Nagashikan (Nagashibako) is a metal mold with a removable inner tray, which is used to set liquid ingredients such as agar-agar and gelatin by cooling it. The removable inner tray is called “Nukiita”, which enables you to unmold the food easily by pulling it up. It is used for various Wagashi such as Yokan and Kuzukiri(Please refer to Wa : ga : shi).
It is also called “Mushikan” (steaming mold) as it can also be used to steam such food as Tamago-dofu (steamed egg custard).
In Kanto area, a square-shaped Nagashikan is popular. On the other hand,a rectangular-shaped one is often used in Kansai area.
Tamagoyakinabe / Makiyakinabe
◆ OMELETTE PANS
The Japanese omelette is rolled as it is fried so that it forms a neat cylinder, equally as thick at the ends as at the middle. A rectangular pan was developed to allow the making of such omelettes or egg rolls. Some omelette pans are cast iron or heavyweight aluminum, but the best are heavy copper coated with tin.
The melting point of tin is relatively low, so avoid putting a good tin-coated copper omelette pan over high heat while empty. After use, clean it by wiping it with oil and then a clean cloth. Do not scrub with abrasive pads or brushes; they wear away the tin. This pan is used for nothing but eggs, but it needs seasoning before its first use. Do this by sautéing a few sliced vegetables in a couple of Tbsps of oil.
Suribachi , Surigogi
◆ GRINDING BOWL (MORTAR) and PESTLE
These utensils are designed to crush and grind seedy materials with speed and little exertion.
The "mortar" is a sturdy high-fired pottery bowl textured with a combed pattern on the unglazed inside. The outside is usually glazed a rich, warm brown, though recently, for some reason, suribachi glazed hideous pink have appeared. The textured interior of the "mortar" acts like the surface of a grater, making the suribachi more efficient and easier to use than a conventional, smooth-surfaced mortar.
Bowls come in various sizes, from about 5・1/2 inches (14cm) in diameter to large ones more than a foot (30cm) across. Recently, grinding bowls have been manufactured in molded plastic, but that plastic, while sturdy, does not have the necessary weight for the work. For the purposes of the home cook, a medium-sized pottery grinding bowl, about 9 inches (23cm) across at the top, is the most versatile.A wooden pestle may come with the suribachi. If you must buy your pestle separately, choose a long one to provide good leverage.
To use the mortar, set it on top of a damp cloth so that the bowl does not move while you work. Add the material to be ground gradually as you work. Hold the top of the pestle loosely in your cupped palm and keep this hand stationary. Place your other hand on the pestle about halfway up from the rounded tip. Rotate the pestle and press down so that the rounded tip crushes the contents of the mortar against the grooved ridges. Hold the pestle firmly yet loosely. Move with the whole of your arms from the shoulder.
To clean the mortar, you may need to use the tip of a bamboo skewer once in a while to loosen any hard bits that stick in the bowl's grooves. Wash with plain water and a stiff brush.
◆ WOODEN DROP-LID
The drop-lid is a necessity in preparing simmered dishes. Made of wood, this lid is slightly smaller in diameter than the straight-sided pot, so that it fits down into the pot and floats directly on top of the foods being simmered. In this position, the drop-lid forces the even distribution of simmering liquid and heat penetration, makes flavors penetrate foods, and prevents the simmering liquid from breaking into a rolling boil. Because there is no boiling action, foods are not tumbled about, and the shapes of fragile ingredients are not harmed.
Wood is a natural material for drop-lids because it is not too heavy or too light and does not chemically interact with foods. To prepare a wooden drop-lid for its first use and eliminate woody odors, soak it first for a short time in a medium-strength solution of water and bicarbonate of soda (or in the cloudy water that runs off form rice when you wash it). Immediately before using, always soak the drop-lids in water for a few minutes; if a bone-dry lid is used, it is likely to absorb the juices of the pot and will carry that particular odor forever. After using, wash with water and mild soap, rinse, and let dry completely in the open air before storing.
If you see wooden drop-lids on sale at your Japanese goods stores, buy some because they are not regularly imported. They are not expensive.
Uragoshiki is a kitchen utensil to strain ingredients for a smooth texture. It is composed of wooden cylinders and a mesh made of horsehair, metal, nylon etc.
Fine sieves come in various sizes of the mesh, and you can not only strain such ingredients as boiled beans, potatoes, chestnuts, and tofu with a spatula but also sift flour, strain soup, and drain water.
Before using the utensil as a strainer, soak it in water so the wooden cylinders absorb water and swell, which stretches the mesh tight. If you use a dry Uragoshiki, the mesh could go slack. After using it, wash in water and remove ingredients stuck in the mesh, and then dry it with the mesh side up in a well-ventilated place.