Japanese cookbook – Japanese recipes from Mari’s Tokyo Kitchen

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My Japanese cookbook in English will be published Aug 2015. Please enjoy Japanese cooking!

Japanese recipes from Mari’s Tokyo Kitchen in English

cook book cover

 

 

Easy and healthy Japanese recipes

I am Mari Nameshida, who is teaching Japanese traditional cooking in Tokyo at my small kitchen. I have taught almost +3,000 guests Japanese food on the basis of each guest’s preference. I will introduce easy and healthy Japanese recipes which Japanese famillies and our guests enjoy!

Categories


Japanese cookbook and recipes

In addition to the recipes here,  I am writing Japanese cookbook which is very easy to follow for beginners of Japanese cooking. Through my experience as a Japanese cooking instructor for foreign guests to Tokyo, Japan, I would like to show the secrets how to enjoy Japanese cooking. I believe the list of 20 most loved Japanese foods loved by my guests would be practical and suitable when you firstly cook Japanese food  for yourself, your friends, or your families.


Who I am?
・Japanese cooking instructor
・Chinese herbal medicine Advisor
・Chinese herbal medicine dishes Instructor
・Registered Nurse
・Public Health Nurse
・Food lover

If you are interested in our Japanese cooking class in Tokyo, please visit this link:

Link to Japanese cooking lesson tokyo in Japan

I learned about the basics of Japanese cooking from my mom at a young age and also went to cooking/baking school. I really love cooking and I have just kept cooking for a long time. I also love traveling and I noticed that there were few chances to immerse yourself in the local culture and taste. I thought it would be very nice if there was a place that travelers could go to the local people’s homes and learn how to cook local cuisine and as a result learn more about the local people. That is why I started my cooking classes.

In addition, I have decided to start writing about Japanese food,  ingredients and recipes here–this blog.

I know that there’re many blogs about Japanese food or recipes everywhere but I also want to introduce and inherit our beautiful cultures through our dishes that nowadays most young people don’t care nor cherish so much here. I always believe that Japanese dishes have variable meanings more than just delicious food.

Here’s another reason, I love eating and traveling. And I noticed that there were few chances to immerse yourself in the local culture and taste when you go to foreign countries. Sometimes, when I learned the food I ate had some meanings, like cultural backgrounds or local people’s habitants, I was so excited and can understand that country more deeply always. I thought it would be very nice if there was a place that non-Japanese people could learn how to cook local cuisine and as a result learn more about the local people. That is why I started my blog.

I hope you will enjoy my japanese recipes and know our cultures a little bit more through local dishes or life.

 


In this lesson, we will instruct how to cook the Sushi Roll, Nigiri Sushi or Scattered Sushi. Sushi is very popular food for both of Japanese and foreigners. It consists of rice and fish which are very primary foods for Japanese traditionally.

There are various styles of Sushi in many districts in Japan. Nigiri sushi is a regular type which is made of a small clump of rice and fresh raw fish on it. Sushi roll is that the rice and sashimi and some vegetables are rolled by Nori( a sheet of seaweed). Chirashi sushi is scattered sushi which is made of sushi rice on the plate and it is covered by scattered slices of sashimi. All of them are eaten only for celebration event in the past. But recently Sushi has been becoming more common foods because of the accessibility of various fresh fishes from the all over the world.

Sushi is named after “Sumeshi” which means vinegar(“Su” in Japanese) and rice(“Meshi” in Japanese). This “me” of “Sumeshi” was disappeared during many years and now it is called “Sushi”. “寿司” is the Japanese character of Sushi and this means something sign of good luck and celebrations. We can see how Japanese people love Sushi even from the character of Sushi.

Sushi was spread to the US in 1980s because of the big hit of Sushi bar and Sushi is know from the people in the all of world nowadays. They have found some new tastes of sushi like the California Roll which is made of Avocado and Crab because some American are not familiar with eating raw fish.

What is the origin of Sushi? It is said that sushi was invented in South East Asia in 4th century. This unique style of eating was delivered to Japan in 8th century. At that time Sushi is a little bit different from modern sushi. The rice which is seasoned with sweetened vinegar and put the raw fish and ferment for some days. Since there is no technology to refrigerate foods, sushi was made as a preserved food. This kind of sushi is alive even now in Shiga province. People there cook traditional sushi by using the mackerel, carp and sailfin sandfish.

The nigiri style sushi appeared in the beginning of 19th Century in Edo where is Tokyo now. After the prolonged domestic war finish the peace had come for more than 300 years. Citizen are becoming rich and busy because of their active businesses. In Edo, people in Edo prefer tasty and quick meals in street stalls. Nigirisushi was invented and became very popular soon. That sushi is much bigger than modern sushi and the size of it is same as the size of tennis ball. This Edo style sushi has spread because of unfortunate event of big Kato Earthquake in 1923. The professional sushi chef lost their houses and jobs and returned back to their home country and the sushi was spread accordingly.

This article was written by referring to this web page of .


 

How to cook and eat Miso Soup (Miso-shiru)

Miso soup – MisoShiru in Japanese is essence of Japanese food culture. That is always true from Japanese traditional restaurant to local home. Miso soup fits especially to rice for Japanese people.

Firstly we make Dashi which is Japanese soup stock by using dried bonito, kelp and/or small dried sardines. We use Dashi to cook Miso soup as well as the other most of Japanese foods. Then, we boil some ingredients in Dashi and mix Miso finally. The way of cooking is very simple but there is a wide variety of taste depending on the areas in Japan, homes and mothers.

Miso is not only a seasoning but also a very nutritious and important source of protein traditionally. It consists of fermented soybeans with salt and the certain kind of fungus. This fungus is made of rice (or soybean or barley). The market share is estimated as rice 85%, barley 10%, soybean 5%.

History of Miso and Miso soup

Miso was incented around 2,000 years ago in Japan after people started cultivating and producing grains. They stocked grains with salt. Then, some words meaning something similar to Miso was written in some literatures in the 7-8th century.

Miso soup appeared in history of Japan only for warrior class in the 12th – 13th century. Then, Miso spread to the ordinary people soon in the 15-16th century. Even now Miso is necessary menu especially for breakfast with rice.

Variation of ingredients in Miso soup

Sea weed: wakame, kelp, green laver, aosa, hijiki

Clam: asari(manila) clam, shijimi clam

Fish: salmon, codfish

Shrimp/ prawn, Crab

Vegetables: some kinds of leeks, potate, sweet potate, Chinese yum, taro, daikon, carrot, burdock root, lotus root, spinach, Japanese mustard spinach, butterbur sprout, nameko mushroom, enoki mushroom, Chinese black mushroom(shiitake), shimeji mush room, Japanese ginger, onion, cabbage, egg plant, Chinese cabbage, sprout,

Tofu,

Chicken and pork

 


 

Sashimi is simple style of cooking by eating sliced fresh raw fish. Generally speaking, the fishes having red flesh are popular like the tuna in Kanto Area (East Japan) and the fishes having white flesh like the sea bream in Kansai Area (West Japan). The culture of eating sashim was developed in Japan by taking advantage of the fact that Japan was surrounded by sea and that it is easy to get fresh fishes. While eating sashimi of fishes are common, sashimi made of fresh raw flesh of birds, beef or pork are eaten sometimes.

Sashimi has been most important accompaniment for rice dishes from old age. Traditional Japanese cooking course menu was made primarily depending on the fish of sashimi. This means that the course menu can be changed by which kinds of sashimi.

Then we talk about sashimi we must not forget the existence of soy sauce. The origin of sashimi can be found the old books written in 13th century. But there is not soy sauce at that time, and sashimi was eaten with seasoned vinegar. Soy sauce was invented and spread after 14-15th century. People found that the say sauce fits the taste of sashimi very well and started to eat sashimi with say sauce. Sashimi and say sauce spread to all the common folks in Japan finally in the end of Edo Era when is about 18th century. Sashimi became very popular food in small restaurants – street stalls as like sushi. Susi and sashimi become the national food for Japanese people after Edo Era.

While we eat sashimi, specific vegetables or seaweed like the Japanese radish and green perilla are put aside the sashimi. These make the decoration more beautiful. In addition, when we eat these vegetables we can clean up the flavor of sashimi in the mouth and be ready to eat the other kind of sashimi soon.

This article was written by referring to this web page of .

 


 

How to cook and eat sukiyaki?

Sukiyaki is a Japanese unique cooking style which make the harmony of meat and sweet salt sauce by using soy sauce and sugar. Typical ingredients are beef, vegetables (leek and garland chrysanthemum), Shiitake mushroom, baked tofu and noodles made from devil’s tongue starch. We boil them in the seasoned soup and eat soon after putting the beef in the raw eggs. Though Japanese people like eating raw egg, people in the most of all over the world don’t have customs to eat raw egg. But even if you don’t put raw egg, the taste is still very delicious. As same as the other Japanese foods, there are two kinds way to cook Sukiyaki; Kanto area (East Japan) in including Tokyo and Kansai area(West Japan) including Kyoto and Osaka have many differences usually. In Kanto area, they boil the ingredients in the soup which consists of water, sweet sake, say sauce , sake and sugar. On the other hand, people living in Kansai firstly fry the beef and season with salt and say sauce and secondly add vegetables and fry again. Then, they add water and sake to finish seasoning. They don’t use soup to boil and season the beef. People in the both area use raw egg just before eating.

