【Development of lunch menus】
3-1. The points focused upon developing the school lunch menus enjoyed by elementary school pupils.
The ginseng (powder) used for cooking assumes some characteristics as a foodstuff, such as (1) bitterness and the distinctive flavor, (2) the flavor similar to that of root vegetables such as burdock is felt in small amount, (3) easier to be mixed with greasy stuff than with water, and (4) easier to use, with less time and effort, compared to fresh foods and solid dry foods. The tastes and cooking points of those menus using ginseng powder, which have been devised by each student are described hereunder. The nutritional value was calculated for each menu suggestion for school lunch according to the school lunch reference intake per child.
3-2. Serving suggestions and points of the menus devised by students
Mapo Tofu (Student-devised lunch menu 1)
The chili pepper, which is an ingredient of doubanjiang or hot bean paste, has a strong pungent taste, and when it is eaten, a pungent stimulus (sense of pain) occurs as a cutaneous sensation, and it can alleviate the distinctive flavor of ginseng. Ginseng goes well with the other ingredients used, such as green onion and hot bean paste (miso) and can be expected to warm up the body especially in cold season. The pepper season is from July to September, and it encourages sweating in hot summer, and Mapo tofu is popular even in summer as a menu to prevent the fatigue from heat.
Pork curry rice (Student-devised lunch menu 2)
Curry powder spices have a strong aroma and taste, and ginseng powder can be mixed with it as another spice and cooked together. It has a pungent stimulus that can relieve the distinctive flavor of ginseng.
Meat and potato stew (Student-devised lunch menu 3)
General tendency of ginseng powder is the difficulty to be mixed with a watery menu, but it can be comfortably used with boiled foods like “Nikujaga” or meat and potato stew, “Chikuizen-ni” or braised chicken and vegetable. Stews are watery menus using Japanese-style soup stock, but ginseng powder is uniformly dispersed in fats from the meat, and it harmonizes with seasonings such as soup stock (umami), sugar and soy sauce. Also, go well with the root vegetables that warm the body up such as carrots and potatoes.
Spinach dressed with sesame sauce (Student-devised lunch menu 4)
As another suggestion for the menu using nuts and seeds, it is also possible to dress them with a substitute vegetable for spinach. While adding sesame seeds induce appetize with the fragrant aroma of those seeds rather than dressing with the seasoning like umami, sugar and soy sauce only, the addition of sesami-derived lipids can disperse ginseng powder more uniformly and increase the sense of harmony. Sesame flavor also increases the richness in flavor. The cooking point of this menu is to fully squeeze the water out from the vegetable after boiling.
Dried bonito flakes (Student-devised lunch menu 5)
The bitterness of ginseng was masked by thicken up the taste. In addition to flakes, it can be applied to “Tsukudani” or boiled-down food. You can get a milder taste when mixed with miso rather than soy sauce.
Other cooking suggestions include miso peanuts, green soybean simmered in miso and boiled-down seaweed.
Chocolate steamed bread (Student-devised school lunch menu 6)
Fat and sugar in chocolate and butter, etc. can mask the bitter taste of ginseng. In addition, due to the sweet aroma of chocolate, the distinctive smell of ginseng disappears almost completely to the extent that I could not feel the smell at all even after knowing that ginseng is in it.