Tumbling is one of the new dramas currently being aired on TBS. It is about a struggling high school club that does men’s rhythmic gymnastics (yes, there is such a thing). The club starts out as a four-man group until the school’s rough bad boy delinquents headed by Azuma Wataru (Yamamato Yusuke) join in. The guys face obstacles and ridicule as they try to prove their worth and dedication to the sport while resolving differences within the group and strengthening bonds with each other as well.
I’ll Tumble for Ya!: OMG… men in tights! And with a pose like this… who can possibly resist Tumbling? lol
In the tradition of Japan’s sports manga, Tumbling looks like the usual I-don’t-care-what-you-say,-I’m-gonna-practice-hard-til-I-succeed kind of story. However, it is unusual with its choice of sports – rhythmic gymnastics for men (which I learned is quite popular in Japan) since RG is more known to be largely performed by women. So basically, Tumbling is more like the movie Waterboys (a group of HS guys doing another sport dominated by women – synchronized swimming) of which I am a loyal fan. Anyway, the drama is still ongoing so I can’t give a full review on it yet. In the meantime, it is great to see Yusuke and the other actors do their own tumbling, handstands and other routines which are obviously not easy to do. Good job, mina-san!
Jdorama Food: Omuraisu
Omuraisu (also known as omurice) is short for “omelette rice” which is exactly that – omelette and rice. It is one of the Japan’s well-loved western-styled dishes. It is made of fried rice (usually consisting of chicken and tomato sauce) with omelette that is either placed on top of the rice or wrapped around it.
The FooDorama Connection: Omuraisu is shown so far in almost every episode since Wataru’s mom (Otsuka Nene) owns a diner that seems to specialize on this dish (because it’s the only food i’ve seen her served so far!)
Wataru and his friends would usually hang out at his mom’s diner and bond over a meal of omuraisu after grueling hours of stretching and tumbling (either that or fighting with other gangs).
The omuraisu served in Tumbling with ketchup on top.
Another favorite jdorama of mine that showed omuraisu was…
Tiger and Dragon (TBS, 2005): Meeting at a western -styled diner, Yakuza henchman, Tora (Nagase Tomoya) and rakuga master, Don-chan (Nishida Toshiyuki – above left) would often end every episode with their funny running gag – the ‘exchange of debt payments’ (hard to explain – basta, watch it na lang!) while having their usual orders of omuraisu.
The FooDorama Challenge: Trying out Omuraisu!
I find this dish not really strange and new since I have been having fried rice and omelette throughout my whole life. But I guess presenting it in a novel kind of way made me feel excited about it – plus the fact that I do love fried rice along with fluffy scrambled eggs! Yummm…
How to make the raisu in omuraisu: Saute chopped garlic and onions in a pan. Add meat, preferably chicken (but I used ham instead).
Then, mix in the other ingredients:sliced mushrooms, green peas, chopped bell peppers, tomato sauce, and some ketchup. When ready, add in cooked white rice and stir. Season with salt and pepper. To enhance flavor, one can mix in chicken bouillon (finely chopped into powder), a bay leaf, and/or Worcestershire sauce. For me, I used a lil thing we call magik sarap. Adjust the amounts to your liking. Then, set aside on a plate when done.
To make the omelette: beat 2 eggs in a bowl and season it with salt and pepper. Pour it on the same heated pan you used for the rice, making sure to spread it evenly throughout the surface. As it cooks, place a cup of the fried rice in the center. Bring the top and bottom edges of the omelette over the rice. The tricky part comes when placing it on your plate: place an upside down plate on the pan, turn the whole thing over so the plate catches the omuraisu.
Actually… This is what it looks like after transferring it on a plate. My omelette was almost turning brown since it had sat on the hot pan for too long (because I was busy taking pix!Hee-hee…). Anyhoo, I adjusted it using my hands – tucking the edges and shaping it for a better, neater look.
