Saturday, November 28, 2009


Thanksgiving time marks the beginning of the winter holiday season and with that comes holiday cooking. And with any great holiday cooking comes some planning. Oh yes, depending on what you serve and for how many people you have at your holiday dinner table there may be some leftovers.
By chance you are like me who is anything but traditional, turkey is just not going to do. For starters, it takes too long to make, it’s too big, too bland, it puts me into a catatonic state after I eat it, and finally, I am stuck with lots of leftovers. Especially when you only live with one other person, too many leftovers will get old quick. I have nothing against turkey or people who prefer turkey at the holidays. But if you would like to opt for something different then we take our holiday planning into consideration.

For Thanksgiving, we opted for a duck. Ducks are generally half the size of a turkey and often come with a premade packet of orange sauce. Before using that sauce you can add a qtr cup of orange juice & vermouth or vodka into the mix. Stir the mix and store it to cool while you prepare your duck. You can use prepackaged seasonings but if you can not find them you can make your own seasonings using white pepper, paprika, Lawry’s seasoning salt, and fresh ground pepper.

You’ll bake that duck according to its weight and internal temperature which should be around 180* when ready. Serve with sautéed mushrooms, green onions and mix with a wild rice and a side of cranberry.

Baste the orange sauce in the last ten minutes of cooking and you’ll have one memorable holiday dinner!

So now that we’ve covered our alternative to turkey and what to serve with it we are back to those leftovers. And here’s why I recommend a plan what you want to serve because unless you have a large family present you are going to be stuck with a lot of leftovers that will either bore you to death or end up in the dumpster.

Our six pound duck produced enough meat to feed four people. That left us with enough food to produce a second dinner. But why do the same thing twice? When I was a kid, if we did not have traditional Mexican tamales to off set the heavy turkey leftovers we would end up serving déjà vu of the night before and somehow it just wasn’t the same. But what do you want from leftovers? The late George Carlin had a great sketch about leftovers but you don’t necessarily have to rehash the same holiday plate that has since lost its luster. This is why when you consider any holiday bird consider the size, how many people you intend to feed, and what you plan to do with the leftover meat once the holiday is past. Hence our solution which we will call Kamotosoba (Duck with Noodles).

Cooking with duck opens possibilities. I wanted to make something Japanese with my leftover duck but opted to improvise with the items I had available on hand.

As stated in our title, this meal falls under Japanese inspired cooking. So here’s what we used:

Your leftover Duck
6 Shitake Mushrooms
2 pkg Yaki Soba Noodles
½ Onion
1 Carrot
1 tblsp Sesame Oil
1 cup Orange Sauce
Fresh ground pepper

The first thing you want to do is prepare your vegetables.

Cut the stems off the mushrooms and then cut the heads in half.
Next slice your carrots in wedges.
Then cut your onion in ¼” slices.

If you have a wok or a decent sized skillet, line your tablespoon of sesame oil to get the vegetables started.

Add your vegetables to your wok or skillet and occasionally stir while simmering. This should take no more than four minutes.

While your onions are doing their thing, slice your duck meat into smaller bite sized wedges then add them into the skillet or wok. Add pepper and stir for about two minutes. While the meat is cooking unpack the Yaki Soba noodles and add to the mix and stir for another minute.

Now if you managed to save some of the orange sauce from the night before you’re in luck!

As with any storage of sauces or liquids, evaporation can occur. To reconstitute your sauce add a ¼ cup of orange juice to your sauce and stir. This will bring life back to your sauce and remove any leftover trace of the previous night’s vermouth flavor. Once properly mixed, pour your orange sauce into the skillet or wok with the simmering meat & vegetables and stir for one minute and serve! This should serve about two to three people and will prove to be anything but the same old boring rehash of the night before.

You see, with proper planning you can have two great meals for the holiday and the day after without settling for the same old-same old. Our Kamotosoba came out very OIISHII and we hope yours will too!


