Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Sumashi-jiru すまし汁 (Clam Soup) & Yuzuke ゆずけ (hot water over rice)

Sumashi-jiru すまし汁 (Clam Soup)
Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)
According to the Ryōri Monogatari,“Suimono” refers to a clear (or relatively clear) broth. The bowls should obtain few ingredients and should not feel crowded. In keeping with the tradition of one soup, and "X" number of sides, the soup that was provided in the second round was a suimono that would normally contain oysters, but, clams were substituted via cook's prerogative because the cook (me) does not care for the taste of oysters. Perhaps it has something to do with being land locked? Oysters come canned or frozen, but not exactly fresh?

Kaki かき (Oysters) - Put in salt, leave a good amount, and put in the oysters. When it steams, season to taste. If there is too little broth, then water or dashi can be put in. It can also be done without putting in the salt. Adding sakeshio is good.

Note: Clams substituted for Oysters

Interpreted recipe:

1 lb.clams (live, in shell, about 12 to 16)
5 cups water
Salt to taste
To garnish: lemon peel /or  mitsuba  (wild Japanese parsley)

Soak clams in salted water overnight, or at least for several hours. Heat basic clear soup to boil, drop in clams. After shells open up, place in a small soup bowl. Strain soup stock. Bring stock to a boil, and garnish with strips of mitsuba.

Note: The Japanese store where I purchased most of my items had frozen clams in the shell in 2 pound packages.  I used these for the feast. 

DASHI だし (BASIC STOCK) Chip katsuo into good size pieces, and when you have 1 shō worth, add 1 shō 5 gō of water and simmer. Sip to test and should remove the katsuo when it matches your taste. Too sweet is no good. The dashi may be boiled a second time and used.

Note: In Japanese cooking there are five different types of dashi:

Kombu Dashi - made from dried kelp (kombu)
Katsuo Dashi - made with katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
Iriko Dashi - made from iriko (dried anchovies), or niboshi (dried sardines)
Shiitake Dashi - made from shiitake mushrooms that have been dried
Awase Dashi - made from a combination of any of the above.

Many of the dishes I prepared used Awase Dashi as the stock, either a mixture of kimbu and katsuo or kombu and shiitake. The instructions for the dashi used for this dish can be found here.

Yuzuke ゆずけ (hot water over rice)
Garnished with Furikake and Umeboshi
Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)
Yuzuke ゆずけ (hot water over rice)

Eric Rath advises that a "typical formula for describing the organization of trays and dishes at honzen banquets was “seven, five, three”. This indicated three trays each with a soup, and seven, five, and three side dishes on them respectively. This was the format of the banquet for Iemitsu in 1630, and one that was typical service for the shogun in the Edo period." It is believed that the discovery of "yuzuke" was an accident, attributed to the third Muromachi shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358–1408)  when he became drunk at a party, poured hot water on his rice, and ate it.

He further explains:
"Three trays was a typical formulation for shoguns, but the number of trays and the number of dishes on them varied for guests of other rank. Large banquets in the Muromachi period might have up to thirty-two side dishes, although some of these dishes, like a few described below, were decorative and not meant to be consumed.In the Edo period, most samurai including daimyo were, like commoners, limited by sumptuary legislation to just two trays of food at banquets, albeit daimyo that held their own provinces (kunimochi) were allowed seven side dishes, but commoners and hatamoto could only have five side dishes."

One of the more historically interesting dishes that was served at the feast was Yuzuke. Introduced in the Heian era, "yuzuke",  is a bowl of rice and hot water poured on top. It became f a formal banquet dish during the Muromachi era.  It is speculated that it may be a precursor to ochazuke. The "Ryori Monogatari (Story of the meals)" a recipe similar to ochazuke which combies rice, chestnuts, or sweet potato with tea. I include the information from the Ryori Mongatari for interest, but it was NOT served at feast.

NARA CHA 奈良茶 (NARA TEA) - First, roast the tea, put it in a bag, and boil just the tea and azuki. Next, put in beans and rice, and roast half of them. Make sure to cut the beans open and discard the shell. Alternatively, add such things as sasage, kuwai, or roasted chestnuts. Season with sanshō powder and salt. Whatever you season with is very important.

