Taste the new year: Okinawa delicacies

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Taste the new year: Okinawa delicacies

by: Stripes Japan | .
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published: December 11, 2018
New Year’s is Japan’s biggest and longest holiday. People take Dec. 29 through Jan. 3 off from work to celebrate the first three days of the year praying at temples and shrines for the coming year. It is our Christmas and Thanksgiving – a time to relax with family and friends over special foods and sake.
 
According to tradition, we eat long thin noodles in hopes of a long healthy life for the whole family in the coming year. Some people eat homemade soba or, on Okinawa, Okinawan soba; others eat a cup of instant soba noodles. It does not matter, as long as it is soba noodles.
 
If you are lucky enough to be in Okinawa for New Year’s you’ll find elements of two culinary traditions to sample. Because of its Ryukyu Kingdom history, Japan’s southernmost islands have their own indigenous dishes as well as those from mainland Japan. 
 
Nakamijiru (pork guts soup)
Nakamijiru is popularly known as celebration food from Ryukyu Kingdom. The key of cooking this soup is you need to prepare well to take out the smell of pork guts. The soup taste simple yet rich. 
 
Ingredients for 4 servings:
• 10.6 oz pork intestines and stomach or nakami
• 3.5 oz konnyaku 
• 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
• 4 cups bonito flake soup stock 
• 2 tbs salt
• small soy sauce 
• small grated ginger 
• flour
 
1. Soak shiitake mushrooms into water until soft. Slice them to the same size as nakami pieces.
2. Put konnnyaku into boiling water and cook it for 2-3 minutes and slice them. 
3. In a bowl, put wet nakami with water and add flour. Rub nakami with flour and rinse with running water. Repeat 2 to 3 times until nakami to take out the grease.
4. Put nakami into boiling water and cook for 20 mins. Change into fresh boiling water and cook for 20 mins. Repeat three times. This is to take out the smell of guts. 
5. When nakami is soft, drain the water. Slice nakami into 5-6 cm by 1 cm pieces. Boil nakami pieces in a sauce pan again. Drain and dry nakami in a bamboo basket or strainer.
6. In a pot, boil dashi (bonito flake soup stock). Add nakami, shiitake mushrooms and konnyaku. Mix soy sauce and salt. Simmer in low heat for 10 minutes.
7. Serve in a Japanese soup bowl with grated ginger to taste.
 
Kubuirichi” (stir-fried seaweed)
Okinawa is one of the most seaweed consumption prefecture. Okinawan have loved seaweed from long time ago. The combination of seaweed and pork makes very rich flavor. Seaweed contains lots of dietary fiber which helps to clean intestine system.
 
Ingredients for 4 servings:
• 0.44 lb seaweed
• 1.25 lb pork belly 
• 7 dried shiitake mushrooms
• 0.44 lb konnyaku 
• 0.22 lb fishcake 
 
(Sauce)
• 4 tbs sugar
• 4 tbs mirin
• 4 tbs sake
• 6 tbs soy sauce 
• 4 cups of bonito flake soup stock
 
1. Rinse seaweed with running water, wipe with kitchen towel and slice it about 1.1 inch width. Boil the seaweed for a minute and take it out. 
2. Soak shiitake mushrooms into water until soft. Cut into pieces.
3. Put konnnyaku into boiling water and cook it for 2-3 minutes and slice them.
4. Cut fishcakes into pieces about half inch width. 
5. Cut pork belly into pieces. Put oil into frying pan and cook pork until cooked. 
6. And then add konnyaku, seaweed and shiitake mushrooms and stir fry. 
7. Add sauce and cook with low heat for 20 mins.
 
Tanmu Dengaku (mashed taro potato)
It is sweet mashed taro potato, which is popular as a cerebration snack or easy cerebration food in Okinawa. 
 
Ingredients for 4 servings:
• 0.9 lb taro potato
• 1 cup of hot water 
• 8 tbs sugar
• 6 tbs mirin
• small amount of salt 
 
1. Used the steamed taro potato that you can buy at store. If it’s raw, you need to steam it. Peel the taro potato and cut into pieces about 1 inch width.
2. Put water and taro potato into a pot.  And cook it until taro potato become soft. And add sugar. 
3. Mash with wooden stick or spoon and add mirin. Add salt to adjust the taste you like.

 

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