This recipe comes from Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s Preserving the Japanese Way, and is a variant on a recipe from an earlier cookbook of hers. I added my own twists to the recipe, and the end result is pretty damn good. I need to follow my own advice from earlier in this blog for poaching eggs, though – I tried rushing it here, and ended up with an egg blob. ^^;

Country Miso and Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 2.5 c dashi
  • 1 medium daikon (about .25 lbs), scrubbed
  • 1 medium carrot, scrubbed
  • 2-3 spring onions (negi if you have them)
  • 1.5 T awase miso paste (blend of red and white miso)
  • lemon (or yuzu if you can find it you lucky bastard) zest
  • poached egg to top (if you’re so inclined)
  • (I also added some fried tofu chunks)

Take your daikon and carrot, and make sure they’ve been scrubbed (they won’t need to be peeled unless there are blemishes, or they’re too tough). Half the carrot lengthwise, and then slice into thin half-moons, and set aside. Take your daikon, halve it lengthwise, and then halve those halfs (so that you wind up with quarters), and slice into thin wedges. Take the spring onions, cut the white and pale green parts into thin slices (save the tops for garnish), and then toss with the daikon pieces.

Warm your dashi (if you didn’t make it right before starting the soup, that’s what I usually do), until it comes to a gentle simmer. Then, add your carrot slices, and cook for three minutes over medium heat. Add the daikon and spring onions right after, cooking for another three minutes.

Nancy recommends thinning the miso paste with a small bit of the broth at this point separately, but I just whisked the miso right into the broth. Remove from heat, and add the spring onion tops and lemon zest to the broth. I also added in fried tofu at this point. If you’re so inclined, add a poached egg to top it all off, and enjoy the amazing flavor combinations!

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Nancy Singleton Hachisu recently put out a new cookbook, Preserving the Japanese Way. Her previous cookbook was a favorite of mine, so I was excited to get my hands on this. It’s mainly themed on pickling and preserving, and this recipe came up right when I had a small fuckton of broccoli on hand, so I was eager to give this a try.

The resulting broccoli has a great flavor from being macreated in the soy sauce, dashi, and red pepper flakes, and the katsuoboshi adds a lovely savory flavor to it, too. I doubled the recipe because of the sheer amount of broccoli I had, but will include the original amounts below.

Broccoli in Soy Sauce with Red Pepper

Ingredients

  • 3 heads broccoli
  • 6 T dashi (recipe here)
  • 8 T soy sauce
  • red pepper flakes to taste (original recommends 3 dried red chiles, crumbled roughly)
  • 2 T katsuoboshi flakes (you can find these at your local Asian grocery)

Bring a mediumish pot of water to boil, and have a bowl of cold water waiting in the kitchen sink. While the water comes to a boil, cut your main stem from your broccoli heads and discard, and then cut up closer to where the florets start, so that it’ll break down into lots of nice sized florets. Cut the upper stems that are left over into similar sized pieces.

Drop your broccoli into the boiling water, and cook for three minutes. While the broccoli cooks, mix together the dashi, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes in a medium sized bowl with a lid. Strain the broccoli from the boiling water, and then immediately put in the cold water. Run cold water from your tap over the broccoli until cooled, and then pat dry.

Once dried and cooled, toss the brocooli with the dashi/soy/red pepper mixture and then cover, Let macreate at room temperature for 30 minutes, then drain the mixture. If eating right away, sprinkle with the katsuoboshi and eat, but these can be stored for a few days in the fridge and still be good.

Nancy also recommends a version with yuzu or lemon peel at the end instead of the katsuoboshi, so I would recommend that if you can get your hand on it.

“You begin to suspect your bowl is a portal to the meat dimension… In order to finish this bowl, you must have Understanding of your limits, Knowledge to control your pace, Courage to face this unrelenting tide of beef, and Diligence to persevere against this colossal challenge." 

So, one of the things you can do to raise your stats in Persona 4 is to take the Aiya Bottomless Beef Bowl Challenge. On rainy days, you go to the Chinese restaurant, and for 3000 yen (~$30), you get a huge ass beef bowl that you have to try to finish. You can’t actually finish the beef bowl until you have all five stats maxed out (and then it’s free), so typically when you do it, you get three of four random stats increased, which is super useful in game. 

