Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shio-koji marinated pork chops ポークチョップの塩麹焼き

Shio-koji 塩麹 got me going again. Given the previous success with chicken thighs and pork tenderloin skewers, the natural next choice was, of course, pork chops. In the U.S., pork chops are a very popular cut of pork but it is very difficult to cook them correctly especially on a barbecue grill—they often come out overcooked, tough, and dry. In Japan, SPF (Specific Pathogen-free) pork is popular and many restaurants may serve undercooked pork (center is still pink). But even SPF pork is not safe to eat raw or under cooked. Especially since some SPF pork was imported from other countries (especially South Asian countries). Even domestic (Japanese) SPF pork, requires a high level of faith in the level of inspection it has undergone. I personally have some doubt about how much regulation would be enforced. Although the risk of contracting something from eating undercooked pork in Japan maybe low, I just cannot trust blindly that pork labeled as "SPF pork" is safe undercooked. For that reason it probably a good thing that eating raw (sashimi) pork and beef liver was banned in Japan recently. Here is an interesting article about teneasis and cysticercosis in Japan. I have seen too many cases of cerebral cysticercosis in my line of work. I like my pork just perfectly cooked.

I marinated two pork chops in shio-koji (again 10% weight or just thinly coat the surface of the chops) and marinated it in the refrigerator overnight. As a control, I also cooked one chop seasoned with just salt and pepper. In the image below, two chops in the back, which were just turned over, are the shio-koji marinated, one in front which has not been turned over is the control chop. I browned both sides of the chops (#2). As before, the shio-koji marinated one browned more because of the sugar and starch in shio-koji. I then placed the frying pan into the pre-heated 350F oven for 10-15 minutes until a instant-read digital thermometer registered 145F inserted in the thickest portion of the chops. I covered the pan loosely with aluminum foil and let the chops rest for 10 minutes (#3 is shio-koji marinated and #4 is the salt and peppered one).

As far as pork chops go, this was not bad.I served this with a tomato rose, my wife's smashed potato, haricoverts (first steamed and sautéed in olive oil with garlic and seasoned with salt and pepper). I sliced the chops so that we could eat them with chopsticks.

As you can see in the first picture, it is perfectly cooked with the cut surface ever so faintly pink but uniformly so because of the resting process ensuring no undercooked center. It was tender and juicy (as pork chops go). We compared this with the salt and pepper seasoned control chop (#4 above) and there was a discernable difference but it was not great. Interestingly though, it was a different story with the leftovers. When I sliced into the shio-koji chop for sandwiches the next day, it was much more tender and juicier than the salt and pepper seasoned chop which was dryer and tougher. So this was a qualified success.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chestnuts simmered in syrup 栗の甘露煮

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We are into the chestnuts season once again. This year, I was Johnny-on-the-spot and pre-ordered them. I got North American Chestnuts from Girolami farm as before (#1 in the picture below). As I mentioned in last year’s post on chestnuts, it is wonderful to know some North American chestnuts trees survived the chestnut blight. American chestnuts, unlike Japanese chestnuts have a brown skin that goes deep into the nut. It is extremely bitter and unpleasant if left in the nut. But it is also very difficult to remove. Last year was a series of trial and error to come up with the best way to peel both the outer and inner skins (Onikawa 鬼皮and Shijukawa 渋皮, respectively. I finally found the secret. I peel the chestnut while it is still hot and the brown skin just lifts out. If you wait until it cools it is impossible to remove. This method, however, while successful, requires asbestos fingers.

This year I am providing some visual aids.The chestnuts came in a net bag (1 lb). I soaked them in water for several hours and then boiled them gently for 15-20 minutes (counting the time after the water came to the boil). I let it sit and cool down a bit--for 20-30 minutes. I scooped the chestnuts out of the water using a slotted spoon 3-4 at a time. While still very warm, I sliced off the flat bottom part using a sharp paring knife (#2). I kept peeling the outer skin by pulling it up from the initial cut (#3). Then, just tugging gently on the inner skin, it came off easily even from deep within the crevices (#4), Some chestnuts, however,had crevices made by the brown skin, so deep it almost divided the nut into two separate pieces. In that case, removing the inner skin breaks the whole chestnut apart. This year, my wife helped me removing the inner skin which sped up the process significantly.


