kruizing with kikukat

Monday, September 26, 2011

Imitation Namako

 Years ago, Mr. Dependable would drive his Pathfinder to Kapoho, and he and his friends would pick namako.  Namako is an edible variety of sea cucumber. He would come home with a bucket of these short, fat, worm-like creatures.  I would make sure Dad would get some because Dad is the absolute best at preparing them.  Dad's namako is sliced thin and pickled in a vinegar-lemon juice-sugar solution, which preserves the namako and prevents it from melting away.  When its time to serve, a small scoop of grated daikon radish is placed in a small dish, along with a generous squirt of shoyu.  Then the namako pieces, along with some of the acidic sauce, is added to the dish.  Yummmm.

But namako is difficult to obtain.  The Mr. Dependable hasn't gone for years (or if he goes, he is not giving me any).  I haven't tried preparing any of the dried namako from the Chinese store, although I did eat some that Uncle Hanok brought from Korea on his last trip here.  But Uncle Hanok cooked the reconstituted dried namako.  I like it raw.

The best approximation of raw namako is thin slices of konnyaku, a gelatinous-like substance often used in Japanese cooking.  By slicing the konnyaku thinly, and preparing the same condiments as in namako, its easy to pretend you are slurping on namako.  The one important thing to remember is that konnyaku, unlike namako, needs to be chewed well, as it will not readily dissolve or melt.  By slicing it thin, the choking hazard is greatly reduced.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
     2-3 blocks konnyaku
     1 c grated daikon
     2 tbsp lemon juice
     1/4 c sugar
     3/4 tsp salt
     1 tsp hondashi
     1 tsp shoyu

Rinse and cut konnyaku in half.  Cut each piece in half (butterfly) to make it thinner.  Cut in thin slices.  Salt konnyaku and massage.  Rinse and drain.  Combine with rest of ingredients.  Chill overnight.

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