The history of Sukiyaki.

Sukiyaki has been eaten since the end of Edo Era when is around 18th century. Before Edo era eating meat was forbidden officially by the government or emperor because cow and horse are very important labor force to cultivate the field. People believed that they will be punished by Heaven if they eat beef or horse meat. So people had to eat Sukiyaki furtively at first. The culture of eating beef was introduced from abroad after the Edo government was forced to open the country to trade with foreigners because of the compulsory pressure by America. Eating Sukiyaki was thought very cool and stylish as the forefront of its time in 19th century. Around 1960’s, Sukiyaki is becoming more popular because of the increase in the income of folks. Sukiyaki which is using beef has been eaten as a luxury food for folks.

The origin of the name “Sukiyaki”

“Suki” means the equipment to cultivate the field called traction or plow in English. The farmers uses “suki” (plow) to cook the meat. “yaki” means baking or frying. Now we don’t use plows but pots, but this food is still called Sukiyaki.

This article was written by referring to this web page of .


 

 

How to cook and eat Gyoza

Gyoza is the Japanese dumplings that using the thin dumpling skin to rap up the fillings which consists of meat and vegetables. We firstly fry the bottom of Gyoza and later steam it. The origin of Gyoza is from China though, there are many differences between Japanese gyoza and Chinese one.

Japanese Gyoza was developed to compatible with rice which is staple grain food for Japanese people everyday. So we Japanese people use the thin dumpling skin and fry the bottom to make it crispy and savory. We add garlic in the fillings which is not added in China. Finally, we put red chili oil in the sauce in addition to soy sauce and vinegar. On the other hand, Chinese gyoza’s skin is thick compared to Japanese one to be main dish without rice. They boil the dumplings and put the sauce made from soy sauce and vinegar without chili sauce.

History of Gyoza

We don’t know accurate age when gyoza was invented, but at least a mummy of gyoza made in 6-8th centuries was found in Chinese ruins in the middle of Silk Road – Turpan Prefecture in Xinjiang Uyghur China. The culture of eating gyoza is definitely from northern part of China, because only northern people have eaten foods made of flour and southern people have eaten rice usually.

The first person who eats gyoza in Japan is the higher grade of samurai in Edo period – 17th century. But the gyoza didn’t become popular for folks at that time. It was not until 1945 that the fried gyoza became very popular in Japan. Japan ruled Manchuria country which was part of China before the end of World War Second. Many Japanese people came back from Manchuria after the war and some of them started the Chinese restaurants and served gyoza. First restaurant serving gyoza was opened by the couple of Japanese husband and Chinese wife in Shibuya. They served both of boiled gyoza and fried gyoza, but only fried gyoza become popular rapidly. Many restaurants in Shibuya started to serve fried gyoza and the gyoza was spreading to all of Japan.

The name of Gyoza(餃子)

The Chinese character of gyoza and Japanese character of it is same at all as “餃子”. But the pronunciations of 餃子 is different; “Jiaozi” in Chinese and “Gyoza” in Japanese. Then, where the “Gyoza” comes from? It is said that Gyoza is the pronunciation of Manchurian dialect where is a north east part of China. As mentioned above, people coming back from Manchuria introduced Gyoza in Japan, so we call “gyoza” which is just a dialect in China.


 

How to cook and eat Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is Japanese pancake, but it is not a sweet but a main dish. The dough made of dashi (Japanese soup stock), flour and Chinese yum is fried on the plate and some ingredients are topped: vegetables, pork, beef and/or sea foods.

There are two main streams of Okonomiyaki: One is Osaka style and the other one is Hiroshima style. Osaka is the second biggest economic city in Japan and which is near to Kyoto. People in Osaka mix the ingredients and dough before frying. While Osaka style is now most popular and seems to be the standard Okonomiyaki, Hiroshima style is till popular for some people. Hiroshima is more western than Osaka in Japan and famous for being targeted by the first nuclear weapon by US. The features of Hiroshima style are that they use a bunch of cabbage and don’t mix ingredients and dough. Besides, they put yakisoba (Japanese fried noodle) on top of Okonomiyaki.

History of Okonomiyaki

The origin of Okonomiyaki was invented in 16th century. It was named Funoyaki that is Japanese sweets to be served with Japanese green tea ceremony. It was not until end of the World War Second that the food named Okonomiyaki beceme popular among the folks in Kansai (West Japan) area including Osaka and Hiroshima. Japan was occupied by US army and a lot of flour was available provided legally and illegally by Army. There were too many Japanese people losing job and suffering from the poverty at that time. Some of them started stalls serving Okonomiyaki using military-origin flour. It spreads around Japan because it was cheap, quick and various.

Why is this food called Okonomiyaki?

We can divide the name of “Okonomiyaki” into two parts. One is “Okonomi” and the other one is “yaki”. To begin, “Okonomi” means “which ever you want” in Japanese. Since there is a wide variety of ingredients which are ready for topping, we can choose them which ever we want to arrange our own Okonomiyaki taste. Next, “yaki” means frying or baking. If you know some names of Japanese foods, you may find “yaki” in the names such as Teri-yaki, Suki-yaki, Tamago-yaki, Teppan-yaki, yaki-soba, yaki-udon, suki-yaki, yaki-tori and so on.

Ingredients and variation of Okonomiyaki’s topping.

flour, water,

Chicken, pork or/and beef

Japanese noodle: yakisoba noodle or udon noodle

Vegetables: cabbage, sprout, leek, corn, mushroom

Sea foods: spicy pollac roe, squid, shrimp, octopus, oyster, Kimuchi(spicy Chinese cabbage)

Others: Mochi (Japanese rice cake), cheese, bacon

 


 

Tempura is fried vegetables and fishes with flour and eggs. This is one of the most popular Japanese food in Japan, At first in Edo Period, Tempura was fast food which is available at the standing counter restaurant. Nowadays there are two types of way to enjoy the Tempura. First one is to eat Tempura which is usually expensive and sophisticated in the specialized restaurant operated by Shokunin (Shokunin means professional chef in Japanese). The other tempura is cooked by mothers at Japanese local home and it is so yummy because it is customized only for their family by mom with a lot of love. The typical ingredients of tempura are white fish called Kisu, Shrimp, sweet potato, Renkon which is Japanese root of lotus, and other vegetables.

There are two main streams of tempura depending on the area in Japan. While fish tempura was developed in Kanto area (East Japan) by using fresh fishes that were caught in Tokyo bay traditionally, vegetable tempura was developed around Kansai area (East Japan) especially in Kyoto because fresh fish was not easy to get for the folks there. As you may expect, Kanto Area (East Japan) and Kansai Area (West Japan) have different ways to cook tempura. In kanto area, they fry the batter in the sesame oil. The batter includes eggs and it is fried to be brown color. They use sesame oil to remove the odor of the fish. When they eat tempura, they use the Japanese sauce called “Tsuyu” which is salty and sweet sauce made from say sauce, sake and soup stock. On the other hand, in Kansai area they fry the batter in the sunflower oil. The batter doesn’t include the egg and it is fried to be white color. Because they are used to eat vegetable tempura, they don’t use Tsuyu but only put salt to take advantage of the natural flavor of the vegetables themselves. Nowadays tempura – both of fishes and vegetables is one of the most popular Japanese foods in not only all of Japan but also all over the world.

What is the history of Tempura? The origin of tempura was introduced from Portugal about 400 years ago in the middle of 16th century. Portuguese arrived in Japan as a first trader from western countries and introduced some new style of cooking as well as guns and Christianity. At that time Japanese people used oil only for lights and it was very expensive, so folks couldn’t eat tempura which is necessary to be cooked in a lot of oil. It was not until Edo era (from 17th to 19th) that the folks could start to eat tempura for their daily life after the great increase in the production of oil. The tempura was not eaten as a main dish but a snack at the street stall at first. A professional and specialized restaurant has appeared since the Meiji era when the Japan was opened to abroad for trading and civilized rapidly.

Where did the name of “Tempura” come from? There are various views but it is said that reasonable idea is that tempura was changed from Portuguese: Portuguese “tempero” which means seasoning or cooking.

This article was written by referring to this web page of Iroha Japan. ()


 

 

 


Unesco Wourld Heritage

As you may know, Washoku which means Japanese food in Japanese was registered as one of world heritages of Unesco. We are really proud of this honor as Japanese food cooking instructor.

Japanese food has mainly four features: appreciation for various and fresh ingredients and unique characteristics of each of them, healthy diet because of well balanced nutrition, expression of natural and various beauty depending on each season, and close relationship with Japanese traditional seasonal event such as New Year Event.

