The Japanese philosophy kaiseki, which translates as “warm stones in your breast pocket”, comes from a Buddhist ritual from over 600 years ago in which monks put heated stones in their pockets to warm themselves in cold monasteries . During these long periods of meditation, their empty stomachs were calmed. The principles of kaiseki have since become a staple of Japanese food cherished around the world: an approach to cooking and eating that respects the ingredients, the environment, the host and guests.
For Mika Hatsushima, founder of the Rice & Miso restaurants, a kaiseki approach to simplified Japanese dishes has earned her culinary respect and a sense of community. The Hatsushima menu, which was first served at Brooklyn Flea, is now available in three locations. There, carefully selected lunch dishes with combinations of proteins, vegetables, rice (and miso) are served in healthy bento boxes and soups.
Today Rice & Miso open their doors on Forsyth Street, their first Manhattan outpost. “My focus is on continuing to introduce balanced, safe, and tasty Japanese home cooking that people want to eat every day. And if they don’t eat here for a while and come back, they will cry – just like I do when I have my mother’s rice ball. Maybe that’s my goal! “With Hatsushima busy handling the logistical challenges of opening her first store in 2012, her mother often babysat her first daughter, Reika. When it finally opened,” she was so proud of me and talked about it as I did Started out of nowhere. I said, ‘Mom, you gave me everything!’ “
Here you can recreate the Hatsushima family’s bean dish, gomaae, and a rice & miso style soba noodle salad. Great for healthy weekday lunches, these recipes symbolize Hatsushima’s desire to bring the straightforward food that makes her and her family happy to the plates of New Yorkers and readers everywhere.
Gomaae (portion 4)