Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tofu Noodles

House Foods produce a new product that combines yam starch and tofu to create noodles. These noodles are real easy to fix; you just rinse them thoroughly and microwave them for 2 minutes. Once you’ve done that and pat them dry, the noodles are ready to be tossed into any dish you would use noodles. I happened to eat them lightly seasoned with the soup base from a package of ramen noodles. Even with the inital heating, if you eat them the way I did, you’ll have to heat them for an additional 2 minutes or so. They have 3 different noodle types availble, angel hair, spaghetti and linguini

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rice ball (onigiri) press

To speed up the process of making rice balls, the Japanese have developed several molds in varying sizes and designs. I currently have one that's about 6 inches long and is triangle shaped. I have seen diamond and heart-shaped ones at my local Japanese grocery store.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Another rice topper

Rice Seasonings
There are literally dozens of different kinds available. Many of them have some sort of fish to flavor to them. If you’re not too keen on fish, look for the ones that are aimed at kids. Often the kid varieties are made from dried vegetables. (It seems that children's aversion to vegetables is universal.) I look for the ones that have ‘ume’ as one of the first indgredients. I can tolerate dried pickled plums better than dried fish.

Rice add on

Shiso Pickled Plum
This is the salty red plum that you find on some rice dishes. It can be eaten as a accompaniment to rice. It has a tart taste that, in my opinion, is overwhelmed by the pickling salt. The red color comes from the herb called shiso, more correctly, red shiso. A small container will keep in the fridge for approximately 2 months.

Rice has multiple uses

Onigiri aka Rice Balls
3 cups rice, cooked

The trick with this receipe is how you wash your rice. Short grain rice has a lot of starch that should be washed out before you cook it. If the wash water remain just a little bit milky, the rice will be stickier than normal. Cook the rice whatever way you have available. You will be making your rice ball while the rice is still warm from cooking. If you rinse your hands in salty water, you can mold the rice balls without having it stick to your hands. You scoop up an amount that you can comfortable compress in your hands. While squeezing the rice together, you can mold it into whatever shape suits your fancy, like disks, barrels, or triangles. If you are using a filling, make a cavity in the rice you've just pulled from your cooking pot and stick a small amount of filling inside. You don't want too much filling for several reasons, it will escape as you compress it or the rice ball won't stay together because of too much filling. You can just season the rice before making your ball. There are several available at your local Japanese supermarket, many of them fish flavoured. Personally, I looking for the ones that has the word "Ume" among the first few ingredients. That means it's a pickled plum flavored seasoning.

For Fillings try: tuna, pickled plum, pickled diakon radish, leftover chinese food (without the rice, obviously), leftover beef stew, leftover stir fry, etc.

Note: Rice balls can be eaten hot or cold. I warm them up by steaming them but microwaving them should work just as well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The kitchen is open for business

Welcome to Otakuza Kitchen. Here I will continue digitally what I had started in print and sold at local Chicago conventions. This blog will act as a log of my attempts to cook the foods one sees in Japanese animes. I will also review various kitchen gadgets, tools and helpful extras as I come across them.

Thus I will make the mistakes so you don't and guide those of you who are interested into cooking Japanese foods.