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Japanese Cooking at Home


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115 replies to this topic

#91 miladyinsanity

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 06:30 PM

Do you make it with soft or firm tofu? And do you use one of the mixes you can buy in the supermarket, or do you make yours from scratch?

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Personally, I like to make it with firm momen dofu (= tofu). Check out the China... Forum, and you will find a thread on mapo tofu, where some say they like to use soft tofu. So, that's really depends on your preferences.
I used to use a premade mix (Marumiya's) for decades, but now I prefer to make it from scratch. Again, check out the China... Forum, you will find a nice thread on making mapo tofu.

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Umh, according to my mom, Japanese brand tofu seems to be softer than the Chinese brands.

Maybe that's why?
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#92 Hiroyuki

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 04:59 AM

Do you make it with soft or firm tofu? And do you use one of the mixes you can buy in the supermarket, or do you make yours from scratch?

View Post

Personally, I like to make it with firm momen dofu (= tofu). Check out the China... Forum, and you will find a thread on mapo tofu, where some say they like to use soft tofu. So, that's really depends on your preferences.
I used to use a premade mix (Marumiya's) for decades, but now I prefer to make it from scratch. Again, check out the China... Forum, you will find a nice thread on making mapo tofu.

View Post

Umh, according to my mom, Japanese brand tofu seems to be softer than the Chinese brands.

Maybe that's why?

View Post

Hm...... Anyone??

#93 MoGa

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 05:29 AM

Do you make it with soft or firm tofu? And do you use one of the mixes you can buy in the supermarket, or do you make yours from scratch?

View Post

Personally, I like to make it with firm momen dofu (= tofu). Check out the China... Forum, and you will find a thread on mapo tofu, where some say they like to use soft tofu. So, that's really depends on your preferences.
I used to use a premade mix (Marumiya's) for decades, but now I prefer to make it from scratch. Again, check out the China... Forum, you will find a nice thread on making mapo tofu.

View Post

Umh, according to my mom, Japanese brand tofu seems to be softer than the Chinese brands.

Maybe that's why?

View Post

Hm...... Anyone??

View Post


I can only go on the differences I've found in London. Tofu packaged by Japanese companies (not necessarily in Japan - an example is the Mori-nu/Morinaga brand) and sold in tetra-brik containers is indeed very soft, smooth and silky, even the 'firm' kind.

When I buy fresh tofu in liquid from the refrigerator from Chinese, Japanese and Korean stores in London, the texture is different. More 'fibrous' somehow, or perhaps better explained as being more 'al dente'.

I don't necessarily prefer one to the other - the qualities of each lend themselves better to different cooking styles. I don't like frying so much with the 'Japanese' tetra-brik style of tofu, then again I prefer the texture of it raw to the 'Chinese style' fresh tofu.

I end up buying more of the 'frim' tetra-brik styles. They last a while so are convenient, also my fridge is tiny and this tofu doesn't need to be stored in it. I can easily change the texture and make it firmer (and better for frying with) by wrapping and draining it with a weight on top. By pressing and draining for several hours (rather than just one or two) I can get it to approximate 'Chinese' tofu. I can't get 'Chinese' tofu to approximate 'Japanese' tofu.

I can't compare 'Chinese' tofu with that sold in China, but the tetra-brik kind of tofu is very similar to store bought and freshly made tofu I've eaten in Japan.

However, as what I have been calling 'Chinese' tofu is available from Japanese supermarkets in London, I would be surprised if this kind wasn't available in Japan also.

#94 helenjp

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 08:12 AM

I used to work in a Chinese grocery when I was a student - Chinese tofu was firmer than any Japanese-style tofu I've eaten.

But as Hiroyuki says, people in Japan do use either silk or cotton tofu for ma-po dofu, and some drain or parboil cotton tofu to make it even firmer - defintely a matter of personal taste.

#95 nakji

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 07:31 PM

Anyone have any recipes for converting tofu haters?


Mapo tofu.