Whew!My first attempt at Omuraisu for FDC#12 – done!: It turned out pretty ok for a first try, I guess. Garnished with parsley and drizzled with ketchup. The presentation looked really inviting. As a breakfast meal (for us Pinoys, this is preferably served as a good hearty breakfast with hot coffee), it would really start your day right just by looking at it. You can write/design ketchup symbols and messages on it like hearts and smileys. Your kids and spouse would love it!
Open up and say…Mmm!: My first omuraisu was fantastic! They all went so well in your mouth – the rice, the omelette, and even the ketchup! You got to eat it fast though because it does taste better if it’s warm.
Based on a Korean comic novel (or manhwa), Full House is a very popular drama first aired from July to Sept. of 2004 on KBS2. The 16 episode romance/drama starred Rain as Lee Young Jae and Song Hye Kyo as Han Ji Eun. Both characters coming from different worlds somehow met, clash, and eventually agreed on a one-year contract marriage with terms and conditions that may benefit both. The deal was that she (a down-on-her-luck aspiring writer) will get her house back while he (a famous actor) uses this marriage to spite the woman who had continued to ignore his affections. The story then unfolds as the two struggle to keep their deal (as well as their growing feelings for each other) a secret.
Full House is so far my most favorite Korean drama, though I don’t get to watch a lot of kdramas since I prefer jdoramas for their fast-paced, and shorter story lines. There is something about Full House that gets to me – cheesy yet adorable; funny yet painful to watch especially those heart-tugging crying scenes of both Rain and Hye Kyo; and that rare unique chemistry and perfect casting of the two lead actors. The beautiful beach house (where most of the story was shot) is said to be the third most important lead ‘character’ in the story and I agree.
The house (at left) was the “MacGuffin” (the defining aspect) in the story and that in itself made it come alive – quietly watching over the two characters – maybe even chuckling at their petty squabbles like a wizened grand patriarch.
There was a Pinoy version of Full House (it was terrible!) shown on GMA network last year. One of its faults (among many) was that it failed to recognize the significance of the house (as a ‘character’) completely ignoring it, thereby our local version lacked charm and depth… it was – to be put it bluntly – ‘dumb-sized’ to fit the masses… hay naku. Don’t bother if you can’t deliver, will ya? Grr! .\/.
Kdrama Food: Bibimbap
Bibimbap is a well-known Korean dish that simply means “mixed rice.” It is made with various sauteed and seasoned vegetables and chili pepper paste (gochujang) mixed together with warm white rice. One can add an egg and meat if desired. If curry rice is the dish frequently served in jdoramas, I think bibimbap (along with kimchi) is the most common dish being eaten (and with so much spicy gusto!) by characters in kdramas.
The FooD0rama Connection: In episode 7, Ji Eun (Hye Kyo) makes and eats bibimbap as Young Jae (Rain) looks at it with half- scorn and half-playfulness, calling it ‘dog food.’
But eventually… When his ‘cook’ (Ji Eun) wasn’t around, Young Jae mixes up left-overs from the fridge and makes himself some bibimbap, too. But Ji Eun arrives and catches him eating what he just derisively called dog food.
“Aigoo! Why are your arms so long?” 🙂 This cute scene is one of my faves: In his surprise and embarrassment at being caught by Ji Eun, he choked on his food, numbing his right side and so gets an arm massage from his young ‘wife.’
Ji Eun’s big bowl of Bibimbap: rice mixed with pickles, kimchi, beef, gochujang, etc. in a metal bowl.
The FooDorama Challenge: Finally my own Bibimbap!
I think I ordered bibimbap in a Korean resto before but I hardly remember how it tasted like. I’ve seen it being served in other kdramas (the bibimbap scene in My Lovely Kim Sam-Soon was absolutely mouth-watering) many times so I promised myself that I will get to have something like that at home someday.
