Feet planted on the side of twenty that rounds up to thirty, repose looks lavish and breathing feels like it’s done six feet under water. When I’m in a crowd, I fear I say too much. When I’m alone, I’m afraid I have nothing to say. Self censorship is an unceasing drone of off-white noise humming inside my skull, an imposter so successful that I sometimes mistake it for a friend. Silence, I say, in the voice I’ve acquainted through the bones of my face. My inner voice, which sounds huskier and lower than in recordings, in zoom meetings. Silence, I say again, in my inner voice, this time charged with a magnetic fuzz. And as if it were swelling of foam on the shore, the off-white subsided. But it inevitably returns. Because it only napped, not to the sound of my command, but by its own lunar rhyme.
Shiso Pickled Radishes
- 3/4 cup rice vinegar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 cherry radishes
- Small bunch of fresh purple shiso
- In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar and sugar to a simmer just until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Meanwhile, wash and trim the radishes, then halve them lengthwise.
- Wash and separate the shiso leaves and trim off any woody stems.
- Pack the radishes and shiso into an appropriately sized clean mason jar.
- Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the radishes until they are fully submerged (if not, top it up with boiling water).
- Seal with the lid and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating for at least 2 weeks before enjoying. Keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 months.
Sesame Eggplant Salad
- 3 small Chinese eggplant, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch thick half moons
- 2 tbsp roasted white sesame paste
- 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp black vinegar
- 1 glove garlic, finely grated into a paste
- Steam the eggplant until soft.
- While eggplant is still hot, beat in the remaining ingredients and mashing slightly as necessary to form a coarse paste.
- Chill completely before serving with toasted nori sheets and rice.
Tamagoyaki – from Just One Cookbook
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tbsp dashi
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp mirin
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp neutral oil
- Beat together all the ingredients except the oil using chopsticks until fairly even.
- Generously brush a tamagoyaki pan with oil.
- Heat it until a chopstick dipped with egg drawn onto the surface sizzles instantly. (I use a copper one which heats up extremely fast on a gas burner.)
- Pour a thin layer of egg to coat the bottom of pan fully.
- Take the pan off the heat and using chopsticks or a rubber spatula, fold the egg over itself several times towards the side opposite the handle to form a roll. Push the roll flush against the side with the handle and brush the remaining parts of the pan with oil again.
- Return the pan to the heat and repeat steps 3-5 as many times as necessary to use up the egg mixture.
- Turn the omelet out onto a bamboo sushi mat so that it is parallel to the bamboo. Wrap the mat firmly around the omelet and secure it with a rubber band.
- Chill until set.
- Slice and serve. Wrap any leftovers in clingfilm – will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.