Japanese home cooking features a lot of simmered dishes (nimono). Naturally, every properly equipped Japanese kitchen must have this simple device to enhance the simmering process: the otoshi-buta.
You can think of the otoshi-buta as a snug sweater for your simmering foods. It is a circular lid that is placed on simmering food instead of over the pot. Using a lid in this way allows for less liquid to be used since the otoshi-buta helps to weigh down the ingredients. Since less liquid is used, less flavor will diffuse out of whatever you’re simmering and into the broth. It also holds all the ingredients in place and prevents them from jostling and breaking apart due to the boiling broth. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, the otoshi-buta aids in even heating by preventing heat from escaping the broth.
Traditional otoshi-buta are made of wood. They must be soaked in water before use to prevent the nimono broth from seeping into the wood and contaminating other dishes. After use, they must be thoroughly scrubbed and left to dry before reuse. Modern otoshi-buta now also come in a variety of materials such as stainless steel and silicone, each with their own unique characteristics.
A makeshift otoshi-buta can also be made out of aluminum foil or cooking paper. The French call this a “chesimer”. There are certain situations, such as when simmering brittle vegetables, where a lighter otoshi-buta is more appropriate than a heavier one. The best part of using one of these impromptu otoshi-buta is that clean up is super simple: just toss it in the trash.
It’s quite incredible how much of a difference this simple device can make. Do yourself a favor and try one out for yourself. You’ll be a believer once you taste the improvement!
There is a reason why Tokyo has more Michelin stars than Paris; the Japanese kitchen is a fascinating product of centuries of culinary heritage. If you want to learn more about Japanese and other Asian cooking supplies, recipes, and techniques, check out my blog about Japanese kitchens at fareastcoastkitchen.com.
People who’re thinking about gardening are not the only ones intrigued by Japanese maple trees. Numerous artists have taken inspiration from Japanese maple trees, and have developed art focusing on these types of trees.
Of all Asian trees, Japanese maples are probably one of the most appreciated. They’ve even gained admiration from men and women in other parts of the world. This worldwide recognition is not only owed to the trees themselves, but also to the various art depicting them.
Taking up the Japanese maple as a focal point in their art work isn’t some thing new to Japanese artists. The history of Japanese art reveals a lot of art specimens dating back to the times when the Japanese garden concept was being explored to its fullest. The representation with the Japanese maple in Japanese art comes in varied forms. In reality the art work revolving around the Japanese maple is as diverse as the range of trees that fall inside the category of the tree it self.
Oil painting from the Japanese Heian Period have been found. These paintings contain Japanese maples as the subject with the paintings. Many artists were fascinated by Japanese gardens. They tried to show the social environments with the Japanese elite making use of Japanese gardens as the scene. These paintings placed the Japanese maples as the surroundings of the events.
The depiction of maple trees in such paintings was not very detailed due to the fact they had been shown as becoming component of an whole scene. Contrary to this particular artists took the tree by itself as their topic matter and attempted to replicate it inside the most realistic manner. A section with the Japanese maple paintings looks practically like a botanical study of the species.
This really is not to say that the Japanese artists didn’t get conceptual with all the maple tree. Because the maple tree was and nonetheless is regarded as to add serenity towards the Japanese garden it became recognized as a symbol of serenity, peace, beauty and magnificence.
Hence we discover considerably artwork abstracted and inspired by the feeling generated by Japanese maple trees. The artists have sought to capture the seasonal change that occurs within the trees. The Japanese artists had been very experimental with regards towards the conceptual paintings that they came up with taking the Japanese maple as their source of inspiration.
Other people have concentrated on certain parts of the tree. There is plenty of Japanese maple art concentrated on the leaf designs which are identified within the several trees. Detailed studies of maple tree leaves come across as fine paintings to decorate your properties and offices.
Japanese maple art have lately begun to be depicted in several other methods. These days, Japanese maple trees are depicted on clothing items, accessories, caps, jewelry and wallets. These will have either a realistic or conceptual representation with the Japanese maple.
Family system has not yet been thrown out by the Japanese people and so is the case of the family symbols also. ‘Ka-mon’, the Japanese term for family symbols was derived from ‘Ka’ and ‘mon’ which mean family with its own ancestral tree and emblem respectively. History of Ka-mon traces back to 1200 AD.
The Europeans also had the custom of adopting family symbols at that time, which was called ‘Coat of Arms’ . This similarity has been a stimulant for a number of comparative studies between these two symbols.
No doubt, the Japanese family symbol possesses multiple and unique characteristics which are impossible to decipher by giving them generalized explanations.
There are no specified rules for the construction of Japanese family symbols. Generally mon is found as a disc-shaped symbol encompassing any figure of plants, animals, man-made objects and mythical or real figures.
Kanji script, which is an unavoidable element of Japanese art forms, can be seen in the family symbols also. Religious and geometrical figures also are used to create these symbols. Normally these scripts and figures would be put in an abstracted form.
Although there are no set restrictions when it comes to the designing of the mon it gets its name from the contents that are illustrated in its design. The name of the mon does not really represent its depiction rather it only seeks to describe it. The blazon in the mon is not in perspective and this makes it quite different from the European crest. The designs that are illustrated on the mon come into their formalized fashion as they get the stamp of tradition through the passage of time.
There is not a specified rule for the colour selection also. However, they are commonly found in monochrome. The usage of family symbols are unaccustomed in Japan nowadays. Although there are some families that stick to use them, several families will find it difficult to identify their mon because it has been labelled as an ancient practice.
In case any family requires to identify their mon, there are several ways to find it. The temple records keep the details of the ancestral home towns of people and these records can be useful when need arises.
The Japanese family symbols are available for sale at many of the conventional arts and crafts shops all over the world. You will find the family symbol to be used in the interior decorations of restaurants as well as on ceramic roof tiles. Many Japanese packed foods also include the mon.