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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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Burdock Root Chips (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-free)

Have you ever eaten burdock root called GOBO in Japanese? It has crunchy texture and mild earthy flavor.

Burdock root is high in fiber and rich in polyphenols. It is widely used for homemade dishes in Northern Asia.

Because burdock root has a thin skin, you actually don’t need to peel. Just scrub with a vegetable brush or the back of a knife. In addition, the burdock root gets discolored after scrubbing the surface by oxidation of polyphenols. This is natural and doesn’t harm you.

Today I will introduce you crunchy burdock root chips.


Ingredients (serving 2)

  • About 20-inch Burdock root
  • Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons cornstarch

The recipe is easy. Burdock root is oven-fried so it can save a lot of bother compared to deep-frying.

Preheat the oven to 400 degree F.
Cut burdock root into about 5-inch-length pieces. Scrub the surface. Slice it with slicer or peeler.
In a bowl, combine the burdock root, olive oil, salt, and cornstarch. Toss well.
Line a baking pan with a piece of parchment paper.
Bake on top rack for 17 minutes until golden brown and crisp.


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Lotus Root Dumpling (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-free)

Today I introduce you to lotus root dumpling. It is a popular dish in Japan. The dumpling has great smooth texture and delicious dashi sauce gives the dish amazing flavor.

Lotus root is a very nutritious vegetable; high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber and polyphenol. It doesn’t have a particularly strong taste or aroma, so it suits all taste.

In this recipe, grated lotus root is cooked in a microwave. This makes the recipe easy.

Grate peeled lotus root and mix with cornstarch and salt.
Put about 3 tablespoons of the mixture on a piece of wrap and make a ball shape.
Place the wrapped lotus root mixture on a microwavable plate and microwave for 2 minutes (1000w).
Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, combine dashi stock, cooking sake, soy sauce and mirin, and bring to a boil. Stir in slurry. Drizzle the dumpling with the sauce and top with chopped green onion and grated ginger to taste.

Ingredients (serving 2)

  • 10 oz. lotus root, peeled
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dashi stock (any kind)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cooking Sake
  • 1 Tablespoon Gluten Free Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Mirin sweet cooking rice wine
  • Slurry (Mixture of 1 Tablespoon cornstarch plus 2 Tablespoons water)
  • Chopped green onion to taste
  • Grated ginger to taste


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Yummy and Healthy!! “Sweet Tofu Salad” (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free)

This traditional Japanese side dish comes from Buddhist cuisine. The ingredients are tofu and some simmered tender vegetables, and the dish is seasoned with sugar and soy sauce. I have loved it since I was a child because the taste is good and sweet, and the texture is amazingly smooth.


My book Bento for Beginners: 60 Recipes for Easy Bento Box Lunches is now available!!


Tofu is always great protein for us, has no strong taste or flavor, and has a soft texture so it doesn’t interfere with any dish’s flavors or textures. Therefore, in regard to nutrition and digestion it is good for people who don’t have an appetite or who are really picky eaters. You can cook any kind of dish with tofu.

Enjoy your new taste and texture side salad!!

The recipe is easy.

Drain tofu.
Prepare vegetables.
Combine the tofu and vegetables and season.

{Ingredients (servings 3)}

*Click BLUE TEXT to link to the product on Amazon*

A pack (14 oz.) Firm Tofu

Half bunch Fresh Spinach

1 Carrot

3 pieces Shirakiku Shiitake Dried Mushrooms

1 Tbsp. Roasted White Sesame Seeds (Iri Goma)

2 Tbsp. Sugar

2 Tbsp. plus 2 separate tsp. Kikkoman Gluten Free Soy Sauce

½ tsp. Salt (total)

1 tsp. Cooking Sake

2 cups Water (including leftover from soaking shiitake mushrooms)


Here is my recipe in PDF (7 MB): Sweet Tofu Salad


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Homemade Mochi Ice Cream with Gluten-free Wrapper

Today I will teach you how to make “Homemade Mochi Ice Cream”. The mochi wrapper is made of glutinous rice flour (mochiko), sugar and water. The dish can become vegan, vegetarian, and/or non-dairy depending on the kind of ice cream you choose.

This impressively easy recipe may get you out of shopping for overpriced mochi ice cream products.


Ingredients (about 6 mochi wrappers)



Here are some tips. 

1. You may consider reducing the amount of sugar to make healthier wrappers. The good news is you can use 1.4 oz. of sugar, 0.7 oz. of sugar or even a non-sugar sweetener that can be used in cooking, instead of 2.8 oz. of sugar. However, when you use less sugar or artificial sweeteners the wrappers only stay good if you eat them soon after making the dish. This is because wrappers containing less than 2.8 oz. freeze hard in the freezer and you lose the nice and soft mochi texture. Therefore I recommend using twice as much glutinous rice flour to prevent the mochi from freezing solid. 

2. The dough is very sticky. Using a fork when stirring is better than a spoon or spatula.



[Recipe]

1. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the rice flour and sugar. Mix well. Add the water gradually, stirring constantly to keep lumps from forming. Microwave (1000w) for 1 minute. Remove the bowl and stir for 1 minute. Microwave for another 1 minute and stir again for 1 minute. At this point, the dough should become translucent. 

*If the dough doesn’t have enough sugar, the white dough won’t turn a translucent color.

2. Place the dough on a well-dusted work surface. You should use cornstarch to dust the surface. Sprinkle more cornstarch on the dough. Once the dough is cool enough to handle, roll out the dough using your fingertips until it is a very thin layer (about 0.2 inch-thick). Cut into 6-equal-pieces.