There are 2 ways to make bibimbap – the formal way when serving guests (sauteeing and presenting each ingredient before mixing) and the simple way (just throw in a bowl whatever’s in the fridge and mix them all up). I decided to try out the formal way first.
One can choose any ingredient. I chopped up vegetables into strips or julienne style.
You also need chili pepper paste or gochujang which is available in SM supermarkets.
The ingredients were seasoned with salt, and separately sauteed in sesame oil. Afterwards, I placed them on a tray so my lunch companions can get the ones they like for their bibimbap: shiitake mushrooms, carrots, cukes, and bean sprouts (not in picture: spinach and ground beef).
Bibimbap for FDC#11 is done!: You can present it like this for your guests (and for yourself). In the center, I put a fried egg (sunny side-up) on top of white rice. The ingredients are placed around it so the colors are presented in a visually appealing manner. Garnished with sesame seeds and served with gochujang paste and sesame oil.
My bibimbap all mixed up: Dog food? Of course not! 🙂 But with all those carbs, I’m just wondering why they say this was the diet food of Gwyneth Paltrow. I placed a few amount of gochujang since I do not want it to be too spicy. Still, the smell of sesame oil and chili paste lingered in my breath hours after I ate. Nevertheless, it was good! I just wish I had a stone bowl so it can keep on warming the rice while I eat… Or a metallic bowl so I could make-believe I’m in a korean drama scene – lol!
Aja! Aja!… In the following days, I still made bibimbap but in the informal way – using leftover food. The spiciness can really make you want to eat more though so I was careful not to over-eat. It was still fun and delicious!!!
…Fighting!: How about you? What drama do you think has the best bibimbap scene? Click on this poll and vote!
P.S… Special thanks to my guest ‘chef’ for this FDC post – PawPaw! xoxo
JIN is an 11 episode sci-fi/medical drama shown from Oct. to Dec. of 2009 on TBS. The story centers around a brain surgeon, Dr. Minakata Jin, who got mysteriously transported back in time – around 1860’s or a few years prior to Japan’s historic period, the Meiji Restoration. The doctor in his quest to find a way to go back to his own time had suddenly found himself involved and interacting with people of that era – both ordinary and prominent figures – thereby, inevitably altering the course of history – not just of Japan, but of the whole world as well. This drama bagged the top awards in the 63rd Japan Drama Academy Awards including best drama and best lead actor for Osawa Takao (as Jin).
JIN is an interesting drama that is definitely “edutaining” – (educational and entertaining). The viewer can learn about Japan’s history as well as a bit about science and medicine. Though i am no expert, I am sure the drama is not historically accurate. However, its absorbing story-line, the mysteries behind his time travel that have yet to be solved, and the consequences and morality of his actions are thought-provoking and can surely hook a viewer like me til the end. I am sure there will be a second season… and I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next!
Jdorama Food: Agedashi Tofu
Agedashi tofu (also known as agedashidofu or age tofu) is basically deep-fried tofu served with a dipping sauce called tentsuyu (made of mirin, dashi, and soy sauce). It is eaten as a side dish or appetizer.
FooDorama Connection: In Episode 10, before leaving the Tachibana family (who had “adopted” him ever since he got transported back into the past), Dr. Minakata (Osawa) receives a bento box from Tachibana Miki (played by Ayase Haruka) as she bids him farewell.
In this drama: I learned that prior to the Meiji Restoration (pre-1868), the Japanese were forbidden to eat meat from four-legged animals due to their strict Buddhist beliefs. Therefore, Dr. Minakata had been eating a lot of vegetarian meals (which he considers plain side dishes in his own time) that were always prepared by Miki. Above shows Jin looking at the last bento food she prepared for him and realizes he’s going to miss her cooking especially her deep-fried tofu.
Jin’s favorite: agedashi tofu in tentsuyu sauce – “unusually” served in a bento box by Miki.
