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Onigiri Japanese Rice Ball おにぎり [野菜穀物レシピ オールシーズン]


日本語のレシピは ビーガン情報サイト”Hachidory"で ご覧ください。



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I am experiencing the warmest November since I came back to Japan 13 years ago.   

When it is sunny,  the temperature sometimes goes up as if it is still late summer, but the air is already like the one of winter, that means dry and sharp, not humid, and the sky looks higher up with clearer blue color.  

However, morning and night are already very chilly like winter.

So I am using the stove to make my room warm and yutampo/hot water bag to keep myself warm.   

And lots of heat generating cooking! 

Simmering vegetables and beans in clay pots are necessities for me during cold seasons.


It is well known even among Japanese people that November is the month of celebration of Thanksgiving day for Americans and Canadians.

But many Japanese people are not aware that Japan also has a similar holiday in November.

It is November 23 and is called "勤労感謝の日, Kinrohkanshanohi", which literally means labor thanks day.

There is a history about this "labor thanks day" why it was named this way and why it became a holiday.

I think most of the people have not paid attention to this holiday and do not know what actually "labor thanks" means, and how to celebrate this day.  (Japan has many holidays compared with other countries, and this holiday is not the only one that is not easy to understand why such holiday was created.)


Originally, it was the day to celebrate the harvests of the year, especially harvest of the rice.


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The rice was considered the soul of  Japanese, and people believed the god exists inside of each grain. 


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I am not sure if it is true or not, but I am sure that rice is very powerful, not only giving energy but also raising our vitality and making pure blood, when it is eaten unpolished and in Macrobiotic way.


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Rice is the most important staple in Japan even in this modern society.

Therefore I am encouraging people to express our gratitude for the fact that we are sorrounded by abundant of food, and also to eat newly harvested fresh rice on this date.


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"Onigiri/rice ball" is the best rice dish to appreciate the quality of rice (and also to feel the love of person who made it for you.)

It is the most popular rice dish in Japan.  

Children bring to school for lunch, excursion and events.

Family often bring for picnic and outings.


Unfortunately they are sold in all the convenience stores and too easily available nowdays, young people do not bother to make onigiri by themselves any more.

(When I see the labeling of it, I feel like fainting as it is laden with chemical additives. The ingredients of the onigiri should be only rice, salt, nori sea vegetable and simple filling like salty plum or salty kombu with simple ingredients.)


Today, I am sharing the recipe of onigiri.

But actually it is so easy to make, you can make your original onigiri without following my recipe precicely.

Because onigiri is very personal dish that contains the love and the spirit of the cook,which are squeezed into the rice from his/ her hand, any shapes of onigiri is precious.

So use your bare hands, and do not use the plastic onigiri mould when you make it.

I like to eat the onigiri made by other people since I was young.

I could always see and feel their personalities in them.

Some make big round ones, some make very firm triangle ones, some make fluffy out shaped ones.   

Some make without nori sea vegetable, so the onigiri totally looks white.

Some cover all the surface with nori, so it looks totally black.  


May be you can celebrate "勤労感謝の日/Kinrohkanshanohi"  by cooking lots of rice and throwing onigiri making party.


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Nattoh Making Vegan 手作り納豆 [野菜穀物レシピ オールシーズン]


日本語のレシピは ビーガン情報サイト”Hachidory" で ご覧ください



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Not too hot, not too cold, I relish the moment whenever I get out of futon in the morning these days.


I know it will not last long, and the cold winter is waiting not too far away from me.


Don't be too pessimistic !   

A very short but beautiful red and yellow leaves season is around the corner !!  


There is a small lake sorrounded by lots of sakura and maple trees near my home.   This lake, which has been lonesome since sakura season ended in spring, is soon going to be transformed into a fascinating spot!


It is also the season of kaki/persimmon, shinmai/newly harvested young rice and satoimo/Japanese taro. 



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There's one more thing which is one of my most favorites.


That is edamame/green soy beans.


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Usually edamame is the vegetable of the summer, but the one from local variety seeds start growing later than the normal ones.

So I can still enjoy this local edamame. 

How lucky I am to live in this town !


The recipe  I am sharing with you today is of soy beans.

But not of fresh ones, but of dried ones.


The soy beans are essential in Japanese diet.

I wrote about it in my past blog, so visit here if you want to konw about it.


Today's recipe is "natto/ fermented soy beans".


Nattoh is easily available at any supermarkets in Japan.

There are so many varieties from different makers, and I am sure you were at a loss to decide which one to try if you have been to the natto section of the supermakets.


Natto is the fermented soy beans and is very healthy Japanese superfood.

