February 22, 2012


Make & Taste is a concept I came up with a couple years ago. It’s a casual lunch making experience with colleagues and friends. At one point, I held this event every other Friday at Autofuss. It’s a nice break that forces you to step away from your work, focus your mind on simple tasks like peeling carrots or mixing ingredients. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to learn, teach, collaborate, and share experiences with others.

Today’s Make & Taste is with my dear friend, Zilia. The menu is a fairly simple, and traditional Japanese meal. While most non-Japanese people would pinch their nose and run if they were presented with natto (fermented soybean), not Zilia. She spent part of her youth in Japan and has grown fond of foods like natto, seaweed, and pickled plum.

Zilia and I met in middle school at the Fukuoka International School in Japan. Here we are 15 years later, sharing a meal
from our culture and speaking Japanglish.
This dessert mochi is made from potato starch and rolled in kinako, a powder made from grinding roasted soybeans.
The dark kuromitsu sauce is a simple syrup made of black sugar.

 { All recipes below serves 2 }   *Note: Special ingredients can be found at your local Japanese grocery store


Lightly pickled cucumber with sesame

1 Japanese cucumber
sesame seeds
sesame oil

Peel half of the skin off of the cucumber, and cut into thirds. Cut each third into quarters, length-wise. Generously salt and rub it in. Set aside for 10 minutes. Lightly rinse the cucumbers and drain well. Sprinkle with ground sesame seeds and drizzle with sesame oil.

Somen with seaweed, mountain potato, pickled plum, natto, and kaiware sprouts

2 servings of dried somen noodles
1 small stick of mountain potato, peeled and grated
2 packs of natto
4 pickled plums, pitted and mashed into paste
a handful of dried seaweed, soaked in hot water
a small bunch of kaiware sprouts
a bottle of konbu tsuyu

Boil a medium pot of water and cook the somen noodles for 1.5 - 2 minutes. Immediately drain and set aside in ice water. To assemble, place the well drained somen into two big bowls and top with grated mountain potato, natto, plum paste, well drained seaweed, and kaiware sprouts. Drizzle with konbu tsuyu when serving.

Miso soup with tofu and shimeji

2 cups water
1 teaspoon konbu dashi granules
2 inch cube of tofu, diced
a handful of shimeji mushrooms
1-2 tablespoons miso paste
1 green onion, chopped

In a small pot, boil water and konbu dashi. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the tofu and shimeji mushrooms. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the miso paste, and serve topped with chopped green onion.

Matcha warabi mochi with kinako and kuromitsu 

for the kuromitsu: 40 grams black sugar, 20 grams white sugar, 50 ml water
for the mochi: 40 grams potato starch, 20 grams sugar, ½ teaspoon matcha, 180 ml water, ½ cup kinako

To make the kuromitsu, add both sugars and water into a small pot and boil until the sugars have dissolved. Set aside and let cool. In a medium pot, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Slowly whisk in the water and stir until smooth. Set the pot on medium heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon. The mixture will start to clump together. Continue stirring until it becomes translucent and sticky. Remove from heat and store in a small container. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Cut the mochi into bite size and roll in kinako. Drizzle kuromitsu when serving.


Claire said...

I love your ring! And your blog of course :)

Haley said...

I just discovered your blog through pinterest and I am convinced you are a food genius. Your website is making me so happy!