Thursday, November 26, 2009


Last week we posted our little experiment we got from NHK and it was a big success. Not only did our Sake no Ebi Tsukune came out OIISHII, but people wrote to me directly and loved the recipe! Given the popularity of our take on Salmon Tsukune, we thought we would try our hand at Gyūtsukune which is literally a beef version of what we previously made. Like with Sake no Ebi Tsukune, we rarely follow instructions to the letter for one logistical reason or another but we do our best to show you or at least inspire you to do on your own.

Remember, were not trying to deprive anyone of making a living or claiming credit for something we didn't invent but merely showing you how we did at making some of the best Japanese dishes we can get our hands on. So if you're cool with that and not calling your lawyer...let's get cooking! Hajime!

Gyūtsukune at a glance looks allot like our earlier stab at Sake no Ebi Tsukune. The preparation methodology is the same but the ingredients make this it's own Tsukune. Now earlier this week I had bought a thing of basil leaves and shitake mushrooms. What drove me nuts was that somewhere in the middle of my 101 distractions which are impeding the completion of my Samurai Novel I am writing, I forgot what the hell I bought the basil leaves for! Ok, now that our memory came back to us after a heavy workout in the Shinkendo Dojo, my delayed memory recalled researching recipes at NHK's cooking page. It was there that I was introduced to both the fish and meat Tsukune recipes. As I previously mentioned before, I don't always follow or in some cases understand some of the directions I come across but that never stops me from making a good meal and neither should it stop you. As in my subtitle for my page, I will give you both Japanese and Japanese inspired cooking.

So getting back to our Gyūtsukune.... as with any recipe you'll some ingredients. The original recipe called for ground beef and pork. I have a general distrust of pork in this country so I opted to make my Gyūtsukune without pork otherwise I would have to call it Nikutsukune(Niku=meat / Gyū=beef). So here's what we used:

1lb of Ground Beef

5 Shitake Mushrooms

3 Basil Leaves

1/2 Carrot

1/2 Onion

1 Egg

1/2 Cup of Mirin

1/2 Cup of Soy Sauce

2tsp of Oil ( We use Olive Oil but Vegitable Oil is ok too)

2tsp of Sugar

2tsp Flour

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

3 Basil Leaves

As with our earlier fish based Tsukune, we recommend prepping your main ingredients first and the sauce second.

So first thing is first.
Take your Shitake Mushrooms and cut the stems off first.
Take a good sized mixing bowl and be ready to throw them in.
Slice and dice your mushrooms into tiny pieces.
You will repeat this slice & dice process with the onions and the carrots.

The original recipe called for six basil leaves.
We used three so the basil wouldn't overpower our dish.
If you have ever cut fresh basil leaves then you'll know exatly what I mean!

Once you have your basil, mushrooms, carrots, and onions chopped up into little pieces throw them all into the same mixing bowl.
By this point this should be smelling pretty good and you haven't thrown in the meat yet!

When working with raw ground beef, I like to use Lawry's Seasoning Salt. No Japanese recipe I know calls for it but that's what I like to use it and it's never thrown a dish so far so we'll use it here. Throw in your ground beef and use a dash or two or in my case three of the seasoning salt. You'll want to add roughly around the same amount of pepper into your ground beef. If you happen to have a black peppercorn grinder bottle like me then you're in even better shape.I recommend them.
Mix your meat with the vegetables into the mixing bowl. Add one raw egg and two tablespoons of flour. Mix everything we've mentioned so far in the mixing bowl until your meat becomes sticky. You'll want it that way to shape them. With the addition of an egg and some flour those of you who tried to make the Sake no Ebi Tsukune will appreciate this. After you have all that mixed return your meat to the refrigerator to keep cool while we move on to our sauce.

Like before, you'll take your 1/2 cup of Mirin, 1/2 cup of Soy Sauce and your 2 tsp of Sugar and pour into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer for about two minutes. After that you'll want to place your mixture in the refrigerator to cool down and retrieve your meat so you can move onto the next step.

The idea of this next step is to take your ground beef and shape them into a small flat hamburger like shape.

Once you have your meat shaped and ready to go, break out your sauce mixture and turn up that fire.

Add a tablespoon of oil into your sauce and stir it in before you add your meat.

