Recipe: The best and most simple way to cook fish in Japan, "ni-tu-ke". Fish boiled in savoury Japanese sauce. It only takes 10 minutes!
"Ni-tu-ke" (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.
Sauce (start with this, add more or less depending on how sweet/savoury you like your sauce)
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.
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 gems 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!
Best seasoning I've discovered for stir frying vegetables. Easiest Japanese dish you could probably prepare using any veggie you want.
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):
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.
It's delicious 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!
Eggplants are in season! Make this super simple Japanese stir fry. Sort of like Teriyaki sauce. So tasty that my chopsticks just would not stop reaching for it.
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 sauce!
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.
So I've begun my life as a fulltime employee in San Francisco. Absolutely loving it so far. Starting my second week, I decided to pack obentos to work! There are cute cafes around office but they are all crowded and the last thing I want to do is wait in line! I've never really packed true Japanese obentos myself. I've always watched my mom though. I decided to start simple. A bed of rice with furikake, tamagoyaki and some stir fried veggies. Absolutely perfect.
How to make a simple but delicious and safe to eat obento? Read below!
Tamagoyaki (Japanese sweet omelette)
Stir fry veggies
What can I make with leftover ingredients in the fridge? A bunch of veggies, lean chicken, a lot of natto packets....I finally decided to stir fry them all together. My mother was surprised about the idea but being a natto lover, I couldn't resist. This dish is great with rice! If you're not a natto lover, you may want to skip this recipe :P
What's the big deal about natto (fermented soy beans) anyway?
- Isoflavones contribute to hormone balance (especially for women) and protection against specific cancers.
- Protein contributes to bone strength and protection again menopause
- Saponin contributes as a disinfectant, beautiful skin, high blood pressure and smoothing the blood.
- Zinc contributes to balancing the digestive system.
- Calcium contribute to bone strength
- Magnesium contributes to beautiful skin and disinfecting the body
- Fiber contributes to beautiful skin, diabetes, fat and lowering cholesterol
Tortillas are very expensive here in Japan. I went to a local supermarket (known to provide low prices) and found 10 tortillas for around $6. Ouch. This didn't stop me from sharing the concept of wraps, dips and spreads to my family in Japan. I decided to make my own tortillas instead! I make my own pizza with my boyfriend sometimes so this tortilla making ended up being very similar to that.
- - - T O R T I L L A - - -
My first homemade tortillas ended up being chewy, soft and on the thicker side. Instead of wrapping things inside, we ended up dipping or placing the spreads and dips on top. After thorough research online about making tortillas, here's what I used:
- - - D I P S / S P R E A D S - - -
Simple Yoghurt Guacamole
Garlic Basil Mayo
Tomato and Basil Marinade
I was supposed to fly out of Japan on Monday, however I've had to extend my stay due to some missing immigration documents as a F1 student. While I sort everything out here in Japan, I'll probably have to slow down on the blog posts, instagram and tweets. Just give me a few more days and I promise I'll post many many more Japanese recipes for you try!
Meanwhile, please enjoy some shots of Yokohama and Tokyo I've been taking on my iPhone4.
Shibuya, "Hikarie": The new building connected to the new portion of Shibuya station. It's a mall with shopping, restaurants and delicatessens.
"MARKIS", a new shopping mall in Minato Mirai (where I live), opening on the 20th of June. Hundreds of shops such as Uniqlo, Sports Authority, Toys'R us and restaurants will be open.
Haneda International Airport. This airport only opened very recently so it's very brand new and tailored for tourists (as you can see, the interior is very Japanese). I highly recommend having lunch at "Yakiniku Champion" for their Korean BBQ lunch plates (such as the "bibimbap" below) and then green tea, matcha dessert at the "Kyo-Hayashi-Ya".
Amazing mall entrance at Omotesando/Harajuku. The stores are regular chain stores and restaurants which are not that unique to the area but definitely worth a visit to take a photo!
I've already shared this on my instagram/twitter but it's always important to enjoy and to not forget the face of old/traditional Japan. Modern Japan is great but this type of Japan soothes my soul. Photo taken at "Sankeien" garden in Honmoku, Yokohama. $5 entrance fee and you get to enjoy a huge park with amazing buildings, culture and spirit.
One of the many things I love about Japan is the variety and quality of lunch menus. I can confidently say that the majority of restaurants offer lunch menus for amazing deals, usually around the $10 range. $10 will give you a whole "teishoku" (meal) with rice/noodle/pasta, entree, soup, appetizer and drink. Cannot forget to mention that the menu is usually very healthy too.
Recipe: Simple "Yaki Udon", fried udon recipe! My go to recipe when I'm starving and in need of a healthy, substantial lunch!
