& COOKING ARTICLE
Sauces . . . simple Japanese sauces can dress up otherwise
bland veggies for a healthy diet
article has been published with the permission of
its author Yukari Pratt. Yukari writes for Tokyo`s
Metropolis magazine and for the The Japan Times. She
has contributed to the guidebook, Time Out Tokyo and
to Time magazine. Yukari has been profiled in GQ Japan
and The Daily Yomiuri. A Japanese food fanatic, whose
mother is Japanese, she is on a mission to bring the
food of Japan to as many people as possible.
hobbies include soaking in "onsen" hot springs,
drinking shochu, fly-fishing, and motorcycling.
up I could never understand why my friends did not like
spinach. It was a staple in my house. Almost always
was there a stash of ohitashi in the refrigerator. At
anytime one could help oneself to the dark leafy greens
that had been quickly blanched and were marinating in
a soy sauce and sesame dressing. Funny how one assumes
as a child that everyone grows up eating the same dishes,
only to realize that is not the case. I remember being
somewhat disappointed (OK, disgusted) going to a friends
house and being served overly-steamed spinach with nothing
more than salt.
US Agriculture Department has just come out with its
new dietary guidelines. It encourages eating four to
five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Japan
offers a rich diversity of vegetables; if you can break
from old habits and consider having your vegetables
in a wafu style, abiding by the new guidelines may not
be as hard to swallow.
the transition to cooking Japanese food does not have
to be difficult. Working a full-time job leaves little
time for cooking leisurely at home. The simplicity of
Japanese food is just that: simple. Consider sashimi:
nothing more than wasabi joyu (wasabi and soy sauce)
and raw fish.
following are easy to create, healthy and best of all,
delicious. If you are really in a bind, I would pick
up some of these that are pre-mixed and keep them on
hand. I try and keep a few jars of pre-mixed dressings
in the refrigerator at all times.
sauce is one parts yuzu juice, soy sauce and dashi.
This refreshing sauce is great as a dipping sauce for
shabu shabu or simmered tofu. It also makes for a nice
salad dressing. Yudofu nabe is a healthy, vegetarian
nabe, originating from Kyoto. In your nabe, assemble
kombu (which will provide the dashi), bite size pieces
of tofu, and vegetables as you like such as napa cabbage,
shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves), green onions and carrots.
Use the ponzu sauce as a dip for the tofu and vegetables.
Goma miso, one part Saikyo miso (the sweet, white miso
from Kyoto) and one part nerigoma (creamy sesame paste),
may be the most addictive sauce. At this point, it is
still quite thick, so feel free to loosen it up with
some dashi. You may also adjust the flavor by adding
sugar or soy sauce. This tasty treat is also used as
a dipping sauce for shabu shabu. I like this with leafy
dark greens which have been blanched.
dressing is one part ume (the meaty part from umeboshi,
which you can purchase in a tube), one part dashi and
a half-part sesame oil. This puckery dressing is lovely
over julienned daikon, and is quite addictive.
simple favorite is roasted sesame seeds ground in a
suribachi (mortar and pestle) and seasoned to taste
with sugar, soy sauce and some dashi. This dressed with
blanched green beans or broccoli makes eating vegetables
fun. You can use either white or black sesame seeds.
To roast at home, place the sesame seeds in a small,
dry pan and gently roast over low heat. The thin skinned
sesame seeds will burn quickly, so keep the pan moving.
If you have extra sesame seeds leftover, sprinkle over
rice as furikake.
you mustard fans, try mixing up some karashi mustard
with some soy sauce, dashi, and a bit of sugar to soften
up the heat. The heat of the karashi mustard warms up
knew that eating vegetables could be this much fun?
These healthy dressings are not only easy to assemble,
but they are also a great way to boost the flavor of
something that can be bland, like spinach. Even if the
only sauce Popeye needed was Olive Oil, the rest of
us need more.
22 August 2006
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