• いわしの蒲焼き

    [From August Issue 2010]

    Ingredients [Serves 2] 

    • 2 medium-size sardines (200g)
    • 1 tbsp starch
    • 1 tbsp cooking oil
    • a pinch of sansho (Japanese pepper)


    • 1/2 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp mirin (sweet sake)
    • 1 tbsp sake

    amazu shoga (ginger pickled in sweet vinegar, available in stores)

    Kabayaki: is a dish made by broiling or frying fish such as eel, conger eel, saury and sardines in a thick sweet sauce. It is believed that the name “kabayaki” originates from the old days when eels were skewered and broiled whole, which looked like “Gama no Ho” (the ears of cattails).

    Tebiraki: Sardine flesh is soft enough for you to open it with your hands.
    1. Cut off the head, split open the belly lengthwise and remove the organs. Clean with water and wipe dry.

    2. Place both of your thumbs along the backbone, then sliding them downwards remove the meat from the bone as it opens up.

    3. Place the fish on the cutting board, snap the back bone at the tail and remove from the fish.

    4. Angle a kitchen knife and shave off the small bones from the belly.

    5. Cut off the dorsal fin by holding it with the knife then pulling the tail.

    1. Split open the sardines with your hands, using the “tebiraki” technique.

    2. Mix (A) to make sauce.

    3. Before frying, coat both sides of the fish with starch and tap off the excess. Use a tea strainer to lightly sprinkle the starch.

    4. Pour cooking oil into the frying pan and leave on medium heat. Place the fish in the pan skin-side up. Fry for about 3 minutes flipping over once brown. Fry for another 2 to 3 minutes then remove from pan.

    5. Wipe the remaining oil from the pan with a paper towel. Pour the sauce into the pan over medium heat, then when it begins to bubble, put the fish back in skin-side down. With a spoon, quickly pour the sauce over the fish, without flipping it over. Turn off the heat before the sauce comes to a boil.

    6. Place the fish on a plate skin-side down with the tail to the right. Then, pour the sauce on to make it look glazed. Arrange the amazu shoga on the plate and sprinkle the fish with sansho.



    • いわし 中2尾(200g)
    • かたくり粉 大さじ1
    • サラダ油 大さじ1
    • 粉さんしょう 少々


    • 砂糖 大さじ1/2
    • しょうゆ 大さじ1
    • みりん 大さじ1
    • 酒 大さじ1

    甘酢しょうが (市販のもの)


    1. 頭を切り落します。腹を少し切り落とし内臓を出します。洗って水気をふきます。

    2. 中骨の上に両親指を入れ、指をすべらせて骨から身をはずして開きます。

    3. まな板におき、中骨を尾の手前で折って身から外します。

    4. 包丁を寝かせ、腹骨を削ぎとります。

    5. 背びれを包丁で押さえて、尾を引きながら切り落とします。

    1. いわしは手開きにします。

    2. (A)の調味料を合わせ、たれを作ります。

    3. 焼く前に、いわしの両面にかたくり粉をつけ、余分な粉をはたいて落とします。かたくり粉は茶こしで振ると薄くつけられます。

    4. フライパンにサラダ油を入れて強めの中火で熱し、いわしの身を下にして入れます。3分ほどして、こんがりとしたよい焼き色になったら裏返し、2~3分焼いて、取り出します。

    5. フライパンに残ったいわしの油をペーパータオルでふき取ります。たれを入れて中火で熱します。煮立ってきたら、いわしの身を上にして戻しいれます。裏返さずにスプーンでたれをかけ、手早く全体にからめます。たれが煮詰まる前に火を止めます。

    6. 皿に、尾を右、身を上にして盛り付けます。たれをかけて、つや良くします。甘酢しょうがを添え、いわしに粉さんしょうをふります。

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  • ざるそば、天ぷら

    [From July Issue 2010]

    Ingredients [Serves 2]

    < Soba >

    • 140g soba (buckwheat noodles-dry)


    • 5cm naganegi (Japanese leek/white part only)
    • Moderate amount of neri wasabi (kneaded Japanese horse radish)


    • 1 cup ready-made men-tsuyu (seasoned soy sauce)
    • 1 to 2 cup(s) water (depending on the brand of men-tsuyu)

    < Tempura >

    • 2 medium to large-sized prawns (beheaded/shelled)
    • 50g pumpkin
    • 2 shiitake mushrooms
    • 1 eggplant
    • moderate amount of deep frying oil

    Yakumi (grated)

    • 100g daikon (Japanese radish)
    • 1 small piece (5g) ginger
    • Batter
    • 1/2 egg + cold water to make 1/2 cup mixture
    • 1/2 cup (50g) white flour (soft)

    Yakumi: Yakumi’s are the spices and herbal vegetables that add flavor to the dish.
    Checking oil temperature: drop bits of batter into the oil. 150~160°C: the batter sinks to the bottom then slowly rises. 170~180°C: sinks midway then rises. Over 200°C: immediately rises and dissipates at the surface

    < Soba >

    1. Mix men-tsuyu and water to make soba-tsuyu (soba sauce). Dilute the sauce accordingly since thickness differs by manufacturer.

    2. Chop the yakumi leek by koguchi-giri (thinly sliced, starting from the root end). Submerge in water, then drain.

    3. Boil plenty of water and drop in the noodles while separating.

    4. Remove with strainer, rinse under cold water, then drain.

    5. Serve the soba noodles with soba-tsuyu and yakumi.

    < Tempura >

    1. Prawns: Peel shells leaving the last tail joint, and devein. Slice pumpkin into 7 to 8 mm thick slices. Cut the hull of the eggplant then cut into four vertical pieces then slice 3 to 4 incisions into each piece. Cut the stems off the shiitake mushrooms and slice incisions on the top of the mushroom.

