Setsubun is the Japanese beans scattering ceremony. In Japan, February 3rd is Setsubun that means a day before the beginning of spring. From an old custom of Japan, it was thought that disasters and illness did by the demon and people carried out the extermination of fiends on the day before the beginning of spring. After entering the modern age, people became to performing beans scattering ceremony.
On this day, people yell “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi ( Out with ogres! In with fortune!)” while throwing soy beans inside and outside their homes. Someone wears a demon mask and does a demon’s role while throwing soybeans. And eating only the same number of soybeans as one’s age to pray for good health of this year. Children like this bean throwing ceremony. In my house, my husband role a Damon, and my son enjoyed throwing soybeans.
Ehou-maki (sushi roll)
There are several traditional meals in Setubun. Most popular one is a lucky-direction big sushi roll called Ehou-maki. We turn to the lucky direction of this year, and bite whole sushi roll. The lucky direction this year is east-northeast. I also made sushi rolls, and other traditional meals such as sardines with plum, fried konnyaku, etc.
About Hinamatsuri (Doll\\\’s festival)
Hinamatsuri is the traditional Japanese festival to pray for young girl\\\’s growth and happiness on March 3rd. It\\\’s also called Doll\\\’s festival or Girl\\\’s festival. On this day, Most families with young daughters display dolls together with peach blossoms, rice cakes, and other items.
When I was a child, Hinamatsuri is one of the most exciting seasonal event for me. I loved looking at beautiful traditional dolls and eating special foods for Hinamatsuri. Common foods for Hinamatsuri are chirashizushi, clam soup, sakuramochi, and white sake.
Chirashizushi is a kind of sushi that served on a plate with colorful toppings. The basic toppings are eggs, shiitake mushrooms, sashimi, flying fish roe, imitation crab meat, Sakura denbu, etc… This time, I put kinshitamago (shredded omelet), picked lotus roots, shredded snow peas, nori seaweed, and ikura (salmon roe) on sushi rice.
The Hamaguri clam soup called \\\\\\\\\’ushiojiru\\\\\\\\\’ is served at hinamaturi. But I couldn\\\\\\\\\’t get hamaguri clam, so I made dashi based soup with sardine balls seasoned with salt and soy sauce. It looks simple, but it tastes nice, because containing deeply umami flavor from dried bonito, kombu seaweed, and sardine.
Sakuramochi is a kind of wagashi (Japanese confectionery) made by sweet rice cake, red bean paste. They are wrapped with Sakura leaves (cherry blossom leaves) pickled in salt. The salts of Sakura leaves match well the sweetness of bean paste.
Some more information about Sakura, see older posts about Sakura.
Sweets for hinamatsuri
There are several sweets for hinamatsuri like Hina-Arare (grilled bits of rice cake), kompeito (small colored candy), Higashi (dry sweets), etc.. They look very cute!
Ramen egg is a seasoned super soft egg that also called Ajitsuke-Tamago, Nitamago, or Hanjyuku Tamago. The yolk is still very soft and taste good with mainly soy sauce. When I cook the Ramen noodle, seasoned soft boiled egg is an essential topping. The other, Ramen eggs are eaten for a side dish, salad, with boiled rice, etc…
Making Ramen egg (Ajituktamago) is simple, First, make the soft-boiled eggs, and then peel the shell of eggs. Marinated with soy based sauce for a day.
Recipe: Ramen Egg (Ajitsuke- Tamago)
* 3-8 cold eggs
* 1/2 cup soy sauce
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/2 mirin or 1/2 sake (If you have)
Optional Ingredients: put into some spices that you like
* 1-2 tbsp ginger paste
* 1-2 tbsp garlic paste
* 1-2 pinches pepper
* 1/2 leek
* 1-2 pinches chill
1, Boil the water in the pan, Put eggs just take out of the refrigerator into the pan, boil them for just 7 minutes. After boiling, put the boiled egg into cold water.
* if the eggs marinated over, it’ll be too salty. So remove eggs from the marinated sauce, until it pasts about 1-2 days.