Since I have already posted quite a few recipes using chestnut, I decided to make “Kuri-no-kanroni 栗の甘露煮. I usually buy this ready-made and sold in a jar. Most of the time, I use this in my “Chawan mushi” 茶碗蒸し.The commercial ones have both outer and inner skins cut away and the surface is smooth. The color is also bright yellow which make me think they use some kind of dye (natural dye or otherwise).
In my case, I used cooked and cleaned chestnuts like you see below (#1). For this amount of chestnuts, I prepared 200ml of water with 100grams of sugar dissolved poured over the chestnuts covering the chestnuts completely. I simmered gently for 20 minutes with the lid slightly askew (#2). I added a pinch of salt toward the end of cooking (to enhance the sweetness, although this may sound odd). I scooped up the chestnuts and placed then in a glass jar (#3). I reduced the remaining syrup for a few minutes and poured it over the chestnuts (#4).
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My kanroni does not look as pretty as the commercial kind but it tasted very good and can be eaten as a snack/dessert or, as I mentioned, in chawanmushi.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Shio-koji pork skewers 塩麹豚肉の串焼き

With a success of shio-koji marinated chicken thighs, I made these "Yakitori"-style (or "Muroran" style) pork skewers. One is shio-koji marinated and the other, sweet miso marinated (the one more blackened is shio-koji marinated in the picture below).


Pork: These are the trimmings from two pork tenderloins. I cut them in bite size chunks.

Marinades: One is shio-koji and the other sweet miso (white miso 2 tbs, sugar 1 tsp and mirin 2 tbs). I put enough marinade to coat the meat in Ziploc bags, massaged it and removed as much air as possible and sealed (left in the picture below, the brown one is miso marinated and the white one shio-koji marinated). I let it marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Skewers: I first soaked bamboo skewers in warm water while the meat was marinating. I alternated pieces of meat with sweet onion and made 4 skewers (left in the picture below)


Cooking: Since previously, I badly burned the chicken thighs, I decided to cook these skewers in the oven first. I preheated my toaster oven to 350F (in the convection mode) and baked the skewers for 15 minutes. Then, I switched to the hi-broil mode and moved up the grate so that the skewers were one inch below the broiling elements. After 2-3 minutes when the one side started charring, I turned them over and broiled for 2 minutes.

I served this over the bed of couscous. Again we were impressed with the tenderizing effect of shio-koji despite the rather brief marinating. The shio-koji version was tender, moist and succulent. The sweet miso version had a nice sweet nutty flavor but was considerably more chewy.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Salmon salad focaccia bread sandwich フォカッチャのサーモンサラダサンドイッチ

One weekend, we baked several breads. I have been lazy in terms of baking bread and my wife took over most of my baking chores. I decided to bake a simple focaccia bread to use it for sandwiches during the following week. I baked two focaccia which were a bit over 11 x 13 inches. When the bread comes out of the oven, I usually cut off the four edges and eat these pieces like grissini dipped in salted olive oil while hot, which is very good. After the remaining bread cools down, I  cut the sheet of focaccia into eight uniform rectangular pieces for sandwiches. The picture below is half a sandwich.

For a lunch on Sunday, I made salmon salad from leftover salmon. The salmon was our regular menu. It was simply salted, peppered and cooked in a frying pan and finished in an oven. We usually leave half of the salmon (although we finish the crispy skin) and use it for something else later.


Salmon Salad: I just flaked the cooked leftover salmon (about 1/3 lb). I realized we were totally out of celery but if we had some, I would have used it finely chopped. Instead, I used cucumber (one American mini, cut in half lengthwise and then thinly sliced, salted and excess moisture squeezed out). I also added finely chopped parsley (few sprigs), finely diced Vidalia onion (small, half) and cornichon pickles (5-6 finely diced). For dressing, I mixed mayonnaise (2 tbs), Greek yogurt (2 tbs), Dijon mustard (1 tsp), and lemon juice (1 tsp), salt ad pepper.



I sliced the focaccia bread into two layers and put the salmon salad on top (picture above). I served this with coleslaw and sliced cucumber, skinned and sliced Campari tomato.

