Japanese
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3-D Cats, The Peanuts Gang & More Cute Japanese Latte Art
Need a pick-me-up this Monday morning? Check out this imaginative and adorable latte art being made by baristas in Japan. NPR talked to two Japanese baristas who share daily photos of their ephemeral works of espresso art on the web. From anime characters to angry cats, the latte art by Kazuki Yamamoto and Kohei Matsuno is much more intricate than the usual milk-foam flower — and a lot more fun.Why spend time creating such detailed images with such an impermanent medium?
Apr 29, 2013
Smart Tip: For Sweeter Cucumbers, Try a Japanese Salt Rub
With their thin, edible skins and tiny seeds, Japanese and Persian cucumbers are easy to prep and a joy to eat. But for even sweeter and tastier cucumbers, try this Japanese trick: give them a salt rub!It sounds like a high-end spa treatment, but the technique is simple. Place about one teaspoon of salt in the palm of your hand and rub it firmly over the skin of the cucumber until a green foamy substance appears and you detect a slight “green” chlorophyll smell.
Aug 6, 2012
How To Make a Budget Yakitori Grill
Do you dream of churning out charred chicken skewers or blackened shishito peppers just like a Japanese yakitori restaurant? If you don’t have the funds or the space for a specialized Japanese grill, there is an easy and inexpensive way to rig up a DIY yakitori grill.Setting two foil-covered bricks on the grates of any type of grill will give you an elevated surface that mimics the steady, indirect heat of a traditional Japanese grill.
Jun 12, 2012
Portable Lunch Idea: Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)
Japanese rice balls, called onigiri or omusubi, are compact triangles of cooked rice stuffed with a tasty filling and often wrapped in a sheet of toasted nori. Cute, portable and healthy, they’re one of our favorite ways to eat lunch on the go. In Japan, onigiri can be purchased at any convenience store or supermarket, but they’re also often a homemade treat tucked into lunch boxes.
Apr 14, 2011
How to Whisk a Bowl of Matcha Green Tea
Matcha, a powdered form of green tea found mostly in Japan, is usually associated with intricate tea ceremonies where the tea is whisked and served in a special tatami-floored teahouse. It’s a beautiful tradition but it has also kept many people from enjoying this delicious, creamy, slightly bitter/sweet beverage. It is possible to enjoy a bowl of matcha in your own kitchen using just a few key ingredients and utensils and a little less formality.
Feb 23, 2011
Ingredient Spotlight: Nira (Garlic Chives)
When shopping at Asian markets, you might see these long, flat, brightly-colored green leaves sold in big bunches. They look like very long blades of grass. Take a whiff and you’ll notice a very distinctive smell of garlic. These are nira, otherwise known as garlic chives and Chinese leek!Nira are common in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cooking. They are added to dumplingsstir friessoupskimchigreen onion pancakesThey taste a little bolder than bulb garlic and they have a very good flavor.
Jul 20, 2010
How To Make Umeshu (Japanese Plum Liqueur)
The other day, I posted about Japanese ume plumsThis sweet, fruity liquor is super easy to make, requires few ingredients, and when it’s ready to drink, you can eat the plums, too! It’s terrific on its own, on the rocks, or mixed with a little sake or sochu.Rock sugar is used because it dissolves more slowly than table sugar, and it flavors the alcohol more proportionally.
Jun 3, 2010
Ingredient Spotlight: Enoki Mushrooms
These long, thin mushrooms with tiny caps are commonly found in Asian dishes, particularly Japanese dishes like nabemono and sukiyaki. Easily cultivated, they are grown and packaged in clusters, have a very crisp texture, and can keep for a week in the fridge.Pick mushrooms that are firm and white; reject any enoki that are discolored or slimy. Store them in a paper bag. When ready to use, pick apart what you need from the main cluster and trim off the woody parts of the stems.
Mar 31, 2010
Ingredient Spotlight: Tobiko (Flying Fish Roe)
Tobiko, or “poor man’s caviar,” is the roe of the flying fish. It is a popular sushi ingredient, usually served sprinkled on top of maki sushi rolls or on its own. The eggs are very small, smaller than salmon roe or masago. They often come in various colors; what’s the deal?In its natural form, tobiko is bright orange. But when infused with certain flavors, the colors change.
