NOURISHING ESSENTIALS (January 2024) - Showa Era (昭和): Flourishing Growth in the Era of “Bright Peace”
Vegan Curry Udon (ヴィーガンカレーうどん)
Ingredients: Noodles:Wheat flour (domestic)Soup:Barley miso (barley, soybeans (non-GMO), salt), rice miso (soybeans (non-GMO), rice, salt), soy sauce, sugar, salt, curry powder, yeast extract, ginger, garlic, vegetable extract, alcohol, (contains wheat and soybeans)
Suggested uses: To make hot curry udon, loosen the dried noodles and add them to ~500ml of boiling water (adjust according to your preference) for 3½ mins. Squeeze in the soup and boil until ready. You can also sauté your favorite vegetables, such as eggplant and Chinese cabbage, in olive oil and add as toppings, or add raw seasonal vegetables. To make cold curry udon, chill the soup packet, squeeze it into a bowl, and dilute it with 360~400ml (to your desired thickness) of cold water or thin vegetable soup. Separately, loosen the dried noodles in boiling water and blanch for 5½-6 mins (depending on your desired hardness). Drain in a colander then rinse with water to cool. Soak in ice water to cool further, drain, and add to the prepared chilled soup. Serve with toppings of sautéed vegetables in the olive oil or your favorite raw vegetables if desired.
Delicious, thick, chewy glutinous noodles make udon one of Japan’s most popular dishes. Each region in Japan has itsown unique twists based on the type of broth and toppings. The Western influence on Japanese dishes could be seen with the addition and popularity of curry during the Showa Era.This special curry udon contains a multi-layered harmony of curry spice and umami-rich miso and is entirely vegan, drawing its flavors from its vegetable based broth.
Kurata Shokuhin makes their local noodles in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture and delivers it throughout Japan and to people around the world. No matter where you live, Kurata Shokuhin would love for you to visit them and enjoy their noodles in their neighborhood noodle shop.
Ingredients: Onions, apples, tomatoes, carrots, garlic, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, brewed vinegar, salt, soy sauce (contains soybeans and wheat), starch, spices, yeast extract, konbu (kelp) dashi, katsuo (bonito) dashi
Suggested uses: Use as a sauce for breaded and fried foods such as tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet), korokke (fried mashed potato croquettes) or as a substitute for soy sauce and mirin. Can also be used as a marinade to make teriyaki chicken: combine 1 tbsp of Chuno Sauce with 1 tsp of vinegar and 1 tsp of sugar. Marinade chicken breast for at least 30 mins then cook in a covered frying pan in oil on low heat for 5 mins. Turn over and cook the other side while covered for another 5 mins or until properly cooked.
Deep fried foods became more well-known and popular in Japan as the Western influence on Japanese cuisine grew during the Showa Era. Japan added its own unique twists to common fried foods creating dishes such as crispy, breaded tonkatsu (fried pork cutlets), and comforting korokke (fried mashed potato croquettes). To help balance the fried flavors, a fruity, sweet and sour sauce is typically served alongside these dishes.
Best described as a cross betweenWorcestershire sauce and Japanese tonkatsu sauce, Chuno sauce is a tangy, sweet and sour sauce with medium thick consistency (the word “chuno” means “medium thick” in Japanese). TheWorcestershire sauce used for this local Chuno Sauce has been aged in wooden barrels for a month and is combined withthe fruity, subtle sweetness of apples picked in Nagano Prefecture which are carefully selected each year based on the unique harvest of the season and blended across varieties to achieve the perfect taste. A mildly acidic, in-house brewed vinegar is also added to provide a hint of sourness which cuts through the fried flavors. Using an old-fashioned static fermentation method, Torii Sauce ferments their vinegar for more than a month before being left to rest, which mellows the sourness. This perfect balance of sweet and sour is further harmonized with a strong umami-rich dashi that is thickened with rice flour.
The taste of chuno sauce can vary depending on the region of Japan. Chuno sauce is more common in the east and tends to be more sour, while in the west it’s more sweet. Torii Sauce’s chuno sauce is made in Shizuoka Prefecture which is located right in the middle of Japan and is the perfect balance of sweet and sour and is loved in both eastern and western Japan. They use whole raw vegetables which are slowly simmered to bring out their natural flavors. The stewed vegetables are then ground in a stone mill, instead of being pureed, allowing the skins and seeds to infuse their flavors into the sauce. Raw spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, are added to enhance the sweetness while creating a delectable aroma.