*You can wrap each mochi wrapper and store in the freezer for 3 weeks. 

3. Using a small ice cream scooper, scoop about 1 heaping tablespoon of well-frozen ice cream and place on the center of a piece of mochi wrapper. Seal the edge of the wrapper with fingers. 

*Using a small amount of ice cream makes your work easier until you get used to it.

*Freezing small-ball-sized ice cream in advance also helps your work.

You can enjoy this delicious mochi ice cream as soon as you make it, or you can store in the freezer until it is served.


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Scrumptious Mochi stuffed Fried Tofu Abura-Age (Vegan/Gluten-free)

Today I introduce you to “Mochi stuffed Fried Tofu Abura-Age in Dashi Soup”. The abura-age is juicy from soaking in delicious dashi soup and the mochi has a nice and soft texture.

Abura-age is a common food in Japan, deep-fried thin sliced tofu. You can find it in many Asian grocery stores.

Mochi is a traditional Japanese food. It is a soft rice cake made from steamed sticky rice. There are some products called MOCHI ice cream which is ice cream wrapped with a thin pieces of mochi. This sometimes makes people think all mochi is ice cream related. Therefore, please be aware that in Japan when you order mochi you will get a soft and sticky rice cake rather than ice cream.

Mochi staffed fried tofu is a very popular ingredient for hot pot dishes in Japan.


Ingredients (serving 2)


The recipe is easy.

Drizzle abura-age with boiling water to remove excess oil from their surface. Cut in half, put a piece of mochi in, and seam with a toothpick.

In a sauce pan, combine water, dashi stock powder, carrot, daikon radish, shiitake mushroom, cooking sake, soy sauce and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add the mochi staffed abura-age and cook for 5 minutes. Flip them halfway through.


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Pickled Lotus Root (gluten-free/vegan)

Today I introduce you to “Pickled Lotus Root” which is basically one of Japanese new year’s dish. But it is delicious, easy-to-cook and very healthy so I make it all the time. The dish can be stored in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

Lotus root is high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber and polyphenol. Their crunchy texture is amazing! Lotus root is versatile enough to be eaten deliciously in every cooking way, such as tempura, sauté, simmering, and roasting.


Ingredients (servings 2-3)


The recipe is very easy. It takes less than 10 minutes.

  1. Slice the lotus root thinly and soak in some water for about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a microwavable bowl, combine mirin, salt, vinegar, sugar and water, and mix well.
  3. Drain off the water from the lotus root and add the lotus root to the vinegar mixture.
  4. Cover the bowl, microwave for 1 minute, and sprinkle some crushed red pepper to taste. Let it cool at room temperature before serving or storing in the refrigerator.


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Spinach and Walnut Salad with Lemon Zest (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-free)

Are you looking for easy, healthy yet delicious recipes? Well, this dish is for you! “Spinach and walnut salad” which has very fresh taste from lemon zest.

The recipe is very easy and quick. It takes only 5 to 6 minutes. Moreover, you can store it for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

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Ingredients (servings 4)

10 oz. fresh baby spinach

1/4 cup walnuts pieces

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

  1. Boil the spinach for 10 seconds in boiling water. Drain, rinse the spinach under cold running water and wring it dry by hand.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach, walnuts, lemon zest, olive oil. Season with some salt and pepper and mix well.

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Teriyaki Tofu (Gluten-free/Vegan)

Here is a quick video how to cook Teriyaki Tofu.

It is very easy, takes only 25 minutes total, and amazingly delicious!!

Enjoy the authentic teriyaki taste!!



My book Bento for Beginners: 60 Recipes for Easy Bento Box Lunches is now available!!

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{Teriyaki Tofu Ingredients (servings 2)}


7-ounce extra firm tofu

1/2 cup corn starch

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce

2 tablespoons mirin

1 tablespoon cooking sake

1/2 tablespoon sugar



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Eggless Tofu Muffins (Vegan/Vegetarian)

Have you ever thought “NO-EGG TOFU muffins” are good? Well, if you have’t, this muffins may blow you away! Tastes amazingly delicious and  1 muffin has only 164 kcal!!

I experimented so many times to get them the right texture and taste, and this is the best. You won’t taste or smell the tofu when you eat. But if you are really really sensitive to tofu aroma, you can add some squeezed lemon juice to the tofu paste to get rid of the smell completely.

Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Eggless Tofu Muffins

Here is a tip for storing: After baking, let it cool and wrap each with freezer-safe wrapper. Keep in the freezer and use within 3 weeks. Before you eat, leave the wrapped muffin out to thaw at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours.



My very first cookbook Bento for Beginners: 60 Recipes for Easy Bento Box Lunches is now available on Amazon!!

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In Japan, it is common to add “Tofu” to some dishes as an ingredient, such as hamburger steak, meatball, pancakes, and so on. It makes the dishes healthier and it requires fewer ingredients.

To make muffins healthier, I use almond milk, a combination of dark brown sugar and white sugar, a combination of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, and coconut oil. You can use any kind of milk, sugar and vegetable oil as a substitute.

I hope many people can enjoy these muffins! They are also great for people with egg allergies because they contain no eggs or egg products. These muffins are a healthy and delicious treat!


{Ingredients (12 muffins)}

4 Tbsp. Margarine

2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil (I used Coconuts Oil)

35 oz. (¼ pack) Tofu

1 cup Sugar (I used ½ cup White Sugar and ½ cup Dark Brown Sugar)

¾ cups All Purpose Flour

¾ cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 tsp. Baking Powder

150 ml Soy Milk


Here is my recipe in PDF: Eggless Tofu Muffins