This is basically a combination of two existing recipes (Pixelated Provisions, and the now defunct Gourmet Gaming), but I like the end result I got better than the other two recipes. (I’ll likely include the onions on another run through, but I mostly just wanted the meat, egg, and rice for this.)

I’m thinking of trying something similar with reverse engineering recipes from the Odin Sphere remake, so any tag suggestions for this kind of thing would be great!

Aiya Bottomless Beef Bowl

Ingredients

  • Steak, sliced thin (note: I got chuck steak for this, about a pound and a half, and that lasted for two servings; get something reasonably priced that you can get in large quantities)
  • 3 T mirin
  • 3 T sake
  • 3 T sugar
  • 9 T aged dark soy sauce
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 3 T grated ginger
  • rice 
  • egg

Whisk together your mirin, sake, sugar, and soy sauce. Take your steak, slice it thin to your taste (you can see the approximate size I got from my photos), and marinate in the mirin/sake/sugar/soy sauce mix in the fridge. I let mine sit covered in the fridge for the better part of a day; you should marinate it for a minimum of fifteen minutes. 

About an hour out from when you’re looking to eat, toss together your rice according to its instructions in your rice cooker, and let it do its thing. 

Fifteen minutes out from when you’re looking to eat, take a large pan, heat it to medium high, and add the sesame oil. Take your grated ginger and garlic, and fry for about two minutes tops, until fragrant. Then, take your steak and marinade, and cook for about ten minutes, until your steak is browned on all sides (see difference between pics 4 and 5). 

As your steak gets close to being done, heat a small pan and a dash of olive oil over high, and fry your egg until you get your desired doneness (I like having a sunny side up with a runny yolk). 

Scoop out your rice, add a bunch of the steak, and then drop the egg on top, and open your portal to the meat dimension!

If you have a rice cooker, this recipe is stupidly simple. To the point that when both my boyfriend and I ended up having overlapping stomach ick, I was real glad that I could manage to throw all this into the rice cooker and forget about it until my stomach was ready to handle the concept of food again. This recipe is simple, quick, and filling, and makes for a simple breakfast that you can take to work and reheat. 

Ginger Honey Okayu
Lasts 4-5ish breakfasts, depending on serving size

Ingredients

  • 1 c short grain rice
  • 4 to 5 c water (depending on how thick you want the porridge)
  • 1 T freshly grated ginger 
  • 1 t sea salt
  • honey to taste for serving

Take everything except your honey, throw it in the rice cooker, set to porridge, and let the rice cooker cook it to proper thickness, occasionally stirring it. Literally, that’s it. That’s all you need to do. 

Once it’s done cooking, if you’re making it for breakfast for the week, scoop it into it’s own container and refrigerate it, but otherwise, just keep it in the rice cooker on the keep warm setting, and it’ll keep it warm (but not overcooked) until you’re ready to eat it. 

Once you’re ready to eat it, scoop some out, drizzle some honey on it, and enjoy!

Looking for a quick, neat breakfast for the week? I recommend ojiya. It’s in the same family as the congee from a few weeks ago, but has a Japanese spin on it. Plus, it’s simple, quick, and filling, and a good way to start out your morning.

Ojiya
Lasts 3 breakfasts

Ingredients

  • dashi (see recipe here)
  • 1 c rice
  • crumbled nori, soy sauce, and rice vinegar to taste

Make your dashi per the instructions above, and once it’s finished simmering, add in your rice and simmer for fifteen minutes, stirring constantly so that rice does not stick to the bottom of the pot. The dashi should be completely absorbed by the end of that fifteen minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and nori, and then enjoy!

Note: this recipe can also be made with leftover stock from nabe (hot pot) cooking, and it’s also recommended that you stir in a raw egg at the end, and add torn umeboshi. I will be sure to test these out!

As my tomatoes are finally ripening on the vine and getting ready for harvest, I’m starting to find a lot of uses for the tomatoes I’ve been able to bring to full maturity (I lost at least half my plant due to the storms we encountered back in June). In addition, the less I have to heat stuff up when eating it, the better. So, this recipe from the Japanese Soul Cooking cookbook for cold udon noodles with tomatoes was pretty much exactly what I needed.