Like with the previous tsukune post you'll want to fry them until evenly browned on both sides. This should take around five to six minutes depending on how big yours comes out.

After your Tsukune is browned and ready, serve it with a good Teriyaki sauce. We recommend Kikkoman Original for this dish and believe me it brings out a zesty flavor you are bound to enjoy. You'll never want to make teriyaki burgers the same way again!

So there I was, standing there with a handful of mixed ground beef when Tina suddenly goes over to Soy Sauce Queen's page and discovers she just happened to post a different variation of the same idea. Hers is called Hakusai Hamburger Steak. I was like oh shit! What's the chance of that happening! Seriously, I didn't see her blog until I was halfway done cooking. Hopefully Misa isn't going to think I'm trying to rip her off! We wouldn't do that to Misa Sensei. She has been very supportive in our endeavors as we are of hers so please visit her page if you'd like to see another way how to cook with hamburger meat the Japanese way.

We sure hope you have enjoyed this recipes and all the recipes we've posted here.
We appreciate all your comments!

Monday, November 23, 2009

魚料理 Sake to Ebi Tsukune

Konnichi-wa! Your “Gaijin-Gourmet” has returned with another fun recipe from Japan. Ok, I didn’t actually go to Japan since my last post but thanks to the internet and books, I can share with you my recent cooking experiences with both traditional and Japanese inspired culinary cooking. So let me share with you a seafood dish I learned from an NHK cooking show that we tried this last weekend called Salmon & Prawn Tsukune.

I love seafood and always have since I was a kid. I picked this recipe based on the ease to make and the obtainability to find all the necessary ingredients. I don’t read kanji but I do shop in Japanese markets in Little Tokyo (I like to think of it as my training for shopping in Japan). With this in mind I imagine if you are in Japan and can’t read the kanji labels finding what you need should for this meal will be as easy as pointing at the items you will need.

You can find salmon pretty much anywhere here or in Japan. So scoring a pair of salmon fillets for should be no problem. For the second item in this seafood doubleheader, the recipe calls for prawns. Prawns you say? Not to panic. Let me explain. I live in Los Angeles, so most markets mainly sell shrimp instead of prawns. What’s the difference you might ask? Not much to tell you the truth. Prawns are generally larger than their shrimp cousins. So in other words, you can do this exactly as the original recipe called for using prawns or improvise like me with the more easily obtainable large shrimp available in most American seafood sections at your local markets. Successfully acquiring a pound of each fish we can now move on to what else you’ll need.

1lb Salmon Fillet
1lb Shrimp or Prawns
½ Onion (White onion is good!)
1tsp Sake
3fl oz Mirin
3fl oz Japanese Soy Sauce
4tsp Lemon Juice
4 square inches of Konbu
Salt & Pepper
Thinly Sliced Ginger

This photo is of the konbu kelp we purchased at Nijiya Market in Little Tokyo.
If you are in Japan and can not read Kanji reference this photo!

The first thing you want to do is open all the windows because the place is going to smell fishy! Ok, (if you don’t live in a little box like me) maybe not. But seriously you’ll want to start with the shrimp. Do not buy precooked shrimp. Use shelled shrimp. Like with any meal involving shrimp, you will want to de-shell and de-vein your shrimp before you do anything else. This can prove to be time consuming but necessary to de-vein shrimp.

Your stomach will thank you later.

Once you have your shrimp ready you can bring out your salmon fillets.

Make sure you have all bones and any skin removed before proceeding.

You will then want to slice your fish into tiny bits and mince them.
You do this for both shrimp and salmon.

After you do this place the two fish in a bowl together.

Next you’ll want to take that half onion and chop it into just under a qtr inch bits. If you are familiar with Mexican Civiche’ it’s the same process.

If you happen to have one of those “Slap Chop” slicers then you are in business!

Once diced into tiny bits, throw your onions into the bowl containing the fish.

Add Salt & Pepper (sparingly according to taste) and the sake then mix it all together. Once mixed, cover it and place it back in the refrigerator to stay cool while you move onto the part.

