Beef Tataki and Wagyu

Pork Belly




Te-makizushi making sushi and seaweed wrap

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John Farren

Meeting 386 - "A Japanese Evening"

Japanese Food and Drink
1. More about Japanese food
2. Ingredients
3. How to eat and drink the Japanese way
4. How to eat rice and use chopsticks
5. Japanese Sakes
6. Return to main text.
More about Japanese Food

       A traditional Japanese meal will have many small dishes, varied by being hot, cold, grilled, fried, braised and raw. The rice course is traditionally served at the end of the meal.

       Edamame is a popular side dish at Japanese Izakaya restaurants (local drinking establishments) with local varieties being in demand, depending on the season. Pods may be boiled in water, steamed, or microwaved and are eaten directly from the pod.

  Beef Tataki This dish treats beef as if it is sashimi. The beef is grilled and then marinated in a citrus sauce for 3 hours, making it a very refreshing dish. We have compared wagyu style beef with Scottish well hung rib eye.

       Wagyu literally "Japanese cow" is any of several breeds of cattle, the most desired of which is genetically predisposed to intense marbling and to producing a high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat. The meat from such wagyu cattle is known for its quality, and commands a high price - the meat tonight is 96 per kilo and is only grade 4-5 marbling. In several areas of Japan, wagyu beef is shipped carrying area names, the most famous of which is Kobe.

       Because of Japan's rugged terrain and isolated areas, different breeding and feeding techniques were used such as massaging or adding beer or sake to their feeding regimen. It is suggested that this was done to aid in digestion and induce hunger during humid seasons, but it appears to have no effect on the meat's flavour. Massaging may have been introduced to prevent muscle cramping on small farms in Japan where the animals did not have sufficient room to use their muscles.

       Ohitashi literally means 'being dipped' and are vegetables that are par-boiled and them quickly marinated in dashi, a stock and Shoyu (Soy Sauce). You can use any greens but spinach is traditional and still most popular in Japan.

       Pork belly - 'Buta no Kakuni' which literally translates to "pork cut square and simmered" is the way that pork belly is most often prepared in Japan. Like Gyoza, Kakuni has its roots in Chinese cuisine, and this dish in particular started with Dong-po Pork.

       Tofu, also called bean curd, is made from yellow soya beans and is a low-fat source of protein.

       Yakitori is a type of grilled chicken over charcoal, traditionally sold in Yakitori-ya, which are small restaurants or street food stands selling just that item to be consumed alongside beer. Tonight we are serving Negima which is chicken thigh and spring onion with Tare sauce - a mixture of mirin, sake, soy and sugar.

       Gyoza are dumplings filled with ground meat and vegetables and wrapped in a thin rice dough. Also known as pot stickers, gyoza originated in China (where they are called jiaozi), but have become a very popular dish in Japan. The typical gyoza filling consists of ground pork, nira chives, green onion, cabbage, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil.The most popular preparation method is the pan-fried style called yaki gyoza, in which the dumpling is first fried on one flat side, creating a crispy skin. Then, water is added and the pan sealed with a lid, until the upper part of the gy?za is steamed.

       Sushi, formed with the help of a bamboo mat known as a 'Makisu', is a Japanese food consisting of cooked vinegared rice combined with other ingredients, seafood and vegetables. Ingredients and forms of sushi presentation vary widely, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is rice. Avocado is a good replacement for the fatty belly of tuna fish.
       Sushi is often prepared with raw seafood, but some common varieties of sushi use cooked ingredients or are vegetarian. Raw fish sliced and served without rice is called Sashimi.

       Te-makizushi - This is a very relaxed way of enjoying sushi and a great idea for a party, with everyone helping themselves to rice and toppings and having a go at making their own.

       Tamagoyaki literally "grilled egg", is a type of omelette which is made by rolling together several layers of cooked egg. These usually are prepared in a rectangular omelette pan called a makiyakinabe.