A couple of months back, we were craving for Japanese food and I decided to reference some recipes we picked up from our vegan cooking class in Kyoto, Japan last year and also some new ones from this amazing book called Cooking with Soy by Yoshiko Takeuchi. This book have so many mouth-watering recipes and the photography makes you want to eat japanese fusion vegan food everyday! Another thing I love about this book is how each recipe comes with photos of how it looks like. This was one of the key reasons why I was dying to get my hands on this book.
Our guests were blown away by how tasty they all turned out to be for first attempts! They are really easy to whip up and just require some patience and of course lots of pretty dining-ware to make the experience more wholesome:P
Each guest had green tea soba with homemade vegan soba sauce (I made this a day before so that it can be served chilled), Hiyayakko cold silken tofu with chopped scallions and dark sauce. They also each had their own platter of oyster mushroom and shiitake mushroom kakiage dipped with green tea and himalayan pink salt, japanese sesame peanuts and black sesame miso I got from Isetan.
Oyster Mushroom and Shiitake Mushroom Kakiage with Green Tea Salt (taken from Cooking with Soy Book)
Kakiage is a type of tempura made with different ingredients that have been sliced and mixed in tempura batter. Then a pancake-like shape is made when deep-frying. Traditionally tempura batter is made from flour, egg and water. It is very hard to make it crispy with the traditional batter and this recipe is not only vegan, gluten-free and super crispy!
2 packets of oyster mushroom, broken into mini bunch
1 packet of shiitake mushroom, stems removed
4 tablespoon brown rice or rice flour
4 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Neutral oil for frying (I used grapeseed)
Green tea salt
1/2 teaspoon green tea powder
2 teaspoon himalayan pink salt
1. Mix the batter together and make sure you coat all the ingredients well with flour, otherwise oil will splash while frying. Add water and mix well.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. The oil will be ready when you drop a small piece of food into the oil and it floats to the surface straight away. If the food floats but gets burnt, the temperature is too high.
3. Push the mixture into oil and make fry until all edges of the kakiage becomes golden brown and then turn to cook the other side.
4. Rest on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil
5. To make tea salt, combine salt and tea powder
This dish was the star of the night! We learnt it in Kyoto a year back and was thinking of re-creating this dish after seeing some fresh burdock stems in Isetan Japanese supermarket. It is super easy to whip up and the taste is DIVINE and savoury!
Kinpira (pan fried root vegetables)
2 cups of Root vegetables (we used 2 sticks of burdock root and 3-4 carrots, julienned)
1 teaspoon of Sugar
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds ( we added 3 times more!)
1 teaspoon of mirin
1 teaspoon of oil
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1. Cut vegetables into strings or in slices.
2. Cook them in a frying pan with oil (burdock needs a bit extra cooking time).
3. Add sugar and keep cooking until it is dry.
4. Add soy sauce and cook until liquid is cooked off, then add a dash of mirin to give moisture.
5. Cook off alcohol in mirin.
6. Turn off the heat and add sesame seeds and sesame oil
If you ever see black sesame miso in Isetan or any Japanese market, please tell us! This one was specially flown in for a miso food festival and is one of the best miso we have ever tasted. It is such a pity we finished the whole box we bought and we are still thinking and craving for this yummy cold cucumber miso dip.
Last but not least, I thought it will be great to end the night with a Japanese raw green tea cheese cake and surprisingly it tasted seriously good! It was one of my better raw cakes experiment:) Note that I did not use brazil nuts, figs and substituted it with almonds and dates instead. I cannot wait to create another japanese vegan feast again!