Gingami-yaki is the contemporary version of the age-old practice of wrapping foods in wet leaves for cooking in hot ashes. Leaves or paper allows the food to “breathe” as it cooks. In Japan, hand-made paper was used, but today, it is very expensive. Foil is much more accessible. Another technique for cooking food in a fire is to use unglazed earthenware. In India and China foods are packed in wet clay, then fired until the clay is baked. The hard covering is cracked open while still hot and the food inside is nicely cooked in its own juices. In Japan a two piece earthenware vessel called a hõraku was developed. It looks like two cymbals sealed rim to rim with clay or mud. The vessel would be buried in live coals to cook the foods in it. Whether one uses foil or a clay container, the food is actually steamed (steaming = musimono), but in Japan where the traditional heat source is charcoal, this cooking method is called mushi-yaki (steam grilling).
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