New small containers and Walnut “shira-ae” tofu 新しい珍味入れとクルミの白和え

japanese cake

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.

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