Monday, January 13, 2014

Washoku: Is this kelp?

I've started on my first creative challenge, cooking every recipe in  Washoku.

I went through the book and counted; there are 134 recipes. So if I do 2-3 recipes every week, I should finish the book by the end of the year.  But first, I had to go grocery shopping. 

I have rarely been so completely confused. Not only could I not read the labels (which I expected), I couldn't recognize anything. The Japanese even have their own kind of leek, which looks like a scallion. I also found that the English translation on the back of the packet is not to be trusted.  I was looking for konbu, which means kelp. I found a package that said "prepared kelp". But, when I got it home, I found that the Japanese name on it, wakame, is not kelp, but a different vegetable entirely: sea tangle. So instead of getting the main ingredient for stock, I purchased a seasoning blend. I wouldn't mind so much, except that going through the book, konbu seems to be in almost every recipe. It's going to be a steep learning curve. 

A few of the things I bought:
bonito flakes - for making stock

iriko - dried sardines. I don't know what you do with these yet.

Uonoya shiso wakame - NOT KELP

the only ingredient I recognized - dried shitake mushrooms

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