Monday, September 29, 2008

Yoshinoya - Japanese Fast Food

My family and I were in southern california this August attending the Surf Cup, an annual soccer tournament for aspiring soccer players who want to be spotted by university scouts....Anyway, my Japanese husband was delighted to introduce us to Yoshinoya, a popular fast food restaurant chain in Japan which is popping up in California. For approx. $25.00 US, a family of four can feast on a side salad each, and an ample portion of rice, sukiyaki style beef, and vegetables. Not bad for fast food....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Miso Soup with Tofu, Chicken, & Veggies

Miso soup usually always accompanies a meal in Japanese cuisine. Growing up in Japan, my husband enjoyed miso soup at every meal of the day. We try and make it atleast three times a week as it is an easy and nutritious way to eat tofu and seaweed. The best miso soup is made from home-made chicken, pork bone, fish or konbu stock.

12 cups of home-made chicken stock (large soup pot)
1/2 small daikon (Japanese radish) peeled well, julienned
2 medium carrots, julienned
1 cup of chopped cooked chicken
2 blocks of tofu, medium firm, cubed
handful of dried wakame seaweed
1 ladle of miso paste (according to taste)
splash of sake
splash of water if soup is too salty

Bring the chicken stock to a boil with added celery and carrots.
Add a splash of sake or white wine to stock.
Simmer until veggies are softened.
Rinse and cube tofu.
Add tofu with dried seaweed to simmering stock.
Add ladleful of miso paste gradually.
Bring to boil. Turn off heat.
Taste. If too salty, add a splash of water.
Serve immediately.
Can garnish with mitsuba or finely sliced green onion

** The paler the miso paste, the milder the taste. The darker the colour of miso paste, the stronger and saltier the flavour.
** Mitsuba is a traditional japanese herb similar to parsley.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Karei Raisu (Curried Rice)

Katsu Karei

Curried Rice is comfort food for families in Japan. Insanely popular, it is served often. Traditionally it is garnished with slightly sweet japanese pickles called 'fukujinzuke'. Some people sprinkle grated cheese on top. Others serve it over deep fried pork cutlet - 'katsu karei'. The easiest and most convenient way to make this meal is using a curry mix and then adding slight variations like wine or fruit....Other more adventurous cooks make their curries from scratch.

1 box curry sauce mix (Glico or House brand)
1 lb pork, chicken, or beef
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium potatoes, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 small apple, grated (optional)
1 small mango (optional)
1/2 cup red wine

Chop meat, onions, potatoes and carrots into bite size pieces.
Saute in large saucepan until lightly browned.
Add 5 1/2 cups water and bring to the boil.
Add grated apple and finely chopped mango.
Cook over low to medium heat about 20 minutes or til tender.
Remove from heat.
Break curry sauce mix into pieces and add to saucepan.
Simmer over low heat about 20 minutes.
Serve over rice.
Can garnish with grated cheese or japanese pickles.
Can also pour over fried pork cutlet.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Misoyaki Salmon

Misoyaki literally means charred miso. It is a delicious marinade that suits flavorful fish, high in fat, like salmon, butter fish, black cod, and halibut. Miso, or fermented soy bean, comes in a variety of colours and flavours, with white miso tasting quite mild and the darker honey coloured miso tasting stronger and saltier. Try this recipe: it's simple but has a subtle, delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture that will 'wow' your palate.


1/2 cup white miso
1/2 cup red miso
1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
1/2 cup sake (Japanese rice wine)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar (can substitute with 1/4 cup maple syrup)
6 - 4 oz. salmon fillets (can substitute with butter fish or black cod or halibut)


Combine miso, mirin, sake, water, and sugar in bowl.
Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Place fish in marinade.
Cover and refregerate from 12-24 hours.
Remove fish from marinade and wipe off excess.
Grill until tender and golden in colour and slightly charred.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Omuraisu (Japanese Rice Omelette)

Omuraisu is a delicious example of yoshoku which is Japanese food that originates in western recipes but is adapted to the Japanese palate. A typical family style comfort food, omuraisu is served as a quick meal and is a great way to use up leftover rice.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup ham or cooked chicken, diced
1/2 cup carrot, finely chopped
brown sauce
4 large eggs
salt and pepper

-saute chopped onion in butter 'til transparent
-add chopped ham or chicken
-add chopped carrot
-saute for a few minutes
-add rice and heat thoroughly
-season with salt and pepper
-mound rice on plate in oval shape
-pour egg mixture in pan
-shape into an oval while cooking
-cook 'til slightly runny
-lay on top of rice
-drizzle with ketchup or brown sauce
-serve immediately

**Western style omelette is too flat and thin for this recipe. Omelette must be fluffy and still runny. Also, some cooks make a slit lengthwise in omelette so that the egg will run over the rice.