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How to cook "with visual instructions" "using familiar ingredients from your local grocery stores" healthy, traditional and delicious Japanese dishes!!


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Healthy Bean Side Dish “Gomoku-Mame” (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-free)

Today I introduce you to a traditional Japanese bean side dish “Gomoku-Mame,” which is simmered beans and vegetables. This dish is never served as a main dish, but it is very popular and very important in the Japanese diet.

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The basic rule of traditional Japanese diet is called “Ichi-juu, San-sai.” This means basic meals should consist of one bowl of cooked rice, one kind of soup and three vegetable or fish side dishes. Of course we don’t have enough time to cook this many dishes when cooking each meal so we tend to stock simmered vegetable dishes in the refrigerator. Lately there are a lot of pre-made, reasonably fresh, store bought vegetable side dishes in Japan. This is because there are many people who are too busy to cook who, however, care about their health and don’t want to eat fast foods.

Also, the Japanese diet contains many kinds of ingredients. We always think “Eat a balanced diet” which means we can have anything we want such as meat, fish, rice, bread, vegetables, seaweed and so on. But we have to be careful about the balance of the ingredients and eat in moderation. Japanese food is very healthy when we follow these rules.

The recipe is very easy.

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Put all ingredients and seasoning in a pan and simmer.

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To store, transfer to a container and keep in the refrigerator. Use within 5 days.


{Ingredients (servings 8)}
*Click BLUE TEXT to link to the product on Amazon*

15.5 oz. Can Northern Beans

1 Carrot

3 Shiitake Mushrooms

5-inch × 5-inch piece Dashi Dried Kelp

1.5 cup Water

1 Tbsp. Sugar

2 Tbsp. Cooking Sake

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

1 Tbsp. Mirin Sweet Cooking Rice Wine


Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Healthy Bean Side Dish “Gomoku-Mame”


6 Comments

Healthy Japanese Traditional Side Dish “Okara” (Gluten Free/Vegan/Vegetarian)

Today I introduce you to Japanese traditional side dish which is called “U no Hana”. This is cooked Okara with braised vegetables. Okara is a by-product of making  tofu so it is high in protein, fiber, vitamins and Calcium. This dish is a very popular side dish in my family’s meal because it is healthy, delicious and inexpensive (in Japan).

Here is Dry Okara I used in this recipe.

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Japanese use Okara for many recipes as a meat substitute to make the dish extremely healthy and to increase the amount of food in the dish. For example, we add Okara or we substitute it for the meat when we mix meat balls, hamburger steak,…etc. See the last post Delicious Vegetarian Pan Fried Nuggets using Okara substitution for meat.

In this recipe I used okra, carrot, shiitake mushroom and green onion. You can use any vegetables in your refrigerator. If you can get dried shiitake mushroom instead of fresh ones, the dish will be more flavorful and nutritious. You can just soak shiitake mushrooms in water the day before you cook.

This time I used kelp Dashi stock so for those who stick to a vegan diet this is a vegan dish. You can use any kind of Dashi stock you have.

Here is a tip: “How to store cut green onion.” We often use cut green onion in many Japanese dishes. I always keep cut green onion in my freezer.

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Cut washed green onions and dry on paper towels. Put  in a freezer bag and freeze in freezer. Use within 1 month.

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Simmer all vegetables with Dashi stock and seasonings.

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Cook soaked Okara and stir with braised vegetables.


{Ingredients (servings 2)}          *Click BLUE TEXT to link to the product on Amazon*

½ cup Dry Okara

¾ cup Water for soaking Okara

1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

3 Okras

Slated Boiled Water for boiling Okras

2 Shiitake Mushrooms

1 Green Onion

½ Carrot

½ cup Kelp Dashi Stock
{The recipe of Kelp Dashi}  Kelp Dashi stock
(Recommended Dried Kelp for Dashi stock) Dashi Dried Kelp

1 tsp. Sugar

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

½ Tbsp. Cooking Sake

½ Tbsp. Mirin Sweet Cooking Wine

½ tsp. Salt


Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Okara

 


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Cold Tofu with Okra (Gluten Free/Vegan/Vegetarian)

Today I introduce you to my “Cold Tofu with Okra” recipe. In summer it is very humid in Japan, which makes us tired and lowers our appetite. Therefore, the Japanese traditional summer diet tends to include light foods which have great taste and nutrition, like in this recipe. I hope you add this recipe as a side dish in your meal.

The recipe is very easy and quick.

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Cut boiled okra and put on drained tofu. Drizzle with soy sauce to taste.

