29 May 2011

Food as Medicine - Walnut Tofu

I am no cook, but I love to eat, so I persevere with my cooking efforts, when I have to.  H-san is busy so I'm on cooking duty.   I just have no food sense, but I guess it's down to more practice on the cooking front. 

Temple Cuisine 精進料理 Shojin Ryori
This is the type of food I want to master, to eat, am on a detox lighten up mission at the moment.  It is a pure vegan cuisine, simple, pure and most importantly, all the ingredients are available in my local shop. I shall still eat other things, but am going to try and make this my staple.  Takes time, partly because the best recipes are in Japanese and my reading isn't so fast yet, again more practice needed.

These photos are from my  first attempt at Walnut Tofu. Japanese walnuts are very different from the American type I grew up eating.  I didn't believe this until I tried to shell them.  Almost impossible.  We ended up having to soak them overnight, then dry fry them until the shells opened a little and were then able to insert a screw driver to pry them open.  The shells are thicker darker, with deeper cavities and the flesh is much oilier.  Not as sweet either.

Decided to keep it strictly traditional; using traditional equipment.  Preparing the nuts took the time, after that it was just a case of mixing them with kuzu powder, water and beet sugar.  Cook, stir like crazy and leave to set. 

It was delicious! I did it!  Looked and tasted how it should.

Looked up Kuzu in my favourite book on Japanese Food.  It's great for information, but I'm not a fan of the recipes, too westernised and a little strange for my Japanese sensibilities.  Here's some excerpts.

Kuzu: The Wonder Root
One of the world's largest roots. Roots are the reservoir of a plant's energy.  Been eaten and used medicinally in Japan for 2000 years.
Good for relieving bacterial infection, abdominal aching and intestinal irritation. Also contains a very high concentration of flavanoids, well know as antioxidants.

Clinical studies have proven these medicinal effects of Kuzu's flavanoids; reduce high blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, relieve chronic migraine headaches, ease aches in shoulders and neck, lower cholesterol levels, reduce formulation of blood clots, protect the heart against cardiovascular disease, protect the brain by dilating cerebral microvessels to increase blood flow.  Also contains phytoestrogens, and the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo has shown it can help prevent bone loss induced by estrogen deficiency.  More recent research has been into it's effects on controlling and suppressing appetite for alcohol. 

Who'd have known eh!?  But, most importantly, it tastes good! 

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