May 30, 2011

Volume 7 of Shinya Shokudo/深夜食堂の第七巻

List of episodes of Volume 7 (last volume as of the present) of the manga book, Shinya Shokudo:

86 Sweet fried eggs
Kosuzu-san's memories of fried eggs are revealed.
87 Mochi (rice cake)
88 Ham katsu (ham breaded and deep-fried)
89 Nikogori (jellied fish broth)
90 Tori soboro juu (rice with seasoned ground chicken in a "juubako" box)
91 Green asparagus
92 Carrot
93 Reba nira or nira reba (liver with Chinese chive or Chinese chive with liver)
94 Katsu ni (breaded pork cutlet simmered)
95 Fried rice
96 Ginger ale and okosama (children's) lunch
97 Deep-fried items
98 Morning curry
99 Subuta (sweat-and-sour pork)
Aside Hot water


86 甘い玉子焼き
87 もち
88 ハムカツ
89 煮こごり
90 鶏そぼろ重
91 グリーンアスパラ
92 にんじん
93 レバにら or にらレバ
94 カツ煮
95 炒めごはん
96 ジンジャーエールとお子様ランチ
97 揚げもの
98 朝カレー
99 酢豚
箸休め お湯

Volume 6 of Shinya Shokudo/深夜食堂の第六巻

List of episodes of Volume 6 of the manga book, Shinya Shokudo:

72 Tomato wrapped in pork belly
73 Mugicha (barley tea)
74 Cucumber
75 Ginger-fried pork set meal
76 Gari-Gari-Kun ice candy
77 Consomme
78 Shinmai (new crop rice)
79 Matsutake mushroom
80 Mackerel simmered with miso
81 Geso age (tentacle fry)
82 Grilled onigiri (rice ball)
83 Hiyashi chuka (chilled Chinese noodles)
84 Chikuwa isobe age (tubular fish paste product coated with batter containing aonori (a type of seaweed) and deep-fried)
85 Ochazuke, again
Aside Bingo


72 豚バラトマト巻き
73 麦茶
74 キューリ
75 生姜焼き定食
76 ガリガリ君
77 コンソメスープ
78 新米
79 松茸
80 サバのみそ煮
81 ゲソ揚げ
82 焼きおにぎり
83 冷やし中華
84 ちくわの磯辺揚げ
85 再びお茶漬け
箸休め ビンゴ

Volume 5 of Shinya Shokudo/深夜食堂の第五巻

List of episodes of Volume 5 of the manga book, Shinya Shokudo:

58 Mapo tofu
59 Kazunoko (herring roe)
60 Meat sauce (spaghetti with meat sauce)
61 Cream stew
62 Canned food
63 Pork kimchi
64 Haya meshi (early meal)
65 Curry udon
66 Spinach dressed with sesame seeds
67 Spring cabbage
68 Aji no hiraki (horse mackerel cut open and dried) (episode 9 of TV drama)
69 Gyoza
70 Hamburger
71 Omu rice (omelet with a filling of ketchup‐seasoned fried rice)
Aside Whining


58 麻婆豆腐
59 数の子
60 ミートソース
61 クリームシチュー
62 缶詰
63 豚キムチ
64 早めし
65 カレーうどん
66 ホーレン草のゴマ和え
67 春キャベツ
68 アジの開き(テレビドラマの第九話)
69 ギョーザ
70 ハンバーグ
71 オムライス
箸休め グチ

Volume 4 of Shinya Shokudo/深夜食堂の第四巻

List of episodes of Volume 4 of the manga book, Shinya Shokudo:

44 Unagi no tare (sauce for eel)
45 Pigs feet
46 Chilled tomato
47 Little finger
48 Cold tofu
49 Kushi katsu (skewered cutlet)
50 Autumn eggplant
51 Kinpira gobo (burdock root (and carrot) sticks fried with soy sauce, sugar, etc.)
52 Inari zushi (sushi in seasoned abura age (fried tofu))
53 Meat and vegetables
54 Dried squid
55 Korokke (Japanese croquette)
56 Ginkgo nut
57 Kabocha on winter solstice
Aside Bathroom


