If you’ve not read What Did You Eat Yesterday, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a combination of a slice of life manga about a gay couple (a lawyer and a hairstylist) in Tokyo and their day to day life, and a cooking manga, with detailed instructions on how to make the dishes that the main characters try. And it’s just a quiet, domestic manga, and sweet as fuck besides.

My boything’s been wanting to learn how to cook better, and I’ve been wanting to try some recipes from this manga, so this recipe from Volume 12 seemed like the perfect intersection of our needs. This is a simple, cheap, low effort, and easy meal to make; just slice up some sweet potato, throw it in with some rice, sake, and salt in the rice cooker, and just let it cook, and boom, you’ve got a good, hearty dish, and the rice cooker can keep it warm for as long as you want. It is a bit bland, so I would recommend adding some soy sauce (or ponzu went real well with the bowl I just had for lunch). Also, we used Murasaki sweet potatoes from Trader Joe’s for this for a change of pace, would definitely recommend them.

Sweet Potato Rice
Makes enough to feed 2 people for 2 meals

Ingredients

  • Rice and water per your rice brand’s instructions (here, 1.5 c rice, 2 c water)
  • 1 sweet potato
  • pinch sea salt
  • dash sake

Rinse your rice (I did it for the first time with this, I’m going to try to get some better instructions on this later), and then add your rice and water in recommended portions per the instructions on your bag of rice to your rice cooker. (If you’re like me, you have one of those big ass 10 lb bags, because you go through a lot of rice in the space of a year, and you have several Asian markets near you, which means it’s significantly cheaper.)

Meanwhile, take your sweet potato, rinse it thoroughly, and then half it width and length wise, and cut into .5 in fan shapes (see pic 4). As you get closer to finishing the sweet potato, add the sea salt and sake to the rice cooker. Once the sweet potato is fully cut up, add the pieces to the rice cooker, and then cook on the normal settings for white rice (usually about an hour).

Then, stir and fluff with a rice paddle, scoop into bowls, and enjoy!

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“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!

This recipe is… I’m not entirely sure. One – caramelizing onions is touch enough. Two, add in conversion from metric, and a slight vagueness to the original recipe, and it’s a bit ???.The rice turned out solid, if not that flavorful, and the onions probably got a bit burned. Probably gonna workshop it – take a look at the recipe, both how I tackled it and the original, and let me know if you have any suggestions. 

Rice with Cardamom and Caramelized Onions

Ingredients

  • 1.5 c rice (original recommends basmati, I went with the short-grained I had on hand)
  • 10 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed (original alternately recommends 6 black)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 T butter, halved
  • 2.5 c water 
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 4 cm piece ginger, grated (I used grated ginger here, as my ginger is frozen; original recommends a 4 cm piece of ginger peeled and sliced into matchstick sized pieces)
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 t honey

Put your water, crushed green cardamom pods, bay leaves, butter, and water into your rice cooker, and let it cook for the prescribed amount of time. If you don’t have a rice cooker, consult the original recipe.

Meanwhile, while the rice cooks, heat your olive oil over medium high heat, and once heated, add your onion slices, and fry for six minutes, stirring here and there, until golden brown (see the difference between pics 2 and 3). Then add your ginger, and fry for two minutes, until fragrant (pic 3). Then add your honey and cinnamon (pic 4), turn the heat to medium low (which I didn’t do, whoops), and stir frequently, cooking another five minutes until they’re a dark caramel in color (pic 5). 

Once the rice is done, spoon some out, add the onions on top, mix a bit, and enjoy!

This is something I threw together because the boyfriend really liked the sound of the recipe, and I had almost everything on hand, and what I didn’t was on sale. I accidentally used less honey than I should’ve on the glaze, so more of that will likely make the glaze cover better next time, and maybe use a bit less coconut on the coconut rice, but otherwise, this is a pretty solid dinner. And it’s also significantly quicker if you have an Asian marketplace (or a local producer) that does fried tofu. Getting everything to assembly is a long, involved process, and some of this was a bit out of my comfort range, but the boy really liked it, so that helped boost my confidence here a lot.

