Elizabeth Andoh, #41, is this week’s subject from Gourmet Online’s list of the “50 Women Game Changers“. I’d never heard of her, but that is not surprising since I’m new to Japanese food. She was born and raised in America but moved to Japan and attended the Yanagihara School of Traditional Japanese Cuisine, in Tokyo. In 1972 she opened her own culinary arts program, Taste of Culture. She also writes a newsletter that comes out six times a year that focuses on some aspect of Japan’s food culture. Among her several books are Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen, and Kansha: Celebrating Japan’s Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions.
“Washoku is an integrated approach to achieving nutritional balance and aesthetic harmony at table; both a culinary philosophy and a set of practical guidelines for preparing food.” Andoh teaches that the traditional Japanese philosophy strives for a balance of food from 5 colors, 5 flavors, and 5 ways of preparing food. Also important is to source local food from the region one lives in, and to use foods from land and sea.
My local library does not carry any of Elizabeth’s books, and the internet didn’t satisfy my curiosity this time. I opted instead to focus on a technique that I found on her webpage for making a thin omelette, and then using it for makimono (rolls). Andoh uses a square pan for this omelette. I tried it on a flat grill and it worked fairly well, but the edges turned out a little ragged —not perfectly square as they turn out with her pan, but you can trim the edges. The filling is something I invented on the spot, not having the gingered chicken paste that she uses. The result of my little experiment didn’t look like anything as perfect that I saw on her webpage, but my friends and I enjoyed it for lunch. (If you make this be sure to drain the beans well so the roll will be tighter.)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Flat grill, or square omelette pan
Long chop stick
A plate large enough for the full opened omelette to sit on
Ingredients For the Omelette:
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for the Filling:
1 cup black beans, drained
¼ teaspoon natural cane sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons onion, minced
3 tablespoons carrot, finely shredded, and lightly salted
3 tablespoons cucumber, finely shredded, and lightly salted
Procedure for the omelette:
1. Heat the grill to medium-high. Lightly beat the eggs with the sesame oil and salt. Have ready the plate to put the square omelette on.
2. Spread a little olive oil on the grill so the omelette won’t stick. When the grill is hot enough pour the egg onto the grill trying to keep it in a square shape. If some of the egg spreads beyond the square, gently fold it back into the square.
3. When the egg has firmed up on the bottom side, use your chop stick or spatula to lift and flip the omelette. Finish cooking it another minute or two on the second side.
Procedure for the bean filling:
1. Squeeze the extra water out of the carrots and set them aside.
2. In a small bowl, mash together the black beans, the sugar, ginger, and the onion.
3. Spread the bean paste over the omelette leaving ½ edge on all sides. Top the beans with the carrot and the cucumber, and then tightly roll the omelette.
4. Return the omelette to the pan and cook until it is lightly brown on both sides.
5. Remove the omelette from the grill and slice off the ragged ends and eat them; it’s too good to go to waste. Slice the remaining omelette into pieces about 1-1/4 inch wide. This should leave you with 8 pieces.
Garnish: Cilantro leaves, or chopped green onion
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