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Welcome to YUCa’s Japanese Cooking(YJC)!

From Kitchen In Tokyo : Week 4, 2021

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Konnichiwa. How was your week?
In Japan, we just have finished the traditional New Year’s events recently.

In the olden days, it was customary for women who had been working hard for New Year’s housework to take a break from work as a celebration of the Hatsuka Shogatsu (20th of January). They went to their hometown to take a rest, or some came back from their hometown after the New Year holidays.

Depending on the region, New Year’s treats and rice cakes are eaten up until that day. This is the feeling of gratitude for the fruit of not leaving New Year’s food is also included.

So, I made a Ozoni. Ozoni is a Japanese traditional New Year’s soup and it’s made with mochi (rice cakes), veggies and sometimes seafood. Normally, people eat Ozoni on New Year’s day. But since I have small children who cannot eat mochi so I didn’t make Ozoni on that day this year.

Well, new year’s scene/mood is over! I have to start working or having a break?!

Recipe : Tuna Sandwich with Mayo

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In this recipe video, I will show you how to make Tuna Sandwich with Mayo. This time, I created a handmade (canned) Tuna and Japanese Mayonnaise to make easy & healthy tuna sandwich. At the end, I cut the Japanese white bread into two different ways. How do you guess the flavor of handmade Tuna and Mayonnaise are like? I hope you enjoy this tutorial and give it a try!
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Basic ingredients for Japanese Cooking

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Dashi だし

The most basic broth on which much of Japanese food is based. Umami rich ingredients like kelp (Kombu), Bonito flakes, dried sardines and dried shiitake mushrooms are all key ingredients to make Dashi.

* For more detail, please check this page!

Soy sauce 醤油

Made from soybeans, wheat, salt and Koji (also used to make sake and Shochu). Soy sauce requires long fermentation.

Types of soy sauce: 
Koikuchi : Dark color soy sauce. The most popular type in Japan.
Usukuchi : Lighter color than koikuch. Normally saltier. Used not to darken a dish.
Tamari : A little bit sweet. Normally Gluten-free. Often served with sashimi.

Sake 酒

Made from special Sake rice, Tane koji (seed molt), water and yeast. In the kitchen, sake brings depth to many dishes, adds a light natural sweetness, and when added to seafood helps to cleanse the fishy aromas.

Recommend:
Purchase Nihonshu (日本酒)or Seishu (清酒) from the sake section. As with wine, if you cook with sake, the food will naturally pair well with sake. There are several grade in Sake, I recommend Junmaishu (純米酒) or upper.

Mirin みりん

Made from sticky rice and Tane koji (seed molt). Used to add sweetness, to soften flavors and cleanse the strong aromas. Mirin will also put a nice glaze on foods.

Recommend:
Purchase high-quality hon mirin (本みりん) which usually has orange color. It is sweet, but mellower than sugar. It is good in simmered foods such as yakitori and teriyaki.

Vinegar 酢

Made from sake rice, Tane koji (seed molt), water, yeast, rice vinegar and acetobacter. Vinegar is very delicate product and should be added toward the end of cooking or it loses its aroma. Vinegar, too, can help cleanse the aromas of fish. Rice wine vinegar, Komezu (米酢), is most often used.

Miso 味噌

Made from soybeans, Kome koji (rice mold) and salt in general. Key ingredients to make miso soup. Miso paste is made from one or more of three base ingredients: soy beans, rice or barley.

* For more detail, please check this page!


Other common pantry items:

Katakuriko 片栗粉
A starch originally made from dogtooth violet, it is more commonly found made from potatoes. Used to thicken sauces, it is similar to cornstarch but with a finer texture.

Goma Abura ごま油
An aromatic sesame oil used for its aroma and nutty flavors.

Wasabi わさび
Japanese horseradish, available grated and in tubes; look for products that are one hundred percent wasabi, often labeled “hon wasabi”.

Yuzu Kosho 柚子こしょう
A salty and spicy paste made from salt, yuzu rind and chili peppers.

Yuzu 柚子
The skin of aromatic citron; a popular condiment, it is available freeze-dried.

Shichimi 七味
A blend of seven spices, often including dried red chili pepper, dried yuzu peel, ao nori, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, white poppy seeds, and Sansho peppers. Blend vary; often served with noodles such as udon.

