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the only seitan I've ever eaten is extremely firm and didn't disintegrate at all but it's not the kind of thing I regularly eat either. You seem to be a font of knowledge on this stuff so I'll be asking more questions. Like uses for konyaku.

 

TheMatt- do you happen to read Japanese? (Or anybody on this site?) I just received -- YEA!-- my other bento and the microwave rice cooker I ordered from jlist. But the directions for the rice cooker are in Japanese. You see my problem.

 

Pictures later ...

I'm afraid my Japanese has fallen on hard times, what little I did know. I can read most of the names of sumotori, but that's about it. I just really like Japanese cuisine, I must say.

 

Well, I'm not a big fan of konnyaku, although that's partially my fault. My first exposure to konnyaku/konjac was to konjac jelly candies, which I figured were like gelatin-based ones. Nope. Konjac doesn't dissolve in saliva, so I had a bit of a surprise as I kept chewing and chewing... I keep thinking I should try again though, it is high in fiber, low in calories, good for you in most ways.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I believe the "tofu skin things" are inari. Someone else likes them here.

 

well the can says "inarizushi-no-moto." But I think (although I could very well be wrong) that the actual skins are called 'aburage tofu,' while the whole shebang--the pouch filled with rice--is called 'inari.' Can someone who knows more about this stuff explain what the difference is between the fresh aburage tofu and the canned stuff? I bought some aburage tofu from the refrigerator section of the Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley and it's a lot puffier than what's in the can.

 

Well, the main difference is that canned aburage (aka inarizushi-no-moto) has already been seasoned and is ready to use in inarizushi and kitsune udon. If you see "no moto" on a Japanese product, it usually conveys a meaning of "ready-to-use" (e.g., dashinomoto = instant dashi).

 

Frozen aburage is just the tofu that has been deep-fried. To turn that into the seasoned aburage for inarizushi, there is a bit of a process. First, you have to use boiling water to get rid of excess oil. Then, cook it in dashi for a bit, add some mirin, sugar and sake and simmer for bit, then some shoyu and simmer until absorbed. I have the timings somewhere, but that's the process. Then you can cut it open and voila.

 

As an aside, you might also see atsuage and usuage in stores as well. They are all fried tofu in different thicknesses. Atsuage is thickest followed by aburage and then usuage (though aburage and usuage are often so similar there isn't much difference). I've used atsuage in doing hot pots before, it's close enough to the "dou fu pok" I've had in Chinese restaurants.

 

Mmmm, aburage. Favorite food of Oinari-san's messenger, Kitsune.

 

 

TheFoxDance.jpg

 

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Oh I see that some people have given me sites to check out since I last visited MFs. Thank you! Sadly I'm in NY for the summer and really can't do any cooking. (I have 2 roommates who are less than immaculate so I stay far, far away from the kitchen at all times.) But come mid August I am really going to get going with the bento thing. Stay tuned.

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I think because of all the rich/heavy firm lunches I have been craving making my own bento lunches and I can't get wait to get back to school and get started. I'm not doing any cooking this summer because I refuse to even walk into the kitchen area of my sublet since my roommates and I have different cleanliness standards. So it will have to wait for August.

 

In the meantime I went to the Strand and picked up a few Japanese cookbooks. They are all fairly old but they cost about $6 a piece, so even with media rate shipping back to CA they are quite cheap. I also picked up a copy of Untangling My Chopsticks which I am about to finish about a women who travels to Tokyo to learn the art of Tea Kaiseki. It's an interesting look at something I know nothing about and I am amazed at the intricacy of the tea ceremony and just how regimented every moment is. There's also some recipes (it's in the style of Comfort Me with Apples).

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