Thursday, October 11, 2012

Japanese Home Cooking

I just launched my Japanese home cooking site, Japanese Kitchen. It's a site to introduce Japanese cooking, such as recipes, kitchen gadgets, vegetables, spices/condiments, etc. The site contents are basic Japanese cooking tips, which any Japanese would know in order to cook ordinary home made Japanese food.

I got this idea from occasional questions I was asked by American acquaintances who told me that they loved to dine at Japanese restaurants, "Can you tell me how to make a sushi?"

I assume I was asked how to make a nigiri-zushi, a tiny morsel with a piece of thinly sliced fish on a small amount of seasoned rice. The ones sushi chefs make so easily at Japanese restaurants. But a piece of nigiri-zushi is a deceptively simple looking food. All Japanese know that it takes years of practice to make a nigiri-zushi properly, so they don't even attempt to make it.

But there are home made sushi, which anyone can make, even though it's not as spectacular as a nigiri-zushi. But when I try to explain it, I realized that I have to start from why rice should be washed.

While working on the site, I was reminded a fundamental Japanese wisdom of simple life. For instance, saibashis are just a pair of extra long chopsticks made of bamboo for cooking, but I use them as tongs, a fork, a whisk, a tube squeezer, and even as a bottle cleaner with a sheet of paper towel. There are individual tools for particular purposes, but Japanese people tend to use one simple tool in many ways.

When I came to the United States, a wide array of special kitchen gadgets appeared to be attractive to me. I loved to wonder around at Bed Bath and Beyond and was amazed by food processors, juicers, garlic peelers, and many other gadgets. But once I bought a food processor, I quickly realized that it wasn't so easy to clean it. I also had to find a space to put it away when I wasn't using. I eventually went back to the small simple tools I used to use, which were a mandoline slicer and a grater.

As I get older, I became more inclined to live a simpler life. Rather than being overwhelmed by many things I rarely use, I want to keep a few small things I always use. In that way, I can preserve my sanity.

No comments:

Post a Comment