    2. Make the batter. Mix beaten eggs with cold water in a measuring cup. Pour into bowl then add flour while sifting.

    3. Mix lightly with cooking chopsticks. Be sure not to make the mix sticky.

    4. Pour 3cm of oil in a frying pan and heat to medium temperature (170°C).

    5. Dip vegetables into batter one by one, then use chopsticks to smoothly slide them into the oil. Turn vegetable over when the batter slightly browns. Take out when the color turns light brown and the batter feels crisp.

    6. Lightly sprinkle 1/2 tbsp flour (not included in above ingredients) on the prawn. Leave tail part batter free and set prawn into oil.

    7. Place the tempura in a mound. Place ten-tsuyu and yakumi along side the tempura to serve.




    • そば(乾麺) 140g
    • 薬味 長ねぎ(白い部分) 5cm
    • 練りわさび 適量


    • 市販のめんつゆ カップ1
    • 水 カップ1~2(メーカーによる)


    • えび (無頭・殻つき)(中~大) 2尾
    • かぼちゃ 50g
    • しいたけ 2個
    • なす 1個
    • 揚げ油 適量


    • 大根 100g、しょうが 小1かけ(5g)
    • 衣  卵1/2個+冷水適量 合計カップ1/2
    • 小麦粉 カップ1/2 (50g)



    1. めんつゆと水をあわせ、そばつゆを作ります。メーカーによって濃さが違うので好みで調節します。

    2. 薬味のねぎは小口切りにします。水にさらしてから水気をしぼります。

    3. たっぷりのお湯をわかし、そばをほぐすようにして入れ、ゆでます。

    4. ざるにあけ、冷水で洗い、水気をきります。

    5. そばを盛り付け、そばつゆ、薬味を添えます。


    1. えびは尾の1節を残して殻をむき、背わたをとります。かぼちゃは7~8mmの厚さにします。なすはへたを落して縦に4つに切り、それぞれ3~4本切り込みを入れます。しいたけは軸をとり、かさに切り込みを入れます。

    2. 衣をつくります。計量カップにとき卵、冷水を加えて混ぜます。これをボールに入れ、小麦粉を振るいながら加えます。

    3. さい箸で、練らないようにざっと混ぜます。

    4. 揚げ鍋に油を約3cmの深さまで入れ、火にかけます。170℃で揚げます。

    5. 野菜は1つずつ衣をつけながら、箸で静かに押して泳がせます。衣が淡く色づいてきたら裏返して、薄い褐色になり、カリッとしたら取り出します。

    6. えびは、小麦粉大さじ1/2(材料外)を薄くまぶしてから、尾を残して衣をつけ、油にいれます。

    7. 盛り付け、天つゆと薬味を添えて出来上がりです。

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  • 手軽に食べられる日本食

    [From June Issue 2010]

    There are a variety of different foods available in Japan, including Chinese, Korean and Western cuisines, and among them is the Japanese light meal, or fast food. “Yoshinoya,” “Matsuya” and “Sukiya” are well-known gyu-don (beaf bowl) chain restaurants where you can have a regular-sized bowl for less than 300 yen. “Tenya” is another well-known chain restaurant that specializes in ten-don (tempura bowl).

    “Don” means bowl, and “gyu” mean “cow” or “beef,” so together it’s a bowl of beef, with gravy, on rice. “Ten-don” is a tempura rice bowl, and “una-don” is unagi (eel) rice bowl. “Katsu-don” is made with a batter-coated and deep fried pork cutlet, while “oyako-don” is mixed chicken with eggs, on rice. In Japanese, “oyako” means parent and child, and since a chicken and an egg are similar, that’s how it got it’s name.

    Ramen (noodles) is the most widely eaten food in Japan, with more than 25,000 ramen restaurants across the country, and about 3,000 in Tokyo alone. Though ramen came from China, its cooking has been developed in Japan to meet Japanese taste for so long that it is considered to be Japanese food. Originally, it was cooked with a soy sauce broth, but nowadays there are many varieties, including miso-based and salt-based flavors. In Japanese, “men” means “noodle.” Other noodles like soba and udon are also included in “men.”

    Traditionally, sushi was considered a luxury food. However, now that kaitenzusi has spread across Japan, inexpensive sushi is now readily available at kaitenzushi restaurant chains such as Sushiro, Kura-zushi and Kappa Zushi. In kanji, sushi is written commonly as “寿司,” but it is originally written as “鮨.” The kanji is a combination of “魚” (fish) and “旨い” (tasty), and means “tasty fish.” This kanji is also used now.

    Many so-called “famiresu” or “family restaurants” such as “Gusto,” “Denny’s,” “Saizeriya” and “Jonathon’s” are often frequented by non-Japanese, especially tourists. There, you can enjoy meals in a relaxed atmosphere, with different dishes to choose from, all at reasonable prices.

    Upon entering, restaurant staff members will usually greet you with “irasshaimase” (welcome, or come in), but you don’t have to reply as it is just a customary greeting. And don’t forget that in Japan tipping does not exist.

    At some restaurants you may come across these signs: “本日休業” (closed today), “臨時休業” (temporarily closed),“営業中” (now open), or “準備中” (under preparation).

