Instant noodles don't have to look "cheap".
Add delicious toppings to make it a proper, healthy, satisfying meal!
How simple can it be?
All I used was:
I've heard many of my girl friends talk about this dish here in San Francisco. Some say it's great with a drizzle of honey. Some like to add dried berries. The best thing about this dish is that it's customizable!
Tell me more about your customization if you have any :)
Seems like teriyaki chicken is a very popular Japanese dish here in the United States.
I never really grew up eating it, but I've learnt to love it. It's just so simple and easy. A simple stir fry is all you need sometimes.
Here's a super simple recipe I use. All you need is:
Heat the chicken, add the veggies and add the sauce! That's it :)
I usually serve this dish with Japanese rice and miso soup. Perfect!
Going to an International school as a kid, I was exposed to lots of foods from all around the world! Our school had an annual Food Fair where parents and faculty would have booths representing their home country; my favourite booth was the Swedish one! They had the delicious Swedish pancakes. Today, I decided to make some myself!
The pancakes turned out great. The way I was taught to eat these thin crepe like pancakes were: wrap w/ jam and sprinkle some sugar, roll it up and cut into pieces. Some of my friends loved to put on whipped cream, other fruits, honey or sugar. Today, I cut up some strawberries, sprinkled some cinnamon sugar and used some strawberry jam :)
For 10 delicious Swedish pancakes (which is plenty for 2 or 3), you'll need:
For toppings: Fruits, cinnamon, sugar, honey, whipped cream...Anything you like!
If you haven't already checked out my article on Sankeien Garden, a beautiful traditional Japanese garden located in the middle of the city in Yokohama, please do.
Click here for the link, I promise it will soothe your mind :)
Right by Mt. Fuji, there is an amusement park just like Six Flags here in the USA (just a little more intense).
All the Guinness World Records!
There is a bus operating from major stations (e.g. Shinjuku station, Yokohama station). Usually you can buy a package which includes the bus ride + ticket. Usually costs around $100.
You'll get to enjoy the view of the beautiful Mt. Fuji, recently named a world heritage.
Great food courts (mostly fast food, but we all know fast food shops in Japan are amazing) and clean fresh air.
Make sure you stop by the service areas (on the highway) if you are driving there. Japanese service areas on the highway are superb. Great restaurants, fun street food and is the best place to buy gifts for your coworkers. More on that later :)
Recipe: Quick and easy cream pasta. Did you know that Japanese Italian restaurants are famous for being absolutely deicious?
Japanese Italian restaurants serve absolutely delicious dishes! So if you are there now, please give it a try. My personal favourites are located in Kamakura. Many restaurants are located right by the ocean and some are located in special alleys. Overall, restaurants in Kamakura have a very romantic feel...Perfect for date nights!
Just remember to give the Italian restaurants a try while you are in Japan. Don't shy away from it!
Map of Kamakura and all it's Italian restaurants are at the end of this post.
So, here's a quick and easy cream pasta recipe. All you need is for 1 serving:
"Hatsumode" is a term we use in Japan when we visit the shrine for the first time in the New Year.
People start lining up at to pray for a good New Year even before the countdown. Many people go during the day of the 1st. If not, the day after. The good part about going on the 1st or the 2nd is that you get to enjoy all the food stands. If you go later on, those stands may be closed but you won't have to suffer the massive crowd.
This year I went to Yasukuni shrine located in the middle of Tokyo, right by the emperor's palace. We went on the 5th so the crowd was gone and luckily all the food stands were still there.
"E-ma" (絵馬) - When you go to pray to the shrine or when your wishes have come true, you give the "ema" to the shrine to show your appreciation.
In the Nara period, people considered horses animals which the gods used for transport. However, since horses were expensive, people started to draw horses on the wooden boards instead to give to the shrines. Now, we not only draw horses, we can draw other animals too. This year, since it is the year of the horse, the photographs show all horses.
People were bowing before entering the shrine and when leaving the shrine too.
Recipe: Super Crispy Gyoza Dumplings Filled with Keema Curry. Best Creative Twist on a Gyoza. Kind of like Mini Empanadas!
Who likes Empanadas?
Who likes Gyozas?
Who wants to hear about a fun, delicious twist on a gyoza?
Most of us who access this blog love curry (I hope). Especially Japanese Curry.
Today, I decided to wrap up Keema curry in the Japanese Gyoza dumpling wrappers!
Why, you ask? Because, I was craving for a snack somewhat similar to an Empanada. Unfortunately, it's very hard to find frozen Empanadas here in Japan, but dumpling wrappers are very cheap!
These delicious dumplings were super crunchy and crispy on the outside. The curry inside and the wrapper itself matched perfectly too. Pairs great with wine or beer. Great appetizer or finger food for parties!
Keema curry, for those of you who have not tried it yet, is basically stir fried minced meat with curry spices. It's not runny like the traditional Japanese curry. It's more like paste. That's why I thought it would be a great idea to wrap it up with Gyoza wrappers!
I bought the ready-made Keema curry but I plan to post a recipe for it soon as the ready-made kind may be hard to find in the US....If you cannot find the ready-made curry but want to try this a.s.a.p, I highly recommend for you to cook some minced meat and add some salt, pepper, curry spice and maybe even some cumin?
That's it. If you decide to use ready-made curry/meat like me, it takes less than 20 minutes. 15 minutes of it is just waiting for it to cook in the oven...
Happy New Year! Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!
I hope that the year 2014 will be an year full of great fortune!
I've been spending the last few days of December in Japan. Will be heading back to San Francisco in a few days.
New Years in Japan is always wonderful during the New Years as it is spent eating great food with family and most of all, it's the week I feel most proud to be Japanese. Visits to shrines are always fun.
Revisiting Japanese traditions are something to treasure, always.
"Toshi Koshi Soba" - Soba which you eat on New Years Eve or New Years Day! To wish for a "long" life...Just like buckwheat noodles.
"Osechi" - Boxes packed with foods wishing for luck and prosperity for the New Year. Each dish usually has a meaning. Our family usually pre-orders at a department store but some families make their very own boxes!
Our family eats this the morning/lunch of New Years Day and will finish it in the next day or two.
Click *Read More* to see more... :)
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) :
Note: Steps #3 and #4 should only take 2-3min as the egg heats fast!
Recipe: Preparing for winter recipes. Shabu shabu @ home. Cheaper, healthier, easier and heart warming.
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:
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.
Japan: San-kei-en, Yokohama. Beautiful Japanese Garden found in the city. Took it for granted all my life!
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
I was surprised to see DAISO (Japanese $1 store) in San Francisco selling hijiki!
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)
Recipe: Japanese kabocha (pumpkin) cooked in a simple Japanese tasty broth. Too easy, too tasty, too healthy.
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. It's sweet but savoury. The more you leave it in the broth, the more intense the taste will get. So be careful in boiling the ingredient too long!
Note: 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!
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