NOURISHING ESSENTIALS (July 2023) - Matsuri: Celebrate the Festivals of Japan (祭)
Producer: Sakurai shokuhin
Yakisoba is the quintessential street food in Japan and can be found at almost every festival. This classic stir-fry dish is made from Chinese-style wheat noodles served with thinly sliced meat and vegetables tossed in a thick, sweet and savory sauce. This special yakisoba is made from domestic Japanese wheat flour,sustainably produced palm oil, and includes a flavorful sauce made with tomato and apple puree.
Sakurai Foods got their start as a noodle company in 1910, producing udon noodles by hand using a hand-cranked noodle machine. Since then, the company has continued its commitment of “delivering health to the table”.
Ingredients:Fried noodles [wheat flour [wheat (domestic)], palm oil, wheat protein, salt]; Sauce [sugar, tomato puree, salt, vinegar, apple pulp, sesame oil, yeast extract, spices, malt extract]; Seasoning [seaweed, dried red ginger], (contains wheat, soybeans, apple, sesame)
Suggested uses:Bring 200ml of water to a boil in a frying pan and add the noodles. When the noodles have loosened and the water has almost entirely evaporated, add the sauce from the package and lightly fry while mixing. Transfer to a plate, sprinkle with the furikake seasoning included and enjoy. You can also add your favoritethinly sliced meat and vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, onions and bean sprouts (cook separately then add when mixing in the sauce).
Karaage (Fried Food) Powder
Producer: Sagano Shoan
Lightly coated in flour then deep fried, karaage is a popular way of serving fried foods in Japan, especially fried chicken. In the summertime, you’ll find food stalls serving this delicious treat which is light and crispy on the outside and hot and juicy on the inside.
Made mainly from domestic wheat flour, this karaage powder contains a well-balanced blend of spices and seasonings so no additional seasoning is required. It’s a quick and easy way to enjoy this summer festival treat!
Through their carefully selected, chemical-free ingredients,Sagano Shoan produces food that will nurture your body and mind.
Ingredients:Flour (wheat (Hokkaido)), salt, starch, egg white powder (contains egg), soy sauce powder (contains wheat and soybeans), onion powder (contains soybeans), paprika, garlic powder (contains soybeans), black pepper
Suggested uses:Can be used to fry a wide variety of ingredientsincluding chicken, fish, calamari, potatoes and vegetables. To make fried chicken, put 1 Tbsp of Karaage Powder per 100g of chicken into a bowl or plastic bag. Coat the chicken in the powder, let sit for a few minutes, then deep fry in 160-170℃ oil. Try making theFried Tofu Karaage recipe provided.
Storage:Refrigerate after opening.
Asazuke Pickling Juice
Producer: Umi no Sei
Tsukemono (lit. “pickled things”) are served alongside almost every meal in Japan. Using less salt and a shorter pickling time, asazuke is a way of lightly pickling, resulting in a mild tasting pickle with a crunchy texture. Unlike typical asazuke made from salt and flavored with sugar and additives, this special asazuke pickling juice is made from traditional sea salt produced from Izu Oshima Island seawater. The magnesium in the salt helps to support the fermentation process, which enhances the flavors of the ingredients being pickled. The calcium prevents the cell membranes from collapsing, helping to maintain a crispy texture.
To further enhance the flavors and create umami, a luxurious dashi (broth) made from the highest quality konbu from Hokkaido and shiitake mushrooms from Kyushu is added, along with a lactic acid fermentation liquid, made by cultivating soy milk with 16 kinds of carefully selected lactic acid bacteria and maturing it for one year, which deepens the fermentation process and enhances the flavors and nutrition. Junmai (pure rice) cooking sake, with 3-4x more amino acids, is also added to enhance the umami, and instead of sweetening the juice with sugar, Junmai mirin, which has been aged for over a year, is used to provide a full-bodied aroma, refreshing sweetness, and natural flavor.