    The following Japanese words are often used at the table.

    Mizu (water), o-cha (tea), biiru (beer), koppu (glass), hashi (chopsticks), satou (sugar), shio (salt), koshou (pepper), wasabi (horse radish), shouyu (soy sauce), sousu (sauce), su (vinegar), kaikei (bill), otsuri (change), and ryoushuusho (receipt). Often used phrases include “mada desuka” (Not ready yet?), “okawari” (another one), “xx arimasuka” (Do you have xx?) and “ikuradesuka?” (How much is it?).











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  • 厚揚げのいんろう煮

    [From June Issue 2010]

    Ingredients [Serves 2]

    • 1 block (200g) atsu-age
    • 1 tsp potato starch

    <minced meat stuffing>

    • 60g minced chicken
    • 10 cm green onion (finely chopped)
    • (A) 1 tsp soy sauce
    • 1/2 tsp ginger sauce
    • 1 tbsp beaten egg

    <cooking broth>

    • 1 cup stock (1 tsp bonito and seaweed stock powder/commercially prepared)
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tbsp sweet cooking rice wine
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp sake
    • a pinch of salt
    • 40g field mustard
    • Inrou: A small, wooden case often tied to the waist, inrou was traditionally used to carry around small items such as personal stamps (inkan) and medicine. Inrou also refers to a dish where one ingredient is hollowed out and stuffed with other ingredients.
    • Atsu-age: This is thick, deep-fried tofu, also called nama-age (raw and deep-fried) because its center remains uncooked. Atsu-age is similar but different to abura-age in that it is thin and deep fried instead (also referred to as usu-age.)

    1. Pour boiling water over the atsu-age to rinse off any excess oil. Cut the block in half, then cut around the inside of each piece leaving 5 to 6 mm along the edges. Scoop out the atsu-age making a pocket.

    2. Lightly mash the scooped out tofu then thoroughly mix it in a bowl with minced meat, green onions and part (A). Divide that mixture in two. Using a strainer, sprinkle half of the potato starch along the insides of the atsu-age, then spoon the tofu/meat stuffing into the pocket, sprinkling the remaining potato starch over it.

    3. Boil water then cook the field mustard for approximately 1 minute. Once cooked, immediately immerse them in a bowl of cold water for another minute to brighten their green color. Remove, align the stalks and wring out the water, then cut in two.

    4. In a pot mix together all the cooking broth ingredients then add the atsu-age. Cover, using an otoshi-buta (small wooden lid), and cook over a low-medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, basting occasionally. Remove from heat when only a thin layer of broth is left.

    5. Diagonally cut the atsu-age in half, then arrange them in a slightly deep dish. Garnish with the field mustard at the front and pour the remaining broth over top and serve.



    • 厚揚げ 1枚(200g)
    • かたくり粉 小さじ1


    • とりひき肉 60g
    • ねぎのみじん切り 10cm分
    • (A)しょうゆ 小さじ1
    • しょうが汁 小さじ1/2
    • とき卵 大さじ1


    • だし カップ1(市販のかつお昆布だし顆粒小さじ1を水でとく)
    • 砂糖 大さじ1
    • みりん 大さじ1
    • しょうゆ 大さじ1
    • 酒 大さじ1
    • 塩 少々
    • 菜の花 40g
    • いんろう:昔、印鑑や薬などを入れ、腰に下げた小箱のこと。材料にあけた空洞に、詰めものをした料理に使われる名前です。
    • 厚揚げ:とうふを厚く切って揚げたもの。油揚げを「薄揚げ」と呼ぶのに対してついた名前。中が生なので「生揚げ」とも呼ばれます。

    1. 厚揚げに熱湯をかけ、油を抜きます。2つに切り、外側5~6mmを残して包丁で切り込みをいれ、中身をくり抜いて袋状にします。

    2. ボールに、ひき肉、ねぎを入れ、厚揚げをくり抜いた中身を軽くつぶして加え、(A)も加えてよく混ぜます。それを2等分にします。厚揚げの内側に、茶こしでかたくり粉を半分ふりかけます。ひき肉あんをつめ、上から残りのかたくり粉をふりかけます。

    3. 熱湯に菜の花を入れて約1分ゆでます。ゆで上がったらすぐに、ボールに入れた冷たい水に約1分つけます。冷たい水につけることにより菜の花の緑色が鮮やかになります。根本をそろえて水気をしぼります。根本の固い部分を切り落とし、長さを半分にします。

    4. 鍋に煮汁の材料を入れます。2を並べ入れ、弱めの中火にして、落としぶたをのせ、鍋のふたをずらしてのせます。時々、スプーンで煮汁をかけながら10~15分煮ます。煮汁がなべ底に少し残るぐらいになったら火を止めます。

    5. いんろう煮を、斜め半分に切り、少し深めの皿に盛りつけます。手前に菜の花を添え、いんろう煮に煮汁をかけてできあがりです。

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  • 焼きさばすし

    [From May Issue 2010]

    Ingredients [Serves 2]

    • 1 mackerel (sliced into 3 pieces)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp vinegar
    • 2 shiso (green perilla) leaves
    • 10g sweet pickled ginger

    Sumeshi (vinegary sushi rice)

