Yakisoba is one of very popular street food in Japan. I remember going to Night market with my family, my sister and I wearing Yukata (summer kimono) and smelling of delicious, hot cooked Yakisoba on a big griddle. Also buying Yakisoba hotdog ( yes, Yakisoba between hotdog buns, totally carb packed!) from a corner store close to our house after school is a great memory. And oh, I just loved it!
Traditionally either pork, beef or prawn, sometimes this sliced squid are used for Yakisoba. Mix of pork and prawn or Beef and Prawn is delicious as well.
What you need;
- 1 package of Yakisoba noodle (pre-cooked/pre-steamed)
- 1 pce cabbage cut into bite size
- 2″ carrot, cut into thin rectangles
- 50g of thin sliced pork, cut into 1″
- Yakisoba sauce
- Beni shoga (red pickled ginger)
- Aonori (dried green seaweed)
- a bit of ketchup if you like sweeter taste
- Salt and pepper
- Place Yakisoba noodle in a colander and pour hot water over to lightly loosen the noodle.
- Drain well and set aside.
- Heat vegetable oil in medium fryingpan or wok on medium heat.
- Stir-fry the pork until almost cooked.
- Add carrots in the pan and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add cabbage in the pan and season with salt and pepper
- Stir-fry for an another minute till everything is cooked.
- Add the noodle and Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes stirring quickly.
- Add yakisoba sauce, a bit of ketchup if using and stir well.
- Serve with Aonori and Benishoga. Yum!
Shiraae is a classic Japanese side dish. It is thick yummy dressing made of Tofu, Miso and Sesame seeds mixed with various vegetables. I often use this dressing as a dip for vegetables or filling for a sandwich.
Makes about 1 1/2 cup
What you need;
- 200g Medium tofu
- 4 tablespoons ground toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons miso paste
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- In a small pot, bring enough water to a boil to cover the tofu.
- Tear tofu to 5-6 pieces and add to the pot. Boil for just about 2minutes and drain and let it cool and set aside..
- In a small bowl, put the tofu, sesame seeds, miso and sugar and mix well.
For classic shiraae, mix the dressing with blanched spinach, broccoli or carrots or try any other vegetable you like.
I like to use organic turkey meat instead of the pork traditionally used in Japan and I use lots of cabbage and green onions. To wrap gyozas is very fun to do as a family. My husband and three sons always help me to wrap and we enjoy making them into different shapes. Also making it to “Gyoza party” with your friends would be so fun!
- 300g cabbage
- 1 bunch green onion
- 300 g minced turkey, chicken or pork
- 1 small piece ginger
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- ½ – 1 teaspoon salt
- 45-50 round gyoza wrappers
Gyoza dipping sauce:
- 2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoon rice vinegar
- Chili oil (dash) optional
- Japanese mustard on the side (optional)
- Microwave the cabbage for 3 minutes on high, and squeeze out the liquid. Let cool before chopping finely. Squeeze out liquid again from the chopped cabbage. Chop the green onion finely and grate the ginger.
- Place the ground/minced meat of your choice, soy sauce and salt in a large bowl and combine well. Add in the cabbage, green onion, ginger and mix the filling together.
- Spoon about one heaping teaspoonful of filling in the center of each wrapper. Moisten a finger with a little water and run it halfway around the inside edge of the wrapper, to create a sticky edge. Fold over to enclose the filling, making a half-moon shape, and squeeze the wetted edge to the opposite edge to seal. It can also be useful (and prettier) to pinch the sealed edge several times to make a serrated sort of pattern.
- Heat a frying pan — preferably non stick — and add one tablespoon of oil. Place the gyoza in the pan in rows. Fry until the bottoms of Gyoza are golden brown (about 5 minutes) then add water to half cover the gyoza and immediately cover with a lid and cook until the water evaporates —about 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid and turn the heat down to medium till the pan is dry.
- Place gyoza upside down on a serving plate to show the beautifully browned side, and serve with the sauce in separate dipping dishes.
Uncooked gyoza can be stored in the freezer. When cooking frozen gyoza, do not thaw or defrost first; gyoza should be fried while still frozen.
One of my dreams is publishing my own Japanese cooking book! It will have many authentic Japanese recipes and stories. I have started to write a little and will write more and I am hoping to share them with you. Please write me back if you have any comments or improvement I can make. Whenever you see blog title called Kimiko’s Japanese Kitchen, it’s a book project I am writing and working on. Thank you for reading my stories!
The bounty of great ingredients for everyday home cooking
I am so grateful that I am able to cook for my family every day. Without them, I wouldn’t have realized how good ingredients and the everyday meals created from them are so important, not only to our bodies, but our family connections, culture, and communities. Cooking for your own family gives an appreciation of truly ‘good’ food, and the farmers and cooks who bring it to the table.
