Though I've already introduced this recipe for omelette rice
(omu-rice), I'm posting it again.
Very fun dish to make. Popular dish to make for your boyfriend in Japan ;) Show some love!
Ketchup chicken rice is a typical stuffing for this dish in Japan but you can get creative as well. This time, I stuffed my omelette with some left overs from burrito night; rice with black beans and some South American spices. Mm!
What you need (serves 1 dish) :
- 2 large eggs
- Rice (chicken rice, ketchup rice, any type of rice works here. See this recipe)
- (optional) Veggies
- Start by preparing the stuffing. You can use this recipe or simply stir fry some rice with optional veggies and chicken. It's good to throw in some ketchup or tomato sauce before adding in the rice. This will help prevent blotches of ketchup/sauce in the rice. Throw in the rice after and you'll see a more even tone.
- Put the rice out of the pan and keep it to the side while you prepare the omelette.
- Heat the pan on HIGH, put a little bit of oil. Mix the egg in a separate bowl and pour it into the heated pan. Quickly scramble the egg and throw in the rice.
- Start wrapping the egg up on one side of the rice (Be careful not to overcook the egg here). Flip the omelette+rice onto a plate. It's okay to toss the omelette onto the plate by turning the pan up side down! :)
- Top it off with ketchup or be fun like me and place some pineapple salsa and avocado!
Note: Steps #3 and #4 should only take 2-3min as the egg heats fast!
Hot pot or shabu shabu is easy to get in cities like San Francisco and Boston. There are Japanese, Korean or Mongolian restaurants who offer it for an okay price! Have you ever thought about doing it at home though? It's easier than you think :)
I bought a portable stove on Amazon (for only $15) and a Japanese pot (for only $10). After that, all you need are veggies, meat and good company (maybe some good beer and sake too).
What you need:
- Any veggie, how ever much you want. (I had lettuce, spinach, carrots, radish, zucchini)
- Meat (I had thin sliced pork, some people like beef too)
- (Optional) Seafood
- (Optional) Noodles (e.g. udon)
- Sauce (I bought ponzu and sesame sauce, both available on Amazon or Japanese supermarkets)
Yup. That's it!
For your broth, you can get creative (kimchi, soy milk, tomato sauce...); but since I was out of most ingredients, I just poured some sake in water, added a pinch of salt and some dashi.
You get to eat a lot of vegetables, and this dish warms you up. It's perfect for those chilly nights which make you want to feel cozy.
As I organize all my recipes that I have been accumulating the last few weeks, I wanted to post some photographs I took from my trip back home to Yokohama a couple months back.
This is "San-kei-en" 三渓園, located in Honmoku, Yokohama. It is a beautiful Japanese garden. I've known about it, heard about it all my life, but had only been once (for a school trip back in elementary school). This time, when I visited, I was able to feel and see the actual beauty of this garden. I took it for granted all my life! I wish I had gone more frequently. It truly is a wonderful place to visit. I was able to reconnect with Japanese culture and appreciate the country I was born in.
A 15 to 20 minute drive from Yokohama station is all it takes. I didn't know I was so close to something so pure, natural and breathtaking.
Entry fee is cheap; a couple hundred yen (few dollars). Since it is located in the middle of a residential area, I highly recommend visiting by car. They have a decent parking lot so you shouldn't find any trouble. The park is also accessible by public transportation. 1 bus from Yokohama station. To get to the park, you'll have to walk/drive through narrow residential roads; which also are unique and fun. :) Address: 58-1 Honmokusannotani, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture 231-0824, Japan
- Bus #148 from Yokohama St. or Sakuragicho St. or Motomachi-Chukagai St. (About a 30 min ride)
I was surprised to see DAISO (Japanese $1 store) in San Francisco selling hijiki
is a very well known healthy
ingredient in Japan; it's high in fiber, iron and calcium
. The most popular dish which is made using this ingredient is a simple simmered dish. It's a side dish, not a main dish. People like to throw in carrots, garbanzo beans and even konnyaku. All of which can be found in the US. The ingredients are simmered
in a sweet broth made of dashi, soy sauce and sugar. It's simple, tasty and very good for you. Great to pack in your obento too.
Hijiki is usually sold in its dried state. You'll have to soak it in water for 20-30 minutes. The amount will increase by 7 to 8 times; it's fun to watch :) Ingredients
(This makes a substantial amount, maybe around 6-8 servings)
- 1 bag of hijiki (40g)
- 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2-3 tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
- 3 tbsp Japanese sake
- 1.5 tsp Hondashi soup stock
- 1 cup of water
- (Optional) 3 tbsp mirin
- Put the dried hijiki in a bowl of water and see it increase its mass by 7 to 8 times. Rinse and wash thoroughly.
