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  1. Thank you for your replies! The 100-yen Lawson's convenience store near my apartment sells yaki imo, but I still want to try to make them myself.
  2. Hello! I was wondering if it's possible to cook Japanese sweet potatoes in the microwave. If so, do you have to poke them with a fork all over before cooking? Should you wrap them in plastic wrap? Also, here in Japan silicone cookware seems to be very popular, especially the Spanish brand Lekue (sp?). Have you ever cooked in this type of cookware? Is it worth the price? Can you use them in the microwave? Thank you!
  3. Hello! A friend gave me a package of dried sakuara ebi from the Izu Peninsula. Do you have any suggestions on how to use them? Thank you!
  4. Thank you for your help, everyone. I have heard of katakuriko, but never knew it was potato starch. I can't wait to make the Korean pancakes.
  5. The New York Times--in the "Temporary Vegetarian" column-- recently featured a recipe for Korean pancakes. The recipe called for potato starch to be mixed with the regular wheat flour. The recipe's author claims it makes a superior pancake. Has anyone seen potato starch (NOT potato flour) in Japan? Is there a Japanese translation for potato starch? Thanks for your help.
  6. Hello! Thanks for all your answers to my previous fish questions. I hope you don't mind a few more. Fish is discounted by 50% in the evening at the supermarket near me. I was thinking of buying some to freeze. Have you ever done that? If so, how do you prepare the fish for freezing? Do you wash and salt before freezing? How long will the fish keep in the freezer? Aside from freezing, could you hold off on eating discounted fish until the next day? (Kept in the refrigerator overnight, of course). Also, do you avoid any kinds of fish because of the over-fishing issue? I have heard that cod and swordfish should be avoided. What about the issue of mercury? Have you reduced your consumption of fish because of mercury? (Did you hear about the actor Jeremy Piven having to cancel his appearance in a Broadway show due to mercury poisoning....granted, he was said to have eaten sushi ever single day). Just one more (I promise): Do you buy your fish at a fish shop or at the supermarket? Is the quality different? Thank you!
  7. In a recent thread regarding cooking salmon, Small World responded with a great tip about putting mikan peels in the fish grill to make clean-up easier. What a great tip! That got me thinking about ways to re-use, recycle, and save money in Japan, particularly in regards to food and kitchen-related matters. Does anyone have any other kitchen tips or any strategies to save money in Japan? Have you changed the way you shop for and prepare food? Do you make kinpira with daikon peels? Do you buy food at 100 yen shops? Please share. I save most vegetable scraps to make vegetable stock. I seek out ethnic food shops to buy spices, dried beans, and coconut milk--but only when I'm in the area....a separate train/subway trip could nullify any savings. (By the way, I recently discovered an amazingly delicious product from the Philippines at an ethnic store: doce de leite made from coconut milk. A big jar was about 350yen). Thanks!
  8. Thanks for your responses. I had no idea there were different levels of salt in salted fish. Thanks, Torakris, for providing the kanji. Hiroyuki, I also agree that the fish grill is a bit of a pain to deal with. When I use it, it makes everything I have on the burners start boiling. And I find it hard to easily turn things over in the grill. Making sure the fish cooks evenly also seems to be a problem....and clean-up is no fun. I don't have a toaster oven--just a microwave with a grill function. But heating that up just for a couple piece of fish seems like a waste of energy. Anyone have any tricks for using the fish grill? Tricks to making it less of a pain? Thanks!
  9. I have noticed salted salmon in the supermarket. I can buy it by the piece for around 90 yen these days. (You select the piece(s) you want and bag it up yourself). It looks like a great bargain. But how do you prepare it? It seems quite hard. Do you soak it before cooking it? If so, for how long? And is grilling the way to cook it? How long does it need in the fish grill? What is a good accompaniment for it? Grated daikon? Another question about preparing fish: Do you wash or rinse fish before you cook it? Do you always salt it? I remember reading in a Japanese cook book that fish should be salted to freshen it up, to remove odor. Do you always rinse the salt off after the salting? On more question: I love umeboshi paste. Which fish would go well with a bit of ume paste rubbed on it? I really appreciate any help you could send this way. One of my resolutions this year is to eat more fish. Thanks!
  10. Hi! I made the black beans. First of all, when I was shopping, I noticed huge price variations. While I would have liked to have bought the ones from Tamba, 2500yen per bag was a bit over my budget. I bought beans that were grown in Hokkaido for about 800yen. I cooked them in a crock pot, but I think I should have used the low setting. 8 hours on high made them a bit too soft. Next year I will cook them on low for about 12 hours. I added baking soda, but the beans didn't have that deep black color. They were delicious, though. I actually took out half the beans (before adding sugar and soy sauce) and made refried beans with them. Strange I know, but that was the best refried beans I have ever had!!! The other half will be made into traditional kuromame. It's so much fun to try new things!!! Happy New Year!
  11. Thank you both for your responses! Hiroyuki--thank you for telling me how to say "rusty nail" in Japanese. By the way, I really like your Japanese food blog! Helenjp--Wow! Thank you for a definitive answer. You must have spent a lot of time experimenting to determine the coloring effects of different agents. I will try the shochu. I think I will make the black beans without the nail. I will also reduce the huge amount of sugar that most recipes call for. I will be careful about cooking the beans slowly, over a very low flame. Actually, I might experiment and try to cook them in my Crock Pot slow cooker. I don't mind breaking with tradition.
  12. Hello! I want to make black beans for New Year's. I have been looking over recipes on the internet and many say to add a rusty nail to the pot when cooking the beans. I guess this helps keep the beans black and shiny. I don't think I have an old rusty nail. Do you think they will turn out OK without the nail. Also, how do you say "rusty nail" in Japanese?--just in case I get the courage to ask at my local hardware store.
  13. Hi everyone! I have noticed that there is a lot of canned fish in Japan (not just tuna). The price is often quite reasonable. How do you use them? Do you take the fish out of the can and broil it? Do you put the can directly in the oven or in the fish grill? Do you add them to other dishes? Thanks for your advice.
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