NOURISHING ESSENTIALS (March 2022) - Izakaya: Japanese Pubs (居酒屋)
Producer:Hokkaido Hinode Shokuhin
Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island, is surrounded by cold waters nourished by the plankton-rich Oyashio current which leads to the prefecture’s renowned seafood and seaweed, including some of the world’s best konbu (kelp). 90% of Japan’s konbu is harvested in Hokkaido and although it’s most often used for making umami-rich dashi (broth), here it’s been reinvented into a delicious and crunchy snack. Our producer, Hokkaido Hinode Shokuhin, uses locally harvestedkonbu andseasons it with their original broth made of soy sauce mixed with a konbu, dried bonito and shiitake dashi, before grilling it to add extra aroma, crunch and flavor. The perfect pairing with sake or beer!
Hokkaido Hinode Shokuhin is known for their additive-free snacks and is located in Nemuro City, the easternmost city in Japan. Tourists trek to Nemuro City to capture the first glimpse of sunrise as the sun peaks over the eastern horizon and to enjoy the city’s delicious local seafood.
Ingredients:Konbu (kelp from Hokkaido), sugar, konbu soy sauce (includes wheat and soy), vinegar, konbu dashi, katsuo (bonito) dashi, shiitake dashi, yeast extract, salt
Suggested uses:Crispy and thin, enjoy on its own as a snack or paired with sake or beer.
Tsukemono (lit. “pickled things”) are found served alongside almost every meal in Japan with izakayas being no exception. Typically made using a base of vegetables, this side dish is also a type of otsumami (dish paired with alcohol). These takana are made by pickling the peppery-tasting leaves of the mustard plant which helps to retain their mildly spicy flavor, satisfying crunch and healthy antioxidants while reducing their natural bitterness. Here they’ve been combined with traditional Japanese ingredients such as sesame seeds, konbu (kelp), soy sauce and mirin, as well as red peppers, ginger and turmeric for added flavor.
Founded in 1927 and now in its third generation, Fujisaki Shoji is a tsukemono shop which uses naturally grown vegetables from Kyushu, mainly from Kagoshima Prefecture. Their delicious pickles are additive-free and carry the distinct aroma from their hometown.
Ingredients:Takana (mustard greens), sesame seeds, konbu (kelp), red pepper, ginger, pickling ingredients (glucose syrup, soy sauce, mirin, fermented seasoning, turmeric, salt, vinegar) (includes wheat and soybeans)
Suggested uses:Extremely versatile, enjoy as is as a side dish or chopped into fried rice, stir fries, pastas, omelets, on pizza, as a topping for ramen, or as a filling for onigiri (rice balls). You can also try it in the Takana Fried Rice recipe provided.
Storage:Refrigerateafter opening and use as soon as possible.
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 (born Nyoichi Sakurazawa), who founded this way of eating. Macrobiotics carries a belief that food can bring about harmony in one’s body and the universe by balancing yin and yang elements, eating food in its most wholesome and natural form, and eating locally-grown products. It’s with this same care that Marushima makes their products.
HIROSHIMA ONOMICHI RAMEN
Visit any izakaya in Japan and you’ll see diners enjoying large bowls of hot ramen. This iconic noodle dish is the perfect comfort food after a day of work, a night out or as a meal with friends (usually served with a refreshing draft beer). Every region in Japan has its own variety based on the broth, noodles and toppings - making it one of the best ways to travel through the tastes of Japan!
This onomichi ramen comes from the seaside city of Onomichi, located in Hiroshima Prefecture. The city has a population of about 140,000 people, with access to the Seto Island Sea. Instead of using a chicken or pork broth, this shoyu (soy sauce) style ramen takes advantage of the fresh local seafood by using anchovies/sardines for its broth, which adds salty, umami-depth. It is then typically served with flat, medium-thick ramen noodles, seabura (pork back fat), thinly sliced green onions, menma (bamboo shoots) and chasu (roasted) pork.
