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Niboshi

Niboshi

Niboshi are dried baby sardines, from which dashi broth can be extracted. In the area I grew up, miso soup was often made from the broth made from niboshi. In the United States, kombu and katsuobushi are popular for dashi broth. Some people remove head and guts before using niboshi for dashi, because they produce […]

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Shimeji Mushrooms

Shimeji Mushrooms

Japan is a humid country and mushrooms grow well. Shiitake, shimeji, matsutake, enoki, nameko are the most popular and commercialized mushrooms in Japan. Shiitake, shimeji, and enoki can be found in the United States at Asian grocery stores. Shimeji can grow big like shiitake, but commercially available ones are always small and sold in a […]

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Panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs)

Panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs)

Until about 10 years ago only Japanese knew about panko, but now not only celebrity chefs, but also people who are vaguely interested in cooking know about it. As the image above shows, regular bread crumbs are darker, finer, and many are seasoned. On the other hand, panko is lighter in color, coarser, and unseasoned. […]

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Popular Secret Ingredients to Make Curry Rice Even Better

Popular Secret Ingredients to Make Curry Rice Even Better

Many Japanese have one or two secret ingredients to add while making curry rice. You can of course make great tasting curry without adding anything. But time to time you may feel something is missing, when you eat curry you made. Or maybe you bought curry mix you usually don’t buy, because it was on […]

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Pressed Barley

Pressed Barley

Pressed barley is called oshimugi in Japanese. It’s just like rolled oats. By flattening the barley, it can be cooked quicker. Until around the beginning of the 20th century, many Japanese ate rice only on special occasions. It was barley or millet that regular people ate everyday. As they even didn’t have pressed barley, it […]

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How to Fillet Mackerels

How to Fillet Mackerels

I don’t know how many people are willing to fillet mackerels in the United States, when you could buy fillets. But there are some reasons of buying a whole fish, and fillet them on your own. First of all, when a head is attached, it’s easier to see whether the fish is fresh or not. […]

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How to Choose Fresh Fish

How to Choose Fresh Fish

I was born and brought up in a small town, called Zushi, surrounded by small fishing villages facing Pacific Ocean. Until I moved out of my hometown, I didn’t know that it was rare to get fresh fish which were caught in the area. I regularly bought fish from a fish market 5 stores down […]

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Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms

Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms can be harvested in spring, fall, and winter. Particularly spring harvested mushrooms have thicker meat, and are more fragrant. You don’t need to go through elaborate cooking process to enjoy shiitake mushrooms. Just cut the stamps off close to the cap (stamps are too tough to chew), simply grill them, and drop a […]

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Enoki Mushrooms

Enoki Mushrooms

Enoki mushrooms are thin and tall Asian mushrooms. I haven’t seen them in neighborhood American grocery stores or organic stores, but they are regular items in Asian grocery stores. They are sold around $1~$2 a package all year round. Enoki mushrooms have mild flavor, and has significant crunchy texture, which retains well even after stewed. […]

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Konnyaku

Konnyaku

Konnyaku, sometimes called konjac, is actually made from an ugly looking bulbs. The English name is yam cake, because the root vegetable belongs to yam family. It is not edible when it’s raw, but can be eaten after being processed. It has to be boiled, ground and put into a mold to take a shape. […]

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Buckwheat Flour

Buckwheat Flour

Soba noodles (buckwheat noodles) are common grocery items in Japan, but buckwheat flour itself is harder to get, due to much lower demand. In the United States soba noodles are hard to find, but buckwheat flour itself is pretty common. It is used for waffles, pancakes or other baking purposes. I found a package of […]

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Nagaimo

Nagaimo

Nagaimo belongs to the family of yam. But unlike other yams, nagaimo can be eaten raw. You don’t see it in regular American grocery stores, but it’s a pretty common root vegetable in Asian grocery stores. Whenever nagaimo is on sale, I buy extra and keep them for later use. It’s pretty easy to prepare […]

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