June 5, 2008


I wanted to write about sushi and kaiseki, but decided to write about something lighter. Besides, I'm drunk now.

I pickled five cucumbers on the evening of July 2, and this is what they look like this morning (July 5).

This time, I used shio kombu (salted kelp), instead of plain salt, which resulted in better-tasting pickles. No wonder, because the shio kombu contains MSG.

For supper tonight, I made asari no saka mushi (short-necked clams cooked ("steamed") in sake), using 600 g, really good, domestic, and expensive asari (130 yen per 100 g). I used drinking sake not cooking sake. This brand, Hakkaisan, is very famous in Kanto. It is made here in my city, Minami Uonuma city, Niigata prefecture. I added some (about 1/2 tsp) salt, as per one recipe.
今日の夕食には、本当にいい、国産の高いアサリ(100 g 130円)を600 g使って、アサリの酒蒸しを作りました。酒は調理酒ではなく飲用の酒を使いました。この銘柄、八海山は関東ではとても有名です。私の住む市、新潟県の南魚沼市で作られています。塩を少し(小さじ1/2程度)入れました。

This post was written on June 5, but was published today (June 6).


Nancy Heller said...

Hiroyuki - you are a hoot! I love your blog!

Best- Nancy

Anonymous said...

Do you use a tsukemonoki (pickle press) to make your pickled cucumbers? I found a small 750ml tsukemonoki which I find indispensable for preparing Japanese meals.

Hiroyuki said...

I used to have two of them, but they took a lot of space in the fridge and were rather hard to keep clean, so I stopped using them years ago. Now I use "I wrap" bags.
You can see I wraps bags in action in another blog of mine.

nakji said...

Mmmm...Hakkaisan! That's my favourite sake. I usually buy the bottle that's inyour picture, but once my husband bought the more expensive kind in the green bottle, which was reaaalllllyy nice. What's the difference in grades, do you know?

Also, your cucumber pickles look great, care to post a recipe?

Hiroyuki said...

That photo shows the cheapest brand, Seishu Hakkaisan (1.8-liter bottle, 2,000 yen).
According to their website, the green bottle is Junmai Ginjo Hakkaisan or Ginjo Hakkaisan.

You already know the recipe:
For 5 cucumbers,
80 ml mirin-like seasoning (みりん風調味料)
80 ml cereal vinegar
1 tsp salt or appropriate amount of salted kombu

You may think that the amounts of mirin-like seasoning and vinegar are not enough. The trick is as follows:
Wash you hands thoroughly and pick up only the pickled pieces at the bottom. You can use a spoon or a ladle, but your hands work best!
Keep the remaining un-pickled pieces in the bag. They will be pickled in half a day or a day.
This recipe I learned from the TV show, Tameshite Gatten, on NHK. My wife and I were getting tired of the same old tsukemono recipe using only salt (and some MSG), when we learned this recipe. We tried it, found it was good. Since then, we have kept using this recipe.

nakji said...

Oh, thank-you! I'll try that.