My kids fondly describe Japanese potato salad as "cold mashed potatoes with vegetables that still tastes really good." This is the epitome of a back-handed compliment. I have bought Japanese potato salad many times and finally made it awhile back.
Photo Courtesy of Just One Cookbook
I found an easy-to-follow and really beautifully photographed Japanese Potato Salad
from Just One Cookbook
This blog focuses Japanese home cooking with a few others thrown--like Tandoori chicken puffs. The blog is well-organized, well-photographed and just plain well-done.Just One Cookbook
has a pretty straightforward Japanese Potato Salad
recipe that I adapted a bit for our ohana. I've noted the link, but the original recipe is as follows:
2 Russet potatoes
½ tsp. salt
2 ½ inches of carrot
¼ cup corn
2 inches of English cucumber
2 black forest ham slices
¾ cup (12 Tbsp.) Japanese mayonnaise
Salt & fresh ground black pepper
Peel potatoes and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces. They should be roughly about the same size so that they’ll be done cooking around be the same. Put potatoes in a large pot and add water until it covers all the potatoes. Boil potatoes with high heat. After water boils, lower heat to medium and cook until a skewer can goes through the potato smoothly. Drain the water from pot and put the potato back on the stove again.
On the stove, evaporate water and moisture of the potatoes over medium-high heat (for less than 1 minute). Shift the pot in circular motion so the potatoes won’t get burnt. When you see there no liquid in the pan, remove from heat. Mash the potatoes but leave some small chunks for texture. Sprinkle salt and transfer it into a big bowl and let it cool on the kitchen counter.
Meanwhile prepare a boiled egg. Remove the shell and mash the egg with a fork in a small bowl. Set aside.
Cut carrots into quarter (or half) and then slice it thinly. Put them in a microwave-safe container and cover it with water. Microwave for a few minutes until a skewer goes smoothly through the carrot (don’t overcook). Drain water and cool down. Peel the cucumbers (leave some skin on to create stripe pattern) and cut into quarters. Then slice it thinly. Dice the sliced ham.
Prepare and boil corn (canned corn kernels works as well). Add ham and veggies into the mashed potato bowl. Grind some pepper over and mix well. Add mayonnaise. Add boiled eggs and mix a bit but don’t over do it. Let it cool and keep in the fridge till you are ready to serve.
I did use the same ingredients, but changed up quite a bit along the way. Please note that ours is tasty, but not yet so well-photographed! Click here
for the recipe. Here is the laundry list of changes:
1) Did not evaporate the potatoes.
2) Used shredded raw carrots.
4) Used a whole can of corn.
5) Used American mayonnaise. Japanese mayonnaise can be hard to find and has a fair amount of MSG to boot.
6) Added a sesame oil, a dash of vinegar, some white pepper and pickled ginger.
7) Used 2 eggs.
8) The ham, salt and pepper stayed exactly the same.
I'm thankful to Just One Cookbook
for a wonderful setting-off-point for our family's version of Japanese Potato Salad
. We ended with a crunch of raw carrots and cukes against the softer texture of the cooked potatoes, ham and corn. And the shot of vinegar and sprinkling of ginger wakes everything up.
Either way, it's going to be good.Eat Well. Be Well.
Mucho mahalo to the So-Called Expert
for the guest post True Burrito Tales
. He has graciously allowed me to re-post.True Burrito Tales
'gets' the emotional connection of returning to the place you are from
, as opposed to your office, or to Napa, Disneyland or Cincinnati for your next visit. Japanese is perhaps the best way to explain this. The Japanese language has a specific verb for returning to the place you are from (帰る, かえる, kaeru). There are other completely distinct emotion-neutral verbs for returning to the office or returning library books.
You can go to a lot of places in this world, but you can only be from one place, and I’m from the east side of L.A. Though I’ve lived in the Bay Area for more than twenty years, there are still a few things I miss about my hometown. The mild winters. The crazy profusion of FM radio stations. But above all, the L.A. burrito.
With all due respect to San Francisco’s celebrated Mission burrito, let me be frank: it is not a real burrito. Real burritos are not packed full of rice like a Chinese freighter. Real burritos contain neither sour cream nor guacamole. They are made with lard-infused refritos, not whole beans and certainly not black beans. And under no circumstances are they wrapped in anything other than a large white flour tortilla. If it’s some weird color, like red or green, it is most certainly not a burrito.
Many world travelers conclude that the burrito, due to its widespread unavailability south of the border, is one of those made-up faux-Mex dishes like taco salad. Nothing could be further from the truth. The burrito was a regional invention, native to a part of Mexico that was ceded to the Yankees in the 1840s: Alta California. Some nameless rancho cook decided to make a few oversized flour tortillas for wrapping up the leftovers, and an important culinary innovation was born, right up there with the sandwich on the short list of wildly successful workman’s lunches.
