June 8, 2008

Yakitori (Skewered Chicken)/焼き鳥

Today, I bought a 10-kg bag of Koshiibuki rice for 3,770 yen at a home improvement center nearby. Since the sale of rice was liberalized in 2005, rice has become just another foodstuff that can be purchased at supermarkets, drug stores, home improvement centers, and so on. Until then, rice was only available from kome-ya (rice stores).
今日は、ホームセンターで10 kg袋のコシイブキを買いました。2005年(平成7年)に米の販売が自由化されてから、米はただの普通の食料となり、スーパー、ドラッグストア、ホームセンターなどで買えるようになりました。それまでは、米は米屋でしか買えませんでした。

Koshiibuki is an early variety developed by Niigata prefecture from Koshihikari, the most popular variety in Japan. Koshiibuki is as good as Koshishikari and is cheaper. It's hard to come by outside Niigata.

I made yakitori for supper tonight. I used two chicken thighs. An interesting thing about chicken is that chicken thighs are about twice as expensive as checken breasts in Japan, while the opposite is true in the United States.

Part of the reason is that while Americans think that breasts are healthy because they are less fatty, the Japanese think thighs are fattier, juicier, and more flavorful. Besides, Japanese cuisine tends to remove excess fat rather than adding more fat. Yakitori is a typical example.

Tama konnyaku (konjac in the form of balls)

Tama konnyaku is a specialty of Yamagata prefecture. The konnyaku balls shown in the photo are not authentic ones because they are not spherical.

I made daikon salad.

You must "dry heat" tama konnyaku in a pot, constantly moving about the pot. Then, pour an appropriate amount of soy sauce and add some instant dashi. Use dried squid (surume in Japanese) instead of instant dashi if you want to be authentic.
Tama konnyaku before being dry heated:

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