It is full of good bacteria and is easy to digest. 

The study shows it has many health benefits such as enhancing digestive system and cardiovascular system, and promoting the bone health.


I love natto since my childhood and eat it almost everyday.


But I know it is not loved by anyone as it has so unique looks, texture, strong smell and taste.

Some people say its taste is similar to the rotton cheese.

So I'm sure if you like the rotton cheese, you would love natto.

I think it is either "love" or "hate".

If you love it, you are lucky, cause it is highly nutritious.

But don't worry, if you belong to the latter one, it is probably something that is not beneficial for you.


Each person was born with different charactor, different taste, different face and different constitution.   

Nothing can be good for every one even though there are many studies that seem to have been proven this is good for this and that, and that is not good for this and that.

I think what your palate tells you is not wrong.

When one finds the taste is awful, I think it is not beneficial for that person.

If the taste is acceptable, may be it is worthy to try it.

(But don't go to the junk food even if your palate enjoys its taste.  This story is limited to the natural wholesome food.)


O.K.  Now I go to the recipe of natto making, natural method natto making.

I am not using powder natto bacteria nor fresh natto as a starter.


The very natural natto is made from soy beans and rice straw.


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It is easy to make as long as you can get rice straw and have an eqipment that can make 40℃ environment such as oven, yogurt maker or even a styrofoam box.

If you are curious, go to the next page and see how I make natto from scrach.

But if you are not into it, and just want to try purchasing it from the shop and eat, see how I eat natto first.  

I'm sure you would be tempted to eat it when you see the photos below.



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Japanese style curry rice with vegetables and natto. 




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The combination of curry and natto is perfect !



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Stuffued in fried tofu pouch, and then grilled till golden brown. 
Enjoy crispness and stickyness of soy beans at a time !   
Dip in soy sauce with hot mustard. 


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Simply eat with grated radish, pickled red shiso leaves,
spring onion and plum vinegar



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Another simple natto.  topped with okara/soy pulp,
chopped leek and young ginger marinated in plum vinegar.



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Dipped in rice flour and water mixture, and then pan fried.



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Rice topped with tofu, natto and nori sea vegetable.
Sprinkle the toasted and grinded sesame,
and soy sauce before eating.
I want to name this "Protein don".  
Don't forget to add a vegetable side dish.




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My daily breakfast.  I prefer "hikiwari natto" to normal one.
In its making proess, soy beans are roasted,
and then cracked before soaking in the water. 
Cracked beans are coated with more natto bacteria,
so they are more easily digested.
I like both texture and taste.
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Mix natto and toppings well.




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Pour over rice.




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Wrap with nori sea vegetable using chopsticks,
and pop into your mouth.
You can't really chew well as the mixture is slimy,
but don't worry, natto has poweful enzyme to break down
the protein and carbo in your gut.

You feel like eating natto now ? or  feel like making it by yourself ?
Go to the next page for the recipe.





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Vegan Okara Salad おからサラダ [野菜穀物レシピ オールシーズン]


日本語のレシピは ビーガン情報サイト Hachidory から ご覧いただけます。


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Here's a quiz.


My body is light brown.


I am tiny and round.


But I can expand my size  three times bigger in the water.


My shape changes to oblone when I am expanded.


Japanese people like me to  transform into many dishes.


I think thier lives could not have been sustained without me in thier long history.


My origin is China, and I was planted and eaten mainly in China and Japan for thousnd years.


But now we are planted in many countries.


People want  more and more of us, so they are cutting countless trees of Amazon to make the space for us.  


Are we honered to be given the opportunity to be prosperous ?


May be yes,  because we have such vital enegry, whoever digest me in one's body, one can be energetic and vital too.

I feel good when I do something good for the others.


But honestly to say, I am not happy.
Because I came to know that we are taking away the food and the places from the native animals, destroying the nature and harming the habitats.
 
But it is not our own will.
 
We are forced to multiply by humans.
 
Do you know why people want more of us ?
 
Cause people want to feed the many animals.
 
They want more and more animals to grow and become fat, so that more and more people can eat more and more meat.
 
 
What is good about creating and rasing  so many animals ?
 
 
The nature is destroyed.
 
People get fat and sick by eating animals.
 
Countless animals are tortured and suffering.
 
I'm sure nobody is willing to kill the living creatures.
 
It makes us very sad.
 
I can not find anything good about raising, killing and eating animals.
 
I don't understand.
 
I don't want to play a role to torture and kill the animals, make people sick and destroy the planet.



Oh, right,  I was giving you clues to let you guess who I am, and strayed to the story because I had an urge to tell you the truth.


