I love sushi and other Asian foods, so was excited to read about a Washoku Warriors group being organized by Rachael over at La Fuji Mama. The book, Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen, looked so yummy that I decided to join in. I also thought it would be something fun to do together with the hubby since he also loves to cook and loves to eat Asian food. Washoku means literally, “the harmony of food.” The book is awesome. Seriously, really awesome. And I’ve only made one thing out of it yet! But, it’s got great background on the culture of Japanese food and the Japanese home kitchen, ingredients, tools, etc. I’ve really enjoyed reading it so far.
UPDATED> La Fuji Mama posted a round-up of all the recipe participants, here.
So, the first challenge was for “Rice Bowl with Three-Colored Topping.” In Washoku, there should be five-part harmony in terms of the color of the food/meal presented. The Rice Bowl dish is a one-dish meal, so all five colors are represented in the bowl. According to the author, Elizabeth Andoh, “Five colors, or go shiki, suggests that every meal include foods that are red, yellow, green, black and white.” So, in this dish, the white is represented by rice, the yellow by the corn, the green by the peas, the red by the little pickled beets on top (my addition), and the black by the crumbled up nori topping. The dish was really easy to make, and I loved the ground gingery chicken. Mmmm….I’m trying to think of other dishes where I can incorporate the chicken. It was so tasty and my 6yo loved it. The book says that it’s great for freezing, so I might have to make some up and portion it up for the freezer.
The one thing I found difficult in the recipe (which was generally very easy) was the ginger juice (sounds like a bad drink in college, huh?) for the ground gingery chicken. I took a knob of peeled fresh ginger and made a bunch of pulp with my ginger grater, which I then pressed with my fingers to extract the juice. The recipe only required 1 teaspoon, but even that was pretty hard to get! Lots of ginger grating. But, I’m not sure what else you would substitute for that great ginger enhancing flavor. Or maybe there is a better way to extract the juice.
Here are the basic ingredients. It really is quite simple. The only thing special that I had to buy was the sake which is part of the ground gingery chicken. The little bit of crumbled nori on top of the rice bowl is just half a nori sheet that I crumbled up. And the recipe actually calls for pickled red ginger for the “red”, but since I couldn’t find that, I used some small, diced pickled beets. Yum!
You use a chopstick to divide the bowl into sections as you place the chicken, peas and corn on top. A fun presentation, I think.