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Japanese cuisine - considered one of the he althiest cuisines in the world - is dominated by vegetables, seafood and fresh fish. It is thanks to this menu that the Japanese are long-lived and thin. The basis is rice, which is used to prepare sushi, as well as soybeans - and from it tofu and miso paste.

Japanese cuisineis a completely different cuisine than ours. Meat is rare, beef rather than pork. Japanese beef is the most valued, from cows… drenched with beer and massaged. Brittle and evenly overgrown with fat, it looks like marble. Unfortunately, the very high price means that not everyone can afford it.

Japanese cuisine cannot exist withoutrice , not Chinese or Thai, but Japanese. White, slightly sticky when cooked, has small round grains and only the right flavor. An important place is taken bytofu , algae and Japanese mushrooms, which neither in appearance nor in taste resemble ours. A Japanese, when asked about the most important spices, will mention without hesitation:

  • soy sauces - plain dark brown, light soybean and wheat and tamari, made only from soybeans;
  • sake - Rice wine that goes well with almost anything - sauces, soups, rice and noodle dishes. The sake itself is drunk most of the time.
  • mirin - sweet rice wine that, unlike sake, is never drunk;
  • miso - fermented paste made of soybeans and rice, wheat or barley m alt;
  • rice vinegar - white or light golden, milder than wine;
  • sansho - Japanese pepper from the pods of a deciduous tree growing in Japan;
  • sesame oil;
  • green wasabi horseradish - it has a bactericidal effect, and its sharp taste and smell matches fish.

Most of these products can be purchased at oriental and he alth food stores, and in good grocery stores. Soy sauce, tofu and Japanese mushrooms are even available in supermarkets. Japanese rice is the hardest, but you can replace it with plain white, as long as it has round grains. Ultimately, you can use another dry white wine instead of sake.

Worth knowing

I loved the simplicity

Joanna Koryciarz-Kitamikado, Asian lacquer conservator, translator of Japanese and English, runs her own company Haru. She spent with her Japanese husband9 years in the Land of the Rising Sun. Fascinated by Japanese cuisine, she also cooks in Poland in accordance with the Japanese tradition:

I was immediately delighted that Japanese cuisine is very fast. You can prepare the entire dinner from a few dishes in half an hour without getting tired of standing at the pots. I like the variety of vegetables, fresh fish, but most of all seafood, which I love, and the way the dishes are prepared. That fish must taste like fish, carrots, and meat must taste like meat, and that there are no thick fattening sauces, roux and dishes seasoned with cream. After arriving in Japan, I was surprised why the Japanese stove consists of only two burners, between which there is a grate - a pull-out drawer into which water is poured. Today I know: in Japanese cuisine, most dishes are prepared on a wire rack.

Japanese cuisine: the dish must be "clean"

The idea is to emphasize the natural taste of the products. To achieve this, they are served almost unprocessed. Vegetables, fish, seafood. Japanese people often eat raw, and if they cook, they do it for a very short time or grill them on a hotplate. They use little spices, so it is important that the products are fresh, of the best quality. The vegetables must be semi-hard, never overcooked. Thanks to this, they retain their nutritional value, providing the body with valuable vitamins and minerals. Popular long white turnips, Chinese cabbage, carrots, and onions silage contain bacterial cultures that improve the functioning of the digestive system and increase immunity. In Japanese cuisine, there is no such thing as a sauce that binds ingredients, as in our kitchen, or a "resultant flavor" known from Chinese cuisine. Everything is served separately or placed on a plate, creating colorful compositions. Even stews are prepared according to the principle of cleanliness so that you can see all the ingredients. They are carefully selected in terms of color and ground to give the dish an attractive form. They are cut into a ruler, fried or boiled separately, and then joined together. The Japanese avoid deep frying, use little animal fats. Their kitchen is easily digestible and low in calories. Effect? There are no overweight people in the street. Only 3 percent. Japanese women are obese, and the average age of women is 86 years, and of men is 79 years. A statistical Pole lives 6 years, and a Pole 8 years shorter. The Japanese are less likely to suffer from heart and circulatory system diseases.

Japanese cuisine: Japanese daily menu

Avoid overeating in the Land of the Rising Sun. The Japanese prefer to eat less, not only for he alth reasons, but also to remember the taste of the dish better. Even though everyonethe meal consists of several fixed elements: soup, rice, 2-3 other dishes, no one leaves the table with a feeling of heaviness in the stomach. It is also thanks to green tea that crowns every meal, incl. improving digestion.

