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, April 27, 2016

Wakatake-ni (Bamboo shoots and wakame seaweed)

wakatake wakatakeni
Wakatakeni  若竹煮

Wakatake-ni (Bamboo shoots and wakame seaweed)

Wakatake-ni is a one of the most popular dishes in the spring time in Japan. There is a limited amount of time that we can enjoy eating the tender bamboo shoots. They grow quite fast and only baby bamboo shoots are edible. As a result, the youngest shoots must be harvested before they begin to mature. Fresh bamboo shoots have very delicious flavor and unique crisp texture. We cook them with sashimi, stewed, steamed, broiled, grilled, mixed with rice, salad and other dishes. However, the most popular way of cooking is "Wakatake-ni", in other words, simmered bamboo shoots and wakame seaweed. Wakame seaweed is also well-known as a spring time ingredient.

The bamboo shoots and the wakame seaweed, a bounty from the mountains and bounty from the ocean. Both ingredients come from different places but the combination of the two yields a very special dish.



Photoshoot at Hirohisa

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Cold Soba Noodle with Grated Spicy Daikon Radish (Echizen Oroshi Soba in Japanese)

Cold Soba Noodle with Grated Spicy Daikon Radish (Echizen Oroshi Soba in Japanese) 越前おろしそば
Cold Soba Noodle with Grated Spicy Daikon Radish (Echizen Oroshi Soba in Japanese)

Cold Soba Noodle with Grated Spicy Daikon Radish (Echizen Oroshi Soba in Japanese)

The soba noodle is one of the representative foods of Japan, in the way that tempura or sushi has become around the world. Buckwheat flour is prepared and eaten by people from many countries, but only in Japan will you find people enjoying the flavor and texture of the buckwheat noodle itself. Depending on where in Japan you travel, you will find regional variations of this dish. The soba noodle has been a staple of the Japanese diet since the 8th century according to historical documents. In earlier times, soba noodles were very expensive, so much so that only elite and wealthy individuals could afford to enjoy slurping up these noodles, but as wealth spread across the country and commodity prices for buckwheat and other fresh ingredients fell, enjoying soba noodles became a part of everyday life in Japan for all families.

Chef Hirohisa Hayashi (owner chef at Hirohisa in SoHo, NYC) introduced us to "Echizen Oroshi Soba (Cold Soba Noodle with Grated Spicy Daikon Radish)" which is one of the ways to eat soba noodles and is from the northern part of the Fukui prefecture in Japan, where he was born.

After the soba noodles are boiled quickly, rinsed with ice cold water and splashed with the soup, grated spicy daikon radish, bonito flakes and chopped scallions are placed gently on top. It's simple but fresh flavor and aroma gives us motivation to slurp noodle after noodle.

In recent times, because of global trade, the buckwheat noodle--nutritious and easily grown--we may find a local chef reinventing the soba noodle in the near future.



今回はニューヨークはSoHoにある日本料理店「ひろ久」のオーナーシェフ、Hirohisa Hayashi氏に、彼の故郷である福井県の「越前おろし蕎麦」を紹介していただきました。