Apr 16
2013

Mayonnaise, Japanese Farm Food Style {Giveaway}

in Book Reviews, Giveaway, Japan, Japanese, Sauces & Condiments

Steamed Artichokes with Japanese Style Mayonnaise

I used to think that mayonnaise was mayonnaise, something I occasionally put on a sandwich (but usually not—I was a mustard devotee), and something that my mom used to make tuna fish or egg salad sandwiches.  Then I moved to Japan and tasted Japanese mayonnaise and realized that all mayos are not created equal, and went through a phase where I put mayo on everything.  (Don’t judge me.)  I remember making a pasta “salad” once where I cooked the noodles and then tossed them in mayo.  I’m not joking.  This tendency towards mayo-abuse partially stems from the fact that in Japan a wide variety of items sport mayonnaise that I had not previously thought to pair with such a condiment, like pizza.  It also stems from the fact that Japanese-style mayonnaise makes my taste buds do a happy dance.  Although American and Japanese mayonnaise are very similar, there are some different ingredients which give them different flavors and textures.  The typical primary ingredients in American mayo are soy-based vegetable oil, water, eggs, distilled vinegar, salt, sugar, and maybe some lemon juice.  In contrast, Japanese mayonnaise is not made with water, uses apple or rice vinegar instead of distilled, and uses egg yolks instead of whole eggs.  As a result, Japanese mayonnaise has a thicker texture and is  richer and slightly sweet in flavor.  

I did eventually back off my overuse of mayo, learning to use it moderation instead of coating my tastebuds with it, but my newfound love for Japanese mayo was here to stay.  Fast forward a 8 years and I made a friend via Twitter who would again change my views on mayo.  During the summer of 2010 I made my first visit to Japan since moving from Tokyo back to the US in 2008.  Nancy Hachisu sent me a welcome tweet and we have been chatting ever since.  During the summer of 2011 I took a train out to Kamikawa, the little rural farming community where Nancy lives, and stayed with the Hachisu family for 2 days (I made a video about my trip that you can watch).  We explored her area, laughing and talking as we went.  Nancy’s farmlife awoke a hunger inside of me to simplify and to pay more attention to my food.

2011 Visit to Kamikawa, Japan

It’s easy to have opinions about how things should or should not be done, but it’s a whole other matter to actually live by those opinions.  Nancy practices what she preaches.  Nancy claims not to be a true farmer, but I would argue otherwise.  She may not be traditional, but she has a special connection to the earth that only someone who has learned to love the earth and the growing process could have.  So what does my friendship with Nancy have to do with mayo?  Well during my visit with Nancy we talked about the book she was in the process of finishing writing, all about Japanese farm food, and she mentioned that there would be several recipes in the book for things I love, like Japanese-style potato salad, yuzu kosho, and, you guessed it, Japanese-style mayo.  Well the book, called Japanese Farm Food, has since been published and her recipe for mayonnaise will get you thinking carefully about the ingredients you use, just as every other recipe in her masterpiece will do.

Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu

This book is profoundly special because it embodies the soul of a family, a community, and a way of life.  After reading this book, you will know Nancy, even if you haven’t actually ever met her in person, because she bears her soul on its pages.  She also imparts wisdom, that only years of experience and trial and error can bring.  As she writes, “My education was a slow process, and I was typically stubborn.”  She shares her transformation, describing how as her sons “got older” and her husband busier, “I started picking the vegetables.  Walking among the rows, I would stroke them and feel their energy.  Touching vegetables while they are living is something every cook should do.  You have to accept them, not force your will on them.  A huge turning point in my cooking came the day I really began to listen to the vegetables.”  She goes on to explain that “[c]ooking farm-to-table food from another country is easy if you source your ingredients thoughtfully and take care to understand the heart of the food.  Japanese farm food is both logical and simple to execute . . . . Authentic Japanese farm food is uncomplicated and intuitive, with a limited number of easily learned methods.  Armed with the basics, even a novice cook can re-create this food in a home kitchen anywhere in the world.”

When it comes to mindfully making Japanese mayo, Nancy writes, “Making mayonnaise successfully depends on fresh eggs, initial patience, and confidence in the process . . . . Use only the freshest farm eggs, otherwise it will be very difficult to emulsify (and risky for Salmonella).”  Her recipe for mayonnaise includes rapeseed oil, more commonly known as canola oil.  In the books pantry section Nancy urges readers to “pour out a little [oil] in a spoon and taste.  The oil should be pleasant and fresh tasting, not flat, heavy, or flavorless.”

Nancy making mayonnaise Nancy making mayonnaise, Reprinted from ‘Japanese Farm Food’ by Nancy Singleton Hachisu with permission from Andrews McMeel Publishing

With the arrival of spring, and the re-opening of many farmer’s markets across the country, the availability of fresh local produce provides the perfect opportunity for you to try your hand at cooking up some Japanese farm food in your own kitchen.  You could start with something simple, like whipping up a batch of homemade Japanese mayonnaise and eating it with freshly steamed vegetables, like the artichokes I made to go with my mayo.  Enter for a chance to win your own copy of Nancy’s beautiful book! (Details after the recipe.)