The FooDorama Challenge: Making Agedashi Tofu
A typical middle class Pinoy family meal do not include side dishes much – especially if one is on a budget or too busy to cook extra dishes. A meal of around one or two ulam (main dish) and rice is our everyday fare along with condiments and fruits. When we do serve a side dish – it’s most probably something simple and store-bought than home-made (to save time) like atsara or achara (pickled papaya strips) and salted red duck eggs.
Well, this side dish is a centuries-old recipe in Japan. Tofu does not really have much taste so I assumed that the dipping sauce is the one that’s important.
What you need:silken tofu, corn starch, granulated dashi, mirin and soy sauce.
Cut the tofu into smaller cubes and coat each one with corn starch: this was a bit tricky since the tofu was too delicate and breaks up easily while doing so.
Frying them all up in vegetable oil.
Agedashi Tofu for FDC#10 is done: garnished with chopped spring onions and katsuboshi flakes and dipped in tentsuyu sauce (boil the following: 2/3 cup water, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 3 tablespoon mirin, 1 1/2 teaspoon granulated dashi).
Crispy fried and up close: Many Pinoys may find it a bit too mild-tasting even with the dipping sauce (we would more likely modify it by using more soy sauce, and add garlic and/or pepper to jazz it up). And there are still too many steps to make it just for a simple side dish (if we get to deep-fry anything – then it should be something for a main dish). But other than that, it was ok… I conclude that it would be something I would serve guests or order in a resto rather than be a part of an ordinary meal. (^_^) v
NEXT:For my 11th FooDorama Challenge, I’ll take a short break from Japanese dishes and go Korean once again so I could pay tribute to my most favorite Kdrama of all time! Heehee!
My FooDorama Challenge Links:
FDC#11: Bibimbap (Kdrama Inspiration: Full House)
FDC#9: Sekihan (Jdorama Inspiration: Hotaru no Haka)
FDC#8: Kareh Raisu (Jdorama Inspiration: Kaibutsu-kun)
The live action version of Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies) was a tanpatsu (movie made for TV) that was shown on November 1, 2005 on NTV. Based on a novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, Hotaru no Haku was first made into a critically acclaimed animated movie in 1988. The story, set in World War II, is a heart-breaking tale of a brother and sister who were orphaned and taken under the care of a distant aunt. The harsh realities and hopelessness caused by the cruelties of war inevitably affected everyone and thus, led the the two siblings to go and fend for themselves which ultimately brought about tragic and unfortunate consequences.
It would be better to see the 1988 movie before you watch the jdorama version. A lot of people liked the original much better than the newer version – mainly because they disliked the auntie (played by Matsushima Nanako in the live action version) so much they prefer not to see her side of the story (which wasn’t implied in the animated movie). The 2005 version tried to point out that it is understandable if people do make cruel, apathetic decisions and acts just to protect those who are precious to them in times of war. Both versions still showed a clear message though: war may bring out the best as well as the worst in us, and let’s hope and pray that something like this will never ever happen again.
“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” ~Bertrand Russell: Seita (Ishida Hoshi) and Setsuko (Sasaki Mao) try to stay alive during the war (above left); At right are their animated counterparts from the 1988 movie.
Jdorama Food: Sekihan
Sekihan or red bean rice is a traditional Japanese dish that is made of steamed glutinous rice and azuki beans. The rice gets its red color from the water used from boiling the beans. Red is a color associated with ‘happiness’ or driving away evil vibes in Japan; that is why, sekihan is served during celebrations like birthdays and holidays.
The FooDorama Connection: At the start of the TV movie, the husband of the auntie was called to serve in the war and will be leaving on that day. For his going-away party, the aunt cooks a big batch of sekihan which excited her two daughters for they hadn’t eaten anything as luxurious as sekihan since the war started. Above shows the elder daughter Natsu (played by Inoue Mao) scolding her sisters, reminding them that their father’s departure is not something to rejoice about.
The sekihan in the TV movie being cooked in a wooden steamer.