Feb 11, 2010
Cooking Japanese: Nabemono
Nabe (cooking pot) mono (things, stuff) is a popular Japanese hot pot dish commonly served in the cold winter months. It is cooked table side and served communally. One thing I like about nabemono (in addition to its deliciousness!) is its versatility. There are so many different ingredients to choose from! During the cooking process, the broth becomes more flavorful. At the end, after all the ingredients are eaten, rice and egg are added to the seasoned broth and a porridge is made.
Jan 21, 2010
Cooking Japanese: Matsutake Dobin Mushi
When I traveled in Japan last winter, one of my favorite dishes was matsutake dobin mushi. Matsutakes are wonderfully fragrant pine mushrooms, and dobin (“teapot”) mushi (“steamed”) is a soup steamed in a small teapot. Put these two words together, and you have matsutake dobin mushi, a nourishing mushroom soup.Each teapot holds an individual serving of soup.
Jan 19, 2010
Cooking Japanese: Sukiyaki
One element of Japanese cuisine is that it celebrates the seasons. Japanese dishes feature what is fresh and seasonal, and are cooked in such a way that is appropriate for the seasonal weather. During the winter, hearty soups such as oden are commonly found, as are hot pot meals such as sukiyaki.Sukiyaki is a type of one-pot dish that is cooked table side in a shallow cast-iron pot. Traditionally, it contains beef, but some parts of Japan use pork.
Jan 13, 2010
Ingredient Spotlight: Ginkgo Nuts
Perhaps you’ve seen these trees with the beautiful fan-shaped leaves in your neighborhood or in a local park. The female members of these trees produce an edible nut; unfortunately, the fruit enclosing the nut smells really bad. Their fragrance deters most people from trying them, much like the durian fruit. Once the fruit is removed, inside lurks a nut that looks like a closed pistachio. Beneath the shell is a glossy kernel that ranges from golden amber to bright jade in color.
Jan 12, 2010
A Roundup Of Sushi-Making Essentials
I’ve been writing a lot of posts lately on various sushi-related items, such as how to make temaki hand rolls and DIY spicy tuna. In this post I’ll go over the essential sushi-making tools and ingredients. If you have a sushi lover on your holiday gift list, consider putting together a few of these items in a gift basket! Sushi Oke/Hangiri – optional, but recommended.
Dec 9, 2009
How To Make DIY Spicy Tuna Sushi
Since I am watching my finances these days like most people, I’ve been making a lot of food at home, including my own sushi. One of my favorites is spicy tuna, and with a little experimentation, I figured out how to make my own!DIY Spicy Tuna SushiIngredients:1 slab of raw sushi-grade tuna OR 1 package (about 1 cup) of preground raw tuna belly – sometimes Japanese markets have these. If you can’t buy sushi-grade tuna near you, order it from Catalina Offshore Products.
Dec 2, 2009
Seasonal Spotlight: Matsutake Mushroom
These mushrooms, whose name means “pine” (matsu) and “mushroom” (take) grow under pine trees in Japan, parts of China, and the North American West Coast. They’re also found in parts of Northern Europe. Sought-after and prized by the Japanese, these mushrooms can sell for up to $2000 per kilogram in Japan. Here in San Francisco, I found them going for $10 per pound. Their seasonal window is very short, usually from October to January.Their fragrance is wonderful.
Dec 1, 2009
A Roundup Of Some Japanese Citrus Fruit
For such a small island nation, Japan has a surprisingly wide variety of citrus fruit. I saw some of them when I traveled in Japan last winter. Sadly, we don’t get most of them here in the US, and I wish we did! It’s so interesting to see such variety. Some of these varieties are used in flavoring tea and alcohol, others are used in marmalades, and some are eaten raw. I just love the green-skinned, orange-fleshed aomikan tangerine – it’s so pretty!