Mayonnaise made from Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu

Print This Recipe

Japanese Mayonnaise

Reprinted from ‘Japanese Farm Food’ by Nancy Singleton Hachisu with permission from Andrews McMeel Publishing

Makes about 1 cup (225 cc)

1 very fresh raw egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (or ¼ teaspoon dried mustard)
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
About ¾ cup (180 to 200 cc) rapeseed oil (aka, canola oil), at room temperature
Fine sea salt
½ to 1 teaspoon sugar or honey (optional)

1. Put the egg yolk, mustard, and ½ teaspoon vinegar in a small, deep-sided bowl.

2. Whisk lightly to combine, then whisk in a fine stream of oil until the mayonnaise “takes.” If it does not emulsify soon, it never will. In this case, you will have to start over, whisking the broken egg yolk and oil mixture into a new egg yolk. Increase the total amount of oil as well.

3. Once the mayonnaise becomes a creamy sauce (not oily looking), you can add the oil a bit faster. At this point, I usually add a big glurp of oil, then whisk powerfully. Continue adding oil until the mixture is thick and holds its shape. Add sea salt to taste and the sugar or honey, if using. Taste for tartness and oil balance; add more oil or some of the remaining ½ teaspoon vinegar, if needed. The mayonnaise keeps for a few days in the refrigerator.

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Japanese Farm Food Book Giveaway

There will be one (1) lucky winner who will receive a copy of Nancy Hachisu’s book, Japanese Farm Food.

Rules: The giveaway will close Friday, April 26th, 2013 at 12:00 am PST.  The giveaway is open to readers with a US mailing address. The winner will be chosen randomly and notified by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.  To enter, please follow the steps below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 *Disclosure: This giveaway is provided by Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC.

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy B*****y April 16, 2013 at 4:32 pm

would love to win a copy of Nancys Book on Japanese farm cooking. Many years ago was a cultural exchange ambassodor laison for the Kanagawa Commisions sister city program they had with the mid-atlantic region.. I learned so much and fell in love with the Japanese culture in many ways… and made numerous new friends. This cookbook would be a blessing!
Cathy B*****y pbprojecthope at yahoo dotcom

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Carla April 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm

I love artichoke and the mayo looks amazing. I love to do tofu salad with tofu, mayo, mustard,onions,green onions and capers.

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Kristi D April 16, 2013 at 4:53 pm

I’m fascinated by the idea of farm to table Japanese style. While I love Japanese cooking and ingredients, I hadn’t thought of finding such a great reference and slice of Japanese culture. I hope to take my husband to visit his dream country some day. Until then, recipes will just have to keep us happy!

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Therese April 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm

The mayonnaise sounds delicious! I will have to try it with the eggs I just got at the Farmer’s Market.

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Rosie April 16, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I love making my own mayo :) Thanks for running the contest!

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Jamie H. April 16, 2013 at 5:08 pm

I love Japanese mayo! Thanks for posting this recipe so I can make my own. :)

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Robin Chesser April 16, 2013 at 5:30 pm

What a beautiful book, I will be making the Japanese mayo ASAP!

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Amy April 16, 2013 at 5:30 pm

I’ve always wanted to make my own mayonnaise. Can’t wait to give this simple recipe a try. And definitely want to win a copy of this book and cook along.

amy [at] utry [dot] it

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Sylvia April 16, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I love the idea of Japanese mayo! Would love to try preparing it at home

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Kenny April 16, 2013 at 5:33 pm

To those who have not tried it yet, Japanese mayo is an entirely different experience.

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Lokness @ The Missing Lokness April 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm

I like that Japanese mayo is a bit sweeter than regular mayo. I am so thrilled to find this recipe, so I can make them at home now. Hoping to win this cookbook! :D

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naomi April 16, 2013 at 5:56 pm

japanese mayo is amazing. so would winning a copy of Nancy’s book!

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Joanne C April 16, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Mayo and shoyu is my favorite way to eat steamed artichokes! Thanks so much for hosting this giveaway!

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Jessica April 16, 2013 at 6:43 pm

I, too, am in love with Japanese mayo! Even the cute soft bottle!

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Kelly G April 16, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I grew up in Japan and absolutely love ALL things Japanese. I can’t wait to check this book out.

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Amber April 16, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Yummm!! I love artichokes and mayonnaise dip…. I’m going to try this!

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Jean April 16, 2013 at 7:20 pm

This mayo looks perfect. I would love to win the cookbook on Japanese farm food!

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Urban Wife April 16, 2013 at 7:20 pm

This book looks gorgeous!