 

The history of Japanese food

The rice has played significantly important role in Japanese food and food culture in long history. It is true that many countries in east Asia such as Korea and China and south east Asia, people eat rice often. However, especially for Japanese people the extent to which we depend on rice is much higher than people in any other countries. In addition to rice, we  have depended on fish as a source of protein rather than meat historically. These characteristic is result from east Asian climate, high humidity and high temperature. The flourish water allows Japanese people to harvest the rice and to catch the fish. That is why Japanese traditional recipes usually require fresh fish and tasty rice.

By contrast, relatively cool and dry climate allows people in western Asia, middle Asia and Europe to depend on flour, and meat and milk.

 


Cultural History of Tempura

Tempura is fried vegetables and fishes with flour and eggs. This is one of the most popular Japanese food in Japan, At first in Edo Period, Tempura was fast food which is available at the standing counter restaurant. Nowadays there are two types of way to enjoy the Tempura. First one is to eat Tempura which is usually expensive and sophisticated in the specialized restaurant operated by Shokunin (Shokunin means professional chef in Japanese). The other tempura is cooked by mothers at Japanese local home and it is so yummy because it is customized only for their family by mom with a lot of love. The typical ingredients of tempura are white fish called Kisu, Shrimp, sweet potato, Renkon which is Japanese root of lotus, and other vegetables.

There are two main streams of tempura depending on the area in Japan. While fish tempura was developed in Kanto area (East Japan) by using fresh fishes that were caught in Tokyo bay traditionally, vegetable tempura was developed around Kansai area (East Japan) especially in Kyoto because fresh fish was not easy to get for the folks there. As you may expect, Kanto Area (East Japan) and Kansai Area (West Japan) have different ways to cook tempura. In kanto area, they fry the batter in the sesame oil. The batter includes eggs and it is fried to be brown color. They use sesame oil to remove the odor of the fish. When they eat tempura, they use the Japanese sauce called “Tsuyu” which is salty and sweet sauce made from say sauce, sake and soup stock. On the other hand, in Kansai area they fry the batter in the sunflower oil. The batter doesn’t include the egg and it is fried to be white color. Because they are used to eat vegetable tempura, they don’t use Tsuyu but only put salt to take advantage of the natural flavor of the vegetables themselves. Nowadays tempura – both of fishes and vegetables is one of the most popular Japanese foods in not only all of Japan but also all over the world.

What is the history of Tempura? The origin of tempura was introduced from Portugal about 400 years ago in the middle of 16th century. Portuguese arrived in Japan as a first trader from western countries and introduced some new style of cooking as well as guns and Christianity. At that time Japanese people used oil only for lights and it was very expensive, so folks couldn’t eat tempura which is necessary to be cooked in a lot of oil. It was not until Edo era (from 17th to 19th) that the folks could start to eat tempura for their daily life after the great increase in the production of oil. The tempura was not eaten as a main dish but a snack at the street stall at first. A professional and specialized restaurant has appeared since the Meiji era when the Japan was opened to abroad for trading and civilized rapidly.

Where did the name of “Tempura” come from? There are various views but it is said that reasonable idea is that tempura was changed from Portuguese: Portuguese “tempero” which means seasoning or cooking.

This article was written by referring to this web page of Iroha Japan. (http://iroha-japan.net/iroha/B02_food/03_udon.html). I introduced Tempura recipe in cookbook corner of Tokyo Journal.

 


Cultural Background of Gyoza

How to cook and eat Gyoza

Gyoza is the Japanese dumplings that using the thin dumpling skin to rap up the fillings which consists of meat and vegetables. We firstly fry the bottom of Gyoza and later steam it. The origin of Gyoza is from China though, there are many differences between Japanese gyoza and Chinese one.
Japanese Gyoza was developed to compatible with rice which is staple grain food for Japanese people everyday. So we Japanese people use the thin dumpling skin and fry the bottom to make it crispy and savory. We add garlic in the fillings which is not added in China. Finally, we put red chili oil in the sauce in addition to soy sauce and vinegar. On the other hand, Chinese gyoza’s skin is thick compared to Japanese one to be main dish without rice. They boil the dumplings and put the sauce made from soy sauce and vinegar without chili sauce.

History of Gyoza

We don’t know accurate age when gyoza was invented, but at least a mummy of gyoza made in 6-8th centuries was found in Chinese ruins in the middle of Silk Road – Turpan Prefecture in Xinjiang Uyghur China. The culture of eating gyoza is definitely from northern part of China, because only northern people have eaten foods made of flour and southern people have eaten rice usually.
The first person who eats gyoza in Japan is the higher grade of samurai in Edo period – 17th century. But the gyoza didn’t become popular for folks at that time. It was not until 1945 that the fried gyoza became very popular in Japan. Japan ruled Manchuria country which was part of China before the end of World War Second. Many Japanese people came back from Manchuria after the war and some of them started the Chinese restaurants and served gyoza. First restaurant serving gyoza was opened by the couple of Japanese husband and Chinese wife in Shibuya. They served both of boiled gyoza and fried gyoza, but only fried gyoza become popular rapidly. Many restaurants in Shibuya started to serve fried gyoza and the gyoza was spreading to all of Japan.

The name of Gyoza(餃子)

The Chinese character of gyoza and Japanese character of it is same at all as “餃子”. But the pronunciations of 餃子 is different; “Jiaozi” in Chinese and “Gyoza” in Japanese. Then, where the “Gyoza” comes from? It is said that Gyoza is the pronunciation of Manchurian dialect where is a north east part of China. As mentioned above, people coming back from Manchuria introduced Gyoza in Japan, so we call “gyoza” which is just a dialect in China.


 

Cultural Background of Sashimi

Sashimi is simple style of cooking by eating sliced fresh raw fish. Generally speaking, the fishes having red flesh are popular like the tuna in Kanto Area (East Japan) and the fishes having white flesh like the sea bream in Kansai Area (West Japan). The culture of eating sashim was developed in Japan by taking advantage of the fact that Japan was surrounded by sea and that it is easy to get fresh fishes. While eating sashimi of fishes are common, sashimi made of fresh raw flesh of birds, beef or pork are eaten sometimes.

Sashimi has been most important accompaniment for rice dishes from old age. Traditional Japanese cooking course menu was made primarily depending on the fish of sashimi. This means that the course menu can be changed by which kinds of sashimi.Then we talk about sashimi we must not forget the existence of soy sauce. The origin of sashimi can be found the old books written in 13th century. But there is not soy sauce at that time, and sashimi was eaten with seasoned vinegar. Soy sauce was invented and spread after 14-15th century. People found that the say sauce fits the taste of sashimi very well and started to eat sashimi with say sauce. Sashimi and say sauce spread to all the common folks in Japan finally in the end of Edo Era when is about 18th century. Sashimi became very popular food in small restaurants – street stalls as like sushi. Susi and sashimi become the national food for Japanese people after Edo Era.While we eat sashimi, specific vegetables or seaweed like the Japanese radish and green perilla are put aside the sashimi. These make the decoration more beautiful. In addition, when we eat these vegetables we can clean up the flavor of sashimi in the mouth and be ready to eat the other kind of sashimi soon.This article was written by referring to this web page of Iroha Japan.


Cultural Background of Okonomiyaki

How to cook and eat Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is Japanese pancake, but it is not a sweet but a main dish. The dough made of dashi (Japanese soup stock), flour and Chinese yum is fried on the plate and some ingredients are topped: vegetables, pork, beef and/or sea foods.
There are two main streams of Okonomiyaki: One is Osaka style and the other one is Hiroshima style. Osaka is the second biggest economic city in Japan and which is near to Kyoto. People in Osaka mix the ingredients and dough before frying. While Osaka style is now most popular and seems to be the standard Okonomiyaki, Hiroshima style is till popular for some people. Hiroshima is more western than Osaka in Japan and famous for being targeted by the first nuclear weapon by US. The features of Hiroshima style are that they use a bunch of cabbage and don’t mix ingredients and dough. Besides, they put yakisoba (Japanese fried noodle) on top of Okonomiyaki.

History of Okonomiyaki

The origin of Okonomiyaki was invented in 16th century. It was named Funoyaki that is Japanese sweets to be served with Japanese green tea ceremony. It was not until end of the World War Second that the food named Okonomiyaki beceme popular among the folks in Kansai (West Japan) area including Osaka and Hiroshima. Japan was occupied by US army and a lot of flour was available provided legally and illegally by Army. There were too many Japanese people losing job and suffering from the poverty at that time. Some of them started stalls serving Okonomiyaki using military-origin flour. It spreads around Japan because it was cheap, quick and various.

Why is this food called Okonomiyaki?