Now in many Japanese recipes they tell you to start with your sauce or Dashi stock first. Of course when working with fish you might want to do that second. It’s really up to you but for practical reasons I always prep my fish or meats first especially on a hot day. Need I say more?

For our mixture well now break out that Mirin. If you are still not sure what Mirin is it’s basically sweet cooking sake. You can find this in any Japanese market or in most major American markets that have an Asian Foods section. If you live in a place where they don’t carry mirin but do carry regular sake then don’t despair. Add a pinch of sugar and stir into sake and there’s your mirin!

Now that we’ve covered mirin, let’s pour your mirin into a pan and bring it to a boil. Once you’ve hit the boiling point turn down your heat and simmer for two minutes. Next, add lemon juice and that konbu kelp. If you can’t find Konbu nearby you can always order it on line from any of the Japanese market sites I have listed here on the side. You’ll only need to buy one package and trust me, you won’t use it that much but it’s good to have for when you need it. Once you have the konbu and lemon juice mixed in with the mirin, add the soy sauce and place it back in the refrigerator to cool.

While that’s cooling bring your fish bowl out and prepare to get busy! If you have ever eaten Scandinavian food you may be familiar with Fiskballar – fish balls. This isn’t the same thing but the concept is the same. Take your fish mixture and shape them into balls. NHK recommends 5cm. If you live where we don’t use metric think about the size of an Italian meatball and you are in business! With our experience we found this to be easier said than done. The fish didn’t hold their shape so easily but with patience you can make this work. Just don’t make them any larger than this or they won’t retain their shape when you deep fry them. Once your fish is shaped into balls you are ready to go.

Final Steps.

Use a good sized pan for your mixture and pan fry the fish balls until they are nicely browned.
Once they are browned you are ready to serve.
Garnish them with thinly sliced ginger or shredded ginger and serve with a dash of Ponzu Sauce

You can find some great ideas and recipes on NHK World’s website. They do a great job showing you on their Japanese Kitchen show how to cook delicious Japanese meals. However, their website’s instructions could prove to be confusing.
As I have explained before, I don’t come up with these recipes. But what I do on here is share with you how I made these dishes and hopefully show you how you can too.

We certainly loved how OIISHII the Tsukune came out and it’s a definite “Gohan mo Ichido” for us. I hope it will be one for you too.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Daikon no Miso Soba

This is a side dish I put together from an idea I read in the Samurai book Yojokun by Kaibara Ekiken. In it he describes the idea of simmering sliced daikon root in miso. This seemed like an idea to try. After all, if it was good enough for the Samurai it was good enough for me.

So what I did here was take half a daikon root and made thin slices that included slicing around the edges.

Next I took some miso paste and prepared it for simmering. But this didn't seem like it was going to be enough for my American-jin taste. So when in doubt, improvise.

So up until now I followed the Yojokun's mention of simmering thinly sliced daikon root in miso.

But here is where I deviate from the Samurai who stirred this over a hearth in the Edo Period. You see being Latino, we love cooking with onions. So instinctivly I added half a white onion and cut the slices into thirds. To add some color, I took half a carrot and after peeling it I cut the carrot into wedges. You can use a whole carrot if you choose. I just used half a carrot because I am still out of work and never like to be without some carrot. You just never know when you'll need one!

Taking your sliced vegetables, throw them into a pot with your miso and simmer for a minimum of five minutes. I like to leave it in there longer but that's just me! When everything is firmly simmered, add one package of Yaki-Soba noodles and stir. You won't need to use more than one package. Trust me!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Beef Shumai

I've always loved shumai dumplings even before I knew what they were called. You can buy ready made shumai made of crab or pork. But if you love to cook and by chance you distrust the way they make pork products in the US, then here's a simple way to make Shumai using ground beef.