The Yuzuke that was served at feast consisted of rice with hot water poured over it and was garnished with umeboshi and furikake. It was visually stunning and so simple to put together.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Shimofuri 霜降 Sho no Irizake 精進の煎り酒 and Ebi no Umani 海老のうまに

Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)

Shimofuri 霜降 (Falling mist)  is the name of a technique that is still in use today. This dish marked the main dish of the second tray or Nino-Zen.  Shimofuri means "frosting," and it is a technique to seal in the  flavor or umami  taste. Shimofuri is often used for cooking fish or meat. It also eliminates the extra fishy smell in the final dish and helps fish pieces to stay intact in soup or broth. The fish I used was cod that had been cut into similar sized pieces. Accompanying the the steamed fish was  hoshi (cold smoked)salmon that had been cured in sake and salt, and seasoned with seven spice powder, gomae (sesame spinach) and an attempt at tamogoyaki :-D, my omelette rolling skills need much improvement!

SHIMOFURI 霜降り (FALLING MIST, AKA BLANCHING) - Slice tai (sea bream) into strips and put them in boiling water. When done, cool it with water. Also called shiramete (whitening). Alternatively, yugaku is anything which is suddenly boiled.

SHŌ NO IRIZAKE 精進の煎り酒 (VEGETARIAN IRIZAKE) - Cut tōfu in dengaku sized pieces and toast them over flame. Take such things as umeboshi and dried turnip, then slice and add them. Boil it all in aged sake. Alternatively, using a little tamari in plain sake is good. There exist oral traditions.

1 shô = 1.804 Liter = 1.906 quarts = 60.8 ounces
1 gô = 180ml = 6.08652 ounces

QUICK IRIZAKE 煎酒急候時 - When you are in a hurry, put 2 sticks of katsuobushi and 5 gō of dashi in 1 shō of sake. Taste, add tamari, and serve. You should put 6 or 7 umeboshi in 1 shō of sake. Decoct a good amount of salt and tamari and put it in.
1 shô Katsuo (Bonito)
15-20 Ume -Umeboshi
2 shô of aged sake

Interpreted Recipe

1 bottle of sake
1 piece 2"x2" dashi kombu (dry kelp)
6-7 small- medium-sized umeboshi (pickledplum)
15g katsuo bushi (shaved dry bonito flakes)

To start, soak kombu in sake for 3-4 hours. Remove. (No heating is necessary, because kombu is used for bringing just a subtle flavor to the sake.)Add umeboshi to the sake and bring to simmer. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.Add katsuo and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sake is reduced by half. Remove from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Strain the sake through a fine-mesh strainer. 

Hoshi sāmon ほしサーモン-  Cold smoked salmon with Schichimi Togarashi 

5-6 pounds of salmon or halibut
½ cup salt
½ cup sugar
⅔ cup sake

Pat dry the salmon fillets with a kitchen paper towel. Mix together sugar, salt and seven spice powder. Slice salmon in half, pour sake over salmon and sprinkle with salt, sugar and spice mixture. Wrap the salmon fillets with kitchen paper towel and cling wrap over. Refrigerate the fillets overnight or at least 7-8 hours. 

Rinse salmon, and allow to soak for approximately 30 minutes before smoking. Pat dry, place on a pan, skin side down until the salmon dries (approximately 4 hours). Cold smoke salmon until the exterior is bronzed and the salmon feels semi-firm and leathery.

Shichimi Togarashi - 七十七七- Seven Spice Powder

2 tbsp. red chili flakes
1 tbsp. dried orange peel
2 tsp each white and black sesame seeds
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp. powdered ginger
½ tsp. poppy seeds
½ sheet toasted nori

In a dry skillet lightly toast sesame seeds, Sichuan peppercorns & poppy seeds being careful not to burn. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Place all ingredients in a grinder and grind until coarsely ground. Store in airtight jar.

Spinach Gomae ほうれん草ごまえ
1 pound Spinach
Pinch of salt
2 tbs white sesame seeds
1 tbs tahini or sesame paste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Mirin
2 tsp soy sauce

Place the sesame seeds, tahini, sugar, mirin, and soy sauce in a mortar and grind them all together and set aside. Boil water in a large pot and add the spinach bunch in (from the stem side first) and cook for about 1 minute. Take the spinach out and put immediately in icy cold water to avoid the spinach being cooked further. Squeeze out excess water and cut the spinach about 5 cm long. Roll into balls.

Serve with the sesame sauce and sprinkle more sesame seeds on top.

