Every time we visit Japan, we shop in Kappabashi 合羽橋 in Tokyo and Nishiki market 錦市場 in Kyoto and buy some kitchen and table wares. The below is one such a purchase at Nishiki market. We bought similar items before from the same store called “Kawazen pottery” 河善陶器. They are tiny covered vessels in which “rare” tastes or “Chin-mi” 珍味 can be served. This time the proprietor suggested we get larger base (the little black tray divided into square compartments. He said that make everything a bit more “luxurious” (and we tend to agree with him.)
So, one evening after we came back to the U.S., I made a few small dishes and served them in these newly acquired containers.
From left to right; Daikon Namsu with “Jako” 大根なます雑魚添え, Shira-ae with cantaloupe and walnuts メロンとクルミの白和え, and “Komochi megabu” 子持ちめかぶ.
This is my attempt at reproducing one of the otoshi items at Suiko. I promised my wife that I would make a similar dish. Since Persimmon was not yet available around here, I used cantaloupe instead.
Tofu: I used silken tofu (1/4). I placed it on a paper towel lined plate and microwaved it for 30 seconds to remove excess water and let it cool down to room temperature.
White sesame seeds and white sesame seed paste: I used the combination. I first dry roasted white sesame seeds (1/2 tbs, this one was already roasted but I briefly re-roasted using a small dry frying pan). Do not over do it since it will give the seeds color making shira-ae (literally means “white” dressing) not white. I ground the roasted sesame seeds in a Japanese mortar (suribachi すり鉢) until pasty and then added store-bought sesame paste (1/2 tbs). I then added miso (2/3 tbs, or to you taste) and the tofu and mixed it until it became a nicely smooth paste. I tasted and adjust the seasoning by adding more miso if needed.
Cantaloupe and walnut: Since I did not have a persimmon, I cut up a cantaloupe melon in to small cubes (amount arbitrary) and coarsely chopped roasted walnuts. I garnished with larger pieces of walnut pieces on the top.
Although, persimmon shira-ar is rather standard, the addition of walnuts really added to the taste and contrast in texture and this was a good variation of this dish.
This was my “sokuseki” 即席 or “instant or quick” version of “daikon namasu” 大根なます .
This was a packaged and frozen product. “Mekabu” めかぶ is a portion of “wakame” 若布 seaweed closed to the attachment. The eggs are Capelin eggs.
The tofu and cantaloupe was a good facsimile of the one we had in Japan. These containers look nice and we enjoyed our house sake “Mu” with these small drinking snacks.