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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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Green Beans with Sweet Sesame Dressing (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free)

This is a traditional Japanese side dish which is called “Goma-Ae” in Japanese. The dish dresses boiled fresh green beans with sweet sesame dressing. The sesame dressing contains ground white sesame, soy sauce and sugar. It is a healthy, delicious, easy and very quick to prepare dish.

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In Japan we usually use a traditional Japanese mortar and pestle for grinding white sesame. Ground sesame makes the dish very flavorful and it is easy to eat. If you have a spice grinder, you can use it. If you don’t have either a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle you can put sesame seeds in a zipper bag and beat them with a rolling pin until they are ground.

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The basic arrangement for many Japanese meals is called “Ichi-juu, San-sai,” which consists of one bowl of cooked rice, one kind of soup and three vegetables or fish small portion dishes. So this dish is a very common dish in the Japanese diet.

When you want to add a vegetable dish to your meal or in your lunch box, this is a great choice. Also, you can use any kind of vegetable with this dressing, such as boiled spinach, boiled carrot, boiled broccoli and so on.

The recipe is very quick. It takes only 10 minutes.

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Mix the sauce ingredients, boil fresh green beans and dress.

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You can store this dish in the refrigerator for 3 days. If you want to store longer, please dry the boiled green beans very well before dressing in the sauce and transfer them to a clean container. You can then keep it in the refrigerator for 5 days.

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Enjoy this new healthy side dish!!


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

¾~1 pound Fresh Green Beans

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

2 Tbsp. Sugar

2 Tbsp. Mirin Sweet Cooking Rice Wine

4 Tbsp. White Roasted Sesame Seeds

Water for boiling green beans

1 Tbsp. Salt for boiling green beans


{Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF}: green-beans-with-sweet-sesame-dressing

{Recipe Video on YouTube}


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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”


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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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Okra Tempura (Vegetarian)

Today I introduce you to Okra Tempura. This tempura dish has a different texture from the fried-okra you may find in the U.S.  The tempura batter is crunchy but not thick. I season it with just sea salt when I eat it so I can enjoy the taste of okra.



My book Bento for Beginners: 60 Recipes for Easy Bento Box Lunches

is now available on Amazon!!

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My mother used okra in her meals a lot because of the  nutrition. Inside, okra has a gooey texture from the pectin (a soluble fiber) and mucin (a protein). These two nutrients improve our digestion. Okra is also high in beta-carotene, minerals, vitamins and so on.

About my tempura batter, I always try to make tempura with a great crunchy (not greasy) texture because it is more delicious. In this recipe, I show you how to make  the best batter for crunchy tempura. I hope you like it.


{Ingredients (servings 2 as side dish)}

10~16 Okura

1 Egg

½ cup Cold Water

½ cup Flour

Vegetable Oil for frying


Here is my recipe in PDF (4 MB): Okra Tempura


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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


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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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Quick and Delicious! “Tofu Salad with Sesame Dressing” (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free)

Sesame dressing is very popular dressing in Japan. It tastes great and is of course extremely healthy.

This is White Roasted Sesame Seeds I used in this recipe.

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Sesame is high in arginine, oleic acid, linoleum acid, sesamin, and it has great quality protein, iron, niacin and vitamin B. Sesame has high antioxidant properties due to vitamin E and linoleum acid. This means sesame may improve our immune system. Another important ingredient in sesame is Lignan. Lignan helps liver function and cholesterol depletion. I highly recommend to have 1 Tbsp. of sesame per a day. Of course, having it in this salad dressing is a delicious way to eat sesame.

In this recipe I will also introduce you to Tofu Salad, which goes great with sesame dressing. It is quick, delicious and very nutritious! When you want to add more protein, vitamins and minerals to your meal, please try this easy quick delicious salad!!


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

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

2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar

1 Tbsp. Pure Sesame Oil

1 Tbsp. White Roasted Sesame Seeds

12 pieces Grape Tomatoes

½ cucumber

3.5 oz. (¼ pack) Firm Tofu


Here is my recipe in PDF (3 MB): Tofu Salad with Sesame Dressing


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Grated Japanese Yam (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free)

This recipe is just grated Japanese yam. Japanese sometimes eat grated yam by itself, pour it on steamed rice, or put it on noodles, and so on.

