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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Living Kansha

Kansha is the Japanese principle of using food to its fullest and the subject of Elizabeth Andoh's latest cookbook. Multiply the excitement that I felt when I received Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions in the mail from Amazon two months ago by at least 1000 and you can imagine how thrilled I was to receive a personal invitation from Elizabeth to stay with her several nights at her apartment in Osaka.

The circumstances were unexpected and unfortunate. The extended lack of control of a nuclear power plant 250 km north of where I had been staying in Izunokuni prompted my loved ones to plea my departure. I decided the risk was unknown enough and the ground beneath us still unstable enough, that I would err on the side of safety and head to Osaka the next day where I could catch a flight to Taipei and wait out the radioactive resolution from a safe distance.

Elizabeth and I had already exchanged several emails regarding my attendance at her cherry blossom cooking workshop in April, so as the one person who I knew in the Osaka area, I sent her an email seeking her advice. Without skipping a beat, she invited Danny and me to both come stay with her in Osaka several nights.

It was an honor and a joy to be invited not only into her home, but her kitchen, where kansha came to life. For example, four young bamboo shoots stretched to make an entire meal, where we began with an appetizer made of the tender artichoke-like tops of the bamboo tossed in white miso and sansho pepper leaves (pictured above). We then marinated the middle section of the bamboo shoots with a rich soy seasoning and cooked them into rice and dashi to make a sumptuous grain dish. And as a main course we braised the dense base of the shoots along with two kinds of tofu in a sake-soy glaze (pictured below).

You too can tap into Elizabeth's deep well of knowledge to make earnestly delicious Japanese dishes, by going to her website, www.kanshacooking.com, where you can sign-up to access select recipes from her workshops and cookbooks for free.


RachelZ March 22, 2011 at 1:33 AM  

Glad to hear you are safe and well. Thanks for the beautiful post.

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