All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Dinner, June 16, 2017

One day our friends gave us very crisp, chicory-like mizuna called Mizuna Green Streak, and Tom put some in an omelet the next morning. But we still had plenty, so we got super fresh rockfish from a local fish store and lots of fava beans from another local shop. My menu plan naturally was to enjoy this great food!

  • Soramame to sakura ebi no gohan / steamed rice with fava beans and dried shrimp
  • Tofu, wakame, usuage no misoshiru / miso soup with tofu, wakame seaweed, thin deep-fried tofu, with daikon radish sprouts
  • Menuke no karashiage to mizuna, serori no okaka-ae / deep-fried mustard-marinated rockfish with mustard greens and celery
  • Tomato to okura no amazu oroshi-ae / tomatoes and okra in grated radish with sweetened vinegar
429 calories, 515 mg sodium (items on front tray, for me; 566 calories, 612 mg sodium after eating half of remaining fish karashiage)

For Tom, after having another serving of rice and finishing up half of remaining fish karashiage in the serving bowl, the dinner had 778 calories and 731 mg sodium. I knew the number wouldn't be low, as I made takikomi gohan rice cooked with goodies instead of plain rice (virtually zero sodium), but going above 700 mg gave me a minor shock.

Karashiage turned out a bit weak, as I did not marinate the fish long enough. I was happily making other dishes, and by the time I checked the clock it was already 6:30. Using the entire fillet (265 g) from the shop was another reason for the weak taste and too much sodium (80 mg sodium per 100 g raw rockfish). Tom was stuffed, and he even admitted it was a bit too much for his stomach. A normal amount for both of us (150-160 g) would also have brought down Tom's sodium intake to 690 mg or so. The water content of fresh celery, because I used a lot, also weakened overall taste. Too much is never good -- once again I reminded myself of this sage advice. Nevertheless, the combination of ingredients worked really well. I also learned that blanching mizuna would reduce its sodium content by 25-28%.

Daikon oroshi or grated daikon radish is almost indispensable as a companion for deep-fried or greasy food, as its enzyme helps digestion of oil. Daikon oroshi is mixed with sweetened vinegar to make fluffy dressing for tomato and okra. Vinegar gives an extra, refreshing boost; you can imagine the effect from the way vinegar works with fish and chips. Okra is a clear reminder of the season while adding contrasting color and sticky texture (mucin, the protector of mucus membranes).

For some reason I did not see any fresh English peas this spring, and we did not eat mame gohan steamed rice with English peas this year. Having missed a regular dish left me feeling awkward about the season and weather. Fava beans at a farm store confirmed that English pea season was over and harvest has already moved forward. So to partly supplement our lack of mame gohan this spring, fava beans are put in the rice. As their pretty light green color would turn dull when cooked for 30+ minutes, I added sakura ebi, and the little dried shrimp provide vibrant color and taste. Sakura ebi can be either simply dried or boiled with salt and then dried. The ones I have are the latter type and contain 240 mg sodium per 5 g sakura ebi. I put 3.5 g (168 mg sodium) in rice this time; if I dry toast them and mix in rice after rice is done, then fewer shrimp (3 g [144 mg] or less) probably are enough. The difference may only be 24 mg here, but collecting these savings can become a big bonus some other time.

For the miso soup, soft tofu, wakame and a small amount of usuage thin deep-fried tofu are used. Ichimi red pepper powder and kaiware daikon radish sprouts from the deck topped the soup. The clear spiciness of red ichimi created a clean contrast with the mellow taste from usuage and wakame. Shichimi pepper is my usual choice, and I had overlooked the charms of ichimi. A nice discovery. Not having a favorite item -- the shichimi jar is empty for the time being -- is actually a not bad thing.

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