It’s been a while since my last post (more than two months!). I moved into my new house at the beginning of April, and it took me a while to settle down. Does anyone love moving? I don’t… Moving process is hard and quite stressful. You need something to support you to get through. In my case, sweets!
My first ‘coming back’ post is about Japanese Style Donuts from mister donut.
You can enjoy seven different tastes in this ‘和ドーナツ (Japanese Style Donuts)’ line.
1. Matcha donut + red bean paste + whipped cream + ‘Warabimochi’
‘Warabimochi’ is a jelly-like sweet made from bracken starch and covered in ‘Kinako (sweet toasted soy bean flower)’.
7. Matcha ‘Kuromitsu’ Stick – ‘Kuromitsu’ donut + Matcha Cream
‘Kuromitsu’ is a Japanese sugar syrup that is similar to molasses. It’s made from unrefined black sugar and used in many Japanese sweets, ‘wagashi’.
It’s been more than two weeks since I last updated my blog. My husband and I have been busy doing a small renovation in our condo for renting it out. Today, finally I have a little bit of time for myself and for my blog. So, here I am.
Today, March 20 is the first day of spring. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about spring is ‘Sakura’, cherry blossoms. ‘Sakura’ is the national flower and signature symbol of spring in Japan. This year, peak bloom is predicted to start March 21 in Tokyo. Cherry blossoms only last about one week; so there will be so many ‘hanami’, flower seeing parties, all across Japan next week.
Everytime I go see cherry blossoms in Japan, I crave a certain dessert, ‘Mitarashi Dango’. It is one of Japanese traditional dessert dumplings that made from ‘mochiko’, rice flour; three or four round dangos that covered with a sweet soy sauce glaze are served on a skewer. The sauce is sweet and savory, and goes perfectly with bland dango.
There is an old Japanese saying, ‘Hana yori dango’, that literally means ‘dumplings over flowers’. The real meaning of it is ‘The person to whom it is directed prefers practical gain to aesthetics’. I could be the person. I love beautiful cherry blossoms, but I sometimes enjoy mitarashi dango more than I enjoy seeing the cherry blossoms.
Recently I hear coughing and sneezing a lot at work. Maybe it’s a cold/flu season. Eating nutritious food and get plenty of rests are the keys to wave goodbye to your cold/flu.
However, your digestion might be weaker. Nabeyaki Udon is a hot udon noodle soup served in an individual pot. It is nutritious and easy to digest soupy meal that warms your body and soul.
Nabeyaki Udon is a simple dish and easy to make. First, you put udon noodle and ‘Mentsuyu (noodle soup)’ in a pot. On top of it, you add vegetables (shiitake mushrooms, carrots, green onions), ‘kamaboko (fish cake)’, chicken, eggs or anything you like. Then, cook it and eat from the individual pot.
It’s hot (not spicy hot) and it makes you sweat. After eating it, take a cold medication and just go to bed. You will probably feel a lot better when you wake up.
If I get to choose between chocolate cake and apple pie, I would probably choose chocolate cake. To me, chocolate cake is a little more appealing than apple pie. However, if I see the Apple Custard Pie I’m going to introduce you today, I would definitely change my mind.
Putting a new spin on the classic dessert, the new Apple Custard Pie will debut in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, on March 4. Actually, the store ‘Ringo (apple in Japanese)’ carried out a test launch and sold 10,000 pieces in one week.
The recipe of Ringo’s Apple Custard Pie is unique. They bake a small apple pie first, then, inject custard cream inside. It makes the pie crispy outside and creamy inside.
This is how they make the Apple Custard Pie:
Ringo won’t do batch baking. The store is also the pie bakery, so you can get really fresh baked Apple Custard Pie in Ringo. The classic but new sweet will bring Spring to Ikebukuro!
I know some people don’t like eating octopus, because of the chewy texture. But, we, Japanese, enjoy the texture and use octopus for many different dishes. Today’s topic, Takoyaki, is probably the most popular Japanese food with octopus.
Takoyaki is a very simple ball-shaped snack and you can often find it in street stalls during any festivals. The ingredients are flavoured batter, diced octopus, pickled-ginger, and green onion. After mixing all ingredients, we cooked in a takoyaki pan, pour takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise, and sprinkle aonori (green laver) and katsuobushi (dried bonito). Chewy but crunchy octopus and juicy batter create a great harmony.
You can also enjoy Takoyaki at home. When I go back to Japan, my friends often invite me for a Takoyaki party. All you need are the ingredients I mentioned above, a Takoyaki pan and one or two Takoyaki picks to turn Takoyaki balls. Takoyaki pan has half-spherical molds. You pour batter in the molds, turn the batter when the bottom part is cooked, and make it ball-like shape. Street vendors in stalls usually use big griddle, but for home electric version of Takoyaki pan is available.
In my opinion, Takoyaki is the king of Japanese street food and is an easy and fun home party food.
Today is Chinese New Year. Chinese food culture has had huge influence on Japanese food culture. To celebrate 2016 Chinese New Year, I’d like to put spotlight on the most popular Chinese food in Japan; precisely speaking, it is the most popular Japanese-style Chinese food — Yaki Gyoza.
In China, Gyoza (Jiaozi in Chinese) is usually boiled. We enjoy boiled dumplings (Sui Gyoza) as well, but Yaki Gyoza is way more popular in Japan. There are a few differences between Jiaozi and Gyoza. While Jiaozi uses thick wrapper, Yaki Gyoza uses much thinner wrapper. Also, Yaki Gyoza has rich garlic aroma, which is not found in Jiaozi.
The main ingredients of Yaki Gyoza are: ground pork or chicken, minced vegetables (cabbage, green onion or Asian chives, garlic, ginger), soy sauce, sake, sesame oil, and dumpling wrappers (Gyoza skin). After frying Gyoza, you enjoy them with dipping sauce — soy sauce, rice vinegar and chili oil. It’s crispy outside and juicy inside. For those who are interested in making Gyoza at home, check out the site: www.japanesecooking101.com. Making Gyoza is not difficult and quite fun!
Here’s one piece of advice for you when you eat Yaki Gyoza. It is served very hot and has meat juice inside. Wait a little bit before enjoying it; otherwise, you will burn yourself!
The other day, one of my coworkers said to me, “I’m drinking ‘Kombucha’! It’s very healthy.” So I said, “Oh, it’s Japanese. It’s a bit salty, isn’t it? It’s made of seaweed, so maybe it’s good for health.” Then she went, “No, it’s sweet. There are many flavours, but Gingerade is my favourite!”, and showed me one of these this bottles.
I was totally confused, because “Kombucha” I know and any Japanese know is this.
Japanese Kombucha is powdered kombu — edible kelp — and you mix it with hot water to drink. It’s slightly salty, but has a savory taste, “Umami”. We enjoy as is or use it for cooking as seasoning. Obviously the Kombucha my coworker was talking about was not the same thing. So I did some research on it.
According to Wikipedia, in Western countries “Kombucha” refers to any of a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks. Unlike the name “Kombucha”, it doesn’t contain any kelp, but it contains tea fungus originated from east Mongolia and later drunk in Siberia. I see, mystery solved.
Actually, tea fungus was a huge health fad in 70’s and 80’s in Japan. Apparently, people were growing tea fungus at home. Later, it disappeared completely from Media, but it changed the name to “Kombucha” and it has been making another fad in the US. Very interesting.
I haven’t tried “Kombucha” yet, and I am still having a hard time not associating the word “Kombucha” with our “Kombucha”. Has anyone tried “Kombucha” yet?