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What Is An Otoshi-Buta And What Is It For?

by on Jul.10, 2014, under Japan

  • Sumo

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.

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    My name is Harry Delgado and I am a full time Internet and Small Business developer and marketer. Over 30 years in the Computer systems development, programming, hardware installations and support. Currently making a living from blogs like HJDS Computer Services , HJDS Investment Group and HJDS BlogBiz. You can connect with me via social media sites at Facebook - LinkedIn - Twitter - YouTube.

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