Summer Ingredients in Japan
Summer in Japan, especially June and July, can be very hot and humid. Summer sales ingredients seafood like unagi (eel) and uni (sea urchin) and amazing Japanese fruits like muskmelons are seasonal. Other fresh, juicy fruits like peaches (momo), cherries (sakuranbo), citrus (yuzu, mikan, etc), and grapes are also popular and in season during the summer.
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Eggplant, Bell pepper, Bitter melon/Goya, Cucumber, Edamame, Lettuce, Myoga/Japanese ginger, Okra, Shiso, Tomato
Chinese Plum/Japanese Apricot, Muskmelon, Peach, Watermelon, Yuzu, Grape, Cherries
Eel, Flounder, Horse mackerel, Sardine, Sea bass, Sea urchin, Sweetfish
Summer Food in Japan
Not to worry, there are also plenty of delicious foods that’ll help you to beat the heat until autumn comes again. Just remember that you lose a lot of minerals through sweat and fluids such as water, sports drinks and sugary beverages won’t replenish all the lost minerals. These Japanese foods will help you stimulate an appetite and give you energy. Favorite go-to dishes on these hot summer days are Japanese cold noodles dishes, such as somen., soba, salad and more.
Somen are thin wheat noodles, which are made by stretching the dough with vegetable oil, forming thin strands that are then air dried. It is served cold and comes with a soup on the side for you to dip your noodles. Somen is the perfect summer food as it only requires 1-2 minutes to cook and is light in the stomach. It’s often eaten in the summer with a cold dipping soy sauce based sauce called mentsuyu or tsuyu. The dipping sauce is the same Japanese dashi-based broth used in hot soup, but more concentrated in flavor.
The dipping sauce, or tsuyu is similar to most Japanese sauces as it has a base of soy sauce, mirin (sweet rice wine), cooking sake, and dashi.
How to make the dipping sauce :
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup and 2 tablespoons mirin
a half cup of cooking sake
a packet of instant dashi or 1 cup katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) fish flakes
a 2X2 inch piece of konbu, or kelp
Zaru Soba/ Zaru Udon
Zaru soba and zaru udon are popular cold noodle dishes served in Japan. The name comes from the way that the dish is plated: a zaru is a bamboo draining basket.
Grilled freshwater eel called unagi is a classic Japanese dish eaten especially during the summer as it is said to help beat summer fatigue. Eel is high in protein, vitamins, DHA, EPA and other minerals, although it is also high in fats, which may upset the stomach if your immune system has weakened from the heat.
Hiyashi chuka is a chilled ramen noodle salad. It’s a popular dish usually prepared at home, although you may see it at some ramen shops, convenience stores and casual restaurants during the summer season. The cooked ramen noodles are topped with shredded ingredients such as ham, cucumber, egg crepe, lettuce, wakame seaweed, and other ingredients.
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