    • 1/2 cup of rice
    • 90ml water

    Vinegar mix

    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp vinegar


    • 2 tbsp vinegar
    • 2 tbsp water
    • Tezu: Vinegar-water solution to moisten hands, rice paddle and kitchen cloth, to prevent the sushi rice from sticking. Equal amount of vinegar and water is mixed together to make the solution.
    • 3-Piece Fillet: Cutting a fish into three pieces: upper, below and bone.
    1. Rinse the rice, and then add water (90ml). Let sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
    2. Slice the mackerel into 3 pieces and debone. Take one piece and lightly sprinkle salt on both sides, then let sit for 10 minutes. Season with vinegar and leave for 5 more minutes.
    3. Turn grill on high. Place mackerel on grill skin side up. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until brown. Turn over and cook thoroughly. Let cool.
    4. Well-stir the “vinegar mix” ingredients. Once the rice is cooked, pour vinegar mix evenly over the rice. Use the rice spoon to blend using cutting motions.
    5. Moisten hands with the tezu, and mould the sushi rice into a roll.
    6. Spread a piece of plastic wrap (30cm x 40cm) vertically and then place the mackerel, skin-side down, at the center. Layer the shiso green perilla leaves, sweet pickled ginger and the sushi rice on top. Spread the sushi rice so that it entirely covers the mackerel.
    7. Firmly wrap and then shape the sushi into a small loaf. Twist the edges of the plastic wrap and then let sit for 1 hour so the flavors can blend.
    8. While still wrapped, cut the sushi into 8 pieces. Peel off the wrap, then place the sushi on a plate and serve.



    • さば(3枚におろしたもの) 1枚
    • 塩 小さじ1/2
    • 酢 大さじ1
    • しその葉 2枚
    • 甘酢しょうが 10g


    • 米 米用カップ1/2
    • 水 90ml


    • 砂糖 大さじ1
    • 塩 小さじ1/4
    • 酢 大さじ1


    • 酢 大さじ2
    • 水 大さじ2
    • 手酢:酢飯がつかないように、手やしゃもじ、ふきんをしめらせる酢水のこと。酢と水を同じ分量あわせて作る。
    • 魚を3枚におろすこと(三枚おろし):魚を上の身、下の身、中骨の3つに分けること。
    1. 米はとぎ、水(90ml)を加えます。30分以上おき、炊きます。
    2. さばは3枚におろします。(そのうちの1枚を使います)腹骨と小骨をとります。さばの身の両面に塩をふり、10分おきます。さらに酢をかけて5分おきます。
    3. グリルを強火で予熱します。皮を上にしてグリルにいれ、焼き色がつくまで5~6分焼きます。裏返して中まで火を通したら、さまします。
    4. 合わせ酢の材料をよく混ぜます。米が炊き上がったら、合わせ酢を全体にかけます。ごはんはしゃもじで切るように混ぜます。
    5. 手酢で手をしめらせ、酢飯を棒の形にします。
    6. ラップ(30×40cm)を横長に広げ、さばの皮を下にして中央に置きます。さばの上にしその葉、甘酢しょうがを順に並べ、酢飯をのせます。さばの大きさに合わせ、酢飯を広げます。
    7. ラップでしっかり巻き、形を整えます。ラップの両端をねじり、1時間おいてなじませます。
    8. ラップを巻いたまま、8等分に切り、ラップをとり、盛り付けてできあがりです。

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  • 茶碗蒸し

    [From April Issue 2010]

    Ingredients [Serves 2]

    • 1 pc (40g) sasami (white chicken meat)
    • a pinch of salt
    • 1/2 tsp sake
    • 2 mid-size prawns
    • 1/2 tsp sake
    • 1/4 pkg (30g) shimeji mushrooms
    • 2 sprigs mitsuba (honeywort)

    Egg liquid

    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups dashi (see below)
    • 2 cups water (to be boiled down to 1 1/2 cups)
    • 5 x 10cm long kelp slices
    • 1/2 cup shaved dried bonito
    • (A) 1/3 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp mirin cooking sake
    • 2 or 3 drops soy sauce

    Tips on Making Smooth Chawan-Mushi

    For a smooth taste keep the ratio of eggs to stock at 1:3. Since eggs solidify at 80℃, keep the steamer temperature between 80 ~ 90℃, but pay attention. Continuous steaming over a high flame will result in air-bubbles. (“su ga tatsu” in Japanese.)

    1. Leave the kelp unwashed as the white surface powder adds flavoring. Clean with a dry cloth then let soak in (2 cups) of water for about 30 minutes.
    2. Heat all the above over a low flame removing the kelp just before it boils. Add shaved, dried bonito, bring to a boil, and then turn off heat. Let cool for a minute or two, then strain stock through a damp, tightly wrung out dishcloth or paper towel.
    3. With stock still warm (approx. 60℃, the temperature of lukewarm tea), add (A) salt, mirin cooking sake and soy sauce.
    4. Remove prawns from shells leaving only the tails intact. Devein then pour sake.
    5. Strip the sasami (white chicken meat) of any bones or cartilage then cut into 4 pieces by sogi-giri (long, thin diagonal cuts). Season with salt and sake.
    6. After removing the hard tips from the shimeji mushroom, divide them into small amounts. Similarly divide the stems and the leaves of the mitsuba (honeywort). Slice the stems into 2-to-3 cm lengths.
    7. Break the eggs but do not beat them. Add them to no. 3 above, then strain.
    8. Put all ingredients except for mitsuba into tea bowls then slowly pour in the egg mix, careful to avoid any air bubbles.
    9. Put water in steamer and heat over a high flame. When steam occurs, place the tea bowls inside.
    10. Steam over high flame for 3 minutes. When the surfaces turn whitish, lower the flame and continue steaming for another 12 to 13 minutes.
    11. Poke a bamboo skewer into a tea bowl, to see if the soup is still clear – if so, stop steaming.
    12. Turn off heat, then place mitsuba on element and continue steaming with the remaining heat for about a minute.
    13. Remove tea bowls from steamer and cover with lids. You are now ready to serve.



