Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hot pot (Nabe) recipe

Hot Pot (Nabe なべ) - Try this meal while it is still cold out! 
This easy and healthy one pot meal is our favorite dish in winter. 

Ingredients (for four) - adjust the amount and the selections of these ingredients as you wish: 
  •  5-6 cups of water
  • 15-20 cm / 6-8 inch of dried kelp
  • 1 long green onion sliced diagonally into 5 cm / 2 inch long
  • 4-6 shiitake mushroom sliced into .5 cm / 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 package of enoki (えのき)mushroom (cut the bottom off)
  • 1 package of maitake (まいたけ)mushroom cut into a bite size
  • 1 bunch of shungiku (春菊)cut into 5 cm / 2 inch long 
  • 1 package of hard momen tofu (もめん/木綿) cut into about 3cm/ an inch blocks
  • 1/4 of chinese cabbage (hakusai はくさい)cut into 5 cm / 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 carrot sliced into .5cm / 1/4 of an inch thin 
  • 4-6 fish ball (tsukune つくね)
  • 3-4 slices of salmon, cod, oyster, scallop and/or crab (it is even better to use a head of a fish to make a savory broth for this hot pot)
Soak dried kelp in a water for about an hour (or bring the pot with the kelp to simmer and boil it for about 5 minutes). Take the kelp out.  Add all the ingredients and boil the water until all the ingredients are cooked. Add a little bit of ponzu (ぽんず) in your soup if you wish. It is best to be served with the plain rice. Alternatively, the left over soup in the hot pot is very savory, so you may add noodles to it and cook until the noodles are al dente. 
Note: If you have a proper clay pot and a portable table top gas burner, cook the ingredients as you eat. Otherwise cook all the ingredients in a regular pot and serve it in a soup dish. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

How to make Miso Soup at home

It is very simple to make Miso Soup at home and I highly recommending you to try this before you reach out to one of those instant miso soup packages.  

Ingredients (for four):
  • 6 cups of water
  • Dried kelp (3-5 inch / 8-12 cm piece)
  • 2-3 packages or handful of bonito flakes (katsuo bushi)
  • 2 tablespoons of miso (red or white)
We will make "dash" (savory broth) first. Dashi is the base for many Japanese dishes. Wipe the white coating of kelp (kobu) and soak it in a pot with 6 cups of water for 30 mins to an hour before you make this soup (If you do not have time to soak the kelp an hour before, place a kelp in a pot and bring it to simmer).  Bring this pot with the kelp to simmer and take the kelp out of the pot. Add bonito flakes (katsuo bushi) into the pot and once it started to simmer, scoop out the flakes. This is your basic "dash" (savory broth). 

If you are adding vegetables, such as onion, radish, eggplant, etc, this is when you add those ingredients to the broth. Bring it to boil and when the vegetables are cooked, turn the heat low to add miso. If you are only adding tofu and seaweed, no need to boil the broth; simple add tofu and seaweed, and then add miso. Make sure to completely dissolve miso by using two spoons; hold miso in one and dissolve the miso in a spoon. If you add the miso right into the pot, it will stay at the bottom of the pot. Adjust the taste by adding more miso.  Do not boil water once you add miso. This will destroy the flavor. You may garnish with finely chopped scallion (spring onion).

Suggested things to add to your miso soup:
  • Tofu
  • Seaweed (wakame)
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Scallion
  • Onion
  • Littleneck clams (asari) - make sure to take the sands out by soaking them in a salted water at least for an hour before you use

      Japanese Cooking 101 Class

      Our Japanese home cooking 101 class was held last month and we all had such a great time making maki roll, onigiri (rice ball), miso soup, and more. 

      For those who came to my class, thank you for attending the class and I hope you are making some onigiri and miso soup at home. 

      I am repeating this basic class on April 6, so please come and join us! For more info on my cooking class, please send me an email at Thank you.

      Friday, February 4, 2011

      Soy Bean Throwing Day

      February 3rd in Japan is a soy bean throwing day known as "Setsubun (literally means "seasonal division").

      This ritual goes back to something like 13th century. On this day, people throw beans to get rid of evil spirits and welcome good spirits. By throwing roasted soy beans at Oni (looks like a mask in the photo below and is a representation of an evil), you are getting rid of bad luck out of your house and bringing good luck in at the beginning of spring.

      Children, especially, enjoy this ritual and many shrines and temples host bean throwing events for kids.  When you throw beans, you would yell "oni wa soto, fuku was chi (bad luck out, good luck in)!"