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How to cook "with visual instructions" healthy, traditional and delicious Japanese dishes!!


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Japanese Side Dish “Braised Taro” (Gluten Free/Vegan/Vegetarian)

Today I introduce you to Japanese traditional dish “Braised Taro”. It is a very easy, simple and delicious side dish. My mother always cooked 5 small dishes for each member of our family for every dinner. The 5 dishes idea comes from “Ichijiru-Sansai” which means basic meals should consist of one bowl of cooked rice, one kind of soup and three vegetable or fish side dishes. This dish is great as a side dish in a Japanese meal. In addition, we say “Hara-Hachibu” which means eat until you feel your 80% full, don’t eat until you are too full. This is a Japanese traditional eating rule for being healthy so my mother always prepared small dishes for each of us.

The recipe is easy. Just simmer taros in Dashi stock. I used “Kelp Dashi Stock,” but you can use any kind of stock. The dish is mainly seasoned with soy sauce and the taros become so tender that they absorb the Dashi well so it is very delicious and it is great for vegetarians if you use vegetable stock. Also, it is an oil-free dish so it is very healthy.

When I introduce you cooking Japanese dishes I always try to show you the easiest way to cook these dishes even if you have no experience with cooking Japanese food. For example, in this recipe, I simmered peeled taros in Dashi stock. But usually taro requires extra preparation time for to simmer more easily and make a great final presentation. But in this recipe there is no need to do the extra preparation because even without it this dish is very delicious and looks great. I want everybody to try to cook Japanese dishes in a lighthearted and fun manner so we do not need to make these recipes hard in order to enjoy all the taste, health benefits, and beauty of traditional Japanese dishes.

You can buy taros in many grocery stores in the US and in all Asian markets. The tip for picking a good taro is that the taro should have ball shape, and be a little bigger than a golf ball. This shape and size makes for a good and delicious taro.

Enjoy this delicious, healthy, and nutritious dish. I hope you like it.

{Ingredients (servings 2)}

10 Small Taros

¾ cup Kelp Dashi Stock
(Recommended Dried Kelp)Dried Kelp for Dashi stock

3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce REDUCED SODIUM [Gluten Free] (Organic)

2 Tbsp. Sugar

2 Tbsp. Cooking Sake

4 Tbsp. Mirin Sweet Cooking Rice Wine

Here is my recipe in PDF: Braised Taro

Here is “Kelp Dashi Stock recipe” in PDF: Kelp Dashi stock

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Braised Fish (Gluten-Free)

Braising is one common Japanese cooking method for fish. The taste is a typical Japanese “sweet-salty” taste, similar to Teriyaki or Sukiyaki seasoning. We use Cooking Sake, Soy Sauce, Mirin Sweet Cooking Rice Wine and sugar when braising.

We usually braise sardine, flounder, alfonsino, mackerel, cutlass fish, yellowtail and so on. I can’t always get many of these fish where I live in the U.S. so I chose Tilapia this time. Tilapia meat is good because it stays good after 15 minutes of braising and it soaks in the delicious sauce well.

When you braise fish, please add some slices of ginger. This kills the fishy smell and warms up your body because of the Gingerol action.

Enjoy your new fish recipe with steamed rice or with  Japanese Sake!!

{Ingredients (servings 2)}

1 Tilapia fillet

½ cup Cooking Sake

¼ cup Soy Sauce
(Recommended Gluten-Free Soy Sauce)Soy Sauce REDUCED SODIUM [Gluten Free] (Organic)

2 Tbsp. Sugar

1 Tbsp. Mirin Sweet Cooking Rice Wine

3 slices Ginger

2 Green Onions

Here is my recipe in PDF (5 MB): Braised Fish


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Delicious Braised Eggplant (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free)

Following the previous post “This is what I call a great traditional Japanese dish!”,

https://japanese-food.org/2015/11/05/this-is-what-i-call-a-great-traditional-japanese-dish/

I will introduce you to one more traditional Japanese vegetable side dish which is called “Braised Eggplant”. This is also from Buddhist cuisine. It is very delicious, healthy and low-calorie!

If you like eggplant, I highly recommend you try this! You can enjoy the flavorful, tender, and yummy eggplant. The recipe is very easy and very traditional. I simmer eggplant in Japanese Dashi stock, soy sauce, cooking Sake and Mirin. If you like the flavor in Japanese dishes  you should keep soy sauce, cooking Sake, Mirin and Dashi stock on hand (here is my Dashi stock recipe in PDF: Homemade Anchovy Dashi StockKelp Dashi stock ) (also some Asian markets carry useful Dashi stock powder). If you want to try more healthy dishes but you are not a big fan of Japanese flavors, you can just simmer the eggplant in vegetable stock and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. This is also a healthy and low-calorie dish. Unfortunately, however, if you cook it this way you will not get the protein that we get from soy sauce. In fact, my family doesn’t eat soy beans often, we usually get the soy nutrition from soy sauce, Tofu, Miso (soy bean paste), Natto (fermented soy beans), soy milk and so on.

In this recipe, I didn’t peel the eggplant because one of the important nutrients, Anthocyanin (antioxidant), is found in high amounts in eggplant skin. If you don’t like the gooey texture that the skin adds you can peel the eggplant.


{Ingredients (servings 2)}

½ Eggplant

1 cup Kelp Dashi Stock
(Recommended Dried Kelp for Dashi stock) Dashi Dried Kelp

2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
(Recommended Gluten-Free Soy Sauce)Soy Sauce REDUCED SODIUM [Gluten Free] (Organic)

2 Tbsp. Cooking Sake

2 Tbsp. Mirin Sweet Cooking Rice Wine


Here is my recipe in PDF (4 MB): Braised Eggplant

Here is my “Kelp Dashi Stock” recipe in PDF: Kelp Dashi stock


5 Comments

This is what I call a great traditional Japanese dish!(Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free)

People have use this recipe since about 1300 years ago. This dish is typical Buddhist cuisine. Buddhist cuisine is cooked based on Buddhist concepts. The ingredients are mainly beans and vegetables. But the dishes are flavorful and nutritious because they were created to charge the energy of Samurai.

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This recipe is a basic Japanese dish in which I cut vegetables and simmer in Japanese Dashi stock. The Dashi stock is the most important ingredient. If you can’t prepare Dashi stock, you can use vegetable stock or chicken stock as a substitute for Japanese Dashi stock. Of course the flavor will change but it will still be healthy! In a similar way, you can use white wine as a substitute for cooking Sake.

This is a side dish so you can have it along with or in place of a salad with your meal!


{Ingredients (servings 2)}

1 Carrot

3 Shiitake Mushrooms

½ bunch Fresh Spinach

2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
(Recommended Gluten-Free Soy Sauce)Soy Sauce REDUCED SODIUM [Gluten Free] (Organic)

2 Tbsp. Cooking Sake

1 cup Kelp Dashi stock
(Recommended Dried Kelp for Dashi stock) Dashi Dried Kelp
*Any kind of Dashi stock is okay*
(Recommended instant bonito Dashi powder)Ajinomoto – Hon Dashi

¼ tsp. Salt


Here is my recipe in PDF (5 MB): Braised Vegetables

Here is my Kelp Dashi stock recipe in PDF: Kelp Dashi stock

Here is my Anchovy Dashi stock recipe in PDF: Homemade Anchovy Dashi Stock