Seaweed has long been a staple food in Japanese diets. In recent years there has been a boom in interest in seaweed, many touting it as a “superfood,” a fact long known by Japanese people. Here's an in-depth look at some of the varieties of “sea vegetable".
Shichimi togarashi, or simply shichimi, means “seven-flavor chili pepper". It's a Japanese spice blend made typically from a combination of coarsely ground red chili pepper, ground Japanese sanshō pepper, roasted citrus peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, ground ginger, and nori, or seaweed, and served on noodles and hot pot dishes.
Founded as a tea farm in the Edo period about 400 years ago, Yamamasa Koyamaen continues to be recognized as one of the most famous and trustworthy brands of matcha across Japan.
The ubiquity of dashi (だし, 出汁) in Japanese cuisine goes to show how versatile of an ingredient it is. Dashi is the main stock of choice and can be made from several ingredients: kombu (dried kelp), katsuobushi (dried skipjack/bonito tuna flakes, iriko or niboshi (dried anchovies or sardines), and dried shiitake mushrooms.
I have no experience doing anything with scallops except eating them. After visiting Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture in Japan, to a tiny town called Yakumo, I can now confidently call myself the “best worst amatuer” in scallop farming.
Washoku is Japan’s unique culinary identity and traditionally focuses on achieving harmony, both in the pairing of ingredients and the creation of a harmonious eating experience. It is in this emphasis on harmony that some of the foundational elements of washoku can be best understood.
A long tradition of foraging has made a special place for a certain type of vegetable in Japan, known as sansai (山菜.) Sansai, or literally mountain vegetables, are particularly prized harbingers of spring.
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