Now remember, I didn't come up with this recipe. I'm just here to show you how easy and inexpensive it is to make.
And you can make this in little or no time at all.
To make Beef Shumai you'll need:

1 pkg wonton skins
1lb of ground beef
2 Tbsp of thinly sliced or grated ginger root.
2 Tbsp of green onions (thinly sliced)
1 Tbsp of Soy Sauce
1/2 Tbsp of sugar
Seasme Oil - 1-2 tbsp - Don't go overboard!
2Tbsp of cornstarch - or more

The first thing you'll want to do is to mix all the ingredients into the ground beef.
Mix throughly until sticky. Depending on how much ground beef you have you may need to add more sesame oil and corn starch. Just go easy on that corn starch if you are counting calories!

Next take a spoonful of your ground beef and place in the center of the wonton skin. The recipe I got this from recommends adding a green peas but you can do with or without depending on your taste.
If your hand looks like mine in the picture holding a wonton skin with a spoonful of ground beef then close your hand like you are closing a fist (don't close too tightly otherwise you'll have squishing out in all directions) and with your fingertips close the wonton skin enveloping the ground beef.

If you get a good batch going like seen here then you are ready to place them in a steamer. But don't rush! Cooking is supposed to be fun and not your own personal Lucy Sketch!

Place the Shumai in a steamer or steamer like improv. Make sure you don't pack them tightly in the steamer or they may tear apart when you are ready to remove them. Allow enough room (unlike my picture-doh!) for your Shumai to cook. Steam for around five minutes and serve them with your favorite sides.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Serving up Soba

Soba noodles never quite caught my attention until I first tried my hand at cooking Japanese dishes. That's likely in part due to their resemblence to spaghetti that we've grown up with here in the states.

Ahh but despite appearences, the similarities stop there.

Like with any noodle you'll want to bring a pot of water to a boil.
Drop a bundle of the noodle into the ot and stir right away.
Decrease heat and simmer for no more than five minutes.

Now if you are in Japan, aquiring a zaru is no problem. Luckily, I live near Little Tokyo so I can find these things. But if you live out somewhere like my parents do in a state with no Japanese community then your on line stores can provide you with one.

So that the hell is a zaru anyway? A zaru is actually a bamboo mat used for draining noodles much like a colander and it's also used for serving as you'll see in my final photo.

You don't need a zaru to cook soba but it sure looks traditional if you do!

So now that you have your soba ready drain it with a colander or a zaru with cold water.
Rinse and drain completely before you serve! I can't emphasize that one enough. I once neglected to rinse thoroughly the first time I tried to make soba and thought I got a bad batch. Nope! That's why it's good to read the instructions!

Now that I've got your atten well continue on!

Presentation is always part of the game.

But it's not just presentation. It's ultimately about taste.
Here's what I reccomend servinv soba with:
  1. Thinly diced green onions.
  2. Thinly sliced nori (seaweed)
  3. Wakame - Dried Seaweed.

Combine all these elements together on top of your zaru or favorite serving plate with a shot or two of Ponzu Sauce and you are ready for a quick and easy Japanese meal that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kaki Gohan - Oyster Rice

I love oysters but some oyster dishes don't love me back.
But the only way you are going to know is to try. Part of my frustration with Japanese cooking is finding many of the specialty items that even the local Japanese market may not have. If you live where there are no Japanese markets than you know this frustration. This dish on the otherhand should be no problem regardless where you live.

All you need is:
2+cups of short grained rice
2+cups of water - note this takes some eyeballing!
1pint of oysters- without shell
3T of Soy Sauce
1T of Sake
1 Lemon for rinds
1 sheet of Nori

Most American markets in particularly in major cities have a small Asian section where you can find Nori. Or look wherever you can find sushi sold.

Of course if you are in Japan or near a Nihonmachi then this will be no problem.

So going back to Nori - You'll want to cut that in tiny strips for use later.

Next you'll want to wash and drain your rice and have it ready.
Now I have looked at the KakiGohan recipes from NHK World and Yukiko Moriyama's Japanese Cuisine books. In either recipes there is some amibiguity as to the part that follows next. Perhaps that's a language barrier or that's an asumption as to how to proceed next.