44 うなぎのタレ
45 豚足
46 冷やしトマト
47 小指
48 やっこ
49 串かつ
50 秋なす
51 きんぴらごぼう
52 いなりずし
53 肉と野菜
54 あたりめ
55 コロッケ
56 銀杏
57 冬至のカボチャ
箸休め トイレ

Volume 3 of Shinya Shokudo/深夜食堂の第三巻

List of episodes of Volume 3 of the manga book, Shinya Shokudo:

30 Nabe yaki udon (udon cooked in a pot (donabe, iron pot, etc.))
31 Red weenies, again
Ryu-chan's memories of red weenies are revealed.
32 Boiled egg
33 Sharing (a meal) fifty-fifty
34 Butter rice (episode 5 of TV drama)
35 Kara age
36 Bamboo shoot
37 Gyoniku (fish meat) sausage
38 Harusame (bean vermicelli) salad
39 Short necked clam cooked in sake
40 Beef stroganoff
41 3-color furikake pack
42 Shallot pickled in sweet vinegar
43 Chikuwa (tubular fish paste product)
Aside Myouga (Japanese ginger)


30 鍋焼きうどん
31 再び赤いウインナー
32 ゆでたまご
33 半分こ
34 バターライス(テレビドラマの第五話)
35 唐揚げ
36 たけのこ
37 魚肉ソーセージ
38 春雨サラダ
39 あさりの酒蒸し
40 ビーフストロガノフ
41 ふりかけ3色パック
42 らっきょうの甘酢漬け
43 ちくわ
箸休め みょうが

Volume 2 of Shinya Shokudo/深夜食堂の第二巻

List of episodes of Volume 2 of the manga book, Shinya Shokudo:

15 Garnish for sashimi
16 Cold soup
17 Egg sandwich (episode 7 of TV drama)
18 Salt-grilled sanma (saury)
19 Ochazuke (episode 3 of TV drama)
20 Customer in the bathroom
21 Onion rings
22 Karikari (crispy) bacon
23 Oyster fry
24 Niku jaga (meat-potato stew)
25 Sauce yakisoba (episode 8 of TV drama)
26 Waribashi (disposable chopsticks)
27 Crab (story similar to the crab story in the latter half of episode 10 of TV drama)
28 Itadakimasu
29 Purin (Japanese-style custard pudding)

15 刺身のつま
16 冷や汁
17 タマゴサンド(テレビドラマの第七話)
18 秋刀魚の塩焼き
19 お茶漬け(テレビドラマの第三話)
20 トイレの客
21 オニオンリング
22 カリカリベーコン
23 カキフライ
24 肉じゃが
25 ソース焼きそば(テレビドラマの第八話)
26 割り箸
27 カニ(テレビドラマの第十話の後半のカニの話に似た話)
28 いただきます
29 プリン

May 29, 2011

Volume 1 of Shinya Shokudo/深夜食堂の第一巻

List of episodes of Volume 1 of the manga book, Shinya Shokudo:
1 Red weenies (episode 1 of TV drama)
2 Yesterday's curry
3 Neko manma (cat food) (episode 2 of TV drama)
4 Soy sauce and sauce
In Japan, the term sauce, when used alone, means Worcestershire sauce/Worcester sauce.
5 (Oden) With gyusuji (beef tendon), daikon, and eggs
6 Natto
7 Yaki nori (roasted laver)
8 Tarako (cod roe) (story similar to part of episode 1 of TV drama)
9 Katsudon (episode 6 of TV drama)
10 Neapolitan (Japanese-style spaghetti with tomato ketchup)
11 Potato salad (episode 4 of TV drama)
12 Cucumber pickled in rice bran
13 Watermelon
14 Ramen
Aside: Katsu curry (curry with breaded pork cutlet)

1 赤いウインナー(テレビドラマの第一話)
2 きのうのカレー
3 猫まんま(テレビドラマの第二話)
4 しょうゆとソース
5 牛すじ大根玉子入り
6 納豆
7 焼き海苔
8 たらこ(テレビドラマの第一話の一部に似た話)
9 カツ丼(テレビドラマの第六話)
10 ナポリタン
11 ポテトサラダ(テレビドラマの第四話)
12 キューリのぬか漬け
13 スイカ
14 ラーメン
箸休め カツカレー

May 28, 2011

Shinya Shokudo/深夜食堂

I bought all seven volumes of the Shinya Shokudo manga book, which contains 99 episodes in total.

