This time on the menu – octopus sushi bowl, flower-shaped eggs, and an “ice cube” tofu dessert!
A couple of weeks ago, we introduced you to some recipes from cookbooks that dated back to the Edo era of Japan (1603-1868), a time when meat consumption was still outlawed, resulting in dishes focused on eggs or tofu as a main source of protein, though seafood and fowl would still find their way to the table on occasion. Last time we learned how to make tofu nuggets and daikon radish soup, which were relatively simple to make and required very few ingredients. These next recipes are a step up in terms of preparation, but the end results make for charming little dishes.
Sakura-zushi (Cherry blossom sushi – so-called because the octopus slices resemble cherry blossoms)
・Rice (about 2 cups)
・Octopus leg (120 grams [4.2 ounces])
・”Ki-no-me” (Japanese pepper tree leaves – 10 leaves)
・Rice vinegar (2 tbsp)
・Salt (1/2 tsp)
・Sugar (4 tsp)
・Dashi stock (100 ml [1/2 cup])
・Soy sauce (1 tbsp)
・Mirin (1 tsp)
Cook the rice with a little less water than required.
Put the octopus leg in a pot of with the broth ingredients and let boil for 5 minutes.
Thinly slice the octopus meat.
In a bowl, pour the vinegar mixture over the hot rice and use a rice spatula to gently mix the two together.
Serve rice in a bowl, scatter the octopus slices on top (“like cherry blossoms”), and garnish with ki-no-me leaves.
Hana tamago (Flower eggs)
・Red food coloring (for enough liquid to submerge eggs)
Prepare a few hard-boiled eggs and remove the shells.
Submerge the shell-less eggs in hot water for several minutes
Bind five chopsticks together at one end with a rubber band. Place an egg at the center, arranging the chopsticks so they are spaced evenly around it.
Secure the chopsticks around the top with another rubber band.
Repeat for each egg, then allow to cool completely.
Once the eggs have cooled, submerge in a bowl prepared with red food coloring.
When the eggs have retained a light pink color, remove from food coloring and cut in half width-wise to reveal the flower shape.
Koori tofu kuromitsu-kake (“Ice tofu” with brown sugar syrup)
・Silken tofu (1 block)
・Agar-agar (4 grams [0.14 ounces])
・Water (500 ml [2 cups])
Brown sugar syrup
・White sugar (4 tbsp)
・Brown sugar (4 tbsp)
・Water (100 ml [1/2 cup])
After washing the agar-agar, break it apart into small pieces and allow to soak in a bowl of water for 30 minutes.
Cut the tofu into bite-sized squares.
Rinse off the tofu in a strainer before lining into evenly-spaced rows in a baking dish.
Heat the agar-agar mixture over a medium flame until it begins to boil, then simmer over low heat for six to seven minutes.
Using a strainer, gently pour the liquefied agar-agar over the tofu, taking care not to shift the tofu squares around.
Allow to cool in a refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes until solid.
While the agar-agar is setting, prepare the brown sugar syrup by combining the sugars and water into a microwave-safe bowl. Mix well, then heat for 1 and 1/2 minutes at 600 watts, until the sugars have melted. Stir the mixture well before refrigerating it.
Once the agar agar has solidified, gently remove from the baking dish. To help achieve this while keeping the agar agar block in one piece, slightly warm the bottom of the dish, and use wooden skewers to loosen it from the sides.
Cut the agar-agar block into squares around the tofu, and place into a serving dish.
Pour the brown sugar syrup over the top, and it’s ready to eat.
If you try any of these recipes, please let us know how they turn out!