October 21, 2009

Fall is Here!! (Part 3)/秋だ!!(パート3)

I got these satoimo (taro potatoes) from a neighbor! I simmered some of them in a broth of 8:1:1 dashi, soy sauce, and mirin.

As I said previously, I like to use paper towels instead of a "drop lid".

I am very glad that the fall is here!


Lexi said...


I am very interested in your blog, as I am a foreigner living in Japan and would like to experiment around with Japanese ingredients.

Actually, I had some DELICIOUS soup a few weeks ago that I would like to try to make. When I asked what it was, they said "Gobo." To me, it seemed like kind of a cream soup, but when I talk to all my friends about it, they don't know about a creamy gobo soup. The color was a grey brown, and the taste of mild onion/asparagus.

Any thoughts?

Hiroyuki said...

Lexi: Gobo soups sound interesting, although I haven't had any before (sigh).
Here's an example of sites listing recipes for bogo soups.
The trick is pureeing the ingredients in a blender.

Unknown said...

Hey hiroyuki I have 2 questions for you today....

1) paper towel you're using to simmer. Is that just plain kitchen paper towel? Will it not dissolve if you just place it on a simmering liquid??? Is if just as effective as drop lid??

2) further to our dashi discussion. Do u always make your dashi from scratch or do u use instant?? Also is instant dashi unhealthy??

Btw those potatoes look nice. Won't find any of those in uk though.:::

Hiroyuki said...

Mike: 1) Yes, it is. Plain paper towl. (Actually, I used two paper towls this time because the pot was large. I usually use only one.) It will retain its shape even after simmering. It is as effective as a drop lid, and it is better for several reasons, such as that it will soak up "aku" (bitter and harsh components) and that it comes in direct contact with the ingredients, helping them to soak the broth.
As you may know, the traditional drop lid is made of wood, and can easily get stinky due to improper use. I hate a more modern, adjustable metal one, either.
You can see metal ones in the first two photos here:
Some people like to use aluminum foil, while others like to use parchment paper.
Anyway, to make this and other similar dishes, you usually use water to barely cover the ingredients, so you need a drop lid or a substitute.

Hiroyuki said...

Mike: I almost always use instant dashi. I'm not ashamed to say so (laugh). I know that even today, a serious cook will make dashi from scratch.
Is instant dashi unhealthy? That's a very big question, and I can't answer it with confidence. Ajinomoto, the manufacturer of the product with the same name, Ajinomoto, which is MSG in English, says that Ajinomoto is made from sugar cane, and is not bad for your health.
My point is that any seasoning, salt, sugar, soy sauce, etc., can be unhealthy if consumed in large quantities.
Anyway, the Chinese restaurant syndrome is almost un-heard of in Japan.
You may need to ask some other people to get your own conclusion.

Brent said...

On the MSG issue, and for what it's worth, the "syndrome" has been resistant to scientific proof in testing:


Hiroyuki said...

Brent: Thanks for an interesting video!
Here is a long thread (8 pages long) on MSG in eGullet:

Tzu-yen said...

I love taro. Is it common to eat it savory like you have it? I am from Taiwan and we also eat it in a dessert/sweet very often.

As to the MSG. Most of the foods we eat have glutamate - the stuff that makes MSG taste good. Heston Blummenthal has researched widely into this topic. Browned beats, konbu, bonito are all rich in glutamate.

Hiroyuki said...

Tzuie: Taro desserts/sweets?! That sounds very interesting! I don't know of any myself, but there may be some Japanese who like to use them in desserts/sweets. I did some googling and found such recipes.

As for MSG, yes, and cheese and tomatoes are other examples that are rich in natural MSG.