Here are a few basics of Japanese cooking that are used in other recipes in this section.
Wipe the kelp with a damp cloth, then put it in a saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil uncovered; just before the water comes to a boil, remove and discard the kelp. Sprinkle in the bonito flakes and remove saucepan from heat. As soon as the bonito flakes start to sink, strain stock and discard bonito flakes. This stock, which is the basis of many sauces and soups, can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Helpful hint: Instant dashi granules (dashi-no-moto) make a quick alternative if small amounts of the stock are needed; however, for soups and stock for simmered dishes, it is preferable to make your own dashi.
Put all ingredients into a saucepan, preferably nonstick, and heat slowly, stirring from time to time. When it has come to a boil, reduce heat to a minimum and cook, stirring from time to time, for 20 minutes. Cool and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Heat the dried kelp over a gas flame or under a broiler (grill), then put into a bowl with all other ingredients. Refrigerate for 3 days, then strain. Can be stored for up to 1 year. (Bottled ponzu can be purchased in Japanese stores.)
Bring water and vinegar to a boil in a saucepan, then add sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Cool and use as a dipping sauce for vegetables. Keeps refrigerated up to 10 days.
Reprinted with permission from the book:
The Food of Japan
by Takayuki Kosaki and Walter Wagner
Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd.
The unique quality of Japanese cuisine lies not so much in its ingredients but in its spirit and philosophy. The essence of Japan is captured in this collection of recipes ranging from rustic one-pot dishes such as soba noodles to elegant and exotic presentations. This book of recipes, gathered and photographed in Japan, also introduces the reader to the cultural attitudes which have shaped the cuisine of The Land of the Rising Sun.
ISBN 962 593 392 1
Pack your lunch in an old-fashioned Japanese kura storehouse.
This adorable bento lunchbox is shaped like a Japanese kura storehouse. The design is based on the traditional architecture of tiled roof, white walls on the upper story, and black-slate patterned lower level.
The two-story building and separate roof compartment are big enough to fit a hearty lunch for a hungry student or office worker. Use the two box compartments for main and side dishes, sandwich and salad, or rice and toppings, and pop some candy or a snack in the roof. [US$29, €26]