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.
The collection of Chinese symbols consists of an vast number of symbols that goes over the count of eighty thousand. This assortment includes all Chinese characters, signs and alphabets that have been used for thousands of years. With regards to the Chinese symbols per se, their use has become highly restricted in modern times.
The use of these symbols has diminished as the Chinese language is evolving over the years but they have other uses which are connected to art. The artistic formation of these symbols has eternal aesthetic value and they are acclaimed by the whole world for this reason.
When we take a look at China itself we find the existence of Chinese symbols in all walks of life. The cityscape is loaded with Chinese symbols represented through different mediums of art and architecture. Today you will be able to find Chinese symbols on common products such as kitchen ware etc. Many people still make use of traditional Chinese symbols for superstitious reasons in Chinese culture.
The Chinese symbols are formed so artistically that they are extremely attractive whatever their meaning might be. In reality every sign has deep philosophical connotation behind them which has rich history and is also used traditionally.
Talking of the Chinese symbol you should be aware that these symbols cover a vast area which incorporates both positive as well as negative meanings. Traditionally the Chinese believe that the strong power of the positive symbols will attract good fortune. So if they have positive symbols in their life only good things will happen.
The validity of this claim is subject to personal opinion and faith. For the Chinese the symbols hold great significance both in terms of their beautiful physical forms as well as their meaning and the consequences that incorporating these symbols into your life can have.
The ancient Chinese symbol that represents five bats collected together is one of the most popular motifs known as the five good fortunes. The five elements represent wealth, health, love, longevity and virtue. When used with the color red this symbol is considered to be even more powerful.
The sunset symbol is another positive symbol from ancient China which you will find is used widely in Chinese society. The Sun itself is the most potent power and the Yang energy is originated from the sun.
Believed to energize as well as purify the symbol of the sun is highly revered in Chinese culture due to the profound meaning that it has for them. The same symbol is also meant to represent balance which has been derived from an ancient Chinese legend.
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.