Your Home for Homemade Japanese Food

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


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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.



The cookbook Bento for Beginners is now available on Amazon.



 

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


6 Comments

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

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


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Tofu and Edamame with Flavorful Thick Sauce (Vegan/Gluten-free)

Today I introduce you to a great high protein dish  “Tofu and Edamame with Flavorful Thick Sauce”. This is an incredibly easy, healthy and delicious dish so it is great for weeknight dinners. 

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The seasonings are soy sauce and cooking sake. Also I use corn starch slurry to make the sauce thicker. The thick sauce coats tofu and edamame and you can enjoy all the flavors together. 

I used frozen edamame in the recipe but you can use fresh too. Edamame is a very useful, versatile and nutritious ingredient. You can add it to many dishes, like omelet, soup, salad, rice, pasta and so on. Or you can just snack on boiled edamame! In Japan we traditionally eat edamame as an appetizer when we drink beer at dinner. The reason being that edamame may help the function of the liver which helps breakdown alcohol. At some common Japanese restaurants, Izakaya, they serve edamame right after we are seated before we  order, like bread sticks in an Italian restaurant (mostly the cost is included in the price as a service fee).

The recipe is very easy and quick.

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Place tofu, edamame and seasonings into a pan and cook. Add slurry and serve!

It is a vegan and gluten free dish when you use kelp dashi stock or your favorite vegetable broth, and gluten free soy sauce.

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Ingredients (servings 2)
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½ pack Firm Tofu

½ cup Frozen Edamame

1 cup Dashi stock (any kind)

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

1 Tbsp. Cooking Sake 

1 Tbsp. Corn Starch (for slurry)

2 Tbsp. Water (for slurry)


Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Tofu and Edamame Dish


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Vegan Quinoa Bowl with Almond Sauce (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-free)

Today I introduce you to “Vegan Quinoa Bowl with Almond Sauce”. 

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Lately, I love using almond butter for making sauces because it reminds me of Asian flavor!! In this recipe, I use lemon juice, onion powder and garlic powder for the sauce to make the recipe simpler. However, when I combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, almond butter and a hint of sesame oil, it becomes a totally Asian dish!! 

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In addition to the sauce, I use a little bit of warm water to adjust the consistency. You can use some olive oil but since almond butter is high in healthy fat, I don’t need to add unnecessary fat. 

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This dish is wonderful because you can translate the dish into a taste that fits your preference. You can use any kind of vegetables for topping. And if you are not following a vegan diet, it is good to add some cooked chicken!! Plus, you can use any kind of spice in the sauce. I like using some curry powder too!!

The recipe is so simple:
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Cook quinoa. Mix the sauce ingredients. Cut vegetables (Cook them if you need. I cooked the tofu and broccoli). Place everything in a serving plate.

*Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Vegan Quinoa Bowl with Almond Sauce

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Ingredients (1 serving)
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¼ cup Quinoa

½ cup Vegetable Broth

(for topping)

¼ pack (about 3 oz.) Firm Tofu

½ cup Broccoli floret

¼ cup Cooked Corn Kernel

½ Red Bell Pepper

½ cup Baby Arugula 

(for sauce)

1 Tbsp. Classic Almond Butter by Justin’s

Juice of ½ Lemon

2~3 Tbsp. Warm Water

Some Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder


*Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Vegan Quinoa Bowl with Almond Sauce


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Vegetarian Spring Rolls

Today I introduce you to Homemade Vegetarian Spring Rolls. The ingredients are tofu, carrot, mushroom and some seasoning.

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Sometimes we feel frying is too much work but these spring rolls are out of this world! It is worth the little bit of extra effort. The spring rolls have a nice crunchy wrap and smooth and flavorful filling. They are irresistible! Plus, I use a plastic bag to mix the filling so that makes cleanup easier. 

On the PDF recipe, I explain how to wrap the filling step by step. It is not difficult. You should already be used to it when you roll a second spring roll. If you have children, it may be fun to roll the spring rolls up with them. I used to do that when I was little.

Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Vegetarian Spring Rolls

The recipe is

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Process drained tofu in a food processor. Put all ingredients in a plastic zipper bag and mix well. On a wrapper, squeeze the filling out directly from the plastic bag and roll up. (To store, before frying put them in a plastic zipper bag carefully and keep in the freezer.) Fry until it is nice golden brown.

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Ingredients (20 spring rolls)
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20 Spring Roll Wraps

1 pack Tofu

4 Mushrooms

3 Cabbage Leaves

1 Carrot

1 tsp. Grated Ginger

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Soy Sauce

1 Tbsp. Cooking Sake

1 Egg

1 Tbsp. Flour plus 1 Tbsp. Water for slurry

Vegetable Oil for frying


Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Vegetarian Spring Rolls


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Simple Japanese Egg Salad (Vegetarian/Gluten-free*)

Today I introduce you to “Simple Japanese Egg Salad”. It is a quick and easy recipe but very scrumptious!! (*When you use gluten-free mayonnaise, this becomes a gluten free dish. Japanese mayonnaises mostly contain small amount of gluten as an ingredient “Brewed Vinegar”)

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In Japan, we usually use this for sandwiches. But if you want to add one more dish in your meal, this is best because it is a fuss-free recipe.

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I use fresh eggs and boil them myself. If you have boiled eggs in your refrigerator, you might want to use them. It saves more time.

The recipe is very easy.

