Fall has come to Japan!
Fall means cooler weather, shorter days, and the smell of burning fields. The trees are just beginning to change their green dress to colors of yellow and reds. Autumn is so important to the Japanese that everywhere we go we see signs heralding the coming of fall.
The daily special in a little cafe I went to last week was a bento of fall foods: mushrooms, chestnuts and persimmon. The tempura was not served with a sauce, as usual, but a small plate of green wasabi salt to dab in the fried fish and vegetables.
The farmers 「nōka 農家」are out in the fields harvesting the rice. The other day, I bought some newly harvested rice (新米 – shinmai).
Today Don and I went to our local food store and bought an assortment of ready made okazu (おかず- side dishes)。We bought sweet potatoes, cooked spinach, sweet beans, yaki-tori (chicken kabob) and black stringy sweet things (some kind of seaweed product). Okazu are intended to accompany the rice, miso and tsukemono (Japanese pickles) and often a hot dish such as grilled fish or chicken. We bought some very large fresh scallops that we will grill with a dash of lemon and butter and top with a sprinkle of green onions. A feast!
We will serve newly harvested nashi and kaki for dessert.
Later in the evening we will grill some omochi and dip the little hot round balls in abekawa (a soy flour [kinako] mixed with sugar) and serve it with green tea from my new little red tea pot (急須 – kyusu) made of Tokoname yaki .
- 5 mochi balls/squares
- 2 tbsp kinako (roasted soy flour)
- 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Dunk mochi in a bowl of water and grill over a very hot stove OR microwave for 2 1/2 minutes (or until mochi gets soft)
- Mix kinako, sugar, and salt in a small bowl
- Dredge mochi in mixture, one by one, covering thoroughly
- Serve with hot tea