We can divide the name of “Okonomiyaki” into two parts. One is “Okonomi” and the other one is “yaki”. To begin, “Okonomi” means “which ever you want” in Japanese. Since there is a wide variety of ingredients which are ready for topping, we can choose them which ever we want to arrange our own Okonomiyaki taste. Next, “yaki” means frying or baking. If you know some names of Japanese foods, you may find “yaki” in the names such as Teri-yaki, Suki-yaki, Tamago-yaki, Teppan-yaki, yaki-soba, yaki-udon, suki-yaki, yaki-tori and so on.

Ingredients and variation of Okonomiyaki’s recipes.

flour, water,
Chicken, pork or/and beef
Japanese noodle: yakisoba noodle or udon noodle
Vegetables: cabbage, sprout, leek, corn, mushroom
Sea foods: spicy pollac roe, squid, shrimp, octopus, oyster, Kimuchi(spicy Chinese cabbage)
Others: Mochi (Japanese rice cake), cheese, bacon


 

 Cultural Background of Sukiyaki

How to cook and eat sukiyaki? – sukiyaki recipe-

Sukiyaki is a Japanese unique cooking style which make the harmony of meat and sweet salt sauce by using soy sauce and sugar. Typical ingredients are beef, vegetables (leek and garland chrysanthemum), Shiitake mushroom, baked tofu and noodles made from devil’s tongue starch. We boil them in the seasoned soup and eat soon after putting the beef in the raw eggs. Though Japanese people like eating raw egg, people in the most of all over the world don’t have customs to eat raw egg. But even if you don’t put raw egg, the taste is still very delicious. As same as the other Japanese foods, there are two kinds way to cook Sukiyaki; Kanto area (East Japan) in including Tokyo and Kansai area(West Japan) including Kyoto and Osaka have many differences usually. In Kanto area, they boil the ingredients in the soup which consists of water, sweet sake, say sauce , sake and sugar. On the other hand, people living in Kansai firstly fry the beef and season with salt and say sauce and secondly add vegetables and fry again. Then, they add water and sake to finish seasoning. They don’t use soup to boil and season the beef. People in the both area use raw egg just before eating.

The history of Sukiyaki.

Sukiyaki has been eaten since the end of Edo Era when is around 18th century. Before Edo era eating meat was forbidden officially by the government or emperor because cow and horse are very important labor force to cultivate the field. People believed that they will be punished by Heaven if they eat beef or horse meat. So people had to eat Sukiyaki furtively at first. The culture of eating beef was introduced from abroad after the Edo government was forced to open the country to trade with foreigners because of the compulsory pressure by America. Eating Sukiyaki was thought very cool and stylish as the forefront of its time in 19th century. Around 1960’s, Sukiyaki is becoming more popular because of the increase in the income of folks. Sukiyaki which is using beef has been eaten as a luxury food for folks.

The origin of the name “Sukiyaki”

“Suki” means the equipment to cultivate the field called traction or plow in English. The farmers uses “suki” (plow) to cook the meat. “yaki” means baking or frying. Now we don’t use plows but pots, but this food is still called Sukiyaki.

This article was written by referring to this web page of Iroha Japan.


 Cultural Background of Miso Soup

How to cook and eat Miso Soup (Miso-shiru)

Miso soup – MisoShiru in Japanese is essence of Japanese food culture. That is always true from Japanese traditional restaurant to local home. Miso soup fits especially to rice for Japanese people.
Firstly we make Dashi which is Japanese soup stock by using dried bonito, kelp and/or small dried sardines. We use Dashi to cook Miso soup as well as the other most of Japanese foods. Then, we boil some ingredients in Dashi and mix Miso finally. The way of cooking is very simple but there is a wide variety of taste depending on the areas in Japan, homes and mothers.
Miso is not only a seasoning but also a very nutritious and important source of protein traditionally. It consists of fermented soybeans with salt and the certain kind of fungus. This fungus is made of rice (or soybean or barley). The market share is estimated as rice 85%, barley 10%, soybean 5%.

History of Miso and Miso soup

Miso was incented around 2,000 years ago in Japan after people started cultivating and producing grains. They stocked grains with salt. Then, some words meaning something similar to Miso was written in some literatures in the 7-8th century.
Miso soup appeared in history of Japan only for warrior class in the 12th – 13th century. Then, Miso spread to the ordinary people soon in the 15-16th century. Even now Miso is necessary menu especially for breakfast with rice.

Variation of ingredients in Miso soup recipes

Sea weed: wakame, kelp, green laver, aosa, hijiki
Clam: asari(manila) clam, shijimi clam
Fish: salmon, codfish
Shrimp/ prawn, Crab
Vegetables: some kinds of leeks, potate, sweet potate, Chinese yum, taro, daikon, carrot, burdock root, lotus root, spinach, Japanese mustard spinach, butterbur sprout, nameko mushroom, enoki mushroom, Chinese black mushroom(shiitake), shimeji mush room, Japanese ginger, onion, cabbage, egg plant, Chinese cabbage, sprout,
Tofu, Chicken and pork

 

News and short column about Japanese food

The introduction of Miso, 10th Feb 2014

I would like to introduce the miso, because I found good brochure by Japan Miso Promotion Board. Let me explain the details of this.

Miso is Japan’s traditional seasoning and health food. Made from fermented soybeans mashed into a thick paste, the many health benefits of miso have been well documented in scientific studies. Indeed recent years have seen miso steadily gain a global reputation as a superbly tasty and versatile health food. No traditional Japanese cooking is complete without miso. The paste is used as a seasoning for soups and a host of traditional dishes, and has been a key ingredient in healthy diets for centuries.

History of Miso;

Originating in China, miso found its way into Japan in the 7th century where it was gradually transformed into intrinsically Japanese seasoning. The method for making miso is believed to have originated from the application of a fermented spice made from ground fish, meat and salt, and a type of fermented soybeans and millet that were brought to Japan from China or the Korean Peninsula in the 7th century. Over the following centuries, the methods for making miso were refined and enhanced, creating a broad spectrum of styles and tastes, a process which still continues today.

8th – 12th century, The Heian Period, Only for society’s elite

During the Heian period, miso was a delicacy eaten only by the nobility and monks; it was strictly off limits to the commoner. It was also given as a gift or provided as wages for society’s elite. Rather than used as a seasoning as is common today, during this period miso was spread directly on food or eaten straight.

12th – 16th century, The Kamakura and Muromachi periods, A samurai staple

Soup made from mashed miso soybeans became a staple for the Kamakura samurai during this era. Later, miso soup found its way into the diets of the common people as farmers began making their own homemade miso.

15th – 16th century, The Warring States period, The ingredient to victory

During these hundred years of civil wars the calories in rice and the nutrients in miso played an important role in securing victory on the battlefield. As a result, the benefits of the precious paste came to be held in even greater esteem and efforts were made to improve the fermenting process.

17th – 19th The Edo period, The thrifty delicacy

The importance of miso increased even more during this period, especially after the shogunate issued a “thrift ordinance” urging samurai and townsfolk alike to embrace frugal life style and eating habits. As a wealthy merchant class also began to emerge at this time, however, demand for high-grade miso also rose, spurring development of increasingly sophisticated recipes and proucts. The dual trends towards frugality and luxury further boosted demand for the product, and miso shops in the big cities of Edo (former name of Tokyo) and Kyoto enjoyed a brisk trade.

Today

Exports of miso are increasing every year as its health benefits are being discovered by an ever- growing global audience. In 2006, the export market shares were North America:47%, Asia 31%, Europe 15%, and the remainder going to Oceania, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa.

Types of Miso

Miso’s fermentation and aging process involves a multitude of factors, the slightest variation of which can result in vastly different tastes, colors and textures. This is reflected in the more than 1,300 types of miso that can be found throughout Japan, each with its own flavor.

Kome(Rice) miso: Most popular in Japan including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hokkaido. Made from soybeans, malted rice and salt.

Mame(Bean) miso: Popular in the area of middle of Japan such as Aichi(Nagoya). Made from soybeans, malted soybeans and salt.

Mugi(Barley) miso: Popular in Kyushu area. Made from soy beans, malted barley and salt.

Good for your health

The Japanese have long known about miso’s remarkable health benefits. Recent research has found that the benefits of miso come not only from the nutrients in the soybeans, but also from other ingredients that arise from the actions of aspergillus and other molds used in the fermentation and aging processes.

Studies indicate that those who regularly have miso soup are less susceptible to gastric cancer

and suffer less from stomach disorders such as gastritis, gastric ulcers or duodenal ulcers, Miso is rich in digestive enzymes and provides protective action for the stomach lining. Studies have also shown that a daily intake of miso soup also helps to prevent breast cancer. Lab tests have also shown that miso helps to prevent colon cancer in lab rats and liver cancer in lab mice.

Miso is rich in magnesium and potassium, which can serve as an effective counter against excessive sodium intake.

Free radicals, or active oxygen, are known to cause aging. It is believed that miso’s antioxidant properties play a significant role in helping Japanese people enjoy the longest lifespan in the world. Miso’s dietary fiber cleanses the intestines while the microbes found in miso purge harmful bacteria and toxins from the intestines. Miso is rich in ingredients that work to counter high blood pressure and strokes, as well as improve the brain metabolism rate and reduce body toxins.