On a recent trip south, I paid a visit to Manny’s El Loco
in East L.A. to reacquaint myself with the Real Thing. I was not disappointed. Thoroughly and unashamedly old-school, Manny’s has changed very little since I used to go there in the 1970s as a long-haired punk. Same orange-plastic decor, same clientele of working-class Chicanos and the occasional Anglo or Asian down from neighboring Monterey Park. The few menu changes in evidence seem to be half-hearted nods to “healthy” eating: they’ve added a turkey wrap and something called a Santa Fe salad, and deleted the pastrami quesadilla, one of those freaky “only in LA” things that have now gone the way of the Chinese Kosher Burrito.
The king of Manny’s menu is and always has been the El Loco Burrito: beans, cheese, a chile relleno, steak picado, and salsa. It’s big, it’s messy, and it’s God-knows-how-many-calories. This is the burrito against which all others must be judged.
A great burrito is a symphony of flavors, and one false note can ruin the whole effect. At Manny’s there are no false notes
. The tortilla is same-day fresh. the beans are runny, lardy, and cooked for days; almost a soup. The steak picado is likewise cooked down for savory goodness: round steak, onions, chiles, and tomatoes. There is no shortage of cheese or green sauce, made with hot peppers and tiny flecks of avocado. And at the heart of this beast, robed in deliciousness, is the mighty chile relleno, a study in contrasting textures and flavors: the chewy crispness of the fried batter, the sweet snap of the fresh Anaheim chile, and the gooey river of hot melted cheese inside.
Don’t get me wrong: there are some other great places nearby. El Tepeyac
, for instance, is another classic joint, with an even bigger and gnarlier burrito called the Manuel’s Special. But El Loco remains my personal favorite, and the one I think of every time I settle for a riced-up, foil-wrapped Mission “burrito.” Manny’s
is located just off Atlantic Blvd on Pomona Street, a block south of the 60. Si mon!
Mahalo to My So-Called Expert. It may not have mac salad, but burritos just may be the LA plate lunch.
First of all, mahalo to Ground Control to Major Mom
. I'd been searching for an old-time huli recipe for awhile, and finally came upon an authentic one. She has graciously allowed me to share her post and recipe
Huli Huli Chicken by Ground Control to Major Mom
My family was living in Hawaii when I was 4-years-old. My Dad, who was in the Navy, was stationed at this small base northwest of Honolulu (not Pearl Harbor). My first solid memories were from Hawaii.
And here's one of them: Huli Huli chicken fundraisers. Click here for a history of Huli Huli chicken
(from the obituary of the inventor--a Navy man--from 2002). I vaguely remember driving up to a large dirt/gravel parking lot, perhaps at a church or a high school. And you'd see row-after-row of rotisserie-like skewers, all covered with chickens, as well as large metal trash cans to hold the marinade (this was in the '70s, well before plastic trash cans, apparently), and folks using cotton mops to slop on the marinade on the skewers.
My Dad mentioned to me once that the chickens would be sold whole for just a few dollars (I think he said $5, but I could be wrong), and they'd be wrapped for you in newspaper
!Click here about a modern-day operation on Oahu.
What I'm going to present always brings back the memories I had, but I'm sure someone will tell you that it's wrong. I've had chicken made with commercially purchased "Huli Huli Chicken Sauce"
and that just seemed WRONG WRONG WRONG
. Too syrupy, from what I remember. If you do a web search for "huli huli chicken recipe"
you'll come up with a very wide variety of recipes. Ginger, sugar and garlic are common threads, but from there you'll see varied other ingredients: limes, chiles, honey, ketchup, white wine, etc.
That's my sister's handwriting, circa 1995 or so (she was still in high school). I didn't photograph the back of the card, but suffice it to say that the back merely says to cook the chicken.
Mix all ingredients together, sans chicken. Stir stir stir, dissolving as much of the sugar as you can.
Since the chicken is taking up so much space in the bag, a little marinade will go a long way in the zip-top baggie.
I will allow this to sit in my fridge for TWO DAYS, flipping the bag about every 12 hours.
The cooking is the tough part. Because of the sugar content of the marinade, you have to be VERY careful how to cook up the parts. Low low low
, for 25 minutes on each side, then you can turn up the heat at the end to give a nice crispness to the skin. I guess I could invest in one of those rotisserie cooker thingies
, but we're lazy and just want to throw it on the gas grill.
Another option is to slow bake the chicken, then throw it on the grill. I don't have a rigid cooking time, or even a rigid cooking temperature. Let's call it 350F for 1 hour. Then give it about 5 minutes on each side on a NASA-hot grill (to coin an awesome Alton Brown
term). Baste it with more marinade, if you wish.
Looks WONDERUL, doesn't it? DO NOT be alarmed if you cut into your Huli Huli chicken and you see pink nearest the surface
...this is the marinade penetrating the meat! Trust me, it's a good thing. So long as it isn't pink next to the bones, you're golden!
Thanks again to Major Mom. The Internet can make us all ohana. Or at least it has the ability to bring kindred huli chicken fanciers together. Click here
for recipe.Eat Well. Be Well.