The soup for this Hiroshima Onomichi Ramen is made from organic soy sauce that has been aged in a cedar barrel without using beef, pork, or chicken, or any chemical seasonings. Instead, it has a rich dashi (broth) made from chirimen (baby sardines) and other local seafood.
Ingredients:Fried noodles (wheat flour (domestic), vegetable oil (palm oil), potato starch, wheat protein, salt), organic soy sauce, mirin, chirimen (baby sardines) extract, seafood extract, olive oil, yeast extract, onion extract, salt, spices, antioxidant (vitamin E) (includes wheat and soybeans)
Suggested uses:(Makes 1 serving) Add the noodles to 500ml of boiling water.Once the noodles are almost cooked, turn off the burner and add the contents from the soup package. Stir well and top withseabura (pork back fat), thinly sliced green onions, menma (bamboo shoots) and chashu (roasted) pork to make a traditional onomichi ramen, or any of your favorite toppings and vegetables such as boiled cabbage, bean sprouts and toasted nori seaweed.
SPICY VEGAN 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 soup includes organic soy sauce that has been aged in a cedar barrel and jumbo garlic from Onomichi city.
Ingredients:Fried noodles (wheat flour (domestic), vegetable oil (palm oil), potato starch, wheat protein, salt), organic soy sauce, raw sugar, rape seed oil, processed soybean products, onions, fermented seasoning, salt, starch, ginger, paprika powder, apple vinegar, yeast extract, jumbo garlic, garlic, chili powder, antioxidant (vitamin E) (includes wheat and soybeans)
Suggested uses:(Makes 1 serving) Sincemazemen means mixed noodles, be sure to properly mix the noodles before enjoying! 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. Mix in the soup powder, add your favorite toppings (Eg. cooked vegetables, sesame oil, green onions, garlic, etc.) and enjoy.
"IKI" SWEET SOY SAUCE
Kyushu, Japan’s third largest island, is famous for its sweet soy sauce which is the perfect accompaniment for izakaya foods such as sashimi. This “Iki” sweet soy sauce is made from whole soybeans from Fukuoka and is double-fermented to bring out its deep flavor. Unlike typical soy sauces which are made by adding salted water or an amino acid fluid as a starter, this soy sauce is made using only raw, non-heated soy sauce to maintain its natural flavors. The mixture is sweetened with a sugar syrup that is a byproduct from making rock candy and carries a distinctive, sweet flavor.
Our producer,Goto Shoyu, carefully selects theiringredients from specific areas in Japan to ensure they are of the highest quality. The main ingredients are “Fukuyutaka” soybeans and “Chikugoizumi” wheat from Fukuoka Prefecture, and “Sakito” salt from Nagasaki Prefecture.
In its fourth generation, Goto Shoyu was founded in 1913 by the great-grandfather of the current owner, in Kitakyushu city in Fukuoka Prefecture - an area surrounded by the sea and mountains and blessed with an abundance of fresh vegetables and seafood. They have a factory on a small hill, which is a five-minute walk from the local shopping district that people use every day. For over 100 years, they have been making high-quality products enjoyed by these locals,without the use of additives such as chemical seasonings, preservatives, or artificial colors.
Ingredients:Soybeans (Fukuoka Prefecture), wheat (Fukuoka Prefecture), salt, molasses, starch syrup, mirin
Suggested uses:To enjoy the natural sweetness of the sauce, we recommend using it as a dip for sashimi or roast beef, or in the Butter and Soy Sauce Tuna recipe provided. A little dash will also add a subtle seasoning to stewed or boiled dishes.
Storage:Refrigerate after opening.
Oden is a classic nabemono (one-pot dish) which typically includes ingredients such as boiledeggs, daikon (Japanese radish), konnyaku (konjac), fish cakes, atsuage (deep fried tofu), and seasonal vegetables simmered in a light soy sauce dashi (broth), although an infinite array of ingredients can be used. This ultimate winter comfort dish is often enjoyed late at night, served from food stalls in Japan after a hard day at work and paired with sake, but can also be found in izakayas, at home or at convenience stores (this last one may sound strange but Japan is known for the quality of its food found at places like 7-11, Lawsons and Family Mart!).
