Somehow I think not many people pair seaweed with nuts, but I must say that it´s one of my favourite ways to prepare seaweed dishes! It adds richness and crunchiness to this otherwise “clean” tasting vegetable, which can be a bit bland and/or fishy for some people 😀
I usually also sautee some vegetables on oil as a base – here I used my most common pair of onion and carrot and I also added in parsley stems (don´t throw away those guys!). Then I tossed in the hiziki (first soaked for at least half an hour in water, then drained and rinsed), poured in water to nearly cover the veggies and simmered it all for about 30-45 minutes under a lid on a low flame. Near the end I added a handful of roasted walnuts and seasoned the dish with some salt, shoyu soy sauce and apple cider vinegar.
I served the seaweed with rice pressure cooked with chestnuts (dried ones, so I first had to soak them overnight) and some plain black beans, cooked only with salt.
Ok, three things to say up front: finding a name for this recipe was really tough, it could also be called chestnut-mochi-kuzu-agar agar dessert. But I spared you and chose a simplified version 😀
Second, this dessert is ugly. It really is. It looks like wet grey concrete. Somehow chestnuts, at least the dried ones, don´t make for a pretty dessert. But who cares, right? It´s the taste that matters…
Third, this dessert is absolutely guilt-free. It´s even healthy! There is not a gram of added sweetener, no rice malt, maple syrup, fruit, nothing. Just chestnuts to make it sweet (which are really healthy for your blood sugar levels). This also means that this dessert is very mildly sweet. But for us who have sensitive taste budes and who are on a restricted diet with zero or very few desserts, this is still a blessing 😀
Now back to business. You just need to soak (preferrably overnight) about half a cup of dried chestnuts (add water to make the cup full). The next day pour it all into a pressure cooker and add about 1/4 cup of sweet brown rice. Add a pinch of salt, water to cover, bring to pressure and cook on a low flame and on a flame tamer for about an hour. Transfer to blender (you should have enough liquid, but adjust as needed) and puree. Bring back to the pot, add 1 tsp of kuzu diluted in a tiny bit of cold water and 1 tsp of agar agar powder (if using flakes or bars, you need to follow package instructions for the amount used). Bring mixture to boil while stirring, let simmer gently for a few minutes and then serve warm or let cool down and solidify. The texture is amazing…….
This is a very simple, quick dessert which has no sweetener except for fruit, there´s not even a touch of rice syrup or maple syrup or such. Therefore it´s VERY mildly sweet, but good if you´re in the need of watching your dessert intake and still longing for something a bit sweeter than sweet vegetables 😀
I had some leftover shortgrain brown rice which I pressure cooked for 45 minutes with dried chestnuts (in a roughly 1:1 ratio, because it was a small amount only). It´s good to soak the chestnuts overnight before you cook them. The next day I blended this leftover rice/chestnut mix in a blender with a bit of water (just enough to make the blender work) and half of a bigger unpeeled apple cut into chunks. Then I transferred the puree into a pot, added a pinch of salt and simmered for maybe ten minutes. Towards the end I added a teaspoon of kuzu diluted in a little bit of cold water and brought to boil. You must make sure your kuzu went through boil. You can enjoy your dessert warm or let it cool and set a bit (it will resemble pudding more when the kuzu is allowed to cool). You can sprinkle the top with some cinnamon.
On November 1st I made a meal of Pacific cod, short grain brown rice pressure cooked with hato mugi (aka pearl barley aka Job´s tears), kinpira, and blanched veggies. The cod was steamed in a steamer basket, after being coated with salt and black pepper, olive oil, dried basil and rosemary, and at the end I squeezed some lemon juice on top (I always add lemon juice to fish – it helps balance the strong yang quality of fish meat). The blanched vegetables that day were kale, paksoi and green beans. The kinpira was traditional: “shards”of carrot and burdock root, cooked with a tiny amount of water, first on high flame for a few minutes, then under a lid on low flame for around half an hour, seasoned at the end with tamari.
As a dessert I served chestnut – amasake cream. I might have not been the first one who came up with this, nevertheless I regard it as my own recipe, because I didn´t look it up anywhere 😀 I roasted a couple of chestnuts in the oven (15 minutes should be enough, I can´t tell the temperature, because our “micro-oven” doesn´t have any temperature settings…), then I blended them in a blender with a bit of water (just to make the blender able to function…) and a generous amount of brown rice amasake (which is fermented brown rice, using a “koji” culture, it is used as a sweetener, a healthy one indeed!), then I transferred the purée to a pot. I added a bit more water and a pinch of salt, cooked the mixture for a while, then mixed in diluted kuzu starch, brought to boil while stirring continuously and cooked for 1-2 additional minutes. Super easy! And soooo yummy – it actually reminded me of ice cream thanks to its rich creamy texture…