NOURISHING ESSENTIALS (November 2023) - Setouchi: Inspirations from the Seto Inland Sea (瀬戸内)

 Premium Moshio (Seaweed Salt) from Awaji Island

Premium Moshio (Seaweed Salt) from Awaji Island (淡路島の藻塩)
Producer: Tada Philosophy
Prefecture: Hyogo
Ingredients: Sea water (Awaji island), seaweed
Suggested use: Use as you would any fine finishing or cooking salt.
Storage: Room temperature.

Salt has a special significance in Japan far beyond its culinary uses. In Shinto belief, salt has the power to purify land and guard a home against impurities. Sumo wrestlers also throw handfuls of salt before fighting to cleanse the ring.

Moshio is salt derived from seawater and seaweed. Unlike refined salt which is pure white, this beige-tinted salt is rich in minerals from the sea including iodine, calcium, potassium and magnesium. With relatively low salinity, moshio has a mild taste, yet is rich in umami. 

Awaji Island, known as Awaji-shima, is located in Hyogo Prefecture and is the largest island in the Seto Inland Sea. It’s also famous for its salt production. This premium moshio from Tada Philosophy is produced by hand and takes four days to make under the watchful eyes of their master salt makers. Seawater is sourced from the southwest tip of the island in Fukura Bay, concentrated to raise the salinity, then heated in an open caldron for almost an entire day before seaweed is left to soak in it overnight. It is further boiled down, at which point white crystallized “salt flowers” are formed. Later moshio and bittern are separated. On the third day, the seawater is boiled again and placed in a cold storage for a day. The mixture is then carefully sifted by hand. Only a small amount of salt can be obtained from one pot, making this a truly valuable gift from the sea.



Vegan Miso Ramen

Vegan Miso Ramen (ヴィーガン味噌ラーメン)
Producer: Kurata Shokuhin
Prefecture: Hiroshima
Ingredients: Noodle: Wheat (domestic), salt, lye water Soup: Rice miso (soybean, rice, salt), soy sauce, sugar, sesame, extract (vegetable, yeast), bean sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, spices, alcohol (includes wheat, soybeans, sesame)
Suggested uses: To make one serving (each package includes 2 servings), add the dried noodles to 500ml of boiling water and stir gently. Boil for about 2 mins until the noodles reach your desired firmness, then squeeze in the contents of the soup pouch. Bring to a boil and serve. To serve cold, squeeze the contents of the soup pouch into a bowl and dilute with 360~400ml of cold water or your favorite thin vegetable soup. Separately, add the dried noodles in boiling water, stir gently and blanch for 3½-4 mins before draining in a colander and rinsing with cold water. Soak in ice water to cool, drain, and add to the prepared chilled soup. Top hot or cold noodles with your favorite vegetables sautéd in olive oil, sesame oil, ra-yu, spring onions, bean sprouts, etc. if desired.

Ramen has become one of Japan’s most iconic foods with every region having its own unique twists based on the type of broth and toppings. Miso ramen in particular tends to be rich in umami due to the miso based broth which is hearty, savory and salty. This special miso ramen is also entirely vegan, drawing its flavors from its vegetable based broth and added spicy miso. 

Kurata Shokuhin makes their local ramen 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.



Uwajima Jakoten (Fish Cake) Mixed Rice

Uwajima Jakoten (Fish Cake) Mixed Rice (宇和島じゃこ天ごはん)
Producer: Maeda
Prefecture: Ehime
Ingredients: Non-glutinous rice (domestic), barley (glutinous barley (domestic)), fish paste (fish, potato starch, etc.), carrots, burdock, soy sauce (contains soybeans), mirin, sake, liquid dashi (salt, sugar, etc.), salt
Suggested uses: Open the lid to the dotted line and microwave for 1½ mins (500W or 600W) or place the entire package in a pot of boiling water for about 15 mins (without removing the lid, with the top side facing up). Do not cover the pot.

Popular in Ehime Prefecture, jakoten is a local fish cake made from fresh small fish found in the Uwa Sea. The fish are minced with their skin and bones and shaped into cakes which are then deep-fried. The resulting fish cake is delicious and flavorful, and can be found in simmered dishes, hot pots, or in this unique mixed rice dish. The combination of rice and barley creates a delightful, chewy texture while the addition of local vegetables and an umami-rich seasoning results in a wholesome, heart warming dish.



Salt Mikan (Japanese Mandarin Orange) Marinade
Salt Mikan (Japanese Mandarin Orange) Marinade (塩みかんマリネの素)
Producer: Miyamoto Orange Garden
Prefecture: Ehime
Ingredients: Mikan (unshu mandarin orange) (Ehime), salt, sugar (refined sugar)
Suggested uses: Use as a marinade for fish, meat or vegetables. Can also be used as is to season dishes such as carpaccio or sauted foods. Combine with olive oil to make a salad dressing or with vinegar to make a citrus flavored, all-purpose vinegar. Try it in the Salt Mikan Chirashizushi, Salt Mikan Carrot Rapées and Salt Mikan Marinated Cod recipes provided.
Storage: Refrigerate after opening.

Recommended by vegetable sommeliers, this versatile salt mikan marinade is the perfect combination of salty, sweet, citrus flavors. Mikan (also known as unshu mikan or Japanese mandarin orange) is a local Japanese citrus characterized by its low acidity, sweet yet subtly tangy taste, and refreshing aroma. Here,ripe mikan are salted and aged to enhance their citrus flavor and combined with a hint of sugar for extra sweetness. 

Miyamoto Orange Garden grows their mikan in terraced fields surrounded by the sun and calmness of the Uwa Sea. They are located in Yawatahama City in Ehime Prefecture, which is one of Japan's leading mikan producing regions, and are the first citrus farm in Japan to obtain Global GAP certification, the world standard for agriculture. Through their efforts, they are committed to sustainable agriculture while contributing to local communities and the development of the agricultural industry.


Brown Rice & Mulberry Leaf Okara Cookie

Brown Rice & Mulberry Leaf Okara Cookie (玄米粉桑の葉 倉敷おからクッキー)
Producer: Kurashiki Okara Cookie
Prefecture: Okayama
Ingredients: High amylose rice (Okayama), okara (soybean pulp) (domestic), coconut oil, raw sugar (Kagoshima), almond flour, mulberry leaves (domestic)
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is. Pairs perfectly with one of our Japanese green or specialty teas available at ourMarket: Michi no Eki.

These cookies are made from 100% domestic, freshly squeezed rawokara (soy bean pulp) sourced every morning from a local tofu shop, and a high amylose brown rice (rice with high amounts of amylose are less sticky and therefore lend to a crunchier textured cookie). The sweetness of raw sugar is then perfectly balanced with earthy, slightly bitter mulberry leaves. Mulberries (known as kuwa) are flowering plants that look similar to blackberries and are one of Japan’s oldest herbal medicines. The resulting healthy, homemade cookies are just like a Japanese mom would make!


Okara King Konbu (Kelp) Chips

Okara King Konbu (Kelp) Chips (おからキングコンブチップス)
Producer: Konbumori
Prefecture: Ehime
Ingredients: Okara (soybean pulp) (soybean (domestic) (non-GMO)), cornstarch, rice oil, rice flour, potato starch, beet sugar, kelp extract, kelp powder, salt, green tea oil
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is.

Konbu (kelp), with its high amount of glutamic acid, is one of the key drivers of umami in Japanese cuisine. These delightful konbu chips, one of Konbumori’s specialty seaweed snacks, have a light and crunchy texture with a perfectly balanced salty sweet taste. The green tea oil adds a hint of Japan’s signature tea flavor.

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