Kombu cured beef

Recently in Japan, dry aged beef is getting people’s attention and becoming a trend. This buzz started with few restaurants started serving dry aged beef. Dry aged beef is literally beef that is aged by drying instead of typical wet aged beef. Dry aged beef are said to be tender and have depth in flavor. Now, this may sounds good, but there’s a reason why dry aged beef didn’t become popular before, cost and time. To age the beef, temperature and humidity must be maintained whole time, and 40% of the weights are wasted during aging process, costing far more than wet aged. Due to these reasons, dry aged beef are not something you can find anywhere even in the states. If you are one of those people who can afford it, or proximity of restaurant that serves one, must be really lucky.
After reading how costly dry aged beef can be, many would think that it’s hard to make one of your own dry aged beef from scratch. However, you can use traditional Japanese cooking technique to make something similar to dry aged beef. If you are avid reader of this blog, you probably guess it already, but it’s kombu curing. I’ve talked about this technique few times before, typically used for fish. Kombu curing is most common for fish to increase storage and umami. In Toyama prefecture where this technique originated, cures beef and consume it raw. When beef is kombu cured, kombu tenderize and increase in umami without spending so much time and energy.
All you need to prepare is kombu seaweed, beef and salt. When dry aging beef, due to its weight loss, beef must be a huge chunk. Though if its kombu curing, just regular piece of steak would be good enough due to no weight change occurs during this process.
Its 3 easy steps, just sprinkle salt on a steak, wrap around it with kombu seaweed, then wrap it with plastic wrap. Store it in the fridge over night. It is guaranteed that it taste much better than regular steak and much easier and affordable than dry aged steak.

pic 9725 / BrownGuacamole

Kombu seaweed and dried bonito flakes get together for wedding

Just by looking at the title, you guys probably have no idea what I am talking so let me explain a little. Wakkanai city in Hokkaido where their local specialty is kombu, and Makurazaki city in Kagoshima, where their local specialty is bonito is having a wedding as a part of their promotion.

Kombu seaweed and bonito are both a building block and imperative ingredients of Washoku (Japanese cuisine) as they are used for dashi soup stock. It’s a scientifically proven and widely known fact that when kombu seaweed and bonito are used together, their umami is enhanced exponentially. Both cities have used this characteristic and use it as a promotion opportunity when Washoku got enlisted to UNESCO’s World Intangible Heritage. Bonito from Makurazaki proposed kombu seaweed and wed on February 19th at Izumo Shrine, where Japans one of most famous shrine.

Japanese Washoku and Japanese dashi is re-evaluated as it got enlisted on World Intangible Heritage. Please try umami-filled dashi that are perfect for each other that makes them married together.

Wedding ceremony / pelican

Kombu seaweed and Beauty

If you read this blog, I think you guys are well aware that kombu seaweed is super food due to its taste and health effect. But kombu seaweed is also good for your beauty too.
Many probably have experienced skin trouble caused by work stress, insufficient sleep time and such. Of course, daily skin care is important, but what you eat could help you get better skin and kombu seaweed can help.

Calcium, a known nutrient for generating healthy teeth and bones but it’s also an important nutrient for your skin. Calcium is said to helps metabolism of your skin and keeps it moisturized.

Most people probably drinks milk in order to meet your calcium needs but now on, kombu seaweed can be your substitute. Though it depends on species of kombu, kombu seaweed contains 3 to 8 times more calcium* of milk. (*Source: Japan Food Database 2010). For those who can’t take milk due to their likes and dislikes, vegans, and lactose intolerant, kombu seaweed can replenish your calcium with umami rich foods and maintain healthy and beautiful body.

Kombu seaweed is also rich in Vitamin B2 which helps you maintain healthy skin. It also depends on species of kombu seaweed, but Hidaka kombu, a highest Vitamin B2 content seaweed contains 0.6mg per 100g. (Source: Japan Food Database 2010) That’s 35% of daily value.
Kombu seaweed is easy to include in your diet and can be used in various ways for every day to keep your healthy body and skin. Just keep in mind that balanced diet is the key in a healthy meal and don’t rely too much on certain foods.

Bacalhau dos Mundos (1) / arnold | inuyaki

Kombu and sweets fusion seeks for new possibility in kombu seaweed

Earlier in this blog, I wrote that Toyama prefecture in Japan has Japan’s highest kombu seaweed consumption and has many unique use to it. But this time, there is a city using kombu seaweed to promote them.

Takaoka city in Toyama prefecture was long used and flourished for hub port for kombu seaweed trading as it was in the middle of kombu road. Takaoka city commerce and industry association collaborated with local restaurants and provided with set menu called Takaoka kombu dish.

This promotion went well and they decided to come up with more menus, naming Takaoka kombu sweets. I have said many times that Kombu is used for basis of Japanese cuisine, but it’s rare to see kombu used as a sweets. Lists of kombu sweets the city came up with included food such as kombu cookie, parfait, gelato and bagel.
There are more than 20 restaurants that offer kombu sweets and all of them are mixed with kombu’s saltiness and sweetness.
Kombu is not only basis of Japanese cuisine but can be used in dessert, Western cuisine and has many possibilities. Please try using kombu to not only traditional food but to new dishes too.

2014 Food Trends

Now that 2013 is over, people are starting to talk about what is going to be hot and trending in 2014 and I know all the trendsetters reading this wants to know what those are.
On Daily News Newspaper, which is in New York and America’s 4th published newspaper, had a article about what the food trend is going to be like in 2014.
In 2014, writer believed that, though already popular, healthy food gain more popularity and will be in high needs and seaweed made the list of food trend. It said that the seaweed will gain popularity not just for sushi, but as a snack food and an umami-rich seasoning such as dashi, seaweed salad and soup. It maybe because umami filled in kombu seaweed helped enlistment of Washoku in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage.
Let’s use kombu seaweed and Seaweed Salad on the GO to get ahead of trend!