Ume no Sei was created from the Japanese Edible Salt Study Group - a research group formed in 1979 by scholars, chefs and consumer groups to re-establish the traditional method of making sea salt by naturally sun drying sea water in salt fields. In 1971, a law came into effect in Japan that abolished these traditional methods in favor of a modern industrial method which involves boiling seawater concentrated by an ion exchange membrane system and vacuum evaporation cans. The Japanese Edible Salt Study Group, concerned about the trace nutrients and flavors being stripped from the salt, formed the “Natural Salt Revival Movement” to test and lobby for natural sea salt making. In 1997, they successfully overturned the Salt Monopoly Act and in doing so, preserved the traditional sea salt of our ancestors. They now remain committed to using traditional and natural manufacturing methods with a priority for domestic, organic, non-GMO, seasonal products.
Ingredients:Salt (Oshima Island), Junmai (pure rice) mirin, Junmai (pure rice) sake, kelp, lactic acid fermentation liquid (contains soybeans), dried shiitake mushrooms
Suggested uses:Pickle your favorite seasonal vegetables using the Asazuke recipe provided or the Spicy Tuna Rice Bowl recipe.
Kokuto (Okinawa Black Sugar) Cotton Candy
Producer: Kakihana Shokuhin
There’s nothing more festive than sweet, fluffy cotton candy! Known aswata-ame in Japan, this special cotton candy is made from kokuto (lit. “black sugar”) - a regional brown sugar from Japan’s southernmost tropical islands of Okinawa. Different from regular brown sugar, kokuto is made from 100% local sugarcane juice. It has a rich licorice flavor and is considered a healthier alternative to regular sugar given its high levels of calcium, iron, and vitamin B. Here kokuto is compressed to 1/20th its original size using patented technology, to create this soft, melt-in-your-mouth treat.
KakihanaShokuhin began as a street vendor making cotton candy using common granulated sugar. The owner wanted to create cotton candy using a local Okinawan product and after repeated trial and error developed this kokuto cotton candy by combining sugar and kokuto in a secret ratio.
Ingredients: Sugar (domestic), kokuto (black sugar) (sugar cane from Okinawa)
Suggested uses:Enjoy as is.
Storage:Room temperature, away from high heat and humidity.
Amanatsu (Japanese Summer Orange) Jelly Drink
Producer: Ito Noen
Amanatsu (lit. “sweet summer”), also known as Japanese summer orange, natsudaidai or natsumikan, is a regional summer fruit that is native to Japan. It’s similar to a hybrid between a pomelo and sour orange and is typically harvested then stored for a short period in order to develop a slightly sweeter, tart taste.
This jelly drink is made from 100% amanatsu juice grown inIto Noen’s garden which is then squeezed by hand. It is sweetened with raw sugar and thickened with agar, an odorless and tastless vegan alternative to gelatin that is derived entirely from red algae seaweed.
With a history of more than 400 years, Wakayama Prefecture is famous for its production of Japanese citrus fruits. With its warm weather and nutrient rich soil, Arita City in particular produces some of the juiciest and plumpest citrus. Yet like many parts of Japan, the farming population in Arita City is declining and aging with many farmers going out of business due to the lack of successors. ItoNoen was founded in 1897 with the mission of passing on the fields and traditions of natural citrus farmers to the next generation. Every fruit is precious and even the misshapen ones are hand-squeezed to preserve their delicious juice.
Ingredients:Amanatsu (Wakayama), raw sugar, agar
Suggested uses:Refrigerate and serve cold (warm the pouch slightly by rubbing with your hands). Drink directly from the pouch or serve in a bowl. You can also enjoy it frozen by pouring the contents in a container and freezing.
Storage:Refrigerate after opening and enjoy as soon as possible
Whole Mikan Jelly
Producer: Sowa Kajuen
Another regional citrus fruit from Arita City is the mikan (also known as unshu mikan or Japanese mandarin). This aromatic citrus has a mild, sweet, and subtly tangy taste. Here the delicious flavors are preserved in a jelly so you can enjoy the whole fresh fruit!
These mikan are grown on the Hayawa Orchard which was started by seven mikan farmers in 1979. Since then, they have continued to engage in everything from producing, processing and selling while supporting the local mikan region. In 2020, they received the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Award in recognition of their longstanding efforts.
Ingredients:Mikan (Japanese mandarin) (Wakayama), sugar, glucose, agar, konnyaku powder, Vitamin C
Suggested uses:Enjoy as is. Best served cold.