Focaccia bread: I essentially used the same dough as for my pizza. I placed bread flour (3 and half cup), Kosher salt (1 tsp) and light olive oil (2 tbs) in a food processor with a dough blade installed. I mixed them by running it at low speed for 10 seconds. Meanwhile I proofed the yeast by adding a package of dry yeast into 1/4 cup of lukewarm water with a small pinch of sugar and mixed well. I let it stand until it started foaming. I added enough cold water to make it 1 cup and mixed it well.


While the food processor was on low speed, I streamed in the water yeast mixture. I usually add a few more Tbs. of water as I watch the dough form above the blade. I touch the dough to test its consistency. It should be slightly sticky and rather soft. If not you can add more water. I let it rest for 5 minutes so that the moisture distributes evenly. I then ran the food processor on low speed for 30 seconds. I dumped the dough out on the floured board and hand kneaded to finish until it was elastic and smooth (about 5 more minutes). I made a tight ball with the surface of the dough stretched and place it in a one-gallon Ziploc bag with the inside sprayed with PAM non-stick spray (or use olive oil). I removed as much air as possible, sealed, left it on the counter top loosely covered with towels and let it rise for 1-2 hours or until the volume doubled.

I deflated and folded the dough, divided it into two equal portions and formed them into rough rectangles. I covered them with a dish towel and let them rest for 10-15 minutes until the gluten relaxed. I then formed the dough into about 11x13 inch rectangles (If you like, you could make thicker and smaller rectangles, in that case I would use lower temp, 350F, and longer baking time, 30 minutes).

I put a thin layer of cornmeal on a wooden pizza peel and place the dough on top. I slid the dough back and force on the peel by jerking the peel to make sure the dough was not sticking at the bottom. I generously brushed the dough with olive oil/ fresh chopped rosemary mixture and garnish it with oil-cured black olives (pitted and chopped). Using my fingers, I made multiple indentations especially over the olives so that they don’t not come off easily. Finally I grated Reggiano parmigiano cheese on the top.

I slid the dough onto the baking stone in a 400F oven (preheated for at least 20 minutes after it reached 400F) and baked the dough for 20 minutes (below).


My foccacia was rather thin (but thick enough to cut into two layers for a sandwich) with crust but as I mentioned before, you could make it thicker and less crusty. Sometimes I make another variation in which I formed the dough exactly like pizza to make very thin pizza-like focaccia bread with olive oil and rosemary.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sautéed Monk fish medallion and liver アンコウのメダリオンとあん肝のソーテー

Monkfish or "ankou" 鮟鱇 is not a very popular fish in the U.S. and unlike in Japan,  the only portion of fish being sold and consumed is the tail meat. For Japanese, the most precious part of monk fish is, of course, the liver. The most common preparation of ankou in Japan must be ankou nabe アンコウ鍋, in which most of the various parts of the fish including skin and liver beside the meat are used. Here is the iron chef Morimoto showing off his skill of disassembling this rather ugly deep sea bottom dwelling fish.

In any case, we have not seen monkfish for some time in the grocery stores but, the other day, we happened to come across fresh monkfish fillets at a near-by market and got it. I have posted several ways of cooking monkfish fillets as well as liver (not raw but previously processed and frozen, which is the only monkfish liver I can get my hands on. Since we had a package of frozen monkfish liver or ankimo あん肝 in the freezer, I decided to make a dish with the both monkfish fillet as well as liver.

Monk fish fillet: I removed the grey slippery membrane which covers one side (skin side) of the fillet without wasting too much meat underneath. If you do not removed this, it will became a tough membrane after cooking and will also shrink more than the meat. I marinated the cleaned fillets in sake for 24 hours (Since I could not cook this immediately, this is a good way to preserve and also removed any fishy smell). Next day, I removed the fillets, dried them with a paper towel, cut into 1 inch think medallions. I seasoned with salt and pepper.

Monk fish liver: This comes in a cylindrical shape in a plastic wrap (shaped into cylindrical shape and steamed) then vacuum packed in an aluminum pouch. I just defrosted it in running cold water. I made 1 inch thick medallions to match the size of the monk fish fillet medallions and dredged in flour.

Cooking: I put light olive oil in a frying pan on low heat and fried three garlic cloves (smashed) for 5-8 minutes until the garlic flavor is transferred to the oil. I then took the garlic out of the pan. I turned the flame to medium high and put in the monkfish fillet and liver medallions. I cooked for less than one minute on each sides and finished in a 400F oven for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes were up, I let it rest for 5 minutes (This is one of the rare fish which, like meat, benefits from resting after cooking).