The Tsukimi festival, 15th Sep 2013

Do you know the Japanese culture of tsukimi which is the ceremony to appreciate the full moon in the middle of autumn. This is originally the important meaning of cerebrate the harvest of the rice and the other crops. This ceremony is know in China and imported to Japanese aristocrats in 1,200 years ago. Then, the samurai and folks imitate this ceremony and spread around Japan.

The typical arrangements with looking at the full moon are susuki(pampas) and round ball like mochi dango (rice dumplings). That is because, the susuki is believed to ward off evil spirits and dango is imitating the beauty of full moon.

Tsukimi traditions include displaying decorations made from Japanese pampas grass (susuki) and eating rice dumplings called Tsukimi dango in order to celebrate the beauty of the moon. Seasonal produce are also displayed as offerings to the moon. Sweet potatoes are offered to the full moon, while beans or chestnuts are offered to the waxing moon the following month. The alternate names of the celebrations, Imomeigetsu (literally “potato harvest moon”) and Mamemeigetsu (“bean harvest moon”) or Kurimeigetsu (“chestnut harvest moon”) are derived from these offerings.

The autumn has come to Japan. Best season for food lovers! 10th Sep 2013

The hot and humid season of summer has finally ended and autumn come! As you may know, it is the best season for Japanese food ingredient. Today, I would like to introduce some of them and how to appreciate them.

1. eggplant: The eggplant of the autumn is totally different from one in the other season. In fact, all Japanese people know the proverb “Do not let the daughter‐in‐law eat eggplant”. What do you think of this meaning? We have two opposite meaning of this. One meaning is that ” The eggplant in autumn is too delicious and too valuable to let the daughter‐in‐law eat eggplant. It should be served only for the real son and parents.” The other meaning is that eggplant is bad for keeping the body warm and being pregnant.” Which meaning do you believe? Is it assumed to be that superficially the latter reason is true and honestly the former reason is true? Anyway, without doubt, the autumn eggplants is really tasty.

I believe that baking eggplant simply and putting a little bit of soy sauce and ginger is best way to appreciate the autumn eggplant.

2. matsutake (pine mushroom): Matsutake is most loved and expensive mushroom. Its flavor is extinctive and compatible with Japanese Takikomigohan (rice seasoned with soy sauce and boiled with meat or seafood, and other savory vegetables) and clear broth soup. The good matsutake which is harvested in Japan could be 5,0000yen per one piece of matsutake. In Japanese history, some of ancient literature mention how matsutake is loved by aristocrats 1,200 years ago.

3. chestnut: In autumn we often cook the kurigohan (rice seasoned with soy sauce and boiled with chestnut) The flavor and taste is amazing. Especially the sweetness of chestnut and rice match together perfectly.

4.Sanma(saury): Sanma is written in Chinese character as autumn sword fish, because its sharp shape seems like the sword and it is best in autumn. Simple and delicious way to cook is baking with salt and putting say sauce and serving with grated white radish(daikon).

5. Ichijiku

Essential Japanese ingredients in the kitchen. 25th May 2013

When you read the cook book of Japanese food, you may notice some Japanese unique ingredients you have to learn. I listed them as following. For details, please ask me in the class. You must use some of them.

Seasoning:

Shoyu (Soy sauce) ; Soy sauce is made from soybeans and goes very well with almost any ingredient. There are many varieties of soy sauce such as dark colored or light colored, but the most commonly used is koi-kuchi shoyu (deep, reddish-brown colored soy sauce).

Su (Rice vinegar); In Japanese cooking rice vinegar is commonly used. Wine vinegar and apple vinegar are not recommended to substitute for rice vinegar as they are too strongly acidic and lack sweetness.

Miso (Soybean paste); Miso is a seasoning in paste form made from soybeans. It has a salty and unique flavor, and is used primarily in miso soup. It is also used for marinating meats and fish before cooking and as a seasoning in boiled and sautéed dishes. Saikyo miso is sweet and less salty not used for miso soup unless it is specifically called for. There are many varieties of miso. Two or three varieties of miso may be blended according to personal taste.

Mirin (Sweet rice wine for cooking); This is liquid type seasoning made from mochi gome (sweet glutinous rice). Its sugar and alcohol contents give a distinctive flavor. Mirin is used primarily to add delightful sweetness which sugar alone cannot produce. It is also used to put a finishing gloss on cooked food, and it is essential for cooking “teri”-yaki for example, because “teri” means gloss.

Sake (rice wine); As wine is used in French cooking, sake is often used in Japanese cooking. For cooking purposes, inexpensive sake of any brand will do just as well.

Spice:

Fresh ginger; Most of the flavor is in the skin, so, unless it is used as a relish, unpared ginger should be used such as when simmering fish.

Wasabi (Japanese horseradish); this is a green root with a strong hot taste. Since fresh wasabi is quite spicy and expensive, powdered or paste form is commonly used instead at home. But if you request, we are willing to prepare fresh one.

(This description is referred to Better Home Association.)

Tokyo Journal Magazine introduced the  of our Cooking Class Tokyo, 30 Apr 2013

Apr 2013, I wrote recipes and articles on the Tokyo Journal Magazine. Sushi Roll is chosen to start this columns. 

Various seasonal food in Japan, 25 Apr 2013

It is said that there are various seasonal changes of climates depending on four seasons (Shiki in Japanese) in Japan and each season produce the wide variety of foods. Though we can eat most foods in all seasons because of the modern technology nowadays, every ingredients are best to be eaten just in the conventional season. Here, I made the list of seasonal foods in Japan on the basis of the articles of the specific magazine “dancyu Tokyo Ichiba Times” which is available freely in Tsukiji Market.

  • Fresh fish in spring
    • Madai(真鯛/マダイ): In the same season as the cherry blossom bloom, this is best season to be eaten because of being just ready to bear the eggs and being greasy.
    • Sawara(鰆/サワラ):This fish’s best season is different depending on the place, but Spring is best for the fish in Setonai Sea where is traditionally famous palace (west side of Japan) for good Sawara.
    • Sayori(針魚/サヨリ):This fish is available to eat in almost whole a year though, spring and summer are the best seasons to eat Sayori because of being ready to bear eggs and coming back into the bay.
    • NIshin(鰊/ニシン):While Sawara proves that the spring has come in the western side of Japan, Nishin lets us know that the spring has come in the northern side of Japan. March and Spring are the best season.
    • Hotaru Ika (蛍烏賊/ホタルイカ):Only available from Feb to May.
    • Iidako(飯蛸/イイダコ):Mar and Apr are the best season when their spawns grow.
  • Fresh fish in summer
    • Aji(鯵/アジ): Though we can eat in every season through whole a year, around June- July is best season.
    • Katsuo(鰹/カツオ): In April we can start to eat first Katsuo finish fishing in fall.
    • Suzuki(スズキ): Though we can eat in every season through a whole year, summer is best and we can eat as Sashimi in this season.
    • Tachiuo(太刀魚/タチウオ): Tashi means Japanese sward and this fish is named after sward because of similar appearance. The peak comes from summer to the beginning of fall.
    • Madako(真蛸/マダコ): From June to August the peak of taste comes.
    • Awabi(鮑/アワビ): Generally speaking, the best season of shell fish is spring but this is exceptional this tendency. Awabi is best in summer.
  • Fresh fish in fall
    • Sanma(秋刀魚/サンマ): This is typical fish to be eaten by Japanese in fall. We can eat sanma in summer if we pay a lot, but the both of taste and price are best in fall.
    • Iwashi(鰯/イワシ): Iwashi can be fished at many places in Japan and the best season varies depending on the place and species, but popular Iwashi named Maiwashi comes to peak from summer to fall.
    • Saba(鯖/サバ): Definitely fall is best season for mackerel.
    • Shishamo(柳葉魚/シシャモ): This can be fished in very limited area – Pacific side of Hokkaido. Also this is available in very limited season- Oct and Nov when they come back to their river to bear spawns.
    • Surume Ika(スルメイカ/烏賊): Surume Ika can be fished at many places in Japan and available in every season through whole a year. The best season is from spring to fall.
    • Hatahata(鰰/ハタハタ): This usually live at the bottom of deep sea, but this comes up to bear the spawns in Nov. So Nov is best season to fish and eat.
  • Fresh fish in winter
    • Maguro(鮪/マグロ): Depending on the season, the available places are different, but Black Maguro from Tsugaru sea in winter is believed the best.
    • Buri(鰤/ブリ): Winter is the best season to eat. Japan Sea is the hot place to fish this.
    • Madara(真鱈/マダラ): In winter this have Shirako which is spam of fish and it is the best opportune to taste.
    • Hirame(平目/ヒラメ): This is available
    • Kinmedai(金目鯛/キンメダイ): Though we can eat in every season through a whole year, winter is the best to taste.
    • Hotate(帆立/ホタテ): Hokkaido and Aomori are famous place to grow up Hotate. This becomes big and tasty in winter.

