Ayurveda is an old Indian medicine system that stresses the importance of the mind-body connection and eating right for your type. Even as a kid, I understood that we eat for nutrition as much as we do for taste. Unfortunately, most of my mother’s recipes take HOURS (sometimes even days?) to recreate. Tasty vegetarian food isn’t easy to cook. And in Japan, it’s really hard to find all the ingredients I need.
I’ve been in Japan for two and a half years and I still haven’t met a Japanese vegetarian. Not saying they don’t exist – just saying it’s not common. So OBVIOUSLY – you don’t need to be a vegetarian to stay healthy and live for ages.
In January last year, I realised I was getting wiser. Big time. There were more greys on my head than I could count. Whoohoo. Honestly, I don’t mind. If I did, I would have rushed outside, bought a dye kit and hid my new signs of wisdom from everybody. But I’m wise enough to know that those dye kits are filled with chemicals that damage the quality of your hair.
So I asked someone even wiser than me for some advice. My mum. She taught me all about henna. For a long time – say 6000 years – henna’s been used to dye skin, hair and fingernails.
Tonight, I’m making something typically Japanese. ODEN. A staple during the winter months – my students recommended it to me two winters ago. Since then, I haven’t been able to stop eating it. Mmm…mmm…
Oden is made of: boiled eggs, daikon, konjac and fishcakes all stewed in a soy-based dashi broth. The ingredients vary depending on where in the country you are – and of course, your own personal preferences.
Two years ago, I came to Japan with a broken digestive system. My body was mad at me. What have you been eating? Why are you doing this to me? I’m in so much pain. Even my mother sat down and gave me a good telling off. I didn’t want to hear it, of course. (She was right, though.)
I love teaching ’cause I love learning. My kids – I’m sure they prefer to be…
Singaporean food in Tokyo.