Foreign Foods in Japan –
Piroshiki!

So many of our Foreign Foods in Japan have come from Europe, the US and China, so this month we’re finally focusing on Japan’s neighbor to the north…Russia!

Piroshiki are hand-held dough pockets filled with various types of fillings. The original dish from Russia is spelled as pirozhki, piroshki or when plural, pirogi or pierogi. In Russia, pirozhki can be found all over the place, made at home, in restaurants and at street food stalls. The Russian version is commonly filled with meat, vegetables, cheese and infrequently fish, when savory, or with fruit and jam when sweet. The dough is typically a yeast dough, leavened and brushed with egg wash, and the entire pocket is baked in a hot oven…perfect for the cold Russian climate!

Pierogi

In Japan, pirozhki were adapted to Japanese taste and cooking methods. One account states that this dish was introduced to Japan after WWII, and the original Japanese piroshiki were filled with minced onions, boiled eggs and ground beef and deep-fried, instead of baked. Another states that Miyo Nagaya, a Japanese chef from Tokyo, became interested in the cuisine of Russia and Central Asia, and opened a restaurant in Tokyo in 1951, where she modified the Russian dish to Japanese tastes.

Piroshiki

Today, piroshiki can be found at bakeries and restaurants in Japan and frying is still the most common way of preparing the dish. Typical fillings range from ground meat, fish and vegetables such as onions, carrots and shiitake mushrooms. One delicious and unique Japanese-centric filling is cooked and chopped up harusame glass noodles, which add incredible texture and umami to the piroshiki. Some believe that piroshiki were the inspiration for kare-pan or curry pan, which is a beloved Japanese deep-fried dough pocket filled with curry flavored ingredients.

Kare-pan

No matter where you get your piroshiki in Japan, you’re sure to enjoy this hot pocket. Have you had it? Have you made it? Share your favorite recipe with us below!

Product Inspirations –
Premium Thermal Carafe Ichimatsu Collection (AFFB-10)

Our vacuum insulated mugs, bottles and carafes come with three different types of innovative inner linings…our nonstick coating, our SlickSteel® electro-polished stainless steel, and our gorgeous glass liners.

Zojirushi Glass Liner

Our glass liner is part of our new Premium Thermal Carafe Ichimatsu Collection (AFFB-10). This carafe extends our line of glass lined carafes, including the Glass Vacuum Carafe (AH-EAE10) designed by British designer David Tong of The Division, the Euro Carafe (AG-KB10) and the Premium Thermal Carafe (AFFB-10S/19S).

Ichimatsu Collection

The Ichimatsu Collection carafe comes in white or black finishes and holds 34 oz. or 1.0 L of liquid. It features a one-touch pour, an easy-to-press side push open/close button and a comfortable handle for quick and easy serving. It also accommodates most brewing attachments for added convenience.

The truly unique and smart design of this carafe stems from the vacuum insulated glass liner that makes up the easy-to-clean interior, and the Ichimatsu pattern on the exterior.

The Ichimatsu pattern hold great historical and cultural significance in Japan. The pattern is a traditional Japanese two-toned checkerboard design that originated during the Edo Period (1603-1868) when a famous Kabuki actor, Sanogawa Ichimatsu, wore pants with the checkerboard pattern on stage. His style became so popular that the pattern was named after him. The pattern and finish of the Premium Thermal Carafe pays homage to this iconic design.

Glass Liner

Along with the stylish exterior, the glass lined interior offers an odor and stain resistant surface so beverages stay fresh. The glass liner is made of two layers of strong, durable and hygenic borosilicate glass, molded into the perfect shape at our factory in Osaka, Japan. The air between the two layers of glass is removed to create powerful vacuum insulation and the interior cavity between the two layers of glass is coated with silver plating to give it heat reflecting properties. We even have a cool video showing you how it’s done!

This new carafe is a great addition to your home or office table, and can be used for cold or hot beverages, including water, tea, coffee and so on. Learn more about it on our website or through our product video at https://youtu.be/VuG3K0Uyao8.

Bert-san’s Take—Zojirushi Breadmaker

Who knew I could actually bake? And that my Rainbow Bread could look so beautiful? I mean, I cannot believe I did this just by following instructions (which I’m really good at) and literally pushing a button. BUT…I’m taking credit where credit is due; even though this crazy amazing breadmaker by Zojirushi does all the heavy lifting, I did have to make the rainbow part, and it wasn’t easy.

Indeed, the trickiest part of baking with the breadmaker might very well be reading the manual. It’s written out pretty well, but for a novice like me, I read and re-read it so I wouldn’t screw up, and I still managed to stumble on a few steps. I baked with the Zojirushi Home Bakery Maestro® (BB-SSC10), which is perfect for us because it’s compact and bakes a 1-lb. loaf; we can’t eat that much in a span of 3-days anyway.