Famous Kappabashi Street as a kitchen tool market, 22 Apr 2013

According to the guests to our home, the most popular place to visit is Tukiji Fish Market and the second is Kappabashi.

This Kappabashi Street is famous for the kitchen tool market for both of food lovers and professional chefs. More over Kappabashi is popular for foreigners as the place to buy Japanese important kitchen tool and souvenirs. More than 100 shops are selling food related items.

Kappabashi Kitchen Steet started about 100 years ago, when the traders/whole seller/retail seller gathered and opened the shops for tools for everyday life and antiques.

As I bought Japanese traditional knife at the market here, many tourists buy their own knives too. We can ask each shop to carve the name of us on the knife for memorial. It is worth a try once, if you like Japanese cooking. Some people may buy the specific bawl for making sushi which is made of wood or bamboo. Of course, the japanese dish and Chopsticks are available here. You will recognize that you can buy everything which are in Japanese kitchen.

How to access:

15 minutes walk from Ueno, or Uguisudani Station (JR Yamanote Line or JR Keihin Tohoku Line)

15 minutes Asakusa Station (Tokyo Merto Ginza Line, Toei Asakusa Line, Tobu Line)

5 minutes walk from Tawaramachi Station (G17, Tokyo Metro GInza Line)

6 minutes walk from Iriya Station (H19, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)

How to enjoy Tsukiji fish market, 20 Apr 2013

Many of guests coming to my home would like to visit Tsukiji fish market. It is the one place which food lovers are recommended to go once. Though I go to Tsukiji market to buy fresh ingredients for my lesson almost everyday, I enjoy there everytime because of some reasons. I am going to write down the overview about fish market, today.

The first reason I would like to recommend you to visit fish market is that you will find out various cultures of Japanese foods. To begin with, you will find bunch of sea foods and vegetables there. For instance, 480 kinds of sea foods and 270 kinds of vegetables/fruits from all over the Japan are traded and opened to see and buy for travelers. If you walk into the small paths of the fish market, you must be surprised to see their variety. Moreover, if you can get up earlier than the other travelers from the world, you can get the ticket of the Tuna auction for free. (Actually I have not been to the auction. Once I tried and went to market 5:00 AM, but the tickets were all sold out. They said that we had to go there before 4:00AM.)

The second reason I recommend you to visit Tsukiji Fish market is that you can enjoy delicious meals and ingredients which are very fresh definitely. Inside the are of the market, there are 39 restaurants such as Sushi, Tonkatsu, Unagi, Gyudon and Tempura. Usually in front of the famous sushi restaurant such as Daiwazushi and Sushidai there are very long lines, so it is better to go there as early as possible. In addition, if you buy some raw fishes or the other sea foods there, it must be the freshest in Japan and delicious without any doubt.

Then, how and when to go there?

Shopping at Inside Fish market: It is mainly for the procurement by the buyers from the restaurants and retailers, so you need to take care of when is available for travelers. AM 9:00-12:00 is available to buy seafoods inside of the market. Please whach out it is not allowed to go into and buy ingredients before 9:00 AM, because professional buyers have to do their jobs. Not available on saturday and sunday.

Eating at Inside Fish market: The restaurants are open from 5:00AM to 14:00PM. You have to wait 2 hours to eat at a famous sushi restaurant, because the reservation is not allowed. Not available on sunday.

Joining Tuna auction: If you want to join tuna auction definitely, it is better to go before 3:00AM, because only 120 people are allowed to come in everyday. The ticket is free.

Shopping around the Inside Fish market(Outside Fish Market): You can buy many kinds of seafoods around the Inside Market too. Not available on sunday. The available time is AM 6:00-12:00.

What Japanese foods do Japanese love best? , 13 Apr 2013

This question is very interesting even for Japanese. The research company Lifemedia released their survey which was answered by 60,000 Japanese people living in Japan. It shows the popular Japanese foods for Japanese people. Please take care of that this list doesn’t show what Japanese people often eat but what Japanese people like eating regardless of its costs. On the list of the top 10 foods, we eat only curry rice, Karaage and Hamburg often at home, but rests of them are not usual foods or not homemade food, but special foods for special occasion such as celebration or treating ourselves.

1. Sushi (7,251 votes): This is typical food for celebration or something special day. There are various kinds of fishes and shells on the rice, but the most popular one is definitely tuna. In addition, Tamagoyaki (baked sweet egg) is popular for children. Many foreigners sometimes misunderstand that we eat sushi almost everyday, but in real we eat this only once a month at most. Nigiri Sushi is cooked by profession chef in specialized Sushi restaurant, but Sushi roll is cooked at home with whole member of family.

2. Curry rice (3,622 votes): As everyone knows, the origin of curry is India. But Japanese curry was originally introduced from England.

3. Ramen (3,421 votes)

4. Karaage (2,851 votes)

5. Yakiniku (2,194 votes)

6. Sukiyaki (1,688 votes)

7. Sashimi (1,486 votes)

8. Unagi on rice(1,345 votes)

9. Hamburg (1,285 votes)

10. Beaf Steak (1,206 votes)

11. Onigiri (1,107 votes)

12. Katsudon (1,059 votes)

13. Okonomiyaki (Osaka style) (1,035 votes)

14. Tonkatsu (1,010 votes)

15. Seafood Donbur (967 votes)

16. Shabushabu (894 votes)

17. Omu rice (Omelet with rice) (831 votes)

18. Miso soup (802 votes)

19. Fried Pork with ginger (733 votes)

20, Gyoza (729 votes)

21. Okonomiyaki(Hiroshima Style) (715 votes)

22. Natto on rice (715 votes)

23. Nikujaga (simmered pork and potatp) (706 votes)

24. Dep fried shrimp (699 votes)

25. Soba (683 votes)

26. Takikomigohan (676 votes)

27. Takoyaki (669 votes)

28. Rice with raw egg and soy source (659 votes)

29. Baked Sanma fish (604 votes)

30. Tempura (586 votes)

31. Yakitori (583 votes)

32. Deep fried Oyster (552 votes)

33. Tempura on rice (526 votes)

34. Piizza (505 votes)

35. Macaroni Guratin (487 votes)

36. Chawanmushi (459 votes)

37. Scattered Sushi (439 votes)

38. Tamagoyaki (432 votes)

39. Korokke (426 votes)

40. HIyashi chuka (389 votes)

Hanami – Cherry blossoms festival, 1 Apr 2013

What is Hanami: Hanami means seeing the view of cherry blossoms (Sakura in Japanese) and enjoying eating or drinking under the trees of Sakura. This has long history with Japanese for more than 1,000 years. At the beginning of the sakura’s history, only the aristocracy and soldiers enjoy the excursion to see sakura. In the Edo Era when is about 300 years ago, local people have started imitating the culture of the upper class and Hanami became the national event in Japan. Now hundreds kinds of sakura was developed by cross breeding and beautiful chilly blossoms can be found all over the world.

The reason why Japanese people love Hanami: Sakura blooms for only a week at the beginning of the spring, so we can see it only at the end of March or beginning of April in a short term. We can celebrate that the rigid coldness in winter has finished and new and happy season of spring has come finally. Moreover, Japanese people feel that sakura is very beautiful because of both of its appearance and short life.

What to eat: The typical foods when we eat for Hanami are bento and onigiri. Both of them are very popular and handy foods to take out and eat on the sheet on the ground. You can learn these in the cooking class with Mari if you are interested in. 

Enjoying Intensive class, 30 Mar 2013

After launching the intensive class, I offered two intensive classes in this month. I enjoyed these lessons, so let me introduce three points how we enjoy this course.

First, we cook many many kinds of Japanese and I am happy to introduce from basics to advances as much as I can. Every meal is like feast actually.

Secondly, I feel that we can be real friends by talking and cooking everyday together. While we cook, we have much time to chat and talk about counties, friends, and family. I wish I can go to their countries and see them again.

Finally, I am stimulated to understand the both Japanese and foreign cooking style more. To begin with, I realize the different way of cooking between Western and Japanese. The guests kindly give me many questions and I have good chances to think about it well to answer. At the same time, the guest may offer some interesting idea about their own ways and culture. I am very interested in foreign cooking, so this makes me feel so interesting and fun! Furthermore, some of them teach me how to cook their food after class. For instance, a French chef proposed me to learn French sweets fondant au chocolat and I enjoyed it very much. We named this as “Cooking Exchange”.

For these points, I enjoy the intensive cooking class everyday and I am looking forward to further opportunities sincerely.

Introduced as “20 ways to make friends in Tokyo” by Travel guide magazine, 23th March 2013,

One of the biggest guide book publishers and web magazines, Time Out, releases the articles about “20 ways to make friends in Tokyo”. In this article Japanese Cooking Class Tokyo with Mari is introduced. 

