|Salmon miso yaki, an oven-baked salmon fillet from Just Add Shoyu, a culinary journey of Japanese Canadian Cooking.
When disaster strikes, it can be as important to celebrate a culture as it is to offer our support.
Earlier this year, friends Ted and Ikuko Teshima presented me with a gift - the cookbook Just Add Shoyu, A culinary journey of Japanese Canadian Cooking ($39.95).
I have long been fascinated by streams that contribute to cooking in Canada, and so far, I have not seen a finer example of a cookbook that reflects a community's contribution to our table than this one. Nor, can I express better its contents as written in the introduction: "Just Add Shoyu is a collection of recipes and stories that provides a snapshot of our evolving Japanese-Canadian community. As with all cultures' cuisines, our food brings us together. It reflects who we are - our uniqueness. It provides opportunities to share with our family, friends, and community. It's a window to our history in Canada."
Before sushi became a restaurant - even supermarket and convenience store -- staple, many Canadians were introduced to Japanese food through this sharing Japanese community. For some, it was at Toronto International Caravan, the multicultural festival that brought the tastes of the world to the plates of Torontonians. Others had their first taste of Japanese food at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, thanks to the hard working JCCC Women's Auxiliary. And it was fantastic cooking by these volunteers that inspired Just Add Shoyu.
Why is the book impressive? It's beautiful - we eat with our eyes first, even if the meal is a cookbook! Mouth-watering photos, generously designed layout, well-written tested recipes. Over 280 pages of keeper-quality paper Looking for more than how-tos? Just Add Shoyu has stories from the community, some humorous as the disappearing chow mein sandwiches, some describing the community's internment and struggles during and after the Second World War, culminating in the goal to "contribute positively to the cultural mosaic of Canada." Hopefully in the wake of this earthquake, the community can find solace in its rich history of tradition and support.
GLOSSARY: Shoyu - soy sauce: Shoga - fresh ginger: Goma - sesame seed: mirin - sweet rice wine: miso - paste made from fermented soybeans and grain.
SALMON MISO YAKI
This salmon fillet is oven-baked.
1/4 cup (50 ml) miso
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) goma (sesame) seeds, toasted
1 tsp. (5 ml) grated fresh shoga (ginger)
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) mirin
1 tsp. (5 ml) sugar
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) vegetable oil
1 to 2 lb. (454 to 908 g) salmon fillet
In small bowl, combine marinade ingredients and mix until sugar dissolves. Spread marinade over salmon and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F. (180C.) Line baking sheet with foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Place salmon on baking sheet and bake on middle rack for10 minutes or until easily flaked with fork.
Serving 4 to 6.
TIP: Broil 2 to 3 minutes to crisp top
MEAT GYOZA -- MEAT DUMPLINGS
This recipe is from Sue Motosune.
3 nappa (Chinese cabbage) leaves
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 lb. (227g) ground pork
1/2 lb. (227g) ground beef
4 green onions, minced
1/4 tsp. (1.25 ml) grated shoga (ginger)
1/4 tsp. (1.25 ml) minced garlic
3 Tbsp. (15 ml) shoyu
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) sake
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) goma (sesame) oil
48 gyoza or wonton wrappers
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) vegetable oil (approx.)
1/2 cup (125 ml) water (approx.)
1/4 cup (50 ml) shoyu
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) dry mustard
Dipping Sauce Variation
1/4 cup (50 ml) shoyu
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) rice vinegar
Blanch nappa leaves in boiling water, cool and mince. Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes or until soft. Discard water. Remove and discard mushroom stems. Mince shiitake caps.
In bowl, combine all ingredients except gyoza or wonton wrappers, oil and water.
Place 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) mixture in middle of gyoza wrapper. Use finger to moisten edges of wrapper with water. Fold wrapper in half and pinch edges together to completely seal.
Heat large frying pan to medium-high. Add vegetable oil. Fry gyoza, one layer at a time, in pan for 2 minutes until golden brown on both sides. Remove and set aside while browning remaining gyoza, adding more oil to pan as needed. For each batch, add water to pan and cover with lid. Steam 10 to 15 minutes on low until gyoza is opaque.
Combine ingredients for dipping sauce and serve with gyoza.
Makes 4 dozen.
TIP: Wonton wrappers may be easier to find than gyoza wrappers. One 400 g pkg wonton wrappers has 56 wrappers, and is sufficient for the amount of filling. Use scant 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) for each wrapper.