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  1. #1
    jammies's Avatar
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    Unsure about some Japanese ingredients

    Primal Fuel
    Hello All;

    Lately I have been trying to learn to cook some primal Japanese recipes. I sometimes am running in to ingredients that I am not sure about as far as how unhealthy they are. I am not a purist by any means, but I do use this diet to control autoimmunity, so I don't really want to incorporate high lectin foods into my regular meals. Here is an example of a recipe I want to try....I use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and used julienne mushrooms or broccoli sprouts instead of the bean sprouts. But I am unsure about the mirin and the sake? I know they come from rice, but they are fermented. Any thoughts about how much trouble they would cause? Thanks!!!

    Ingredients

    1/2 lb sliced beef (sukiyaki beef, chopped into 3″ pieces)
    1/4 lb chives (chopped into 2″ pieces)
    1/4 lb bean sprouts
    1 shironegi (thick green onion, or regular green onion if you can’t find it)
    2 cloves of garlic (sliced thin)
    1 clove of garlic (minced)

    Spices

    2 tbps soy sauce
    2 tbsp sake
    2 tbsp mirin
    2 tsp chicken soup powder
    dash salt and pepper
    ground sesame (optional)

    Preparation

    Mix spices (soy sauce, sake, mirin, chicken powder and ground garlic) in a bowl
    Heat the oil and sliced garlic in a frying pan then cook green onion for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add beef, sprinkle salt and pepper, then transfer beef to a dish when it is cooked through
    Add nira, bean sprouts, and mixed spice in a frying pan. Cook for 3 minutes over medium heat
    Return beef to the pan, mix and cook for an additional 1 minute
    Serve with sprinkled ground sesame (optional)

  2. #2
    Mammoth toppler's Avatar
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    Hey there,

    I have quite a bit of experience with Japanese cuisine. Due to my heritage I eat it and cook it quite a lot, and modify family recipes to primal quite easily, without sacrificing authenticity.
    I would say:

    Soy sauce = okay, as it is from fermented soybean. Make sure it doesn't have wheat added, as many Japanese soy sauces do. Best would be to probably go with wheat free tamari (made from whole fermented soybeans) or even Bragg's Aminos, or if you worry about soybean in general, try coconut aminos (flavour may be similar).

    Sake: made from rice so not strictly primal/paleo, but two tbsp is way within the 80/20 limit and quite small when compared to the large amount of meat.

    Mirin: same, however - this may be a bit bad, as lots of Japanese mirin have added sugar, or glucose syrup, or even high fructose corn syrup. Basically the idea is a sweet cooking wine made from rice - so made typically same way as sake, but with sweetener. I would say, probably avoid if you can, or substitute with primal sweet - like honey - if you really feel the dash of sweetness is important to the recipe.

    Chicken powder: just make sure it is good chicken powder (if it exists)! Oftentimes, chicken broth and other broth powders have some of the most horrifying ingredients (fillers, hydrogenated oils, hydrolysed proteins) and are complete frankenfoods just used to give flavour. I'd say best is to use chicken stock and just reduce it, or if you can find a chicken broth powder that is not full of fillers and additives and fairly clean, go with that.

    My word of advice though - don't necessarily go for the ingredients in the Asian market (with the Japanese labels) just for the sake of authenticity. I find very authentic taste can easily be re-created using more primal, clean, and reliable ingredients from American stores such as food co-ops, Whole Foods, Trader Joes... again, the most important is what the product is made of, and LOTS of commercial 'authentic' Japanese products are made with junk, frankenfoods, false flavourings and colourings and aspartame, preservatives, and crappy oils. My primal/healthy replacements for the 'authentic Japanese grocery products' have been homemade ghee mayo (for Kyupi mayo), wheat-free tamari (for soya sauce), sake (from Whole foods), homemade pickled vegetables (for umeboshi, ginger, etc), honey + sake for mirin, and lots of seaweed and miso which frankly, tastes and feels exactly the same as the Japanese store versions, but typically with better ingredients/more reliable sources.

    Happy cooking!

  3. #3
    jammies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mammoth toppler View Post
    Hey there,

    I have quite a bit of experience with Japanese cuisine. Due to my heritage I eat it and cook it quite a lot, and modify family recipes to primal quite easily, without sacrificing authenticity.
    I would say:

    Soy sauce = okay, as it is from fermented soybean. Make sure it doesn't have wheat added, as many Japanese soy sauces do. Best would be to probably go with wheat free tamari (made from whole fermented soybeans) or even Bragg's Aminos, or if you worry about soybean in general, try coconut aminos (flavour may be similar).

    Sake: made from rice so not strictly primal/paleo, but two tbsp is way within the 80/20 limit and quite small when compared to the large amount of meat.

    Mirin: same, however - this may be a bit bad, as lots of Japanese mirin have added sugar, or glucose syrup, or even high fructose corn syrup. Basically the idea is a sweet cooking wine made from rice - so made typically same way as sake, but with sweetener. I would say, probably avoid if you can, or substitute with primal sweet - like honey - if you really feel the dash of sweetness is important to the recipe.

