sushi Mix”. It is heaps better than the one you buy from the shop, the packaged instant one. Trust me.

Here is the recommended ingredients.
(Missing something? No worries. Still works)

Carrot, finely cut
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Dried gourd shavings or Kanpyo (かんぴょう)
Soaked in the water, and cut into the 2-3cm.

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Thin fried tofu or Abura-age

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Dried mushroom, Shiitake
Soaked in the water, and then slice them.
Keep the water, it can be a good Dashi. We will use it later.

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Preparation has done!
Now. Start cooking.

Cook Shiitake mushroom and Kanpyo in the Dashi(500ml) +Soy sauce (4tbs) + Mirin (3tbs).
For Dashi, use the shiitake soaked water. (if it is not 500ml, add water then make it 500ml)
Bring it boil and cook it for about 5 min.
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Then add salt (1tsp) and Abura-age.
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Place a small lid directly on the food (Otoshi-buta)
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and put a normal lid as well, turn down the heat and cook it for a while.(applox 20min)
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Add carrot and Agave syrup. (You can use sugar instead, but in this case, add sugar from the beginning)
Cook it to splash the humidity, then turn off the heat.

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Put everything in the container and cool it down.
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Once it cooled down, pour vinegar.
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That’s it!
Put it into the jar and store in the fridge.
Whenever you feel like sushi, mix it with cooked rice (brown rice will work, too), and serve.
Even for one person (one bowl), it’s ok! Just add this mixture, maybe 2tbs for 1 bowl.
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Like my mum, you can put salmon as well, if you like.
Also, thin cooked egg (and thinly sliced) and pickled ginger can be decorated on top.
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Oh I put Edamame, for green colour.
Doesn’t have to be Edamame, you can use, snow pea, pea, green leaves, anything you like.

There is no rule. Enjoy your style.
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Hopefully, send me a photo of your Chirashi sushi!

Cooking workshop – 3 colours “Don”

Do you know the meaning of  “Don” (丼)?

It is a short for Donburi, which means a bowl in japanese.
Normally, it will be served with something on top of rice in the bowl.
You can find many different type of “Don” when you visit Japan.

In today’s cooking workshop, we cooked the 3-colour Don.
Simply means, you can see three different colour of something on rice :-).
(Also, we made Namasu salad, Miso beans, Ginger cucumber pickles and Miso soup)

To make scrambled eggs very finely, 2 pairs of chopsticks were used!
She said, “Wow, I’m like a Ninja!!”
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For ginger cucumber pickles, finely slicing ginger.
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And use “Suribachi” for miso beans.
This aroma from using Suribachi for sesame seeds is just so beautiful.
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Thank you for joining the workshop!
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Update on Shoyu Completed !!

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Teda~. At last, my Shoyu, soy sauce was completed!! Yeah.
The room is full of soy sauce aroma at the moment!!

It looked like this a year ago.
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Previous post about making Shoyu is here.

After looking after my shoyu over a year,
now it’s time to squeeze and take liquid from this muddy jar.
Exciting moment!!

What I used is bowl, strainer and cloth.
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Then put all muddy bits onto the cloth.
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Then squeeze it.
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This is shoyu! This is raw soy sauce!!
It is good for eating Sushi or Sashimi.

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I kept some in raw, and heated the rest.
Heated it up for 10 to 15 mins for about 85℃.
The purpose of heating up is
1) to kill bacterias (to keep it longer)
2) to get better aroma
3) to get nicer colour, nice dark red.

When you heated it up, the aroma spreads to all over the rooms. Ha ha, it’s a joy.
It required more “looking after” than making miso, but it was fun and interesting to make Shoyu!!

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Red pickled ginger 紅ショウガ

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It is good to have red pickled ginger. Good colour, feel fresh with your other dishes.
For Okonomiyaki, pan-fried noodle, garnish etc.
So easy to make.

Ginger………………200g
Plum vinegar (Umezu)….100g
Rice vinegar …………50g
Agave syrup…………..25g

This is plum vinegar, you can find it at health food store.
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Cut the ginger into fine strips and pour hot water.
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Put the cut ginger into the jar, and add all liquid while ginger is still hot.
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Keep it in the fridge!
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Nostalgic taste – Mum’s Japanese custard pudding

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This is my mum’s taste. When I was little, she made this for us when we had special occasions.
Now, when we visit their house, she will cook it for us for dessert.
Last few years, my niece wants to cook it with us. It is exactly same taste through 3 generations.

It’s such a nostalgic taste to me. Simple custard pudding.

This is all you need.
Egg, milk, sugar, vanilla.
My family normally use brawn sugar for all cooking, but mum only use white sugar for this pudding.
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First, make caramel sauce with sugar and water only.
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Wait until the colour become brown like this.
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Then pour water at once.
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Pour the caramel sauce into the pudding mould.
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Now, pudding part.
Beat the eggs well.
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Then warm up the milk. Add sugar.
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Once all sugar melted well, then pour all the milk into the egg bowl.
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Use strainer and make the liquid smooth.
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Repeat few times. Can you see the liquid became smoother?
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Add vanilla essence at the end.
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Then pour to the mould, which has caramel sauce at the bottom
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Then steam it for about 30-40 min with low heat.
(It is depend on the mould size. Adjust it, pls)

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Until the surface become like this.
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Cool it down and serve. Simple light dessert.
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Mabo tofu

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One more dish from your home made tofu!
(Do you want to know how to make tofu from scratch? Then click here)

With your yummy tofu and with Japanese seasoning, you can make Mabo tofu.
It is really easy and quick main dish.

Spring onion, garlic and ginger.
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Cut them into small pieces.
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Tofu – cut them into square.
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Seasoning.
Brown miso, brown sugar, soy sauce. Mix them well.
This mixing bowl is called Suribachi. (See here if you want to know about Suribachi)
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Pour sesame oil into the pan.
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Stir garlic and ginger first until you get aroma from them.
Then add spring onions.
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Then add the prepared sauce.
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Add water.
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Cook with tofu.
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Prepare potato flour.
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and add same amount of water.
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Mix them well. This is for making the soup thicker.
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Pour it into the pan.
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Gently mix and turn off the heat.
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How quick it was! But it can be a nice healthy main dish!
Enjoy.
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