Nac Mac Vegan: adventures in rabbit food

07/04/2010

Japan: some additional vegan konbini goodies

As mentioned yesterday, Herwin Walravens’ Japan Vegan Restaurant Pocketguide contains a handy summary of the few vegan items available in Japanese convenience stores. There are a few others too.
Sesame tofu package
Gomadōfu (ごまどうふ) is one of the non-tofu “tofu”s. It’s sesame milk set with kūzu and is rather pleasant if you like sesame. There are a number of similar looking items, some of which are flavoured tofu – shiso (しそ – perilla) is a vegan one of these; others are the aforementioned jellies set with kūzu, including a black sesame version. One warning: if you see a package very similar to the one shown, but yellow, it’s a savoury egg custard thing. The kanji for egg is very distinctive and worth learning to recognise: .
vegan daikon and seaweed salad from Family Mart
The second discovery is a daikon and seaweed salad from Family Mart. I’m afraid I forgot to photograph it until I’d eaten half of it, but the photo is enough to get the picture. The container has a small amount of lettuce at the bottom, then loads of shredded daikon, topped with a variety of seaweeds. There is no salad dressing, so you might want to sprinkle on a bit of soy sauce or something. I have been through the ingredients list with the proverbial fine toothed comb and all it contains is the lettuce, daikon and various kinds of seaweed. They’ve neglected to sneak in any fish whatsoever. Let’s hope no English-reading person at Family Mart notices this post and gets the “error” corrected!

I’ve been eating a lot of inarizushi while I’ve been here. It’s one of my favourite foods, so I’m not at all upset about it. There are many variations, and I have yet to find one that isn’t vegan. You can get it with mushrooms, or sansai (山菜 – mountain vegetables, edamame and many other things. The only non-vegan version of which I am aware is a regional variation which uses thin omelette instead of the tofu pouches. I’ve never actually seen it anywhere.

There are several varieties of small sushi roll which are vegan: the classic cucumber (adding mayo to them seems to be an American trick), yellow pickled daikon, natto and one I’d not seen before – kanpyo dried gourd reconstituted. Note the sachets of soy sauce that come with convenience store and supermarket sushi aren’t – they’re a mixture of soy sauce and fish stock. Buy your own wee bottle of soy sauce.

I am here for three weeks and can’t eat out for every meal or I wouldn’t have money to spend on capsule toys, yaoi, robots and weird Hello Kitty items. I have a kettle in the room, and there is a microwave oven in the hotel, so I plan to expand my horizons a little. I have a nice small miso bowl from Muji and a larger plastic noodle bowl from a 100 yen shop. I brought some sachets of a vegan instant dashi (enough to tide me over till I find a shop that sells it) and a small bottle of soy sauce with me. I have already bought a small bag of sweet white miso, a package containing mixed seaweed and wheat gluten coils, some fried tofu and some vegan instant ramen bought from a macrobiotic shop. The supermarket near Akihabara station sells fresh soba (buckwheat) noodles, so I can easily put together a hot meal in my (pokey) room on the cheap. I’ll try and remember to blog my efforts.

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13/12/2003

World’s Best Inarizushi

Filed under: Japanese — Tags: , , , , — Feòrag @ 15:53

a dozen pieces of inarizushiTo celebrate the arrival of my very own hangiri, I made a batch of inarizushi, My recipe is based on that in Soei Yoneda’s Zen Vegetarian Cooking, but uses brown rice and much less sugar (and ready-made pouches).

1.5 cups short grain brown rice
3 cups water

3 tbsps brown rice vinegar
1 tbsp mirin

2 tbsps black sesame seeds.
A pinch or two of Yuzu – grated citron peel.

1 fan!

1 tin pre-made inarizushi no moto

Cook the rice in the water and leave with the lid on and the heat off for a bit. Blend the vinegar and mirin. Tip the rice into a hangiri. Any large bowl will do really, but it’s not as pretty. Add a small amount of the vinegar mix and stir in well with a flat paddle, while fanning the rice frantically, until it is absorbed. Repeat until the vinegar mix is all used up. Add the sesame seeds and yuzu and stir in well. Spread the rice over the surface of your mixing bowl, cover and leave for a bit for the flavours to mingle.

Open your tin and drain. Save the sauce and add it to a noodle soup or something. Take a pouch and open it up gently. Fill it about halfway up with the rice, fold over the remaining pouch and put it on a plate fold downwards. Repeat with the other 14 pouches. Try not to eat them all as you go along. Make rice balls out of any leftover rice.

Notes: I use a metric cup which holds 250ml (as opposed to about 225ml). This recipe makes too much rice anyway, so just use what you have. A UK tablespoon is 15ml as opposed to 10ml in the US. Inarizushi na moto is available at any Japanese grocery or Asian grocery with a Japanese section. It is also available in vacuum packs. The yuzu you get in little yellow-topped glass jars contains lactose (Update: not any more, it doesn’t!). You can get it in small packets with a citron pictured on the front, and this brand is just the yuzu. If you can’t get it, experiment with finely grated peel of other citrus fruits.

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