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NOURISHING ESSENTIALS (December 2019) - Community Favorites of 2019

Mozuku Udon Noodles with Soup
Mozoku Udon Noodles with Soup
もずく麺

(SEIWA SHOKUHIN)

Seiwa Shokuhin's mission is to share the merits of Okinawan mozuku, a type of seaweed revered for being a vital longevity food. Okinawa mozuku is characterized by its thick chewy texture, and contains many minerals and nutrients (including calcium, magnesium, folic acid and fucoidan). 

In particular, mozuku has important health properties compared to other brown seaweeds commonly eaten in Japan (such as konbu and wakame) due to it being a naturally rich source of fucoidan. Recent work by Japanese researchers suggests that the secret of Okinawa mozuku lies in its genes, which help boost the production of fucoidan. This genetic research is also an important step for the future of this seaweed, which is threatened by rising ocean temperatures.

A community favorite from our Okinawa box, these Okinawan mozuku noodles are made from two simple ingredients: raw mozuku harvested around Iheya Island in the northern part of the main island of Okinawa and wheat flour produced in Tokachi in Hokkaido. Raw mozuku accounts for about 30% of noodles, giving it a smooth and springy texture. No salt, preservatives or chemicals are added. In addition, the broth is made from organic soy sauce with no added chemical seasonings.

Suggested use: Add noodles to 1 liter of boiling water for 10 mins. Drain and rise under cold water. For hot udon, add the noodles to a bowl of the broth (included) mixed with 400-500ml of hot water. For cold udon, dip the noodles into a bowl of the broth (included) mixed with 100-200ml of cold water. You can also add green onion, Japanese horseradish, mozuku or Okinawan red pepper for extra flavor.
Ingredients: Noodles: Wheat flour (from Hokkaido), Okinawan mozuku; Broth: Organic soy sauce, kelp extract, bonito dashi, dried shitake mushroom, sugar, sweet sake, salt, fermented wheat sauce, starch, fermented extract (includes wheat and soy)
Nutritional information: Per: 100g, Calories: 10.7kcal, Total Fat: 1.6g, Sodium: 1.01g, Total Carbohydrate: 74.5g, Protein: 10.7g

  Ishigaki Gourmet Chili Oil

Ishigaki Gourmet Chili Oil
石垣島らー油

(PENGIN CAFETERIA)

Another favorite from our Okinawa box, this sweet and spicy chili oil is said to be the original catalyst for the gourmet oil phenomenon in Japan. It was created on Ishigaki Island with the Okinawan philosophy of "Nuchigusui" which means "life’s medicine" - a concept that describes how food, relationships and meaningful connections can create a happy, long lived life.

An international couple - Gyoho and Airi - are behind this chili oil. Gyoho came from Xi'an in China, where chili oil is such an essential ingredient that each family makes their own at home. When Gyoho arrived to Ishigaki Island, his Tokyo-born wife Airi challenged him to make chili oil using ingredients from Ishigaki Island. And that is how this chili oil was born.

The chili oil combines a variety of unique local island spices and seasonings. The couple uses local chili varieties with a mix of sweetness and heat, including one pepper (known as "island pepper") which grows naturally on the stone fence around their house. Additional speciality ingredients include local sea salt from the sea of Ishigaki, Okinawa black sugar, garlic, sesame seeds, black beans and a dash of "chimuguru" - the heart and soul of the Okinawan spirit.

Suggested use: Adds a sweet and spicy flavor to any of your favorite dishes and is a versatile hot sauce substitute that can be used on top of tofu, stir fries, or vegetables, or to add extra spice to noodles. Mix well before using to blend all the ingredients and to experience the true combined flavors of the Island!
Ingredients: Canola oil (produced in Japan), red pepper, sesame oil, garlic, black beans (soy beans), salt, sesame, sansho pepper, olive oil, island red pepper, black sugar (Okinawan brown sugar), turmeric, pepper
Nutritional information: Per: 100g, Calories: 802kcal, Total Fat: 84.9g, Sodium: 1.3g, Total Carbohydrate: 9.0g, Protein: 2.9g

Learn more about Hengin Cafeteria and their Ishigaki Gourmet Chili Oil in our Producer Spotlight.

Daships Salt

Salt Daships
だしっぷす 塩

(MICA CORPORATION)

A favorite snack from the past year, these Daships are a type of Japanese chips known as wa (和). They're made from okara (soybean pulp), wheat, mackerel powder produced in Numadu, Shizuoka and are lightly fried in non-GMO rapeseed oil.

Okara is the leftover pulp from soybeans, which have been filtered to make soy milk and tofu. It contains potassium, calcium, and niacin. In Japan, okara is traditionally used to make a side dish called unohana, which is made from okara simmered with soy sauce, mirin, carrot, mushrooms, and burdock root. These chips combine the nutritionally goodness of okara with wheat and fish broth produced in Japan to create a novel and delightful snack!

They have a delightful crunchy texture both you and your children will love.

Suggested use: Enjoy as is.
Ingredients: Wheat, raw sugar, vegetable oil, soy pulp powder, dried mackerel shavings, dried bonito shavings, salt, baking soda
Nutritional information: (Per package 50g) Calories: 243kcal, Total Fat: 9.8g, Sodium: 0.4g, Total Carbohydrate: 34.5g, Protein: 4.4g

  Brown Rice Jam with Carob and Cacao

Brown Rice Jam with Cacao and Carob
おこめジャム カカオ&キャロブ

(VEGETABLE PARK)

Rice is the cornerstone of Japanese cuisine and also the starting point for many inventive Japanese creations - like this Brown Rice Jam with Cacao and Carob! 

Featured in our February box as a Valentine's Day treat, this naturally sweetened jam is made from fermenting brown rice and contains no added sugar. Cacao and carob, both rich in nutrients such as calcium and iron, are also added to add a smooth, chocolatey flavor.

This brown rice jam is made by Vegetable Park, a small farm located just north of Oaska and is run by Ayumu and Emi Ueda. The young couple started their farm out of a desire to bring their community together by offering them the fresh foods from their land.

Since this jam doesn't include any added sugar, it makes for a great simple breakfast, a taste both children and adults enjoy! Spread it on bread, dollop it on yogurt for an afternoon treat, or use it as a sauce for desserts. Indulge your sweet tooth without the added sugar!

Suggested use: Spread on bread or use it as a sauce for desserts.
Ingredients: Rice koji (from Osaka), brown rice (from Osaka), organic cocoa, organic carob, olive oil, and vanilla flavor
Nutritional information: (Per 100 g) Calories: 176kcal, Total Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1mg, Total Carbohydrate: 35g, Sucrose: 0g, Protein: 3g

Learn more about Vegetable Park and their Brown Rice jams in our Producer Spotlight 

Indigo Blue Tea 

Indigo Blue Tea
藍の青いお茶

(ATELIER AIAKAN)

Known for its distinct blue color, indigo has come to be called "Japanese blue". Although most commonly recognized as a fabric dye, indigo has many uses and can be enjoyed as a tea or edible powder. The ancient Japanese even used it as an immune booster and an antibacterial cure.

Enjoy the floral and unique taste of this indigo blue tea with these convenient to use tea bags made in Unzen city, Nagasaki. The tea is harvested every morning and dried in sunlight. It includes indigo stalks and leaves raised by the Agia cane factory without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Depending on the time of harvest, indigo roots, seeds and flowers may also be included.

You'll be amazed by the gorgeous and vibrant blue color which comes from the added butterfly pea.

Suggested use: Add hot water and enjoy!
Ingredients: Indigo leaf, butterfly pea
Nutritional information: N/A