Homemade food

July 15, 2008

Though already having posted about food quite a bit in the past, I decided to let today’s entry be about it again – this time, solely about stuff I prepared at home.

The first one shows something probably even not too many Japanese did by themselves: Handmade Daifuku mochi, a very traditional sweet; the dough is made of rice flour and sticky as hell, which makes the production quite a task!!! However, the work is worth it. Because I wanted to include a fruity taste, the natural choice was “ichigo daifuku”, but failed since I couldn’t get any fresh ichigo (strawberries). Therefore, I substituted them with blueberries and cherries, respectively – both variants were really pretty good, IMHO! The fruits are covered with anko, a sweet paste made of red beans and sugar.

Next is a presentation of something that looks quite similar, but in fact is a totally different thing: Chatsuu, baked cookies, with a noticeable amount of green tea powder (thus the name: “cha” = “tea”), and again sweet beans on the inside, mixed with a bit of sesame. Actually, they are supposed to be brownish on the top & bottom, from being fried shortly on both sides. I found a recipe, however, that proposed baking them, and after trying both styles I have to say that I like the taste better this way.

The fifth picture depicts a dinner I made for three friends, and unites several of the subsequent dishes. Though the following snapshots are probably more esthetically pleasing, I also wanted to show the dinner in total, since it was pretty cool in my opinion: We had “katsuo no tataki” (see below), fried shrimps, tofu with soy sauce and shaved dried bonito, rice, soup (a kelp broth with shiitake mushroom, shrimp, a bit of radish and two soy beans), and a vegetable dish made of carrot and burdock root. The food was great, and a friend whom I showed the picture later even told me: “It’s a full course of a Kaiseki-restaurant”, which gives it too much credit, I think, but is still nice to hear – especially from a Japanese girl.

Pictures 8 and 9 feature this “katsuo no tataki” again: Rather large fillets of bonito fish, fried for some few seconds, then cooled down in ice water and marinated a little in a special sauce. Due to the cooling, the fillet is still nearly completely raw, and the thick-cut slices just melt in your mouth.

The last row shows the result of two friends and me making soba (buckwheat) noodles by ourselves. It was hard work, but the result tasted great … well, my Japanese friends were a bit more fussy, criticizing that they cut the noodles too thickly – but, hey, the taste is what’s counting, and in this respect it was a full success. We ate the noodles as “ten zaru soba”: cooled down, served with a dipping sauce and rounded off with tenpura – deep fried octopus, cuttlefish and vegetables.



  1. Wow! Looks again more than tasty and seeing this alone is enough to make me pity my own cooking skills… let’s counter that with a (hopefully) constructive idea: How about adding Kanji for all Japanese dishes and places that you are using in the blog? It’s probably not a big deal for you and might make for a nice addition. In the worst case scenario some people will be seeing boxes only, but since most visitors here probably have at least some remote interest in Japan it’s maybe not that many 🙂

  2. Thanks for the compliment. I guess I’ll write a second “homemade food” entry in the near future.

    As for the kanji idea: OK, I’ll do so. But I’ll include the names in the descriptions (captions) of the single pictures. This way, you’ll have all of the information, but the Japanese won’t disturb the normal text. Sounds good?

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