The good news (at least for me) is that in contrast to the sad ending of episode 7 of the TV drama version, in the original manga version, the entertainer and the newspaper delivery guy got back together again after the entertainer divorced the president of an IT company one year later.
In episode 1 of the TV drama version, Kosuzu-san has an unrequited love for the yakuza, but in the manga version, things are a little different. Sometimes the yakuza ordered weenies and waited for Kosuzu-san to come.
The yakuza's memories of red weenies date back to his high school days, when he played baseball. The manager of his baseball club gave him a bento box full of red weenies.
Unlike in episode 6 of the TV drama version, in the manga version, Master asks the boxer, "Why don't I treat you to katsudon?", and the boxer replies, "Could you make it oyakodon?"
Kosuzu-san's memories of tamago-yaki date back to his young days, when Kou-chan, an employee of the gay bar where he worked, used to make tamago-yaki for him.
Kou-chan is already dead, but his grand-son, who looks very much like him, comes to see him and makes him happy.

To be continued.

May 22, 2011

Summary of Tempura Making 3 (Final)/天ぷら作りのまとめ3(最終)

Finally, as I said before, making decent tempura is difficult even for native Japanese. There are two decisive factors, the temperature of the oil and the thickness of the batter.

In general, the oil temperature should be 160-170C for vegetables and 180C for fish and seafood. Obviously, thin batter results in thin coating, while thick batter results in thick coating. Ingredients that need to be deep-fried for a long time require thick batter. Sweet potato is a typical example.

Notes on kakiage: It may be difficult to make light, non-greasy kakiage. There are several techniques for making kakiage. A common one is to first dust the ingredients in a bowl, then pour some batter, mix, scoop some of the ingredients, using a ladle or a large spoon (be sure to return any excess batter to the bowl), and put in the tempura pot to deep-fry, as I mentioned here (post #43). Alternatively, omit the dusting step and simply add some batter.
Another is to add some flour to ingredients in a bowl, add enough cold water, mix, and scoop some of the ingredients, and put in the pot to deep-fry.

Tempura Kondo: Some of those who have viewed the photos of tempura served at the tempura restaurant, Tempura Kondo, may have wondered what the semi-cylindrical object was (in the top left photo as of May 21). I mean this one. It is sweet potato tempura about 7 cm in height, and it is regarded as one of Kondo's best pieces. According to this site (Japanese only), it is made as follows:
1. Cut sweet potato into rounds about 7 cm in height.
2. Coat with batter, put in a pot of 180C oil, and deep-fry while turning over frequently.
3. When the surface is done, transfer to a pot of 170C, and deep-fry for 30 min.
4. Take out from the pot and wrap in paper towel for 5 to 7 min.
5. Cut (in half? lengthwise) and serve.

So, how did Kondo come up with this unusual sweet potato tempura?

He used to make sweet potato tempura in a usual way, using thin rounds of sweet potato, but he felt it left something to be desired. He thought it was off balance, and didn't find it tasty at all.

Around dawn in late fall, Kondo was having hot yaki imo (roasted sweet potato) he had bought at a stall. He thought that yaki imo bought out the flavor of sweet potato. "Why can't I do the same by tempura-ing?"
After much trial and error, Kondo's original sweet potato tempura was completed in the fall of the second year after he opened the restaurant.

Other interesting pieces of tempura at Tempura Kondo include
Carrot tempura, made with very thin strips of carrot and
Green pepper tempura, which is a whole green pepper with seeds in it that is battered and deep-fried (I guess several holes are made to prevent explosion).

There is so much to talk about tempura, but I'd like to go on to the next topic, Shinya Shokudo!

Added to add:
This page (Japanese only) explains how to make kakiage, with photos, using the tempura mix for business use that I mentioned in Summary of Tempura Making 2.

Ingredients for three pieces:
160 g onion
30 g carrot
10 g shungiku
100 g water
100 g tempura mix

1. Put 200 g (= 160 + 30 + 10) vegetables and 100 g tempura mix in a bowl and mix well.
2. Add 100 g water.
3. Mix well until no longer floury.
4. Place some ingredients in a ladle, unraveling any entangled ingredients fluffily(?).
5. Sink the ladle slowly into the oil.
6. When the ingredients are done to some degree, remove them from the ladle. Flip in 2 min., and deep-fry for another 1 min. Drain well.