    • とりささみ 1本(40g)
    • 塩 少々
    • 酒 小さじ1/2
    • えび 中2尾
    • 酒 小さじ1/2
    • しめじ 1/4パック(30g)
    • みつば 2本


    • 卵 2個
    • だし カップ1+1/2
    • 水 カップ2(出来上がり量 カップ1+1/2)
    • こんぶ 約5x10cm角
    • けずりかつお カップ1/2
    • (A)塩 小さじ1/3
    • みりん 小さじ1/2
    • しょうゆ 2~3滴



    1. こんぶは、表面についている白い粉もうまみの成分なので、洗わずに乾いたふきんでふきます。分量の水(カップ2)に30分以上つけます。
    2. 1を弱めの火にかけ、ふっとう直前にこんぶを取り出します。けずりかつおを入れ、再びふっとうしたら、火を止めます。1~2分おいて、かたくしぼった布きんやペーパータオルでこします。
    3. だしが温かいうち(60℃。ぬるめのお茶くらいの温度)に(A)塩、みりん、しょうゆを加えます。
    4. えびは尾の1節を残して殻をむき、背わたをとります。酒をふります。
    5. とりささみは筋をとり、ささみを4切れのそぎ切りにします。それに塩、酒で下味をつけます。
    6. しめじは石づきを落し、小房に分けます。みつばは茎と葉に分け、茎は2~3cmに切ります。
    7. 卵は泡立てないようにほぐし、3とあわせてこします。
    8. みつば以外の材料を茶碗に入れ、卵液を静かに注ぎます。表面に泡が出来たら泡をとります。
    9. 蒸し器に水を入れ強火にかけます。蒸気が充分に出てきたら、茶碗をのせます。
    10. 始めの3分は強火で、表面が白っぽくなったら弱火にして、12~13分蒸します。
    11. 竹串を刺してみて、穴の汁がすんでいれば蒸し上がりです。
    12. 火を止めて、みつばをのせて、1分ほど蒸らします。
    13. 取り出してふたをしてできあがりです。

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  • 赤飯と紅白なます

    [From March Issue 2010]

    Ingredients [Serves 2]


    • 1 cup (180ml) sticky rice
    • 15g azuki (red) beans
    • 1 cup water (200ml)
    • 100ml water (inc. water used to boil azuki)
    • Goma-shio (sesame & salt)
    • 1 tsp toasted sesame (black)
    • 1/6 tsp salt


    • 150g daikon (Japanese radish)
    • 15g carrots
    • 1/4 tsp salt

    Sweet vinegar

    • 1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
    • 1/2 tbsp sugar
    • 1/2 tbsp Japanese liquid soup stock
    • a pinch of salt (between your thumb and forefinger)
    • 1 tsp white, roasted sesame seeds

    Shibu-kiri (lit. “harshness cut down”): boiling and discarding the liquid removes the scum (harsh taste), which causes harshness. The harshness of beans harvested during autumn will increase over time.


    1. Rinse sticky rice and soak in plenty of water for more than one hour.
    2. Place azuki (red) beans and plenty of water in a medium pot and boil over a high heat. Simmer for a couple of minutes then drain with a colander (shibu-kiri).
    3. Put the azuki beans back in the pot with 1 cup water, and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until soft (so that the beans can be mashed between your finger).
    4. Separate the azuki beans from cooked liquid. Add water to the cooked liquid to make 100ml.
    5. Drain the sticky rice. Once drained thoroughly, place in the rice cooker. Add mixture (4) and azuki beans, then turn on the rice cooker. After the rice is done, mix well.
    6. Lightly roast the black sesame seeds in a frying pan and add salt.
    7. Garnish each serving of red bean rice with the salted sesame seeds.


    1. Cut both daikon radish and carrots into 4cm long julienne strips. (You may cut carrots thinner since they are more colorful than the radish.)
    2. Sprinkle each with salt (do not mix together or colors will run) and then put the vegetables into separate bowls.
    3. Briefly stir each bowl then let sit for five to ten minutes so water accumulates.
    4. Mix together vinegar, sugar, liquid soup stock and salt to make the sweet vinegar.
    5. Drain all the vegetables then mix in the sweet vinegar.
    6. Garnish with sesame.




    • もち米 米用カップ1(180ml)
    • あずき 15 g
    • 水 カップ1(200 ml)
    • あずきのゆで汁+水100ml
    • ごま塩
    • いりごま(黒) 小さじ1
    • 塩 小さじ1/6


    • 大根 150g
    • にんじん 15g
    • 塩 小さじ1/4


    • 酢 大さじ1+1/2
    • 砂糖 大さじ1/2
    • だし(液状の和風だし) 大さじ1/2
    • 塩 少々(親指と人差し指で少しつまむ量)
    • いりごま(白) 小さじ1



