The Nutrition in a Nut | Relishing some new nutty recipes

Walnuts (left); Almonds (right) Source: Wikimedia Commons

Countries in the west have always recognized the high nutrition in a nut. In prehistoric times, the Jomon Culture in Japan was practically a “nut-gathering” culture, gathering walnuts, chestnuts and all manner of acorns. Slowly, that nut culture has virtually disappeared, the use of nuts in Japan dwindling to their use as additions to dressings, condiments and garnishings.

Jomon culture, chestnut gathering (Photo: mine)

In today’s Asaichi NHK TV programme, the programme took an extensive survey on the value of nuts in nutrition, as anti-ageing anti-wrinkling magic pill, skin-propper, bowel-mover and diet helper … and recommended heaps of useful recipes…that look set to become staples and new favorites on our home menu.

A researcher in nut nutrition was on hand testifying to the results of before after results of consuming nuts over a 6 month period, his skin was indeed fantastic for a 50+ year old…you could shave 20 years off his real age.

According to the researcher, his experiment showed to get the desired results, one needed to consume (translating below from the Asaichi homepage):

Almond paste recipe
・1日25グラム Daily 25 grams (about a palm-ful)
・毎食にわけてEat separately from main meals (best after meal, he later says on the show)
・無塩で素焼きUnsalted roasted

Other participants’ secrets/recommendations – eating a bag of nuts with soya milk.

Apart from almonds, walnuts, highest in dHA oils, are considered the best brainfood) and Koreans are said to consume the largest amounts of walnuts in their daily diet today, so we could take a leaf from their page.

One of the favorite recipes I have swiped off the show is as follows:

フルーツがけかつおのたたき Fruit-topped katsuo-tataki bonito tuna or horsemackerel (seared over open-flame)

材料・4人分 Ingredients for 4 persons:
・かつお(さく・刺身用)・・・約400グラム 400g flame-seared-bonito
・サラダ油・・・少々                                       A drip of salad oil
・みょうが・・・1コ                                           1 stalk Myoga ginger
・細ねぎ・・・大さじ3                                     3 Tbsp of chopped thin long onions
・キウイ・・・1コ                                              1 chopped kiwifruit
・しょうが(すりおろす)・・・小さじ1             1 tsp ginger, grated
・貝割れ菜・・・2分の1パック                     1/2 pack of radish sprouts

・レモン汁・・・大さじ2                                  2 large Tbsp lemon juice
・しょうゆ・・・大さじ2                                     2 Tbsp soya sauce
・みりん・・・小さじ1                                       1 tsp mirin

作り方 Preparation

かつおは少し前に冷蔵庫から出し、室温に戻す。 The refrigerated katsuo-tataki should be left at room temperature for a short while before prep.
貝割れ菜は3センチの長さに切る。 Cut the sprouts to about 3 cm
みょうがは縦半分に切って小口切りにする。 Finely slice the myoga ginger
細ねぎは小口切りにする。Finely chop the long thin onions
皮をむいたキウイは細かく刻む。Chop finely the kiwifruit (leathery skin removed)
これらを混ぜ、合わせ薬味をつくる。Mix together all of the above
レモンじょうゆの材料を混ぜて、(2)と合わせる。 Add lemon and soya sauce to the above mixture and mix.
かつおの血合いを取り除き、十分に熱したフライパンにサラダ油を入れ、皮のほうから焼く。Heat a frying pan coated thinly with cooking salad oil and brown the katsuo-tataki on all sides.
器にかつおを盛り、(3)をのせる。Cross-section and slice the block of katsuo-tataki into about 1 cm thick slices, layout as in the picture above, line one side of the fish with sprouts, and the other side with the fruity mixture.

Some other suggestions from Asaichi on how to add nuts to our diet through our cooking and main meals:

Almond olive oil-ginger paste recipe

・アーモンド・・・60グラム(皮付きで、オーブンなどで、から焼きをしたもの)60g shelled ovenroasted almonds
・オリーブオイル・・・大さじ8  8 Tbsps olive oil
・しょうゆ・・・小さじ2分の1    Soya sauce half a tsp
・しょうが・・・6グラム                 Ginger 6 g

<作り方> Preparation:

Roll with rollingpin, walnuts in a ziplock bag, but *** take care to stop before they turn into flour.

Add olive oil, soya sauce and ginger and mix. The mixture will keep for 2-3 weeks.

You can add the above almond paste to many types of meat dishes, like niku-jaga (boiled potato and beef), pasta meatsauce (prepare meatsauce as usual and add almond sauce at the end). You can also add the almond paste grilled fish dishes, katsuo-tataki.


Banbanji-tare (for 4 persons)バンバンジーダレ(4人分)

・万能アーモンドダレ・・・大さじ4 4 Tbsp almond paste
・さとう・・・大さじ1と3分の1            1 1/3 Tbsp sugar
・しょうゆ・・・大さじ1と3分の1        Soya sauce 1 1/3 Tbsp
・酢・・・小さじ1                                     Vinegar

材料を全部あわせてよくなじませれば完成です。Mix all of the above ingredients


Use the above to make natto toast, omelettes and as salad dressing.


