finally, finally the day i’ve been waiting for has come… GOBO. i found a fine-looking GOBO (known in English as burdock) at eastern market here in saskatoon. i’ve previously found gobo in winnipeg, toronto and vancouver, but i was only visiting, so i didn’t get a chance to cook them. i hadn’t eaten gobo for a long time, so my love for gobo grew and grew. when i found one at the market last week, i almost exclaimed “GO~BO~” out loud, but i managed not to react. if i’d been with someone, i’d probably have been talking about the beauty of gobo for a long time. gobo is a magical vegetable — my favorite. it’s crunchy, tasty, fragrant, and full of fiber. i’m so happy to have found it here.
after living in canada for six years, i figured out a little trick to make sure i can eat japanese food while in canada. my trick is: find similar ingredients in different country’s cuisines.
- dutch bread is similar to japanese shoku-pan. (the portuguese introduced bread to japan in 1543)
- english mustard is the same as japanese mustard (maybe we copied the recipe?).
- pickling cucumbers are similar to japanese cucumbers.
- tahini is shirogoma paste.
- purple basil is aka-shiso.
- hoisin sauce is similar to okonomiyaki sauce.
- pomelo fruit is zabon.
- watercress is basically mizuna.
- etc, etc.
these connections make me happy. i find it more meaningful to be able to make japanese food using ingredients from other countries. as we eat together, the similarities between people are more apparent than the differences.
although my mom’s kinpira-gobo (burdock salad) is the best on earth, i did my best to cook it myself. finally my favorite wa-shoku (japanese cuisine) dish was on our dinner table. ：) we had pinot grigio in sake cups. we had a good laugh. i even got to use my little japanese bowls.
the dishes i made:
- top: steamed chicken breasts with mustard on blanched green beans
- top left: kinpira gobo (sweet soy sauce flavoured) with carrots, sesame seeds and thai red chili
- top right: horenso goma-ae ( boiled spinach with sesame)
- bottom left: takikomi gohan (flavoured rice with gobo, renkon, carrot, tofu and sliced green beans for garnish)
- bottom right: kakitama jiru (soup with egg and tofu and green onion for garnish)
my girlfriend mayu-chan makes delicious vegetarian wa-shoku. check it out! mayu-chan was kind enough to suggest sending gobo to me from toronto. i was very touched♥.