Murasaki (Soy Sauce) Fried Rice Cracker (むらさき揚)
Ingredients: Glutinous rice (domestic), vegetable oil, soy sauce (contains wheat and soybeans), sugar, fermented seasoning, seasoning extract (kelp extract, bonito flakes extract, shiitake mushroom extract, etc.)
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is.
Rice crackers can be found in every shape, size and flavor in Japan. From savory to sweet, there’s a rice cracker to fit every occasion.
Osamado’s Murasaki Fried Rice Cracker is their most popular cracker. Strips of domestically produced glutinous rice dough are fried until crispy, light and crunchy (known by the onomatopoeia of “saku saku” in Japanese) and finished with a sweet soy sauce and a special umami seasoning. The resulting flavor and aroma is reminiscent of Japanese umami popcorn!
Osamado was founded in 1924 and makes all their rice crackers in-house using only high-quality, natural ingredients and no chemical seasonings.
Homemade Coffee Kudzu Pudding (珈琲葛プリンの素)
Ingredients: Sugar (domestic), sweet potato starch, agar processed products (powdered candy, agar), instant coffee, hon kudzu powder
Suggested uses: Each packet makes two servings. Add one packet of the pudding mix into a saucepan and pour in 200ml of milk bit by bit while mixing well with a rubber spatula. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. When it comes to a boil, reduce to low and continue stirring for another minute. Pour equal servings into two cups and chill in the fridge for at least an hour to solidify.
Showa Era coffee shops (known as “kissa”) have a unique charm and have become popular throughout Japan. Different from modern cafes, Showa coffee shops are a blend of Japanese and foreign retro style cafes that have a more traditional, warm atmosphere and provide a pure coffee experience. They also act as a spot for people to come together and socialize. On the menu, you’ll find nostalgic items in addition to coffee, such as cream soda, mixed juices, Napolitan spaghetti (Japanese ketchup pasta) and puddings.
This silky homemade coffee pudding will take you back to the olden days of the Showa Era with its rich aromatic coffee flavor and hint of sweetness. The addition of kudzu starch, also known as kuzu, helps to slightly firm the pudding, giving it a creamy smooth texture. Kudzu is made from the root of kudzu, a climbing vine which grows native in Japan. It has become a precious ingredient as the number of kudzu root foragers and areas where high quality kudzu can be harvested have decreased.
Bekko Ame (Tortoiseshell Hard Candy) (べっこう飴(京の露))
Ingredients: Granulated sugar (domestic), starch syrup
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is. Pairs well with any of our Japanese green or specialty teas.
Winner of the National Confectionery Exhibition Honorary Gold Award in 1971, these sweet candies embrace the meaning of natsukashi (something that evokes a fond memory from one’s past), Bekko ame are a simple type of hard candy (ame) that comes in the shape of a tortoiseshell (bekko). Allow the sweet nostalgic flavor spread in your mouth as you savor this special treat!
Ingredients: Nozawa (Nagano Prefecture), ginger (domestic), bonito flakes, pickling ingredients (soy sauce, sugar, fermented rice seasoning, salt, rice vinegar, bonito extract, yeast extract, konbu (kelp) extract powder) (includes wheat and soybeans)
Suggested uses: Extremely versatile, enjoy as is as a side dish, as a snack with alcohol, in fried rice, stir fries, pastas, omelets, ochazuke (rice with tea), on pizza, as a topping for ramen or rice, or as a filling for onigiri (rice balls).
Nozawana is a type of leafy mustard green from the same turnip family as daikon (Japanese radish). It’s a staple in Nagano Prefecture (formerly called Shinshū) where its mild tasting leaves are often finely chopped and pickled. This special nozawana is pickled in an umami-rich seasoning and includes a noticeable spicy ginger flavor. It’s reminiscent of school gatherings in Japan where families bring their own bentos which include nozawana onigiri (rice balls).
Maruai Foods is committed to making products grown domestically in Japan without any additives. They believe in the importance of food as the starting point to nurture the body and mind, and hope their foods will be the centerpiece of “food memories” that make you smile.