Monday, October 6, 2014

More donabe dishes in Japan

My donabe chestnuts and shimeji mushroom rice, made in Kamado-san

Hello donabe friends...I'm back!
It's been two months since my last post. Meanwhile, I've been traveling a lot and also have been working very hard for the upcoming donabe cookbook.

Hopefully, I can start to post blog entries on a regular basis again. So, please stay tuned.

This time, I would like to post some autumn delicious dishes from my trip back in Japan last month. Yes, I had many delicious donabe dishes!

 photo IMG_4584_zps200f1580.jpg  photo IMG_4615_zpsd39caaab.jpg
Kamo Nanban (duck soba) from a local handmade soba restaurant in Urawa is always nice. I took shinkansen (bullet train) to Nagoya to visit a friend. I had a bento (lunch box) of grilled salmon, seasoned ground chicken, and vegetables over rice.

 photo IMG_4627_zpsd7779241.jpg  photo IMG_4632_zpse9351264.jpg
At my friend's house in Nagoya, she made gorgeous dinner, including kurakake beans rice, cooked in double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san". It was delicious.

 photo IMG_4639_zps90b31391.jpg  photo IMG_4642_zps54be1046.jpg
We had a weekend getaway travel together. On the way, we stopped by in Tajimi to have lunch at a famous udon restaurant there. They are known for thick udon with a large shrimp tempura and raw egg on top. It's called "tenkoro", and I requested it with an extra topping of grated mountain yam. So good and so filling.

 photo IMG_4652_zpsd460eace.jpg  photo IMG_4670_zpsf9bbaadf.jpg
After a few hours of drive from Nagoya, we arrived in Gero, a famous town for onsen (hot springs). We stayed at a historic ryokan (Japanese-style inn) there and enjoyed local sake and dishes including Hida beef shabu shabu.

 photo IMG_4687_zps51120b57.jpg  photo IMG_4688_zps659c065c.jpg  photo IMG_4707_zps25ce36ec.jpg
The next day, we stopped by at a seasonal outdoor ayu (sweet fish) restaurant by the river. They cook freshly caught ayu from the river right below the restaurant. The grilled ayu and ayu rice were so tasty.

 photo IMG_4719_zps72f5fba7.jpg  photo IMG_4716_zps00755ae1.jpg
As we drove back to Nagoya, we enjoyed the scenery of the autumn season. Rice field was almost ready for harvest. We also stopped by at a chestnuts farm to pick up freshly harvested chestnuts from there.

 photo IMG_4728_zps40509d96.jpg  photo IMG_4732_zps5e331f83.jpg
So, after we got back to Nagoya, I made chestnuts and mushroom rice dish with double-lid donabe rice cooker, Kamado-san! It was such a delicious seasonal treat. (The first picture is before, and the second picture is after the dish is cooked.) I will post my chestnuts rice recipe in toiro kitchen's website soon.

 photo IMG_4742_zpsb256a5bc.jpg  photo IMG_4751_zps15edc736.jpg  photo IMG_4760_zps18e34782.jpg
In Nagoya, my friend took me to nice local places. We waited in line to taste at a famous "hitsumabushi" (Nagoya-style unagi over rice dish) restaurant.
To eat "hitsumabushi", you serve a small portion into a separate bowl at a time and enjoy in 3 ways in the following orders.
1. With no other condiments.
2. With sansho (ground Japanese mountain pepper).
3. With a dashi broth poured over it.
Then, for the any remaining eel and rice, you can enjoy with your favorite way from these three. The dish was so dynamic and delicious. It was a real power lunch.
On another day, she took me to an old house that is turned into a restaurant. We had lunch overlooking their garden. Such an elegant time.

 photo IMG_4761_zpsd1455e62.jpg  photo IMG_4762_zpsd238c05c.jpg  photo IMG_4766_zpsa533cd65.jpg  photo IMG_4765_zps4e0e9526.jpg  photo IMG_4769_zps118f89ad.jpg  photo IMG_4770_zpsf5bbdd7a.jpg  photo IMG_4772_zps1fcb2aef.jpg  photo IMG_4773_zps27efe52c.jpg  photo IMG_4775_zps73e8788a.jpg
Back in Tokyo, I went back to Ichirin to taste Chef Mikizo Hashimoto's specially elegant meal. His dishes were truly amazing! His donabe rice dish was matsutake mushroom rice. I loved the every detail of it.

 photo IMG_4781_zps3c802040.jpg  photo IMG_4780_zps2d0f9c9d.jpg  photo IMG_4783_zps445e208b.jpg
Right near the high school and university I graduated from in Aoyama, I met a friend of mine at a hidden place for lunch. The restaurant is called, Ame Nochi Hare. They serve various donabe dishes there.

 photo IMG_4785_zps34bf0a4f.jpg  photo IMG_4790_zps4fcbe221.jpg
They use double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san", for their rice dish there! The donabe dish of the day was sanma (mackerel pike) fish and gingko rice...what a beautiful seasonal treat!

 photo IMG_4833_zps67371370.jpg
It was a short stay of less than two weeks, but I did a lot of eating, drinking, and shopping as always. I had so much fun with my family, too. Also as always, I came back to LA with tons of stuff...what's on the photo was not everything. I had one more box of goodies but they couldn't fit the table!

Happy donabe life.