Gastronomic autumn

Finally the temperatures are starting to drop and getting nicer going into the fall. In Japan, there are many different epithets for autumn season. Few of the famous ones are picnic for autumn, reading for autumn, artsy autumn, and appetite for autumn. I don’t know why we have so many different names just for one season while all the other seasons doesn’t have any but there are reasons why those terms are being used to describe fall.

Picnic for autumn is called so because many colored leaves and good weather with cool temperature to be having a picnic. Reading for autumn originated from famous Chinese poet. It said that fall nights are longer than the summer and cool weather is the best situation for reading a book. Art for autumn originated because many art galleries and art expo was held in this season. Sporting, obviously it’s because of perfect weather and humidity to be staying active outside, because no one wants to play sports under burning heat or freezing cold. It’s also because this is the season Tokyo summer Olympic was held even though it’s not summer anymore and now the day of Olympic is a national holiday in Japan.

Last but not the least; gastronomic autumn is one of most popular call for fall. Since Japan has clear distinction between each season, Japanese people have accommodated their culture and life style according to them. Fall is the season of rice harvest as well as many mushrooms, persimmon, chestnut, sweet potato and many other foods. These ingredients stored lots of nutrients and energy to survive winter and so is the human need to eat more to prepare for cold winter. Gastronomic autumn derived from its variety and taste of ingredients as well as stocking up for the coming winter.

Rice is the Japanese cuisines must have ingredients of all time and there is a recipe where you can enjoy all the goody ingredients from the fall. It’s called takikomi gohan(たきこみごはん)which is steamed rice with various vegetables and meat mixed in. It is food technique used in Japanese cuisine and somewhat similar to jambalaya and paella. Unlike those two dishes, Japanese Paella doesn’t need any preparation, just throw in all ingredients and turn the rice cooker on. Few benefits of cooking all the ingredients at once is that by mixing it during a boil, taste of the ingredients will soak into the rice, easy preparation, keeps your stomach full with just a one dish, can be eaten even when it gets cold, and it is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is considered as an autumn food due to its variety and tastiness of the rice itself on this season. As you throw in your kombu seaweed, umami will soak into the rice and brings up the umami of dish by a notch.

Mixed rice is quick and easy way to make a meal so please try some recipes. Many ingredients will go well with the rice.
Mixed rice is a technique of cooking rice with other foods in general but here is one recipe for mixed rice.

Mixed rice with assorted vegetables and kombu seaweed

[4 serving size]

Ingredients

  • Chicken breast – 200g
  • Deep fried bean curd – 2 slices
  • Carrot – 1/2
  • Shiitake mushroom – 3pcs
  • Burdock – 80g
  • Rice – 3 cup

[dashi stock]

  • Dashi kombu – 6g
  • Water – 600ml

[seasonings]

  • Cooking sake – 2 tbl spoon
  • Soy sauce – 4 table spoon
  • Cooking rice wine (mirin) – 2 tbl spoon

Preparation

  • Put dashi kombu in the water and keep it in there for 30 minutes
  • Wash the rice and keep it on a colander
  • Cut the chicken breast in to a dice size
  • Take off the stem from shiitake mushroom and thinly slice it.
  • Peel carrot and burdock and slice into a shred
  • Take out kombu from water and shredded them into pieces.
  • Cut fried bean curds into rectangles.

 Cooking

  • Throw everything into the rice cooker
  • Start the rice cooker. Once it’s done, mix all the rice to blend in all the tastes.