Japanese Home Cooking Class in Tokyo. YUCa's Food & Lifestyle Media from Japan

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Grilled Vegetable Curry

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In this recipe video, I will introduce how to make Grilled Vegetable Curry. This is a Japanese curry with grilled various vegetables is usually served on top of rice. The harmony of the thick Japanese curry roux and the crispy grilled veggies is exquisite. This time, I use homemade curry roux that I filmed the other day. If you’re interested, by all means, go ahead and make it from scratch.

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Annual Events and Food in Japan

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Annual Event & Festive Food In Japan

Shogatsu, New Year (1st) : Osechi(-ryori), Fukubukuro, Shimekazari
Nanakusa no Sekku, Seventh-Day New Year (7nd) : Nanakusa gayu
Kagami Biraki, Opening the Rice-Cake Offerings (11th ) : Oshiruko
Koshogatsu, Small Shogatsu (15th) : Red bean rice porridge
Hatsuka shogatsu (20th ) : Ozoni

Setsubun, Seasonal Division (3rd) : Ehomaki
Harikuyo, Memorial Service for Needles (8th) : Tofu
Hatsu-uma (10th) : Inarizushi

Hinamatsuri (Momo no Sekku), Doll Festival (3rd) : Chirashizushi
Ohigan, Spring Equinox (21st) : Botamochi

Hanami, Cherry-Blossom Viewing : Sakuramochi, Dango
Hanamatsuri, Flower Festival (8th)

Tango no sekku, Children’s Day (5th) : Kashiwa-mochi, Chimaki

Koromogae, Seasonal Change of Clothing
Nyu-bai (around 10th) : Plum syrup, Umebosh

Tanabata, Star Festival (7th) : Somen

Obon, Bon Festival (15th) : Vegetable Tempura, Rice Dumplings, Udon, Inari Sushi

Otsukimi, Moon Viewing (15th) : Tsukimi Dango
Ohigan, Autumn Equinox : Ohagi

Choyo no Sekku, Chrysanthemum Festival (19th) : Kiku-zake, Kikuka-cha, Kiku-monaka  *Sept.9 on Lunar Calendar
Undokai, Sports Festival : Bento  *For kids
Ensoku, School Excursion : Bento  *For kids

Shichigosan, Seven-Five-Three Festival (15th) : Osekihan, Chitose-ame, Tai no Shio-yaki

Toshikoshi, Crossing over to a New Year (13th)
Toji, Winter Solstice (around 22nd or 23rd) : Azuki-gayu, Pumpkin
Omisoka, Last day of the year (31st) : Toshikoshi soba

Children’s Day (Tango no sekku) 端午の節句

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Children’s Day is a Japanese national holiday which takes place annually on May 5th, and it is part of Golden Week Holidays. The day was originally called “Tango no Sekku”, or Boy’s Festival, was celebrated in order to wish the healthy growth of the boys in the family.

Outside of their houses, families with boys fly large carp streamers called “Koinobori”. Inside they display various kinds of warrior dolls or ornamental helmets called Kabuto because they are believed to be symbols of strength and vitality. At night, people put iris leaves and roots in the bath. It is believed that it will purge noxious vapor.

In 1948, this day was designated a national holiday and renamed “Children Day”. It is now a day for boys and girls to celebrate together.

Traditional foods such as “kashiwa-mochi” and “chimaki” are eaten on that day. Kashiwamochi is steamed dumplings filled with sweet red bean paste and wrapped in oak leaves. Oak trees don’t drop their leaves until new shoots have begun to appear. The leaved represents the wish for continuation of the family line and are thus an auspicious part of these traditional sweets.

Chimaki is also dumplings made of glutinous rice, wrapped in bamboo leaves and tied with a piece of rush. This type of sweets came from China and is seen in various forms around Japan.

Iris leaves and roots are also used in baths. It is believed that putting iris leaves and roots in the bath can ward off evil spirits.

Koinobori (Carp Streamers, こいのぼり) sold at the store. During the Edo period, common people began to make banners in the shape of carp because according to an old Chinese legend, there was a carp which swam upstream all the way to heaven and turned into a dragon. Parents who want their sons to grow up strong and brave so to this day, in the month of May people have continued the practice of flying koinobori. They are usually seen with the streamers on top and the black,  red and blue carps below.