    Chicken powder: just make sure it is good chicken powder (if it exists)! Oftentimes, chicken broth and other broth powders have some of the most horrifying ingredients (fillers, hydrogenated oils, hydrolysed proteins) and are complete frankenfoods just used to give flavour. I'd say best is to use chicken stock and just reduce it, or if you can find a chicken broth powder that is not full of fillers and additives and fairly clean, go with that.

    My word of advice though - don't necessarily go for the ingredients in the Asian market (with the Japanese labels) just for the sake of authenticity. I find very authentic taste can easily be re-created using more primal, clean, and reliable ingredients from American stores such as food co-ops, Whole Foods, Trader Joes... again, the most important is what the product is made of, and LOTS of commercial 'authentic' Japanese products are made with junk, frankenfoods, false flavourings and colourings and aspartame, preservatives, and crappy oils. My primal/healthy replacements for the 'authentic Japanese grocery products' have been homemade ghee mayo (for Kyupi mayo), wheat-free tamari (for soya sauce), sake (from Whole foods), homemade pickled vegetables (for umeboshi, ginger, etc), honey + sake for mirin, and lots of seaweed and miso which frankly, tastes and feels exactly the same as the Japanese store versions, but typically with better ingredients/more reliable sources.

    Happy cooking!
    Thank you, thank you!! This is very helpful You sound like you have a lot of experience in Primal Japanese cooking. Any chance you have a blog I could follow or a few staple recipes you'd like to share?

  4. #4
    primalfamily's Avatar
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    you can easily replace mirin with sake and stevia. also, hondashi could be replaced with real bonita flakes (katsuo) for making dashi. if you go more traditional/authentic coooking recipes, they tend to avoid lot of the modern conveniences that are also franken food. traditional japanese cuisine is very mild and rely on fresh ingredient in most cases.

    I believe this can be said for most east asian cooking. find the most traditional recipes and you will proabably have most primal/healthy recipes.

  5. #5
    jammies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by primalfamily View Post
    you can easily replace mirin with sake and stevia. also, hondashi could be replaced with real bonita flakes (katsuo) for making dashi. if you go more traditional/authentic coooking recipes, they tend to avoid lot of the modern conveniences that are also franken food. traditional japanese cuisine is very mild and rely on fresh ingredient in most cases.

    I believe this can be said for most east asian cooking. find the most traditional recipes and you will proabably have most primal/healthy recipes.
    Thanks! I was just reading about Hondashi - I had no idea the pre-made stocks had so many garbage ingredients I think making it from bonito flakes is really a great idea. I'm hungry now!

  6. #6
    Doddibot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mammoth toppler View Post
    My primal/healthy replacements for the 'authentic Japanese grocery products' have been homemade ghee mayo (for Kyupi mayo)
    Ghee mayo? Isn't butterfat too solid for making mayo? I'd love to know your recipe!
    "Thanks to the combination of meat, calcium-rich leaf foods, and a vigorous life, the early hunter-gatherers were robust, with strong skeletons, jaws, and teeth." - Harold McGee, On Food And Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doddibot View Post
    Ghee mayo? Isn't butterfat too solid for making mayo? I'd love to know your recipe!
    I'll take the freedom to answer this
    I've made coconut mayo from a tasteless coconut oil I have, for which reason I don't like it for anything but this. I think thickness depends on how many eggs/egg yolks you use - the more egg, the runnier.
    I just made a tiny bit of mayo the other day. Mine didn't solidify, even in the fridge!

    Here's roughly what I did:
    3 egg yolks + a little egg white (the white was just a filler, really, you don't need it; you can also use whole eggs instead of just the yolks)
    Oil (I heated a little coconut oil - take whatever amount you want, really. I didn't have much, a few tbsp, but plan on smacking in much more in next time)
    A little mustard (used dijon - VERY little, I honestly don't like it much)
    A little vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
    A little lime/lemon juice
    Salt + pepper

    I started smacking the eggs in the food processor, then adding the oil (SLOWLY) and then adding the rest.
    You'll have to taste your way through it - I usually don't measure (which I should for future makings, lol)

    In my first try, I used olive oil. Big mistake - I hated it! The olive oil has a way too strong taste (a taste which I don't like).
    Next time, I'm going to add maybe a cup of coconut oil instead, as I won't be scared to make it again (ref. olive oil batch, which I had to throw out...)
    Last edited by Bissen; 05-23-2011 at 11:48 PM.

  8. #8
    Ajax's Avatar
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    Most mirin sold in grocery stores is corn syrup with added flavorings :-/ I think sake is fine since the fermentation takes care of a lot of the anti-nutrients and you're only using a little bit.

    Here are two English-language blogs by a Japanese lady with great recipes. Not all of them are primal but you can pick and choose. One of the blogs is geared towards packed lunches.
    Just Bento
    Just Hungry

  9. #9
    jammies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajax View Post
    Most mirin sold in grocery stores is corn syrup with added flavorings :-/ I think sake is fine since the fermentation takes care of a lot of the anti-nutrients and you're only using a little bit.

    Here are two English-language blogs by a Japanese lady with great recipes. Not all of them are primal but you can pick and choose. One of the blogs is geared towards packed lunches.
    Just Bento
    Just Hungry
    Thanks Ajax.....those a great sites

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