I guess many of you can guess who I am now.


If you are still not sure,  I'd give you a last clue.


I am a main ingredient of miso, tofu and soy sauce.



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You got it ?


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Yes, I am a soy bean.



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Now I pass my pen to my mum who likes me so much.

She would  share her nice recipe using me.

 

It is my pleasure to be transformed into many dishes to nourish people and earth.

 

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Vegan Onion Dressing 新玉ドレッシング [野菜穀物レシピ オールシーズン]


日本語のレシピは ビーガン情報サイト"Hachidory" で ご覧いただけます。 



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I wake up with the sound of pheasant every morning in this season.

I want to mimic its sound to tell you how he makes sound, but it is not easy.

We have an onomatopoeia to describe it in Japanese traditional picture books for kids.


That is "Kha~ng, Kha~ng"


But in reality, the pheasants are not making sound like that at all.


The pheasant is not the only bird I see here every day.

There are many kinds of adorable birds visiting me. 

I always feel how I am blessed to be sorrownded by the songs of variety kinds of birds.

Each of their sounds is unique and beautiful.

They echo in the air, and melt my heart.  

How lucky I am to be able to listen to these beautiful strings every day without paying a single penny nor taking trouble to travel somewhere.


A song which was popular when I was younger has just come across to my mind.


♪? "I'd rather be a spallow than a sanil, yes, I would, if I could, I surely would"




I guess what in mind of PaulSimon and Garfunkel, and me are very similar,

though I think the snail is also happy as he can still move around in his own pace.


I am sure that countless living animals on this earth would sing


♪? "I'd rather be a bird than me, yes I would, if I could, I surely would."



I want to share this peacful moment with them.,,,



Now I feel guilty to talk about the yummy food that I am enjoying these days....


But I carry on introducing them to you as I believe sharing my recipes plays a role to help them

though it would be a teeny weeny step.



Onions harvested in spring is a delicacy in Japan.


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They are juicy, soft and sweet.


We can enjoy this texture and taste only now, so I cook those fresh onions every day.


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Onions growing in the vegetable patch




Yes, there are countless ways to cook and eat fresh onions.


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I just steamed it.  No broth was added, this juice is all from the onion



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The flesh is so soft and tender.



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I sauted on the skillet and sprinkled vegan parmesan cheese.



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simmered with fried tofu and carrot, and seasoned with soy sauce



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Panfried with broad beans


I am going to introduce you a very easy (may be too easy), yummy and useful recipe today.



Here you go,



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Vegan Potato Salad ビーガンポテトサラダ [野菜穀物レシピ オールシーズン]



日本語のレシピは ビーガン情報サイト” Hachidory " から ご覧下さい



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Tomorrow is " Tohji " .


My heart is lighten up when I think of it as it has been sooo cold in the morning and evening here in Moroyama, Saitama, Japan.   


I just can't wait for the spring to come already.


Though I know the coldness will be harsher in January, I feel a sense of relief as I know that from the day after tomorrow, the sun starts rising earlier and setting later day by day.


Does your culture have special custom or event on the day of winter solictice ?


In Japan, we enjoy our bath with lots of Yuzu, yellow color winter citron.


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It is said that the strong fragrance of Yuzu keep evil spirits away, and also that we will not catch cold in coming coldest season.



There is also custom to eat pumpkin on this day.


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Pumpkin and Red Beans, food prescription to improve kidney function.



So I am thinking to make and eat the pumpkin dumplings, and enjoy the aroma of Yuzu during my bath time.   

( If you have thought that you also want to try it, be caoutious.  For some who have delicate skin, it could cause the rashes.  May be try with a few pieces first.)


My town produces many kinds of fruit, nuts and grains all the year round as the land is fertile, I guess.


But Yuzu is special. 


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The town boasts that Yuzu started from this town in Japan. 

When I take a walk, those sweet looking yellow fruit are waiting for me wherever I go.  


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You can see how I enjoy Yuzu in this season from the entry of two years ago.



I've talked lots about Yuzu, but the recipe I am going to introduce today is not related to it.  


It is something suitable for coming Christmas !


Chiristmas in Japan is celebrated in a family with small kids or between the unmarried couples. 

It is not a traditional celebration nor a holiday as most Japanese are non Christians. 


It is just a day of having fun.

If I ask the kids what is the Chtistmas, they often answer

 " The day for getting presents and eating a whole cake decorated with cream and strawberries."


For me, it is the season that I can enjoy cooking vegan Christmas dishes, and have a party with kids.


I am sharing one of such recipes with you today....





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