So unless you grew up with Japanese cooking or have your own Oba-Chan to answer your questions - the art of trial and error may apply. When in doubt experiment!
So here's what we did.
We went ahead and washed our oysters with running water and salt. This helps remove some of the muck you may encounter especially if you bought your oysters from a pre-packaged jar.
Next you'll want to mix that sake and soy sauce in a good skillet or wok and bring to a boil.
Once that's boiling throw in your oysters and simmer for a minute or two. Keep a good eye on them for depending on your oysters you may need to add some water and simmering time.
Once you are ready drain the oysters and throw them into the rice along with 2 1/2 cups of water and cover.
Cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Again, keep an eye on them. If your rice is ready in ten minutes don't wait until they are burning to turn off the heat. Reasonable so far? Wakarimasu ka?
As soon as your rice is ready gently stir and let stand for another few minutes.
If you are sensitive to oyster smell open those windows!

Now while that's standing you'll want to break out that lemon.
Thinly slice the rind. You can make them as small as you like.
When you are ready to serve you will garnish with the lemon rinds and the sliced nori.
When it's all done serve and enjoy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Furofuki-Daikon Or What to do with a Daikon Root?

I've always wanted to try a Daikon Root recipe but had no idea once I found one how to follow along in a manner that made sense. Like with any new dish, there is bound to be some level of trial and error. My attempt was no exception.

For Japanese people this is no daunting task but if you are like me who didn't grow up with this stuff there's bound to be some initial confusion. But that's ok. We're here to share how we went about this so you can get an idea of what you can do and should you be in Japan and low on cash this is something you can make for next to nothing on the fly.

At first glance the Daikon Root looks sturdy enough to carve but one quickly finds how easy they are to split apart when you least want them to so proceed with care.

So what we did was slice in 1 1/4 inch cuts.
Next with a small pairing knife you'll need to peel off the outer edge of the Daikon Root.
This is where you find how easy it is to make unintentional cuts so take your time and make it look nice. Remember with any type of cooking presentation is part of the game. Once you have the outer edge of the root peeled away you'll want to make small cross like cuts to help absorb heat and avoid further splitting.

Now many recipes I have came across recommend cooking rice along side this dish. One byproduct of the rice cleaning process is the rice water. You'll actually want to use that water to cook the root slices for around ten minutes in a large sauce pan or cooking wok. On the surface this didn't make too much sense but they say this offers better texture so being I had never cooked with Daikon Root before, who was I to argue with?

Once you've cooked the Daikon Root in the rice water you'll want to drain that out and replace with a simmering sauce comprised of :
1tsp Sugar
1tsp Salt
2tsp of Mirin
3 or more tsp of Soy Sauce - Depending on taste.

Pour the Simmering Sauce in the Daikon and bring to a boil for ten minutes then serve.
If you have access to Japanese Kombu (kelp) you can add this when you serve it.

If you followed along you may do something creative with rice.
I added thinly sliced nori and furikake (roasted Sesame).
This is only a serving suggestion.

So far I have to say mine came out pretty good! That's a do-again at my house!

There are other Japanese ways to cook Daikon but for the simple first time this is one easy way to try.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Yasai no Fukumeni

Shitake Mushrooms & Cabbage

Here’s an easy side dish we tried over the weekend I am sure you will enjoy.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. 1 pkg. Dried Shitake Mushrooms
  2. 1 Cabbage
    1/3 tsp of Mirin
  3. 3 tsp of Japanese Soy Sauce

Now I’ve worked with Shitake mushrooms before but never understood which was better to purchase them dried or fresh. With this recipe the use of using dried Shitake becomes all too clear.

Many Japanese meals may contain either a broth or simmering stock I didn’t understand this before until this was explained to me such as I in turn will explain to you the reader of this blog. In this recipe, using dried Shitake Mushrooms ( cut in halves, or quarters depending on the size of the Shitake) soak them in water until soft. Don’t throw out the water just yet because you’ll need that for your simmering sauce. No, that’s not the sauce but that is the prime component of it so this is where buying dried Shitake comes in handy.

While the Shitake is soaking, cut half a cabbage into quarters. Remember that regardless of what ethnic cooking you are doing, presentation is part of the game so make those quarters neat!