Walnut miso-mirin-wine topping

・むきくるみ・・・100グラム 100 g shelled walnuts
・みそ・・・100グラム            100 g miso
・さとう・・・100グラム、        100 g sugar
・みりん・・・大さじ1              1 Tbsp mirin
・酒・・・大さじ2                     2 Tbsp cooking sake-wine


Pop the walnuts into the foodprocessor until walnut powder is produced. Mix with various foods (such as at the end of rice porridge on the boil for Korean porridge dish), dust thickly over rice balls, or top over konnyaku veggie dish (on its own or with other ingredients).

Korean porridge recipe is as follows:

・米・・・60グラム            60 g rice
・ごま油・・・小さじ2       2 tsp   Sesame oil
・水・・・500ミリリットル  500 ml water

・くるみ・・・40グラム      40 g walnuts
・水・・・50ミリリットル    50 ml water


米は洗って水につけ、ザルにあげて水気を切る。 Wash rice, drain rice with a sieve
ハンドミキサーで少し粒感が残る程度につぶす。 Process with a handmixer till texture is fine
くるみは熱湯に浸して表面の薄皮を竹串できれいに取り、フライパンで軽く炒る。 Wet surface of walnuts with warm water slightly to remove the husk off the walnuts, then roast lightly the walnuts in a frying pan till dry and crispy.
水50ミリリットルを加え、ハンドミキサーでなめらかになるまでつぶす。 Add 50 ml of water to the handmixer.
鍋にごま油を敷き、米を炒める。もったりしてきたら水500ミリリットルを加え、弱火で炊く。 In the pot, fry the powdered rice in sesame oil and then add 500 ml of water and cook over a weak/low fire, all the time stirring.
時々かきまぜながら、じっくり火を通す。ある程度火が通ったら、くるみを加え、ゆっくりかき混ぜながら弱火で5~6分炊きあげる (約10分) After about 10 minutes or so, add the walnuts and stir slowly over the low fire for 5-6 minutes maybe 10 mins to serve.

Last but not least, this relatively easy-to-fix Fish and Chips recipe looks set to become the new favourite variation for my kids:

フィッシュ アンド チップス Fish and Chips

・かじき・・・400グラム(3~4切れ) 400 g of any kind of billfish/swordfish/marlin/sailfish
・塩、天ぷら粉(市販)・・・各適量   Tempura flour (with salt added)
・さつまいも・・・2分の1本                 1/2 Sweet potato

・赤みそ(仙台みそなど)・・・30グラム   30 g red miso (Sendai miso used in the show)
・砂糖・・・大さじ2                                      2 Tbsp sugar
・みりん、マヨネーズ・・・各大さじ1          1 Tbsp of mirin, mayonnaise each
・ラーユ・・・適量                                        Spicy sesame oil (or Korean sesame oil paste) – add a touch


かじきは1.5センチ幅に切り、塩をふる。 Slice the fish to 1.5 cm thick, salt the fish
さつまいもは薄切りにしておく。                 Slice the (long) sweet potato into round chip slices.
ボウルに赤みそを入れてよく混ぜて、砂糖・みりん・マヨネーズを加えてよくかき混ぜ、最後にラーユを加える。(みその塩分によって調味料を加減する)                          In a bowl add and mix well the sugar, mirin, mayonnaise, and last the sesame oil paste
中火で熱した揚げ油に(1)のさつまいもを入れて揚げる。あがったら、天ぷら粉をつけた、かじきを入れ中火で揚げる。Note: Bag tempura flour in a ziplock bag, add the fish and shake till fish are well coated with flour. Heat a pot of oil over a medium fire and add the floured fish. Fry the tempura fish till nice and brown, and remove.
器にかじきとさつまいもチップスを盛り付け、(2)の合わせみそを添える。Add chips to the remaining still heated oil over a medium fire and fry till chips are crispy and remove to drain off excess oil.

* The above mentioned show was careful to mention that peanuts are considered to be not “nuts” but in the “mame” or legume family. The nuts recommended for consumption are all those that are the innermost kernel protected inside a relatively hard shell and inner husk.

** One needn’t be concerned about fat-or cholesterol levels, though nuts are a higher-fat food, they contain mostly heart-healthy unsaturated fat and may help lower low-density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad” cholesterol).. However, for full health benefits, do not use salted nuts…and like all things, eat in moderation (or as recommended by the nut expert on this show)

***Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health found three times as many people trying to lose weight were able to stick to a Mediterranean-style moderate-fat weight loss diet that included nuts, peanuts and peanut butter versus the traditionally recommended low-fat diet. (International Journal of Obesity, Oct. 5, 2001).


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