April 9, 2018

Bounty of the Sea and Bounty of the Mountains/海の幸、山の幸

I am currently living in my parents' house to support them, which happens to be at the heart of the Boso Peninsula. Yesterday, I got a yama no sachi (lit. happiness of the mountains; bounty of the mountains) from a neighbor, moso bamboo, as well as an umi no sachi (lit. happiness of the sea; bounty of the sea) from another neighbor, wakame seaweed.
現在、両親をサポートするため両親の実家に住んでいますが、実家は房総半島の真ん中にあります。昨日は、近所の人から山の幸、孟宗竹(もうそうちく)を頂き、 別の人から海の幸、若布(わかめ、ワカメ)を頂きました。
A common way to prepare a bamboo shoot is to boil it in a pot of water plus some rice bran or "kome no togi jiru" (milky water resulting from washing white rice before cooking). Unfortunately, I had no rice bran in the kithen, and I had no kome no togi jiru because I had planned to eat leftover rice the next morning. So, I tried preparing these bamboo shoots with plain tap water. The neighbor suggested boiling them for an hour or so, but I shortened the cooking time to about 30 minutes or so.
This morning, I tasted the bamboo shoots and found they were very tasty!
I had to use one very large pot and another large pot.
After boiled:
Wakame seaweed:
Still brown.
Preparing wakame is simple. Rinse and put in a pot of boiling water. It changes its color to vivid green in an instant. Drain and cool with tap water.
Shown on the right in the photo above are hard stems of the wakame.
My mother died of cerebral infarction at the age of 84 on March 7. Nothing makes you sadder than to lose your beloved mom.


Amy said...

Hiroyuki, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Another Amy said...

My sincere and deep condolences, Mr. Hiroyuki. Your mom must have been a wonderful person. It is good you were able to be with your parents at this time. Hope that time will bring some comfort. Thank you for sharing your everyday life with us on the web.

Hiroyuki said...

Two Amy's: Thank you both for you sympathy!

Wiesław Szczoteczka said...

My deepest condolences, Hiroyuki-san.

Hiroyuki said...

Wieslaw Szczoteczka (Sorry, I can't type them right!):

Thank you for your condolences.

I visited your blog. Although I can't understand a word of it, I can see you are very interested in Japanese cuisine!

Wiesław Szczoteczka said...

Oh yes, Japanese cuisine has fascinated me for years. I've even started to learn the language recently, just to read the cook books. Your blog is very interesting, and extremely useful for learning. どうもありがとうございます。

Arwen said...

I got curious about bamboo shoots and I found an article (from this french blog http://www.lemanger.fr/index.php/preparer-les-pousses-de-bambou/) explaining why they should be cooked slowly and with the rice's washing water: when in contact with water, a substance called taxiphilline (contained also in apricot kernels and manioc) produces a sort of toxic acid (acide cyanhudrique). However, this toxic element deteriorates in boiling water. The longer it boils, the lesser toxic substances there are: 70% disappear after 20min, and there's none left after 2 hours of boiling. And it works even better with starch, that's why people would use the rice water which is full of it.
I hope you find this useful!
Also, my sincere condolences for your loss. Thank you for sharing all of this with us.

Hiroyuki said...

Arwen: First of all, thank you for your condolences.

I had some difficulty identifying the substances you mentioned.

taxiphilline = taxiphyllin (E) = タキシフィリン (J), which is a cyanogenetic glycoside (青酸配糖体)
This substance is sensitive to heat and is decomposed when boiled for 35-40 minutes.

acide cyanhydrique = hydrocyanic acid, hydrogen cyanide (E) = 青酸 (J)

I cannot find the connection between taxiphyllin and hydrocyanic acid, but I did find this sentence:
ume fruit contains a component called amygdaline, which is a cyanogenetic glycoside that forms poisonous hydrogen cyanide (hydrocyanic acid) when hydrolyzed by an enzyme in the stomach, intestines and so on

I'm not 100% sure but I think that there is some error in the description you provided.

The site you linked to contains this link about moso bamboo:

which contains this paragraph:

As the shoots mature oxalic acid as well as homogentisic acid and its glycosides (notably containing cyanide), making them unpalatable. To remove these unwanted substances, freshly collected shoots must be first cleaned of the outer sheaths and parboiled in water with an alkali agent (rice bran being the most commonly used in Japan). The shoots should be tender before being consumed, a process that takes about 30 minutes for most shoots, but can be longer for larger ones.

Let me point out the following facts:

1. The freshest bamboo shoots are not at all bitter, harsh, or astringent, and do not require parboiling, or "aku nuki" (bitterness, harshness, and astringency removal). Believe it or not, you can eat just harvested bamboo shoots raw, in the sashimi style, without boiling them first.
The ones I got from the neighbor were quite fresh (harvested that morning), so I figured that they did not contain much "aku" (bitterness, etc.).
Anyway, the proof is in the eating. When I tasted the bamboo shoots the next morning, they tasted quite good.
2. For some plants, removing all "aku" (bitterness, etc.) may not be a good idea. For example, removing all aku from a sansai (wild edible plant) such warabi (bracken fern) would make it tasteless.

Fräulein Trude said...

お悔やみ申し上げます. Please take good care of yourself and your father.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: お悔やみをいただきまして、恐れいります。

My father (89) is still alive and kicking, willing to do farm work every day, despite my plea to go easy on himself.

Deon Schutte said...

My sincere sympathies on the loss of your mother. Your sadness honours her life.
I really enjoy your blog!
Warm regards from the other side of the world (Cape Town),

Hiroyuki said...

Deon Schutte: Thank your for your sympathies.

We will have a "shiju ku nichi" (lit. 49th day) memorial service for my mother tomorrow.