Tuesday, August 31, 2010

kanten #4


Making Kanten Jelly is still going on...This time, I used pureed kiwi fruits and some diced strawberry with it.

The idea was pretty good I guess, but I have made a big mistake while I was making the jelly...

The package of Kanten powder which I have been using contains 2 grams. And you can use 1 cup of water per package. So, I could've measure the kiwi puree and add some water until 1 cup, and use the kanten powder.

But, I use a whole cup water and add the kiwi puree to the water, which makes jelly more softer and watery.

Here the Kanten Jelly looks nice in a glass cup, but it got way too watery for it's texture. But I liked the crunchy texture of the seeds and the taste combination of kiwi and strawberry.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ni-Mame (Cooked Beans)


Do you like beans?

I love to eat beans especially the sweet type!

Eating beans in salad, curry, soup... I love them anyway, but sweet simmered Japanese style beans, that's my best of best! That is Ni-Mame, which means "cooked beans" in English.

Cooking beans takes little longer time, but it's worth the wait.

Some people may consider eating beans as a comfort food, but for myself I also enjoy the time preparing the beans just as much as eating them.

You need to be careful with the heat so you do not burn the flavor of the distinct beans while it's cooking,

All those cooking elements are part of healing process, if I may say.

The first bite of the sweet taste...including all the prep time is comforting to me, every time I cook beans.

I got about 1 lb. of mixed beans at Whole Foods Market the other day, and cooked everything at one time. After I cooked the beans without any extra ingredients, I divided in 3 parts, 1 for Ni-Mame and other 2 Parts for freezing.

Then, I made a thin syrup with brown sugar and water, and pinch of sea salt. After it's started to boil in a pan I add all the beans and turn the heat down very, very, low and cooked for 30min. Turn the heat off and let the taste all come together as it's cooling down.

In my home back in Japan, Ni-Mame is one of the best Ocha-Uke (お茶受け/ little snack or condiment for break with green tea. And I believe my mother and grand mother are having it right now.

Monday, August 9, 2010



I love to eat rice, as well as my husband. Since, I started to want to shift more to a whole grain or brown rice more often for our diet, I do sometimes use as a side dish or salad for us both. But still we love to eat white rice. I just realized I can not eliminate white rice from our diet completely, but we can eat a bit less.

Instead of just a simple steamed (cooked) rice, I often make this rice. It's so easy to make because I can put any veggie, meat...aay ingredients I wish to use into the rice cooker together and press the start button. That's it. After 40min, it's all done and ready to eat.

This is called "Takikomi-Gohan". Soy sauce, sake,(yes, sake!) and salt are usually used to make this dish and added to one's taste. And for the ingredients, Gobo(burdock root), carrots, shiitake mushroom, Abura-age(fried tofu), chicken, those are commonly used, but can vary at each house with a variety of ingredients which is used. It's like a Japanese style paella.

For my version, I always add Hijiki Seaweed and Kiriboshi Daikon(Dried Shredded Daikon). Both great source for fiber and calcium.

I would like to create a good alternative recipe with more of these great Japanese ingredients and introduce it western kitchens. Finally my cooking class is coming up in September, and I definitely will use these ingredients in the class, too.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Kanten Jelly #3


Now, I think I've finally made the perfect Kanten Jelly that I wanted!

I laid soft wax paper inside a small cup, and tied top of the paper after I poured Kanten liquid and placed a strawberry in the center. It was a small bite size, so it finished molding in the fridge within 3o min.

Doesn't it look nice? .It still isn't as clear as I wanted it to be, but it turned out OK, for Kanten Jelly.
My husband describes this as " Strawberry Crystals"

I used 1 Cup of water per 1 package's Kanten Powder (2 grams), and I could make almost 10 little pieces (little smaller than ping pong boll) of this little Kanten jelly with small strawberry in it.

Kanten jelly does not melted soon in a room temperature like gelatin jelly, so it's very easy to handle and make it. Like this shinny little dessert, I hope to see more summer like sunshine in here too!