Moving to Tsukiji in Tokyo, 19th March 2013,

We moved to Tsukiji/Ginza area which is Tokyo central area today. We can walk to Tsukiji fish market for 5 minutes from our home where this lesson is provided. I am happy to be able to serve very fresh fish which I buy at the fish market for guests everyday.

Launching the new cooking class “Intensive Class”, 2 March 2013

I am happy to start the new style cooking class named “Intensive Class”. I would like to explain what is intensive class today.

This class is for the real food lovers or chefs/cooks who want to learn Japanese cooking as much as possible for limited time schedule. This class takes more than 3 days and you can learn cooking whole day long (or whenever you want). We start cooking in morning or noon and cook lunch, then cook dinner everyday. Even though, we cook 1 main dish + 1 side dish + rice + miso soup in usual class, we cook 2 main dishes and 2 side dishes in this intensive class. So if you take lunch and dinner course, you will make 8 dishes for a day. Of course, every menus are your choice. Moreover, I will help you go shopping to fresh fish market, supermarket, and cooking tool market if you like.

By the way, there are two reasons why I started Japanese intensive class. To begin, first reason is that I would love to choose intensive class, if I were a traveler to Japan. While the staying cost is expensive and the duration of the holidays is limited, I love cooking very much and would like to learn not only try cooking once but also understand and experience both of various foods including every ingredients and cultural backgrounds deeply. In addition, the second reason is that some foreign chefs give me inquiries about whole day and consecutive cooking lessons. According to them, they would like to serve Japanese foods to their customers in each country. I am pleased to hear that I can contribute to spread Japanese cooking culture widely to offer cooking class to them.

That is why, here I have arranged intensive cooking class for everyone who wants to learn Japanese cooking at most.

Restart cooking class tokyo after coming back from China, 1st March 2013

We came back from China to Tokyo and resume the cooking class. Now we are offering cooking class at my parent’s home in my home town, Kamakura. Though it takes 30 minutes from Tokyo midtown, if you have interest, please enjoy home visit in county side and cooking/ eating with our family.

Moving to china and tentative closing, 31 Sep 2013

We have moved to China tentatively for 6 months. I was happy to welcome many guests from various countries since our launching Japanese Cooking Class Tokyo with Mari, but regretfully I have to stop our cooking class. I am sorry for your inconvenience, but I will promise to resume our lesson after coming back to Japan on March.

Ranked top 5 on tripadvisor ranking in 2012, 31 Dec 2012

Thanks to friendly and kind guests, Cooking Class Tokyo with Mari was chosen as the top 5 recommendation by tripadvisor in 2012. I believe without doubt that this is just because of our kind guests. Thank you for coming to our cooking class at our home and giving us your feedbacks and advises for us. I would like to try my best to improve our cooking class more for future guests and travelers to Japan next year too.

Launching our Japanese cooking class at our home in Tokyo, 26 Dec 2011

Today I offered first cooking class for guests from Canada. I am really really happy to introduce Japanese foods and culture to foreigners!!! I am pleased to hear that they enjoyed their cooking and home visit. Today we made Sushi roll which you can see on the facebook page.

The reason I started this Japanese Cooking Class in Tokyo with Mari is that I would like to offer some unique opportunities for foreigners as I experienced abroad. For one thing, I enjoyed cooking with local moms in some countries such as Turkey, China, US, Tibet. These are most interesting time of my travel activities. When I visit their home, I can see and feel the authentic cultures through their unique houses and talks with the host(mom). These experiences are not accessible, if I travel only around the famous touring place. Thanks to my kind friends, I can reach to these opportunities to visit my friends’ home and enjoy cooking with their family. Nevertheless, actually these activities are not common and difficult to find out even in the famous cities.

After coming back from travel, I realized that there is no such a opportunity in Tokyo either. That is why, I started offering service of home visit and cooking class for travelers and residence in Japan in English. All of menus in my class are very typical Japanese local foods which every Japanese mom cooks for her family at home daily. Please enjoy visiting local home and cooking!!!

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100 thoughts on “Japanese cookbook – Japanese recipes from Mari’s Tokyo Kitchen

  1. I came from Japan. Thank you for following my blog.

    1. Thanks too!! Looking forward to seeing your articles.

  2. Hi,
    Thank you for following my blog. i love Japanese food :D

    1. Thank you for nice comment too! Hope you enjoy cooking Japanese food:)

      1. i enjoy it so much, i’ll always :)

        1. Hi Yuna,
          Thank you for your message! I will do my best to keep updating my blog. If you have request, let me know.

          1. Hi Mari,

            i’m looking forward to it.
            thank you for your nice consideration about it, i’ll think about the request too :D

  3. Nameshida-San, thank you for following my blog. I like Japanese food. They are delicious. And I like your blog :)

    1. Thank you for your message! I love food too and keep posting about cooking and food here :)

      1. Your welcome..It’s nice to know you :)

  4. Hi there, thanks for stopping by my blog and liking my recipes! I love Japanese cooking, I am excited to read more of your authentic recipes. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi, Thank you for your message and sharing about your food too :) I love food and cooking also and looking forward to seeing your blog!

  5. I love this! I’m so excited to have a Japanese cooking blog to read!

    1. Thank you very much!!

    2. Thank you very much!!!

  6. thank you for the follow! We look forward to being inspired by your lovely blog x

  7. Many thanks for the follow. I read your post about the plum wine. Very similar process to the Vervain drink that is made here in Provence. Take a bottle and stuff it full of Vervain (verbena) leaves and then pour in 80% alcohol. Put the top on an leave it in a dark room for 3-4 weeks. Pour out the alcohol into a second bottle and add a sugar syrup to it to reduce alcohol level to say 40% and then keep it in the freezer or fridge. Drink sparingly :-) it has a beautiful flavour but is a strong drink.

    1. Thank you for you comment. I am very interested in the Varvain drink you mentioned. Since I was in Provence for a trip last month, I should know about that. Thank you for your new insight.

  8. Thanks for the follow. You have a nice blog here. よろしくお願いします。

    1. Thank you too! こちらこそ宜しくお願いします。

  9. Thank you for following my blog! I’m so glad you did because your blog is full of wonderful recipes that remind me of my time in Japan :) Really excited to try them out!

    1. Thank you very much! I wıll do my best to update blogs and recıpes whıch the guests may lıke.

  10. Hi, thanks for following my blog! I hope you have lots of people enjoying your recipes out on that side of Japan!

    1. Buri-chan,
      Thank you very much! I will do my best to introduce beautiful and delicious Japan!

  11. Thank you for liking and following my blog… I wish I had met you before my trip to Japan. I would love a cooking class the next time I am in Tokyo!

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. You enjoyed Japan? I am looking forward to seeing you :)

  12. Thank you for following my blog – it’s still very early in the development stages :) I’m actually quite interested in the health care industry and may ask you some questions about nursing ;) I hope that’s ok! I look forward to reading your blog and making delicious Japanese meals ;)

    1. Thank you for your comment too! Don’t hesitate to contact me.

  13. 真理さん、こんにちは。Thanks for checking out my blog! I would love to join your cooking classes some time! よろしくお願いします。

    1. セリアさん、こんにちは。Thank you for you comment too! I am always waiting for your joining to our class:)

  14. […] via Introduction | Taste of Japan – Japanese cooking class tokyo. […]

  15. Thankyou for liking my post! As a new blogger it’s really inspiring to be noticed by someone like you! I love your recipes and will definitely be trying a few out at home, they look beautiful! :)

    1. Thank you for your comment too! Reishabu is easy to cook and sushi roll is exciting to cook. Please try whatever you like.

      1. I will, thankyou! I can’t wait to try sushi made at home. :D

        1. That is nice. The point is not to put too much ingredients (rice, fish and others).

          1. Yes! Ah, inside the roll? Should you balance the ingredients?

          2. Yes. To avoid making something like futomaki, balancing the ingredients and the seaweed is important. And some people tend to put too much ingredient.

          3. Ahh okay I see, thankyou, I’ll definitely bear this in mind and I’ll follow your recipes carefully!

          4. Enjoy you cooking!!

  16. You look like a wonderful cook. I love your blog.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. I am happy to hear that and would like to write articles more.

  17. hi Mari, thanks for join in my blog. nice to meet you. btw I really love japanese food and I`ll watching your class food from now. Domo arigatou.

    1. Hi, nice to meet you too. Thank you for your warm comment. I will try my best to update articles about Japanese food and cultures to inform more to foreigners.

  18. Mari-san
    こんにちは。日本人の方ですね。うれしいです。Thanks for visitng my blog. You have a very nice blog! I admire anybody who likes cooking. I don’t really like cooking but I love to eat good food somebody else cooks. I wish I could eat what you cook ^^. I will return and check your blog periodically. がんばってくださいね。Good luck

    1. はい、メッセージありがとうございます。
      Someday please eat food what I cook :)
      がんばりますね。 Thnak you very much!

