Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

By EunYoung Sebazco
One summer’s day, I received an email from one of my Japanese friends, Aya saying, “Nukazuke is ready. Come over”. Nukazuke (糠漬け) is a type of fermented Japanese pickle that uses rice bran powder (nuka). DSC_1817So, I stopped by the next day to pick it up. She has been making it for me the past few months. She handed me a small container with full of pickles and a bag of rice bran powder. I was excited! I have never thought that I was able to make Nukazuke. I thought it would be very difficult to make process. My old Japanese friend, Sakai, had introduced it to me long time ago. When she took the pickles out of her old jar, the pickles were covered with brown crumbs which was different than I was used to seeing. In Korean culture, we make so many different types fermented pickles that most of them are soybean based or red pepper based. So, I was very happy to hear from Aya to remind me of another way to use rice. The more I learn about rice, the more curious I become. Any edible vegetable and fish can be pickled in Nuka. The taste of nuka pickles can be sour and salty. However, the flavor of pickle opens the appetite and after the meal helps digest the meal.

Slightly roasted nuka
Dried kelp (Kombu)
Vegetables (Cucumber, Carrots, Radish, etc)
1 Mix the salt and roasted nuka powder together in a container.
2 Add water, a little at a time, until you have a fairly dry paste.
3 Submerge kombu (kelp) and chilli in the paste (being careful not to break the chilli and release the seeds), and pat down the surface of the paste until smooth.DSC_1820

4 wipe the excess paste from around the edge with clean damp cloth.
5 Cover with a lid. Keep in a cool and dark place in the kitchen (or refrigerator) . Stir the paste at least twice a day, three times in hot weather.
6  After a week, the paste should be ready to use and have a slightly sour smell to it like sourdough starter does. Remove the chilli and kombu.
7 Place the slightly salted vegetable into the nuka paste.
8 After a week, They will be ready to eat.
* You will need to add nuka powder when you see the moisture on paste or when you place new vegetable or lose the pickle from the nuka paste.

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By Phyllis Odessey
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, sushi man.
Cook me some rice as fast as you can;
Pat it and prick it and mark it with S,
Put it in the rice cooker for me and a guest.

Pat-a-cake, patty cake, sushi man.
Cook me a rice ball as fast as you can;
Roll it up, roll it up;
And throw it on a pan!
Patty cake, patty cake, sushi man.

I’ve made a lot of snowballs in my time, but none with rice. In celebration of the planting of rice in The Learning Garden, Yoshihiko Kousaka, master sushi chef of Jewel Bako Restaurant and Mihyun Han, General Manager of Don’s Bogam Restaurant demonstrated how to make rice balls and pickled vegetables to kids from Esperanza Preparatory Academy.

A rice ball called onigiri in Japanese; uses few ingredients, is delicious to eat, and most of all is fun to make. You feel like a sculptor. It’s a tactile experience: using your hands from beginning to end. First creating the ball, second molding the rice into a triangular shape and third adding a secret surprise sour plum to the center and finally wrapping your handiwork in seaweed.

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When you watch someone who is expert at what they do, you think it’s easy, because they are one with their tools and materials. After gathering vegetables from the garden, Yoshi began to slice the carrots, radishes and cucumbers. Like a virtuoso swordsman, Yoshi cut and sliced each vegetable in an artistic way; creating the extraordinary out of the ordinary. (The recipe will appear in a blog to follow).

We want to thank Yoshihiko Kousaka and Mihyun Han for an amazing day in the garden.

If you would like to participate in an event involving the rice paddy, please contact phyllis.odessey@parks.nyc.gov

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How to make Bibimbap

By MiHyun Han
General Manager at Don’s Bogam, NYC

I was the head chef at Grace’s Kalbi Bar: a  Korean restaurant in downtown. Before that, I worked at Jewel Bako as a sous chef. Rice was always the main ingredient everyday. Even now at Korean BBQ restaurant, Don’s Bogam as the General Manager in Midtown, rice is a focus. The word for boiled rice in Korean, Bap, is used not only to refer to cooked rice but also meals in general. When my friend EunYoung asked me about Korean food recipes (rice), Bibimbap (mixed rice) came up as the first dish at the my top of my list. I am excited to share the recipe for Bibimbap.