Time taken: 5 - 10 minutes
Approximately 300 kcal per serving
About This Dish:
I head over to my freezer when I find myself hungry and in need of a substantial and healthy Japanese meal at home. Why? Because I usually have a stash of udon hidden in my freezer! Yaki-Udon (Fried Udon) is one of Japan's most popular noodles, udon, stir fried with a bunch of vegetables and optionally meat. This recipe adds a delicious taste to the dish by adding a little bit of sesame oil and Japanese soy sauce! Be creative in your additions and you might end up with an amazing dish for lunch! My mom actually used to make this for me for breakfast. Good old days :)
While you're at it, why not check out my other udon recipe as well?
What You Need:
(Makes 2 servings)
Shoga-Yaki, a dish with grilled pork (thin sliced) mixed with a savoury sauce made of soy sauce, Japanese sake and mirin. It's a very easy dish to make and despite its simplicity, it tastes absolutely delicious! My boyfriend loved this dish tonight and mentioned that it's better than any Japanese dish served at a typical Japanese restaurant in Boston. Yay!
I posted a recipe for this dish earlier so click here to access it. Most of all, ENJOY!
Have you tried making this amazing beef bowl using this recipe I posted a while ago?
Since I had the chance to go to a large Korean supermarket (H Mart in Burlington, MA), thanks to Zipcar, I stocked up on thin sliced beef and pork usually used for Shabu Shabu or Japanese style stir fry dishes! Since the meat is usually packed in large portions, I usually wrap the meat up in smaller portions using saran wrap and freeze them for future usage.
Using the fresh thin sliced beef, the first thing I made was gyu-don! Beef bowl! Perfectly sweet, perfectly savoury. Rice turns heavenly and irresistible when topped with this beef dish!
I changed around the ingredients this time. I didn't use mirin!
What I Used:
(Makes 2 servings)
I used the same procedures as this recipe, but I'll post it in text here anyway :)
Recipe: Boston's lock down got me cooking (Part II). Super Moist Avocado Pound Cake. Enjoy the amazing taste of Avocado. No butter, no sugar, just avocado, cinnamon and honey.
Love avocado? I do.
I've been meaning to use up the avocado I got at Whole Foods ASAP. What better way than to use it in a sweet dessert while your city is on lock down?
This pound cake uses no butter, no sugar. Instead I used avocado, cinnamon and honey! The pound cake turned out to be super moist, perfectly chewy and the taste emphasized more on the avocado. If you aren't an avocado lover, I suggest you add a little more honey or cinnamon to mask the taste of avocado!
Like always, my desserts are not as sweet compared to those desserts often sold in the US, so if you are a sweet tooth, make sure to add more honey. Perfect for breakfast or a snack with some lovely tea or coffee!
What You Need:
(For 5 inch x 2.5 inch container)
Steps: (Due to the simplicity, I'm going to go with text based steps rather than posting a photo for each step!)
Recipe: Boston's city lock down got me cooking. Green onion pancakes a.k.a. "Negi-Yaki". Crunchy, chewy and savoury. Dip into soy sauce with bits of garlic for best results!
As you all probably know, Boston has been going through a chaotic couple of hours with the suspect of the Boston Marathon Bombing incident on the run. With a "shelter in place" order, it was a great chance to use up some left over ingredients in the fridge!
"Negi Yaki" is basically a savoury pancake made with just green onions ("Negi"). You usually fold the pancake up and enjoy it like a crepe. I hid some cheese in mine. Since you fry it, the outside becomes very crunchy and since we use starch in the mix, the pancake itself becomes pleasantly chewy. The smell of the sesame oil is perfectly appetizing as well. I mixed some soy sauce, sesame seeds and chopped up garlic as a dipping sauce.
What You Need:
(Makes 1 pancake)
Recipe: Staple dish while having a drink at an Izakaya, Cabbage mixed with salt and sesame oil also called "Shio-Kyabetsu". Best Salad Ever.
Izakayas are basically casual restaurants who concentrate on serving drinks and small Japanese tapas dishes such as edamame, fried chicken, salads, etc. Back when I lived in Japan, I went to an izakaya on a regular basis to enjoy the "All you can drink" menu as well as regular menus. There are fancy izakayas to regular type of izakayas. Izakayas made for specific target customers too; some izakayas focusing on seafood lovers, some on older business men. It's really fun to scavenge around for your favourite izakaya since there are so many; especially around popular stations.
Back to this recipe of cabbage mixed with salt and sesame oil called "shio-kyabetsu" in Japanese. It's a very simple dish and very popular amongst izakaya lovers and yakiniku (Korean bbq) lovers. It's always served as an appetizer. It's just a perfect salad to accomodate other meaty dishes or alcoholic beverages. Please give it a try, it only takes a minute to make!
What You Need:
Simply mix all the ingredients together. Yup, that's it.
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