Beni Imo Sweet Potato Cakes with Coconut Chutney

beni imo cakes on displayI made some steamed beni imo and was feeling ho-hum about mashed beni imo or a soup. I wanted something crunchy, like roasted beni imo or beni imo chips, but I don’t have a real oven. We only have a fish grill, which works great for… um… fish. And nothing else. So, I made sweet potato cakes in a pan.

These can be made with any ol’ variety of sweet potato. Beni imo is my fav, it’s local, and that’s what I had in my pantry. I went with Indian spices, but it’s a pretty flexible recipe, so use whatever strikes your fancy. Garam Masala is a combination of roasted spices. If you don’t have this on hand, I have a recipe for it here! It will only take a few extra minutes and is totally worth it. Plus you can store it for several months. Continue reading

Kabocha Ice Cream with Miso Caramel Sauce (Dairy-free)

kabocha miso caramel pourYes! I did it again. Ice cream. Well, since my last ice cream post, l’ve discovered that people are much more excited to read about ice cream recipes than various gourd curry recipes…  Dessert bloggers get all the love. So, today I bring you a Japanese squash dessert!

I found kabocha at my local farmers market, but I think you can easily find it in the states too. Kabocha is a type of winter squash. It’s sometimes called a Japanese Pumpkin. It’s fairly sweet, which means less added sugar and more winning. Continue reading

Tougan Soup- Winter Melon, Ash Gourd, Wax Gourd, or White Gourd

tougan insta soup arialSo many names for this guy! So, is it really a gourd or a melon? When ripe, it’s used as a vegetable, but the unripe “fruit” is very sweet, and is used as a fruit. Interesting? I think so too! At least the Japanese could decide on one name. It’s called a Tougan (冬瓜). The kanji in this word is for winter 冬and melon瓜. Yay for fun with kanji! Why did this winter melon show up at the farmers market last month and not in December? It actually ripens during the summer, but because of the waxy exterior, it lasts long through the winter.

This vegetable is useful in ayurveda for both pitta and kapha. It’s very cooling for pitta during the summertime. It helps balance acidity for those with pitta issues like ulcers. It is also useful for diabetics and those desiring to lose weight. It’s also a diuretic so it will support in detoxification. Continue reading

My beloved Beni Imo- Mashed

beni imo vanillaBeni imo may be my most favorite thing about living on Okinawa. Seriously, I love this ‘tater! It’s like a sweet potato, but has lovely vanilla notes. AND IT’S PURPLE! It’s really exciting to cut into one of these beauties. The color is just so intense and somehow unexpected every time.

Last thanksgiving, I turned these into a sweet potato soufflé, which is tradition in my family. I also got a little daring and made a side dish with beni imo, Okinawan brown sugar and pineapple bits. I’ve made a Thai-inspired beni imo soup. You can use it anyway that you would use a sweet potato. They occasionally find their way into a curry, but I really like to let the color shine alone, like in this recipe. Continue reading

Yuugao- Okinawan Bottle Gourd Curry

yuugao curry

yuugao curry

I was inspired this week to try some new Okinawan summer veggies. I saw this huge green vegetable, with a sticker price of around $1.75, and decided that I must learn to like this, based on the price alone. I stood there in the middle of the market, entering kana into my Japanese translation app to discover that yuugao is bottle gourd! Then I Google what the heck a bottle gourd is good for. Apparently, they make delightful liquid vessels once they’re dried. Also, people eat them. I’m off to a good start! Continue reading

Okinawa summer salad with ponzu-sesame dressing

okinawa summer saladWell, it’s blazing hot here on Okinawa. Pair the heat with the high humidity and it’s like a non-stop sauna. Wahhh! My husband is REALLY enjoying this weather, but it’s making me a lot bit cranky. I’ve been looking for ways to keep cool and keep my pitta nature under control. Ding ding ding! Cooling, refreshing salad!

I went to the local farmers market and came back with a bunch of summer veggies that I wanted to experiment with. You’ll probably be seeing some of these in upcoming posts. I’ll be using Okinawa varieties of produce, but I’ll list substitutions next to the ingredients in case you don’t have access to the same produce. I’ve also included picture of these ingredients and the label in case you are in Japan. Continue reading

Mint Chutney

 

  • 2 cups mint leaves
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 small piece ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup milk kefir or yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Blend all ingredients into a paste, except the kefir/yogurt and salt. Pour the paste into a serving bowl then mix kefir/yogurt and salt. This will keep for 1 week in a glass container in the fridge. If you’d like this chutney to be a bit thicker, you can strain the kefir or yogurt for a few hours to drain the whey a bit.