Japanese Cuisine



I discovered One facet of Japanese cooking that was completely new to me while dining out recently . It was the cooking of small crabs. We have never been into the eating something as small as these. Our ‘cut off’ point would be Fresh Water crayfish, or their bigger brothers from the sea. In my youth there was only a small market for crayfish in New Zealand. They were always very cheap, or even ‘give away’ items if you went down to where fishing boats unloaded their catch. I loved them, while my mother hated them. She said she couldn’t get the smell out of the house for days. While bathing I had often caught paddle crabs in the surf, but decided after fighting for tasty morsels of crab meat with a pick, it wasn’t worth the effort, so I just gave them up as a gourmet food source. However last week I was surprised when very small crabs, about six centimetres across, turned up in a platter of Japanese food. They had only been cut diagonally in two, together with their carapace, legs, and included all the hard to get at flesh. They had been deep fried into a very tasty crisp morsel. A Japanese woman saw me looking at it while I was puzzling and thinking, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ She remarked, “This is a good source of calcium, isn’t it”. I think where we fall down in the kitchen when dealing with Oriental Cooking is, we just don’t have a big enough heat source.


Another Japanese ‘like’ of mine is their commercial Mayonnaise. I can now buy it at the Oriental food Supermarket. I had spotted a chef using something that looked like Mayo while sitting at the table/hot plate while having a meal cooked for us. I inquired to what it was and got the reply, ‘Secret’ ingredient. Later I spotted it in the market and quickly smelt it. (I never buy our commercial Mayonnaise, they always seem to smell of cheap oil which to me is unpleasant and off putting) Surprise, the Japanese item had a neutral odour and not even expensive. I build on that, with a little vinegar, blue cheese, sugar and wasabi. It makes a pleasant change from vinaigrette.


I won’t bore you any more with Japanese cuisine meantime. Someone has just called to take us out to a traditional Korean

Comments are closed.