    1. もち米はとぎ、たっぷりの水に1時間以上つけます。
    2. 鍋にあずきとたっぷりの水を入れ、強火にかけます。お湯がわいたら、弱火で2~3分ゆで、ざるにあけます。(渋きり)
    3. あずきを鍋に戻し、水カップ1を入れ、弱火で20~30分やわらかくなるまで(押せば変形するぐらい)ゆでます。
    4. あずきとゆで汁に分けます。ゆで汁に水を足し、100mlにします。
    5. もち米をざるにあけ、水気をきります。水滴がなくなったら、炊飯器に入れます。あずきと4を加えて混ぜ、スイッチを入れます。炊き上がったら、全体を混ぜます。
    6. フライパンで黒ごまをあたため、塩を混ぜます。

    7. 赤飯を盛り、ごま塩をふってできあがりです。


    1. 大根、にんじんは4cm長さの千切りにします。にんじんは色が目立つので、大根よりも細めに切ります。
    2. それぞれに塩をふります。一緒にすると色移りがするため、別々の器に入れます。
    3. 軽く混ぜ、5~10分おいて水気を出します。
    4. 酢、砂糖、だし、塩を混ぜ、甘酢を作ります。
    5. 2の水気をしぼり、甘酢であえます。
    6. いりごまをふります。

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  • どうして駅弁は日本でこんなに人気がある?

    [From March Issue 2010]

    “Ekiben,” boxed meals sold at train stations, are very popular among the Japanese. They are typically filled with locally grown ingredients and dishes unique to their region, and their wrapping paper usually depicts the scenery or a specialty of the particular town. Ingenuity is often exercised in the containers as well, with shell-shaped containers being used for ekiben sold near the seashore and pottery used for ones available in towns known for their pottery.

    Take for example, “Gyuuniku-domannaka,” sold at Yonezawa Station in Yamagata Prefecture. It’s an ekiben that uses ”Domannaka,” rice grown in the prefecture, and is popular nationwide. The rice that makes up two thirds of the obento (boxed meal) is topped with domestically-produced beef cooked in the style of sukiyaki (a dish of thinly sliced beef flavored with sugar, soy sauce and sake). Since it is very popular, this ekiben is sold not only at Yonezawa Station, but also on the Yamagata Shinkansen (bullet train), as well as at stations like Tokyo, Ueno and Omiya.

    The “Ikameshi” from Mori Station in Hokkaido also has a reputation as a delicious ekiben. Ikameshi is a dish made by boiling squid stuffed with rice. This obento contains two pieces of squid and is sold for 500 yen, a fairly low price for an ekiben. It is so popular among ekiben fans that merchandise such as ikameshi-shaped straps and bags with the same pattern as its wrapping paper, are sold.

    Not only are ekiben sold at their respective places of origin, but they are also available at ekiben events held in big cities such as Tokyo. For example, in October 2009, “Higashi Nihon Jyuudan Ekiben Taikai” (The Fair of Ekiben from around Eastern Japan) was held at Tokyo Ekitchen inside Tokyo Station. Thirty-seven companies known for their ekiben across eastern Japan participated and sold about 100 kinds of ekiben, including ones made exclusively for the event.

    There are also some shops that specialize in popular ekiben. Umaimon, with branch stores in Tokyo and Omiya (Saitama Prefecture), sells 50 to 60 different kinds of ekiben from various stations around Japan. They not only gather and sell ekiben, but create new ekiben in cooperation with regional ekiben companies. They also carry hard-to-find ekiben that are not widely available at other ekiben shops.

    Some people eat ekiben as a hobby while others write about ekiben for work. One person who does both is UESUGI Tsuyoshi, who has been eating and comparing all kinds of ekiben for over 30 years. He has launched a website called “Ekiben no komado” (Small Window to Ekiben), where he recommends ekiben and provides information about ekiben events. He also collects ekiben wrapping paper and has written a book about it.

    Rankings of the most popular ekiben are often released on the Internet, some by food companies and others by individuals. In addition to rankings based on taste, there are various other rankings such as for containers. Uesugi’s website even ranks ekiben that are no longer available but that ekiben lovers want to see return.

    Why are ekiben so popular? “Ekiben is one of the most enjoyable parts of traveling by train,” says a woman living in Tokyo, adding that eating ekiben while looking out the window at the passing scenery is fun in itself. Speaking about an ekiben that she bought at an event, she says: “By eating the ekiben, you can enjoy the feeling of traveling somewhere without doing so. I also feel happy to be able to eat something at home that I normally cannot buy unless I visit the particular town.”

    “Famous ekiben at major stations are good, but there are also tasty ekiben at small stations in the country,” says KONDO Masaaki of Nippon Restaurant Enterprise Co., Ltd., the company which runs Umaimon. “Some ekiben sold at small stations in Nagano and Niigata Prefectures are handmade by cooks who are particular about seasoning and the way they broil fish.” Finding such ekiben is another fun aspect about them.

    “They are fun to look at and taste great. What’s more, they’re convenient,” says MIURA Yukie of Umaimon’s Omiya branch, speaking about the appeal of ekiben. Having started selling ekiben part-time after her children had grown up, Miura is now the manager of the store. She boosted sales by recommending to her customers ekiben that she likes herself. Miura shared the following memory about ekiben.

    “One time I was focusing on selling this particular ekiben by recommending it to customers. Then a customer who had bought the ekiben came back and bought it again. He said, ‘This ekiben was so good that I thought I would buy it for my mother. She is dead now, but I will place one on her grave and then share this ekiben with my family while she is with us in spirit.’ When I heard this story, I was really glad that I had recommended it to him.”