Japanese text omitted.

May 21, 2011

Tempura Making 2

Note: This post was initially published between Tempura Making 1 and Tempura Making 3, but was published as a new post here after I corrected Blogger-created stupid label to the initial one. Sorry for the inconvenience.
注: この投稿は最初、Tempura Making 1とTempura Make 3の間に発行したのですが、Bloggerが作成した変なラベルを最初のラベルに修正したら、新たな投稿として、ここに発行されてしまいました。ご了承下さい。

I forgot to mention that I had made all the necessary preparations for the tempura ingredients before pouring oil into the pot.

I then turned on the stove, and started to make tempura batter.

The standard tempura batter is a 1:1 mixture of (beaten egg + cold water) and wheat flour, but for this particular tempura making session, I decided to make batter with beaten egg yolk + cold water and wheat flour. By cold water, I mean tap water at about 21C. Cold water of about 15C is preferable but not essential, and you need not use iced water, in my opinion. For best results, the flour must be low-gluten flour like cake flour (kakurikiko in Japan). All-purpose flour (churikiko in Japan) should be OK (I have made tempura with churikiko with success several times), but don't use bread flour (kyorikiko in Japan).
標準的な天ぷらの衣とは、(溶き卵+冷水)と小麦粉を1:1で混ぜたものですが、今回の天ぷら作りでは、(溶いた黄身+冷水)と小麦粉で衣を作ることにしました。冷水と私が言うのは、21度程度の水道水です。15度程度の冷水のほうがいいですが、必須ではありません。また、私の意見ですが、氷水を使う必要もありません。良い結果を出すには、cake flourなどのグルテンの少ない小麦粉(日本では薄力粉)を使ってください。all-purpose flour(日本では中力粉でも大丈夫ですが(何回か中力粉で天ぷらを作りましたが、うまく行きました)、bread flour(日本では強力粉)は使わないで下さい。

Beaten egg yolk + Cold water, mixed thoroughly, the total amount of which should be 200 ml to combine with 200 ml flour to make batter):
溶いた卵の黄身と冷水を良く混ぜたところ。合計200 mlになること(200 mlの小麦粉と合わせて衣を作るには):
If you try tempura making for the first time, I recommend measuring the flour. 200 ml or 110 g flour. And, about 175 ml cold water to make a yolk solution of 200 ml.
天ぷら作りを初めて試すなら、小麦粉の量を測ることを薦めます。小麦粉200 mlまたは100 g。それから、200 mlの冷水を黄身の溶液を作るために約175 mlの冷水。

Sift flour and add it to the yolk solution (not vice versa).

Mix thoroughly (but don't overmix). Some people may tell you that the batter should be lumpy, but it need not necessarily be lumpy, in my opinion.

I usually start making tempura with vegetables, like many others, but I started with prawn this time, so that my hungry son could start having tempura soon. I heated the oil to 180C (my stove is equipped with a temperature control), and deep-fried prawn for about 1.5 min.
Not good examples! The prawn ended up curling, although I made several cuts on the belly side of each prawn and bent each prawn in the opposite direction.

To be continued.

May 20, 2011

Summary of Tempura Making 2/天ぷら作りのまとめ2

I like the soft and fluffy texture of tempura made with batter of water, whole egg (or yolk only), and wheat flour, because such tempura is what I grew up with. For those who prefer hard and crunchy tempura, the type of tempura you can buy at any supermarket in Japan, which remains hard and crunchy even after it has cooled, premade tempura mix is recommended.

In particular, this tempura mix for business use is quite impressive.

You can see the difference between a piece of prawn tempura made with this mix (left) and another made with flour + egg (right) here.

This photo is from this article. 11th and subsequent photos are related to tempura.

Alternatively, you can add up to 20-30% starch, such as katakuriko (potato starch), to get a similar effect.

