NOURISHING ESSENTIALS (March 2024) - Kanto (関東): Bustling Cities to Tranquil Nature
Raw Nori Tsukudani (Simmered Seaweed) (江戸前生のり佃煮)
Ingredients:Nori (seaweed (Domestic)), brewed soy sauce (contains soybeans and wheat), starch syrup, sugar, fermented seasoning, katsuo (bonito) stock, agar
Suggested uses: Adds salty umami to any dish! Use on rice or cooked vegetables, in place of salt, as a spread on buttered toast, or mixed with mayonnaise to make a dip/spread. Mix with yuzu kosho, milk or cream to make a sauce for pasta.
Storage: Refrigerate after opening and use as soon as possible
Full of sweet and salty umami, tsukudani is made from seafood, meat, seaweed, or vegetables that have been simmered in sweet and savory sauce (typically with soy sauce, sugar, mirin), with seaweed tsukudani being one of the most common.
Thisnori tsukudani is made from raw seaweed purchased directly from local fishermen in Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture, afamous seaweed production area since the Edo Era. Regular tsukudani is often made with dried seaweed, but by purchasing directly from fishermen, Enchu Shokuhin is able to make tsukudani using fresh seaweed, which has a richer flavor. It iscooked in an open-fire oven by experienced craftsmen which helps to maintain its texture and is then perfectly seasoned with traditionally brewed soy sauce, raw sugar made from sugarcane produced in Tanegashima, starch syrup made from domestic sweet potato starch and barley malt, katsuo dashi from Kagoshima Prefecture, and a domestic fermented rice brewed seasoning made from rice and rice koji (salted malt) which is used to make sake. This seasoning allows you to enjoy the taste of the ingredients and highlights the unique flavors of the seaweed.
Enchu Shokuhin was founded in 1919 and has been creating products that maintain traditional handmade tastes for over 100 years. They partner directly with local farmers and producers to support these shrinking domestic industries, while also ensuring their ingredients, which they consider blessings of the earth, are naturally sourced.
Katsuo (Bonito Skipjack Tuna) Dashi Powder (本格かつおだし)
Ingredients: Katsuobushi (bonito flakes) (Kagoshima), Soudabushi bonito flakes, kelp, shiitake mushrooms, malto-oligosaccharides, yeast extract, potato starch
Suggested uses: This dashi powder is easy to use, completely water soluble and doesn’t contain any added salt. It can be used for a wide variety of dishes including miso soup, western soup base (pumpkin, potato, tomato, etc.), stews, hot pot dishes, chawan mushi (egg custard), oden, cooked rice, sushi, and vinegared dishes. Can also be added to other dashi for extra umami. Can also be sprinkled into stir fries, omelets, gratin, macaroni & cheese, or bread, or used as a substitute for consomme. Mix 1 level tsp (~2.5g) with 300ml of water to make two servings of soup/miso soup, or mix 2 level tsp (~5g) with 500ml water and a dash of soy sauce to make two servings of noodle soup.
Dashi, a type of soup stock/broth made by boiling ingredients to draw out their flavors, is an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine and is used to enhance umami in dishes. It serves as the base for many Japanese soups, stews, and sauces and is considered one of the building blocks of Japanese cooking.
This convenient and easy to use dashi powder includes all three umami enhancing amino acids in a perfect balance of katsuobushi (both “honkarebushi', smoked and fermented skipjack tuna, from Kagoshima and “arabushi”, the smoked precursor, from Yaizu), high-quality ma-konbu (“true” konbu) from Hokkaido, and earthy shiitake mushrooms.
TAC21 was established in 1970 as a natural food store and is now located in Zushi City, Kanagawa Prefecture. They create products for those who are concerned about their health, who pursue delicious food, and who care about the global environment, all while using locally harvested ingredients which supports regional development and revitalization.
Takikomi Gohan (Mixed Rice) Seasoning (炊き込みごはんの味)
Producer:Umi no Sei
Ingredients: Soy sauce (contains soy and wheat (domestic)), sea salt (from Izu Oshima island), plum vinegar, Rishiri konbu (kelp), dried shiitake mushrooms, Rausu konbu (kelp)
Suggested uses: Each package makes 2+ servings. Combine 150-300g of uncooked rice (less rice will have a deeper flavor, more rice will have a lighter flavor) with the same amount of water. Add 150g of chopped vegetables, mushrooms, uncooked meats and/or seafood, then sprinkle with this seasoning. Cook as per the directions on your rice cooker/stove top. Try mixing and matching any of the following chopped ingredients: burdock, carrots, potatoes, lotus roots, bamboo shoots, daikon radish, squash, sweet potato, any type of mushroom, green beans, edamame, adzuki (sweet red beans), chestnuts, corn, sesame seeds, walnuts, seaweed, aburaage (fried tofu), momen tofu (firm tofu), koya tofu (freeze dried tofu), fu (gluten), chicken, fish or any other ingredients in your fridge!
