Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by bruce

  1. Has anyone ever tried making their own Japanese mayonnaise? My results so far are okay, but I was wondering whether anyone had any tips. I presume that Kewpie and similar are made with pasteurised eggs for shelf life. Obviously, reaching for the squeezy bottle does save rather a lot of time.

    If I recall correctly, one critical ingredient for making a kewpie-like mayonnaise is ajinomoto (msg).

    Other than that, I play with things like adding shiso or wasabi or (sweeter flavoured) miso.

    My own basic recipe includes lemon; you could substitute with or add yudzu to add another Japan specific flavour into your mayonnaise.

  2. Was a bit startled when I noticed the name of this forum topic! I'm more used to hearing "oshiko!" when my daughter announces she is ready to visit the bathroom.

    I briefly had visions of some avant garde restaurant really trying to push the limits with their menu but a typo does seem the more likely explanation :-)

  3. Darn! I was busy doing sentaku this morning and didn't get to email until just now.

    Will they also send you a tape/DVD of the segment, Chris? I'm certain the grandparents will want to see it.

    When my daughter was on Inai! Inai! Baa! last year, we recorded all the episodes and sent an edited "Best of..." DVD to my folks. They don't understand a word of Japanese but I'm fairly certain they memorized the theme song from having watched the DVD so many times!

  4. Found this treat at the 7 & IHoldings today:


    Yuzu-shichimi flavoured potato chips!  Yum!

    [edit corrected URL]

    I saw these at a convenience store the other day and was going to try them but ended up going for a Dr. Pepper instead. :biggrin: It was a really muggy day and I had been riding my bike around and the pop just hit the spot better...

    How are they?

    (I love Dr. Pepper. Got hooked on it during summer visits to New Mexico when I was a kid.)

    I didn't always like shichimi but that changed when I discovered how nicely it goes with udon. On these chips, it definitely works for me -- the light taste of the Yuzu contrasts nicely with the shichimi. It seems at least a few other people agree -- the part of the shelf allocated to this kind was stripped clean bar the one I bought.

    Say, have you ever run across any local brands with a salt-and-vinegar flavour? It's always surprised me no one has tried marketing tsu-jyoyu chips.

  5. Our daughter Manami started with okayu. Udon was her favorite. Almost from the beginning though, she ate nato, deboned white fish, niiboshi, various light niimono, fruit (banana, strawberry, blueberry, grapes, mikan), and strangely, umeboshi -- both real umeboshi and the umeboshi paste we picked up at costco. For veggies, daikon, nasu, carrots, potato, corn, all the other standard.

    From early on the main issue was not what to feed her but rather how soft to make it so she would eat it; certainly anything we cooked to a similar texture/shape as udon, she inhaled! As her teeth came in, harder textures

    She loves raw seafood, best of all ikura but also eats uni/hotate,maguro/toro and others. We started her on most of those after her 1st birthday though I recall ikura came a bit before that.

    At this point (1y10m), we haven't found any one food she can't or won't eat bar spicey/hot food but she is sometimes a little picky about mixed or rough textures, eg: she loves raisin bread but insists the raisins should be picked and eaten separately from the bread; she carefully peels the skin off grapes; likes nuts and salad but not nuts on salad, etc. That said, her range keeps expanding -- she eats my cornbread and recently decided she likes my homemade falafel (yay!)

  6. Makes me wonder if my local Seijo Ishii doesn't get the full range of imports. I've always had to stock with bottles hauled back from visits to my folks in the states because I couldn't find a local source (bar the occasional bottle via folks with PX privileges at US bases in the area).

    Btw, if anyone ever locates a Tokyo-area source for Hawaiian alaea rock salt, please shout out.

    Laulau just doesn't taste quite right with the available substitutes :sad: .

  7. Thanks Torakris - reading down this thread, I was starting to wonder if anyone was going to mention fish! I've often wondered why barbecues in Japan are usually fishless....

    Most of the bbq's we throw or attend seem have a lot of seafood. Then again my wife's brother is a fish trader and the whole family is pretty fish crazy even by Japanese standards so ours may not be a representative sample!

