Like many frugal Japanese women who
managed households in the early and mid 20th century, my
mother-in-law, Kiyoko Andoh, practiced thrift in and out of the kitchen. She
saved bits and pieces of cloth, turning them into quilted cushions and throws.
Odd lengths of thread were transformed into charming ornaments called temari by winding colorful strands
around a spherical core in various patterns. And in the kitchen, the Senior
Mrs. Andoh was a master at transforming bits and pieces of food into sumptuous
her tricks was to take thin slices of pickled or soy-stewed vegetables and
place them on tiny spheres of tart sushi rice making what in Japan is commonly called temari-zushi. I re-named the plump, bite-sized sushi balls: POM-POM sushi. Above is a typical tsukémono (pickled vegetable) assortment; the process photos show shaping mini-spheres topped with myōga (a distant relative of ginger). In KANSHA, on page 43, I offered you some cross-cultural versions: fuchsia-colored
pickled radicchio(page 198, In the Pink Pickles) and sunny-green avocado.
Decorative String Balls were the inspiration for
Pom-Pom sushi (above)
Wheat Gluten "Dumplings" chewy little dumplings inspired by temari string balls
Several of the food items mentioned above can be found in my cookbook, KANSHA: Celebrating Japan's Vegan & Vegetarian Traditions(Ten Speed Press, 2010). They are referenced here by page number. And, you can watch a video demonstrating the preparation of Pom-Pom Sushi by clicking on the link below the photo.
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.