Your nest step is to make your simmering sauce.
To do that, take 1 ¼ cup to 1 ½ cup of the water left over from the Shitake Mushrooms.

Next, add 1/3rd tsp Mirin and 3 tsp of Japanese Soy Sauce.

Mix these ingredients together and pour them into a wok or a large simmering pot. Heat to boiling.
Once the sauce is boiling lower to moderate heat and add the Shitake Mushrooms and let simmer for another five minutes.
Add your cabbage squares and cook until soft then serve!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


For the record, Mabu Tofu is not a Japanese dish. It even says so on the box. But there we were one morning cruising the Nijiya Market in Little Tokyo after our visit to the Koyasan Betsuin when we came across this little culinary curiosity. As in markets in Japan there are always girls giving away samples of the latest to offer. This looked good enough to try and so what the hell we thought. We tried it and were instantly hooked.

So going back to one of the primary reasons we post this blog was to show you easy Japanese inspired cooking whether you are here or there or frankly in the mood for something that’s not going to cost you much. This falls into that cheap and easy to make yet very tasty category.

Here's a photo of the product so you can easily identify it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Curry Gohan With Options!

Curry is one of the more popular staples found on Japanese TV and in many eateries.

Now we’ve made curry before in the traditional manner served with a bed of rice. And we are sure you might have seen this done or tried it yourself too.

But it was one day while walking in the Japanese Village in Little Tokyo that we came across something that caught our eye. It was what looked like a plate of spaghetti sitting in the middle of a display rack of sushi dishes and Donburi’s. Nani???? Chotto-matte kudasai! Did we just say spaghetti? As a matter of fact we did!
Now what’s this all have to do with Japanese curry? Believe it or not we found a few Nisei that swear by this. And now we’ll we will show you!
As with any dish you’ll need the following ingredients:

  1. Curry Mix – Available in Medium or Mild - (If you are familiar with Thai or Korean "HOT"- Don't push your luck!)
  2. 1 lb of ground beef
  3. ½ Onion
  4. 1 Carrot
  5. 3 Potatoes - I reccomend small white or yellow dutch potatoes.
  6. 1 Spaghetti pkg.
  7. Cooking Oil
Now every cook has their own way or preparing meals. To save my sanity I like to make sure I have everything I need out and ready.

First, you’ll want to dice or cube your onions, carrots, and potatoes.
Second, you’ll want to get that pot of Spaghetti boiling.

While the Spaghetti cooks you’ll want to get the ground beef cooking.

Use only a small amount of cooking oil. Now when I mean a small amount I mean somewhere between 2 & 3 tbsp. When a recipe doesn’t call for Sesame Oil I like to use Olive Oil. That’s just a matter of personal preference but you can use whichever works for you.

Once the meat is sufficiently brown enough throw in the rest of the vegetables and simmer on a medium to low heat and occasionally stir.


Now if you bought the premixed Curry you can find in Japanese markets throw that into the meat.
But if that is not the case and you have the curry in cube form then you will want to have that ready. This may take some work - try adding water.
If that’s the case pour your curry into the skillet with your meat and stir for at least 2-3 minutes before serving. By now your spaghetti should be ready to drain and ready to serve.

Now you can do this one of two ways.
Serve the curry with meat & vegetables over the curry.

Or you can mix it all together.
This is optional.
Should you be in Japan, low on funds, bored of the same old-same old, or simply out of rice this method of making a Curry Gohan is a viable alternative.
But if the concept of using Spaghetti doesn’t fly with you,
Then when in doubt....Go Traditional!
Now to make traditional curry use the same fore mentioned methods but use:
  1. 1lb Stewing beef – cubed
  2. 1 Rice – 1 cup - I reccomend long grain white rice but you can use any rice.
  3. ½ Onion
  4. 1 Carrot
  5. 3 Potatoes - I reccomend small white or yellow dutch potatoes.
Follow the same cooking methods as before and your meal should look like this:

Curry consistancy is up to you.
In eateries curry is served aside from the rice. However this does not stop you from doing things your own way as seen by my example.
Reccomended side : Potato Croquet
You can find those in Japanese Markets.
(See Market Links)