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.
Monday, October 19, 2015
This photo shows one variety of the MATSUTAKE mushroom from Oregon in the United States. Every Autumn, Japanese people go wild for this mushroom. There are many recipes for this, but chef Hayashi at Hirohisa in New York recommends that this mushroom be grilled, deep fried with panko or put into a soup. This exquisite mushroom has captivated the attention of the Japanese people as well as mushroom connoisseurs. The smell alone drives people to spend exorbitant amounts of money for only a sliver of the matsutake.
Scientists have not been successful at growing it in an artificial setting. Despite decades of research, the only way to enjoy this mushroom is to pay for its foraging. It is so rare that foraging is a very expensive endeavor.
Photoshoot at Hirohisa
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Manabashi. (A type of long chopsticks used in the preparation of fish)
Today, using chopsticks is very popular all over the world but this time, I'd like to introduce you a specific type of chopsticks used just for cooking.
This is a one of Japanese people's necessary culinary tools. They are usually made with iron.
They have have been in existence since about 1500 a.c. in Japan according to official historical records. Once communities began forming in Japan, after the hunter-gatherers shifted to agricultural techniques, people cooked fish or meat (which have a fishy raw smell), and used these chopsticks to avoid cross-contamination with other ingredients.
The word "Manabashi " means fish that is put on the plates as "Mana" and "Bashi" means chopsticks in Japanese. For the vegetables, we use the chopsticks called "Saibashi" which are made with wood. "Sai" means vegetables.
In Japan, we have a unique sacred ceremony by using the Manabashi. The ceremony leader cuts the fish beautifully without touching it and dedicates the fish to the Gods. The leader uses a pair of manabashi in his left hand and a big knife in his right. We can still see it at some shrines even now. We call this ceremony "Hocho-shiki".
A chef told me that when he uses the manabashi, he feels his spirit awakening.
Great chefs and great tools are always together. Well maintained tools lead professionals to the next level in every field.
Contributer: Hiroshi Kitano
Photo shoot at Horohisa