    Sazae (turban shell), hotate (scallops), salmon and various sorts of grilled silver-skinned fish make regular appearances at our bbq's. Also a few kinds of shrimp (sorry, don't know which kind...I usually just refer to them as the "red kind" and the "big grey kind" :blink:)

  8. We've been on a bit of a sate kick since going to a friends wedding in Bali. For the marinade, I use:


    1 tbs palm/brown/cane sugar

    1-2 tbs ginger or to taste

    1 tsp coriander

    1-2 chili peppers

    1 tbs sweet shoyu (we use an Indonesian brand "ABC Kecap Manis" but its easy to make your own)

    1 tbs salty shoyu

    1/2-1 cup coconut milk

    1 tsp tamarind paste

    1/4 cup of warm water

    1 tsp lemon (or more...to taste)

    Mix it all up in a bowl


    Buy 1 to 2 packages of sasami or chicken breast - standard packages at our local Marufuji have 5-6 strips / "fingers" of chicken. Slice each finger in half in the long direction, stripping out the thread of cartilage if using sasami -- then cutting the resulting strips so you have thin pieces, longer in one direction. We generally aim for small as possible but big enough to fit onto the skewer. It's more work but the result seems worth it. Others may prefer, fewer and larger pieces.

    Place the chicken into the marinade, let it soak for a while, say an hour.

    Grab a skewer, add chicken on the skewer until half the skewer is covered with chicken and each piece tight against adjacent pieces. This can take some time, longer if you make your pieces small so its worth getting some extra hands (guests even!) to help out.

    Save the leftover marinade.

    Peanut sauce

    Essentially this is the leftover marinade, grounds peanuts or peanut butter, and a bit of coconut milk and/or sweet shoyu to adjust the taste. Recently I've been playing around and using something like:

    1/2 cup peanuts

    1/4 cup cashews

    1/4 cup ground goma (sesame) or goma paste (tahini)

    1/4 cup pine nuts

    Grind it all up in a blender or food processor -- we have one of the Magic bullets which works quite nicely.

    Dump the leftover marinade, ground nut mix into a small pan. Add coconut milk, possibly sweet shoyu, heat at low-medium, stir and simmer for about 5 minutes. You may also wish to add salt if you prefer a strong salt/sweet contrast.

    I usually make the sauce after loading the skewers with chicken, then reheat it just before serving.

    To grill the sate, we usually use a small shichirin but any bbq such as the ones in your pictures will do fine. The main thing cooking your sate to rotate constantly so as long as you can do that easily, your cool. Note the smaller you cut your chicken pieces above, the quicker they are going to cook.

    Speaking to your larger question. Yeah, the basic bbq scene in Japan can sometimes be a bit Spartan but I found it depends on what you bring to it. My own experience has been that folks are comfortable defaulting to fairly basic, simple grilling but are receptive to alternatives -- it often seems to be the case that variations are welcome but people may simply not have been exposed to fancier versions of bbq.

    I've served folks my "special hamburgers" with all manner of "different" spices and secret ingredients (miso works really well by the way) and they are well received. This summer, I started using a bbq sauce recipe from torakris which went over very well.

    Historically, the bbq's of ours that seem most popular combine a mix of Japanese and (in my case) American elements/ingredients and if at all possible, allow "audience particpation".

  9. So, I am interested in purchasing a little japanese grill.  I have researched the topic for some time and have found two that I am considering.  Anybody have experience with these or any advice? 

    The second (small round) one is pretty much the one we use, particularly on evenings when we want to grill but don't want the overhead of firing up our larger coleman bbq. I think ours cost sengohyaku-en...call it a bit less than 15 bucks US.

    I love it. Very easy to clean though be careful not to damage the special cloth-like material that lines the sides of the well holding the sumi. Very easy to grill...one of the main uses for ours is cooking sate and other kinds of yakitori and it packs nicely into the car -- we're bring ours to the Earth Celebration on Sado this year :-)

    The korin model looks nice but I think this one:


    will do the same job for as much fun and a rather smaller sticker price (US25.00) This is the kind of hibachi my folks used back in small-kid time.

  10. The only place I know of in Akasaka that offers hummous and the like is "Pita the Great" across the street from the Fuji-Xerox building...about a block and a half toward Akasaka as you walk from the US Embassy.

    Everything is home made and they offer a wide variety of veggie pita sandwiches in addition to the standard falafel and hummous variety.

    Be warned, service is very, very slow and proudly so...a sign on the wall even boasts they are a "slow fast food restaurant". If you are going there for lunch, it is well worth calling in your order (English or Japanese is fine). It generally will be almost ready by the time you arrive.

  11. Hey, I got curious and found this food blog which mentions the horse flesh ice cream and a number of other "delicacies".

    Actually, the crab ice cream she mentions sounds like it might even work for me. The kani we normally find tends to be a little sweet and usually served cold, sometimes on ice. Throwing in a little cream and sugar is not so great a leap...