Sauce: I thought about making a Ponzu-based sauce but settled for my ususal sauce made of orange marmalade and soy sauce.  I first put orange marmalade (3 tbs, I used a “fancy” marmelade with large orange peels in it) in a small frying pan on low heat and added just a small amount of hot water (1 tsp) to facilitate the melting. When the orange marmalade was melted, I added soy sauce (1 tsp). This may sound like a very sweet sauce but it goes well with monkfish liver (or duck breast).

I placed three medallions of monk fish fillets on the bottom and topped each pieces with monk fish liver and drizzled the sauce as you see in the first picture. This is a great dish if I say so myself. The firm texture of the fillets is like lobster tail and the liver is like foie gras, soft, buttery and unctuous. This combination is sublime and the sauce went perfectly. Although this dish could go well with a nice acidic and crisp white wine such as sauvignon blanc, we were drinking cold sake at this point, which was great with this dish.

Of course, before this dish, I served ankimo in a very simple traditional way with ponzu, grated daikon which was sprinkled with Japanese one flavored red pepper flakes or ichimi tougrashi 一味唐辛子. This was mighty fine too!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Shio-koji marinated chicken thighs 鶏の腿肉の塩麹焼き

This is the third try marinading meat in shio-koji. This time I used chicken thighs. As a comparison, I also marinated half of the thighs in teriyaki style marinade. I think this was a success although the surface got totally blackened as you can see.

Chicken thighs: I used 1 pack of chicken thighs (4 in a pack). I removed the bone and excess fat. I butterflied the thick part to make the thickness even and then shallowly cross hatched to increase the contact surface for the marinade. I trimmed the skin but left it on.

Marinades: For the two thighs I marinated teriyaki-style (1 part soy sauce and 1 part mirin with grated ginger root), for the other two I coated the surface with shio-koji. Both were placed in Ziploc bags and marinated over night in the refrigerator.

The next day, I removed the thighs and blotted off any excess surface moisture (#1 below,  lighter ones in the front were shio-koji marinated). I cooked both in an identical way for comparison with small amount of light olive oil in non-stick frying pans on medium-low flames (#2, shio-koji and #3 teriyaki). After a few minutes, I turned them over. The shio-koji ones are much darker (#2) than the teriyaki ones (#3). I kept cooking with the skin side down with identical sized frying pans on the top to press the skin surface down to the bottom of the pans (I was hoping to make the skin crispy all around). I was expecting the shio-koji ones might burn (because they cooked so dark on the first side) but was surprised. The shi-koji marinated ones came out with blackened skin (#4 left) but for the teriyaki ones, the skin was totally burned and melded to the bottom of the pan. I had to remove the thighs abandoning the charred skin leaving it behind in the pan. (My wife would refer to this calamity as “sacrificing the skin to the “pan god”) (#4 right). I have to fine tune the way I cook these thighs.

I served both thighs cut into four equal pieces side-by-side for comparison with our home made potato salad. Our verdict is that the shio-koji ones were very tender and good, although the flavor is not as distinct as the teriyaki ones. For the shio-koji ones, the skin was blackened but crispy and quite edible. So, shio-koji marination worked best for chicken thighs among the kinds of meat we tried (chicken tender and Flat iron steak).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Shio-koji marinated flat iron steak フラットアイアンステーキの塩麴焼き

This is the second try on marinating meat in shio-koji. I thought about using skirt steak but settled on flat iron steak which is flavorful but not known for being tender. I thought this would be a good cut to try the effect of shio-koji marination.

I divided the flat iron steak into two equal pieces; one was seasoned with just salt and pepper and the other marinated in shio-koji. This time I marinated the steak for only one hour before cooking since we thought the shio-koji marinated chicken tenderloin was perhaps “over marinated”.

In the picture below, the regular steak is on the left and the shio-koji marinated steak is on the right.

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I cooked both pieces of steak in an identical fashion in the same pan (the left is shio-koji marinated and the right just salt and pepper in the picture below). I seared the surface for a few minutes each and finished it in a 400F oven for 5 minutes.