Another jdorama that featured sekihan:
Smile (TBS, 2009): In episode 2, Hayakawa Bito (Matsumoto Jun), helps make and deliver sekihan to an elementary school. Unaware that the rice in the sekihan was tainted with pesticide, Bito later finds out about the mass poisoning of the students through the TV news (above right).
The FooDorama Challenge: Sekihan for My Dad’s Birthday!
We Pinoys are no strangers when it comes to glutinous rice cakes (like biko and bibingka) which we also serve during special occasions, and occasionally as an afternoon snack. However, ours have coconut milk and sugar so they’re sweeter and goes well with strong coffee. So when I read the ingredients for sekihan – I naturally went: What? No sugar? WTH will it taste like?
Having doubts about it, I still went ahead with this recipe for my dad’s birthday, using whatever that was left from the expensive azuki beans that I used for shiruko (FDC#3).
To make Sekihan: I used half a cup of the beans and soaked them overnight in water. Then, I boiled them with two cups of water for less than an hour, making sure they weren’t totally cooked yet.
Then, I placed the washed uncooked rice in the rice cooker, along with three cups of water (a portion of which came from the reddish water used for boiling the beans). I also placed the semi-cooked beans in it and some salt and let it sit for an hour. Lastly, I turned on the rice cooker until the sekihan was ready.
Sekihan for FDC#9 is done!You can mold the sekihan into round or triangular shapes (onigiri) if you like. 🙂
What did this biko-loyalist, Pinay amateur cook think of the taste? Hmm, as I said, I had my doubts but I decided to give it a chance. I tried it with sesame seeds and salt (as stated in the recipe) but I wasn’t satisfied with it, and was only able to eat a few amount. I even tried store bought furikake (condiment used for rice) with it but I still found it lacking. The rice and beans tasted well together but I just blame my stubborn taste buds which is too used to eating rice cakes the way we usually make them… hence, I found my hand reaching up into the shelf to get the sugar jar….
Topped with brown sugar and sesame seeds, this sekihan is much better and more satisfying for me. And I did find out that in some parts of Japan (like in Tsugare and Iwate), they do use sugar to sweeten their sekihan. ^_^ V
This sugar-topped sekihan is for my dad who celebrated his birthday today! Happy, happy birthday to my dear old Dad!
Postscript (★´3`): Btw, my sekihan turned out too dark (it was more like brown, not red) so my advice is to lessen the amount of the “red” water and use more clear water for the one you’ll use to cook rice with – that is, if you want a lighter red or pinkish colored rice. (★´3`) Also, if you are a beginner, it is better to experiment with smaller amounts first (like 2 cups of rice and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of beans) and see if you like it. If you do, you can make more next time. (★´3`) And lastly, of course, I don’t discount the traditional way of putting salt – but if you are watching your health and on a low-salt diet, I think brown or muscuvado sugar could be a tasty and healthier alternative.
^*･’ﾟ☆｡.:*:･’☆’･:*:.｡ ~piisu~fireflies!~ v (ﾟ▽ﾟ)ノ.:*:･’ﾟ:*:･’ﾟ☆
Kaibutsu-kun is an 11 episode, fantasy show that has just started airing this April on NTV. It is based on the manga story by Fujiko Fujio and became a popular children’s cartoon show in the 1980s. It stars Arashi leader, Ohno Satoshi in the title role of Little Monster, the spoiled bratty prince of the Monster World. As part of his training to be the successor of the throne, Kaibutsu-kun was forced out of the comforts of his realm and into the Human World and try to find out what it is like to live amongst us. Along with his 3 companions (Dracula, Wolfman, and Frankenstein), he gets into a series of tests, misadventures and silly battles with other monsters and demons.