Healthy eating – Happy body and mind
I strongly believe “you are what you eat.” When you are eating well, your body is happy, has lots of energy and just feels good inside and outside. Because of today’s busy life style, omnipresent fast food shops, and ready-made foods on supermarket shelves, heavily processed unhealthy foods are hard to avoid. But cooking healthy foods doesn’t have to be complicated and doesn’t require a lot of time in the kitchen. Most of the recipes in this blog/cookbook are what I cook at home for my family. They are healthy, simple and delicious Japanese dishes using lots of fresh local vegetables and other ingredients. They don’t require much special equipment, but I admit some of the dishes do require quite a bit of preparation. I think that it is a labour of love, reflecting your effort and your love for your family. I wish you the joy of cooking; serving nutritional foods to your family and yourself is more than just cooking, it is building the habit of a healthy life style for yourself and your family.
With this blog/cookbook and a few key ingredients, now you don’t have to go to Japanese restaurants, you can enjoy even healthier Japanese dishes at home!
The green and red colours from the cucumber and radish are very pretty. Serve individual portions for entertaining. The green and red make this a great dish for the Christmas season!
What you need;
- 1/2 English Cucumber or 4 Japanese or Persian cucumbers about ½ lb (225g)
- 1 bunch red radishes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5-6 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons dashi or water
- Cut the English cucumber into half length wise and slice thinly about 2mm. If you are using narrower Japanese or Persian cucumbers, omit cutting in half and simply slice thinly.
- Slice red radishes to same thickness as the cucumbers.
- Put cucumbers and radishes into a bowl, add salt and coat evenly. Let stand 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile mix the rice vinegar, sugar and dashi or water together in a bowl. Mix well.
- Squeeze and discard excess liquid from the mixture of cucumber and radish, before adding it to the vinegar mixture. Serve immediately.
You can prepare the vinegar mixture and cucumber radish mixture ahead and mix them together just before serving.
Adjust the amount of rice vinegar and sugar for your liking.
A simple and nice spring, summer dish. I like to have dried udon on hand, so I can whip up quick lunch or dinner with few ingredients like this dish with no time!
What you need;
- 450g (1 lb) dried udon noodles
- 1 red, yellow or orange pepper
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 head of green-leaf or romaine lettuce washed and torn to bite size pieces.
- 4 hardboiled eggs cut into halves
- 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 tbsp ground sesame seeds
- Using peeler, shred carrots into thin slices about 2 -3inches long. Julienne the pepper and set aside.
- Cook udon noodle according to instructions on package. Take care not to overcook.
- Meanwhile mix all the ingredients for dressing in a bowl. Mix well.
- Plate the lettuce pieces on a large serving plate and top with the cooked udon noodles. Scatter carrots and peppers over of the noodles, and arrange the boiled eggs on top.
- Serve with dressing on the side so each person can pour the dressing over their serving.
Tips: You can use cucumber, asparagus, celery or any other vegetables you like.
Try soba noodles in place of udon noodles.
I have many memories of Japanese curry! I learned how to cook curry in Health and Career in elementary school kitchen, can’t be a camping experience without cooking the curry and rice over campfire and leftover curry over a piece of thick toast for a quick breakfast!
Beef or shrimps and scallops can be used instead of chicken and you can mix any brands of curry cubes which I often do. There are mild, medium and Hot in curry cubes and I use medium.
What you need,
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 500g boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite size pieces about ½”-1” chunks
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
- 2-3 carrots, chopped into ½” rounds
- 3-4 medium russet potato, peeled, cut into 1″ chunks soaked in water for 10 minutes and drain
- 3-4 mushrooms, sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 clove garlic, sliced
- Leftover celery heart chopped (optional)
- Salt & Pepper
- 5 cups (1250ml) Water
- 6 Japanese curry cubes Glico or S&B brand
- A dash of soy sauce
- Cooked short-grain white rice
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of cooking oil and the chicken and sprinkle salt and pepper all over chicken.
- Cook the chicken until golden brown on all sides about 5 minutes.
- Add onion, carrots, garlic, mushrooms, celery (if you are using) to the pot stirring often to scrape up any browned bits, until the onions are translucent.
- Add the water to the pan and bring the hear up until it starts boiling. Bring the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add potatoes and simmer for another 15 minutes until the potatoes are almost done.
- Tune off the heat and add the curry cubes. After 10 minutes, Turn on the heat and stir carefully not to break potatoes.
- Simmer for 5 minutes, add a dash of soy sauce.
- Serve curry with cooked rice.