During this season in very olden times, from about the 7th century, people observed customs which had come from China. May was thought to be an unlucky month so in order to drive away evil spirits, ordinary working people picked certain plants which were valued for their medicinal powers and made potions or decorative dolls to hand in the doorways.

In later years, from the Edo period, they began to display warrior dolls, helmets and banners which symbolized people’s hopes that their sons would grow up into strong and brave young men.

This was the most expensive warrior doll set in this shop!

This year, Kengo and Sui took part in the workshop to make koinobori. Their koinobori was so colorful and we all loved it 😍!!!

Are you interested in more about Japanese culture & events? Check here!

YUCa’s Diary : Vlog #31

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– Grocery Shopping
– Recipe : Banana chocolate chip cake
– Our local library & park
– Protein-rich Meal Prep Recipes
1 : Tofu topped with starchy egg sauce
2 : Simmered deep-fried tofu
3 : Salad with young bean sprouts
4 : Pork and young bean sprouts stir-fry
– Going to the riverbank with Mario & Luigi


Kid-Friendly Japanese Food: vol.79

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– Rice with Natto
– Miso soup with wheat gluten, tofu and wakame [Recipe]
– Simmered Pumpkin [Recipe]
– Oden
– Koya tofu
– Simmered Hijiki seaweed [Recipe]
– Salad spaghetti

Japanese Set Meal Idea : Vol.1

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In this recipe video, I will introduce how to make Japanese set meals for 9 to 10 months old baby. What make this video unique is that with adding little seasonings, all your family can eat along. I trust this recipe video will save you a little time cooking and create time for your family and you!

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School Lunches In Japan

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In Japan, school lunches are provided at some kindergartens and almost all nursery schools, elementary schools, and junior high schools.

Both my daughter, who currently attends nursery school, and my son, who attends elementary school, receive school lunches every day.

At my son’s kindergarten, he brought his own spoon & fork and chopsticks, but at my daughter’s nursery school and my son’s elementary school prepare for them. In my son’s case, he now brings his own luncheon mat every day. In addition to this, during the week when he is on school lunch duty, he brings a laundered apron, a triangular hood and a mask every day.

A Japanese school lunch consists of milk, soup, carbohydrate (rice, noodles, bread), main dish, side dish, and fruit.

School lunch menus are prepared by a dietitian, taking into consideration event meals and seasonal ingredients. The menus are then distributed to all students approximately two weeks in advance. The menu list at my son’s elementary school includes a note for each day, which includes information about the producer, ingredients, and trivia about the menu.

At the daycare center where I worked, we also had a 10:00 a.m. snack, so four to five people started cooking at 8:00 a.m. and made snacks & school lunches for about 200 students in less than three hours.

Some of the children needed to eliminate certain foods due to allergies or religious reasons, so I prepared separate school lunches with different cooking methods and ingredients for a few of them. And every day, without fail, the principal tasted and checked the food.

At lunch time, the students would turn their desks around and divide into several groups. (Currently at Corona Disaster, everyone seems to eat facing forward.) 

Students on lunch duty serve the food assigned to them. Students who are not on lunch duty line up in single file and place one dish on each of their trays. 

When lunch duty is over and everyone is seated, they greet each other with “Itadakimasu!” and begin to eat their lunch in unison. The teacher joins the students and eats with them. If there is leftover food, the children who want to eat it play rock-paper-scissors to get it. When they are done eating, the lunch duty person takes the dishes and leftovers to a designated area. After lunch and after school, the whole class cleans up the classroom. This sequence of events is what I consider “Japanese school lunch”.

Reviews from online cooking class guests

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YUCa’s class was amazing and I learned so much in a short period of time. Being new to living in Japan, I was looking to learn more about how to cook healthy Japanese meals. Yuca was so kind and patient with me as I was unsure about some of the ingredients that I had. I highly recommend her virtual class and I hope to take one in person one day.
– Amanda Hokkaido, Sapporo-Japan 

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YUCa’s Diary : Vlog #30

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– Stroll in Ueno Park
– Gingko Trees in Gaienmae
– Anmitsu by Mihashi
– Grocery Shopping Haul
– Parcel from Kokoro Care
– Home Lunch Ideas
– Recipe : Tofu Hamburger Steak


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