Moon Viewing Noodles

Tsukimi UdonThough I missed it this year, in Japan, Tsukimi is a festival honoring the first full moon of Autumn. I used a recipe in my book as a guide to making my own “moon-viewing noodles.” The original recipe—oyako udon—is a bowl of noodles topped with chicken and an egg; oyako means “parents and children”and the chicken is clearly the parent of the egg.

Soba Sushi

Soba SushiThis is an unusual dish: sushi made with soba noodles rather than rice! Apparently it’s not well known even in Japan. Funny, but there are recipes in two of my cookbooks: The Japanese Kitchen, and Washoku!

Hiyashi Chuka Soba: Japanese Summertime Noodles

Japanese Summer Ramen Hiyashi Chuka SobaThese ramen noodles are very popular in Japan, but apparently they are served only in the summer. Below is the recipe as written in my project book, but Ms. Shimbo has many suggestions for different toppings. Note that she says this dish always includes the thin omelette strips. You can use seafood (crab meat, shrimp, or squid), meat (chashu, ham, chicken) and a variety of vegetables (asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, carrot, chard, cucumber, fennel, lettuce, spinach, wakame, zucchini…).

Somen, what to do when it’s hot

Japanese Noodle Salad with Sesame DressingWhen the weather is so humid that you need gills to breathe, no one wants to cook. It’s a riddle. It’s hard to be cool as a cucumber when you’re one hot tomato, especially when you enter Hades’ kitchen intent on finding something to eat. Don’t be crabby; maintain your sangfroid! Throw some spaghetti on the wall, and “open sesame“—there’s your menu! And, “Nori a bad word said.”

Tsukejiru: Cold Noodle Dipping Sauce

Tsukejiru Cold Noodle Dipping Sauce
Tsukejiru is more strongly flavored than broth for hot noodles (kakejiru) or tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu). Cold inhibits flavors. Ms. Shimbo notes that at noodle restaurants in Japan, the base (kaeshi) is made and refrigerated for a week to allow the flavor to mature. Don’t worry: if you have not planned so far ahead, cooking all the ingredients at one time makes a good sauce.

leftover ramen

shoyu ramenIf you live near a restaurant that serves good ramen, you are very lucky. Making ramen at home really is a lot of work; but the time spent stock-making and chashu-making means I have lots of potential in the freezer for new incarnations of ramen. Once the stock is made, ramen is a swimmingly easy meal!

Udon: Stompin’ on the Noodles

kneading noodle dough with feetTHOSE are my favorite socks! Can you see that they are beginning to wear out? I only wear them for special occasions. Making dough qualifies as an event. Mr. Tess commented that making some real dough would be a good idea… hmm… if he’s so smart, why ain’t he rich… he’s good at bad puns…anyway, he’s a keeper.

Gyoza, The Japanese Pot-Sticker

gyoza Japanese pot-stickersIt was dumpling day at la maison de Tess. This dish is adapted from Chinese kitchens: rounds of wheat dough stuffed with minced pork and cabbage then boiled or steamed. Once upon a time, servants of wealthy houses ate leftover food from the family table. Dumplings with cold noodle dough and congealed meat are not appealing, so clever servants devised a method of pan-frying the dumplings to get a pleasant crisp texture and additional flavor. This style of preparation became popular in Japan.