Pickling Update

image

Earlier this year I received from my brother this pickling contraption.

image

Unfortunately the instructions were written in Japanese and I don’t read Japanese!

On my first attempts at pickling I thought I was supposed to keep tightening down the little pressure plate.  I kept the veggies really pressed down and the result was uneven flavor because of too much pressure.

Thank goodness for the Internet!  I started my online research and discovered that the goal was just to keep your veggies below the surface of your pickling medium.  Anything above the pickling medium was in danger of rotting or becoming moldy.

Here I just used the pressure plate to keep the stuff submerged.

image

The pickles on the left, the smaller ones, were picked for about five days and were slightly too salty but had a good flavor.  The pickles on the right were pickled for about three days and were perfect and still very crunchy.

The medium was organic black miso.

image

 

Thanks again Sam really enjoying my gift.  Yay pickling contraption!  Great fun!  🍱

 

Updated Grace Motoyoshi’s easy fried rice

Updated below in italics….

Grace Motoyoshi’s is my brother-in-law’s mom.

When my sister Kris started dating Den I was a teenager. Kris was nine years older than me and everything about her was fascinating.  I was intrigued. I wanted to know everything about Den.  I would ride my bike to visit Den’s parents to find out more about him and his family.  I just recently found out that Den never knew about these visits.

I think Den’s parents found these visits somewhat alarming at first but then they became amused and resigned and just dealt with me – that teenage sister of their son’s latest girlfriend.

We didn’t have much in common me being at that  annoying age, a teenager who knew it all, I was probably not a lot of fun for them.  I bless them that they tolerated me and didn’t complain to Kris and Den about my visits.

They were thoughtful and knew a teenager would be hungry.  Grace would make me something real quick to eat.  Fried rice not like anything I had ever tasted because Grace had a secret ingredient she used.  Dashi dried soup stock!

image

Here is her recipe with a very few additions I have made along the years.

You will need cold day old rice (cold rice isn’t  so sticky).

Heat some oil in a pan.  Here you can add some butter and/or some toasted sesame seed oil for extra umami (savory taste).  You can also and some onion or some minced or crushed garlic here and if you do cook for a bit. Then add your cold rice.  Stir occasionally until heated.  Sprinkle with dashi powder to taste.  Here you can also add soy sauce but be careful as dashi powder will also be salty and you will want to taste frequently.  Last add one egg per portion, this is quick fried rice so just crack the egg(s) over the pan in stir in.

The update which my brother-in-law Den reminded me about is fresh grated ginger.  As a teenager this was a step I was too lazy to undertake.  Ha!  This is the secret ingredient and explains why Grace’s fried rice always tasted better than mine!  Thank you Den!

Here is Grace Moyoyoshi’s quick fried rice with ebi (shrimp) tempura fishcake and kasuzuke cucumbers.

Itadakimasu!

image

Grace Motoyoshi’s easy fried rice

Grace Motoyoshi’s is my brother-in-law’s mom.

When my sister Kris started dating Den I was a teenager. Kris was nine years older than me and everything about her was fascinating.  I was intrigued. I wanted to know everything about Den.  I would ride my bike to visit Den’s parents to find out more about him and his family.  I just recently found out that Den never knew about these visits.

I think Den’s parents found these visits somewhat alarming at first but then they became amused and resigned and just dealt with me – that teenage sister of their son’s latest girlfriend.

We didn’t have much in common me being at that  annoying age, a teenager who knew it all, I was probably not a lot of fun for them.  I bless them that they tolerated me and didn’t complain to Kris and Den about my visits.

They were thoughtful and knew a teenager would be hungry.  Grace would make me something real quick to eat.  Fried rice not like anything I had ever tasted because Grace had a secret ingredient she used.  Dashi dried soup stock!

image

Here is her recipe with a very few additions I have made along the years.

You will need cold day old rice (cold rice isn’t  so sticky).

Heat some oil in a pan.  Here you can add some butter and/or some toasted sesame seed oil for extra umami (savory taste).  You can also and some onion or some minced or crushed garlic here and if you do cook for a bit. Then add your cold rice.  Stir occasionally until heated.  Sprinkle with dashi powder to taste.  Here you can also add soy sauce but be careful as dashi powder will also be salty and you will want to taste frequently.  Last add one egg per portion, this is quick fried rice so just crack the egg(s) over the pan in stir in.