To bring out the tomato flavors even more, I ended up deciding to roast my tomatoes for about two hours; this, combined with the soy sauce in the recipe, made it even more delicious. Again, you can make your own udon noodles if you have at least a day or so to devote to it, or you can get the Shirayuki Jumbo Udon Noodles like I did, and only have to boil them for three minutes to get them ready.

Cold Udon with Roasted Tomatoes
Lasts six lunches as a main

Ingredients

  • 4 medium to large tomatoes (I used 5 medium)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil
  • soy sauce
  • 3 servings udon noodles (one pack of the Shirayuki noodles I mentioned above)

Take your tomatoes and quarter them, and then half those quarters. Put them in a baking dish, and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Heat your oven to 300 (275 if it runs hot), and roast your tomatoes for two hours.

About a half hour from the tomatoes being done, put on about four cups of water into a pot, and bring it to a boil. (The instructions only recommended one cup per noodle serving, but I skewed slightly higher to ensure that there was enough water). Once boiling, add your noodles, and stir with a chopstick as they break apart, keeping all the noodles separate. Boil for three minutes, then remove to your colander.  Once ready, strain them in a colander, and then put the colander in a large bowl, and run cold water over them, filling the bowl (and the colander), and stir your noodles, as seen in picture 5. This helps them cool down and not get overcooked or mushy. Cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Once your tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool at least ten minutes. Once cooled, add in soy sauce to taste. The original recipe also recommends shiso, but I didn’t have any on hand (might grow it in the garden next year). 

Then, combine your tomatoes and noodles, ensuring that the noodles are fully coated, and either eat immediately, or chill further in the fridge. Either way, enjoy your minimal fuss meal!

Zaru soba was one of the meals I ate pretty consistently back when I went abroad to study in Japan almost four years ago now.  Why? It was typically very cheap (400 yen for a serving at a noodle shop, which is about $4), it was filling, and it allowed me to stay cool (as it was incredibly hot out, I was there during August – December).  Plus, you were encouraged to slurp at your noodles, which was very fun, especially with the dipping sauce.

The recipe I’m using for this comes from the cookbook Japanese Soul Cookng, and overall, it’s incredibly thorough. You can make your own soba noodles if you choose, but honestly, it’s saner if you go with premade, unless you have at minimum a whole day to devote to the process of making the noodles.  Cooking the soba itself is very easy; the dipping sauce is honestly the only part where it gets real interesting, and even then, it’s not that difficult. Perfect meal for a hot summer day.

Zaru Soba
Lasts appx 6 lunches as a main course

Ingredients

  • one package soba (usually contains 3 servings)
  • one serving dashi  (use the recipe and instructions in the attached link)
  • .5 c soy sauce
  • .125 (or 1/8) c mirin
  • 2 t sugar
  • 2 T mirin
  • nori, sliced thin (I didn’t have this on hand, but will be adding it)

To cook your soba, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add your package of soba (be sure to remove the little plastic bundling the noodles together). Swirl the noodles with chopsticks as seen in picture one to separate the noodles, and keep them so as they cook.  Cook for approximately 4 minutes (or check your package’s instructions, but odds are they’ll be similar). You’ll know when your noodles are done when you taste them and they’re cooked through (do so after running them after cold water). Once ready, strain them in a colander, and then put the colander in a large bowl, and run cold water over them, filling the bowl (and the colander), and stir your noodles, as seen in picture 2. This helps them cool down and not get overcooked or mushy. Cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then, drain and put into a container, to use whenever you may want.

To make kaeshi, the soba dipping sauce flavoring base, combine the .5 c soy sauce, 1/8th cup mirin, and 2 t sugar in a pot, and bring them to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add your dashi and mirin to your kaeshi, and bring back to a boil to make the dipping sauce.  Once boiling, remove from heat and allow to come down to room temperature. Then, put in a smaller container and in the fridge for at minimum one hour, to allow the flavors to combine. The longer you let the dipping sauce sit in the fridge, the more the flavors will come out.

To eat, add the nori to the noodles, and then use your chopsticks to dip into the dipping sauce, as demonstrated by me and my Darth Maul chopsticks in the final picture!  Why yes, I am a massive dork. Be sure to have a paper towel on hand, though, it can get messy.