Japanese Cooking Blog with Asako Nonaka #22
Asako Nonaka ◆ October 18, 2017
It’s already been 5 months since I wrote in this blog. I am sorry for the late update! Many things happened to me and I had a lot of thoughts. It was complicated but now I feel so calm and just happy.
In Japan the hot days still continue sometimes but the season has already changed, including the food and town scenery. According to the calendar, winter will start soon and the end of this year will come after that. Time flies!
In the previous blog I introduced the Japanese old calendar called “24 sekki” and want to explain it again. It is defined by the ecliptic longitude of the sun. The sun turns around the earth to take 365 days and this calendar divides it into 24 equal sections, marking celestial events including the solstices and equinoxes. Though it was originally used for farmers, some of them are still used as national holidays. Each season has their own meaning so I would like to introduce them here in this blog.
In 24 sekki, “Soukou (霜降)” is the period from around October 23th to November 6th. It literally means “having frost.” When the temperature of the ground becomes lower than 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), it becomes frosty. The ground temperature is cooler than the air so if the weather forecast says it will be under 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit), it will be frozen. You need to protect plants in a garden from frost.
This time, I will introduce a new recipe: “Dumplings with sweet chestnut paste.” Chestnut is one of the many typical autumn foods in Japan but people often wonder about how to cook the hard skin. I will tell you a very easy way!
Here are the health benefits of chestnuts:
- Vitamin B1 helps energy metabolism and helps you recover from fatigue.
- Potassium helps remove excess sodium and suppresses blood pressure elevation.
- Tannin in astringent skin is antioxidant rich and good for anti-aging.
- Vitamin C enhances immune system in white blood and prevents from being a cold.
Recipe: Dumplings with Sweet Chestnut Paste
- 500 g of chestnuts
- 150 g of sugar
- 1/4 cup of hot water
- 200g of dumpling rice flour (Shiratama flour)
- 300g of soft tofu
Sweet Chestnut Paste
- Boil whole chestnuts in a pot for about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool for a while.
- Cut chestnuts in half and scoop the contents out with a spoon.
- Put chestnuts, sugar and hot water in a pan and turn the stove on to medium heat. Crush and mix. When you can see the bottom of the pan while mixing, turn off the heat.
- Discard extra water in the soft tofu package. Put rice flour and soft tofu in a bowl or a ziplock bag and mix well. Add a little water as needed.
- Make a small ball.
- Boil them in hot water in a pot for about 2-3 minutes. After they float to the surface, simmer for a minute and put them in cold water to cool down.
- Mix the dumplings and the sweet chestnut paste in a container and serve the dish.
It’s perfect healthy snack for autumn. Enjoy!