I knew I had to bring Karine to write a guest post to follow the one about Dalia Ben Mayor’s ceramics studio, and, fortunately, she agreed.
Karine is Karine Kedar – a really cool girl, traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine therapist, kind of my spiritual guide (without her knowledge) and a great food blogger.
Hers is a different kind of blog – smart and sensitive, healthy, inspirational and very very personal (in a good way).
My Pillow Book (that’s Karine’s blog) is now one year old, so Happy Birthday!
She started it a couple of months after Danya Weiner and Deanna Linder’s (Matkonation) food photography and styling workshop in Nazareth that we both attended. We made new friends and got motived to open our own blogs (well, it took me some more time to get mine started); it was so inspiring to see how much Danya and Deanna love and enjoy their work and it rubs off.
OK, I’ll stop babbling now and pass the baton to Karine (who did all the work in this post – writing and shooting). I’m going to swim in some tea.
When Veronica offered me to write a guest post with a Japanese recipe for her inspirational Galilean blog I tried to identify for myself the DNA of Japanese cooking.
It began with ideas, after which the ingredients followed.
The first idea is reduction; less of everything is the essence.
Then I thought of the need for ceremony. The Japanese love ceremonies. Me too.
So that’s how I came with chazuke (cha – tea, zuke – sink, delve. Or in other words, let’s swim in some tea).
It’s a simple, everyday dish, similar to cereal with milk; only here it’s rice with tea and dashi.
You make a heap of boiled rice in a bowl and pour over some steaming liquid, in the same way as the Jews like to eat chicken bouillon with lokshen.
That’s the basics of this dish, and the variations are up to you.
Today I’m making whole rice chazuke with lightly salted fresh salmon and toasted nori.
There is absolutely no correlation between the depth of taste and sensations evoked by this soup and the effort exuded in its preparation.
Everything is made in advance, yesterday’s rice is perfect. Set the table and pour the steaming liquid into each diner’s bowl. Then just watch together how the fish changes its color while being lightly poached.
I make the stock from a simple dashi powder and jasmine tea or genmaicha (bancha tea with toasted rice – that’s my favorite tea in the world, served hot or cold).
Ok, let’s get a move on. I’m talking too much, how very unjapanese of me.
(4 first course or 2 main course servings)
1 cup whole round-grain rice
2 cups water
1 level tsp salt
500 gr very fresh salmon fillet without skin or bones
1 Tbsp coarse salt
4 cups water
1 tsp dashi powder
3 heaping tsp tea (jasmine or genmaicha)
1 nori, toasted over a gas burner and cut into thin strips
Make the rice (can be made ahead):
Wash rice thoroughly and soak in water for ½ an hour.
Drain and transfer to a heavy-bottomed pot, add 2 cups water and 1 tsp salt.
Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, turn down to low heat and cook for 40-45 min. Turn the heat off and let the rice rest for at least 15 minutes.
Prepare the fish before serving:
Cut the salmon into thin 1.5 cm slices (5-7 cm long, depending on the cut).
Arrange the slices on parchment paper and sprinkle with the coarse salt. Turn the pieces over so the fish is coated with salt.
Let rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Wipe the extra salt off the fish with a paper towel.
Arrange on a plate or a clean parchment paper and place on the table.
Make heaps of rice in the serving bowls.
In the meantime, heat in a saucepan 4 cups of water with dashi powder until boiling, turn the heat off and add tea leaves. Count to 180 – I’m kidding, just wait 3 minutes, strain and transfer to a pitcher.
We have bowls with rice, salted fish, toasted nori and a steaming broth.
Has everyone arrived? Assembling the dish – place about 3 slices of fish over rice and pour the broth. Wait 2-3 minutes until the salmon is slightly cooked, add the toasted nori and enjoy.
Let me tell you a little Japanese story: in Kyoto this dish is called ‘bubuzuke’. And if somebody from Kyoto offers his guest bubuzuke it’s like telling him that he’s old rice; or, in other words, he’s long overdue his stay and is politely requested to move on. Just for your information…