    Most Japanese had their parents make boxed meals for them when they were children. Those nostalgic memories may be the reason why they are so attached to, and particular about, obento. The appeal of ekiben includes memories of travel, unique dishes and beautiful wrapping, as well as all the merits of a satisfying boxed meal. Given all that, it is only natural for the Japanese to love them.

    In Japan, There are Many Kinds of Obento

    Some, such as boxed meals for cherry-blossom viewing in the spring time, and ones featuring broiled eel in summer, are seasonal fare. Many people also buy or make obento for lunch. Most Japanese know ways of making a boxed meal last longer, including putting an umeboshi (sour pickled plum) in the rice.

    Many people are particular about the way they make their obento. For example, some use cups or wraps to separate the different dishes from one-another, so that they don’t touch, while others consider the colors of the ingredients used so that they look beautiful together. Some even make artistic obento called “chara-ben” (boxed meals inspired by anime or manga characters) and “deco-ben” (decorated boxed meals) such as HAMA Chiharu’s. For all obento makers, a variety of stores carrying special utensils exist.

    Shops that sell obento are also particular about their services. Most obento come with a pair of chopsticks and tsumayouji (a toothpick), as well as otefuki (a wet tissue for wiping your hands clean) and, you can often have your obento microwaved.

    Ekiben no komado
    Tokyu Hands
    Nippon Restaurant Enterprise Co., Ltd.
    Obento by HAMA Chiharu

    Text: SAZAKI Ryo /文:砂崎 良


    「駅弁」という駅で売られるお弁当が日本人の間でとても人気です。駅弁にはその土地で取れる食材や、めずらしい料理などがつめられ、「掛け紙」には その町の風景や名物などが描かれています。容器も工夫されています。海の近くでは貝の形をした駅弁がありますし、陶器の町では陶器入りの駅弁があります。

















    Text: SAZAKI Ryo /文:砂崎 良

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  • ふろふき大根

    [From February Issue 2010]

    Ingredients [Serves 2]

    • Daikon (Japanese radish: thick part) 6 to 8cm
    • 2.5 (500ml) cups rice-rinsed water
    • 5×10 cm (approx.) konbu seaweed
    • Yuzu miso (bean paste with citron)
    • 2 tbsp (approx. 30g) miso
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tbsp mirin (sweet cooking rice wine)
    • 1 tbsp Japanese granulated stock (available at stores)
    • pinch of citron skin
    • Mentori : (beveling) cutting the edges of daikon and pumpkins before cooking. This prevents the edges from crumbling while cooking.
    • Kakushi-boucho: (hidden knife) since daikon is thick, a cross-shaped incision is made in the underside of the daikon. It speeds up the cooking and makes it easier to cut with chopsticks when eating.
    • Kome-no togi-jiru : (rice-rinsed water) starch contained in water that has been used to rinse rice absorbs the bitterness and acrid taste of daikon. If this water is not available, add 1 tbsp of uncooked rice in water.

    To Prepare

    1. Cut the daikon in 3~4cm thick rounds then peel skin deeply.
    2. Trim the cut edges (mentori). On one side of the disk, cut a cross that goes 1/3 deep (kakushi-bouchou).
    3. Place the daikon in the pot with the cut side facing down. Add the kome-no togi-jiru (rice-rinsed water) until the daikon is fully submerged.
    4. Put on the otoshi-buta (drop-lid) and boil on high. Then simmer for approximately 7 minutes over a medium heat.
    5. Take the daikon out, and rinse with cold water. Wash the pot and otoshi-buta.
    6. Place konbu seaweed in the pot. Add the daikon and water until the daikon is fully submerged, put on the otoshi-buta and lid. Boil on high, and then cook for approximately 20 minutes on a low-medium heat.
    7. Make the yuzu-miso sauce. In a pan, add the ingredients in the order listed (excluding the citron) while mixing. Once smooth, put pan over heat. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes over a medium heat. Set aside to cool for a while then add grated citron skin.
    8. Place the daikon on a plate with the yuzu-miso sauce.



    • 大根(太い部分) 6~8cm
    • 米のとぎ汁 2.5カップ(500ml)
    • こんぶ 約5×10cm角
    • ゆずみそ
    • みそ 大さじ2(約30g)
    • 砂糖 大さじ1
    • みりん 大さじ1
    • 顆粒だし(市販の和風だし)大さじ1
    • ゆずの皮 少々
    • 面取り:大根やかぼちゃを煮るときに、あらかじめ煮くずれしやすい角をとっておくことです。
    • かくし包丁:大根が厚いので裏に切り込みを入れておきます。中心まで火が通りやすく、はしで切り分けしやすくなります。
    • 米のとぎ汁:米のとぎ汁に含まれるでんぷんは、大根の苦味や辛味の成分を吸いとります。とぎ汁がなければ、米大おさじ1 を水に加えます。


    1. 大根は3~4cm厚さの輪切りにして、皮を厚めにむきます。
    2. 切り口の角を薄すく「面取り」します。切り口の一方に、厚みの3分の1まで十文字の「かくし包丁」を入れます。
    3. 鍋に切り込みを入れた面を下にして大根をおきます。「米のとぎ汁」を大根がかぶるくらいまで入れます。
    4. 落としぶたをして強火にかけます。ふっとうしたら中火で約7分ゆでます。
    5. 大根を取り出し、水洗らいをします。鍋と落としぶたも洗らいます。
    6. 鍋にこんぶをしき、大根を入れ、かぶるくらいの水を加え、落としぶたと鍋のふたをして強火にかけ、ふっとうしたら弱めの中火で約20分煮ます。
    7. 「ゆずみそ」を作くります。鍋にゆず以外の材料を順に混ぜながら入れます。なめらかになったら火にかけます。中火で2~3分混ぜながら少こし煮詰めます。火ひ からおろし、冷ましてから、ゆずの皮をすりおろして入れます。
    8. 器に大根を盛り、ゆずみそをかけてできあがりです。

