Washoku is the Japanese word for Japanese cuisine. This blog will introduce Japanese food, the chefs, dishes, pottery, and Japanese culture. All photos are by Naoko Takagi, contributions from other individuals will be noted.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Snow Crab

Snow Crab

The Snow Crab is one of the dishes of the Winter Feast in Japan (snow crab is called "zuwai gani" in Japanese). However, summertime is the best season to fish for snow crab in North America. Most of them are found in Alaska. The best chefs in New York begin offering snow crab during this peak fishing season. Hirohisa Hayashi, owner and chef at the Japanese restaurant Hirohisa in SoHo NYC, introduced me to a dish with snow crab.

His dish is a mix of snow peas, purslane and kanimiso (miso-like paste found inside a crab's intestinal area) topped with snow crab legs, caviar and house made bottarga. The chef recommended that this dish be enjoyed as an appetizer for a summer course. The Alaskan snow crab is big and tasty but a more delicate flavor than Japanese variety, so he added caviar and bottarga to compliment the delicate meat, but also to create a richer, complex flavor combination.

His attention to detail and his skillful selection of ingredients allows him to offer outstanding dishes like Snow Crab. Its crisp summer flavor of the mixed vegetables, blended with the savory snow crab meat and the aroma of the caviar was accented by the bottarga. Anyone can make an excellent dish with these delicious snow crabs, but eating a dish prepared by a professional chef, like Mr. Hayashi, takes summer snow crab to another level all together. 



今回、ニューヨークはSoHoにある日本料理店ひろ久のオーナーシェフであるHirohisa Hayashiさんに旬のズワイガニを使った一品を紹介していただきました。





Monday, July 13, 2015

About Rice

We call steamed rice "gohan" in Japan. The way rice is prepared is reflected by what it is called in Japanese, rather than how in English "rice" is modified by an adjective. In many Asian countries rice is considered the main part of the meal. There are many regional varieties of rice wheat chosen for a meal, but when rice is eaten by itself, I think the Japanese brand "Koshihikari" is the most delicious variety. This brand of rice, shown in the photo, is grown and processed in Ikedacho, in the Fukui prefecture of Japan. This town is surrounded by wilderness and pure water from the area. The warm and humid climate is necessary for the production of high quality rice, but abundant clean water is the most important element. The environment of Japan is ideal for such high quality rice production and for that reason the people of Japan can enjoy some of the best rice in the world. Not only that, but in Japan, the traditional spices and seasonings like miso, shoyu (soy sauce), sake (YES!) and nuka (rice bran) are made from rice. Higher quality rice makes higher quality seasonings. I am sure that many arguments could be made about which rice is the best in Japan since it largely depends on where you were raised and happy childhood memories associated with a certain variety, but there are many excellent varieties to choose from in Japan. Everyone enjoys their rice in the end.



Photo shoot at Horohisa