Whenever I am asked which traditional Korean food deserves to become popular all over the world, I always say,“Bibimbap.” One bowl of bibimbap contains many different elements of traditional Korean food, including rice and side dishes, and it is a healthy food that has vegetables as its main ingredients. It offers nutritional balances, and its wonderful taste is enhanced by fermented gochujang (Chili pepper paste), which brings harmony to the flavors of all the other ingredients.

* History of Bibimbap
During the Jo-seon era, there was a custom in the royal place of eating bibimbap that had been made from all the left over side dishes at the end of the year. This custom was considered to be a symbolic of putting behind all the affairs of the past and celebrate the fresh start of the New Year.

Ingredients (Serving for four)
800g rice
100g bean sprouts
100g Gosari (Mountain vegetables)
100g bellflower roots
100g carrots
100g squash
100g shiitake mushroom
1 cup of Red chili pepper paste
Small amounts of salt, sesame oil and grape seeds oil.

1. After removing the roots from the bean sprouts, lightly boil the in the water. Then remove the bean sprouts from the water. Place them in the frying-pan and after adding a little salt and sesame oil, stir-fry them.
2. After stir-frying the Gosari (Mountain vegetables)together, with the soy sauce, sesame oil, finely chopped scallion, minced garlic and the beef stock or water, cover with a lid and simmer gently.
3. After tearing the bellflower roots into narrow strips, rub with coarse salt by hand, and then wash with the water to remove the bitter taste. Stir-fry them in a pan with sesame oil and grape seeds oil. Add about ¼ cups of beef stock or water and simmer gently.
4. After cutting the carrots into 3cm pieces, slice them into thin stripes. Then, stir-fry the carrots in a pan with grape seeds oil and sprinkle with the salt.
5. Remove the stems of the shiitake mushrooms, then slice the mushroom heads and fry gently in a pan with sesame oil and grape seeds oil.
6. Cut the squash into thin round slices. Mix the grape seeds oil and sesame oil in a pan and once it has been heated, add the squash and gently stir-fry with a little salt.
7. After mixing a small amount of sesame oil into the steamed rice, place the rice in a bowl or plate together with the other ingredients and serve with the red chili pepper paste on a separate dish.



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By Yoshihiko Kousaka

Executive Chef at Jewel Bako, NYC

In 2010, I was featured as one of the best chefs in New York City as a sushi chef on France Chef TV. It was honor to be in with Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Daniel Humm, Ben Pollinger, Michael Anthony and Ed Brown. I also introduced some of my recipes on the episode. I would like to share one of them as a basic building block in how to make sushi.
Prep time: 4h     Ingredients for 10 persons

20 oz of Japanese (Koshihikari) rice
20 oz of water
1/4 filet of golden eye snapper
1/4 ocean trout
1/4 filet of tuna rim
1/4 filet of tuna toro
1/4 filet of amberjack(yellowtail)
1/4 filet of baby red snapper
1/4 filet of octopus rack
1 wasabi root
Sushi vinegar: 1 oz sugar, 1/3 of salt, 1 cup of rice vinegar

Wash the rice a few times with a little bit of water with a gentle rubbing motion until the water isn’t white any more. Let it dry in the chinois for 25 minutes. Put the rice in a towel and cook it in a pan with water during 20 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let it rest in the towel for 20 minutes adding sushi vinegar. While it is draped in the towel, the rice will continue to steam. Let the rice and cool for 15 minutes.

Filet and remove the bones from the fish. Remove the skin/scales by slicing length-way. Cut the slices against the grain of the fish.

Peel and grate the wasabi root on shark skin rasp. Make a paste with the root.

Use the rice at the temperature of your hands. Make the rice balls in your right hand. Take the fish in the left hand and dip into the wasabi paste to smear a little onto the fish. Place the fish and rice together.

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Japanese rice cake soup

By EunYoung Sebazco

Horticulture Manager

I had lived in Tokyo for ten years.  My old Japanese friends invited me to their house for New Years and cooked this special beautiful soup. I love that the texture of mochi and the simple flavor of the soup. It is just beautiful to look inside the bowl.