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Aimee April 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm

What a beautiful cookbook! I would love to learn more about Japanese Farm style food.

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Nami | Just One Cookbook April 16, 2013 at 7:39 pm

You are another mayoler (マヨラー)! :) Me too I love Japanese mayonnaise and love to use it for cooking many dishes (but never understand why some people like putting mayo on gohan to eat it. Have you seen or eaten like that?).
I bought Nancy’s book and I enjoyed reading! it is such a well-written book! I have also given this book to some friends and they loved it. I’m going to make this mayonnaise soon!

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Michaela April 16, 2013 at 8:23 pm

This title really resonates with me. I’ve been learning how to garden and there is something special about growing your food and relishing all the flavor that can’t be found in grocery store produce that was picked early and traveled across the country or world. I absolutely love Japanese food, it’s simplicity, the focus on vegetables and variety, and I can tell how much nurturing Nancy puts into her food.

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Diane M. April 16, 2013 at 8:25 pm

I’ve always been intimidated by homemade mayonnaise but I think it’s time to tackle this recipe.

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pam April 16, 2013 at 8:54 pm

looks like a cool cookbook

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Jaime Benavides April 16, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Love your website and look forward to your instagram photos… This book looks amazing! Thanks for the chance to win!!! :)

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Candice April 16, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Thanks for the generous giveaway!

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Caroline April 16, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Thanks for the recipe! I think it’s much better to make your own Japanese mayonnaise because I was disappointed to read that the typical Japanese mayonnaise you buy in stores is full of MSG :( I guess I know why it’s so addictive now! I will definitely try your recipe soon.

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Viv April 16, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Yum! How does this mayo compare to Kewpie?

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AlysonRR April 17, 2013 at 1:45 am

My son’s favorite food is anything Japanese :-) We would love more ideas for Japanese cooking, particularly farm-style.

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Zita April 17, 2013 at 3:40 am

I found Nancy’s book a few months ago and I haven’t ordered it yet! I would love to win a copy!!!

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Bianca April 17, 2013 at 6:43 am

After learning how to make okonomiyaki, I crave japanese mayonaise. I use it from the bottle and am excited to try this recipe!

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Michelle April 17, 2013 at 7:00 am

This book sounds great!

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Rae April 17, 2013 at 7:32 am

This looks great. Can’t wait to try it.

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Dave April 17, 2013 at 7:42 am

The book looks gorgeous. Would love to have it to expand my Japanese cooking horizons.

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Laurel April 17, 2013 at 7:58 am

A marriage of Japanese-style and healthy cooking… what’s not to love?! I can’t wait to read this cookbook!

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Ilana April 17, 2013 at 8:16 am

Looks like a beautiful cookbook.

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Mika April 17, 2013 at 8:44 am

I would LOVE to win this cookbook! I was supposed to have gotten it as a Christmas gift but it was out of print at the time. How amazing that you know her and have visited her!

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Jeff April 17, 2013 at 10:14 am

Not sure where I could find things in this book but I am always interested in farm to table dining. Love artichokes with jazzed up Best Foods mayo. Probably should try making my own…

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Iryna April 17, 2013 at 10:41 am

I have only one book on Japanese food. Would really like to have another one! Thank you

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Kim Porter April 17, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for sharing.

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Barry K April 17, 2013 at 3:33 pm

I need a Japanese Cookbook.

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B-chan April 17, 2013 at 6:19 pm

I’ve been itching to crack open this book! Thanks for giving us a peek!

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Tita April 18, 2013 at 5:57 am

Gorgeous book! Love the excerpt that you provided-a romance with the garden. Tried the mayo recipe; I think I may be addicted.

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charj April 18, 2013 at 8:38 am

After reading about Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise, I’ve been interested in trying a vegan Japanese style mayonnaise substitute. Thanks for posting the recipe. I’m anxious to try this.

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Sara April 18, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Lovely photography as always, I also can’t wait until the local Farmer’s Market opens up!

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Ally April 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm

I read this book recently, loved it! Reminded me of some of the Hokkaido dishes my mom cooked for me as a kid. Natsukashi!

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Leslie April 19, 2013 at 3:20 am

On my way ti the Asian Market today with Japanese mayo on my list.

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June Willett April 19, 2013 at 4:07 am

I was born in Japan (Kyoto) but left as a baby. Love the food and wish I knew more about how to cook it. (also wish I knew how to speak Japanese) but like many baby boomers from Japan transplanted here, our parents wanted us to be “American” and lost so much of our cultural history. Looks like a beautiful book.

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scrapper al April 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm

What a beautiful book! Thanks for the chance to win it.

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Stacy Lynn April 20, 2013 at 8:43 am

I lived in Oki for 6 years and love the Japanese and Okinawan culture and foods! This cookbook would be a blast to have.

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Sarah H.P. April 20, 2013 at 4:39 pm

This cookbook looks great!!

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