sweet-potato-takikomi-gohan-rice

Sweet potato and black rice takikomi gohan

sweet-potato-takikomi-gohan-rice

A couple of weeks ago I picked up three cooking magazines at the local bookstore, カラダ温めレシピ (recipes to warm you up), Esse Special edition of their most popular bentos and 楽々スープジャーレシピ (thermos recipes). Now I have tons of ideas for lunches. I found the thermos recipe book the most interesting, conceptually. Almost everything is cooked in the microwave but I can easily make everything on the stove.

This recipe is the second one I tried from the warming recipes magazine. The first one I tried was carrot and ginger rice and none of us liked it. This one, on the other had, was delicious. I used orange fleshed yams (annouimo 安納芋 あんのういも) instead of sweet potato and I don’t think I can go back to regular sweet potatoes. The yams were so smooth.

Goma shio is a mixture of salt and black sesame and is a common rice topping. To mix, use one part salt to ten parts black sesame seeds, by volume.

Sweet Potato and Black Rice Takikomi Gohan
さつまいもと黒米の炊き込みご飯

From Sakura Mook 23 (カラダ温めレシピ)
Serves 2

1/2 sweet potato (I used about 70 grams)
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tablespoon black rice
1/3 teaspoon salt
goma shio for topping

Wash the rice, add the appropriate amount of water and let sit for at least thirty minutes. Chop, but don’t peel, the sweet potato into small cubes and soak in water for about fifteen minutes. Drain and rinse the sweet potato and it and the salt to the rice. Give it a quick stir and then put it in the rice cooker and cook on the regular white rice setting. I haven’t tried the quick setting but it is probably okay if you are in a pinch for time. If you don’t have a rice cooker, cook it the same way you would rice. Serve topped with goma shio.

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additive-free-potato-chips-japan

Recent additive-free finds

I have been making a bit of an effort to buy more additive-free and organic pantry items. I have started keeping my eyes peeled for organic/additive-free products in the supermarket. My food philosophy tends to be eat as healthy as possible with what is available. You should be able to find some of these items in your local supermarket. I have found a lot of additive-free and organic food at the local OK Supermarket, a discount supermarket.

organic soy sauce japan

Organic soy sauce

有機しょうゆ (ゆうき しょうゆ yuuki shouyu)

I have been using this soy sauce for a couple of weeks and I like it. It is made by Yamasa which is the company I usually buy non-organic soy sauce. This is a picture of the bag it was sold in.

organic-sausage-japan

Additive-free sausages
無添加 ソーセージ (むてんか ソーセージ mutenka souseeji)
I spotted this about a week ago for the first time and tried them. They taste like normal chemical laden sausages. They were about 270 yen for one pack so they are a bit more expensive than regular sausages.

additive-free-potato-chips-japanAdditive-free potato chips

無添加ポテトチップス (むてんか ぽてと ちっぷす mutenka poteto chippusu)

My husband got into these before I had a chance to eat them. He said they tasted good.

organic-soy-sauce-japan(Mostly) Organic soy sauce

有機しょうゆ (ゆうき しょうゆ yuuki shouyu)

This one is made from organic soy beans but all other ingredients are not organic. I have never made soy sauce before so I can’t say how much non-organic material is in the soy sauce.

organic-coffee-japanOrganic Coffee

有機コーヒー (ゆうき こうひい yuuki kouhii)

I don’t drink coffee so I will not be able to review it but it is there for you to try.

organic-natto-japanOrganic natto

有機納豆 (ゆうき なっとう yuuki nattou)

Another product I can’t stomach but the boys of the house love it. Aside from OK Supermarket, which sells organic natto for the same price as non-organic, supermarkets seem to sell organic natto in two packs for the same price as a three pack of non-organic. Not too bad if you don’t go through a lot.

Do you have a favorite organic or additive-free product? Please leave a comment (preferably with a link to a picture) below  in the comments.

Cookpad is in English!

cookpad-in-english

I have great news. The Japanese cooking site I use the most, Cookpad, now has an English page. Cookpad is Japan’s biggest recipe submission site. This is very exciting for those days when I need inspiration but can’t be bothered to research in Japanese. It looks like they translated everything as is because the recipes have the same cutesy titles the Japanese titles have.

I like the way they have sorted the recipes. Some of the categories have interesting names. I looked for an allergy-friendly category but there doesn’t seem to be one yet. Hopefully soon.

Here are some useful recipe categories

mackerel-tomato-sauce

Mackerel simmered in tomato sauce (can be gluten-free)

mackerel-tomato-sauce

I spotted this recipe on Cookpad (Japanese) and I couldn’t resist trying it. It looked simple and I knew if I made one small adjustment it would be fabulous. I happened to have some mackerel in the fridge and the supermarket had a bag of super ripe tomatoes on the discount veggie rack and I knew it was fate. The original recipe called for one can of tomatoes but they are in season now so fresh is best. I will try this again with canned tomatoes but I think I will splurge on expensive canned tomatoes as the freshness of the tomatoes was one of the reasons I enjoyed this so much.

Mackerel simmered in tomato sauce

4 mackerel fillets – make sure there are not too many bones
3 small tomatoes, cut into large chunks
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, diced/minced
1 tablespoon flour (to make gluten-free use rice flour)
salt and pepper to taste
splash of white wine or cooking sake (I used cooking sake)

Sprinkle some salt on the mackerel fillets and let them sit for five minutes. Dice/mince the garlic and saute it in the olive oil in a frying pan (large enough to fit all the ingredients) until it is fragrant but no darker than light brown. Pat the mackerel fillets dry with some paper towel and sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper. Add the fillets to the pan and brown on each side. They don’t have to be fully cooked at this point. Once they are brown add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer everything on medium for about ten minutes. the fish will be fully cooked and the flavors will have melded. Serve.

If you are in Chigasaki on Sunday, June 9th please join me for a Hummus Workshop at Serendipity Cafe. You can find more details here.

hummus-workshop-japan

green-pepper-maki

Green Pepper Maki

green-pepper-maki

I love veggies wrapped in meat. My favorite is asparagus wrapped in pork but an honorable mention must go to eringi wrapped in beef. I tried something new the other day. I had some fast fry pork chops and some green peppers in the house so I search on Cookpad.com with those two ingredients and found a few pictures of sliced green pepper wrapped in pork. I was sold. I didn’t actually look at the recipes but I knew what I wanted  then and there.

Green pepper maki

4 shabushabu cut pork slices (thin fast fry pork chops) or the equivalent of shaved pork
2 green peppers (Japanese sized)
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon cooking sake
salt to taste

At least thirty minutes before you want to start cooking, mix the cooking sake and miso together and spread over both sides of the pork. Let sit until you are ready to cook. Cut the green peppers lengthwise into thin strips. Roll half of a green pepper’s worth of strips in each piece of pork. Cook in your fish grill for 7-10 minutes, or fry on medium, until the meat is brown and crispy. The green peppers will be cooked but still crispy. Sprinkle a bit of salt (keeping in mind miso is about 30% salt) and serve.