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  • 筑前煮



    • とりもも肉(皮付き)1枚 100g
    • 酒 小さじ1
    • ゆでたけのこ 50g
    • れんこん 50g
    • にんじん 50g
    • ごぼう 50g
    • こんにゃく 50g
    • 干ししいたけ 2個
    • さやえんどう 6枚
    • ごま油 大さじ1/2
    • しょうゆ 大さじ1

    砂糖 大さじ1/2
    みりん 大さじ1/2
    酒 大さじ1

    • そぎ切り:左端から切ります。包丁を右に45度傾けて食材に当てそのまま斜めに削ぐように切ります。
    • いちょう切り:4分の1(いちょうの葉の形)に切ることです。
    • 乱切り:細長いものを斜めに切り、さらに90度回転して切ることです。
    • 落としぶた:煮物を作るとき、材料の上に鍋の大きさより一回り小さなふたを直接のせます。落としぶたがない場合はアルミホイルを鍋の大きさに合わせて切り、真ん中に穴をあけ蒸気を逃がすように作ります。
    1. とり肉は3cm角のそぎ切りにし、酒をふり、もみ込みます。
    2. たけのこは4~5cmの長さにし、1cm厚さのいちょう切りにします。れんこんは1cm厚さのいちょう切りにします。にんじん、ごぼうは乱切りにします。れんこんとごぼうは水にさらします。
    3. こんにゃくは一口大に切り、ゆでます。
    4. 干ししいたけは水カップ1/3に30分つけて戻します。戻し汁はとりおき、だしと水を合わせます。しいたけは軸をとり、2切れのそぎ切りにします。
    5. さやえんどうは筋をとり、さっとゆでます。大きなさやえんどうは3cmの長さに切ります。
    6. 鍋にごま油を入れ熱し、野菜(さやえんどう以外)、しいたけ、こんにゃくを入れて強火でいためます。油が全体にいきわたったら、とり肉を加えていためます。
    7. とり肉の色が白く変わったら、調味料(A)を加え、沸騰したら、アクをとります。落としぶたをして、中火で約5分煮ます。
    8. しょうゆを加え、鍋のふたをずらしてのせ、15~20分煮ます。
    9. 煮汁が少なくなったら、落としぶたと鍋のふた両方をとり、火を少し強め、全体を大きく混ぜます。
    10. 鉢(深めの大皿)にこんもりと盛りつけます。さやえんどうを上に飾ります。


    Ingredients [Serves 2]

    • 1 (100g) chicken thigh with skin
    • 1 tsp sake
    • 50g pre-cooked bamboo shoots
    • 50g lotus root
    • 50g carrot
    • 50g burdock
    • 50g konnyaku
    • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
    • 6 field peas
    • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce

    (A) 1/2 cup stock made from 2g granulated bonito and kelp stock (available at stores) + stock of dried shiitake mushrooms + water
    1/2 tbsp sugar
    1/2 tbsp mirin cooking sake
    1 tbsp sake

    • Sogi-giri: It starts from the left. Tip the knife toward the right and cut with the tip of the knife at a 45°angle.
    • Ichou-giri: Cutting into quarters (the same shape of ginkgo leaves).
    • Ran-giri: Cutting a long item diagonally and turning it 90 degrees to repeat it.
    • Otoshi-buta: In making boiled and seasoned food, a lid that is one size smaller than the pot is directly placed on the contents. If otoshi-buta is not available, cut aluminum foil into the size of the pot, make a hole in the center and use it as a substitute lid to let steam out.
    1. With the knife flat, slice the chicken from the left (sogi-giri style) into 3-cm pieces. Pour sake over and rub it into the meat.
    2. Cut the bamboo into 4 ~ 5cm parts then quarter them. Cut lotus root into 1-cm slices then quarter (ichou-giri) them. Roughly chop up the carrot and the burdock. Soak the lotus root and burdock in water.
    3. Cut konnyaku into bite-size pieces and boil.
    4. In order to reconstitute the dried shiitake mushrooms, soak them in 1/3 cup of cold water for half an hour. Use the shiitake stock to make the whole stock (with granulated stock and water). Remove stalks from the mushrooms and slice them into two pieces sogi-giri style.
    5. Remove the string from the peas. Boil the peas quickly. Cut the big peas into 3cm pieces.
    6. Put sesame oil in the pot and heat it. Put the vegetables (with the exception of field peas), mushrooms, konnyaku in the pot and stir-fry them on a high heat. When the oil has spread to all ingredients, add the chicken and continue stir-frying.
    7. When the overall color of the chicken has turned white, add seasoning (A). When it has come to a boil, remove the scum from the surface of the liquid. Put a small lid (otoshi-buta) directly on the food being cooked and boil over a medium flame for about 5 minutes.
    8. Add soy sauce, move the lid of the pot slightly and boil for 15 ~ 20 minutes.
    9. When the broth has reduced, take off both lids (otoshi-buta and pot lid) and intensify the heat slightly. Stir the pot.
    10. Serve generously on a deep platter. Decorate with field peas.

    [From January Issue 2010][:]

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