Currying Flavor: Karei Raisu

chicken-curry-rice_9144Curry on rice is almost a national dish of Japan—many eat it at least once a week. And why not: it’s delicious, easy to make with the widely available instant curry roux, can be made with a variety of ingredients, keeps well (even improves) as leftovers, and is inexpensive. It’s a meal I am fond of.

From The New York Times, 23 October, 2008
japanese-curry_9131“Indian curry came to Japan from England,” explained Hiroko Shimbo, the Japanese chef and cookbook author. “Roux of course came from France.” It was only natural that someone would put them in the same dish, she added, then paused for a moment and laughed. “It’s perfect for Americans,” she said. “It’s a very American impulse to mix.”

a recipe from Hiroko Shimbo

Hot Pot with Nerimono: Oden

oden-fish-cakes_9041Autumnal weather means hot food is once again inviting. My daughter and I went shopping for ingredients to make a Japanese hot pot on the evening before she returned to California. The hot-pot dish is called “oden” in which an assortment of fish-cakes and dumplings are cooked in dashi, kombu stock, or chicken stock, with other ingredients including daikon, konyaku, and potatoes. It was great fun to see the variety of fish and seafood cakes or dumplings; we couldn’t resist buying too many because they looked so interesting.

Nerimono for Oden Hot Pot Hanpen: simmered or boiled fish cake. Ingredients: Pollack, water, egg white, potato starch, sugar, salt, rice wine, and some chemical stabilizers. This is a soft and fluffy snow white cake of puréed fish mixed with grated mountain yam (in this case: potato starch) and whipped to add air bubbles. The mixture is…

Tori-nabe: Chicken Hot Pot

Tori-NabeSharing a large pot of chicken and vegetables cooked in broth at the table is entertaining, fun, and soul-warming. —Hiroko Shimbo
And so it’s true. You might ask why I’d make a hot pot meal for only me! Good question. I’ve not been cooking much since Mr. Tess and Miss Tralita flew off after the holidays. After eating a (small) bag of chocolates for dinner one evening, I’m hungry for real food again. This meal may be best enjoyed with company, but it’s satisfying and warm. And being a soup of sorts, it’s good for a second and third meal.

Tuna Hot-Pot two

Apple Brandy from NormandyThese past few weeks have been wonderful with having us all together: Mr. Tess suggested that this occasion was suitable to open the bottle of apple brandy we got in Normandy, in 1999.
In the autumn of 1998, we got a phone call from a man asking to speak to “Jack” (Mr. Tess’s father), who had died in 1972. The stranger was a paratrooper in Normandy on D-Day, as was “Jack.” The fellow had a picture from “Newsweek” magazine with a picture of “Jack” carrying an injured French boy—and he knew that boy, now grown up, who wanted to meet and thank “Jack.”

Oden: Hot Stew with Assorted Fish Cakes

Oden Japanese Hot Pot IngredientsToday my daughter and I went to a local Japanese/Asian store to find ingredients to make our oden. There were packages of pre-selected ingredients assembled for making oden (including a powder to make the broth). But using the recipe below as a quide, we choose some interesting-looking things: konnyaku, fried fish balls, sardine dumplings (iwashi tsumire), chikuwa, and narutomaki. Mr. Tess kindly went to another store to find hanpen which is described so charmingly in the book.

Neginma-nabe: Tuna and Leek Hot Pot

Negima Nabe Tuna and Leek Hot PotSouth East Michigan got 6″-7″ of snow the other day, and now the night-time temperatures are 0*F (or insignificantly better), with high winds. Miserable climate! One of my cats is desperate to go outside, moaning and clawing the carpet to get my attention. This weather is also making me claustrophobic. What better time, then, to have some nabemono? This Japanese hot pot meal is easy to make, delicious, and hearty.