Oct 14, 2009
What is Ponzu?
If you like cooking Asian food at home, then you should have a bottle of ponzu in your cupboard. It is an essential condiment and marinade with a wonderful, zingy flavor that pairs well with vegetables, seafood, and meats. Sadly, it’s very little-known outside of Japan and it deserves more widespread knowledge.Ponzu is a citrus-based sauce used in Japanese cuisine as a marinade or an addition to soy sauce. It is made with rice wine, rice vinegar, bonito fish flakes, and seaweed.
Sep 24, 2009
Ingredient Spotlight: Lotus Root
Lotus root is popular as a vegetable throughout South and East Asia, where it is cheap and plentiful. Its texture is crisp and crunchy like a jicama. Unlike a jicama, lotus root can’t be eaten raw, and must be steamed or cooked first. Lotus root is available in Asian markets, and depending on location, I’ve seen them available at farmer’s markets and in the exotic fruit and vegetable section of most supermarket produce departments.
Sep 2, 2009
Japanese Street Food: Takoyaki
Last week was Street Fair Food Week on The Kitchn, which reminded of one of my most favorite street fair foods; takoyaki! Found at almost all Japanese fairs and festivals, takoyaki are yummy little balls of goodness.The word “tako” means octopus, and “yaki” means grilled, which means takoyaki are grilled octopus balls.
Aug 17, 2009
Ingredient Spotlight: Ita Konnyaku
We recently hosted a grilling potluck, and among the foods left by our friends (we couldn’t get to everything in one meal!) was a package of ita konnyaku. We had tried konnyaku at restaurants and seen it in Japanese markets but had never really stopped to think about what it is, or how to use it at home. Are you familiar with this ingredient?Ita konnyaku is a Japanese food made from the starch of a tuber called konjac or devil’s tongue.
Aug 11, 2009
The Strangest Food I Ever Ate: Shirako
I consider myself a pretty adventurous eater. I’m nowhere near the level of Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern, but I’m willing to experience strange new culinary delicacies more than most people I know. My parents always encouraged me to try new foods; when I was 3, I had my first taste of escargot, and when I was 6, I had my first linguini with baby squid in marinara sauce. I was not a fussy eater as a child; the only vegetable I didn’t like was sweet potatoes.
Aug 5, 2009
Summer Project: Make Vegetable Maki Sushi With Kids!
Here’s a really fun and easy DIY project to do with kids this summer – hand-rolled vegetable maki sushi rolls! The ingredients you’ll need are cheap and easy to find. Making your own maki sushi rolls is a very simple skill that kids can pick up quickly, and since it’s all done with the hands, kids can actually “play” with their food for a change!
Jun 11, 2009
Try This: Fresh Wasabi Root
While on a trip in Japan and browsing the local markets, I came across this green, watery root many times. It’s fresh wasabi root – yes, the same nasal-clearing green paste we mix with soy sauce and dip sushi in. What exactly is this root, where can you find it, and how do you prepare it? Read on …Wasabi is a plant in the same family as mustard and horseradish. It grows naturally along stream beds in mountain rivers in Japan, but can be farmed.
Apr 16, 2009
Cooking Japanese: Oden
Oden is a hearty Japanese stew that is cooked over several days and commonly served during cold winter months. It’s pretty easy to make and most ingredients can be found online or in Japanese supermarkets. It’s got a wonderful, savory flavor and contains an odd melange of ingredients like yam, taro, fish cake, hard boiled eggs, and mushrooms. Even though those food combinations might seem odd to Westerners, oden is a delicious dish that should be tried.
Nov 14, 2008
What is Kewpie Mayonnaise?
Kewpie mayonnaise was prominently mentioned in Wednesday’s Times Dining section article on MSG and its ubiquitous presence in processed foods. We only knew Kewpies as those eerily big-eyed dolls – what was this mayonnaise? According to Kewpie’s official website, mayonnaise was first introduced to Japan in 1925. Since then, Kewpie mayo has been one of the predominant household condiments there. People often use it on vegetables and as a salad dressing.
Mar 7, 2008