The weather is so cold these days, the high hasn't gotten higher than 7C and the low is REALLY low, like 2C. The areas on the Japan Sea side have gotten LOTS of snow over the past couple of days. The weather people were talking about a -35C degree wind from the north blowing over Japan...(okay, that would explain this weather)...at least during the day it has been sunny... although, I still would like to see some flurries... :)
The other day I made pork ginger for dinner. The recipe is rather simple: 1.5T sugar, 2T shoyu(soy sauce), 1T ginger, 2T sake (rice wine), 250g pork. I usually buy the pork thinly sliced and cut it into bite size pieces.
For the marinade, I usually use fresh chopped ginger. If you can't get fresh, the kind that is already chopped up and bottled is just as good. Soak for at least an hour or so. I usually try to soak it from the night before. After cooking it, I usually top it with sliced leeks or green onions. This photo is the leftovers of the pork ginger...called, pork ginger don (short for donburi or bowl). I lined the bowl with rice and lettuce then heated up the leftover pork ginger in a pan, added a beaten egg and put it on top of the lettuce. It was good, fast and easy! (definitely my kind of cooking!)
One food that is popular in Japan during autumn and winter is "yaki-imo" (roasted sweet potato). At night, you can hear the "yaki-imo" man (like the ice cream man in America), calling out to everyone over a loud speaker "ishi-yaki-imo". "Ishi-yaki" is to roast the potato on hot stones (kind of like when they roast a pig in the imu (roasting pit in the ground) in Hawaii) except the stones are in a metal container, like a barrel, many desserts during the autumn and winter here use sweet potato as fillings or toppings.
Naruto Kintoki is a sweet potato grown in Tokushima (Shikoku). Most sweet potatoes are known as "Satsuma-imo". "Satsuma" is the old name for the southern part of Kyushu. In the Edo period when the rice crops failed, a famine had swept over Japan. The government realized that the Satsuma area was the only area to survive the famine with little trouble because they were eating their sweet potatoes.
So, as a result, sweet potatoes were sent all over Japan as insurance against famine. Today, depending on the area, each has its own distinct name, shape and flavor.
Usually a sweet potato this size is rather expensive, but I got it for a little under $2. I steamed this guy in my steamer basket and had to have a piece of it when it came out....yummy!!
I think the reason they call this potato Naruto Kintoki is because Naruto is a city in Tokushima and Kintoki means a reddish color. And if you've ever seen Kintoki ninjin (Kintoki carrots) you'll realize that they are reddish colored carrots, not orange like regular carrots. And kintoki mame are red kidney beans.
In my last post entitled: sweets, I talked about ANA's new desserts. This is one of them, the caramelized pudding. I haven't tried either one yet, but will let you know when I do. :)