Need some more egg recipes? Click Here! EGG RECIPES
Oden, Japanese hotchpotch is one of a Japanese winter dish. A variety of ingredients are boiled well slowly, calmly seasoned with soy flavored dashi. Dashi is a soup stock, and It\’s an important element of seasoning.
Dashi broth for Oden (Japanese hotchpotch)
There are several types of Oden stock, like sardine, beef muscle, seaweed, etc. I usually use kelp, dried bonito, and chicken for Oden stock. It has a perfect umami flavor from them.
Ingredients for Oden (Japanese hotchpotch)
The popular ingredients are tofu, daikon (Japanese radish), chikuwa( fish sausage), konnyaku ( devil\’s-tongue), stuffed cabbage, boiled egg, Suji ( beef tendons), octopus and so on. We can put the ingredients what we like. My favorite ingredients are daikon (Japanese radish) and hanpen (pounded fish cake).
Karaage is Japanese fried chicken, also known as Tatsutaage. Karaage is a very popular food from adults to children for a main dish at home, appetizer, lunch Bento. We can enjoy the crisp outside texture and juicy and soft inside taste. They have a nice golden brown color and a tantalizing savory smell. It’s really yummy!
Recipe for Karaage
Ingredients (1-2 servings)
* 10 Oz (300g) chicken thighs (boneless, skin-on)
* 3 tablespoon potato starch (potato flour)
* vegetable oil (for frying)
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon sake
* 1 teaspoon sugar or 1 tablespoon mirin
* 1 pinch salt
* 1 piece fresh ginger (grated)
* 1 piece garlic (grated)
* 1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional)
Note: If you can’t get the potato starch, you can use the corn starch (corn flour) instead of potato starch. But karaage texture is a little bit different. Making with potato starch is crisper than with corn starch.
1. Cut the chicken thighs into large bite-size pieces, remove the extra fat and skin.
2. Marinate the chicken for 1 hour or more in the fridge.
3. Heat the vegetable oil to 302°F (150℃). Just before frying, remove the extra marinade liquid and put the potato starch into the bowl, coat the each piece of chicken evenly.
4, Fry the chicken on 302℃ (150℃) oil for 3 minutes, transfer the fried chicken to the paper towel, and wait for 3 minutes. While waiting, heat the oil up to 360°F (180℃). Put the chicken into the oil again, and fry them for 1 minutes.
Onigiri (rice balls)
Japanese onigiri (rice balls) are simple and casual foods made from hot rice. They are popular foods from children to adults in Japan. People usually eat rice balls for breakfast, Bento (lunch box), or snack. You can buy them at the convenience stores, some supermarkets and specialized onigiri shops in Japan. And you can find various fillings of Onigiri (rice balls). When You cook rice balls at home, you can put in the filling that you like. Popular fillings are salmon, tarako (salted cod roe), Mentaiko (spicy cod roe), ume (pickled plum), tuna, etc…
Sakura onigiri (cherry blossom rice balls)
Sakura rice balls need sakuracha (pickled Sakura) for fillings. They have a romantic and beautiful pink color, and hearty flavor of Sakura. So I sometimes cook them for Hanami (cherry blossom festival). It’s really simple and easy to make.
Recipe: Sakura rice balls
Ingredients (6 portions)
* 3 and 1/2cups (about 400g, 14 ounces) Steaming hot rice
* 3 tbsp sakuracha (pickled Sakura)
* 1 bunch green leaf vegetable, If desired
* 2 cups water
* salt, as needed
1, Wash the sakuracha and put it into 2cups water for 3minutes.
2, Wipe the moisture and chop Sakura into fine pieces. Chop the green vegetable and put the pinch of salt in it. Knead well and wipe the moisture.
About Sakura (cherry blossoms) in Japan
Sakura (cherry blossoms) is a special flower for many Japanese people. There is a custom of Hanami (viewing the cherry blossoms) during the season of Sakura bloom coming all over Japan from the end of march to early May. And people also enjoy Sakura (cherry blossoms) motif products and meals in this season. From now on, I’ll tell you about how Japanese people enjoy Sakura.
