Japanese Cooking Blog with Asako Nonaka #5
Asako Nonaka ◆ May 18, 2015
Hi! I am Asako. How are you? I am getting used to my new life in Kawaguchi city, Saitama prefecture. From my apartment, I can see junior high school and the bridge over Ara river. When I wake up every morning around 6 am, I can see many cars that go to the Tokyo area across the bridge. Around 7 am, many junior high school students have training for club activities at the ground. I saw them from the window and I think I will do my best today too. This is my beginning of a day and I like it.
In the last blog, I introduced “Rikka”, one of 24 Sekki and it is around May 6th to 20th. As Rikka means the beginning of summer, there have been some hot days recently but we still have cool air in the morning and evening so it is a comfortable season.
“Shoman 小満” is after Rikka and it starts around May 21st to June 5th. It means “half bloom” and flowers and plants start to come out. The season of delicious summer vegetables will come too.
This time I am going to introduce eggplant called “mizunasu”.
Mizunasu is traditional vegetables of the Senshu area in Osaka prefecture. The main districts are Kishiwada, Kaizuka, Kumatori and Izumisano city. My father-in-law was born in Izumisano city and his relatives live there. They kindly sent mizunasu.
Mizunasu contains a lot of water in it and it has less harshness than normal eggplant so we can eat it raw and the taste is a little sweet. The skin is very thin and fragile so the farmer had to take care to grow them. The beautiful mizunasu is like art. Aren’t they beautiful?
There are some ways to cook mizunasu like eating raw, pickling, and frying. On the left is the mizunasu wrapped with raw ham adding olive oil, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. In the center, there is fried mizunasu which is put into soba soup. Finally, on the right, there is stir-fried mizunasu with bean sprouts, king trumpet mushrooms, shio-kombu, and dried baby shrimp. I am going to introduce easy and tasty mizunasu pickles.
Recipe: Mizunasu Pickles and Shio-kombu
・2 tbsp shio-kombu (thin strips of kombu cooked in soy sauce, mirin and sugar then dried)
・1 tsp soy sauce
・2 tbsp sesame oil
1. Cut mizunasu thinly and put in a plastic bag.
2. Add seasonings and rub.
3. Keep them in fridge for 2 hours.
All you have to do is just 3 steps and you can make delicious mizunasu pickles. You can use soba noodle soup instead of soy sauce.
Shio-kombu is thin strips of kombu cooked in soy sauce, mirin and sugar then dried. You can get it at a Japanese grocery store. It is a very useful ingredient because we can use it for rice, salad, pickles, fries, pasta and everything!
At last I am going to introduce the nutrients of eggplant. Eggplant is antioxidant rich. The purple color is nasunin, one kind of polyphenol and suppresses active oxygen causing cancer and lifestyle disease. It also restrains the absorption of cholesterol. Eggplant contains a lot of water and it is good for hydration in summer.
It is hard to get mizunasu in America so if you have the chance to visit Japan, please feel free to eat mizunasu! I hope you will like the watery eggplant like fruit!