My Japanese husband isn’t at all a big fan of traditional Japanese confections, wagashi 和菓子. Especially those filled with red bean paste Anko 餡子, I never have to include his share. Over the summer, I got hooked on this one and for the umpteenth time I kept making it at home. My children were almost tired of eating, but my husband actually took a fancy and feasted on my Warabi-mochi わらび餅 like he never had before.
While Hokkaido has Kaisen-don 海鮮丼 loaded with freshness, Osaka is proud to show off their Okonomiyaki お好み焼き. I remembered a mum friend once told me, “Never leave Nagoya yet if you haven’t tried their Tebasaki. Tebasaki are chicken wings. Nagoya likes to deep-fry them golden and crisp, then generously flavoured with soya sauce spiked with garlic, ginger and sharp bits of freshly cracked black pepper.
Plays an enormous part in Japanese food tradition and culture – from Sushi to Ramen, soya sauce has never been left out. I once heard from a Japanese old man said, “without soya sauce, nothing tastes right”. Although I found it rather subjective, it was actually not too difficult to understand his sentiments. Besides adding flavour to our food, soya sauce itself is said to be a good food to our bodies. Since it goes through an unique fermentation process, healthy bacteria are produced along the way which help us to improve digestion and appetite. To Choose There are 5 kinds of soya sauce which cater to each and every specific needs. Here are their differences.– 濃口醤油 Koikuchi Dark Soya Sauce The most common type of soya sauce found in Japan. In a bright dark red-brown colour, it contains at least 16% of salt content. Besides tastes relatively salty, it also gives out a strong flavour of unmami with a mellow tinge of sweetness, sourness and bitterness. Uses Besides adding fragance and taste to your cooking, it can be used alone …
If you think Japan is only a heaven for Sushi and Ramen, you can expect more. Here in the Land of the Rising Sun, it is also a Shangri-La for anyone with a sweet tooth. My first trip to Depa-chika was an unexpected delight. The moment I entered the bustling food hall, other than hearing “Irasshaimase” repeatedly from all directions, what filled me with awe was a wide assortment of beautiful confectioneries lining up attractively in gleaming display counters.
It’s hard not to fall for some cold noodles when the everyday temperature gradually going up. This week, I have been happily surviving on them. With a good combination of chicken meat and fresh summer vegetables, this Soba Noodle Salad with Homemade Onion Dressing is quick to fix, light in calories and presently my favourite!
Finally they are showing up on the supermarket shelves. Everytime this year we luxuriously pamper ourselves with the newly harvested Tochiotome とちおとめ strawberries from Tochigi, a Japanese prefecture north of Tokyo. Their berries are so very plump juicy and full of sweetness, no way we’re going to begin summer without them.
The skin crisps to crunchy cracklings and the meat melts with juicy tenderness – Chicken Karaage 鶏のから揚げ is an iconic and timeless go-to dish that many Japanese children would expect their mothers to learn by heart and cook deliciously well for them.
As far as fried rice is concerned, I think we all know it’s a taboo to have sticky mushy rice all clumped together. Particularly for me, one who grew up eating mainly Chinese food, I make sure I go by that rule when I cook. My perfect kind of fried rice has to be light and fluffy while all grains looking pristine on the outside.
I was rushing to make a quick meal for my son the other day, before he left for his baseball practice. Opened the fridge and only to find out not even a drop of the Teriyaki sauce was left in the bottle. Ooooh… “why now!?”
As I was at the doorsteps struggling to reach deep inside my bag to pull out my bunch of keys, I heard a low-pitched voice calling me from behind. 「伊藤さん、伊藤さん！良かったら、このみかんどうぞ。うちの庭で採れたのよ ～ 」 It was my neighbour who lives directly opposite us. Katayama-san is already 80, yet still full of charms – she doesn’t even look that old actually.