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Boil eggs for 12 minutes. Peel in cold water. Crumble the peeled eggs and season with mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

*Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Japanese Egg Salad


Ingredients (servings 2)

3 Eggs

4 Tbsp. Mayonnaise

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

Minced Parsley (to taste)

Boiled Water for boiling eggs


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


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Cheesy Sweet Potato Croquettes (Vegetarian)

Today I introduce you to Cheesy Sweet Potato Croquettes. I put shredded cheese and corn kernels in mashed sweet potato so it is very cheesy, creamy and incredibly tasty!!

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I use sweet potato instead of regular potato because it is healthier. Sweet potato is high in vitamin C, potassium and fiber. And it also has a low GI (glycemic index). This means sweet potato doesn’t make our blood sugar rise quickly or as much as foods with a higher GI, even though it contains carbohydrate. It is healthier to eat low GI foods first during your meals. You might want to consider the order in which you eat things to avoid raising your blood sugar quickly.

Croquettes are very filling and delicious. They are not only good as a main dish but also for kids’ snacks after school. You may think that frying is too much work but this delicious dish is totally worth it. We can cook a lot of croquettes at once and store in the freezer before frying.

The recipe is

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Mash boiled sweet potato. Wrap cheese and corn kernels mixture with the mashed potato.

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Batter the mash potato and fry.

Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: sweet potato croquette

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Ingredients (7~8 croquettes)

1 Sweet Potato

½ cup Corn Kernels

½ cup Shredded Cheese (any kind)

1 tsp. Salt

½ tsp. pepper

¼ cup Flour

1 Beaten Egg

1 cup Breadcrumbs

Water for boiling

Vegetable Oil for frying


Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: sweet potato croquette


8 Comments

Simple Creamy Sweet Potato Soup & About Soy Milk

Today I introduce you to Simple Creamy Sweet Potato Soup. This is a vegan and gluten-free dish because I use soy milk and don’t use cheese. But the consistency is perfect and the taste is divine. This is the best homemade soup!! (For the final presentation I drizzled some spinach puree.)

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The reason I use soy milk is that I wanted to add protein to the soup. I used regular milk for my cooking when I lived in Japan. However I have used soy milk a lot in my diet since I moved to the US because there are fewer opportunities to get soy nutrients here. When I was in Japan, I had Natto, which is fermented soybeans, miso soup which is also fermented soybeans with salt and koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae) and used soy sauce for my cooking everyday, and I frequently had tofu dishes and soybean dishes. So I didn’t need to get nutrition from soy milk.

I want to say that soy milk is not milk. It is actually soybeans and water. But now there are many flavors of soy milk products which contain many additives to make it tasty. I think it’s better to drink these soy milk products than to drink sweet soda or sweet fatty beverages. If you don’t like these additives, you can choose Eden Organic Soymilk Unsweetened which has only two ingredients, soybeans and water. It has more of a soybean taste, but it is very healthy!

Now you can drink a glass of pure, unflavored soy milk per day because it’s not milk but just soybeans and water as I said. It is not good, however, to drink soy milk heavily like water. As I sometimes mention on the blog, we need to eat well-balanced meals to be healthier. For example egg is a highly nutritious food but we can’t live by eating only eggs because they don’t contain fiber and vitamin C. It could make you unhealthy if you ate only eggs. My point is you can’t eat huge amounts of soy even if it’s a healthy ingredient.

There are many articles that tell us that soy is a danger. If you ask me, you have to know “Appropriate quantities”. In Asia we eat large amounts of soy food and mostly live long and healthy lives. So how can we eat soy products and be healthy without risks!? Eat small portions of several kinds of food at each meal, which gives you a well-balanced meal. Read also You can Eat Anything You Want! But…

I use soy milk only for cooking soup or for my cereal about twice a week. I have 1/4 pack (3oz.) of tofu twice a week, miso soup every other day and use soy sauce for my cooking everyday. And I am totally healthy!!

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My suggestion is to use several kinds of milk substitutes wisely in your meal. You can use any kind of milk for this recipe if you want but I highly recommend to use soy milk for cooking because that makes your dish nutritious and delicious!! If you can, try to use unsweetened soy milk which contains only soybeans and water for cooking. It’s very healthy!!!

The recipe is very easy!

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Sauté cut onion and sweet potato. Simmer with vegetable stock. Add soy milk and blend with a hand blender.

*Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Sweet Potato Soup

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Ingredients (servings 2)

1 Sweet Potato

1 Onion

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil or Margarine

½ tsp. Salt

1 cup Vegetable Stock

1 ½ cups Soy Milk


*Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Sweet Potato Soup


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Very Flavorful and Yummy! Herb Tofu (Vegan/Gluten-free)

Today I introduce you to “Herb Tofu”. This is a very flavorful, delicious and healthy protein ingredient for your salad!!

The recipe is very easy and the taste is so perfect! No more tasteless tofu!! This is because I season the diced tofu before draining. This means the tofu sponges up all the seasonings while it drains. I tried and tried to cook herb tofu many times to make the taste right. This recipe finally achieves the result I wanted! I used 1 tsp. each of 7 kinds of seasonings: salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika powder, dried oregano, dried dill, dried basil. You can use any kind of herbs you want but you shouldn’t change the percentage of salt. When the salt rate is higher or lower than this, it makes the tofu very salty or tasteless. I hope this makes your salad tastier and healthier!!

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Mix seasonings and sprinkle the mixed seasonings on diced tofu. Drain for 15-20 minutes with paper towels. Cook for 8-10 minutes.

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

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Ingredients (servings 2)

1 pack (14 oz.) Extra Firm Tofu

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Onion Powder

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 tsp. Paprika Powder

1 tsp. Dried Oregano

1 tsp. Dried Dill

1 tsp. Dried Basil Leaves


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