This mild, yet umami-rich oden soup is made from traditional Japanese ingredients such as dried bonito, konbu (kelp), shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce powder, all sourced domestically within Japan, and allows for you to conveniently enjoy this Japanese comfort food at home.
Since its founding over 50 years ago, Sokensha has used the "inherent power of food" to improve people’s health while protecting the global environment. Through love, food, peace and the belief that "What you eat and how you eat it is always connected to how you live”, they create their products using the spirit of traditional craftsmanship without unnecessary food additives. Each of their products maintains the taste of its original, natural ingredients.
Sokensha also pursues ways to address Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Rather than being carried away by food trends, they make choices while asking themselves: "Is this the way we want to go in order to improve society in the long run, with an awareness of the environment and human health?”.
Ingredients:Salt (domestic), sugar (Hokkaido Prefecture), soy sauce powder (domestic), fermented wheat seasoning, dried bonito flakes (from Yaizu, Shizuoka Prefecture), konbu (kelp) powder (Hokkaido Prefecture), shiitake extract powder (domestic), starch, rapeseed oil (includes wheat and soybeans)
Suggested uses:(1 packet = 3-4 servings) Not only great for making traditional oden (please see the recipe provided or simply dissolve 1 packet of the oden soup in 750ml of water, add your favorite ingredients starting with those that take longer to cook, and simmer), it can also be used to make takana fried rice using the recipe provided, nimono (simmered foods such as in the recipe provided), takikomi gohan (mixed rice; see below), nabe (hot pot; use one package in 500ml of water for ~3 servings) or as an udon noodle soup base (use one package in 500ml of water for ~2 servings) . It can also be used as is to season dishes such as stir-fries.
To make two servings of takikomi gohan, put 300g of washed rice in a rice cooker pot/stove top pot. Without mixing the ingredients, add 350ml of water, 1 package of oden soup, 1 package of shimeji mushrooms (or your favorite mushrooms), 100g chicken, 1 piece atsuage (deep fried tofu), and ¼ carrot, all chopped into small bite-sized pieces. Cook as you would normal rice and stir only before serving.
PREMIUM CONCENTRATED GREEN TEA
(濃縮緑茶 優茶) (Less caffeine)
Along with all the delicious food to be enjoyed in izakayas, there are a wide variety of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks to try, including draft beers, sake, cocktails and wine. This natural, pesticide-free premium green tea is concentrated to provide a convenient way to make your own drinks at home or on the go, with all the health benefits and catechins that green tea has to offer.
Typical brewed tea contains only ~30% of the nutritional components found in tea leaves. By using a patented tea extraction method, MID, “The Company with Eco-Friendly Spirit”, creates this green tea concentrate to deliver all the active health ingredients and taste found in the whole leaf. They use “ichiban-cha”, the first flush of tea leaves, grown in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan’s largest tea producing region. The autumn and winter harvest is used given its high exposure to sunlight and resulting concentration of catechins. Their patented method also helps to protect the chlorophyll, which degrades when exposed to heat or light, resulting in a vivid natural green color, all without the use of additives.
Suggested uses:To make green tea, mix one packet in 250ml of hot or cold water (adjust water to your desired strength). The hot tea can then be poured over top a cooked bowl of rice with savory toppings such as salmon flakes, shredded nori, umeboshi (pickled plum), sesame seeds, etc to make ochazuke. To make a green tea latte, mix one packet of green tea with 100ml of hot or cold milk served over ice, and a touch of honey for sweetness if desired. Can also be used in cocktails such as a Japanese green tea sour (combine one packet with 100ml of still or carbonated water and ⅔ shot of shochu) or a Japanese green tea highball (combine one packet with 100ml of still or carbonated water and ⅔ shot whiskey).