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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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Datemaki, Japanese Traditional Pan-Fried Egg (Vegetarian)

This is a Japanese traditional New Year’s dish called Datemaki. It mainly contains egg and fish paste and has sweet taste and smooth texture.

Today I use tofu as substitute for fish paste because tofu is easily available, it is delicious, and it becomes a great dish for people who follow vegetarian diet.

For good final presentation, you may as well use Makisu which is a bamboo sushi mat, but you can use a piece of parchment paper if you don’t have Makisu.


Ingredients (servings 2)

• 7 oz (198g) firm tofu

• 4 eggs

• 4 tablespoons sugar

• 1 tablespoon Mirin, Japanese sweet cooking rice wine

• 1/2 tablespoon Yamasa Marudai Zu Soy Sauce


The recipe is easy but takes a little bit time. You can store this dish in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days so you may want to make ahead and serve it later.

Drain tofu, wrap with paper towels and place on a plate. Put a weight, such as a heavy plate, on the wrapped tofu for at least 1 hour to drain completely. (Change the paper towels halfway through if they are completely soaked).

Combine the drained tofu, eggs, sugar, mirin and soy sauce in a bowl. Mix well using a hand blender until smooth.

Heat a dry non-stick skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, then coat the skillet with cooking spray. Put the hot skillet on a damp cloth to let the bottom of the skillet cool down slightly. Next, put the skillet on the range back and pour in all of the egg mixture. Put a lid on the skillet and cook for 12 minutes over low heat. Then turn the heat off and let it sit on the range for 5 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and let it sit another 5 to 10 minutes until it becomes cool enough to handle.

Place the egg on a Makisu or a piece of parchment paper. Roll it into a tight jelly roll. Put a rubber band around the roll and let it sit at room temperature for about 1 hour to cool down. Then refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow it set up before cutting and serving.



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Carrot and Daikon Radish Sweet Pickles (Gluten-free/Vegetarian)

Today I will introduce you to “Japanese traditional New Year’s food”. 

New year is very important event in Japan. Anciently Japan had a tradition that people wouldn’t shop or cook for the first three days of New Year. Therefore, people cook lots of colorful dishes that last long on 31st December and put them in beautiful boxes together for the three days, which is called Osechi. Each dish has auspicious meaning, such as health, longevity, and safety of the year.  Lately some shops and restaurants are open on New Year’s day, but many people make/buy Osechi and celebrate the New Year. 

This dish “carrot and daikon radish sweet pickles” is called “Namasu”. It has red and white color so it is considered as a happy dish.

The recipe is very easy and the dish last for about 5 days in the refrigerator so it is a versatile dish for any occasion.

Cut the daikon radish and carrot into about 3-inch-length thin strips. Combine the vegetables and salt in a zip-top bag or in a bowl and knead gently. Let it sit for 10 minutes until the vegetables become tender.

Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, sugar and dash powder in a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 40 seconds, mix well and set aside. Wring the vegetables dry by hand and add in the vinegar mixture.


• 6-inch-length daikon radish, peeled and cut in half

• 1 small carrot, peeled

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 3 tablespoons rice vinegar

• 2 tablespoons sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon Kombu Dashi Powder with No MSG (Vegetarian Soup Stock)



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Classic Japanese Biscuits “Egg Bolo” (Gluten-free/ Vegetarian)

Japanese egg bolo which is classic Japanese biscuits, has a very small ball shape and a light delicious taste.

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For Japanese, egg bolo may be the first sweet snack because there are many “egg bolo” products as a baby food.

However, lately, homemade egg bolo is very popular because it is easy to make using simple ingredients.

In this recipe, you need only 3 ingredients; cornstarch, egg yolk and sugar. In Japan, there are also other kind of bolo which uses flour or buckwheat flour.


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Ingredients (90 to 100 balls)

1/4 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup cornstarch


  1. Preheat the oven to 320 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar well. Add the cornstarch gradually while mixing by hand. Do not add the cornstarch all at once. If the mixture is still too sticky, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.

3. Shape the mixture into a very small ball; the size of the little finger’s tip. (They are going to puff up after baking. The big bolo texture is not good very much).

4. Bake for 15 minutes.


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4 Ingredients Easy Custard Pudding (gluten-free, vegetarian)

There are many recipes for custard pudding. Today I introduce you to the easiest custard pudding. It is simple yet very delicious!!

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It has very smooth texture and great delicate taste!! There is no need to add butter or vanilla extract. This pudding already has rich taste!! If you prefer, you can mix in some shredded chocolate before refrigerating to make chocolate puddings.

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You need only eggs, sugar, cornstarch, whole or low fat milk and one soup pan.

You can use skim milk and nut milks for the recipe, but the pudding is going to be a bit watery  after refrigerating in my experience. When you use skim milk or nut milks, you might want to use less than normal amount of the milk in the recipe.

