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March 29 2010 Japanese Food Newsletter


Do you believe that old saying, “better late than never?” I hope so. Usually, I like to get my newsletter out on Friday but this week, my laptop had to be reloaded and then I felt like I was going to lapse into a diabetic coma. Ugh. But good news. Everything is back on track.

This week, I wrote about natto. No other Japanese food seems to divide people into two extreme factions than those stinky, stringy fermented soybeans. My mother loves them; my father wrinkled his nose at them. When I opened up my first box of natto, the matted mess took me aback. I sniffed it and it reminded me of cheese. Not unpleasant or too strong at all. I expected so much worse. But then again, I love takuan (pickled radish) and rakkyo (pickled onions). On the other hand, my husband came downstairs and demanded to know what “that smell” was. I lit a scented candle and opened up a window.

I put some natto on hot rice, mixed in karashi hot mustard and just a drop or two of soy sauce. It was pretty tasty. I sat and came up with a few recipes to make natto more palatable to non-natto lovers and tried out my first batch of natto fritters. After all, I love fried, crispy things. Sadly, they did not taste very good at all. I’ll try again later but meanwhile our dog enjoyed a high protein snack. That seemed to be a good sign until my daughter reminded me that he eat practically anything if he thinks it is table food.

Meanwhile, you can read my article about natto. At least my okonomiyaki came out good. I like to make it layered in Hiroshima-style but you can make the same recipe in Osaka-style, if you prefer.

Here are this week’s articles:

Natto Fermented Soybeans
Fermented soybeans are made into various food products, but natto is a distinctively pungent Japanese food with a dubious reputation.

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art18138.asp

Okonomiyaki Japanese Vegetable Pancake Recipe
Often called a Japanese pizza, okonomiyaki is an economical egg-based dish that is really more like a cross between a vegetable omelet and a pancake. It is another popular street food.

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art48474.asp

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Your Japanese food phrase of the week: Kore ga sukinai. Koh-reh gah soo-kee-nah-ee. I don’t like this.

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Now is there something in your life that you have put off for a long time? Does it haunt you and poke at your conscience? Do it now and see how liberating it is!

Until next time,

Chidori Phillips
BellaOnline.com Japanese Food Editor


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