Japanese yam is a very nutritious vegetable as I told at https://japanese-food.org/2015/05/12/japanese-yam-salad/

The yam has a sticky texture because of Mucin, one of it’s ingredients. Especially when the yam is grated, the texture become more smooth and sticky, and this sticky texture gives our bodies some great benefits, such as protecting our mucous membranes in the stomach, protecting our body from some viruses and so on. Mucin is a soluble fiber and helps keep water in our cells.

Traditionally, people say the grated Japanese yam loosened phlegm, so I used to eat it when I caught a cough. Additionally, the yam is easy to digest so it is good food when you are sick.

It is easy, simple and quick. Nothing difficult. Just grate the yam and mix with some Japanese Dashi stock.


{Ingredients (servings 2)}

5-inch length Japanese Yam

¼ cup Kelp Dashi Stock
(Recommended Dried Kelp for Dashi stock) Dashi Dried Kelp

A splash of Soy Sauce
(Recommended Gluten-Free Soy Sauce)Soy Sauce REDUCED SODIUM [Gluten Free] (Organic)

⅛ tsp. Japanese Wasabi Paste
(Recommended Gluten-Free Wasabi Powder)Organic Seasoning Wasabi Powder


Here is my recipe in PDF (3 MB): Japanese Yam

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


7 Comments

Japanese Yam Salad (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free)

Have you ever had Japanese yam?

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It is a kind of potato that grows straight into the ground so it has a long shape. (It sometimes grows to more than 3 feet).

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In Japan, people have eaten the yam for about 3000 years. Therefore, the yam is very important to the Japanese diet.

We can eat this yam raw because it has a gelatinized starch and some of the nutrition in this type of yam are breaks under heat. The Japanese yam is rich in diastase, a digestive enzyme which helps our digestion and absorption of nutrition into the body. Also the yam is high in vitamin B1, vitamin C, calcium, potassium and mucin.

Mucin is soluble fiber and helps keep water in our cells. Therefore, it protects our mucous membranesin the stomach, and protects our body from some viruses. Some studies say the yam also prevents dry eyes because mucin is an ingredient in tears. Mucin gives the yam a great smooth, sticky texture, especially when it is grated. This is great for our body. It heals our tiredness and helps our digestion, so the yam is great for your diet when you are recovering from being sick, when you have no appetite, and so on.

(The yam has Calcium oxalate, so it can sometimes make you feel itchy on your hands or around your lips when you touch it, but you feel better as soon as you wash the itchy part with acid water (a mixture of vinegar and water). In rare case some people are allergic to the yam, so if it gives you a weird feeling inside your mouth, you have to stop eating it and call a doctor.)

Today, I introduce you to Japanese yam salad. It is very simple and easy. I always use pickled plum sauce because it is extremely healthy and is a fermented food. But you can use any dressing you want, because the yam doesn’t have strong flavor so it won’t change the taste of your favorite dressing taste!

Enjoy your new nutritious salad!!!


{Ingredients (servings 2)}

4-inch length Japanese Yam

½ Cucumber

1 Pickled Plum

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

2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar (total)

2 cups Water


Here is my recipe in PDF (4 MB): Japanese Yam Salad


6 Comments

Healthy Cabbage Soup (Gluten-Free)

This recipe is not traditional Japanese food. We occasionally have it as a hospital meal, school meal and so on. This is good for digestion and low fat and low calorie. Therefore, we sometimes have it as a diet meal. Also some hospitals serve this kind of dish to patients who will soon have surgery, because it reduces visceral fat before the surgery.

Cabbage in spring has a very good taste so it is traditional we have many cabbage dishes in the spring.

In this recipe, the cooking is really easy and takes less than 30 minutes. Significantly, some nutrition from cabbages can break down under heat so please cook for as short as possible after adding cabbage as per the instructions. Also, Cabbage can be eaten raw but it is hard to eat a lot of it that way. So I highly recommend this soup that cooking for less than 20 minutes after adding the cabbage and including vegetables in all soups.

Enjoy the nutritious soup!

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{Ingredients (servings 2)}

¼ Green Cabbage

1 Onion

1 Carrot

2 cups Reduced Sodium Chicken Flavor Broth

½ tsp. Salt

A pinch of Black Pepper

1 Tbsp. Gluten-Free Margarine

Here is my recipe in PDF (5 MB): Healthy Cabbage Soup