NOURISHING ESSENTIALS (August 2022) - Vegan: Plant-Based Specialties (菜食)
IMO KENPI (SWEET POTATO FRIES SNACK)
Producer: Kodama Ikiiki Farm
Imo kenpi are a popular, crunchy Japanese snack made from sweet potatoes in the shape of thin french fries which are coated in sugar. Kobama Ikiiki Farm captures the nostalgic taste of imo kenpi in this all-natural, old-fashioned snack made from sweet potatoes from Kyushu.
Kodama Ikiiki Farm is a dried vegetable company that creates artisanal products in the countryside of Fukuyama city in Hiroshima Prefecture. In addition to their commitment to producing high quality products, Kodama Ikiiki Farm works to create new and inventive ways for people to enjoy the local harvests.
Ingredients:Sweet potatoes (from Kyushu), vegetable oil, sugar
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is.
ORGANIC MISO SOUP
There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of hot miso soup. Found served alongside almost every meal in Japan, it’s as important to rounding out a meal as a bowl of rice. Miso soup is typically made from a katsuobushi dashi (bonito/skipjack tuna broth) which makes it not vegan-friendly. This organic vegan miso soup uses an entirely plant based seasoned miso which is combined with organic spinach, tofu and green onions to create a delicious and unique vegan miso soup that is slightly sweeter than regular miso soup.
Since its establishment in 1945, Ohsawa has been delivering macrobiotic foods through their curation of high-quality products. Founded by George Ohsawa, macrobiotic cuisine is a philosophy of eating based on nourishing food that can bring about harmony in one’s body and the universe by balancing yin and yang elements. Local foods are eaten in season, in their most wholesome and natural form, and with gratitude to protect one’s health and the environment.
Ingredients: Seasoned miso (organic rice miso, organic cooking sake, salt, yeast extract, onion powder, kelp powder, shiitake mushroom extract,alcohol), organic spinach, organic tofu, organic green onion, tofu coagulant (contains soybeans)
Suggested uses: Pour contents of each package in a bowl, add 160ml of boiling water, stir well and enjoy.
VEGAN SUSHI MIX
This flavorful sushi mix is filled with four carefully selected Japanese ingredients: koya dofu or freeze-dried tofu (which has a mild flavor, unique spongy texture and when cooked in a broth, soaks up the liquid, making it almost burst in your mouth when you eat it), carrots, burdock root, and shiitake mushrooms. It’s a convenient way to make chirashizushi (sushi rice bowl) but can also be used mixed with rice or in miso soup.
Yamashiroya is a producer of dried goods and has been led by four generations of women, starting from 1904. Although the entire business was destroyed in World War II, the next female descendant rebuilt the company, reestablishing it in 1946, and then passed it to her talented daughter-in-law.
Ingredients: Koya-dofu (freeze-dried tofu) (non-GMO soybeans made in Japan), dried carrot (made in Japan), dried burdock root (made in Japan), dried shiitake mushroom (made in Japan), coagulant for tofu, baking soda, glucose
Suggested uses: Try it in theVeganChirashizushi (Rice Bowl) recipe provided or add to the miso soup in this package. Can also be added to stir fries, when making takikomi gohan (mixed rice) or as a topping for salads by first rehydrating the package contents in a bowl with enough water to cover the ingredients, then draining and squeezing to remove excess water.
Storage: Room temperature.
NORI PASTE WITH YUZU KOSHO (NORI KURO)
Producer: Takahashi Shoten
This unique artisanal condiment combines two iconic Japanese spreads: nori paste (tsukudani) and yuzu kosho.
Tsukudani is a sweet and savory paste made by simmering seaweed in soy sauce and other traditional Japanese seasonings to create a deep umami flavor. The seaweed used here is sourced from the Ariake Sea and is known for its high-quality flavor and nutrients from the sea. Picked in mid-November, only the first and second harvest, known as “Autumn Bud”, is used. The seaweed is rich in amino acids that help to enhance umami.
The tsukudani is blended with yuzu kosho - a citrusy spicy paste made from Japan’s prized citrus fruit: yuzu. Yuzu has a flavor best described as a cross between a tart lemon, a sweet mandarin orange, and a fragrant grapefruit, which is then combined with chili peppers and salt. The yuzu for this paste come from Miyazaki in Kyushu, a region famous for its yuzu.
To combine these ingredients, our producer, Takahashi Shoten, uses a blended vinegar they chose after tasting over 100 different types. The vinegar perfectly enhances the aroma and flavor of the seaweed along with the spicy tingle from the yuzu kosho while maintaining a balanced acidity profile.
Takahashi Shoten began as a sake brewery but turned their attention to creating pickles using sake lees in 1946, guided by the twelfth generation of the founding family. Since then, Takahashi Shoten has continued to create new local marine and agricultural products while preserving the techniques handed down through their family.
Ingredients: Sugar (made in Japan), soy sauce, yuzu kosho, dried nori seaweed (made in Japan), vinegar, salt, potato starch, yeast extract (contains soybeans and wheat)
Suggested uses: Extremely versatile, add atop a bowl of rice, as a dip for fresh cut vegetables, as a sauce for cooked chicken, fish or boiled vegetables, as a spread on canapés, in pastas or on pizza, etc. Can also be mixed with sesame oil or mayonnaise and used as a sauce for boiled vegetables, or in theOkara Soybean Salad recipe provided.
