Variety of exquisite morsels, often including raw fish. Sushi seems like the standard food of Japan, but it was invented only in the 1950s.
Woman To Have Sushi In Space TOKYO –Japan’s first female astronaut is looking forward to marking another milestone–being the first in space to dine on sushi. Dr. Chaiki Mukai rocketed into space Friday aboard the shuttle Colombia on a two-week laboratory research mission. The 42-year-old heart surgeon from Tokyo told Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono and Makiko Tanaka, director general of the science and technology Agency, on Sunday that she was looking forward to eating sushi and octopus cakes and other traditional Japanese foods.
The mission is packed with experiments on the effects of weightlessness on fish, newts, jellyfish, frog eggs, sea urchins, fruit flies and worms.
Many sushi places, especially in the local regions where the items are actually caught fresh, pride themselves on serving very fresh foods, which usually means that the food is usually still alive and kicking until you order it. This includes fish that are filleted while alive, tiny fish that are swallowed whole and alive, AND the worst one I just saw on TV the other week–in Hokkaido, they had a sushi place that had live octopus. The sushi master pulled the live tako out of the tank, cut a piece of its appendage off and served it to the show’s host. The bugger was still wriggling on the chopsticks. One little tako leg. Bleaugh. She waited until it stopped spazzing–but she said when she put it in her mouth, it suckered onto the inside of her mouth and wriggled around.
Okra is a strong contender for Least Favorite Vegetable or Ropiest Mucus (vegetable division.) Okra is the source of many jokes. We used to call them “slime pods”. Saturday Night Live even had an “Okra Cola” parody. To me, they resemble something left over from a rather ugly chest cold. Guess how the Japanese eat okra? They don’t cook it. They eat it raw and slimy. That figures. My Japanese wife buys frozen whole okra, about 8 ounces I guess, thaws the pods under cold running water and chops them into bite-sized pieces, then plops them into a bowl and stirs in hefty amounts of lemon juice and soy sauce till it “looks right” (3 or 4 tbsp each I guess.) She also stirs in a lot of chopped green onions (about 6 or 8.) Using chopsticks she whips this into the most glistening frothing blob of goo you can imagine. Then she refrigerates it for several hours to let the flavors mix, and eventually serves it cold as a side dish.
The flavor is fresh and green-garden-vegetably with a lemon bite. The pods are still crunchy like wholesome raw veggies, and they make an intriguing contrast to the slime. I like them so much I just eat them slime and all.
Rather than trying to gulp quivering spoonfuls of the stuff, I delicately grasp each pod-piece with chopsticks and stretch out the slime till it gets thin and breaks, kind of like hot pizza cheese. Then I’ve got a mini-bite package that pops into my mouth with no mess and chews up individually instead of seeming like it’s still connected to the rest of the stuff in the bowl.
The most typical Southern US way to prepare okra: battered and deep fried. Actually, people in the South will batter and fry dang near anything but doing so with okra is one of their best inventions. Yummy! Its also very easy to grow. My Father had a harvest one year where the plants topped 10 feet tall and were just covered in pods.
The slimy texture is similar to other Japanese foods such as raw seafood, but most notably reminiscent of “natto”, which is fermented soy beans. Natto is brown, is just as slimy as okra, and smells raunchy from the yeast-beasts who already romped in it. To make it even more gruesome, perhaps so it reminds her of oysters slithering down her throat, she cracks a raw egg on top. I won’t go near the stuff myself. There’s no accounting for taste. From: Dan Wright.
Callaloo (in Trinidad): boiled okra + spinach (my brother makes sandwiches with this)