2014 / artisrams

Let’s add Umami to your cooking by easily adding umami filled seasonings.

Let’s add Umami to your cooking by easily adding umami filled seasonings.
Umami that is rich in Kombu is said to contributed somewhat on enlist Washoku to Intangible Cultural Heritage. Why don’t you enjoy this umami easily with few process?

One example of using kombu for better seasoning, is by soaking kombu seaweed on soy sauce, it makes mild, umami filled soy sauce that are almost equivalent of the high end seasoning. The other example soaking kombu to vinegar. Just like kombu soaked soy sauce, it makes milder flavor reducing sourness and it’s perfect for pickles.
Moreover, using kombu helps your health. Umami that is in kombu are said that it helps prevent dry mouth and reduces salt usage in cooking.
When umami enters your mouth, umami receptor induces saliva to generate that lasts longer than any other basic taste, giving you a bold taste satisfaction helping you to reduce salt.
Making a dashi from scratch might be too time-consuming, but just by soaking kombu seaweed in the daily use seasoning can acquire umami flavor and lasts for few days.
Utilize this umami ingredient and have a healthy food life.

pickles / ivva

Washoku to be enlisted in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage

You might have noticed that since last year, we have a page dedicated for Washoku: Traditional Dietary cultures of the Japanese. Since 2011, Japanese government has been working on making Japanese food to be enlisted for intangible world heritage. The other day, UNESCO held a review panel for December’s convention. At the review panel, Washoku was provisionally approved for submission.
This Recommendation by review panel held a strong power at the convention, and the recommendation have never been turned down.
Washoku have been used as a mean to create sense of community, health and Japanese government hopes this enlistment will help spread Japanese food culture understandings and cultural diversity with creativity.
Regarding this news, we are renewing a page we have. A new Washoku page will include more detail and information of Umami.
We will continue spreading this wonderful Japanese food to world.

New Seaweed Salad on the GO!

We are announcing Seaweed Salad on the GO with new package and 2 new flavors. Seaweed Salad on the GO was originally launched with sesame soy flavor, but due to popular demand for healthier product, we are launching gluten free option.
New flavors are, “Miso & Hijiki” and “Apple vinegar & Garlic”. Miso & Hijiki uses miso, a traditional Japanese ingredient, with hijiki seaweed filled with minerals, fibers, and iron. Miso’s deep flavor goes well with crisp texture of seaweeds.
Apple vinegar & Garlic is not only gluten free, but no oil used, no sugar added. It uses sweetness from apple cider vinegar so it’s perfect for people who are concerned about diet.
Both of the new flavors still have the original seaweed salads texture, nutrients.
With new flavors rolling out, we renewed the package design. We modified the package material from plastic to eco-friendly paper package. It’s not only easy to tell the flavors by the color, it’s easier to carry and dispose
Please try out our new Seaweed Salad on the GO, whether you have tried original sesame soy, or wanted to try but never tried due to gluten free diet. Seaweeds contain a lot of mineral that are helpful for people who is on vegetarian diet.

Iodine and I.Q Score

Recently, National Bureau of Economic Research in United States published a research that iodine helps raise I.Q scores. Since 1920’s, American government have added iodize in salt and 15 points I.Q score raise have been seen in span of 10 years.

It’s widely known fact that iodine is important nutrient for thyroid to function. Thyroid grand helps metabolism to work properly for adults, but for kids and infants, it helps developing brain.

Originally in United States inland region, many people were not able to take sustainable amount of iodine, causing iodine deficiency. .However, since American government added iodized salt, I.Q score gap that existed has narrowed and raised 15 points on a standard deviation. According to research, kids who are geographically lacking iodine have 12 points lower in average compared to kids from area with rich in iodine.

Kombu seaweed is one of few source of iodine. By taking kombu seaweed into your daily diet, it can help enhance your healthy life. It is said that there are more than 2 Billion people suffers from iodine deficiency. Especially with modern trend it is hard to intake iodine. Factors include current trend of using healthy salt such as sea salt that is not iodized, bread using bromine instead of iodine as a ingredients. Let’s apply kombu into your diet and have a healthy life.

product placement / ginnerobot

Japanese Mascot with Kombu

Japanese culture is uniquely distinguished from region to region and has different local specialty products to the location. Now, Anime motif mascot that represents the region and localities is gaining huge publicity. It started as a way to promote their local community but it flourished to all over Japan. These mascots are called yuru-chara. Yuru-chara stands for Yurui Character and literally means loose character. You can’t live a day without watching yuru-chara in Japan on TV and many featured product can be found. There is more than 800 yuru-chara mascot exists and each of them features their locals products.

The most famous yuru-chara of all is kuma-mon from Kumamoto prefecture and more than 2,000 items of him printed on package is being sold all over Japan. He won annual yuru-chara grand prix in 2010, making him a pop culture icon.

Of course, there is character that featured kombu seaweed, a indispensable ingredient to Japanese cuisine. His name is “Dashinosuke” from Wakkanai in Hokkaido prefecture. He is harbor seal but he ate too much Rishiri kombu seaweed and his lower body turned into kombu. Wakkanai is one of the few places Rishiri kombu is harvested and treated as local specialty food. Rishiri kombu is known for its bold taste, scent with clear dashi and used for hot pot and in high-end Japanese restaurant.

Once you start to eat kombu seaweed, you might over eat and become like Dashinosuke. We will continue to promote uses and taste of kombu.

Dashinosuke from Wakkanai Sightseeing Association