Japanese Wheat Gluten - Mitoku Fu
Mitoku Fu is high in protein and easy to digest. Before cooking, the pieces are soaked in water, softening to a sponge-like state, and the excess water is squeezed out. They are used in soups and nabemono (pot dishes).
Mitoku Kuruma Fu is named after "kuruma," meaning wheel in Japanese, as they are shaped as large flat rings. They are a unique food, developed by Buddhist monks centuries ago, and quickly became a staple in their traditionally vegetarian diet. Today Fu is a favorite among health-conscious people around the world. It makes a tasty addition to everyday meals and is quick cooking and easy to use. Mitoku Kuruma Fu and other Mitoku Fu absorbs flavors well and adapts to any style of cooking.
Zeni-Fu got its name from the old Japanese term "zeni," which was what the ancient coins were called. Zeni-fu resembles the shape of the old Japanese coins in that they are mini circles with a hole in the center. Mitoku Zeni-Fu rings are super light and a convenient size.
Mitoku Zenryu Fu is a wholesome tasting and versatile fu, made from whole-wheat flour and naturally prepared wheat gluten. These medium-sized rings have a pleasant flavor and when cooked absorb other flavors exceptionally well. As with all Mitoku Fu, Zenryu-Fu has no added chemicals, preservatives, colors or artificial leavening agents.
Uses: Add reconstituted fu to miso soup, bean soup, hearty winter stews, vegetable side dishes, deep-fry bite-size for crisp, healthy and natural croutons for salad.
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Cooking with Traditional Fu
Fu can be cooked in a variety of ways to add interest as well as substantial protein to whole foods cuisine. Some of the most popular ways of enjoying fu are the simplest. A few pieces added to vegetable soup transform it into a protein-rich stew. When cooking with fu, keep in mind that beans or soy seasonings such as miso and shoyu complement and increase its usable protein.
For most recipes, fu is first reconstituted by soaking in lukewarm water for 5-10 minutes. When it is soft, gently squeeze out excess water and add the fu to stews, casseroles, beans, and simmered vegetable dishes. For a clear soup, simmer whole cakes of fu for 15 minutes in a vegetable or kombu stock seasoned with natural soy sauce, and serve with a sprinkle of minced scallion. Add fu to hearty stews during the last 15 minutes of cooking to let it absorb the full flavor of the ingredients. When camping or traveling, add fu to soups and one-pot meals-it is the perfect lightweight, high-protein food.
For a quick and easy alternative to main course vegetable pies, use reconstituted flatened fu instead of a crust (see Squash "Pie" recipe). The texture will be different, but the results are just as delicious, and you'll be adding high-quality protein while avoiding the high fat content of most piecrusts.
Deep-fried fu enhances many dishes. Fu quickly fries to a crisp, light brown and doesn't tend to absorb oil. Do not soak fu before frying. Simply add a few rounds of Mitoku Kuruma or Zeni Fu to moderately hot oil (about 340° F) - the oil should be hot enough so the fu sizzles when added, but it should not be smoking. Fry for about 1 minute, then flip and fry for another minute. Remove all pieces from one batch and place on wire racks or absorbent paper before adding more fu to the oil. When being used in soups or casseroles, deep-fried fu is usually dowsed in boiling water to remove excess oil. Dip the pieces of fried fu in boiling water or place a single layer in a colander, pour boiling water over the pieces, then turn them and dowse again. Allow the fu to drain for a minute before using.
MAKING FU "CROUTONS"
Deep-fried fu is delicious simmered in a shoyu-seasoned broth. It also lends rich flavor to soups and stews and can be added to casseroles. Try cutting a couple rounds of deep-fried fu into bite-sized pieces and cooking it with hijiki and vegetables, or use as protein-rich croutons on soups such as onion or split pea. Lightly sprayed with shoyu or tossed with a little garlic powder or Italian seasonings right after frying, fu "croutons" add a tasty crunch to tossed salads.
Japanese Clear Soup "suimono" with Fu
Clear soups are simple and elegant. Though they may be served anytime, their lightness makes them especially appealing in warm weather or as an accompaniment to large, festive meals.
