January 31, 2017

Saltless Udon Noodles/塩なしのうどん

As I previously mentioned, my father prefers soft udon noodles to firm ones. My father's home-made udon noodles contain no salt.

For supper yesterday, my father made oshibori udon. For info about oshibori udon, search through my blog.

For supper today, I made hoto, using the leftover home-made udon.

Hoto is a local dish of Yamanashi prefecture. It is made with wide and flat saltless noodles, and the broth contains kabocha.

Salmon Nigiri Zushi/サーモンの握り寿司

For lunch today, I made some nigiri zushi (< sushi) with trout salmon as toppings.
I started thawing the trout salmon fillet at around 9 o'clock in the morning.
At 11 o'clock, I microwaved the leftover rice until very, very hot. Then, I added a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and salt.
Within 20 minutes, I made these 7 x 3 = 21 nigiri zushi for my parents and myself.
20分以内で、両親と自分用に握り寿司を7 x 3 = 21個作りました。
Unlike with authentic nigiri zushi, I simply scooped some rice with a large spoon and made it into a ball in a hand. After making 21 balls of rice, I put some wasabi on top of each ball, and placed a salmon slice on top.
My parents liked the salmon nigiri very much.

January 23, 2017

Making Miso/味噌作り

Today, I helped my father make miso. He started the preparations (soaking the soybeans in water) two days ago.
7 sho (9.1 kg) soy beans.
1 sho soybeans weigh 1.3 kg.
1 sho is equivalent to 1,800 ml.
大豆7升(9.1 kg)。
大豆一升の重さは1.3 kg。
一升は1,800 mlです。

The other ingredients are:
7 sho rice koji
5 kg salt
塩5 kg

1. Boil soybeans until soft. Let them cool to 40 degrees C or lower.
2. Mill soybeans.
3. Add salt, add koji, and mix well. Add some water from the pot to adjust the texture.
4. Put in a container.
1. 大豆を柔らかくなるまで煮る。摂氏40度以下に冷ます。
2. 大豆を挽く。
3. 塩を加え、麹を加え、よく混ぜる。鍋の水を足して、固さを調整する。
4. 容器に入れる。

Today, we started the work a little after 7 o'clock in the morning.

We needed to attend to the two pots for more than two hours!
I checked the weight of the 7 sho koji my father had ordered.
10.5 kg (including the bag)
10.5 kg(袋を含む)
Probably around 10 kg.
たぶん10 kg程度です。
This is my father's "bean mill".
Manual device. He said he should have bought an electric one.

Large plastic container:

To put the mixture in the container, you first make a ball and then hit it against the inner wall of the container so as to release the air.

Place a plastic sheet first on top of it and then a weight. No photo.

My father says that the miso will be made around November.

When boiled, soybeans increases by a factor of 2.5 in weight. 9.1 kg soybeans will be 9.1 x 2.5 = 23 kg. The 7 sho koji weighs 10 kg as I mentioned above.
Thus, the salt content of the miso is:
5/(23 + 10 + 5) x 100 = 5/38 x 100 = 13%
大豆は煮ると、重さが2.5倍になります。9.1 kgの大豆は9.1 x 2.5 = 23 kgです。7升の麹は、前述のとおり、10 kg。
5/(23 + 10 + 5) x 100 = 5/38 x 100 = 13%

Edited to add:
For miso, the salt content of 13% is quite normal. At a lower salt content, the miso is prone to get moldy.
My father says that the 7 sho (9.1 kg) soybeans cost around 5,000 yen, the 7 sho (10 kg) rice koji cost 7,000 yen, and the 5 kg cheap salt cost several hundreds of yen.
Thus, the price of the resultant 38 kg miso is around (5,000 + 7,000)/38 = 316 yen per kg.
NOTE: The weight of 1 sho rice koji varies depending on how dry it is, and is in the range of around 900 g to 1.2 kg.
父が言うには、7升(9.1 kg)の大豆はおよそ5,000円、7升(10 kg)の米麹は7,000円、そして、安い塩5 kgは数百円だそうです。
よって、できた38 kgの味噌の値段は、1キロ当たり、およそ(5,000 + 7,000)/38 = 316円です。
注: 一升の米麹の重さは乾燥具合によって異なり、およそ900 g~1.2 kgの範囲です。

January 10, 2017


At my parents' house, it is my job to make three meals a day. Sometimes, my father is kind enough to reduce my work by getting premade meals such as nigiri zushi (< sushi).
Yesterday, my father suggested that he make another local dish of Shinshu (Nagano), obukko. Obukko is a kind of nikomi udon (udon stew). I search for any information about this local dish, and I found it is usually made with flat, wide noodles.
Well, I was surprised at the amount of obukko he was making, which was enough to serve three of us four times, i.e., 12 servings!
We will have to consume the rest tomorrow...

January 4, 2017

Kabocha-Cutting Saw/カボチャ切り鋸

I have recently bought a very intriguing new product of Nakacho Nokogiri Seihan (Japanese only), located in Nagaoka, Niigata. It is a hand-made kabocha-cutting saw (Japanese only).

Blade length: 210 mm
Blade width: 0.45 mm
Teeth per sun (30.3 mm30.0 mm): 15, ominidirectional
Set: Slight
Handle: Ho (Magnolia)
Price: 2,160 (including tax)
刃渡り 210㎜
刃部厚さ 0.45㎜
寸15枚目 イバラ目(全方向)
価格 ¥2,160(税込)
Excerpt from the webpage:
Each and every tooth is like a knife.
The kabocha-cutting saw is, so to speak, a hybrid of a saw and a knife.

I have yet to try it out. I will report back when I do.

December 31, 2016

Using a Coffee Mill to Mill Buckwheat Grains/そばを挽くのにコーヒーミルを使う

My father had one problem with grinding these buckwheat grains into flour because the grains of this variety, Shinshu Oo Soba, were much larger than those of other varieties and he was unable to feed them into his milling machine.
So, I offered him my coffee mill capable of making an espresso grind.
As I mentioned previously, I have two types of R-440, the grind type and the cut type. The latter type is capable of making an espresso grind.

First, set the mill to COARSE position and grind the grains.
Remove the husk, using a coarse strainer.
First grind, with the husks removed:
Then, grind it gain, with the mill set to the FINE position.
Remove impurities, using a fine sieve (#60).
Final product:
Husks and other impurities:
About 1 kg of buckwheat flour is now ready for use.

On New Year's Eve, it's customary to have soba (buckwheat noodles), and my father will soon start making it for four of us (my parents, my son, and me).