Tamagoyaki - 玉子焼き- Japanese Rolled Omelette 

3 large eggs
2 Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
3 Tbsp dashi (Use Kombu Dashi for vegetarian)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce (Use GF soy sauce for gluten-free)
1 tsp mirin
2 pinch salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)

In a small bowl, combine the dashi, salt, soy sauce, sugar, and water. Mix until everything is dissolved. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and add the seasoning mixture. Mix until well-combined.
Heat a tamagoyaki pan over medium-high heat. Brush a thin layer of oil on the pan. Pour a third of the egg mixture into pan and quickly swirl to cover the entire pan. When the egg is half-set, gently roll the egg. With the rolled egg still in the pan, pour in another third of the egg mixture. Lift up the rolled egg and let the mixture to flow under it. When the egg is half-set, roll the omelette toward you.  Repeat with the rest of the egg mixture. Slice into bite-sized pieces.

Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)

Ebi no Umani  海老のうまに

EBI 海老 - Preparation method of Ni iro に色 (Red) - Add dashi-tamari vinegar. Anything is good. -

5 shrimp shell and head-on if possible
1/2 cup sake (1/2 cup = 120 ml)
1 Tbsp mirin
1/2 cup dashi (1/2 cup = 120 ml)
2 Tbsp tamari

With shell/head-on, devein shrimp and quickly rinse under cold running water. Cut off the pointy tip of head and antennas with a pair of kitchen shears (or knife). Cut off the tail at an angle for better presentation (optional).

In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup (120 ml) sake and 2 Tbsp. mirin. Turn on the heat and bring to boil over medium heat and let alcohol evaporate. Add 1/2 cup (120 ml) dashi and 2 Tbsp. soy sauce and bring to boil. Once boiling, lower heat to simmer and place the shrimp in the sauce, bending and holding its back with chopsticks or a pair of tongs to create a shape of Hiragana “つ”. Add all the shrimp to cook at the same time so the cooking time will be similar. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, skimming while cooking on low heat.

Once it’s cooked, immediately transfer the shrimp to a container, saving the cooking liquid. Strain the cooking liquid, preferably over coffee filter or super fine mesh strainer to remove the unwanted protein and fat (the final shrimp will look cleaner and prettier). Discard the filter and let the cooking liquid cool.

Once the cooking liquid is cool, pour over the shrimp. Do not pour the hot cooking liquid on to the shrimp, this will overcook the shrimp. Cover and soak for a few hours (at least) or overnight. Serve it at cold or room temperature.

Onishime オニシメ

Carrots & Mushrooms

1 3/4 lb. carrots
1 1/2 cups dashi
4 T. sugar
2 T. mirin
1 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. salt

Peel the carrots and cut into 1/2 inch long rounds. Cook in dashi about 4 to 5 minutes.Stir in sugar, mirin, soy sauce and salt.Turn down heat, keep at a simmer until almost tender.

Renkon (Lotus Root)

1 lb. lotus root
2 cups dashi
1 1/2 T sugar
1 1/2 T mirin
2 1/2 T soy sauce

Peel the renkon and cut into 1/3 inch pieces.- Parboil renkon for about 3 minutes.Put renkon and dashi into a pot and cook about 5 minutes.- Add sugar and mirin. Simmer 3-4 minutes and then add soy sauce.


1 3/4 lb. gobo (burdock root)
3 cups dashi
5 T sugar
2 T mirin
1/3 C soy sauce

Scrape and julienne gobo. Keep in cold water to avoid discoloration. Parboil about 10 minutes. Place parboiled gobo into a pot with dashi, sugar, mirin and soy sauce into a pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover with a lid and simmer until reduced by a third.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Crown Tournament 10/19/2019 - Aemaze あえまぜ - Fish Salad (aka Fish Shooters), Sakabite さかびて - Fish Flavored with Sake & Dashizake だし酒

 Aemaze あえまぜ - Fish Salad (aka Fish Shooters)
Picture by Avelyn Grene (Kristen Lynn)
The main tray of Iemetsu's Banquet in 1630, contained Aemaze あえまぜ and Sakabite さかびて . Because this banquet was the inspiration for Crown Tournament, I wanted to ensure that as close as possible these dishes were featured in the feast on the main tray. As a reminder, the dishes served on the first tray of the inspiration feast are listed below:

