Mum used to wear a head scarf like this when I was very young. I had completely forgotten about such a thing, but recently, the image just popped up in my head.
How funny, these distant memories are coming back to me.
My son is back from Uni for the summer holidays. It is so nice to have him around again. I have been cooking Japanese food every day, including his favorite ‘Niku jaga’ dish.
I learned Japanese home cooking mostly from recipe books, however, Niku jaga is one of few I learned from Mum. I still cook her way. The recipe is here.
She hardly ever used measuring spoons or cups and always went ‘about this much’ as she showed me the cooking method. She added less seasoning than you think you would need and adjust the taste at the end. That works the best.
To make Niku jaga, you can get all ingredients from local supermarket except one, Konnyaku.
Konnyaku is a mysterious food. it is made from the pounded roots of a yam-like plant called konjac. It is jelly-like and has almost no calories, no sugar, and no fat. It contains 90 per cent water. And much of the remaining 10 per cent is made up of glucomannan – a soluble fibre. We consider it a healthy food. The Japanese call it broom of the stomach because it does a great job of cleaning out your small intestines.
In recent years in western countries, it started to gain popularity as a diet aid. There are two different types of konnyaku; block or noodles. The one we see in the UK is marketed as low-calorie noodles.
I have seen it at health food shops and supermarkets but never occurred to me to use it for my Japanese cooking.I always bought konnyaku from a Chinese supermarket. I recently watched a diet special featuring these noodles and suddenly, the idea just came to me.
And it worked! The texture is similar enough and I could use this diet noodles for my cooking. My boys couldn’t tell much difference from our usual stuff. I am very pleased because we love konnyaku.
Such a easy cooking!
When you using konnyaku or kojac based ingredients, it is better to rinse it with hot water before cooking. Konnyaku has a distinct smell which isn’t too attractive, but rinsing it certainly helps and once it is been cooked, you will not smell anything at all.
I am not too sure how everyone else eats these noodles. Eat like pasta with sauce? But we know our favorite way and that is all that matters.
Last time when we visited Japan, my dad cooked ‘sukiyaki’ for us. Sukiyaki is another way to enjoy konnyaku noodles. Dad doesn’t usually cook and we had to call mum in a hospital several times, but boys said that was the best meal we had during the visit. Now she is gone and we need to manage on our own next time. I am sure we will be just fine.