Special edition

Jun.1,Sun. 0:10/6:10/12:10/18:10 (UTC)

Special Cherry Blossom Edition in Washington D.C.

click here for the recipes

Chef Tatsuo Saito, famous for his Japanese cuisine, and our host Yu Hayami leave the studio and head for Washington, D.C., where the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

In April, Chef Saito was a participant in the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, a cherry blossom festival held in Washington, D.C., where he took the stage at the Food Culture Pavilion and gave a fantastic talk and demonstration to everyone there about the world's quickest soup stock to make: dashi stock, the lifeblood of Japanese cuisine. We'll give you a look at this big hit event and the audience's excitement.

We'll also introduce our special menu for the day, designed for our guests drawn in by the cherry blossom trees! We'll take a look at two authentic Japanese dishes we made with a variety of local ingredients including seafood and vegetables. In spring, cherry blossoms are often to add a seasonal look and feel to dishes. We'll be using salted cherry leaves and local ingredients from Washington, D.C. with careful Japanese cooking techniques, for a beautifully colorful result.

In addition, we'll show you our hosts' report on Japanese food in the Washington, D.C. area, as well as Chef Saito's secret history with Washington D.C. In this special, we go beyond just showing you recipes! You'll be able to get a feel for the seasonal beauty and warm hospitality at the heart of Japan's food culture.

Special Menu

As the season turns to spring, sakura-mushi and rice with beans show up on tables across Japan. Chef Saito has taken the opportunity to approach these traditional standards with his own unique style.

For the sakura-mushi with red snapper, we'll add grated turnip along with other ingredients to give it a beautiful color and delicious texture, then place whitefish on top before steaming it and finishing it off with plenty of a deliciously thickened soup made with dashi stock and wasabi. Today, we'll even be adding salted cherry leaves to make this delicious dish even more fragrant. Our main dish today will be built around American red snapper with its perfect blend of beautiful red color, seasonal spring flavor, and auspicious cultural significance in Japan. Chef Saito has taken inspiration from the cooking of local chefs in the area, for his own unique spin on how to prepare it.

Sakura rice with peas is another Japanese spring favorite, featuring the subtle fragrance of cherry blossoms, and served in the shape of a cherry blossom. We'll show you the trick to keeping the beans a bright, beautiful green! Don't miss how pros prepare the boiled beans, and you won't believe the ingredient we used to keep the fresh flavor of the beans in the rice! We'll also see what Chef Saito came up with when he was younger, when he was wondering how to share all of Japan's delicious food with people from all around the world.

Cherry blossoms have long been beloved by Japan, not just for their beauty on the trees but also as an ingredient for spring cooking. We look forward to sharing knowledge and techniques on how to incorporate Japan's favorite sign of spring into refined, beautiful cooking.

Steamed Snapper and Grated Turnips with Cherry Blossoms

Steamed Snapper and Grated Turnips with Cherry Blossoms

Ingredients (Serves 4)

for the snapper :
320g fillets of red snapper, preferably with skin
salt and pepper
vegetable oil

for the grated turnips :
500g turnips
80g broccolini
5 large shrimp
salt
sake
1 egg white
2 tsp potato starch

for steaming the snapper and grated turnips :
4 pieces dried kombu, each 4 cm square
sake

dashi sauce :
250ml dashi
1/3 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp mirin
1 1/2 tbsp usukuchi soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp kudzu starch (Pre-mix with 1 1/2 tbsp water)

for garnishing :
4 to 8 salted sakura cherry leaves
4 to 8 salted sakura cherry blossoms
5cm long piece of carrot
grated wasabi

Directions

  1. 1. Cut the fish into about 10cm slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside for 10 minutes, then pat dry.
  2. 2. Peel and grate the turnips. Squeeze lightly to remove excess water.
  3. 3. Rinse the pickled sakura leaves and soak in water to remove excess salt. Repeat the same process for the pickled sakura blossoms.
  4. 4. Shave a paper-thin thick sheet from the outside of the carrot, and cut into sakura blossom shapes. Boil in salted water, then remove to cold water and drain. For the broccolini, remove the tough parts, then cut into 2 cm pieces. Just like the carrots, boil in salted water until the color turns bright, remove to cold water, and drain.
  5. 5. Peel the shrimp and cut it into bite size pieces. Place it in a small pan and sprinkle with salt and sake. Braise it for a minute, then drain in a sieve.
  6. 6. Oil your frying pan and preheat it. Add the fish and fry until browned, then remove.
  7. 7. Place the egg white in a bowl, then beat until stiff peaks form. Mix in the potato starch and salt, then mix in the turnips, shrimp, and broccolini.
  8. 8. Place kombu kelp on a plate in a steaming basket, then put the fish on top, followed by the egg white mixture. Sprinkle with a bit of sake. Steam for 5 to 6 minutes.
  9. 9. Prepare the dashi sauce. Place the dashi, salt, mirin and usukuchi soy sauce in a pan and bring it to a boil. Add the kudzu slurry little by little and mix vigorously.
  10. 10. When the fish is done, wrap each fillet with sakura leaves, then place in a serving dish. Pour the sauce over the fish and garnish with the carrot, sakura blossoms and grated wasabi on top.

Spring Pea Rice with Cherry Blossoms

Spring Pea Rice with Cherry Blossoms

Ingredients (Serves 2)

300g green peas in the shell
salt, for rubbing peas

10 salted sakura cherry blossoms (15g)

pea shell stock :
pea shells (reserved after shucking peas)
800 ml water
1 piece of dried kombu , 5cm square

2 cups rice
450ml pea shell stock
20g butter
sakura cherry flavored salt (or regular salt)

Directions

  1. 1. keep the pods for making the stock. Sprinkle the peas with some salt and mix well. Let stand for 3 to 4 minutes. Boil the peas for a few minutes without rinsing off the salt, then let cool in the pot.
  2. 2. To make the pea shell stock, place the kombu and the pea shells in 800ml of water, then heat. When the stock starts to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour through a strainer lined with paper towels or cloth.
  3. 3. Mix the pickled sakura blossoms into the stock to give it a subtle sakura fragrance. Remove the blossoms, then mince half of them and leave the rest as-is. Allow the stock to cool.
  4. 4. Wash the rice and cook in a rice cooker with 450 ml of the stock and the chopped pickled sakura. If cooking the rice in a pot, cover it and bring to a boil over high heat. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit covered for 10 minutes to fully absorb the water.
  5. 5. When the rice is done, add green peas and butter and mix gently.
  6. 6. Serve the green pea rice on a plate and garnish with the sakura blossoms and sprinkle with sakura cherry flavored salt. You can shape the rice with cookie cutters or cake rings, giving the dish an even more beautiful spring look!

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