Main Tray

Grilled salt-cured fish (shiobiki)
Fish-paste cake (kamaboko)
Fish salad (aemaze)
Hot water over rice (yuzuke)
Fish flavored in sake (sakabite)
Fermented intestines of sea cucumber (konowata)
Salt for flavoring (teshio)

Research indicated that aemaze's originates in the Muromachi period. It is the predecessor of namasu (raw salads), which is itself the predecessor of modern day sashimi. Further research indicated that Namasu typically consisted of slices of raw fish with vegetables or fruit with a vinegar based dressing. Aemaze, is a similar dish of fish that has been marinated in a sake based dressing. Finding information on how to recreate this dish is very, very scarce.  Below is my interpretation based on research.  Caveat: This may not have any resemblance to the intended dish that was served to Iemetsu. This was one of the most popular and requested dishes of Crown.  



6 oz. sushi-grade fresh fish  (I used red snapper)
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp mirrin
2 tbsp sake
2 tbsp. sesame oil
Juice from one tangerine, lemon or lime
1 tbsp. finely chopped green onion
thinly sliced tangerine 
Please note--you should use sushi-grade fish, however, talk to your grocer! Sushi grade fish is expen$ive.  This salad is a ceviche style salad and when I asked my grocer about that he explained that I could used any fresh fish for ceviche, as long as I made sure that the fish "cooked" in its marinade. He further explained that the acids that were used would denature the protein in the fish, and while this would not kill the bacteria present it would cook the fish.  I cannot stress enough if you are planning on using this recipe your fish absolutely MUST BE FRESH!

I marinated the fish overnight in the same cure that I used for the sakabite (below).  Remove your fish from the marinade, rinse and then dry it off.  Thinly slice your fish and lay the slices onto your serving plate. 

Mix together the soy sauce and sesame oil. Add green onion and tangerine juice. Drizzle the sauce over the fish slices. Garnish with the thinly sliced pieces of tangerine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Another dish that was recreated for Crown Tournament was the Fish flavored with Sake. I was able to locate instructions for this in the Ryōri Monogatari.

Gather an assortment of things that have a good salty manner from among such things as salted tai (red snapper), abalone, tara (codfish), salmon, or ayu (trout); karasumi (salted mullet roe); kabura hone(turnip bones? whale bones?); swan; wild goose; or wild duck. Ken is kunenbo (mandarin orange or yuzu). There are other directions besides this. It is good to pour dashizake over it.

Fish flavored in sake (sakabite)  (さかびて) - Gather an assortment of things that have a good salty manner from among such things as salted tai (red snapper), abalone, tara (codfish), salmon, or ayu(trout); karasumi (salted mullet roe); kabura hone (whale bones?); swan; wild goose; or wild duck. Ken is kunenbo (mandarin orange, yuzu). There are other directions besides this. It is good to pour dashi-zake over it

1 pound fish of choice (I used whiting)
2 ½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sake

Cut your fish into bite sized pieces, pat dry and then place into a food storage bag or a lidded glass dish.  Sprinkle salt and sake on your fish, making sure that each piece is evenly coated.  Cover the container and refrigerate over night.  You can refrigerate up to 36 hours, turning fish every 12 hours, however the longer the fish marinates the saltier it gets until it becomes unpleasantly salty. 

Remove fish from the marinade, rinse off any remaining salt before cooking it.  I broiled the fish in my oven until it started to turn brown and was very fragrant (this took less then five minutes!).  

Chip katsuo into good size pieces, and when you have 1 shō worth, add 1 shō 5 gō of water and simmer. Sip to test and should remove the katsuo when it matches your taste. Too sweet is no good. The dashi may be boiled a second time and used.

6 cups cold water
1 ounce dried kombu (kelp)
~1 cup dried katsuboshi (dried bonito)

Bring water and kombu just to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Remove from heat and remove kombu. Sprinkle bonito over liquid; let stand 3 minutes and, if necessary, stir to make bonito sink. Pour through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a bowl.


Add a little salt to katsuo. Add one or two splashes of new sake, boil and cool.

1 tbsp.  katsuo (bonito)
1/4 c. sake
1-2 tbsp. salt
2 3/4 c. water 

Bring water and sake just to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Remove from heat and sprinkle bonito over liquid; let stand 3 minutes and, if necessary, stir to make bonito sink. Pour through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a bowl. Serve.