Mango Tofu Coconut Rice Bowls

Ingredients

Coconut Rice

  • 1.5 c uncooked rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • .75 t sea salt
  • 1 c water

Honey Lime Glaze

  • .25 c honey
  • .25 c fresh lime juice
  • 1 t lime zest, split
  • .5 T soy sauce
  • (you can use corn starch to thicken it, I passed on it)
  • 14 oz fried tofu

(note: I used packaged fried tofu here, so I’m skipping the instructions for the pan fried tofu; if you just have unfried tofu, click on the link above for the instructions/ingredients.)

Bowl Toppings

  • 1 mango
  • 1 avocado, sliced (had one on hand but chose not to use it tonight)
  • red pepper flakes
  • (optional: green onions, cilantro)

First, take your ingredients for your coconut rice, throw it all in the rice cooker, and set it to cook on the sweet rice or white rice setting (depending on your preference, I used sweet rice here because it gets it the right kind of sticky). If not using a rice cooker, please click on the link above for stovetop instructions.

While your rice is cooking, cube your fried tofu, and your mango. 

Don’t know how to cube your mango? Here’s how! (If I was smart, I would’ve taken pictures of this process.) Take your mango, and your largest knife available (trust me, if you have a chef’s knife, you’re gonna need it), and cut your mango just slightly off center to avoid the flat seed. Do the same just to the other side of the center; you will now have two halves of mango meat. To cube your mango, score a checkerboard pattern into the fruit, being careful not to cut all the way through to the skin. Push up on the skin underneath to invert the mango, and now, all you have to do is slice at the base, and you have lovely mango cubes for use!

As soon as you’ve got these ready to go, whisk together your glaze ingredients (only use half of the lime zest), and transfer to a pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and once it’s thickened, remove from heat, and toss your tofu and mango in it. (I ended up keeping it separate, and drizzling it over the tofu and mango once in the bowl.)

By this point, your rice will likely be done; take a bowl, scoop some rice out into it, add some tofu and mango, along with, if you should so choose, red pepper flakes, avocado and green onion slices, and bits of cilantro. And then, enjoy your lovely summery dish!

Wanting some takeout, but not feeling like spending the money? Have a kitchen decently stocked with ingredients for Asian cooking, or a cheap Asian grocery store within an easy walk? Then go with this recipe. All I really had to do for this recipe was throw a thing of rice in the rice cooker the day before, and spend maybe a half hour tops getting everything going the day of. Simple, quick, and makes a regular shitton (though I might have to double the recipe next time as the boything really liked it). 

Ginger Fried Rice
Lasted two of us one meal and a bit leftover, will probably double next time

Ingredients

  • 4 c day-old cooked rice
  • .5 c peanut oil
  • 2 T minced garlic 
  • 2 T minced ginger (mine was grated, as I freeze mine) 
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 large leek, white and light green bits sliced thin
  • egg, if you want one on yours (do the thing if you do eggs, it’s great)
  • sesame oil 
  • soy sauce (I used the aged soy that I have from ) 

First, your rice. If you have leftover rice from other takeout that’s still good, use that. Otherwise, do what I did – throw a bunch of rice in your rice cooker the day before, cook it, and keep the warm function off. 

In a large pan, heat .25 c of peanut oil over medium heat, and then add in the minced garlic and ginger, cooking until crisp and lightly browned (see picture 3). Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl or on paper towels, and salt lightly. 

Reduce heat to medium low, add another 2 T of peanut oil, and add in your sliced leeks. Cook them for about 10 minutes, until they’re tender (but not browned; see the difference between pictures 4 and 5). Salt them lightly. 

Then, raise the heat back to medium, and add in your rice. Stir well, and cook until the rice is heated fully through (about eightish minutes), maybe a bit longer if you want the rice to have a bit of color and crunch to it. Pics six and seven are the rice just added to the pan, and after being fully heated. Again, add a small bit of salt. 

If you want to add an egg, heat the remaining peanut oil in a small nonstick pan over high, break an egg into it, and then cook until the whites have just set, but the yolk is still wobbly (call it two minutes). 

Then, scoop out the rice into your serving bowls, drizzle with a bit of sesame and a bigger bit of soy sauce, sprinkle the crisped garlic and ginger over it all, and, if you feel so inclined, put your egg on top, and enjoy!

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!