Ichimi 一味
Dried red chili pepper (togarashi), also called ichimi togarashi.


Memo :

1. Are you looking for Japanese kitchenwares and seasonings etc? Visit YJC store on Amazon!
2. Would you like to cook many more recipes? Download Free recipe app from here! “Recipe by YJC

From Kitchen In Tokyo : Week 3, 2021

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How was the week, everyone?
In Japan, the time between January 1 and 7 is called “Big Shogatu” and the several days around the 15th are called “Small Shogatsu”.
Shogatsu traditions are still continuing here in Japan and my family and I had a lot of mochi and red beans this week.

On January 11th, people take down the kagami-mochi which had been offered to the god of the New Year during Shogatsu. This Japanese seasonal event is called “Kagami-biraki” (鏡開き, Opening the Rice-Cake Offerings). People smash the hardened mochi into pieces with heir hands or small mallet because using a knife or saying the word “break” wold displease the god. This explains the reason this event is called “Opening the Kagami-mochi”. The pieces of hardened mochi are grilled and one or two are put into Zenzai or Oshiruko which is a kind of sweet soup made of simmered red azuki beans, sugar and water. In this way, everyone receives a portion of the god’s blessing to live happily throughout the whole year. If you are interested in Oshiruko recipe tutorial, please check here!


In very ancient times the period between the full moons was considered one month, so the 15th marked the beginning of a new month. Even after Japan began using the solar calendar people continued to celebrate the “Full-Moon New Year” on January 15 and enjoy many special events.

My family and I enjoyed special food that is Azuki porridge! It was the custom to enjoy azuki porridge during “Ko-shogatsu” (Small shogatsu) and pray for good health. In addition, people believed they could predict the abundance of the harvest by how the porridge was cooked and the way it turned out.

I don’t know about this fortune but simply felt so happy and grateful to have these dishes with my family.❤️

Recipe : Amazake + 3 Flavors

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In this recipe video, I will show you how to make Japanese superfood and also fermented rice drink called “Amazake”. This Amazake is made of Rice Koji (mold) and Rice Porridge, and is one of the Japanese vegan foods as well. This recipe video is the remake and upgraded version of my previous Amazake recipe. So this time, I will share three flavors. I hope you enjoy this tutorial and give it a try!
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YUCa’s Table : vol.199

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Menu:
– Sumashi-jiru with Komatsuna, Fried tofu and Wheat gluten (*)
– Japanese rice (*)
– Teriyaki chicken with yukari
– Salad with cucumber, fish cake and dried Bonito flakes
– Tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette) (*)
– Natto (Fermented soybeans)
– Pickles (*)
– Yogurt with Apple and blueberry jam

* Would you like to cook Japanese cuisine anytime?
☞ Download free app “Recipe by YJC” (iOS, iPad OS and Android)

From Kitchen In Tokyo : Week 2, 2021

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It’s getting normal to see Sui-chan standing up and walking by herself.
These days, she tries to share her foods with Mario and Luigi.
So, when she’s eating something, this situation happens. Staring…

娘が自分で立って歩く日が多くなってきました。
そんな昨今、ふと気づくと娘がワンコたちに自分のおやつを与えようとすることが。
その心遣いはいいのですが、よく見ていなきゃとヒヤヒヤの日々です。

All About Dashi

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Dashi (だし) is the most important soup/broth to create the authentic Japanese palate. Umami-rich ingredients like kelp (Kombu), Bonito flakes, and dried sardines are all key ingredients of dashi.

The most basic dashi, Ichiman (number-one) dashi is made from kelp and bonito flakes. In parts of Japan, Iiboshi (dried sardines) are used instead of bonito flakes. Fried shiitake mushrooms and scallop ligaments can also be used in dash, as can the head and bones of sea bream (tai no are dashi).

Vegetarian dash can be made from kelp, along with dried shiitake mushrooms or other dried vegetables such as gourd (kanpyo), daikon  (kiriboshi daikon), or soybeans (daizu).

The main ingredients of Dashi


1. Kelp (Kombu 昆布) : The cold, mineral-rich waters surrounding Hokkaido provide 995% of the country’s kombu. Most kombu is sold in long strips. But it is also available in shavings (torero or boor) to add to soup or sprinkle over the rice. Kobnu can also be wrapped around was fish in a process called kobujime, which changes the fish’s texture and adds umami.