- Heat a pan on MEDIUM heat. Place some oil and stir fry the carrots, garbanzo beans and hijiki until heated through.
- Add the soy sauce, sugar, sake, soup stock and water (optional: mirin)
- Place a otoshi-buta on the pan (Use foil as a lid and place directly on the ingredients, this helps the ingredients soak up the goodness). Heat until most of the broth is soaked up.
I was surprised when I saw a small Japanese kabocha being sold at a Farmers Market. Kabocha is a pumpkin or it could also be a winter squash of Asian variety according to Wikipedia.
If you follow my blog, you may have realized that I've been cooking a lot of "boiled" dishes lately. The technique is to "niru" (煮る). When you cook ingredients in a broth, the broth is sucked up by the ingredients, ending up in a very tasty
dish. This technique can be used for vegetables, meat and seafood. The best thing about it is that it is so easy. You just prepare the broth (probably just a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, etc), toss in the ingredients drop a lid and wait for the broth to be soaked up!
The dish I'm introducing today is a Japanese kabocha nimono
(煮物). Kabocha boiled in Japanese broth.
. The more you leave it in the broth, the more intense the taste will get. So be careful in boiling the ingredient too long! Ingredients:
- 1/4 of a kabocha (a fairly large kabocha)
- 2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Japanese mirin
- 2 tbsp Japanese sake
- 1 - 2 tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet you like the dish)
- 3/4 - 1 cup of water
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a hot pan. Heat until it starts boils.
- Once the broth starts boiling, toss in the cut pumpkins. (Cut them into bite-size pieces)
- Place a piece of aluminum foil directly onto the pumpkin. This is called "otoshi-buta" which means to drop a lid directly onto the ingredients. This will help the pumpkin truly soak up the broth. Keep heating on MEDIUM heat.
- Heat until the broth has been completely soaked up by the pumpkins.
: Mix while heating so that the pumpkin is heated evenly. Also, you can adjust the heat to low since the aluminum foil lid can contain a lot of heat.
I packed the leftovers in my bento the next day. Became tastier than the day before!
" (煮付け) is a way of cooking in Japan which involves boiling the ingredient in soy sauce and sugar. Fish is very expensive in the US compared to Japan but I've found that Trader Joe's sells cheap tilapia (around $6 for 3 generous pieces). It may not be the best fish but it's a wonderful alternative for those on a budget.
Grilling or baking the fish in butter may sound easy but sometimes could end up being burnt and tough. This recipe involves boiling the fish in a simple savoury sauce
. It's easy, takes only 10 minutes
and you'll end up with a tasty traditional Japanese dish
. Better than going to a Japanese restaurant! Serve with white rice, miso soup and veggies, like always.
Here, I'll also be introducing a new technique called "otoshi-buta"
(落とし蓋) which means to put a lid directly onto the food or deep into the pan.
- 3-4 pieces of fish (preferably with white meat. I used Trader Joe's tilapia)
Sauce (start with this, add more or less depending on how sweet/savoury you like your sauce)
- 3 - 4 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 - 2 tbsp of sugar (depending on how sweet you like your fish)
- 1/4 cup Japanese sake
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and heat in a pan until it starts boiling.
- Once the sauce starts boiling, put the fish into the pan and turn the heat to LOW. Get some aluminum foil and cover the fish/broth directly. We call this technique "otoshi-buta" which means "fallen lid". We want the lid to be placed deeply inside the pot, directly on the food. This will help the sauce get soaked up easier. (Photograph below)
- Cook the fish in the pan for 7 - 10 minutes on LOW.
- After 7-10 minutes, take off the lid and use a spoon to pour the sauce onto the surface of the fish which was not soaked in the sauce. Be careful not to cook the fish any longer as the sauce may get too thick and strong.
- Serve with rice and other side dishes. I often use the left over sauce to cook vegetables such as broccoli and zucchini!
San Francisco's Japan Town's Nijiya
has a special 20%-off-all-meat-day on the 29th of every month
a.k.a. Meat day. "2-9" can also be read "ni-ku" which means "meat" in Japanese.
On this day last month, I went a little crazy purchasing thin sliced pork and beef. Enough to last us a month. Today's dish uses thin sliced pork and any of your favourite vegetables. I used Japanese daikon, zucchini and onions since it's been in season at SF's farmers markets.
This dish is a "ita-me-ni" (炒め煮) which means to stir fry and boil in liquid
. In this case, we boil the ingredients in Japanese soy sauce, ginger, sugar, mirin and sake; a typical teriyaki type sauce. A typical Japanese dish which goes perfectly with rice and miso soup. With every bite, I was reminded of home.