Tofu contains a lot of water so we drain tofu before cooking to keep the tofu shape and to keep the dish from becoming too watery. If you don’t like tofu aroma very much, I strongly recommend you drain the tofu because it makes the dish have less of a tofu aroma.

{Ingredients (1 serving)}

2~3 oz. (1/6 Pack) Firm Tofu

3 Okras

1 tsp. Salt

Soy Sauce REDUCED SODIUM [Gluten Free] (Organic) for seasoning

Boiled Water for Okra

Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Tofu with Okra


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Quick Eggplant Pickles (Gluten Free/Vegan/Vegetarian)

In Japan, we often eat eggplant pickles. This recipe is not exactly the traditional pickle but it is a homemade quick and delicious eggplant side dish!

As you know, eggplant is a summer vegetable. When we eat eggplant dishes, they make our body cool down so this recipe is great for hot and humid summer days. And this dish includes ginger and sesame seed so it is very nutritious.

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Japanese eggplant has thiner skin than American eggplant so I never peeled it, but in the U.S. I peel some parts of the skin and leave other parts. I keep some of the skin because it has polyphenol and is good for our health.

The recipe is so easy.

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Slice eggplant, knead with salt and let it sit for 20 minutes.

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Wash the eggplant and season with grated ginger, soy sauce and white sesame seed.

Here is a tip for storing ginger.

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Peel the skin, wrap with kitchen paper and wrap it with aluminum foil. Keep it in the freezer and use within 1 month. You can grate the frozen ginger (you don’t need to defrost).

{Ingredients (servings 2)}

Half Eggplant

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Grated Ginger

½ tsp. Soy Sauce REDUCED SODIUM [Gluten Free] (Organic)

1 tsp. White Roasted Sesame Seeds

Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Quick Eggplant Pickles


5 Comments

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


6 Comments

The easiest TOFU dish! (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free)

This is the quickest, easiest, healthiest summer time side dish. It’s just cold Tofu with green onion and ginger.

This is a dish you might have when you want to add one more nutritious dish to your meal; when you don’t have any time to cook in the morning; when you don’t have a big appetite; or when you want to eat late at night…

Tofu has a lot of nutrition. As you know, tofu is high in great protein so it is often used as a meat substitute for vegetarians. Also tofu is low calorie (33 kcal / 2 oz.) so it is good food for people who care about their’ diet.

Ginger is used as a medicine (we call it Kampo) in Eastern Medicine. It may improve our immune system  and also has antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

Green onion is high in vitamins and carotene. It also has antibacterial properties. So These two vegetables are great to make you more energetic and healthy.

Serving: 1

Total Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Total Calorie: 49 kcal

[Ingredients]

・1/6 pack(2~3 oz.) of firm Tofu (33 kcal)

・1 Tbsp. of minced Green Onion (5 kcal)

・1/2 tsp. of grated Ginger (1 kcal)

・1 Tbsp. of Soy Sauce (10 kcal)
(Recommended Gluten-Free Soy Sauce)Soy Sauce REDUCED SODIUM [Gluten Free] (Organic)

Cut washed tofu into small size and transfer to a plate.

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Add green onion and ginger on the tofu.

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Drizzle with soy sauce.

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1 Comment

Sautéed Chicken with Miso (Gluten-Free)

This sauté of vegetables and meat is a Japanese homemade main dish which is liked by everybody. There are some similar dishes in Chinese cuisine but the taste is totally different from this recipe. I use chicken tenderloin, I season the meat and vegetables with Miso paste and soy sauce, and I don’t use much oil, so it is flavorful, has  a great light taste, and is never greasy.

You can choose any kind of meat for this dish, such as beef or pork. I prefer chicken tenderloin because it is low fat, low calorie, and high in nutrition. Chicken tenderloin is cooked quickly so it doesn’t take time to cook. When we cook it the right way, the texture is amazingly soft. Therefore, in this recipe I am very careful about the cooking time.

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You can also add more vegetables to this dish, but at the very least you should use green bell pepper and eggplant because these two vegetables and Miso go perfectly together. Green bell pepper and eggplant are summer vegetables which make our bodies cool down. Eating summer vegetables in the summer brings us great effects.


{Ingredients (servings 2)}

1 small Green Bell Pepper

1 small Eggplant

5 pieces Chicken Tenderloin

3 Tbsp. ORGANIC Mild Miso Paste

2 Tbsp. Mirin Sweet Cooking Rice Wine

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

1 Tbsp. Cooking Sake

1 Tbsp. Sugar

1 Tbsp. Pure Sesame Oil

2 Tbsp. Vegetable oil


Here is my recipe in PDF (6 MB): Chicken Tenderloin Saute with Miso