I bought a new recipe book recently, The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook by Yokota Wataru. And for the last three Saturdays we've been doing "Dad's Izakaya" at home. A lot of fun choosing the dishes, cooking them, and then eating, all accompanied by decent beer. PS I did make vegetable dishes too!
I forget the English for these fish (smelts?), but this was a success. The recipe adds beer to the mix to add crunchiness, and it absolutely did! The batter was flavoured with nori-tsukudani (that dark nori paste). And I used Yona Yona Ale for the beer, just to be flash, ha ha.
Parboil the taters, then whack 'em a few times, then deep-fry. The smashed areas go nice and crispy. <Hmm, crispiness seem to be trending!>
Sorry, can't remember the name of the dish again. This is not all that dissimilar to sukiyaki in flavour. The tofu really soaks up the juices nicely.
I ate well over the winter vacation (despite it being ridiculously short!) and so now begin 2022 with the goal of losing some weight. It was worth it, though!
Osechi is the umbrella name for dishes made at New Year (oshougatsu). It is delicious! Many people buy these days but my mother-in-law makes it all, being the uber-talented cook she is!
These went exceedingly well with beer! Rice balls with a pork blanket wrapped around them.
Sashimi and other fantastic stuff upon a big bowl of rice. Splash on the soy sauce and wasabi, and rejoice!
Yakiniku is actually Korean in origin but hugely popular in Japan. We chowed down this evening to celebrate our two boys playing a good game in their respective matches today.
A few more dishes of typical Japanese cuisine.
I bought better quality chikuwa this time, and to be honest, I'm not sure it was the best move. The taste became a bit too strong overall.
A good dish to get loads of iron in. I grilled the bacon under the fish grill (they are much smaller than the typical western grill) to get some crispiness.
laying a sheet of nori (sea-weed) in the tamago-yaki gives it a nice texture, a nice look and an extra dollop of healthiness.
The pickles are always welcome.
I had a look at the menu for Watami, a Japanese izakaya chain, and chose a few dishes. Turned out pretty well. Tsukemono (Japanese pickles - carrot, daikon & cucumber), Caesar salad, Uzura tamago & niku-dango (quail's eggs & meat-balls), gyouza, and negi-shio buta-niku (long onion, salted pork).
Japanese cuisine (wa-shoku) is very much based around three flavours, soy sauce, sake & mirin. Different combinations and quantities of these three are added to just about every dish. I'd say the next two major flavourings are dashi (fish stock) and sesame (goma). Below is a simple dinner I made the other day. Lots of vegetables and a nice variety. Carrot kinpira, sweet potato in swet syrup (satsumaimo amani), egg & spinach miso soup, and buta-don.
I'm pretty sure every Japanese kid asks their parents to make this once a month. It's Japanese-style fried chicken, and it's so good! The flavouring is soy-sauce and cooking sake, with ginger & garlic. I'm sure there are variations on this, though. My sons will eat a shed-load of rice when I cook this, as it is junky and needs something else in your stomach for balance. I use two chicken breasts and two chicken thighs. The breasts are meatier, the thighs juicier. Lemons are a nice add!
After enjoying some hydrangea in north Tokyo (Hakusan shrine), this Korean lunch was heartily and cheerfully consumed.
Very filling! Brought back memories of when we did volunteer work in Korea. I'm a big fan of kimchi so was happy to chow down on it every day. And the bibimba was awesome!
I could not eat sashimi or even sushi when I first came here. Soon after arriving, I went to a sushi place with a friend and a couple of people who had been here a year already. They were chowing down on plates of sushi and I was frantically searching for something on the conveyor belt that I could swallow. One of them said to me, "Did you know you were coming to Japan?" But now... now I can't get enough of it! Best I ever tasted was in Hokkaido. Melt-in-the-mouth sushi.
Our two sons love sashimi and will eat 3 or 4 bowls of rice when I buy it. There is always the inevitable pinch of the nose as we get the "Wasabi Hits"!
I had this for lunch after a bit of hiking around Miura Kaigan. The "don" is the style of a bowl of rice with something atop (gyu-don is beef on rice, oyako-don is egg & chicken on rice), and the kai-sen is basically fresh sea food. Of course, absolutely delicious!
Sadly, the izakayas of Japan remain mostly shut, or if they are open, are not serving alcohol, which is kinda half the experience of these Japanese eateries. So I whipped up a few dishes in the home kitchen. Click on the pictures for the link to the recipes.
I am a big lover of daikon (Japanese radish). It has so many uses and is very cheap considering how big the things are! This recipe uses the broth of oden, a must-eat food in winter.
This was extremely easy to make, but didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped in terms of presentation. My wife suggested blow-torching the top to get a better colour, a la creme brulee. Tasted fine, though.
Japanese pickles. I could eat these till the cows come home. I cheated here and bought a bottle of tsukemono "juice". Cut up the vegetables, pop them in a Zip-Loc, pour in the juice, and then leave in the fridge for an hour. So crunchy, so tasty, so healthy! The link will take you to an excellent Japanese cooking site.
Ideally, you'd do this on a grill, but I simply seared it in a frying-pan. Be sure to buy the sashimi-kind, and also shin-tamanegi ("new onion"??) and green negi. Delicious!