Toshikoshi Kinoko Soba, Japanese New Year’s Eve Soba Noodles with Mushrooms

As most of you know I spent the majority of my life growing up and living in Tokyo.  I first moved to Japan at the age of five and have spent a total of twenty eight years in Tokyo and counting.  My husband and I are now living in both Tokyo and Seattle, our two favorite cities.  My husband, who is Japanese, was recently offered his dream job in Tokyo.  This might not sound so strange for a Japanese man to be working in Tokyo but for my husband it's the first time he's actually worked for a Japanese company.  He was with an American software company his whole career and that is what originally … [Read more...]

Kimchi and Bacon Fried Rice

There was always Kimchi (Korean spicy fermented cabbage or turnip) around when I was growing up.  I feel very fortunate to have been exposed to Japanese and Korean cuisine from a very early age.  Actually I can't remember a time when there wasn't Kimchi around our house.  My Mom always had at least two types of Kimchi in the refrigerator at all times.  I love her Kimchi the best of course and I'm so lucky to have my Parents living nearby so I still get Mom's homemade Kimchi regularly.  Last week Mom brought me a large jar of the napa cabbage Kimchi (extra spicy this time) and I knew exactly … [Read more...]

Japanese Braised Pork Belly, Buta no Kakuni

This is my favorite Japanese dish ever.  I am serious.  I still remember the first time I tried this dish.  We were at my Mom's friends' restaurant that was ten minutes away from where we lived in Japan.  They owned a traditional, Japanese restaurant that was very popular in our neighborhood and always packed with customers.  We went there often.  I was still in middle school and quite picky about Japanese food.  I preferred western style food when I was a kid so it had to be something really special for me to even try it. My father was the one who always ordered the Buta no Kakuni.  It was … [Read more...]

Oyako-don, Japanese Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl

Oyako-don literally means parent-and-child Donburi (chicken and the egg, get it?) or a Japanese rice bowl in which chicken, egg, green onions and other ingredients are simmered together and served on top of a big bowl of steaming hot rice.  Donburi are always one of the first dishes I eat when I go back to Tokyo for a visit.  They are just pure comfort food to me and I get a big smile on my face as soon as I take that first luscious bite.  So if you see "Don" at the end of a dish's name on a menu in a Japanese restaurant that is short for Donburi and means it is a one bowl meal served over … [Read more...]

Shio (Salt) Ramen with Bay Scallops and Corn

Who doesn't love Ramen?  My hubby and I are crazy about Ramen.  I promised my followers on Twitter awhile back that I would post a ramen recipe soon.  Well, that day has finally arrived.  Sorry it took me so long to post this recipe, I was kind of in a funk after the disaster in Japan and it has taken me a few weeks to get back into the swing of things.  Blogging and sharing Japanese home cooking with all of you makes me happy and has really helped me get through those dark days.  Thank you all for your kind words and support. When I prepare Ramen at home it's usually topped with whatever … [Read more...]

Japanese Beef Shabu Shabu Hot Pot

My first experience eating Shabu Shabu was a pretty funny one.  Our family had just moved back to Tokyo for the second time and I was about thirteen years old.  My parents had taken me out to eat Shabu Shabu at a beautiful, very traditional Japanese restaurant where we sat in our own private tatami room.  I had tried Sukiyaki many times (similar ingredients, totally different dish), Mom prepared it for us often, but Shabu Shabu was a dish that was totally new to me and this was my first time experiencing it. When our Servers, four women all dressed in gorgeous silk Kimonos, entered the room … [Read more...]

Japanese-style Ja Ja Mein (Noodles with Spicy Meat Sauce)

Yes another noodle dish, I told you I loved noodles didn't I?  You'll love this latest noodle dish too, I promise.  I have been wanting to make Ja Ja Mein at home here in Seattle for awhile now.  It has always been one of my favorite dishes (yes, I have many) the spicy meat, chewy noodles and crunchy cucumber is happiness in a bowl to me.  There is no soup in Ja Ja Mein so it's a great noodle dish when you want something a little different than a bowl of ramen.  It was always my go-to dish at the neighborhood Chuka Ryoriasan (Chinese restaurant) in Tokyo. After My husband and I moved back … [Read more...]

Omu-Soba (Yakisoba wrapped in an Omelet)

I am a big fan of noodles.  Spaghetti, ramen, soba, you name it, there is not a noodle out there that I don't like.  Near the top of the list of my all time favorite noodle dishes is Yakisoba, a stir-fried noodle dish made with meat (usually pork) and an assortment of vegetables in a delicious brown sauce.  Yakisoba just screams Summertime to me and reminds me of the little neighborhood festivals held in Japan when the hot weather arrives, usually around August.  When you visit these Summer festivals you will notice there are always a variety of food stalls and that the stall selling the … [Read more...]

Izakaya Recipe, Stir-Fried Pork Belly with Kimchee

Here is a great Japanese recipe if you have some kimchee and want a quick fifteen minute dinner or a great appetizer.  I sampled many simple dishes like this one at different Izakaya while living in Tokyo.  Izakaya are Japanese style bars that you can find scattered throughout Japan.  They are usually on small side streets and under the elevated railroad tracks and sometimes have no chairs or tables, customers just stand and gather around a small counter or bar.  There are an assortment of small plates you can order at Izakaya and each one offers their own specialty items on the menu.  The … [Read more...]

Mapo Tofu, Japanese Style

In Japan, you can go into any chuka (Chinese) restaurant and there will always be Mapo Tofu on the menu.   Mapo Tofu is a well-known Chinese dish from the Sichuan province and is probably one of my favorite Chinese dishes to make at home and one of hubby's favorites.  It combines the spicy Chinese chili-bean paste, called Tobanjiang, with tofu and minced pork. Tobanjiang plays the main role in the spicy flavor of this dish.  Although Mapo Tofu is known as a dish with plenty of kick, Japanese style Mapo Tofu is not as spicy as the original dish from Sichuan.  It is a little sweeter and much … [Read more...]

Yakitori Donburi (Grilled Chicken over Rice)

Yakitori Donburi is at the top of the list of my favorite Japanese thing to eat.  When I was a child growing up in Tokyo, I was a really picky eater and yakitori was one of the only Japanese foods (besides curry rice) that my Parents could get me to eat.  There was a Yakitori stand in front of our favorite supermarket and every time I would go with my Mother she would buy me a couple of the yakitori skewers.  The taste of the grilled chicken and sweet soy sauce together was a match made in heaven, total yumminess!! When I started dating my now husband during college, he took me to a really … [Read more...]

Shrimp in Chili Sauce (Ebi no Chili Sauce)

I grew to love this dish while in High School in Japan.  This is both a popular lunchtime option at the many Chinese restaurants scattered around Tokyo and a simple main course to make at home. Making this dish from scratch is very easy and you can control the levels of heat and sweet.  This will become a favorite of both the adults & children in your home, I'm sure of it! Ingredients: 1 lb med sized shrimp peeled & deveined Pinch of Salt Pinch of freshly ground Pepper 1 Tbs Sake 1 tsp Cornstarch 1 tsp Sesame Oil 2 Tbs minced Ginger 2 tsp minced Garlic 3 Tbs Canola or … [Read more...]