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.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Chirasi-zushi with Salmon Roe and Snow Crabs

Chirasi-zushi with Salmon Roe and Snow Crabs

Chirasi-zushi is one of the sushi dishes in Tokyo, Japan. The many kinds of sashimi are put onto "sumeshi (white rice cooked for sushi)" and it looks like a gorgeous seafood rice bowl. However, people from other parts of Japan, and people from countries outside of Japan have begun to savor this meal.

This chirashi is made with salmon roe, snow crab meat, seaweed, shiso, mitsuba (Japanese parsley), sumeshi and shredded omelet (it's a complex dish that usually only chefs can master well). November to December is the best time to eat this dish.

It can be confusing to order this dish because people from other parts of Japan know Chirasi-zushi to mean "gomoku-zushi (several kinds of ingredients like eggs, lotus, shiitake mushroom, eel, carrots, kanpyo and, etc. are mixed with sumeshi)", a meal for a celebration. Be careful when you are ordering to avoid confusion.




Photo shoot at Hirohisa

Monday, November 23, 2015

Female Snow Crabs

Photo of female snow crabs せいこ蟹の写真 コッペ蟹

Female Snow Crabs (called "koppe-gani / seko-gani / seiko-gani in Japanese)

Usually, when people hear the word "snow crabs", we imagine plump, yummy legs and claws, but those are male snow crabs. The body size is significantly different between the two sexes of a snow crab. Female snow crabs are typically 1/3 of the size of a male snow crab.
In addition to size, around November, pregnant snow crabs carry "sotoko (fertilized eggs)" which have a similarly satisfying popping crunch as sea grapes when you chew them. "Uchiko (the ovary)" has a rich strong crab flavor. These flavors are quite different from the flavors of the male snow crab and as a result, the female snow crab is considered a signature dish during the winter feast known as Fuyu no mikaku. The unique flavor combination of the sotoko, uchiko and "kani-miso (the brown meat)" leads you to the next level as a gastronomist.

Pour sake to the shell when you finish enjoying the crab meat. The sake will take on a subtle flavor of the kani-miso--a deeply satisfying way to complete the meal.

Interesting fact, the brown bead-like formations on crabs shell are the eggs of a leech that commonly lives on crabs. There are many mysteries surrounding these parasites, but they don't harm crabs themselves. They only use the hard surface as a safe place to lay their eggs. They don't infect the crabs in anyway, so they are safe to eat.

通の一品 せいこ蟹




Female Snow Crabs せいこ蟹 こっぺ蟹

Photo shoot at Hirohisa

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Suppon (a soft-shelled turtle)

Copyright 2015 by Naoko Takagi

Copyright 2015 by Naoko Takagi

Copyright 2015 by Naoko Takagi
Suppon from Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan  静岡産すっぽん


One of the famous Japanese dishes is Suppon (a soft-shelled turtle). The extract and the broth of suppon is well known as the most delicious flavor in the world.

Preparing suppons makes us feel thankful for the sacrifice they make by becoming our food. Japanese people have a ritual of saying, "Itadakimasu" before eating. This is a kind of greeting. "Itadakimasu" means "I'm going to eat," "thank you for the cooking," or "thank you for giving your life to me. "Killing suppons makes us re-realize that we take something's life away. The "Itadakimasu" spirit is one of the traditions that Japanese culture and culinary artists want to spread all over the world.



Photo shoot at Hirohisa

Saturday, November 7, 2015



Black truffles are often called a black diamond. Its strong odor is reminiscent of leaking gas oil. Although that may not sound appetizing, it is one of the most sought after ingredients for top quality restaurants in the world. The most popular farm for black truffles is in France, while white truffles are from Italy. The biggest export country, however, is China (a different variety of truffles). The truffle hunter always brings his partner- a female pig or dog. Pigs and dogs are also love to eat the truffles so when they find them, there is always a a great struggle to harvest them before the pig or dog does.

These truffles are best enjoyed with white miso in Japanese cuisine.



Photoshoot at Hirohisa