CIMG5260After I let them rest for a few minutes, I sliced both pieces and served side-by-side with my wife’s oven “fried” potatoes (The first picture). I could have improved on the presentation but I was anxious to taste them. As you can see, although both pieces of steak were cooked identically, the shio-koji marinated steak on the right of the first picture), was less pink and looked more done.

On tasting, the result was the same as the chicken tenderloin. The consistency of shio-koji marinated steak was a bit weird. Again, the steak developed a doughy consistency. We would not call this more “tender” just doughy. We much preferred the salt and peppered piece which was done perfectly in medium rare.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Blueberry and peach cobbler ブルーベリーとピーチコブラー

You may have noticed my wife's non-izakaya items started appearing more often. It is getting more difficult for me to come up with new Izakaya style dishes and an occasional entry from my wife is a great help. This is one such post. In the summer when berries and fresh fruit are in abundance my wife makes cobblers. This day she made cobbler out of leftover blueberries and peaches.


This recipe can be made in individual serving dishes or as one large baking dish. I tend to like individual servings because it gives a nice ratio of crunchy crust to cooked fruit. For this recipe I used individual dishes. 

Topping: 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder,1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, 2 beaten eggs (plus a 3rd egg set aside to use if needed), 1 tsp of vanilla, one stick of butter melted

Mix the dry ingredients together. Put the fruit in a bowel and lightly coat it with some of the dry mixture then put the fruit into the cooking containers leaving some room for the topping. In this case I used 4 small soufflé and 4 small Pyrex dishes.

Next comes the tricky part—getting the right mixture of eggs to dry ingredient to make the crumb for the topping. The secret is that the more egg in the topping the crunchier it becomes but if you put in too much egg it turns into a mass rather than a crunchy crumb. So I start with the two eggs called for in the recipe and using my fingers mix it into the flour mixture until crumb starts to form. Then I carefully add the extra egg I set aside a little at a time until the crumb gets larger and start to stick together into large pieces (Picture on lower right). I never use the entire third egg. Once I get the crumb to the right consistency I sprinkle it over the fruit in the containers. Then I add the vanilla to the melted butter and drizzle the butter evenly over the crumb topping.

I put the containers on a cookie sheet (because they frequently bubble over) and cook in a 375 F oven for about 30 minutes for individual containers and 45 to 50 minutes for a single large container or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is a rich dark brown.

This dish is the essence of summer. The fruit forms a kind of jelly on the bottom and the topping is pleasingly crunchy and slightly sweet with a vanilla butter flavor. Can’t go wrong with this combination. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Shio-koji marinated chicken tender 鶏のささ身の塩麴焼き

After I made shio-koji 塩麴 and shio-koji pickled vegetables, I tried chicken tenderloin. Since everybody seems to be raving about the shio-koji marinated food, our expectations were high.

I put just enough shio-koji (10% weight is recommended) to thinly cover the surface of the tenderloins in a Ziploc bag, I massaged it, removed the air as much as I could and let it marinade over night in the refrigerator.

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Next day, I took the chicken tenderloin out of the bag and cooked it using a small amount of light olive oil on a medium-low flame (see below). I did not remove the shio-koji from the surface. Because shio-koji contains starch and sugar, the surface browned much more quickly than without shio-koji. I cooked both sides for several minutes each until it was done.

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I served this with the previously made shio-koji pickled vegetable and Campari tomato (The first picture). How was the chicken? To be honest, we were disappointed. It was OK and the meat was moist but attained a strange “doughy” consistency. It felt like the meat was cooked before it was cooked (it must have been cured in shio-koji). Perhaps, marinating overnight was too much or, perhaps, the benefits of shio-koji are overhyped. Before we give up, we will try several more iterations.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Goat cheese drop biscuit 山羊乳チーズビスケット

This was a classic Southern breakfast which my wife made based on Chef Art Smith of Ophra Winphrey fame. But, this is also a good starch dish to end your evening.

Biscuit ビスケット can mean two totally different things whether the term is used in England (Commonwealth) or in North America. In the former, it is  a type of cookie or short bread  (which is also what Japanese think of “ビスケット”) and the latter, a type of quick bread somewhat similar to scones.Digression alert!: The category of “bread” called “quick” bread, in which biscuit certainly belongs, usually use chemical leavening agents (instead of organic and living  agents such as yeast). These are baking powder and baking soda. Baking soda is rather straight forward. It is “sodium bicarbonate” which requires an external acid to do its job which is to release carbon dioxide gas that causes the bread to rise.

