Tag: Japan

The first anti-waste community refrigerator arrives in Japan – Italian Cuisine

The first community fridge was recently inaugurated in Japan, an initiative designed to combat food waste and food poverty

In Japan, every year, more than 6 million tons of edible food are thrown away, yet it is not easy to stem this problem and, above all, to link the environmental aspect to the social one of the right to food. However, a community fridge in Okayama, a beautiful anti-waste initiative which in addition to making an important contribution in terms of environmental impact it also represents an important support in the redistribution of food and in the fight against poverty and food insecurity. This project sees the light for the first time in Japan, not surprisingly during the difficult period of the Covid-19 pandemic. In other parts of the world the concept of the community refrigerator has already spread widely since 2012, just think that the Hubbub, the world's largest network, includes over 100 refrigerators scattered throughout the UK alone.

How the idea of ​​the Kitanagase Community Fridge was born in Japan

The idea of ​​importing the concept of the community fridge to Japan is thanks to Kenichi Narita, an ambitious and sensitive 42-year-old cook. After spending a period in the hospital during his adolescence due to cancer, he decided to do everything possible to help people in need. The idea of ​​combining this desire with the issue of food waste came to him in adulthood after starting to work as a cook in a restaurant. It is on this occasion, in fact, that he became aware of appalling amount of still edible food being wasted or thrown away. Narita, now a restaurant manager in Okayama prefecture, has therefore decided to take advantage of the time of the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent economic difficulties to launch an initiative that could make a difference within its community. After researching and traveling to the UK to field study the Hubbub Community Fridge Network, Kenichi Narita is finally able to introduce this project to Japan as well. In November 2020, thanks to him and in collaboration with the Kitanagase Area Management, the first community fridge of the Rising Sun.

Food recycling and solidarity network

The Kitanagase Community Fridge project is based on a concrete and well thought out program serving the community. First of all, it must be said that the fridge is located in an unmanned warehouse inside a shopping center and which actually includes a refrigerator, a freezer and a shelf. The contribution comes from around 60 local businesses, farmers and families who donate food and other non-perishable household goods, and not from supermarkets as is the case in the UK. Among the foods present, all intact, in excellent condition and not expired, there are fruits and vegetables, but also tofu, meat, noodle cup, canned or frozen food, bread and snacks. I am alone in using them community members who have a low income and who, after registering for the program, have access to the community refrigerator anonymously and independently, via an app to download.

There are currently about 300 Japanese families registered, but the hope is that this service will spread to other parts of the country and inspire other communities around the world.

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Japan rediscovers the ancient recipe of the fermented rice drink – Italian Cuisine

Not just sake: in Japan, amazake, an ancient fermented drink and "superdrink" made from fermented rice, is rediscovered and marketed

Japan in recent years has rediscovered the ancient recipe for a fermented drink called amazake, a sort of rice porridge with extraordinary nutritional properties. Its recent commercialization and its relative success stem from the growing desire of the Rising Sun to keep alive and enhance the ancient traditions and at the same time contains some of the most popular food trends at the moment in the country, i.e. superfoods, fermented foods and natural energy drinks.

Amazake, the ancient Japanese porridge

Although this drink is non-alcoholic, the name literally means "sweet alcohol", since the process by which it is made is very similar to that of sake.
Amazake is obtained thanks to fermentation of a mixture consisting of water, steamed rice and finally the koji, a filamentous mushroom that in Asia has been used for millennia to ferment both drinks and foods, such as sake or miso. This sort of sweet and non-alcoholic sake it has a milky white color and a texture, similar to that of porridge, remosa and more or less dense depending on the fermentation process. However, amazake is also known to be a superdrink, nutritious, healthy and energetic, and it is not by chance that it is also known with the name of "IV drinkable" (drip); in particular in Japan it is believed to relieve fatigue, help digest, increase concentration, help lose weight and it also seems to have positive effects on skin and hair, as well as being a natural remedy for hangovers.

The superdrink suitable for all seasons

Although the recent rediscovery and commercialization, amazake has ancient origins. According to historical sources, this drink was widespread in the Japanese imperial court during the Heian period (VIII and XII centuries), but according to some its origins date back to the Kofun period (300-538 AD). Although this recipe has been forgotten for a long time, in recent years a sensational one has been revived revival. Currently there are over 400 types of this fermented rice drink on the market and sales are reaching very high peaks from 2016 onwards. If before it was possible to find it especially in specialized shops and during special parties and ceremonies, it is now available at supermarkets, grocery stores, liquor stores and shops that sell fermented products. Amazake can be purchased or prepared at home, and be drunk both cold in summer and hot in winter, with a sprinkling of cinnamon. The Japanese also love to use it as natural sweetener instead of sugar, for recipes such as puddings, pancakes and smoothies, or even as an addition to savory dishes.

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Photo: hot amazake fermented Japanese drink_Bikkuri06 Flickr.jpg

Rice salad, Japan style – Italian Cuisine

Poke away, we will eat rice salad this summer, but Japanese. Here is the recipe (very good) of the MU Fish restaurant in Nova Milanese. Easy to do, and sure to succeed.

THE'rice salad it's a great classic, of the gastronomic sadness of our Italian summers. It is the truth, that you try hard and prepare everything from scratch, using the best ingredients, or open a jar of preparation, the result is always tristarello. That may be why the pokè has become depopulated: at the bottom it is cold rice with a sauce on it, but it looks better (at least until you mix it with a spoon to eat it).

The surprise of summer comes from Japan, as an inspiration, even if in reality the idea came to Nova Milanese to chef Jiang del MU Fish restaurant. The philosophy of the restaurant is fusion, just like this rice salad dish that combines oriental techniques with European products, and vice versa. Thus was born a rice salad with cooked sea bass, various fish eggs, raw fish tartare and mushrooms. What can you do at home like this?

Ingredients for two people
500 g of white rice
30 g of sea bass
5 g of chives
Black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
15 g of shiitake mushrooms
120 g of tuna tartare
10 g of red prawns
20 g of tobiko (flying fish roe)
10 g of ikura (salmon roe)
10 g of caviar (or lumpfish roe)
2 quail eggs

Cook the rice steamed or with the pilaf technique.
Meanwhile, sauté the sea bass with salt, pepper, oil and the mushrooms previously washed and cut into pieces. After cooking, leave to rest. When the rice is ready, let it cool and mix the rice with the sea bass and the mushrooms. Add the tobiko, onion and extra virgin olive oil to taste.
Divide the yolk from the egg white of the quail eggs.
Serve the rice in two dishes and place ikura, caviar, tuna tartare and quail yolks on top.

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