Miso soup of the day: Pumpkin, spinach & shimeji

I love the combination of pumpkin and spinatch! This soup helps you to get various vitamins, minerals and fiber at once that support your health and beauty.

Pumpkin, spinach & shimeji mushroom. Please be careful not to overcook the pumpkin – this soup does not taste/look good if it gets mushy.

Apple Rabbits & Their Friends

Apple cutting is fun! This was the first apple I got this autumn and I just coudn’t help trying it.

These are the basic designs frequently used in Japan – apple rabbit, apple leaf and checkered apple. Above all, apple rabbit is the most popular one. As a kid, I loved it so much and felt happy to find it in the bento box.

I love this kind of small technique in daily cooking that bring us a little happiness.

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Here’s how to (click the image to enlarge).

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Enjoy apple cutting 🙂

Super Easy Daikon & Scallop Salad

My husband and I are lucky enough to receive certain kinds of vegetables every season from the people around us – our parents, relatives, co-workers and neighbors…

In autumn and winter, daikon radishes, hakusai (napa cabbages) and apples come in to our place. Now the daikon season has come.

This is a popular recipe to enjoy fresh daikon at home. It’s super simple and tastes great. It goes well with sake, beer and white wine as well.

Ingredients: 

7-8 cm daikon, a can of scallops, 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise (I recommend ’Kewpie’!), a pinch of salt and black pepper.

Method:

  1. Julienne daikon, put into a bowl and sprinkle over salt. Leave it for a while, around 5-10 minutes until the liquid comes out. Squeeze out the moisture.
  2. Add a can of scallops (together with the liquid inside the can), mayonnaise, black pepper and mix well.

That’s it!

Miso soup of the day: Kasu-jiru (sake lees soup)

‘Sake kasu (sake lees)’ – an edible byproduct from sake – has been re-evaluated and getting attention in the past few years here. It’s one of the traditional Japanese fermented food. Amazingly nutritious and versatile, ‘sake kasu’ can be used in many ways, from cooking to making all-natural facial masks! This ‘kasu-jiru’ is a very basic recipe using ‘sake kasu’ suitable for cold days.

Cut root vegetables (carrot, daikon raddish, potato etc.) and salmon or pork (I used salmon this time) into bite-size pieces and cook in water with ‘sake-kasu’ (40-50g per person). Then flavor with miso paste (or soy sauce). Top with thinly sliced ginger, chopped scallions and red pepper as you like.

It will make you warm inside and help you adjust a physical condition 🙂


The roots of the scallions I used for making miso soup and planted on Oct 2 (see the details from here) have regrown like this!

Omu-rice (Japanese Rice Omelet)

Omu-rice is one of the most popular Japanese one-plate dishes at home and restaurants. For me, it’s best for a weekend brunch. It’s easy, tasty, filling and doesn’t require special ingredients. And no need to wash lots of dishes afterwards!

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Ingredients (per serving):

150g cooked rice, 1/4 onions, vegetables + meat/fish you like, ketchup, milk, oil, black pepper.
*Suggested vegetables: carrot, green pepper, mushroom
*Suggested meat/fish: chopped chicken, grounded beef/pork/chicken, chopped ham/sausage, shrimps, salmon flakes, dried young sardines
*This time, I used a green pepper, salmon flakes and dried ‘sakura ebi (tiny shrimps)’.

Method:

  1. Make ketchup flavored fried rice: Stir fry chopped onions and vegetables + meat / fish. Add 1 tbsp ketchup and stir well. Then add rice and black pepper, stir until all the ingredients are mixed.
  2. Make omelet: Beat 2 eggs in a bowl, add 1/2 tbsp milk and mix well. Then fry it in a pan.
  3. Wrap rice with the omelet in the pan.
  4. Decorate the surface with ketchup as you like.

Ketchup flavored fried rice + ketchup topping is just the basic. In fact, there are different omu-rice dishes. Fried rice can be flavored with butter, soy sauce or salt + pepper instead of ketchup. If you use bechamel or demi-glace sauce instead of ketchup topping, it will make a sophisticated dinner plate. Or you can even make curry omu-rice: use plain rice, make omelet and finish with curry sauce.

Japanese Dessert Named ‘Sweet Potato’

When they hear the English word “sweet potato”, most Japanese people think of this dessert rather than the sweet potato as a vegetable. My mom makes this dessert every autumn, and she gave us some pieces last weekend. For a long time, I thought this was a western dessert and didn’t know that it was invebted by a Japanese patissier in Tokyo during the Meiji era. Today it’s sold in many confectionary stores nationwide and widely cooked at home as well.

So here’s my mom’s recipe 🙂

Ingredients:
300g Japanese sweet potatoes. 30g butter. 1 egg yoak (1/2 to mix with sweet potatoes, 1/2 for the surface). 3 tbsp sugar. 2-3 tbsp milk (or fresh cream), 1 tbsp whiskey (or rum).

Method:
Microwave (or steam) sweet potatoes until soft to peel, mash and strain. Add butter, sugar while the sweet potatoes are hot and mix well. Then add egg yolk, milk and whisky. Mix further. Put this sweet potato cream in foil cups, brush some egg yolk on the surface. Bake in the preheated oven (200°C) until browned.

Miso soup of the day: Eggplant, Japanese ginger & aburaage

This is one of my favorite recipes handed down from my mom – eggplant, Japanese ginger (myoga) and aburaage (deep fried tofu). I remember my grandma grew Japanese gingers in the garden and I helped harvest them.

Japanese ginger don’t taste good if cooked for a long time, so add them after eggplants are well boiled.

Japanese Batch Cooking Recipe: Unohana (Okara)

Unohana is the very basic Japanese okara (soybean pulp) recipe. As it’s an edible by-product from tofu, eating okara is good for your health and the earth!

In the past, tofu shops give it to the customers for free. It’s no longer free in most shops, but still quite cheap.

Ingredients:

1 bag (around 200g) of okara , 1/2 carrot, 4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms, a handful of shimeji mushrooms,  50g konnyaku (devil’s tongue), a small amount of scallion, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp mirin.

Method: 

1. Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in water until soft.

2. Cut carrot and konnyaku in strips. Slice shiitake mushrooms. Discard the base of shimeji mushrooms and separate them. Stir-fry these ingredients in a pan with vegetable oil.

3. Add okara in the pan and stir. Then add 2 cups of the water used to soak shiitake mushrooms and 3 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp mirin. Cook until the liquid is gone and it looks like mashed potatoes.

4. Add some scallion, stir and remove the pan from the heat.

Can be stored about 2-3 days in the fridge and a couple of months in the freezer.