Welcome to Bardic 2011.
This year we have a Japanese theme for Bardic which is rather fitting for an event dedicated to poetry, storytelling and music. During the Heian period (平安時代, Heianjidai), 794 to 1185, these gentle arts were highly though of and practiced daily, and not just for entertainment. Daily communications and task were carried out in a poetic manner.
The menu tonight consists of three dishes. Tofu and wakame miso soup, teriyaki fish/tofu and Okinawan pork/tofu. Unfortunately there were no desserts at the time. And even today, desserts are rare in Japan.
Miso soup is the only true authentic dish we are having tonight in terms of the SCA period. Teriyaki is 17th century and Okinawa, then known as Ryukyu Islands (琉球諸島 Ryūkyū-shotō), was not part of Japan. These islands have a troubled modern history with mainland Japan, sovereignty reverted to Japan in 1972. But on to food…
The basis for most Japanese dishes is dashi [ だし]. Dashi was originally made with fermented tuna. Today dashi is often store bought instant powder. The dashi I have made this evening is shiitake dashi [mushroom stock]. Shiitake dashi is very simple to make, all that is needed are dried shiitake mushrooms and hot water – two to three mushrooms to two cups of water. Once the mushrooms have rehydrated, thinly sliced them and boil for ten minutes and it’s done. I find it easy to cut up the rehydrated mushrooms with scissors. Most recipes call for the mushrooms to be removed and tossed or kept for something else but I keep them in the meal.
Tofu [とうふ] and wakame [わかめ] miso [みそ] soup
3 cups dashi
3 tablespoons miso paste
1 tablespoon wakame [dried seaweed]
2 blocks tofu diced
Mix the miso paste with a little dashi to prevent lumps. Place all ingredients in a pot, simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Do not over stir or allow to boil. Serve immediately. Miso soup does not keep well.
The amount of miso paste can be adjusted to taste. The tofu and wakame can be replaced with a variety of other vegetables – it’s all up to personal taste.
Teriyaki fish/tofu with rice
Teriyaki [てりやき] was originally a cooking technique. Food stuffs were broiled/grilled in a marinade. Today teriyaki is a type of marinade. What makes teriyaki so distinctive is mirin [みりん]. Mirin is a sweet rice wine not unlike sake [さけ] but with less alcohol – round 14% but this evaporates in cooking. Mirin is occasionally drunk as a drink instead of sake.
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons mirin [sake can also be used]
2 teaspoons sugar or honey or palm sugar
Fish of choice/tofu
Mix all the ingredients and marinade fish for 10 minutes. Fry the fish for about three minute on each side before pouring the rest of the teriyaki into the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve from the pan with rice.
Cut the tofu into slices or cubes, roll in flour and deep fry until golden. Boil the teriyaki ingredients for 10 minutes and pour over tofu just before serving. Serve with rice.
Alternatively, marinade tofu for 30 minutes and fry in a dry pan. Boil the teriyaki ingredients for 10 minutes and pour over tofu just before serving. Serve with rice.
Okinawan food differs from most Japanese food as it was influenced by Chinese culinary techniques. While fish makes up a lot of Japanese food, pork is a staple in Okinawan dishes, though both use rice without restraint.
Okinawan Pork [butaniku ぶたにく]/tofu on savoy cabbage with rice
1kg pork belly cubed/5 blocks tofu
100g ginger thinly sliced
2 cups dashi
¾ cups sake
¼ cup mirin
1 block palm sugar
½ cup soy sauce
Pork – Place all the ingredients in a large pot and simmer until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and reduce to a sticky glaze, about 1 hour. Serve on steamed savoy cabbage with rice.
Tofu – Place all the ingredients with the exception of the tofu in a large pot and simmer until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, once greatly reduced, add tofu and reduce further to a sticky glaze. Serve on steamed savoy cabbage with rice.
いただきます and ごちそうさまでした
Itadakimasu is a phrase said before eating. It has no religious connotations and no direct translation as it doesn’t have a counterpart in English. It can be translated as ‘I gratefully receive’, ‘thank you for the food’, or ‘let’s eat’.
Gochisōsama-deshita is used after eating to say thank you for the meal.
Mainland China Food Market – Claremont, Grove Street.
Korean Mart – Observatory, Main Road.
Komati – Observatory, Lower Main Road.