Category Archives: Japanese Food

Time saving prep ahead lunch box fillers

Now that the temperature is heating up, it’s time to spend less time in the hot kitchen making lunches.

 

Mini Burger Patties – They are

  • top with salsa and cheese
  • top with gravy
  • top with bbq sauce and canned pineapple
  • top with ponzu and grated daikon
  • cut up over a salad
  • add to a lettuce wrap

Daikon Steaks – Recipe here. They get softer after being frozen but I prefer them that way.

  • eat as is
  • mix in with simmered veggies (nimono)
  • dice and mix with canned tuna and mizuna – no dressing needed

Steamed Broccoli (or other veggie that freezes well)

  • eat as is or topped with dressing
  • top with cheese
  • cut up and mix in pasta
  • add to an omelette
  • roll in shaved pork or beef and grill

Grilled Sausages – grill them before you freeze them to save cooking time in the morning

  • eat as is
  • slice and serve over a salad
  • top with bbq sauce, “sauce”, mustard or ketchup
  • top with cheese
  • roll in lettuce
  • Add to an omelette

Dumplings or pot stickers (shumai and gyoza) – cook and freeze

Sauces – freeze leftover sauces in ice cube trays for quick bento toppers
Cheese – grated or cubed

  • eat as is
  • sprinkle over salad
  • sprinkle over pasta
  • sprinkle over Japanese curry

Family Mart taco rice musubi sando review

taco rice riceball taco rice riceball package

 

 

As a lover of tacos, taco rice and anything Tex Mex, I had to try the Family Mart taco rice musubi sando when I saw it. How could I not? It was decent and I will definitely try to replicate it.

  • The rice was seasoned with taco seasoning. It was also reasonably spicy, as advertised.
  • There was taco meat and processed cheese as filling. I will use regular cheese when I make it.
  • The nori was surprisingly okay with the taco flavors.

To make it:

  • Mix rice with taco seasoning to taste. Taco seasoning is available at many supermarkets and import shops. You can find a recipe for it here.
  • Brown some ground beef and onions, season with taco seasoning and add a bit of salsa or tomato paste.
  • Spread rice in a thin layer all over a nori sheet. Spread taco meat and cheese over one half of the rice layer.
  • Fold the non-topped half over the topped half. Cut to any size you desire.
  • Done and done.

 

daikon-radish-bites

From the Archives: Daikon Salmon Bites

I found this recipe on the former Japanese food blog ごはん便り from すずキッチン  now called Yunanairo.  I was really excited to make these because of the light flavor of the sauce.  I’ve renamed the recipe as well.

Daikon Salmon Bites (サーモンと大根の甘酢漬け)

ごはん便り from すずキッチン

2cm of daikon sliced 1-2mm thin
75 grams
sashimi grade salmon
1-3 green onions (this depends on your tying prowess – I needed more than three)
dash of salt
4 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1
togarashi (dried hot pepper)
a little more salt

Sprinkle the daikon slices with salt and let sit until limp enough to wrap around salmon.  I was multitasking at the time and left them for about twenty minutes.  Wash off the daikon.  Cut the salmon into as many pieces as you have daikon slices.  Place each piece of salmon in the center of a slice of daikon, wrap the daikon around the salmon and tie with a piece of green onion.  I sadly have no tips for not breaking the green onions mid-tie.  When you have finished all of the tying, put the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat once the sugar has dissolved.  Place the daikon salmon bites on a plate that can hold at least 5 tablespoons of liquid and pour the contents of the sauce pan evenly over the bites.  The outside of the salmon may cook slightly and it gives a good flavor.  The original recipe appears to cool the sauce first but I wanted the slightly cooked salmon flavor.  Serve when ready.  The salmon needs to be eaten that day and should not be left out for any given time.

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Bento ideas

It is the start of the new school year here in Japan and that means bento lunches. I quite like making homemade lunches as most store lunches are lacking in vegetables. Here are two lunches from this and last week.

Bento lunch 1

  • Soramame gohan – boiled fava beans (soramame 空豆) mixed with rice and topped with black sesame seeds
  • Pan fried pork seasoned with herbs de provence, salt and pepper
  • Peas and corn (both frozen) and edamame
  • Mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes

Bento lunch 2

 

  • Soramame gohan
  • Shaved beef in mushroom gravy
  • edamame, mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes
  • black olives and steamed broccoli

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nori-egg-rolls

Nori egg rolls

nori-egg-rolls

I have seen a variation of these egg rolls in various bento pictures in the last month. I thought I’d give it a try. Most of the pictures look like they add the same seasonings as in tamagoyaki but my son doesn’t like that so I just did it with an egg. I added black olive for some extra flavor. these are great in bento lunches.