Well, I finally got around to making mapo-dofu this weekend. Unfortunately, the board was down, so I couldn't use the recipe linked to upthread, so I just googled it, and found a simple recipe. (Which I then proceeded to freestyle on. Mainly I just use recipes as guidelines :biggrin: )

I used firm tofu, which I further drained in my pickle press for 30 minutes, and used sanrensho instead of sichuan peppercorns and gochujang in place of chili paste, since that's what I had on hand. Verdict? My husband loved it so much, I got a thumbs up text message when he got it in his lunch thermos the next day, along with a "better than chili!"

It's going into the rotation. Incidentally, can anyone tell me if toubanjan differs from gochujang substantially? My fridge is so small, I hate to add another little bottle in there.

#96 helenjp

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 08:38 PM

At least as they are made in Japan...

Kochujang: Rice-based miso, chilis, heaps of sugar or rice barley malt. Mildly hot.

Toubanjan: Bean-based miso, chillis. Hot.

I think the toubanjan is more versatile (I put it in chilli, curries, and hot soups too), because you can add miso and sugar/honey if wanted, but kochujang is so very useful for lunch making that I have no difficulty in keeping both in my fridge.

#97 nakji

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 02:10 AM

Really? There's rice in gochujang? I guess that's what I get for never bothering to read the ingredients. I always use the Korean-made stuff in the red tub, I have to go read the label now......

What do you use your gochujang for in lunches, I'm intrigued?

#98 helenjp

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 06:45 AM

Korean made - that could be different - it will have some type of miso in it, but I don't know if it will definitely be rice miso. Probably less sweet. I have been meaning to try a Korean brand if I spot one.

Kochujang in lunch boxes...usually as a variation of flavoring stir-fried things in miso, sometimes a tiny, tiny bit plus some grated onion in beaten eggs for omelet...sometimes instead of soy sauce in sesame dressing for spinach.

#99 OnigiriFB

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 09:43 AM

Is toubanjan popular in Japan? I thought Japanese prefer less hot items.

#100 helenjp

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 04:27 AM

Japanese food is rarely hot, but Japanese people these days enjoy quite a few hot dishes and condiments from other cultures...similar situation to European food, probably.

#101 Hiroyuki

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 04:49 AM

Young people. You never know what they do. Geki kara (super hot?, violently hot?). They want to deviate from the norm... Many of them will return to where they belong in their 30s or 40s. I know that because I was also once young.

#102 dabestspooner

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 08:44 PM

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Its one of my favorite tofus as well.

I'm glad otokomae is pretty easy to find in NY.

#103 nakji

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 04:28 AM

Well, it's that time of year again - the cool weather puts me in the mood for (beef) nikkujyaga.

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We had this with an enoki takikomi gohan, kabocha salad, and tsukemono and sake from my Takayama trip. I couldn't taste a speck of it, since I had a particularly crappy head cold, but my husband pronounced it "best nikkujyaga ever". I didn't tell him I added instant dashi powder, which he says he hates. I keep sneaking it into things so he'll gradually get used to the taste. Does that make me a bad person?

#104 Hiroyuki

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 05:19 AM

I can't say whether you are a bad person or not; all I can say is that you are practical. :smile: You simply can't make dashi from scratch every day.
I'm curious about your enoki takikomi gohan. Does it contain other mushrooms or only enoki?

#105 melonpan

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 07:33 PM

but my husband pronounced it "best nikkujyaga ever". I didn't tell him I added instant dashi powder, which he says he hates. I keep sneaking it into things so he'll gradually get used to the taste. Does that make me a bad person?

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id have to agree with your husband! it looks so comfy and homey! go ahead and use the dashi powder, but just dont overdo it!

hope you feel better soon!
"Bibimbap shappdy wappdy wap." - Jinmyo

#106 nakji

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 01:59 AM

Haha! Don't worry - I wasn't feeling bad about using the dashi powder - just about not telling my husband it was in there. But I broke down and told him anyway, when he asked me what I did different this time. :smile:

I only used enoki mushrooms in my takikomi gohan, since those were all I had on hand. They were wilting sadly in the crisper, so I made the dish just to use them up.

