Persimmon: During this season is very common to find them dried -especially at the countryside, hanging from the windows-. Even if we also have persimons/kakis in Catalunya, we have a diferent kind of -the most usual ones at my country are the soft/juicy/non-seeded ones-. Here they have more "meat" and also seeds, even if they're more than a thousand types of persimon all over the world and many of them placed in Japan. To be eaten as a fruit, I'd say they're pretty similar to ours when it comes to flavour, but I've never seen dried ones at home. They're a-m-a-z-i-n-g...and I can't say more with words, but, as we do have persimon's fruit, I encourage you to try drying them -just hang them outside where they don't get water from the rain. An old woman I met introduced a delicious persimon recipe to me: dried persimon roll macereted on Yuzu juice -I'll try to make it with lemon once I arrive home!-.
That I discovered
In Japan, to have dessert after the meals or to eat sweet things for breakfast is not common, but it's culture still has amazing sweet treats which are way different from ours.
To start, they're normally not as sweet as our cakes, cookies or chocolates. Also the basic ingredients they normally use don't include typical european ingredients as butter, milk or a lot of flour. Actually, we could summarize most of the basic things that are used on japanese sweets in rice and beans. Yep, what we NEVER use on desserts. But they make the beans -can be azuki, other beans, white beans...- sweet, and normally turn them into a paste called anko, that fills or recovers many of the pastries. With the rice, they hit it with a stick -at list traditionally- and turn it into a chewy soft cute ^^ mochi, which I guess you can notice I'm inlove with. Also many pastries use matcha green tea powder, which makes them very japanese characteristic -and I love to use also on european dessert recipes-, and agar-agar -a seaweed that creates natural-healthy-vegan jelly. I always get inspired by this healthy and yummy sweets, especially because they use ingredients that we actually have, but we use for complete different things. I can't wait to come to Catalunya and start using our traditional "mogetes" -white beans" which normally go with sausage or codfish, to make a dessert! ^^ Below I'll keep posting the treats I'm discovering and the recipes I learn:
Manju: It's basically any sweet filled with anko. The first one I tried on this trip in Japan had anko from white beans and was recovered with a custard of egg, flour and honey.
That I discovered
Nabe(mono): It consists on an electric fire that you put in the middle of the table, with a pot with boiling water on top. On a side, you have raw vegetables, "fish meat" pieces, meat slices...that you keep adding to the water to create a soup and eat each ingredients. At some point you add some rice noodles -at least or were those-. It's similar to shabu-shabu, but I heard that shabu-shabu has mainly meat slices while nabemono doesn't require it. In this kind of dishes you can discover many interesting ingredients, as a kind of jelly made of potato called "", a japanese sweet-citrus-taste potato and many other things.