Kaibutsu-kun so far looks engaging enough for me to stick around and to watch it. It is really a show aimed for kids, the young at heart and of course, Arashi fans will not be excluded. The costumes and CGI effects remind me of our very own Lastikman and Enteng Kabisote (meaning, it ain’t Avatar). I like Satoshi-kun and I’d be glad to support him since he receives so few main roles in dramas; which is a shame because, as proven by his heart-rending performance in Maou, he is remarkable as a dramatic actor (plus it is a well-known fact that he is the best singer in Arashi).
おめでとう Omedetou, Satoshi-kun on your new hit show!!: Ohno as Kaibutsu-kun (Little Monster) with Dracula, Wolfman, and Franken (Left) bringing to life the manga characters created by Fujiko Fujio at right.
Jdorama Food: Kareh Raisu (Curry Rice)
Kare Raisu or Curry Rice is one of Japan’s best-loved yohshoku (recipe with Western origins). Curry was first introduced in Japan in the late 19th century by the British who in turn, got it from India (so does that make it a recipe of semi-Western origin?). Simple and easy to prepare, curry rice is Japan’s most common and most popular dish, and consumed by people from all walks of life – a perennial fixture on dining tables – from the Prime Minister’s to the humblest of all households.
Curry rice is also the food I usually see being served the most in jdoramas (along with ramen and okonomiyaki) so to include it in my foodorama challenges is deemed inevitable.
The FooDorama Connection: In episode 1, brother and sister, Hiroshi and Utako serve their “foreign-looking” guests a humble dish of curry rice.
A Monster Hit: Being a usually grumpy, finicky eater, Kaibutsu-kun surprisingly cries out, “UMAI!!!“ (yummy!) after tasting Curry Rice for the first time, and proclaims it as the best thing in all the world/s (his world included).
Kaibutsu-kun’s favorite Curry Rice: Beef Curry with white rice
Another jdorama that featured Kareh Raisu:
At Home Dad (2004): In Episode 4, Kazayuki-san’s mom-in-law shares her ‘secret’ when cooking her delicious Curry Rice – she adds a spoonful of instant coffee.
The FooDorama Challenge: My First Kareh Raisu
We, Pinoys, are familiar with curry. However, our taste buds are only relegated to the common Chicken Curry dish (which was my fave when i was a kid) wherein we use yellow curry powder and coconut milk. And that’s just about it with curry.
Even if curry rice was a simple dish, I was still excited since this was my first time to have curry aside from chicken. Recipes on the net say I could use any meat for curry rice but I chose to go for the classic which is beef curry.
To make Curry Rice: saute beef cubes with garlic, onions and oil in a deep pan; then add chopped potatoes, carrots and more onions. Then add water and bring to a boil; let it simmer until the meat is tender.
I would certainly like to make my own curry roux but maybe next time. Besides I already bought a pack of ready made roux in block form (above). This one has a medium hot flavor.
It would be better to chop up the blocks of roux (above left) so it can dissolve faster in the broth. The roux helps give the broth a thick, glazed consistency (above right).
Lunch is ready!!!: Kareh Raisu (Curry Rice) for FDC#8 is done; served with short-grained Japanese rice. Yum!
I had it first without adding instant coffee. But when we had it again for dinner, I heat it up and this time tried it with a teaspoon of the coffee to see if it would make any difference. And yes, I think there was a slightly more intense flavor to it after the coffee was added.
Umai indeed… and simple and spicy, too; Maybe I will try it with pork next time, and I may also add a bay leaf, and bell peppers as well. It’s also good to make a big batch of it so you can have leftovers because, just like beef stew, it gets better with time. ^_^
~oishi~ ┳┳ ヽ(^▽^ゞ） ｺﾞﾊﾝｺﾞﾊﾝ♪
My other FooDorama Challenge Links:
Next: FDC#9 – Sekihan (Jdorama Inspiration: Graveyard of the Fireflies)
FDC#7: Zaru Soba (Jdorama Inspiration: Attention Please)
FDC#6: Samgyeopsal (Movie Inspiration: Sikgaek or Le Grande Chef)
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