Nori egg rolls

2 eggs
Nori sheets (2 if using riceball size, 1 of rolled sushi size)
oil for frying
any add-ins (cheese, olive, spices, etc.)

In a small bowl, beat the eggs until you have a relatively smooth mixture. Add a bit of oil to a frying pan and heat on medium heat. Spread the egg as thinly as you can in the frying pan and cook on medium until cooked through. Transfer the egg to a bamboo sushi roller or a piece of saran wrap. Lay nori sheets over the top of the egg in one layer. Don’t put the sheets all the way to the edge. Roll the egg and nori as tightly as you can and leave in the bamboo roller or saran wrap until cooled. This will ensure that the shape is maintained. Slice when cool.

Note: Egg isn’t sticky so handle is gently as it can unroll easily.

Repost: Kabocha Soup

kabocha-soup

It is finally hoodie weather, well, at least in the morning. Time for kabocha. I posted this one in 2009 so it is time to make sure everyone knows about it. It is so easy and satisfying on a cold day.

 

Kabocha Soup

Serves two.

1/4 kabocha, peeled and chopped

1/4-1/2 small onion, diced

a little oil

1 chicken bullion cube (vegetable also tastes great and makes this a vegan recipe)

2 cups water

fresh ground pepper to taste

milk or soy milk, optional

In a soup pot, saute the onion in the oil until transparent. Add the kabocha, bullion cube and water.  Simmer until the kabocha is cooked – it should break in half when you put a fork in it. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for a bit.  Puree everything using a blender, food processor or immersion blender.  Reheat if necessary. This will be on the thick side.  You can thin it with water or milk/soy milk/cream if desired.

Additive Free Miso

I make my own miso, so I haven’t bought any in years. I was surprised to learn that not all miso still has a live bacterial culture. Some of it has flavoring and additives. Last time I went to the supermarket I snapped some pictures of the ones that were still living and are additive free. As an aside, I didn’t see any that were one or the other.

What to look for:

生 (nama)- live (as in live culture)
無添加 (mutenka) – additive free
酵母が生きている (koubo ga ikiteiru) – the yeast is living
生詰 or 生詰め (namatzume) – “packed with life”, as in the culture is still alive

Note: the miso I make has three ingredients soy beans, rice malt and salt. Some misos will have barley as well.

Continue reading Additive Free Miso

Curried Pan Fried Japanese Pond Smelt

Curried Pan fried japanese smelt wakasagi

I whipped this up one morning to put in lunches. As it was cooking, I found myself getting excited for lunch. It smells great. Not having grown up near the ocean, it sometimes doesn’t occur to me to buy fish. I love fish but we rarely ate it when I was a child. I went through a fish poor couple of weeks and decided to try something new. Small fish are good for you so I picked up some Japanese pond smelt (ワカサギ wakasagi) on a whim. When I find a new ingredient, I often turn to Cookpad.com (I use the app so it is the Japanese version but the English site is supposed to be great). This recipe is so simple and tasty.  It takes less than five minutes from start to finish. Continue reading Curried Pan Fried Japanese Pond Smelt

kabu-onion-soup

Kabu and onion soup

kabu-onion-soup

I wanted something nice and light for lunch yesterday so I decided to try making a soup that I had the day before at Earthen Place Cafe here in Zushi. It was a kabu (a white turnip) and onion soup so I gave it a try and was happy with the results. Click here for a picture of the kabu. Despite the texture resembling the daikon radish, which takes a long time to cook through and become tender, kabus cook very quickly. This soup can easily be vegan, gluten-free or any other allergen free simply by changing your bullion cube.

Kabu and Onion Soup

500mL water
1 bullion cube 
1 medium onion
1 medium to large kabu
salt and pepper, to taste

Put the water in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, peel and thinly slice the onion into half moon shapes. When the water has boiled, add the onion and bullion cube and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the onion turns translucent. I let mine get soft because I don’t like onions that are still firm. While the onion is cooking, peel the kabu, cut in half, then each half into thirds. Finally slice thinly. You basically need to cut a thin slice into six pieces. Once the onion is ready, add the kabu and simmer until it becomes tender. This should only take about five minutes.

Other soups you may enjoy:

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