On the other hand, baking powder is more complex. It contains its own source of activating acid in addition to the basic baking soda and is differently formulated depending on the brand.  I am not going into details but “double action” baking powders can contain “aluminum” compounds (heat activated or slow-action part). My wife is very sensitive to the taste of baking powder which contains aluminum compounds (I cannot taste it). She can tell immediately if something has been baked using baking powder with aluminum compounds. For any recipe which calls for baking powder, she uses the brand which does not contain aluminum salts (the brand she uses contains bisodium pyrophosphate).

In addition to the fact that some people are sensitive to the metallic taste of aluminum compounds, aluminum is not a metal I would like to consume. Certain neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or better know as Lou Gehrig disease in North America) or even Alzheimer may be linked to aluminum (disclaimer; no scientific proof has been established). Japanese often use another “aluminum” salt called “myouban” 明礬 in cooking especially to preserve the bright purple color of eggplant when it is picked (salted). I do believe that we should avoid eating aluminum, although its ill effects are not proven. I’d prefer to eat brown discolored eggplant “tuskemono” 漬物 to avoid the risk of aluminum; proven or not.
I have to ask my wife for the recipe.

This is the recipe doubled—no sense in making small quantities because they go so fast!

4 cups AP flour, 1 Tsp baking soda, 4 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp salt, 8Tbs (4 oz) butter, 8 Tbs. goat cheese, 2 cups buttermilk, chives chopped.
Heat oven to 425, and put cast iron skillet in the oven while it is preheating. (I used one 8 inch, and one 5 inch pan. Place flour, baking soda, powder and salt in a bowl and whisk to evenly distribute ingredients. Cut in the cold butter and goat cheese until they are about the size of small peas. Add the chives and coat with the flour to distribute evenly. Pour in the buttermilk and stir until just moistened.

The next part is a bit intimidating. Take the hot pan out of the oven (be careful because it will be really hot). Drop in a Tbs. of butter or whatever amount is necessary to coat the bottom of the pan. Scoop the batter into the pan in spoonful, (hence the name drop biscuits). I use a large ice cream scoop. Leave room around the biscuits so that they can form a nice crunchy crust. Pop back into the oven and cook for 14-16 minutes until brown. Since the dough is “dropped” into a hot iron skillet (see above left), the bottom of the biscuit became brown and extra  crispy (see above right)—this is without a doubt the best part! The goat cheese flavor with chives in this crunchy fluffy and hot biscuit is good eatin’ any time.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ground Okra and Tuna sashimi cubes 鮪のオクラトロロ山かけ

This is by far the most slimy (in a peculiarly good way) dish I ever made and ever encountered. I decide to make this after I saw this recipe on line. This is like tuna "Yamakake" やまかけ but instead of grated "nagaimo" 長いもor "yamaimo", this green slime was made of okra.

Okra: This is one pack of okra (about 12 okra). I first rubbed the surface with kosher salt to remove the "fuzz" and washed away the salt. I blanched for 30 seconds to 1 minute in salted rapidly boiling water (or until the okra’s green color becomes bright). I then drained and dunked the okra into ice water to keep the green color (picture below). I removee the ends and roughly chopped them up. I used an emersion blender and the plastic container that came with the blender. I added an equal mixture of concentrated dipping sauce (menstuyu 麺つゆ) and water and I blended to get a nice consistency.

Tuna: I used the "akami" 赤身 portion of Bluefin tuna I got from Catalina. I just cut it into a bite size cubes and marinated in a mixture of soy sauce and sake (1:1) overnight in a refrigerator.

I assembled it exactly like "Yamakake". I poured the grated okra into the bottom of a small bowl, placed the marinated tuna cubes on top and garnished it with strips of nori and perilla.

The taste?? This is very interesting. This is slime on steroids. It is even more viscous than nagaimo (I could have put more liquid to make it looser) but it has the refreshing green taste of fresh okra. Certainly, this is very unique way of using okra. I may try a different variation in the future but we prefer nagaimo for yamakake dish. Amazingly, I was more resistant to the idea of this green slime than my wife was—she is definitely not a fan of okra but she seemed to like this.