Category Archives: japanese 日本食

New addition to the family

Came across these beautiful plates yesterday at @utsuwakaede made by @muraidaiske. I’d been looking for a set of small plates for ages but couldn’t find the one that clicked with me. When I saw them displayed at the gallery I fell in love with them instantly, and knew I was making the right choice.

Can’t wait to use them.

Dinner for two

When my husband is out for dinner, I always cook something easy & quick but healthy for the two of us. Today, it was:

Pan fried sea bream (rose wine & balsamico sauce) & asparagus with steamed pumpkin as a main course

Tomato/cucumber/okra salad

Edamame

Freshly cooked rice

Cooking time: approximately 20 minutes.

Itadakimasu!

This week’s weekday dinners

Monday: Can’t remember

Tuesday: Hamburg steak with vegetables

Wednesday: Tomato & aubergine pasta, sautéed chicken with asparagus

Thursday: Ginger pork, Hijiki, Hiyayakko (fresh tofu)

Friday: Hijiki rice & Tempura

Now ready to rest. Have a good weekend!

Takenoko (Bamboo Shoot) 8/May/19

During this year’s so-called Golden Week holiday, we visited my family and relatives in Gunma prefecture, 150km north of Tokyo. Growing up, all I wanted was to get out of the suburban city where we lived, but going back there with the new perspective through my daughter’s eyes, everything looks different. Thanks to her, I’ve rediscovered what I had missed and failed to see all these years ago.

For the past few years in every May, we visit my aunt & uncle who live in the mountains for Takenoko diggings. After climbing up the ladder on their retaining wall to get to the bamboo grove behind their beautiful wooden house, we avidly started searching for the little shoots peeking out of the fertile soil. It is my daughter’s third time this year, and she appeared to be confident and know exactly what to do with the large spade.

We dug more than 20 of them and brought all of them home, many of which we shared with our neighbors back in Tokyo. I cooked a few of them (need to boil them for an hour as a preparation), from Takenoko rice, Takenoko curry and the most popular Takenoko Tempura (fritter). I served the tempura on the bamboo plate handmade by my auntie, as a side dish to the Udon noodles also from my hometown of Gunma.

Kindergarten bento – Last bento (14/Mar/19)

This is it.

My daughter’s last kindergarten bento.

It sort of crossed my mind to make it somewhat special, but no, no, it went just like another normal day. We barely made it on time to school on her last day, which is, in a way, endearing and memorable in many forms, as if these past three years got encapsulated in one morning.

I will miss it, this whole bento making routine, school runs in haste, and a bit stressful PTA’s with other fellow mums & dads. But I’m also sure that I’m ready to move on, to witness my darling girl to step into the next phase of her life, to the bigger world out there.

Well done honey, I’m so proud of you.

Tomorrow is her graduation.

Kindergarten bento – Ka-Ra-A-Ghe (fried chicken) 13/Mar/19)

Ka-Ra-A-Ghe.

This word is very hard to spell in alphabets! Ka Ra A Ghe – you pronounce all the vowels individually, just like in Italian if that makes sense. The last one, Ghe, is pronounced as in spaGHEtti. Basically, it is bite-sized deep fried chicken, usually made with boneless chicken thigh (shown above in brown – cut into smaller pieces for bento for easier packing and eating).

My family usually never ask me what dish to cook (unless I ask). They are very easy, and happily eat whatever I put on the table without any complaints. But yesterday at the grocery store, my daughter asked me, out of the blue, that she wants to eat Ka-Ra-A-Ghe. Ok then, so be it.

Ka-Ra-A-Ghe

Marinate bite-sized chicken thigh in the marinade (proportion I use is 1 soy sauce, 1 mirin, 1 Japanese sake, with 1/3 ground garlic, 1/3 ground ginger & some edges of spring onion for flavour). I only left them for half an hour or so, but maybe even better if you leave it longer, 2-3 hours.

Right before you deep fry them, take the chicken out of the marinade, toss them into Katakuriko 片栗粉 (potato starch).

Deep fry them in regular canola oil until golden brown.

Kindergarten bento – Different perspective (11/Mar/19)

School run is a big deal. This morning, I was getting things done from one thing to another, packing my daughter’s bento, doing dishes, putting my makeup on while drinking cappuccino in the bathroom, putting breakfast on the table for my daughter, eating my breakfast standing up, and so on and on, so that we can go out the door in order to make it to her school on time.

Her bento had already been prepared on the kitchen counter, but I just didn’t have time to take a picture of it. My iPhone was within my daughter’s reach, so I asked her to take a picture of her bento for me. She is well aware of my routine to keep the record of her daily bento, so she was very cooperative. She grabbed my iPhone and placed it in front of my face to unlock it, and took this beautiful image.

I always take her bento photos from straight above and never thought of changing the angle. I didn’t look at the photo right away, but when I did, it took me by surprise as the image gave me a totally different impression, with somehow different lighting and ambience from mine. It perhaps looked more… sophisticated. For the past three years, I’ve made her bento so many times and took a few photos each time. But I have never taken anything like what my daughter took today. Maybe it’s because I was more focused on being consistent each day, and unfortunately failed to see things from various perspectives.

With my daughter’s graduation approaching in four days, I won’t have so much chance to practice my photography skills on her kindergarten bento. Still, it feels as if my daughter has taught me an important life lesson, right before her three year kindergarten life is about to complete.