The first thing I did was line up all my ingredients for a simple, basic white bread—flour, dried milk, sugar, salt, unsalted butter, dry yeast and water. Then I studied:

After carefully measuring all the ingredients, I started to load the baking pan, and promptly forgot to add the yeast last so it wouldn’t get wet. This is what it’s supposed to look like (my second try), with the water underneath all those dry ingredients, and the yeast sitting on top.

Then the breadmaker does the rest—which is great if you’re baking plain white bread, but I was planning Rainbow Bread, so I was supposed to interrupt the cycle to add food coloring to the dough. My second mistake—I set the cycle wrong so I had to let it go and settle for plain white bread this first time around. Oh well, I needed a test run anyway!

The unveiling of the finished loaf! So exciting! And it smelled soooo good!

Not bad for a first try. The golden color was great, and it didn’t collapse on me—LOL! And by the way, the fresh bread tasted like…homemade bread! Moist and warm. If you decide to keep it for a few days, I’d recommend toasting it by the 3rd day. Trust me, you’ll still love it.

Here’s how I did my Rainbow Bread. The Breadmaker has a homemade setting, which allows you to take out the dough after it’s been kneaded and before it bakes. This gives you some time to do whatever you want to the dough—like add extra ingredients, or in my case, add food coloring. The dough is very sticky, but if you have enough flour on your hands, it’s manageable.

Then you flatten it, stack it, and roll it up!

After you reload it into the Breadmaker, the cycle starts up again, and the machine does the rest. The longest wait time is by far this part—the dough sits and rests to give it time to rise, and then finally bakes. The total from start to end was about 3-1/2 hours (not including the coloring part). But doesn’t it look amazing? Like a sculpture, if I do say so myself!

I have to admit this was a lot of fun and was an awesome weekend family activity. I can’t wait to try the other breads on the menu, like European and the Cinnamon bread; my family wants to do more Rainbow bread in pastel colors!

 

 

Images by Bert Tanimoto and @ironchefmom

 

 

 

 

Design Explained –
Our Signature Tune!

Our rice cookers and water boilers are practical. They’re technologically advanced. They’re stylish. And they’re…whimsical!

Until 1999, our appliances used standard beep sounds to indicate when the rice cooker or water boiler had started and finished their settings. We realized that so many appliances existed together in our customers’ kitchens that it was difficult to know which appliance was beeping. So, as part of our tradition of smart design, we programmed our rice cookers and water boilers to play a tune instead of beeping.

Zojirushi Rice Cooker Circa 1999

And now we’re known for our whimsical, musical and oh-so-familiar “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” tune which plays at the beginning of a setting. And when a course is finished, the lyrical tune of “Amaryllis” plays!

 

While this feature is definitely one of our more lighthearted and fun ones, there is a solid technological foundation to adding tunes to our appliances. Each appliance needed a microcomputer in the control panel, and that technology was introduced in the late 1990s. Further, microcomputers needed to be programmable, and the manufacturers were able to sequence a series of beeps to make a tune.

We loved it then and we love it now. And so do our fun friends. Just check out this incredibly cute video on our Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwNkZ1eh7NR/.

Let us know if you love these songs, too! And if you have a suggestion for a future product!

Foreign Foods in Japan –
Doria!

Dorias are so quintessentially Japanese that we sometimes forget they were once a foreign food introduced into Japanese cuisine!

Many foreign foods were introduced to Japan during the Meiji Era, from 1868-1912, as Japan began its journey towards global modernization. After the First World War, even more foreign influence permeated the country, and foreign-born and trained chefs began introducing new dishes inspired by their homelands yet catering to Japanese tastes. One such dish is the doria. It is said that Saly Weil, a Swiss master chef at the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama, developed the dish in the 1930s. The dish was inspired by classic French gratins and baked Italian casseroles, with signature components including a creamy béchamel sauce and melted cheese.

Instead of being made with potatoes, similar to pommes de terre gratinees, the Japanese doria was made with the local staple: rice. And while European gratins often featured beef or ham, the Japanese version most commonly used seafood. Today, numerous variations exist among Japanese dorias, including ones with vegetables, chicken, mushrooms and a host of other ingredients!

The classic Japanese doria starts with cooked white rice. The rice is typically buttered, and depending on taste seasoned with aromatics such as garlic or herbs such as parsley. To the buttered rice is added seafood such as shrimp, scallops or fish, or chicken or vegetables, such as broccoli and mushrooms. And the entire mixture is then folded into a classic French béchamel sauce, made of butter, flour and milk. The combined ingredients are layered into a baking dish and topped with meltable, creamy cheese, such as parmesan or gruyere. The dish is then baked until the cheese is golden on top.

Dorias are served at Yoshoku restaurants throughout Japan but are also frequently prepared at home for lunch or dinner. Our classic recipe is the Green Peas and Asparagus Doria, which is made using rice cooked in our rice cookers.

Have you made this comforting dish? Try it out…it’ll be great for the coming winter months!