Takikomi gohan (lit. “cooked with rice”) is a flavorful Japanese rice dish cooked with soy sauce, dashi and seasonal ingredients such as vegetables, mushrooms, meats, and seafood.
This umami-rich seasoning allows you to easily make delicious takikomi gohan. It includes traditional sea salt produced directly from seawater from Izu Oshima,a volcanic island off the coast of Tokyo,which perfectly balances the umami and sweetness of the flavorful soy sauce which has been naturally fermented for over a year, and a natural dashi (stock) made from two types of konbu from Hokkdaio (Rishiri konbu and Rausu konbu) and dried shiitake mushrooms from Kyushu. This is complemented by the slightly tart and sour taste of a red plum vinegar made from Japanese plums and shiso (perilla leaves) from Nara and Wakayama Prefectures.
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. This method had been banned in 1971 and was later re-established in part due to Umi no Sei’s efforts. Their salt showcases the knowledge of their ancestors and is used to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients it’s combined with.
Ingredients: Glutinous rice (domestic), vegetable oil, soy sauce (contains wheat and soybeans), sugar, seasoning extract (kelp extract, bonito flakes extract, shiitake mushroom extract, etc.), chili pepper seasoning liquid
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is. Pairs well with any of our Japanese green or specialty teas.
Rice crackers can be found in every shape, size and flavor in Japan. From savory to sweet, there’s a rice cracker for every occasion!
This large rice cracker, which is made one by one by hand, is a type of okaki (not to be confused with senbei which are large, circular rice crackers made non-glutinous, okaki are made from glutinous rice, or more specifically mochi, which is a traditional Japanese sticky rice cake). It’s characterized by its thick yet soft texture and is made by kneading domestic glutinous rice with soy sauce brewed in wooden barrels, hidaka konbu (kelp) and a special umami seasoning. Hidaka konbu, also known as mitsuishi konbu, can grow up to 7-23 ft tall. It has a blackish dark green color and is softer and thinner than other konbu, making it easier to boil. It has a clean, crisp umami-flavor. The cracker is then fried until crisp and fluffy.
Since its founding in 1924, Osamado has been dedicated to making okaki that captures the traditional “iki” (tastes) of Asakusa, a traditional neighborhood in Tokyo with olden day shops and stalls and home to the ancient Sensō-ji temple. They craft all their rice crackers in-house using only high-quality, natural ingredients in the spirit of people from the Edo Era.
Soy "Coffee" (Caffeine-free) (大豆コーヒー)
Ingredients: Non-GMO soy (Chiba)
Suggested uses: Comes with a built-in, individual dripper. Gently pull open the side tabs and place them on opposite sides of your coffee cup. Pour 140ml of water into the filter and let the soy “coffee” drip into your cup. Remove the dripper and enjoy. (Note: do not dip the dripper in hot water)
Even the most die-hard coffee lovers will be surprised (and impressed!) by the taste of this soy "coffee".
Minonomura, the producers of this "coffee", wondered if they could recreate the high-quality taste of coffee using soybeans instead of coffee beans. With the help of veteran roaster Katsunori Ide, they created this mild yet sweet tasting "coffee" made exclusively from local soybeans. They work with local farmers who grow traditional varieties of Japanese soybeans and work to preserve the soybean culture in Japan.
Minonomura was established for the purpose of making products "with sincerity" and "from the heart" in accordance with the needs of the local community. They partner with farmers and sellers to revitalize local communities by developing slow-life products and by introducing ingredients from local industries throughout Japan.
Kinako (Roasted Soybean Powder) Candy (津久井在来大豆のきなこあめ)
Ingredients: Soybean flour (non-GMO soybeans (Kanagawa)), starch syrup, sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oi, lecithin
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is. Savor the moderate sweetness as the taste of the kinako from the native Tsukui soybeans spreads in your mouth.
These nostalgic, soft, mildly sweet kinako (roasted soybean powder) candies are made in collaboration with Matsuya Sohonten, the first candy store to be established on the Nakamise-dori (shopping street) of the famous Kawasaki Daishi Heikenji Temple in Kanagawa, and are made from a special native Japanese soybean known as Tsukui soybeans.
90% of soybeans eaten in Japan are imported as local Japanese farmers struggle to compete with cheaper, foreign imports. Toyokuniya is one of the few soybean farmers left in Japan and grows domestic Tsukui soybeans which have become so rare they are known as “phantom soybeans.” Larger than regular soybeans, they have a rich flavor and high natural sweetness, lending to a nutty taste similar to chestnuts.
The owners of Toyokuniya, Masahiro and Kayoko Okamoto, have three small children and are always inventing creative and healthy ways to enjoy soybeans. They hope their foods will inspire the next generation of farmers to continue producing this rare bean.