Sakuracha : Japanese cherry blossom tea
Sakuracha (Sakurayu) is Japanese hot tea made from pickled Sakura and boiled water. It’s really simple and looks beautiful. Soak in water to freshen pickled Sakura, and then, pour the boiled water. It has a nice flavor of Sakura and tasted slightly salty. Sakuracha are drunk on some special occasions like wedding, marriage, and business occasions in place of green tea.
Pickled Sakura is made from cherry blossoms, plum vinegar, and salt. It’s also used for other meals such as bread (anpan), sweets (sakuramochi, cake, jelly, etc.), alcohol, rice, and soup. You can get it at some supermarkets and some shops of Japanese tea.
Sakura (cherry blossoms)flavored salts are made by Sakuracha (edible salt pickled cherry blossoms), and it has a cherry blossom’s sweet smell. I used on Tempura (deep fried foods), rice balls, sprinkle over fish, steamed vegetables, noodles, and the other. We can enjoy Sakura flavor easily. If you have an opportunity to get Sakuracha, try and enjoy! It’s really simple to make it.
Recipe: Sakura flavored salts
* 3 tbsp sakuracha ( pickled cherry blossoms )
* microwave oven
* mortar (something for grinding)
1, Put the sakuracha on a flat plate. Heat with a microwave oven until sakuracha get crispy. ( Heating time is about 3 minutes on a 800W microwave oven. Please change the heating time by heating temperature! )
2, Remove the stem from the crispy sakuracha.
3, Grind crispy sakuracha in a mortar.
If you need some other Sakura posts, Here!: Sakura (cherry blossoms)
Chashu is one of my favorite Ramen topping. It tastes tender and flavorful every bite. Chashu is eaten as an appetizer, other noodles’s topping (Hiyashi-Chuka), fried rice’s topping, and sandwich topping. It also goes well with rice, so I sometimes use it for Donburi topping or Onigiri (rice ball) topping.
There are two ways to make Chashu. One way is roasting, another way is simmering. Both of ways need to cook at a low temperature to keep tender and juicy texture. In this recipe, I recommend to use oven to keep low temperature for a long time. So you can enjoy the flavorful Chashu melting in your mouth.
Recipe: Chasu (Roasted Pork Fillet) (3-4servings)
• 500-1000g Pork belly or pork shoulder
• 1 inch ginger, sliced
• 2 garlic, sliced
• 1 leek, chopped 3-4 blocks
• 6 tablespoons soy sauce
• 3 tablespoons sake
• 5 tablespoons sugar
• String for cook
• Plastic bag
1, Tie a pork belly or pork shoulder fast with a string.
2, Put all the ingredients into a plastic bag. Marinate the pork for a day in the fridge.
3, The next day, preheat the oven to 248℉ (120℃). Heat the grill to high, grill the pork on all sides for about a minute until golden blown. Place the pork and marinated sauce into a pan, then, transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 3-4 hours until meat is really tender. Turn the pork on the back side on the way to roast.
4, Once the pork is cooked, cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest until it’s cool. Slice the meat, serve for Ramen, Donburi, or appetizer that your choice. Sprinkle with thinly sliced leek or chopped potherb (Mitsuba, Oba, leek, etc.).
Need some more Ramen topping recipe? Click here→ Ramen Egg Recipe
Iri-tamago is a Japanese scrambled egg, also called Soboro. They looks similar to scrambled egg, but a slightly different. Making Iri-Tamago doesn’t need oil, and they look small grain of the egg. Iri-tamago is used for a colorful topping as Domburi rice, lunch, Bento box, on fried rice, or sushi toppings, etc.
Recipe: Iritamago (Soboro) scrambled egg
Ingredients ( 2-3 serves )
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1 teaspoon soy sauce
* 1 pinch salt
* two pairs of chopsticks
* flying pan or a saucepan
1, Beat together eggs, sugar, soy sauce, and salt well.
2, Heat the pan over medium heat. Pour the egg mixture into the pan.
3, Hold 3 or 4 chopsticks together, and stir mixing powerfully. Turn off the heat until the egg cooked a little.
4, Turn on the heat again, continue mixing vigorously, until the mix is well scrambled looks like the grains.
If you need some other egg recipes, here! EGG RECIPES