  12. There were a number of orchards near the place we rented after we first returned to Japan. Most were semi-abandoned...beautiful ume fruit literally falling on the ground but no one bothering to pick them (sadly, most of the properties converted to mansions a few years later).

    We adopted a policy of adopting abandoned fruit after that first year and that as it happens was my introduction to making umeshu. Admittedly the first picking may have been inspired by a tad overconsuming umeshu or one of the other shu's 5:00 that Saturday morning but there you go.

    A number of years on, a pair of ume trees we planted in the front of our current place are now starting to bear fruit. I've been slack on trimming the trees of late but my efforts (mentioned in another post) to revive the herb garden inspired a bit of trimming this afternoon. They fruit are a bit small right now but all over the branches.

    Looks like we'll be making umeshu once again and this time with our own fruit!

    (...but I can't help noticing a number of samishii ume trees in the neighborhood with no one to collect their fruit...)

  13. Between the cooler weather and busy schedule, I've gotten off to a late start with the garden. I'm currently trying to revive the little herb garden...a few hardy survivors from last year and reintroducing others like basil that didn't make it through the winter.

    At this state, the main "herb" thriving in the garden are a number of ochi-no-ki cuttings that finally rooted with a vengance:




    So one of the things I was hoping to plant this year were different kinds of chilli. Does anyone know a source in Japan either for plants or seeds for other than the standard run-of-the-mill chilli's? Varieties from Mexico or the southwest / western US would be lovely to find!

  14. For Indonesian, I actually quite like Jembatan Merah near Akasaka-mitsuke station. I've been eating there for lunch regularly since we moved to Tokyo. Googling for map and directions indicates there are a few branches -- I've only eaten in the Akasaka:


    On a related note, a few days ago, my wife and I were walking home from Nikotamagawa when we both looked up and said "whatever someone around here is cooking sure reminds me of ubud". Sure enough, across the street was a tiny little restaurant with all sorts of indonesian food on the menu. Unfortunately, they only appear to open in the evening so we're going to schedule a return visit on another night.

    I don't know if this counts as ethnic -- multi-ethnic more likely -- but far and away the best local Hawaiian food in Tokyo is Ogo's, also located in Akasaka. After Ryoji (the owner) opened his place, my lunch visits to other restaurants in Akasaka dropped off massively -- to hard to walk by his daily menu. Here is a review and directions:


  15. I'm in Kyoto right now, staying for a few days with some family who live on the edge of the Gion district.

    Last night we got on the topic of favorite ramen shops (my current one is the Jungara ramen in Akasaka) and it was suggested I give their favorite local a try. I believe the name is Muttepou is something similar.

    I have directions and a name and am heading out in a few minutes. Will let you know how it goes.

  16. We make our own humous, falafel and other dishes at home that require chickpeas.

    Does anyone know any stores in the Tokyo area that sell dry chickpeas in bulk? I feel really silly always buying the small (and rather overpriced) packages available in places like Seijo Ishi.

  17. ...However if you take a look at Japanese home cooking you will see that it has strong roots to shojin ryouri or the vegetarian temple food...

    Chris, this sounds like the Buddist vegetarian ryouri I've had at some restaurants. If so, i recommend a really nice place I sometimes go to in Tokyo up and right of Ueno koen called "Bon".

    If my mail archives are correct, the phone number is 03 3872-0234.

  18. Dreary day #4 and we have rain forecast everday through next Weds!!

    Even in rainy season (June) it doesn't rain this much. :angry:

    Our BBQ on Sunday is probably going to be meat grilled on a hotplate party....

    I was talking to my friend about what we should make and she said her husband requested that I make my guacamole and roasted chickpeas. So I will be making a chips plate wih guacamole and maybe two salsas, the roasted chickpeas- which I hestitate to call mine as it is actually a recipe from Jack Bishop's Vegetarian Italian book. I told her I would do some kind of dessert and another vegetable dish.

    I am halfway through my iced coffee..

    Well, I'm happy to report that the weather has taken a decidedly nice turn since this morning (at least here in Tokyo). The weather channel is claiming 23 but stepping outside I'd swear it's hotter. Unfortunately, it was also showing a possibility of clouds and rain for tomorrow so may need to use the shichirin instead of the coleman in case we have to suddenly move the grill out of the rain!

    Our current plan for tomorrow's bbq calls for karubi, scallops, some of those big costco dogs and home made corn bread.

  • Create New...