johbisai

Homemade furikake no. 1: Radish leaves, bonito flakes and tiny shrimp

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If you’ve been exploring the aisles of a Japanese grocery store or looking at bento recipes, you’ve probably encountered furikake already. Commercial furikake usually comes in small foil packets or glass jars, in all kinds of salty flavors. Furikake is a dry or semi-dry condiment that is sprinkled on, or mixed into, rice. David Rosengarten, ex-Food Network host and gourmet food expert, declares it to be a miracle in a jar. continue reading...

How to: Make Salted Salmon (shiozake)

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Salted salmon, called shiozake or shiojake (塩鮭), is so ubiquitous in Japan that when people just talk about “salmon” (sake or shake) they are usually referring to the salted kind rather than the raw kind (which is specifically called namazake(生鮭)). Salted salmon is a staple ingredient of bento, used as an onigiri rice ball filling, flaked on top of or mixed into rice, or just grilled.

shiozake_cooked.jpgSalted salmon is cheap and easily available in Japan, but not so outside of Japan. So I’ve been making it myself for some time now, and it’s quite easy. All you need is a typical refrigerator that has low humidity. (If yours doesn’t have excess condensation in it, and old leafy vegetables get dessicated in the corner of your vegetable bin, then it’s ideal.) continue reading...

Johbisai or Joubisai: Building up a bento making 'stash'

Anyone who does any kind of art or craft work is familiar with the concept of a stash. A knitter for example has a stash of different kinds of yarn. This really helps to get the creative juices flowing. In bento making terms, the equivalent of a stash is joubisai (or johbisai) (常備菜). Literally this means ‘always available food’. They are stored foods that can be kept for a while, which can be pulled out and used on short notice, and enrich and streamline the bento making process. continue reading...