Portuguese and Spanish missionaries started trickling into Japan to spread the teachings of Christianity near the end of the Muromachi era (1392-1567), and their first foothold in Japan was Nagasaki. The Japanese took to referring to all Europeans as Nanbanjin or “Southern barbarians,” and gradually the term “nanban” came to mean anything related to EuropeanRead On >
Miso: More than just a Seasoning
Miso (fermented soybean paste) is not only considered a condiment, spice, and seasoning in Japan but a way of life as well. I can think of no equivalent food in Western cuisine that has had such a powerful impact on culinary culture, not to mention societal relations. Miso is believed to have been created inRead On >
Yakitori: Skewered, Grilled, and Garnished (Part 2)
Walk out of almost any train station in Japan in the evening, look for a restaurant with an akachochin (red lantern) outside, and inside you’ll find groups of salaried workers talking, drinking, and consuming countless skewers of yakitori, this country’s version of shish kebab. There is something very seductive about the smell of meat grillingRead On >
Soba Celebrations for a Happy New Year!
IN JAPANESE CULTURE, soba (buckwheat) noodles have always been seen as a “happiness” food, served on special occasions. It is traditional, too, when moving into a new house to greet your neighbors with hikoshi soba (moving soba). This involves a play on words, as soba also means “close” or “near” – like neighbors. Another sobaRead On >
The Art of Ramen: Salt Flavoring for Ramen Soup
This recipe uses another traditional ramen ingredient, namely menma (Manchurian wild rice stems), which I love. Along with fishcake (naruto), spinach, lard, and green onion or Japanese leek, the garnishes add a nice touch to the salt flavoring. This is part of the “Art of Ramen” series. The basic chicken stock for ramen that’s usedRead On >
The Art of Ramen: Soy Sauce Flavoring for Ramen Soup
This is a traditional, yummy and simple Soy Sauce flavoring for Ramen noodles. Directions: Mash the garlic, ginger and leek together. Mix together the mirin, soy sauce and sake. Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan and let cook slowly, over low heat, for five minutes. Combine the soy sauce flavoring with hot stock. Place garnishes on top of the cooked noodles in the soy sauce flavored soup.
The Art of Ramen: Barbecued Pork (Chashu) For Ramen
Barbecued Pork (Chashu) is just one of the many traditional garnishes used for Ramen. It is surprisingly easy to make and has a very seductive taste and smells divine! When I make this, there are never any left-overs! Chashu’s origins come from the Chinese Cantonese barbecue pork dish called Char siu. This is part ofRead On >