OTOSHI-BUTA (dropped lids)

Because otoshi-buta lids drop down to sit directly on the food (not the rim of the pot), bubbling liquid recirculates as it hits the underside of the lid. Quicker, more even distribution of heat means less energy is needed to prepare food.

Lids come in various sizes. Chose one that is slightly smaller in diameter than the pan or pot with which it will be used.

Above, a kitchen scene from a 16th century scroll (Shuhanron Emaki)


Old-fashioned technology still useful today!

Try your hand at making kabocha with konnyaku knots and édamamé
download recipe

Yaki Mushi            SEAR-and-STEAM

Serve hot, drizzled with a few drops of soy sauce; garnish with lime wedge.

Above left, sear eringi (trumpet) mushrooms in a skillet lightly oiled with aromatic sesame oil. Add mushrooms when the skillet is very hot but not smoking (to test: flick a few drops of water in -- they should sizzle and evaporate almost instantly). Cover the mushrooms with an otoshi-buta immediately, pressing to char them lightly (this is the yaki or "sear" part of the technique).

Hold the lid in place for about 30 seconds, trapping in valuable moisture (the mushi or "steam" part of the technique). After flipping the mushrooms, press-sear the other side, too. Once the mushrooms are colored on both sides, add a pinch of salt, a splash of saké and hold the lid down for another 30 to 40 seconds. DONE!

Niru         Par-Boil 

In preparation for further cooking, fresh bamboo shoots first need to be parboiled in deep water to which nuka (rice bran) has been added. The oils in nuka help to neutralize hydrocyanic acid, a toxin that naturally occurs in bamboo shoots. The addition of nuka to the pot does make a messy "froth" (though it tends to aggregate toward the center of the otoshi-buta making it a bit easier to remove, later). And, using an otoshi-buta when parboiling bamboo shoots keeps them submerged tin the water (like corn-on-the-cob, bamboo shoots tend to bob about).


Dishes in the featured menu can be found in my cookbook, KANSHA: Celebrating Japan's Vegan & Vegetarian Traditions (Ten Speed Press, 2010). They are referenced here by page number. Click on the recipe titles above to download photo-illustrated documents that provide information not included in the book  -- details about ingredients, tools & techniques, menu planning and/or final presentation.

I welcome your feedback -- especially captioned photos with a brief description of your kitchen sessions when you try making the recipes above. Those interested in offering feedback, please download a set of guidelines for submitting and displaying your work.To further teaching goals, I may post some of the feedback to this site, adding my commentary.

Every 6 to 7 weeks, I will post a new lesson to this KANSHAWorkshop page
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