#107 nakedsushi

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 11:46 AM

We had a heat wave last week, so I wanted something refreshing and quick for dinner.
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Enter: neba neba soba.
The topping is grated nagaimo, natto mixed with finely chopped kimchi, blanched okra and green onions. The BF is vegan, so the dipping sauce was just the soba cooking water, soy sauce, mirin, and a bit of s&b mustard powder.

Edited by nakedsushi, 09 October 2008 - 11:46 AM.

nakedsushi.net (not so much sushi, and not exactly naked)

#108 Hassouni

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 05:30 PM

Hm how come this thread has been dormant for three years while the Korean, Vietnamese, Mexican, Chinese, etc ones are still active? :)

Here are some things I cooked for future consumption:

Kombu tsukudani made from spent dashi kombu (ichiban and niban dashi in the freezer)
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Konnyaku no tosani, as posted on Just Bento
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Kabocha no nimono made with the ichiban dashi from yesterday
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Shiozake/shiojake (salted samon, also from a technique posted on Just Bento) - I left this in the fridge for 48 hours and it has a really nice, firm, almost hardened gel-like texture.
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#109 Genkinaonna

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:18 PM

Beautiful, Hassouni! Is the kabocha sweet, or does the dashi take over and make it more savory? There's something about Japanese seasonings that just work with squash. I hadn't thought about any Japanese type preparations for Thanksgiving, but now you've got my mind going....
If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

#110 Hassouni

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:31 PM

The kabocha flavors the dashi, mirin, shoyu, etc, and in turn takes on some of those flavors; it's a really cool blending of tastes. I should have scooped out the flesh around the seeds a bit better, because in some areas I got lazy and the flesh next to the seeds gets mushy REALLY quick...

#111 Hassouni

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 01:00 AM

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And here we have some of yesterday's preparations cooked - the shiozake was gently seared, and it got the crispiest skin I've ever eaten on a fish, like, kettle chips-crunchy. kabocha as prepared above, straight out of the fridge and warmed up to room temperature, and the new stuff: enoki and hakusai misoshiru, horenso no gomae ae, and kinpira gobo and carrot. God I love gobo.....

#112 Hassouni

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 10:56 PM

It's cold and crappy so it's nabe time.

Ishikari nabe from a few nights ago:

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Sukiyaki tonight with my Japanese-American friend:
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Man those both hit the spot!

#113 threestars

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 03:35 AM

I miss Sakuyaki! Hope to try that again this week... :)

#114 mkayahara

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 11:46 AM

I've been loving your meals, Hassouni. Not too long ago, I made teriyaki salmon (not a usual dish for me, but I had some teriyaki sauce to use up), soy-simmered kiriboshi daikon with abura-age from Andoh's Washoku, and chawan-mushi with ginkgo nuts and shrimp,topped with a little yuzu zest. I steamed the chawan-mushi a little too hard (hence the bubbles), but not to the point of curdling it. It was still pretty tasty.

Chawanmushi.jpg
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#115 Hassouni

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:18 PM

Been making a few Japanese meals, most of which I haven't documented.

Last week made my first ever real Japanese-style teriyaki, in this case with some super-fresh mackerel and homemade tare. It was beautiful and exquisitely delicious. Made some green beans and carrots in shira ae, some quick cucumber pickles, and a fresh corn, spinach, and tomato misoshiru.

I then picked up a Made in Japan Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy rice cooker, and a bag of Kagayaki California Koshihikari...Today made this:

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the koshihikari rice (which cooked up way softer than I expected on the "regular" setting in the Zojirushi), daikon and tomato misoshiru, gobo tataki (which was delicious, only tataki-ing the gobo with a surikogi sent gobo bits flying across the kitchen), and some chicken negimaki - I didn't have time to go to a good grocery store, so was unable to get good quality suitable red meat for it. I think red meat would have been better though, the chicken totally fell apart. Gratuitous closeup:

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#116 Hassouni

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 06:36 PM

No pics but tonight was:

Kagayaki genmai from the Zojirushi (awesome!)
firm tofu, maitake, and negi misoshiru
Eggplant dengaku
Aster (Bugigangie in Korean) no goma ae
Renkon no nimono with strips of konbu

Very nice vegetarian ichiju sansai!