» For breakfast as is the custom, you eat miso soup, with grilled fish, rice with algae and soy sauce , fresh or pickled vegetables. The traditional soup consists of vegetables (potatoes, carrots, Chinese cabbage, onion, or green peas in pods or little known here okra), Japanese shiitake mushrooms, algae, diced tofu or seafood. The miso paste is always added to the end.» Lunch eating out. Usually it is a warm meal, with soup (clean, usually based on bonito dashi broth and / or with the addition of miso paste) and a main course. Only young people choose sandwiches more and more often. Apart from the usual bread, you can buy a ball or triangle-shaped rice sandwich, for example with tuna and mayonnaise.» In the evening the whole family sits down to eat together. As is customary, the table is set with all the dishes at once. Side by side are sushi and sashimi, hot and cold dishes, warmed by candlelight, bowls with sauces with a bouquet of flavors, variously prepared rice and spices. The meal starts with small starters. Sushi is eaten after sashimi because it contains rice and is a more complex dish, and soup at the end of the feast. The Japanese celebrate the food. Slowly, with dignity, they grab small bites with their chopsticks and dip them in the sauce. There is no rush at the Japanese table.

Japanese cuisine: sushi and sashimi

Japanese eat them every day. They order ready-made or visit sushi bars, where plates with variously prepared national speci alties spin on revolving buffets. Sushi consists of rice seasoned with vinegar and additives: fish (you can use, for example, smoked salmon instead of fresh ones), vegetables, seafood and meat, e.g. balled or wrapped in nori. In chirashi, the ingredients are loosely combined like in risotto. Sashimi is a dish made of raw fish and seafood. Thinly sliced ​​slices of fish, squid, octopus or whole prawns carefully placed on a plate are served with narrow ribbons of white radish (provides vitamins and reduces the taste of raw material), algae, wasabi and soy sauce.

Japanese cuisine: shiitake mushrooms

These are mushrooms popular in Japan, called long-he alth mushrooms. They grow in the crevices of trees, have a large light brown hat and a thin leg. They are aromatic, slightly peppery. They are suitable for soups, vegetable dishes, they taste great withfish, raw can be added to the salad. Dried mushrooms need to be soaked for about 20 minutes before use. 100 g of mushrooms is 122 kcal and about 30 g of carbohydrates, there is no protein or fat in them. They stimulate the immune system and have an antiviral effect. By lowering the level of cholesterol and glucose in the blood, they counteract atherosclerosis and diabetes.

Japanese cuisine: tofu

Tofu is the name of a soybean white cheese. In dishes, it is used instead of meat, fish and dairy products or together with them. In Japan, about 30 thousand. stores sell only soy cheese. Silky, hard, delicate, yakidofu (lightly toasted), koyodofu (dried by freeze-drying), mold, and smoked differ in taste, appearance and purpose. Tofu is a source of wholesome protein and unsaturated fatty acids (they improve the functioning of the nervous and endocrine systems, prevent hypertension and blood clots, strengthen the heart). It inhibits the production of liver cholesterol, thereby lowering the level of total cholesterol in the blood. Thanks to the content of lecithin, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, vitamins A and B group, it has a positive effect on the nervous tissue and the efficiency of the brain, protects against osteoporosis. However, you shouldn't eat too often dishes consisting of a lot of tofu, meat and eggs, because they are protein bombs.

Japanese cuisine: seaweed

Some have a fishy flavor, others have a mint flavor. They are an excellent addition to soups, vegetable dishes, salads, bean dishes, and go well with rice vinegar and soy sauce. Nori are dried algae, they are sold in the form of pressed dried sheets. The Japanese most often use them to wrap various delicacies, e.g. rice balls, they are indispensable for sushi. If you want to use them as a spice, first gently tan over a flame, then the leaf will turn from dark brown to dark green, crumble and sprinkle the dish. Thick and large leaves konbu are suitable for soups, stocks and stews. They have an intense smell and taste, so it is better not to overdo it with the amount. Wakame is the most popular variety of seaweed eaten by the Japanese. They taste like green vegetables and are recommended for beginner gourmets of Japanese cuisine. They can be eaten like a vegetable. There are vitamins C, E and beta-carotene, B6 and B12 in seaweed. They contain fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, protein, iron, selenium and chlorophyll (improves digestion, circulation and heart function), in brown varieties - alginic acid (binds and eliminates toxic metals), iodine and omega-3 acids. They are low in calories. They counteract atherosclerosis, strengthen bones, give a feeling of fullness, supporting slimming. People suffering from thyroid disease before the inclusion of algaediet should be consulted with a doctor.

Japanese cuisine: miso paste

Fermented paste of soybeans and rice, wheat or barley m alt - light, red and dark, with the consistency of peanut butter. It has a taste similar to bouillon cubes and a similar application. The softest is light miso, with the addition of rice, and the sharpest and densest - dark, pure soy. Miso increases immunity and has a beneficial effect on the digestive system. Systematic consumption of soup with miso reduces the risk of stomach cancer three times.

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