Sakura products in japan

Sakura Love

Sakura products in Japan

For some reason I am in love with sakura flavored stuff this year. In past years I didn’t give sakura flavoring the time of day. Probably because sakura season is during allergy season so I don’t participate in all of the hoopla. No picnics for me. I think I have only done it twice in my eight years here.

In the picture:

1. Sakura green tea
2. Sakura salt
3. Sakura macaroons
4. Sakura umeshu
5. Sakura bean paste
6. Pancakes topped with sakura bean paste
7. Sakura rice mix

Yakiniku Fried Rice


This is a result of thawing some marinated yakiniku pork and then remembering I had two day old rice to use up. Old rice is great in chahan (fried rice) and rice pudding. I was really impressed with this. I should note that I use very little oil when I make fried rice – I use a non-stick pan and a bit of water to prevent sticking.

Yakiniku Fried Rice

Serves two
2 cups cooked rice
200g shaved pork marinated in yakiniku sauce
1 handful strong tasting greens, chopped (I used mitsuba and celery leaves)
1-2 cm ginger, chopped finely
1 tablespoon yakiniku sauce
3 tablespoons water (if using day old rice)
A bit of cooking oil

In a frying pan fry the meat and ginger until the meat is just cooked. Add the greens and cook for a minute. Mix the yakiniku sauce and water (if using) in a bowl. Dump the rice on the meat mixture and drizzle the water/sauce mixture evenly over the rice. This helps break up the rice clumps. Stir everything together and break up the rice clumps. Once the rice is hot, serve.

Note: this would make amazing rice balls or filling for lettuce wraps.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2011


We had our annual Thanksgiving Dinner today. It was great spending time with the friends that have become our extended Japan family.

I did the turkey, made two pies, quick pickled beets and some stuffing. Friends brought potato salad (purple potatoes too), quiche, bread and cheese, green salad and roasted kabocha squash. Delicious.

I don’t have any new thanksgiving recipes because at Thanksgiving and Christmas I make the same thing every year. My mom perfected turkey dinner (in my opinion) and I make everything as close as I can to the way she does.

Dessert was pumpkin pie and pumpkin cake. Actually, both were made with kabocha but it doesn’t have the same ring to it. The Keitai Goddess made the cake using my recipe and it tasted better than when I make it.

The Return of Mitsuba


I decided to have a light dinner last night. I also remembered about mitsuba, a veggie I hadn’t bought in a year or two. I love it in miso soup. I found, what I thought was, a new type of potato – the oyaimo (親芋). It looks like it is actually a large satoimo that smaller potatoes grow around like children. Hence the name, which means parent potato.

On the menu
Boiled kabu (turnips) and greens dipped in yuzu kosho mentsuyu, miso soup with mitsuba and oyaimo, edamame tofu and rice topped with garlic sesame seeds.

If you can’t find rice don’t forget barley

Hi all,

My supermarket ran out of rice two days ago but last night the barley shelf was full. Japanese only use barley as an add in for rice so it is not on everyone’s list of staple foods. There are three kinds at my supermarket: komekomugi (cracked barley that looks like rice – above), oshimugi (rolled barley), and vitabare (cracked, rolled and fortified with vitamin B – above). Use a 2:1 water:barley ratio and cook it in the rice cooker or on the stove. The vitabare cookes the fastest on the stove.

大麦 (おおむぎ oomugi) Barley
押し麦/押麦 (おしむぎ oshimugi) Rolled barley
米粉麦 (こめこむぎ komekomugi?) Cracked barley (the English translation is my guess)

Barley is located in the rice section, usually on the top shelf. Here 800g is 300-400 yen.