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Ingredients (servings 4)

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk or 2% milk

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  1. In a soup pan, whisk the yolks and sugar well.
  2. Add the cornstarch to the pan and mix gently.
  3. Pour the milk gradually into the pan while stirring.
  4. Cook it over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture  just barely comes to a boil. Turn the heat to low and keep stirring until it is getting custard consistency, for 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Pour the pudding into a deep (about 5 ounce) grass cup and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

 

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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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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.



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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


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Perfect and Easy Japanese Rice (gluten-free/ vegan)

Today I introduce you to “How to cook Japanese rice perfectly and easily”. If you have a rice cooker, you can just follow their directions. But if you don’t have one, this is the easiest recipe for perfect Japanese rice.

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Steamed rice is a staple food in Japanese cuisine. Japanese rice has soft texture and rice grains are shiny when it is cooked! We mostly eat rice two or three times a day. Even when we don’t cook, most super markets and convenience stores have many kinds of rice balls and rice products can be cooked in microwave.

Lately, some people add multi-grain rice to white rice when it is cooked to make the dish healthier but steamed white rice remains perennial favorites.



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Tips for cooking Japanese rice;

  • Find dried short-grain white rice, not “sweet sticky rice”.
  • Wash and soak rice for 30 minutes before cooking.
  • The heat level is the key. Once it boils, turn down the heat to very low not to get burned.
  • Do not open the lid when it is cooking even if it bubbles over. Wait patiently.
  • Steam the rice for 10 minutes after cooking.

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

Tips for storing cooked rice;

Put one portion of cooked rice without cooling down in a glass container with a lid or freezer bag, or wrap with plastic wrap. Store in the freezer and use within 3 weeks. When you eat, put unwrapped frozen rice on a microwave-safe plate  and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes with a cover.

The key to store is to freeze the rice without cooling so it has fresh cooked rice taste even after storing for 3 weeks in the freezer.


Ingredients (4 servings, about 4 cups)

1 ½ cups short-grain white rice (I recommend Koshihikari Rice 4.4 Lb)

1 2/3 cups water


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


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Freeze-dried Tofu (Vegetarian, Gluten-free)

Today I introduce you to “Simmered freeze-dried tofu with egg”. The dish has delicious dashi flavor and is very healthy.

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Freeze-dried tofu is very common preserved food in Japan. It is rich in nutrients and delicious. The tofu has been often used as an ingredient in Buddhist cuisine since 1600s. 

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The taste is very light and doesn’t have tofu aroma which is good for people who don’t like tofu very much. The texture is totally different from regular tofu. We can grill, simmer, bake and pan-fry them. Moreover, this is a great substitute for meat lately in Japan. 

The recipe is very easy.

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Bring the sauce to a boil and add the tofu. Simmer 15 minutes and drizzle with beaten egg.

Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Freeze Dried Tofu

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{Ingredients (serving 2)}
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1.2-ounce Freeze-dried Tofu

2 cups water

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

½ Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. Mirin (Sweet Cooking Rice Wine)

1 Tbsp. Cooking Sake

1 tsp. Kombu Dashi Powder with No MSG (Vegetarian Soup Stock) any kind you choosing

2 eggs


 

Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Freeze Dried Tofu


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Microwaved Japanese-Style Fried Egg (Vegetarian/Gluten-free)

Today I introduce you to “Microwaved Japanese-Style Fried Egg ”. Usually we use a special rectangular pan. Here is a quick instruction: Cook thin fried egg and fold up twice. Under the egg, make another thin fried egg and wrap the first fried egg. Continue this 3 or 4 times. Once you get used to cooking this, it is easy, but we need practice so here I will show you how to cook in the microwave. It doesn’t have the exact same shape as pan-fried egg but it is similar and of course it tastes delicious!

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In Japan, this kind of fried egg is a very popular dish, even more than scrambled egg or sunny side up. We frequently add to our meals as a side dish and also add to lunch boxes.

Interestingly, there is a difference in the fried egg seasoning between west and east Japan. In western Japan, it tastes savory, seasoned with soy sauce and Dashi stock. In eastern Japan, it has a slightly sweet taste because sugar is added. 


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In this recipe I made sweet fried egg so that kids will like it too. The seasonings are sugar and milk (any kind is okay). If you want to try authentic fried egg, you can add 1 tsp. of cooking sake and soy sauce to the beaten egg. This makes the egg more flavorful!!

Here is a tip to cook egg in the microwave. Because of the egg’s elements, eggs sometimes change to purple-ish blue color in the microwave. This is natural and doesn’t harm you. However, in Japanese cuisine, the final presentation is very important so we add a splash of vinegar to the beaten egg. This keeps the egg from changing color when we cook in the microwave.

The recipe is very easy.
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Whisk eggs and seasonings. Microwave. Make the shape with plastic wrap and microwave again.

Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Microwave Fried Egg

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Ingredients (servings 2)

3 Eggs

1 Tbsp. Sugar

1 Tbsp. Milk (any kind)

1 tsp. Vinegar


Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Microwave Fried Egg