where the magic happens

bizenyaki

Pottery Artist Ritsuko Moore shares her Bizen Yaki experimental work. She wraps her pieces with rice straw (top left), and she loads them to the Noborigama kiln (bottom left). Full of curiosity and excitement, their new appearance is revealed after 70 hours (right).  As you see, the rice straw wrap remains in the final presentation as a dark brown stain. This is the natural organic color of rice straw!

another way to use…

© EunYoung Sebazco

20141207_150151

Another way to use the rice plant is for Japanese traditional New Year decorations. On the house entry door or on the porch to prevent malicious spirits from entering, a special knitted rope is made from rice straws called Shimenawa (しめなわ, 注連縄). Rice Straw: This brings hope for a good harvest season, Tangerine: Continue great descendants, Pine tree twig: Works against evil spirits,  Mizuhiki: Traditional Knot, Hope for great connection and Shide: Paper Deco, Symbol of a sanctuary. Great Workshop Conducted by Master Florist Yumi Ichihashi of Baum at Globus Washitsu.

Fermented Rice Bran Pickles

© EunYoung Sebazco
dsc_1817
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). So, 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.

Ingredients
Slightly roasted nuka
Salt
Water
Dried kelp (Kombu)
Chilli
Vegetables (Cucumber, Carrots, Radish, etc)

Directions
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.
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.