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Griffin to Go: Recipes for a Successful Family Film

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It’s not every day you discover a DVD with recipes in the case. Yet that’s what happened when I checked out 步いても步いても (“Still Walking”) from the San Antonio Public Library.

This 2008 film from Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda was recently released by the Criterion Collection, known for its meticulous discs with plenty of extras and often lavish booklets filled with essays on the film. This one is no different, except that several pages of recipes have replaced one of the essays.

That’s great news, because after watching the film, I was ready to eat.

Kore-eda’s film is taken partially from his memories of his parents. Apparently, his mother was an excellent cook, known for her sautéed daikon radish and her corn fritters among other delicacies. At the beginning of the story, we see the mother figure working hard in the kitchen as she prepares an elaborate feast.

It is the anniversary of the death of one son and another son is visiting for the first time in a year. He’s bringing with him his new wife and stepson. Over the course of a 24-hour period, we learn a lot about these people, including some secrets that they would probably prefer remain hidden.

A great cook isn’t necessarily a great person, just human. The same is true of a great doctor and the rest of the family, anyone’s family. I won’t spoil the rest of this touching drama, except to advise any interested viewers to check out the extras after watching the film.

In the making-of documentary, we see the actors learn how to make one of the dishes in the film, Corn Tempura, which was Kore-eda’s favorite dish when he was a child. We also see the director bite into one of the large fritters on the set and comment that the dish is even better with soy sauce, which is not mentioned in the recipe but sounds like a great addition.

Whether you make the dishes before or after “Still Walking,” be prepared: You will be hungry after watching all that cooking.

Kinpira Daikon

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium daikon, cut into thin strips with a knife or peeler
Leaves from 1 or 2 daikons, cut into bite-sized pieces or arugula leaves
2 to 3 medium carrots, cut into thin strips with a knife or peeler
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
Red pepper flakes

Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and cook the daikon, daikon leaves and carrots until soft. Add the sugar and soy sauce, and continue cooking until the liquid has been absorbed. Finish by pouring the sesame oil on top. Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

Makes 4 servings.

From Hirokazu Kore-eda/”Still Walking”

Corn Tempura

Frying oil
1/2 cup flour, plus more for dredging
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup water
Kernels from 2 ears of corn
Sesame oil

Heat frying oil to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a larger bowl, combine the egg yolk and water. Add the flour mixture to the yolk mixture and combine to form a batter. Dredge the corn kernels in flour and then stir them into the batter with a slotted spoon and form into small patties, incorporating some sesame oil with your hands. Fry until golden brown.

Makes 4 servings.

From Hirokazu Kore-eda/”Still Walking”

Pork Belly Kakuni

6 cups water
1 1/2 pounds pork belly
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 scallions, green portion only, thinly sliced
1 (3-inch) piece ginger, sliced
6 to 7 tablespoons sugar, divided use
5 tablespoons soy sauce1/4 cup sake
3 tablespoons mirin
1 bunch komatsuna or spinach
4 hard-cooked eggs, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Bring the 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Season the pork belly with salt and pepper. Add to boiling water with the scallions and ginger. Simmer about 90 minutes, then let cool. Remove the pork belly from the liquid and cut into 1-inch pieces; return to liquid. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the soy sauce, the sake and the mirin, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 90 minutes, occasionally skimming excess fat from the surface.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, blanch the komatsuna, drain and cut into strips. (Boil, if using spinach to remove the oxalic acid.)

Remove the pork belly from the liquid; set aside. Add the egg halves to the broth and continue to simmer until broth thickens, adding sugar to taste.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water until the cornstarch dissolves.

Remove the eggs from the broth; set aside. Add the cornstarch mixture to the broth, one spoonful at a time, cooking over low heat, until broth is desired thickness. Remove from heat. Put the komatsuna, pork belly and eggs in a serving bowl. Ladle the broth over the top and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

From Hirokazu Kore-eda/”Still Walking”

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2 Responses to “Griffin to Go: Recipes for a Successful Family Film”

  1. Steve says:

    For completeness, last recipe in “Still Walking” mini-book:

    Rice with Edamame and Myoga Ginger
    Serves six

    2 cups uncooked Japanese rice
    2 inch piece of konbu (seaweed)
    2 1/2 cups water
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup cooked and shelled edamame
    2 bulbs myoga ginger, chopped
    1/2 cup finely chopped pickled shiso
    white sesame seeds

    Wash rice and let sit in a sieve for 30 minutes. Put the rice, konbu, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover pan. Cook at just barely a simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Let sit, still covered, 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Add the edamame, myoga ginger, and shiso to the rice; mix gently. Serve the rice mixture in a bowl with white sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

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