[Nagano Oyaki]

Oyaki is a local dish of Nagano Prefecture in Shinshu. Oyaki is made by kneading flour such as wheat flour or buckwheat flour in water or hot water, rolling out the dough into a thin layer, and baking it with cooked vegetables and red bean paste. Many people may think of oyaki as being made with eggplant, pumpkin, dried daikon radish, or other ingredients, as well as nozawana, a specialty of Nagano Prefecture.

Oyaki is a local food originally from the northern part of Nagano Prefecture, but today it is widely sold at highway service areas, souvenir stores, and local convenience stores, and has become a popular local dish throughout Nagano Prefecture. In fact, the history of this dish is surprisingly old, and traces of a baking process using kneaded cereal flour have been found at Jomon ruins. In cold regions where rice was not suitable for cultivation, wheat and buckwheat were grown instead of rice, and meals made from these flours supported the diet of our ancestors.

In the old days, every home had a hearth, so in some areas, the surface of the oyaki was baked in an iron pot called a horoku, steamed in the ashes of the hearth, and then the ashes from the surrounding area were removed before eating. This "ash-yaki oyaki" spread, giving rise to a variety of cooking methods in various regions, including "steaming," "grilling," "baking and steaming," and "steaming and grilling. Among these, I heard that grilled and steamed oyaki is characterized by its firm texture, so I immediately tried my hand at oyaki for the first time, using Rikucho Ogasawara's Onigiri Iron Plate and Yamaichi's Chinese Seiro.

I kneaded the dough for the crust and prepared two kinds of ingredients. After wrapping the oyaki into a round shape and baking it slowly over low heat, it is placed in a steaming seiro and steamed for 10 minutes. Although there is a lot of work involved in cooking the ingredients and making the dough, you will surely enjoy the taste and pleasure of homemade food. Please try wrapping your favorite ingredients and enjoy various kinds of oyaki at home.

Ingredients (for 8 pieces):
200 g medium or light flour

132 ml boiling water
2/3 teaspoon salad oil
A pinch of salt

(Ingredient #1: Fried eggplant with miso)
2 medium-sized eggplants
2 or 3 shiso leaves
Salad oil to taste
Miso (soybean paste) to taste
A pinch of sugar
A pinch of white sesame seeds

Saute eggplant sliced into 5 mm pieces in salad oil until softened, then add seasonings and shiso leaves.

(Ingredient #2: Fried nozawana)
200 g nozawana
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet cooking sake)
1-2 tsp soy sauce
red pepper to taste

Remove salt from nozawana, chop finely, and saute in sesame oil. Add sake, mirin and soy sauce, and saute until all the moisture is gone.

1. Mix (A) in advance. Put medium-strength flour in a bowl and add (A) while mixing with chopsticks.
2. When the hot water is incorporated into the flour, mix by hand and knead for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth.
3. Cover the bowl and let rise at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Then divide the dough into 8 equal portions, dust with flour (not included), and roll out to a diameter of about 10 cm.
4. Place the ingredients in the center of the dough, and close the mouth of the dough by pulling in the surrounding dough to form folds. Shape the dough into a round shape.
5. Grill the dough in a greased rice ball cooker over low heat until both sides turn brown.
6. Place the rice balls in a steaming Chinese rice cooker (it is okay if the rice balls overlap) and steam over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Yamaichi's Chinese Seiro
Nakamura Douki's Dantsuki Pot
Rikucho Ogasawara's Onigiri Iron Plate
Okubo House Mokkosha's Bread Plate

https://www.kyounoryouri.jp/recipe/13883 (Reference recipe)
https://www.kurashiru.com/recipe_cards/f6979f7c-7345-4001-9e8a-f9c977d3e628 (Reference recipe)