Some people recommend adding some baking powder to the batter (1 tsp per 200 ml or 110 g flour) to make crispy tempura. Others recommend using three parts water and one part carbonated water (or beer!) instead water to make crispy tempura. Other ingredients some people add to make crispy tempura include shochu (Japanese distilled spirit), sake, vinegar, and even mayonnaise. I can't comment on them because I have never tried any of them.


This site (Japanese only), created by Tempura Okamoto, a tempura restaurant located in Tachikawa, Tokyo, is a wealth of information about tempura.

For example, this page (Japanese only) lists various vegetables, whether to deep-fry them for a long time, how thick the batter should be, and whether to dust them (where to dust, cut ends and peeled portions only or entirely). If you have any questions about particular vegetables, post a question here, as a comment.

To be continued.






カリッとした天ぷらを作るため、衣にベーキングパウダーを入れる(200 ml、110 gの小麦粉に小さじ1)を入れることを薦める人もいます。また、水の代わりに、水と炭酸水(またはビール!)を3:1で使うことを薦める人もいます。さらに、焼酎、お酒、お酢、さらにマヨネーズも薦める人もいます。どれも使ったことがないので、コメントできませんが。


天ぷら岡本という、東京都立川市にある天ぷら屋さんが作ったこのサイト (Japanese only)は、天ぷらに関する情報の宝庫です。



May 14, 2011

Summary of Tempura Making/天ぷら作りのまとめ

The following is a summary of tempura making, with additional information.

Here is the equipment that I use to make tempura:
I usually use the tempura pot and two or three pairs of cooking chopsticks only. I usually don't use the shifter, the pair of long, large chopsticks, the measuring cup, and the net for scooping tenkasu.

A beginner should accurately measure the flour and water to tell what the standard tempura batter should be. Everyone is a beginner at first.

Canola oil and hakurikiko (cake flour) that I used:
Use vegetable oil of your choice. Like I said before, I don't like to use sesame oil to make tempura.

I guess that I need to clarify that there is Kanto-style tempura and Kansai-style tempura. The former is characterized by:
Use of sesame oil
Use of eggs in batter
More emphasis on fish and seafood than vegetables
Some tempura ya (restaurants specializing in tempura) use sesame oil only, while others combine sesame oil with other vegetable oil at a ratio of, say, 1:5. Use of sesame oil and egg in batter results in golden brown tempura. More emphasis on fish and seafood stems from the fact that in the Edo period, fish and seafood caught in Edo Bay (present Tokyo Bay) were often used for tempura, and sesame oil was used to mask the fishy flavor.
Kansai-style tempura is characterized by:
Use of vegetable oil other than sesame oil
Use of egg-less batter
More emphasis on vegetables than fish and seafood
I found one good site describing Kansai-style tempura:
In Episode 6 of Kuitan, Kuitan's client complains about Kanto-style tempura being so dark.
Kuitan episode 6 (at around 3:05 in 2/4 of episode 6
In her thread, egullet member prasantrin talks about the tempura meal she had in Tokyo. I posted a photo of Kansai-style tempura to that thread (post #400).
Another difference is that in Kanto, tempura is often eaten with tentsuyu (dipping sauce for tempura), while in Kansai, tempura is often eaten without tentsuyu or with salt or other condiment.
Kuitan episode 6
このスレッドで、egulletのメンバーのprasantrinさんが東京で食べた天ぷらについて語っています。私は関西風の天ぷらの写真を載せました(post #400)。

I'd also like to talk about the difference between tempura ya style tempura and soba ya (buckwheat noodle restaurant) style tempura.
The former is characterized by tempura with thin coating that is meant to be eaten immediately after made. The latter is characterized by tempura with thick coating that is often made in advance. Some soba ya style tempura, particularly prawn tempura (ebi ten), gets more coating while being fried to produce flowers.
You can view examples of tempura ya style tempura served at Tempura Kondo here.
Tempura Kondo is a very famous tempura ya in Tokyo.
You can view example of soba ya style tempura here in my blog.
I made tempura ya style prawn tempura once, using very thin batter. I popped one piece in my mouth immediately after deep-frying. It was one of the best pieces of tempura I had ever had. Later, my wife remarked, "It's not tasty." after having one piece that had already cooled down, and I had to agree. Less coating means less tasty once the tempura cools down.
One possible reason for less coating at a tempura ya is that the customer can have more pieces of less coated tempura, which means the tempura ya can make more money.