Storage: Refrigerate after opening.
RAW OKARA (SOYBEAN PULP)
Producer: Kozawa Shokuhin
Okara, also referred to as soy pulp, is made from soaked and ground soybeans that have been strained in a cloth bag to make soymilk which is also used to make tofu.The leftover pulp is beige in color and has almost no taste so it can easily absorb the flavors of the other ingredients it’s mixed with.
Typically found dried, this unique okara is a first in the industry to be available raw (which helps to maintain its moisture) without requiring refrigeration before opening. Whole domestic soybeans are used, providing high amounts of fiber, protein, and other nutrients, while being a popular gluten-free substitute for wheat flour with less sugar.
Kenzo Kozawa, the founder of Kozawa Shokuhin, believed that in order to make the very best tofu, one must constantly refine one’s technique, tools, and ingredients. He woke up every morning before dawn with the goal of making the most delicious tofu. He would wait patiently for the soybeans to germinate at the optimal temperature and time of day in order to reach the perfect moisture content - an art only a true tofu artisan can achieve. These skills and techniques have been passed down through the generations and continue to influence how Kozawa Shokuhin makes their soy-based products. While other companies cook their soybeans in large batches, Kozawa Shokuhin slowcooks their soybeans in small batches to protect the vegetable protein, resulting in the best flavor.
Ingredients: Soybeans (non-GMO, domestic)
Suggested uses: Extremely versatile, use as a meat substitute or as a low carb/high fiber substitute for rice or potatoes. Can also be used as a gluten-free alternative to, or in combination with, wheat flour to make breads, cakes, cookies, hamburgers, meatballs and more. Or simply add to soups and smoothies as is.Try it in theOkara Soybean Salad or Okara Soybean Protein Patties recipes provided.
Storage: Refrigerate after opening and use as soon as possible.
SANSHO PEPPER MAZEMEN (MIXED NOODLES)
Mazemen (lit. “mixed noodles”) is a delicious Japanese noodle dish that is served without any broth or soup. The noodles are served in a chili pepper and garlic flavored soy sauce and typically topped with minced pork, green onions, roasted nori seaweed, and an egg.
This spicy instant mazemen is made without animal ingredients, making it vegan-friendly. The texture of meat is reproduced by using soy, and the seasoning includes organic soy sauce that has been aged in a cedar barrel, jumbo garlic from Onomichi city and sansho (also known as “Japanese peppercorn”), which are similar to Szechuan peppercorns but with a noticeable citrus flavor and strong spicy taste.
Marushima creates natural and organic products centered around the philosophies of macrobiotics. In fact, Kiyoshi Masuya, the president of Marushima, studied under the late George Ohsawa, who founded this way of eating. It’s with the same care of balancing yin and yang elements, eating food in its most wholesome and natural form, and eating locally-grown products that Marushima makes their products.
Ingredients: Fried noodles (wheat flour (domestic), vegetable oil (palm oil), potato starch, wheat protein, salt), organic soy sauce, raw sugar, Canola oil, soybean products, onion, fermented seasoning, salt, starch, ginger, paprika powder, apple vinegar, yeast extract, jumbo garlic, garlic, red pepper powder, antioxidant (vitamin E) (includes: wheat, soybeans)
Suggested uses: Makes 1 serving. Boil the noodles in a pot of water for 3 mins while stirring to loosen the noodles. Strain then place the noodles in a bowl. Thoroughly mix in the soup powder, add your favorite toppings (Eg. cooked vegetables, sesame oil, green onions, garlic, etc.) and enjoy.
YUME-WAKABA SINGLE ORIGIN PREMIUM SAYAMA TEA
Sencha is the most commonly consumed and produced tea in Japan, making up 80% of all tea production. The tea leaves are grown in direct sunlight and tend to be harvested in the first or second flush. The leaves of the upper shoots, which are the youngest and of higher quality, are then steamed, dried and rolled into needle-like shapes, which helps to intensify the flavor.
The sencha used for this Yume-Wakaba Premium Tea is a relatively new and rare cultivar from the famous tea producing region of Sayama in Saitama Prefecture. Our producer, Shimizuen, has a long history of producing tea in this area, dating back to the middle of the Edo Era. Now in its 17th generation, Shimizuen continues to handpick its tea which is grown using mainly organic fertilizer and compost that changes based on the conditions of the season. The resulting tea has a signature aroma of vanilla and milk. It has a mild bitterness and astringency with subtle umami and sweetness.
While most teas are typically blended to produce a large, consistent quantity, this Yume-Wakaba Premium Tea is a single variety tea cultivated only in the Shimizuen plantation. Because of this, the taste can change from year to year and the cultivation can be small, particularly for Yume-wakaba. This is truly a rare cup of tea!
Ingredients: Sencha (100% Yume-wakaba)
Suggested uses: For a single cup brew, add 250ml of boiling or ideally 80-85°C water to a mug. Steep one tea bag for about 1 minute. Can be brewed up to three times per tea bag. To brew in a teapot, use 600ml of water for 3-4 servings per tea bag. To make cold tea, add one tea bag to 500ml of cold water and put in the fridge for at least 6 hrs.