Today is 中秋の名月 (chushu no meigetsu), Harvest Moon, time to celebrate this year’s crops. It’s also called 月見 (tsukimi), the Moon festival, as since Heian period Japanese people have enjoyed watching the full moon that is said to be at its best at this time of year. Maybe not so much about the moon itself, but the temperature starts to be nice after the hot summer, without being too cold yet.
Sadly it’s raining today, and I had to concentrate on celebrating the crops instead of the moon. Well, I might have done that even it wasn’t raining. 花より団子 (hana yori dango), or 月より団子, to be correct.
Though my “crops” weren’t quite traditional, as I wanted to try out this delicious looking recipe.
Avocado & Shirasu Donburi (for 2 persons)
2 bowls of rice
1/2 tsp lemon juice
50 g shirasu (whitebait)
4 perilla leaves
Some shredded nori
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp wasabi
1/4 tsp sesame oil
Some white sesame seeds for garnishing
1) Mix the soy sauce, wasabi and sesame oil to make dressing.
2) Cut the avocado in half, take out the stone and cut to bite-sized. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent color changing.
3) Cut the perilla leaves to thin strips.
4) Put the warm rice in 2 bowls, cover with shredded nori. Put 1/4 of the avocado chunks to each bowl, and top with whitebait. Add the rest of the avocado, top with perilla strips, and garnish with sesame seeds.
5) Pour the dressing on the dish just before eating.
Tip: Instead of wasabi, you can try yuzukosho to get a bit spicier version. Then leave the sesame oil out.
For tsukimi, it is traditional to eat taro, so this time I had my taro in a form of a rabbit confectionery. It was almost too cute to eat…
June brings the rainy season to Japan, and it’s raining almost everyday. With the temperature around 25 degrees it makes the season very exhausting.
This dish is served cold, so it feels refreshing even in the hot summer days.
Marinated Salmon & Avocado Donburi (for 2 persons)
150g salmon for sashimi
1 ripe avocado (+ lemon juice)
4 perilla leaves
4 cherry tomatoes
2 tbs Japanese soy sauce
2 tbs sake
1 tbs mirin
A hint of wasabi
2 portions of rice
1) Put the soy sauce, sake and mirin in a pot and bring to boil. Simmer until the smell of alcohol is gone. Let the tare cool down.
2) Cut the salmon in bite-sized cubes and mix with cold tare. Let pickle for 20 minutes.
3) Cut the perilla leaves in paper thin slices and halve the tomatoes.
4) Peel the avocado and cut in bite-sized cubes. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent the change of colour.
5) Add some wasabi to the tare where salmon is, and add the avocado. Let pickle for another 5 minutes.
6) Put the rice into 2 bowls, sprinkle perilla leave strips on the rice. Put the salmon & avocado mix on the rice, and pour some tare on. Decorate with halved tomatoes and some perilla strips.
This dish can be made with maguro, bluefin tuna, or other fish suitable for eaten as raw.
I use brown rice for more nutritious meal, but white rice is fine too.