To be continued.

Tempura Making 3

Kogomi or kogome (ostrich fern fiddleheads), deep-fried at 160C for 2 min.
I really wish the temperature control had a 170C setting. I often find that 160C is a little bit lower for most vegetables and 180C is a little higher. I guess that not all kitchen equipment designers are good cooks...
Note: The word kogomi seems to be more common than kogome.
注: 「こごみ」のほうが「こごめ」より一般的なようです。

Gyoniku (fish meat) sausage, previously cut diagonally into 1-cm rounds, deep-fried at 160C for 1.5-2 min.
You can never taste this kind of tempura at a tempura ya (restaurant specializing in tempura) or any other restaurant. My mother used to make gyoniku sausage tempura when I was a child, and I liked it a lot.

As you can see, the batter is now not lumpy at all. Don't worry. It's still good.
Kabocha, previously cut into 5-mm slices, deep-fried at 160C for 2 min.

Yomogi (mugwort), previously finely chopped, soaked in water for some time to remove aku (harshness), drained, and squeezed to remove excess water; combined with ko ebi (dried small shrimp)
I added a small amount of water to adjust the texture of the batter.

Yomogi kakiage, deep-fried at 160C for 2 min.

The initial batter was completely gone, and I made another batter, with flour (not sifted) and cold water (I mean, tap water) and without an egg. I didn't measure the water or flour this time.
Onion-and-carrot kakiage, deep-fried at 160C for 2-3 min.
One of my favorite combinations for kakiage. I added some ko ebi (dried small shrimp) and edamame (young soybeans) this time.

I combined 2 tbsp flour (not shifted) and 2 tbsp cold water (tap water), and added some ao nori (a type of seaweed) to make a batter.
Chikuwa (tubular fish paste product), previously cut diagonally in half, deep-fried at 160C for 1.5-2 min.
This type of tempura is called iso age or isobe age. Unlike gyokuni sausage tempura, mentioned above, you may have a chance to taste it in a restaurant. Chikuwa iso (isobe) age is so popular.

I made another batter, with flour (not shifted) and cold water (tap water) and some salt.
I learned this type of batter from my wife. She likes to make sweet potato tempura (imo ten) with this batter so that it can be eaten without tentsuyu.

Sweet potato slices, being deep-fried:
You may think that the pot is too crowded. Don't worry.

To make sweet potato tempura, the batter must be thick. The standard tempura batter, mentioned in the previous post, may be a little bit thin for sweet potato tempura. Add some more flour, if needed. And, you have to deep-fry at a low temperature (160C) for AT LEAST 4 minutes (for 1-cm rounds) to bring out the sweetness of the sweet potato.

Sweet potato, deep-fried at 160C for more than 5 min.

Another batch:
I deep-fried the three sweet potatoes in four separate batches in total. It's really time-consuming, but I don't mind because I like sweet potato tempura very much!

I got this amount of tenkasu (agedama).
It's now in the freezer. I think I'll use it to make okonomiyaki.

I started to cook soba while I was making preparations for the ingredients. Just when I finished making the initial batter, it was time to drain soba. So, I had to let the batter stand for about 2 min.
This photo was taken after my son had much of the soba.

As I mentioned previously, I make it a point to strain oil while it is still hot to prevent it from degrading.
I made this simple dish with the remaining two chikuwa.
Chikuwa with cheese sticks inside.
Chikuwa with cucumber sticks in it is also very popular.
I microwaved the prawn shell and put it in the fridge.
I think I'll grind it and use it in a certain dish as a "hidden flavor".

To be continued.

What the h***!

The Tempura making 2 post has been deleted by Blogger!

May 11, 2011

Tempura Making/天ぷら作り

On May 9, I decided to make tempura for supper. I first made tentsuyu (dipping sauce for tempura) well in advance, at around two o'clock in the afternoon, by combining dashi, soy sauce, and mirin at a ratio of 5:1:1.
800 ml dashi (800 ml water + 1.3 tsp instant dashi)
160 ml soy sauce
160 ml mirin
I used mirin-like seasoning, not real mirin (which contains alcohol), so I just brought the mixture to a boil, turned off the heat, and let it cool.
If you use mirin, you first evaporate the alcohol by boiling for some time.