There are more than forty types of child and farmed kombu. The name of a specific variety of kobnu often reflects where it was harvested. These are the five most popular:

Rishiri kombu (利尻昆布) : Harvested near Rishiri Island, this is an aromatic kombu that makes a clear broth, popular with chefs in Kyoto. It is considered a high-quality kobnu and is often used in top restaurants.
Rausu Kombu (羅臼昆布) : This thick kombu has a stickiness to it, and a deep. Rich flairor that is slightly sweet. Also a high-quality kombu, it is the kombu that is used to make other shaved kobnu products such as torero and oboro.
Ma Kombu (真昆布) : Thick and rich in umami, slightly sweet, with an elegant flavor, this is also considered a top kombu.
Hidaka Kombu (日高昆布) : From the Hidaka region, this kombu is a popular variety used by busy home cooks because it quickly imparts its flavor when simmered in water. It is also reasonably priced and can be used as an ingredients for fish cake stew (oden), sea vegetables and seafood simmered in soy (Tsukudani) and other kombu dishes.
Naga Komnbu (長昆布) : A very long kombu (more than ten meters long), naga kombu is also used in dishes such as oden and Tsukudani. It is found only in the wild – not farmed- and is reasonably priced.

2. Bonito flakes (Katsuobuashi かつお節) : Dried and shaved bonito flakes, a key ingredients in dash, brings a smoky richness to the broth. It can be made from a variety of fish including yellowfin tuna, mackerel, and anchovies – each, of course,  with its own flavor profile.

To make katsuobushi, the bonito is simmered and its bones are removed after which it is dried and smoked. Sometimes a mold that promotes fermentation is added to the bonito, other fish are processed in a similar fashion.
There are two major types of Katsuobushi:

Arabushi (荒節) : Light in flavor, this dried and smoked katsuobushi is the most popular type, especially in the Kyoto and Osaka region.
Karebushi (枯節) : A mold that promotes fermentation and imparts a stronger umami flavor is added to arabushi, resulting in this type of Katsuobushi, popular in the Tokyo region.

Different ways to shave fish flakes:
Atsu kezuri (厚削り) : Thick-cut shavings that make an intense dash, used in dishes that are simmered for a long time.
Hanakatsuo (花かつお) : Thinly shaved flakes used for making dash quickly
Hana kezuri (花削り) : Very thin shavings also used to make instant dashi
Ito kezuri (糸削り) : Thin strands often used as a garnish for tofu or vegetables

3. Dried Sardine (Niboshi 煮干し) : Small fish that are simmered in salty water and sun-feed before being used to make dash. Niboshi can be made from a variety of fish.

Popular types of Niboshi:
Katakuchi iwashi (片口鰯) : The most popular type of niboshi, made with anchovies; commonly used for making dash.
Ma iwashi (真鰯) : Made with pilchard, popular for soba or udon.
Urume iwashi (潤目鰯) : Low in fat, and odorless, this Iiboshi made with round herring makes a clear-colored dash popular in the Kyoto and Osaka region.
Tobiuo (飛魚) : Dashi made with the flying dish is slightly sweet and popular in the Nagasaki region.
Ma aji (真鯵) : Niboshi made with jack mackerel; results in a delicate and sweet dashi.
Tai (鯛) : Sea bream Iiboshi makes a delicate, elegant dash; found in dishes served at a Kaisei restaurant rather than at a neighborhood noodle shop.

Storage:
Those dried ingredients are available to keep in a dark and cool place for 6 months to 1 year.

Popular recipes that has Dashi:

– Miso soup with tofu and wakame
– Veggie Miso Soup
– Tonjiru
– Nasu Dengaku
– Daikon Dengaku Miso
and more…!

Memo :

1. Are you looking for Japanese kitchenwares and cooking tools etc? Visit YJC store on Amazon!
2. Would you like to cook many more recipes? Download Free recipe app from here! “Recipe by YJC

Recipe : Okonomiyaki Sauce + Osaka-style Okonomiyaki

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In this recipe video, I will show you how to make Okonomiyaki sauce which is the key ingredients of this Japanese-style savory pancake. This is the remake video from my previous Okonomiyaki sauce recipe. So, I’ll also share Osaka-style Okonomiyaki recipe. Please enjoy this video and try it out! For more detail about Okonomiyaki, please read this article. Thank you!

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