Broiled Sawara with Paprika

While at Omicho Market a couple weeks ago, I spied a fish-seller with sashimi-grade sawara (サワラ, 鰆), Japanese Spanish mackerel, on sale–for 250 yen, I could get a plate of huge filets much bigger than the ones I usually get at the store–about 500 grams’ worth.* “Two, please,” I told the clerk (the fish monger?)….

My Favorite Bamboo-Shoot (Takenoko) Recipes

Early May means fresh bamboo shoots are in season again here in Ishikawa, and I received not one but three lovely shoots from my friends and coworkers this year! 2012 is apparently a bumper year for bamboo in the forests and in my kitchen. Whether you purchased or received fresh bamboo, one large shoot can…

Kabocha-Stuffed Okonomiyaki

Every food blogger with an interest in Japanese food is required by law to have a post on okonomiyaki, so today, I’m going to show you how to make my favorite version, which is stuffed with my favorite vegetable, kabocha squash. Okonomiyaki (henceforth not italicized) is sometimes described as a savory pancake or as a…

Flexitarian: Spicy Fava Beans and Pork Stir-fry

Cheruko over at Hokuriku Expat Kitchen sent me Mark Bittman’s New York Times article “We’re Eating Less Meat. Why?” the other day, and we were both pretty excited to see the new term he had coined for people like us: flexitarians, those who eat vegetarian most of the time. That is, my diet is based…

Aka-Zuiki Quick Pickles (Red-Taro-Stem Vinegar Pickles)

Japanese food traditionally includes a lot of tsukemono (漬け物), or pickles. The first thing most Americans will think of when you say pickles is dill (cucumber) pickles that go with sandwiches; however, pickles are any vegetable that has been preserved with brining. Japanese pickles cover a wide range of base ingredients, including carrots, cucumbers, ginger,…

Okara Burgers, Two Ways

I’m back! After a few weeks’ hiatus for moving, I have regular internet access again at my lovely new home in Kanazawa, which means I can stop watching cooking shows on my phone and get back to writing. Japan doesn’t really have much in the way of pre-made veggie burgers, so I’ve taken to making…

Kaga Yasai: Aka-Kabocha with Sesame Sauce

This article will be featured in J. Festa August 2011 edition: “Food in Japan,” hosted at japingu. ほっこりしている (hokkori shiteiru): to be warm and fluffy Traveling around Japan has really widened my understanding of Japan’s local foods. For instance, because dried apricots are nearly impossible to find in my bayside town, I assumed that there…

Spring is Here: Na no Hana (Brassica napus)

緑黄色野菜 (ryokuôshoku yasai): leafy greens, yellow-green vegetables high in beta-carotene After a cold winter that was only matched in length by the irritatingly hot summer that preceded it, spring has finally come to Hokuriku. The supermarket is filled with spring vegetables, but the easiest and perhaps most inoffensive one (least bitter) to prepare is na…

The Apple Chronicles, Part 1: Applesauce

「しゃきっとみずみずしい果肉をしている」(shakitto mizumizushii kaniku wo shiteiru): to have a crispy and juicy flesh (of fruit)(alc.co.jp) One of my favorite apples grown in Japan is the Jonagold. The flesh is crisp and sweet, and the skin is a gorgeous gradation of reds and yellows. This week, however, I have been pushed to the culinary limit by my…

Fiddleheads

深緑 (shinryoku): deep green Springtime is prime season for going to the grocery store and having no idea what on earth is on the displays in the produce section. One item I did recognize was kogomi (こごみ) or kakuma (かくま),  fiddlehead ferns, but only because I tried them last spring in a soba shop in…

Open Sesame! Sesame-Roasted Kabocha

開けゴマ (hirake goma): open sesame! Sesame oil is my new favorite cooking oil. It’s high in antioxidants and, as a result, has a long shelf life. As friend once said, the flavor of Japan is sesame oil, and I use it whenever I’m going for Asian-inspired flavors rather than European (olive oil) or neutral (grapeseed…

When Simple is Best: Komatsuna and Chicken Stir-Fry

乙な味 (otsuna aji)- strange taste; spicy taste I often don’t have a lot of time to cook dinner in the evenings after work. The quickest thing to make on busy days when I haven’t cooked ahead for the week is stir-fry, and this is one of the easiest ones I’ve made. Komatsuna (小松菜), “Japanese Mustard…