Was at Ikkukan with the Lunchtime Lucullans when we noticed this bundle of Biscotti look-alikes.
It’s a wheat product peculiar to Niigata: Ku-ru-ma-fu (è»Šéº©). As the Chinese character è»Š (wheel) suggests, this “fu” (éº©) looks like a “wheel”. The Okinawans use it to make a local staple called “Fu Chanpuru“. Also it seems that the Kurumafu in Okinawa and Japan are very different, apparently the Okinawan Kurumafu is softer and better for frying.
Unfortunately the main supplier (about 70% market share) for Okinawan Kurumafu, Okinawa Seifu, is in financial difficulties according to a newspaper report in 1999.
Kurumafu is actually wheat gluten that looks like pieces of bread until you soak it in water where it turns soft. Apparently it is quite popular with egg and can be used for other things such as pork chops, Sukiyaki too.
More recipes and how it is made can be found at this rather interesting site.
Just thought I’d chip in with my rudimentary Japanese – kuruma means car. Given that a small pack of kuruma-fu appears priced about the same as a tire, I guess it makes sense
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