Note: A ratio of 4:1:1 is more common.
出汁 800 ml(水800 mlに出汁の素小さじ1.3)
しょう油 160 ml
みりん 160 ml

注: 4:1:1という割合のほうが一般的です。

Main ingredients for tempura (tane or tendane):
The sansai (edible wild plant) in the upper right corner is kogomi or kogome (ostrich fern fiddlehead). Luckily, I found kogomi sold at a low price, 98 yen a pack, and I just had to buy two! All my family love kogomi! The sansai in the lower right corner is yomogi (mugwort), which I picked up in my yard.

Cut each sweet potato crosswise or diagonally into 1-cm rounds, soak in cold water for at least 5 min., and drain.
I usually have tempura with soba (buckwheat noodles), and that night's supper was no exception.

Tempura pot with canola oil in it:
I measured the depth of the oil, and it was about 4 cm.  I think that 5 cm is usually considered a minimum depth, and I'd say that 3 cm is a bare minimum.

I don't like to use sesame oil to make tempura because of its distinctive flavor.  Besides, sesame oil is very expensive!

To be continued.
I've been rather busy these days, and I have to write about tempura making in several separate parts.

May 6, 2011

Vegetable Gardening, Spring 2011/菜園作り、2011年春

We had a record snowfall last winter here in the Snow Country, and even after the snow melted, air temperature remained low. It's still rather low, but I decided to till the soil today, so that I can plant seedlings as soon as it gets warm.

My rented small farm, center, measuring about 4 m x 6 m, before tilling:
耕す前の、借りている小さな畑(中央、約4 x 6 m):

7 bags of fully fermented cow dung, chemical fertilizer, and organic lime:
I scattered them all over the farm:
It took me about 2.5 hours to till the farm three times.
I made four ridges, like I usually do.
Finally, I covered the ridges with mulch.
To be continued.

Echigo Hillside Park/越後丘陵公園

On the last day (May 5) of "Golden Week", my family went to Echigo Hillside Park, located in Nagaoka city, Niigata.
The "Tulip Matsuri (festival)" is held there from April 23 through May 8 this year.
American Dream:
At Rose Cafe,
Rose Cafeで、
we each had rose soft ice cream. I had a "mix soft cream" (red rose and raw milk), while my wife and children had an "aka bara (red rose) soft cream". 300 yen.
There are masses of liverworts in this park.
We also found a lot of zenmai (Japanese flowering fern).
Can you spot them all?
My son was overjoyed to find one amigasatake (morel).
At the food stalls,
my daughter bought one pack of takoyaki. 400 yen.
My son bought grilled corn on the cob (no photo). 300 yen.

After we left the park, we went to a family restaurant, COCO'S. We reached there at around 5:35, but it was already crowded. We had to wait for 30 minutes before being seated.

My children and I ordered COCO'S beef hamburg steak. 599 yen.
180 g 100% Australian beef. You can select from three sauces. I selected oroshi ponzu (ponzu with grated daikon), my son demi-glass sauce, and my daughter wafu (Japanese-style) steak sauce, which was garlic flavored!! To my surprise, my children said they liked the wafu steak sauce the best.
100%オーストラリア産牛肉180 g。ソースは3種類から選べます。私はおろしポン酢、息子はデミグラスソース、娘は和風ステーキソース(ガーリック味!)を選びました。驚いたことに、二人とも和風ステーキソースが一番好きだと言ってました。

My daughter and I each ordered an "A set": Choice of rice, bread baked in a stone oven, and baguette, plus premium "drink bar" (self-service, all-you-can-drink corner). 378 yen.
My son ordered a "B set": "A set" plus a choice of corn soup and salad. 504 yen.
My wife ordered sausage and bacon pizza and premium drink bar. 609 and 189 yen.
This sheet describes how to use what they call a "pellet". Cut off a piece from the steak, and sear it on the pellet.
COCO's beef hamburg steak is served medium.

The pellet cooled down before my children could finish the steak, so they asked for another pellet for free.

The bill came to 3,855 yen, which was not bad by Japanese standards.

The hamburg steak was not enough for me, so I had to fill my stomach with drinks (espresso, cappuccino, blend, American, and iced coffee).