One of the traditional foods served during shōgatsu (Japanese New Year) is mochi. Traditionally, neighbors would get together to make the mochi. It is made of glutinous rice pounded into a paste and formed into shape. The traditional ceremony of pounding mochi is called Mochitsuki. The big lump will be divided up into round pieces or squares. Some popular ways of eating mochi are: coating it with anko (a bean paste made of boiled and sweetened beans), kinako (a sweet powder made of roasted soybeans) and dipping it in soy sauce and wrapping it with nori (dried seaweed). By eating mochi, believers hope to gain the strength of the rice divinities.

Zoni (Japanese rice cake soup) is a Japanese tradition to eat on New Year’s holiday. Ingredients for zoni vary region to region. Basically, zoni is seasoned with soy sauce in eastern Japan, and it’s seasoned with shiromiso (white miso) in western Japan.

Prep Time: 15 min.   Cooking Time: 30 min.      Servings: 4 Ingredients:
4 cups dashi soup stock
4 blocks mochi (rice cake)
1/4 lb. boneless chicken thighs
2 inches carrot, cut into thin
4 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed.
3 inches negi (scallion), rinsed and diagonally sliced
1/4 lb. fresh spinach, boiled and cut into 2 inches
4 slices kamaboko (fish cakes)
1 tbsp soysauce


1. Peel the carrot and use the food cutter to create flowers.

2. The top of the shiitake mushroom cap, creating a star pattern.

3. In a large pot, bring the water, dashi and chicken stock to a boil.

4. Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface.

5. Add the carrots, green onion and shiitake mushrooms into the pot. Turn down the heat to low. Add soy sauce in the soup. Simmer for a few minutes.

6. Grill mochi in the oven until softened.

7. Add grilled mochi, kamaboko, and negi slices in the soup.

Let’s say, “Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu!” (It means “Happy New Year” in Japanese).

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Korean rice cake soup

By EunYoung Sebazco
Horticulture Manager
I was born in Seoul, Korea.  I remember that my mother and grandmother bought huge amounts of rice cake a few days before New Year and prepared a big pot of tteokguk for New Year’s eve.  After the Korean traditional bow on the New Year, we need to eat the soup to add one-year of age.
tteokguk(Korean rice cake soup) is a traditional Korean foods. Garaetteok is the main ingredient  and is made out rice powder and they are sliced up into thin oval shapes. Long waterhose-shaped rice cake; its shape is symbolic wishing for longevity in life. Traditionally, Koreans eat tteokguk in the Lunar New Year’s morning. They believe that they will add one more year to their age with New Year full of good fortune. No one knows for sure exactly why tteokguk became a traditional Lunar New Year’s food. There is one theory that because rice was harvested in the fall and in the olden times, there wasn’t a means of storing it long-term. Thus, making rice cakes was a way of using up the old rice. Old people are so wise.
Prep Time: 10 min.   Cooking Time: 35 min.      Servings: 4-6 Ingredients:
1.5 – 2 lbs rice cakes (Garaetteok)
1/2 lb. ground beef (or anchovy stock)
1 TB minced garlic
4-5 scallions cut in 2″ slices
8-10 cups water
4-5 large sheets of unseasoned seaweed, cut 2”
For garnish: ground beef (cooked with garlic & sesame oil) & egg (cooked flat & cut same size of seaweed)Soy sauce, salt, pepper, sesame oil to tasteDirections
1. Rinse and soak the tteok in a large bowl filled with cold water for 5-10 minutes
2. Cook the beef with minced garlic in a frying pan on medium high heat until fully cooked. No need to add any extra oil. Put a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the cooked ground beef. (or heat the anchovy stock in a pot over medium high heat. Season the soup by adding salt, soy sauce and minced garlic.)
3. Bump up the heat to a boil. Skim off any impurities.
4. Drain the tteok and add to the broth. When the tteok float to the top, they are now cooked and ready to eat.
5.Turn off the heat, sprinkle some black pepper and add sliced green onions.
6. Ladle tteokguk into large bowls and garnish with some beef and egg or cut-up seaweed and sesame oil if you like.

Let’s say, “Saehae Bok Manhi Badeuseyo!” (It means “Happy New Year” in Korea).

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