I’m Sick, So Let’s Make Okayu! (Japanese method)

Rice porridge chicken okayu - Akatsuki no Yona 03 - 01Okay… I got sick and it sucks, so here’s a recipe for okayu, or Japanese rice porridge, which is so often seen in anime… I previously posted a recipe for okayu ages and ages ago, but I’d like to revisit this simple dish again with a slightly revised version that is not only far more standardized, but also easier and quicker to make! This recipe is also more in the Japanese style of rice porridge, with more intact rice grains and a thicker consistency compared to my former recipe, which was more of a Chinese style.

If you have a loved one that has come down with a cold, please make this for them! It’s warm, filling, and comforting to eat, as well as easy on the stomach… You can also customize this dish by adding a variety of ingredients, such as ginger to help with digestion, umeboshi for health, or an egg for added protein. Continue reading

Welcoming Spring with a Helping of Bamboo Rice!

Bamboo rice - Koufuku Graffiti 03 - 03After a long, cold winter, spring has finally sprung where I live, so I really wanted to make a spring-inspired dish to celebrate the change in the weather… but, I wasn’t exactly sure what to cook – that is until I saw episode 3 of Koufuku Graffiti that features a dish called takenoko gohan, or bamboo rice!

When the bamboo plants sends up tender young shoots in the spring, they are harvested, making this dish a springtime favorite… Lightly seasoned and deliciously fragrant, bamboo rice is a simple way to flavor your rice, elevating it from a plain side dish to practically a meal all unto itself. With thin strips of soft aburaage (unseasoned deep fried tofu pouches), tiny fragments of sweet carrot, and the slight crunch of the refreshing and earthy bamboo pieces, eating bamboo rice is a veritable treat. Continue reading

Kabocha Nimono: Another Delicious Staple to Add to Your Bento Recipe Repertoire

Bento kabocha - Shirobako 09

In a previous post, we looked at the Japanese cooking technique referred to as nimono, where vegetables, seafood, tofu, and meats (together or separately) are simmered in a stock flavored with soy sauce, sake, and some sweetening. The resulting dish is light, moist, and succulent, highlighting the flavor of the ingredients rather than smothering them with sauce. So, here we are again, returning to this cooking technique once again, this time with a simple but delicious recipe for kabocha nimono.

In anime, kabocha-ni (the ni is short for nimono) is seen every now and then, usually tucked into a corner of a bento. Some anime that have featured kabocha-ni include Shirobako, Garden of Words (movie), and Koufuku Graffiti! Continue reading

Spice up Your Nabe Dishes Using the Aromatic Yuzu to make Refreshingly Salty and Sour Ponzu Sauce!

Nabe - Tamako Market 09On a recent trip to the grocery store, I chanced upon some fresh yuzu! For those of you who don’t know, yuzu is a citrus fruit that is incredibly aromatic, with a taste that is almost like a grapefruit or orange crossed with a lemon. Fragrant, fresh, tart, and really unlike any other of the more “typical” citrus fruits, yuzu is common in Japanese cooking, both in savory and sweet dishes.

Recently, I shared a recipe for chicken nabe, a simple Japanese hot pot dish that uses a yuzu flavored sauce called ponzu as a condiment….

Light, salty, and a little sour, ponzu is not always an easy item to obtain, especially if you don’t have a well-stocked Asian market nearby – and, this is exactly what happened to me when I made my nabe! With no ponzu to be had, my only choice was to try and make it myself… and, the results? Quite possibly as good as the bottled stuff! Continue reading

Switching up an Old Summertime Favourite with Grilled Miso Butter Corn on the Cob

Roasted Corn - K-On 13 - 02Summertime comes with a host of wonderful things, including warmer weather, beachside barbecues, and a wealth of farm-fresh produce that entices the palate. One of my favourite things to eat at this time of year is corn on the cob, which is delectably sweet and juicy. Usually I just boil it up and eat it with a bit of butter, but lately I’ve been wanting something a bit different… Enter grilled miso butter corn! Continue reading

Can’t Stand the Heat of Summertime Ramen? The Solution is the Colourful and Cool Hiyashi Chuuka

Hiyashi Chuuka - Garden of WordsI have a dilemma: summer is officially in full swing, complete with sunny skies and soggy humidity, and as luck would have it, I suddenly really want to eat a big bowl of steaming hot ramen…. But, with the weather being so warm, how can I satisfy my cravings without getting heatstroke?

My solution? Hiyashi chuuka, which is basically a plate of chilled ramen topped with a colourful assortment of meats and vegetables and drizzled with a light sesame sauce! Continue reading

A Simple Sushi Made for the (Fox) Gods: Inari Zushi

Inari zushi - Super Sonico The Animation 04Sushi comes in many forms, whether it’s rolled-up maki, bite-sized nigiri, box-shaped oshizushi, or artfully arranged over a bed of rice for chirashizushi… but one of the most simple and easily overlooked type has to be the humble inari zushi!

Made of inari age (seasoned deep fried tofu pouches) stuffed with tangy sushi rice, inari zushi resembles a golden brown pillow. The inari age gives this dish a sweet and slightly salty flavour, and it’s spongy texture contrasts the chewiness of the rice.

Inari zushi makes frequent appearances in anime, particularly in shows that feature kitsune (fox gods) or the Shinto kami (god), Inari Okami… In Japan, inari zushi is a popular item left as an offering at Inari shrines not only because the supposed favourite food of Inari Okami‘s kitsune is inari age, but also because the pointed tips of inari zushi resemble the pointed ears of a fox! Continue reading