8 cups Shiitake Dashi (Stock) - see Shiitake Recipes or use 4 cups Mitoku Shiitake Dashi Broth, added to 4 cups spring water
6 pieces Mitoku Zeni Round Fu
1 teaspoon Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
1 tablespoon Mitoku Mikawa Mirin
2 tablespoons Mitoku Johsen Shoyu or Mitoku Yaemon Tamari
1 cup green onions, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
3 large collard or kale leaves, or several spinach leaves
While preparing the stock, soak the fu in lukewarm water for 10 minutes, then gently squeeze out excess moisture between the palms of your hands. Add the fu to the simmering stock along with the salt, mirin, and shoyu or tamari. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, then add the green onions and simmer for just 3-5 minutes more.
Meanwhile, parboil the greens in a separate pot of lightly salted water until just tender, then immediately drain and toss to cool quickly and prevent further cooking. Spinach becomes tender in just 30 seconds and collards take 5-7 minutes, so watch the greens carefully while they are cooking. If overcooked they will lose their color, and the visual effect of the soup will suffer. Slice the greens and set aside.
Carefully place 1 piece of fu in each bowl. Add a small mound of greens, then cover with the broth. Serve hot.
2 cups pinto beans or navy beans
6-inch piece Mitoku Hidaka Kombu
9 cups spring water
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, diced
1 rib celery, sliced diagonally
8-10 pieces Mitoku Zenryu or Kuruma Round Fu
3 tablespoons Mitoku Sakurazawa Barley Miso
Soak beans for 3 hours or overnight, drain, and discard soaking water. Combine beans with the 9 cups water and, if desired, kombu in a pressure cooker. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, then bring to pressure, lower heat, and cook for 50 to 60 minutes. Reduce pressure and uncover. (If pot-boiling, you will need to add more water occasionally. Cook for 2 to 3 hours, until beans are tender, then proceed.)
Break bay leaf into 2 to 3 pieces and add to beans along with salt, vegetables, and fu. (It is not necessary to presoak the fu in this recipe.) Simmer for 20 minutes more, then remove from heat. Dissolve the miso in 3 tablespoons water and add. Let rest briefly before serving. If desired, garnish with minced parsley or spring onions.
Miso Soup with Fu
Fu is especially good in miso soup. It may be broken or cut into small pieces and added dry to the soup. For an "instant" miso soup, simply bring a small piece of Miotku Hidaka Kombu, spring water, and several bite-sized pieces of Mitoku Fu to a simmer. Remove the kombu, simmer the fu 1-2 minutes, then season to taste with your favorite Mitoku miso. Garnish with slivered green onion, if desired.
Squash "Pie" with Sweet and Savory Onion Topping
7-9 rounds Kuruma Fu (Cut flat and pressed-down)
1 teaspoon Miotku Hirade Golden Sesame oil
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized chunks
pinch Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger juice or 1 teaspoon Mitoku Ginger Powder
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Miotku Hirade Golden Sesame oil
pinch Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
3 tablespoons Mitoku Marukura Sweet White Miso
3 tablespoons Mitoku Mikawa Mirin
parsley or watercress sprigs for garnish
Soak the fu until thoroughly softened (5-10 minutes). Gently squeeze out excess water, cut round open and press flat, then line an 8-inch-square baking pan with the fu.
Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the squash and a small pinch of salt and sauté briefly. Add water to cover the bottom of the pan, lower heat, cover, and simmer until completely tender (about 20 minutes). Check occasionally and add a little more water if necessary. When the thickest pieces are easily pierced with a fork or skewer, add the ginger juice and toss. Mash until smooth with a potato masher or put through a food mill. The filling should have the consistency of mashed potatoes or be slightly wetter. If too dry, add a little water or rice "milk". If too wet, add 1 tablespoon arrowroot dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water. Spread the squash evenly over the fu.
Meanwhile, sauté the onions in sesame oil until translucent. Toss in a pinch of salt, cover, and cook 20 minutes over low heat. (Long cooking makes the onions very sweet.) Combine the miso and mirin, add the mixture to the onions, toss, and simmer 1 minute. Spread the onion topping over the squash.
Bake at 350° F for 25-30 minutes. Slice and serve garnished with sprigs of parsley or watercress.