One thing that stood out to me as I was preparing this blog entry is the extent to which Japanese foods have become a part of the American diet. Not only do I have three restaurants that serve sushi within walking distance of my house, I can also purchase pre-packaged sushi at the corner Albertsons. Teriyaki sauce is always in my fridge, and in the past couple of years I have noticed edamame also showing up on store shelves. All of this is good news. Much of Japanese cuisine is healthy and delicious, and even if you don’t eat seafood there are an array of vegetable dishes, noodle bowls, and tofu offerings to choose from.
As with past blog entries, I decided to try making my own Japanese meal. After visiting this site, I was surprised how easy making vegetable tempura looked. This dish, which consists of lightly battered and fried veggies, supposedly was introduced to Japan by Portuguese missionaries in the 1500s. In the intervening centuries, though, Japan has made tempura its own. For my meal, I used a zucchini, a sweet potato, and several snow pea pods. I also made the simple batter described at the link above, and did my best to prepare according to the author’s tips. The result was edible, and the sweet potato was actually delicious, but I’m not sure I did this totally right. The pea pods cooked very quickly in the canola oil, and the zucchini turned out kind of mushy. If I try this again, I may slice the zucchini into matchsticks and leave it out to dry longer before cooking. I’m also not sure if I overworked the batter. I tried not to, but the texture here just doesn’t look like restaurant tempura. This meal was served with white rice, a bit of soy sauce, and instant miso soup, which was quite good!
For those who aren’t convinced by my attempt at Japanese cooking, here’s a friendly reminder that you can always get tasty options elsewhere. Here’s a delicious veggie sushi platter that I got last night for dinner after work. The roll contains cucumber, asparagus, and cream cheese, the nigiri on the lower left is a sweet egg omelette, and the one on the lower right is lightly fried tofu with ginger sauce. Completely filling and great tasting. I even got to compare food notes with the guys sitting next to me at the sushi bar, who had a tasty-looking mushroom and soba noodle dish. Maybe an option for a future Japanese meal!