Here is Grace Moyoyoshi’s quick fried rice with ebi (shrimp) tempura fishcake and kasuzuke cucumbers.

Itadakimasu!

image

Kasuzuke Pickles

imageKasuzuke are pickles preserved in a mixture of sake lees (a yeast mash by-product that is left over after making sake), salt, sugar and sake or sweet cooking wine (mirin). They are allowed to cure for anywhere from several days to several years, and the resulting pickles may be slightly alcoholic with flavors that vary from sweet and mild to strong and pungent depending on how long they were cured for.

These are some jars of pickles I bought at a recent Arts & Crafts fair.  The elderly gentlemen selling these pickles proudly told me that it took him two years to make them.

image

He said to just take out of the jar what I wanted to eat and wash it thoroughly in water.

image

Which I did and these were some of the best pickles I have had in a long time, very savory or umami.  The flavor of these pickles exactly explains the word umami or the  “fifth taste” after salt, sweet, sour and bitter.

image

Kasuzuke is made with cucumbers, eggplants, uri (a cucumber-like gourd), daikon (radishes) and pickling melons. Carrots, eggplants, watermelon rind, and ginger can also be pickled in this way. It was made as a way to preserve vegetables for a wintertime food.

There is also a fish kasuzuke, where the sugar is sometimes omitted, and sake, shoyu (soy sauce), pepper and/or ginger may be added. Typical fish include cod, salmon, butterfish, and tai snapper.  (This may be the fermented fish that I remember from my dads pickling refrigerator http://wp.me/P4KYq6-b  from the Recipe page)

Small cucumbers or other vegetables equivalent to 6 or 8 small cucumbers

  • 3 cups of sake lees
  • 3 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • Splash of sake or mirin

Salt vegetables with 2 tbsp of the salt. Place in a container with a weight on the mix overnight.  The weight can be a small plate with a jar of water or some other weight.

In a separate bowl combine sake lees, 1 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp sugar. Mix well. If you are using dry (it will be crumbly) add the sake or mirin to moisten.  It should be the consistency of a thick paste now.

Use two identical shallow containers.  Spread part of the sake lees mixture on the bottom of the first (small bowl or crock or similar) container.  Layer the vegetables that you have squeezed and drained the water from next and then alternate layers of sake lees with the rest the vegetables.  The vegetables should be completely covered.  Top with second container and a weight on top of that the desired length of time.

Some of the recipes I read said you could use the paste up to three times so scrape off the paste and save to reuse in the next batch!  You will have to be patient as these two year pickles were worth the wait!

The results of pickling with Sam’s gift…

The results of the first pickling adventure with my brothers pickling gift.  I rushed the pickling and the pickles were bland they had a good texture and a good flavor but we’re on the bland side

The secret ingredient is raisins!

I remember my dad using raisins in his pickles all the time.  I think it was for flavor and to feed the good bacteria

I’m working on the supplies for a new pickling adventure. This one takes weeks to prepare the pickle bed.  I’ll let you know the results in a few weeks

image

I’m also going to try the quicker pickles again and let them Ferment a little longer

How do sansei eat pickles?  As a snack with hot rice!

Surprise gift!

I received a surprise gift from my brother Sam to help me with my pickling adventures!

image

 

Unfortunately the instructions are in Japanese, I am Sansei I don’t read Nihongo!

image

But I don’t want to let my brother down so I tried to make pickles without direction from memory of watching my dad and from my discussions with my brother.

image

These are couple of cucumbers from a friends garden with some salt a little miso and the secret ingredient.  She and her husband are not Japanese but love Japanese food and are my guinea pigs this go around  This is after about one hour.  The pickles need a slight pressure so you turn the handle and the little platform comes down and applies pressure. The way my dad used to do this is he get a plate, a clean rock, put the plate on top of the vegetables the rock on top of the plate and voila there was the necessary pressure.

Here are the pickles after about three hours!

image

They turned out a little too salty I had to rinse them off thoroughly add a little mirin (a Japanese sweet wine) and some more of the secret ingredient and let them press for about 12 hours.  I thought this was a pretty good result slightly sweet slightly salty slightly a little of the secret ingredient slightly crunchy.   Perfect for eating with hot rice!  I’ll let you know what the secret ingredient is when I have the results of the tasting from my friend.