My special porridge for colds

Yay, I’m totally recovered from a cold! So I want to intorduce the recipe which might have helped my recovery. As I explained in my last post, rice porridge is a popular meal for colds. This time, I added everything in my fridge that is effective to warm one’s body and help the immune system in it!

Ingredients: cooked rice for one person (this is to save time, so if you don’t have the stock of cooked rice, simply use uncooked rice and increase the amount of water), the same amount of water as cooked rice, one umeboshi, 100g lotus root,  1 tbsp grated ginger and green onion


1. Simmer cooked rice and water in a pod.

2. Add grated lotus root, chopped umeboshi and grated ginger. Simmer for a while.

3. Serve in a bowl. Top with sliced green onion.

Folk remedies for colds

In Japan, we say “Baka ha kaze o hikanai” which means a fool never catches a cold. I got a cold this Monday… So it’s proved I’m not a fool… but I prefer being a fool rather than being sick !

Let me introduce some folk remedies for colds in Japan on this occasion. Traditional examples are eating rice porridge, drinking sake-nog, wrapping a grilled green onion covered with cotton cloth around one’s neck etc… Today, many people like to take a sports drink or energy drink as well.

In the past, we were told not to take a bath when we catch a cold, but now it’s said it’s better to do so.

My favorite ones are: wearing lots of cloths, wrapping a towel around my neck, putting a instant hot pad between shoulder blades – there is an acupressure point effective for colds… and above all, eating “pucchin purin (popular pudding among kids)”. Usually I prefer more natural pudding. I don’t know why I feel like eating this only when I have a cold, but it seems it’s not only me. 

Do you have any special remedies for colds?


Japanese Batch Cooking Recipe: Japanese Sweet Potatoes Simmered with Lemon and Sugar

Satsumaimo-no-lemon-ni (Japanese Sweet Potatoes Simmered with Lemon and Sugar)” is extremely easy and quick to make. It can be served hot or cold, as side dish or dessert. It lasts about 4-5 days in a fridge.


Ingredients: 2 small Satsumaimo (Japanese sweet potatoes), 1/2 lemon, sugar  and water


  1. Slice sweet potatoes in 1cm thick. Peel off the lemon and slice them in 5mm thick. Put them in a pod.
  2. Pour water over them till they are just barely covered.
  3. Add 2 tbsp sugar, heat and simmer till soft.
  4. Leave them in a pot for a while to allow the taste of lemon and sugar go into the sweet potatoes.
*When you store them in a fridge, keep them with the lemon syrup left in the pod in a container with a lid.

Takikomi-gohan (Japanese flavored rice) with dried scallops

It’s worth¬†making takikomi-gohan¬†if you have¬†a chance to get nice dried scallops. In Tokyo, you can fine them in¬†the Tsukiji Outer Market or Ameyoko Shopping Street.

Ingredients:  2 rice mesuring cups of rice (approx 300g), 40g dried scallops, 1/2 pack enoki mushrooms, 1 sheet of aburaage, 1/2 carrot, 2 tbsp sake, 2tbsp soy sauce, 400ml water


  1. Soak dried scallops in water till soft (at least 3 hours, overnight if possibile). Don’t throw away this water as it will be used as dashi.
  2. Measure and wash rice to add in a rice cooker.
  3. Cut enoki mushrooms, aburraage and carrot. Add in the rice cooker.   
  4. Add water, sake and soy sauce and cook.

5. Once cooked, mix well and serve in a rice bowl.

Home-made ika-no-shiokara (cuttlefish pickled in salt)

I got fresh surume-ika (Japanese common cuttlefish)¬†last¬†Friday to make shiokara.¬†It’s one of the popular, unique Japanese foods. It has a special smell like anchobis. It is eaten as nibbles for drinks, with rice¬†and can be¬†used¬†as an ingredient for¬†a variety of dishes.¬†¬†Though it’s widely available at any supermarkets and restautrants, home-made shiokara tastes really different!

Ingredients: 2 fresh cattlefish (2 livers and 1 body), salt and sake


  1. Take out livers from the cattle fish, clean and wipe off the moisture using kichen paper. Be careful not to break the liver. Pickle them in salt overnight in a fridge.

2.¬†Separate¬†the head and legs from the body¬†–¬†We just need one body for shiokara, so use¬†these parts¬†and another body for other dishes. Clean the body, wipe off the moisture using kichen paper and sprinkle¬†salt on the surface.¬†Leave it rest overnight in a fridge to drain. Be careful not to let¬†it touch the¬†drips in order to prevent the bad smell.

3. The next day, take them out of the fridge. Wash the livers and body very gently with water, again wipe off the mosture and take out the paste from the bag of liver. Cut the body and mix well with the liver paste, 1 tbsp sake and 1/2 salt.

It’s a fermented, preserved food.¬†It depends on the amount of salt and the way to take care of it how long it will last.¬†I¬†prefer letting them rest for a couple of days and eating up in a week. If you want to keep it for a long time, make sure to keep it in a clean bottle and mix it well once a day.

And here’s a¬†very simple & quick recipe using shiokara – boiled potatos with shiokara & butter.

You can also make a simple side dish, using the left-over parts of cattlefish. Heat the butter in a pan, stir fry cattlefish and flavore with soy sauce. The smell of soy sauce and cattlefish stimulates the appetite!

Miso soup of the day: Lotus root, enoki mushrooms and wakame seaweed

Miso soup idea for early spring – cut lotus root and enoki mushrooms, cook until soft in broth, then add miso paste and wakame seaweed.

These days I’m trying to eat lotus root every day to prevent hay fever that tortures me every spring. According to researches, it will soothe allergic symptoms including hay fever and I really hope so!  Mushrooms and seaweed help improve intestinal environment, which also contribute to ameliorating hay fever.


Setsubun – “Demons, go out. Lucks, come in!”

Today, Feburuary 3rd is Setsubun in Japan, which is considered to be the day before the start of spring. On this day, people throw / eat roasted soy beans to get demons out of the house and invite lucks inside the house. It is said that eating the same amount of beans as your age will bring you health and luck. Another traditional custom is to decorate holly leaves with grilled head of sardines – the edgy holly leaves and strong smell of the grilled sardines were believed to get the devils away.

So we (just) ate the soybeans and enjoyed simple “fuku-cha (lucky tea)”, hoping lots of lucks come in!

Recently, special rolled sushi for Setsubun called “Eho-maki” has become popular, yet actually it’s not an old tradition in most areas – it’s rather a new custom promoted by the food industry. I’d like to exlain this in more details on another occasion…

Happy Setsubun day!