  19. こんにちは! Thanks for following me! Your blog is so amazing!
    I’m looking forward to exploring your recipes and trying some out. よろしくお願いします。

    1. こんにちは!こちらこそ、ありがとうございます。これからも宜しくお願いします。リクエストがあったら言って下さいね。

  20. OMG i love your blog! japan is like my first love and i love everything about it ( especially its food and manga and anime) i’ve been bugging my mum to take me to japan for years.. the last time i went was when i was six:)

    1. Hi, thank you for your nice comment! Hope you come to Japan soon and enjoy foods and Akihabara!!!

  21. So sad that i didn’t find your blog sooner, as i have just spent two weeks in Japan and now am hooked on Japanese food. The complexity of tastes and textures and range of cooking methods makes for a interesting cuisine. I have come away craving a particular dish which was served for breakfast – a silky tofu dish served cold with a miso (?) dressing? Would love it if you would post some information on the different ways of serving tofu. I look forward to following your blog…

    1. Thank you for comment and request for the tofu recipe. Tofu is asian unique food and there are a lot of way to cook like eating with soy sauce of putting in every kinds of Nabe(Simmering). I will think about what is good to introduce here.

      1. I’ll look forward to your recipes on tofu :)

  22. Thank you Mari for stopping by and following my blog. I love everything about Japan, so glad I found your blog! Will be learning a lot about Japan and Japanese cuisine from you :)

    1. Thank you for your comment! I will update my blog at my best! Some day please come to Japan.

  23. Hi Mari, thank you for following my blog and I love your blog so much! In fact I am about to visit Japan for a holiday at the end of this year…your blog definitely gives me more insight on Japanese delicacies

    1. Hello, thank you so much for your posting the warm comment. I hope you enjoy your trip in Japan!!!

  24. Thanks for following my blog. What a wonderful site you have here, food and culture. =)

    1. Thank you for your comments too! Because I love food, I just like to write about it. If you enjoy them, I am very happy.

  25. Mari, you’re blog looks like a lot of fun. I like the mix of travel, ‘food around Tokyo’ and recipes. I’ve made sushi before but it didn’t turn out, perhaps I should try again?
    Thanks very much for following my blog. I’m looking forward to more posts from your blog as well.

    1. Hello, thank you so much for your comment. Wow you have cooked sushi? It is so easy to be seemed easy, but you need some tips to complete it. Anyway I am happy to know that you enjoy cooking Japanese food and appreciating its culture.

  26. Mari san, ありがとう for visiting phorenyatra. I share the same passion as you for traveling and immersing in local culture and cuisine! You have a wonderful blog, especially the wide variety of foods that you have covered and also connecting the foods to Japanese festivals.
    I am still only beginning to write my blog and I have lots and lots of material about Japan that I will add in the coming weeks. I hope you like it.

    1. こんにちは、こちらこそありがとうございます! 同じような気持ちでできるなんて嬉しいです。 I am glad to know that you have same passion with me. I look forward to seeing your blog too.

  27. Hi Mari, thank you for following my blog. I love how you write about Japanese food. Your country never ceases to amaze me.

    1. Hello, thank you so much for you feedback! You words make me happy and allows me to have more power to write the blogs.

  28. i absolutely love Japan and Japanese food! I loved your post about Matsuri (it was my fav to attend in Kobe when I lived there). Thanks for the follow, look forward to hearing from you :) And look forward to all your posts and will try your vegetarian recipes! XX

    1. Oh, you attend in Kobe? That is nice. I haven’t been to a Matsuri in West Japan Area, but it seems be different from Tokyo’s one.
      Besides, thank you for your request for the vegetarian recipes. If I have chance I would like to post it.

  29. Thanks for following my blog, I have loved Japanese food in the past but my doctors have told me not to eat it since my angioplasty last year. If you can come up with any salt-free, fat-free Japanese dishes for me to try, I would love that.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I’m sorry that there’s no Japanese food without salt or soy sauce.. but I used to work for hospital as a nurse, and patients still ate Japanese food everyday. You can use less salt soy sauce for cooking and morevinegar :) if you cook by yourself, i think you can have Japanes food.

  30. Hello Mari, thank you for following my blog. I am glad that I found a blog like yours because I love cooking and I love Japanese food :)

    1. Hello, thank you too for posting your comment. I would like to write Japanese recipes which you foreigners can easily cook.

  31. I’m not very fond of food, or making it, but your blog makes me wanna try it! Especially after having the cooking class with you ^^, Therefor I nominated your blog for the Varsatiles blogger award! http://nailmatsuri.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/omg-the-versatile-blogger-award/

    1. Wow, conglatulations!! You know many of my friends saw your picture and they said you’re so beautiful :) I told them you like Japan a lot then they’re very happy. Yes, please try some dishes when you cook, they’re so easy :)!xoxo

  32. Haha they did? Say thank you to them from me ^^, I will try to move to Japan in a couple of years! So wish me luck ;)
    I wanted try try to make the dishes you did teach us, but the only ingrediens I could find was the Chinese Yam…. (。-_-。) I need to look some more

  33. Hello,

    I just wanted to thank you for both visiting and following my blog. I’m glad that you liked it.

    I also took a look around your blog. I hope you don;t mind. It seems really interesting. I look forward to reading more from you.

    1. Thank you so much too! I will try doing my best to write better articles to offer the tasty food culture in Japan.

  34. Thanks for following my blog.

    1. Thank you for you commment!

  35. Hi Mari, your blog has been very inspirational to me and I just want to say that I’ve nominated you for Liebster Award. Participation is of course optional. Details can be found here: http://mykitchenoflove.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/liebster-award/
    Have a good day ;)

    1. Wow, that is nice! Thank you for your kindness. I would like to try doing my best to keep writing blog.

  36. Thanks for following my blog. I find your blog interesting, too. I also love cooking, but I haven’t tried cooking any Japanese food. I worked in Japan before, so Japanese culture (including food) is like a second culture to me. :)

    1. Thank you for your kind comment.wow, you worked in Japan. Hope you can remenber something in Japan by reading my blogs. Thank you.

  37. Hi Mari, thank you so much for stopping by my blog so I could discover yours! So happy I did, because I just LOVE Japanese food! And it’s great to have such a fantastic source of information to learn to make more of this myself! It’s a really great blog you have! hugs, Sylvia ;-)

    1. Thank you so much too! If you have an request, please let me know!

  38. Wow what a great blog! I can’t wait to try some of these out! I wish I had discovered this sooner.

    1. Hi Andrew, thank you for your comment I am happy to hear that. Please enjoy!

  39. HI, thank for following. Food does a drive! love having journey with tastes :)

  40. I am looking forward to following your blog! I have been in love with Japanese foods most of my life. Right now I am obsessed with ramen. I would love to be able to attend your classes… maybe someday! Cheers – Jeff

    1. Thank you Jeff! I’m sorry that I don’t teach Ramen in my class since it takes 30 plus hours, but I Love Ramen too and hope I can upload the recipe near future :)!

      1. No worries… I have been experimenting. We have a fantastic Japanese market, Mitsuwa, right down the street. :) I am looking forward to visiting Japan and taking some of you classes.

  41. Hi there, thank you for following my blog, it seems I may have stumbled upon your blog several times in my search for recipes thru a website search but never really registered the fact that it was a wordpress blog that I could follow :P
    Looking forward to learning more about yummy japanese dishes!

    1. Thank you for your comment! I’m so glad to hear that my recipe is made from someone in the world..! All of my recipes are very local ones, Hope you like the taste :)

  42. Hi Mari,
    Thank you for the follow! I started looking at your blog too and find that I can’t wait to try so many of your recipes eg the Melon buns. I also find your post about making miso very informative and interesting.

    1. Thank you for your comment and I’m looking forward your blog as well!

  43. Thank you for following recipesfromeden.com. I look forward to trying out some of your recipes especially the vegetarian recipes. keep it up!

  44. ooh i’m really excited to follow your blog! i recently visited japan for a short few days, and was incredibly impressed and delighted by the food there. it was so good!

    also, i’m a nurse too. yea nurses! =D

    1. thank you for vour comment! i’m happy to hear that you enjoyed here :)
      Good Luck with your amazing job!

  45. It’s nice to meet you Mari, I’m NyNy! Just wanted to stop by and say I like your posts.

    I hope when you have the time, you can check out some of mine and comment. I write about Asian pop culture and video games plus I’m still writing my travel entries when I went to Korea last year. I’d appreciate if you took a look :)
    http://nynyonline.co.uk

  46. Patricia C. Ross
    This recipe will be helpful for working women and bachelors.Do try this method and let me know your feedback.If u like without garam masala, try this recipe else follow this way. Nowadays i use my rice cooker for making pongal,pulao & biryani.The best thing i love in rice cooker is the aroma of the food it renders while boiling.
    http://ricecooker-hq.com/ ricecooker4u@gmail.com

  47. Hi, thanks for stopping by and following my blog, I will be checking out some of your recipes over the next week as my boyfriend loves any type of Asian food, so far I only know how to make pan-fried dumplings so it will be great to add something else in the mix for him :)

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