A similar dish
I've posted earlier is the "Shoga-yaki"; pork ginger stir fry.
Also a must try if you have thin sliced pork in your fridge. Ingredients:
- 0.5 lb thin sliced pork (200g)
- 2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp sake
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 - 2 tsp grated ginger
- On a heated pan with oil, toss in the meat (MEDIUM-HIGH heat)
- Once the meat is mostly cooked, add the vegetables and stir fry them until cooked through.
- Mix the ginger, soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar together and add into the pan. Put a lid on the pan and the heat down to LOW or MEDIUM.
- Boil until the sauce is absorbed by the ingredients. This helps the ingredients to suck up all the goodness. Once the liquid has disappeared, enjoy!
P.S. Heart of the City Farmers Market
I just wanted to add a note about the wonderful experiences I've been having at one of San Francisco's Farmer's Markets. I go to Heart of the City Farmers Market in Civic Center every Sunday to get fresh vegetables and fruits. Today, I got 2 eggplants, 4 apricots, a bag of cucumbers, a bag of large green peppers, kabocha, strawberries, black berries and mini tomatoes for just......$10!
Not only can you get fresh vegetables and fruits
from farmers markets. You can also speak with the people who are responsible for the products and get advice from them; how to pick the best kinds and such. Highly recommended!
Little food stands and trucks can be hidden gem
s as well.
I've got multiple comments about Tamagoyakis, Japanese sweet omelettes
According to some research, Japanese people only started to eat egg during the Edo period (16th to 18th century). Even then, I'm sure it was a luxury item. Now tamagoyakis are often made as a form of comfort food. Moms and Dads pack it in children's lunches a.k.a. obento. Every time I eat a tamagoyaki I always reminisce my mom's homemade lunches back in elementary school.
Just like an onigiri (rice ball), it's a dish which reminds you of your family. Somehow tastes different depending on the family though the ingredients being used are probably the same. Ingredients being used are eggs and sugar with a dash of oil on the pan. Use a small pan for perfect results.
It may seem difficult at first but practice makes perfect. The more you try, the more easier it gets. I promise!
As I mentioned earlier, I sometimes make these at night, cut them, freeze them in saran wrap and take it for lunch in its frozen state in the morning. By lunch time, they are defrosted and taste delicious!
They go perfectly with rice; especially onigiri. I hope you check out the recipe
I posted for this dish and try it out yourself!
With all the amazing vegetables in season and my visits to the farmers markets here in San Francisco, I've been needing to find a way to consume the vegetables but in an easy manner; especially for those weekday dinners at home after work. I've discovered the simplest Japanese vegetable stir fry recipe!
Ingredients (for 2 people):
- Any vegetable(s) you like (e.g. 1 zucchini, 1 onion, broccoli)
- Any other additional ingredients (e.g. mushrooms)
- 1 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 2 tsp Hondashi (Japanese soup stock)
- 1/2 - 1 tbsp sugar
Simply stir fry the veggies your pan until they are cooked through, then add the Hondashi, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Heat until water is evaporated.
and makes your dish taste like a true Japanese dish despite its simplicity and ease
! Please give it a try!
It goes well as a side dish with grilled chicken, grilled fish and even my favourite natto!
One of my favourite destination in San Francisco so far are the Farmers Markets! There are so many around the city all throughout the week and the quality of vegetables and fruits you get there are outstanding. My favourite so far is the "Heart of the City Farmers Market
" in Civic Center. If you follow my Instagram
, you should already know that I got 2 large daikons, 4 apricots/peaches, bitter melon and zucchinis, all for $3. I also got a bag full of delicious onions and zucchinis for $1 each last week. You get fruits and veggies in season directly from the farmers, how amazing is that?!
One vegetable I've been seeing a lot at these Farmers Market recently are eggplants
I've already introduced the ginger eggplant stir fry on this blog
, but today I'll introduce something more simple and easy
. A simple Japanese stir fry, somewhat like a teriyaki
May I warn you that my boyfriend and I just could not stop eating this. It was so tasty
, went perfectly with Japanese rice
; just unstoppable
- 1 eggplant
- (Optional) Any other vegetables of your choice
- 1 tbsp oil of your choice (I use coconut oil or olive oil)
- 2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- (Optional) A hint of sesame oil
- Cut the eggplant into slices and soak them in water for a couple of minutes.
- Heat up a pan with oil.
- Once the pan is heated, toss in the eggplants (and additional veggies if any).
- Once the vegetables get soft and heated, add the sugar.
- Once the sugar is disolved, add the soy sauce. Heat for a couple more minutes until the soy sauce settles into the veggies. Add the hint of sesame oil at the end for a savory smell prior to serving.