I do not know what quite to call this section yet. So “other” for now. I will introduce so easy things to make at home to add a little spice to your cooking.
Koregusu コーレーグース: This is a condiment found in every Okinawan restaurant. In Hawai’i we have something similar called Chili water. It is very potent so only a few drops are needed when you are adding it to your dish.
–awamori 泡盛 (shochu 焼酎 would also work), 1 bottle
–island chili peppers (called “tougarashi” 唐辛子), however many you want
*ratio is maybe 20 peppers to 200mL, or fill the bottle 1/3 peppers and rest awamori… really, just to taste, but start with this.
Clean your peppers. Add as many as you want to the awamori bottle and cap it. Let it sit in a cool, dark place a for a few weeks and you are ready to go. Add to soba, chanpuru, soups, fried rice… whatever. Advice: it is best to have a bottle that has the little restrictor lid (so only drops come out) because seriously you do not want to use too much of this stuff. Should be good for over a year, if it lasts that long in your house. As an option, you can also add a few slices of garlic, but it is not traditional (it is common to add garlic to Hawaiian chili water, so… personal preference).
Ninniku-shu (Awamori) にんにく酒 (泡盛): So, surprise this next one also contains awamori, or you can substitute shochu, whichever you prefer or have an easier time finding. Ninniku-shu is called ヒルザキ hiruzaki in Okinawan.
-whole garlic cloves, peeled and cleaned, as many as you want
-awamori, 1 bottle **I read somewhere a “good ratio” is 3:7 garlic to awamori.
-sugar (rock, granulated, brown, or even none… your choice), to taste
Add whole garlic cloves and sugar to awamori bottle. Store in cool dark place. It will be ready in as little as a week, but I would wait a month. It is good for up to 3 years. It is good to add into stir-fry. Some people drink it for “medicinal” reasons, such as when they have a cold or flu.
Onion & Garlic Jam にんたまジャム: called “nintama jam,” this sauce is good for helping reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, dieting, and even anti-aging. I learned this recipe from the ladies I teach English conversation.
-500 g onion, chopped
-100 g garlic, peeled
-80 g honey
-100 cc water
-2 tbsp lemon juice
Microwave the chopped onion, garlic, and water at 600 watts for ~12-14 minutes (until soft). Puree (hand mixer or stand mixer), add in honey and lemon juice. Heat again for ~3-6 minutes. Store in container in refrigerator for up to a month. Add it on toast, use it as a sauce on chicken or fish, thin it out to make a salad dressing… whatever pleases you.
Umeshu 梅酒: Plum wine
-1 kg green plums
-10 to 15 oz rock sugar
-7 to 8 cups white liquor **note :ホワイトリカー white liquor is available in grocery stores, or you can opt for awamori, shochu, or alcohol of your choice, but the percentage of alcohol should be about 35% (or more)
-large glass bottle
Wash the glass bottle or jar thoroughly. Make sure the bottle is clean and dry when you use it. Wash the plums, put them in a sieve and let them dry. Take out the plum stems using a toothpick. Place half of the plums on the bottom of the bottle or jar and place half of the sugar on top of them. Place the remaining plums and rock sugar making layers. Pour the alcohol into the bottle and keep the bottle in a cool place. You can start enjoying your homemade plum wine after about three months.
Andansu アンダンスー (abura-miso 油味噌): This is a popular “taste of Okinawa.” Not worry, you do not need to make (and ferment) miso form scratch… this uses 2 types of miso you can find in any grocery store. Typically served with a little bit on top of rice or used as an ingredient in other recipes.
-1/2 pound pork belly
-1 tbsp awamori (Okinawan sake)
-1.5 c shiro (white) miso**
-1.5 c aka (dark/red) miso**
-2 tbsp grated ginger
-1 c sugar
**instead of 2 types of miso, you could use the blended miso 合わせ味噌 also available in all stores. The color is in-between white and dark miso.
Cover pork with water in a large pot. Bring to a rolling boil; drain and rinse. Dice pork, removing most of the fat. Brown pork in a saucepan. Deglaze pan with awamori. Stir in both misos, then ginger and sugar (the amount of sugar may be adjusted depending on the saltiness of the miso). Cook over medium heat 30 to 45 minutes, stirring often so the bottom doesn’t scorch, until miso darkens and sugar is dissolved. Serve as a condiment with hot rice. This can be refrigerated several months.