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Japanese Kitchen Gadgets & Equipment


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I'm a little late on this thread but I have some info. I bought an oven about a year ago, maybe you saw my post on the oven thread. Anyway it is awesome. Convection, rotisserie, broiler. It's gets really hot. I'm not sure why I have waited until now to get a pizza stone but I finally did and I have some tips.

I bought my stone at the national home center コーナン Conan. It was 500¥ and is 30cmx30cm which fits perfectly in my oven. I had the same issue about heating it up. My oven heats up really quickly and the stone takes forever. My solution was to heat the stone on my stove over direct flame, put the pizza on it, and place the whole thing in the oven. This works really really well, best pizza I have had in Japan or elsewhere. The stone is made of granite I think. It is the same material as my bibimbap bowl so I'm pretty sure it's safe. Here is a picture of my set up, the oven is a deviceSTYLE co-12 Convection Oven which I bought for a little under 20,000¥(free shipping!)

gallery_23727_2765_17570.jpg

You may ask why there is a light bulb in my oven. That is because I use it as a proofing chamber when it is cold.

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Does anyone here have/use an ohitsu? 

Can it be used for anything other than keeping rice warm, at the correct moisture level, and preventing it from spoiling?

I want to buy something made of hinoki or sawara cypress that has a lid. Ideally for both presentation and preparation use. I'm thinking shari making, oshizushi, chirashizushi, somen in ice water, keeping rice, transporting prepared food. Do sushi-oike have lids?

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Does anyone here have/use an ohitsu? 

Can it be used for anything other than keeping rice warm, at the correct moisture level, and preventing it from spoiling?

I want to buy something made of hinoki or sawara cypress that has a lid. Ideally for both presentation and preparation use. I'm thinking shari making, oshizushi, chirashizushi, somen in ice water, keeping rice, transporting prepared food. Do sushi-oike have lids?

I don't have one. As you may know, they are dying out.

You can use an ohitsu for other purposes, of course, like using it as a wine cooler, but most native Japanese including me wouldn't feel like using it for other purposes.

Sushi oke 寿司桶 do not have lids.

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I have never seen a sushi oke that had a little but this site shows them. It also shows some great uses for it. If you were going to buy one I would go with the sushi oke over the ohitsu, most of the dishes you mentioned can be made/served with the sushi oke but not with the ohitsu. The sides on the ohitsu are too high for making sushi rice and it really helps to spread out over a larger surface. Serving chirashi in an ohitsu would be awkward as well.

I have a quite large sushi oke and use it anytime I make sushi rice, whether for temaki sushi (hand rolls) or chirashizushi (scattered rice). I have also used it to serve cold tofu for a group as well as somen.

As to the lid, the lids they show (the same ones as for a ohitsu) are really geared to transporting around. You will still need to wrap the container in something (like a cloth) if you want to take it somewhere. If this were the case I would feel better if it was wrapped with saran wrap first.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Ohitsu were still around in real-life kitchens when I first came to Japan, but really, even in ryokan these days the maid usually totes in a rice cooker and plunks it down and sometimes plugs it in and sets it to keep warm.

If I were buying something lacquered (rather than a sushi-oke type white-wood item) now, I think I'd look for a high-end synthetic lacquer rather than natural lacquer. You can get synthetic lacquer on wood rather than plastic these days. Much as I love my natural lacquer items, they are not robust enough to withstand extreme temperatures, or regular washing with strong detergents - my synthetic lacquer items get used much more frequently, and most people at the table can't tell the difference.

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I'd like to know what Korean and Chinese spoons are.

I took a picture of the forks and spoons I happen to have in my house.

gallery_16375_5_29363.jpg

I don't think that those used in other households vastly differ from those shown above.

The three leftmost ones are for children.  To be more precise, the leftmost one is not a spoon but a renge, a spoon-like implement used to drink ramen soup.

The first one from the left, or the renge, is what I know as a Chinese (soup) spoon.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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  • 1 month later...
Hey that...err..."thing" would be great for making the kind of griddlecakes and muffins etc that used to be baked on griddles and hearthstones.

I've wondered for a while whether a pizza stone would be usable in a Japanese oven with a turntable...would it get hot enough? And if you preheated it at the top of the oven in the oven tray then put it on top of a ceramic turntable, would the turntable crack? Could you take the turntable off and just use the stone?? I'm hoping somebody *else* will experiment!

The Japanese have invented a STOVETOP PIZZA OVEN

http://inventorspot.com/articles/stovetop_..._oven_bake_9872

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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  • 2 weeks later...

So how are all those ovens doing these days?

I killed mine with a lemon meringue pie :hmmm: and as it's 10 years old, and came from a friend in the first place, it may be time to replace it. However, the new generation of combi oven/microwaves are very different from the type I have.

Any recommendations...or warnings :blink: ?

Also, any comments on flat-bottom no-turntable microwaves (uneven heating?) or the current steam/water oven types (how well do they work for conventional purposes? Are they messy? I hear they don't really reheat uncovered food as well as claimed?)

I don't care for all those auto-menu things, just want a basic microwave and a good oven with at least two shelf positions (my current one has only one position, very high, not very useful for anything except baked potato). Buying two separate items is not really practical in my kitchen.

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I still love my oven. It's big, has two shelf positions, and can handle a big roast chicken (I've never tried a turkey, though). My only complaint is that the turntable sometimes squeaks as it goes around. I think that's my fault, though, because I took it apart to clean it. The microwave isn't powerful enough to do microwave popcorn, either, but I don't really eat that stuff so it doesn't make a difference to me (but with two teenagers, it might to you!).

It's gas, too, if that makes a difference. And apparently very expensive! I can't believe a model that is at least 6 years old still costs that much!

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While I'm here, may I ask how one uses the fish grill attached to stoves (US English) here? It says to put water in it, but how much water does one put in? A lot? Just enough to cover the bottom? And can I put other stuff in it, too, or just fish?

I'm getting deja vu, here, so if I've asked this before, sorry!

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Yes, just enough water to cover the bottom of the grill...but some new ones say emphatically NOT to put water in.

Is yours a top-only fish grill, or a top and bottom "ryoumen-yaki" type? In the latter case, you can cook all kinds of things, but in the former case, you are limited to things that you can turn over, or which only need top heat. So you can make dengaku in it, if the item only needs the miso topping to be grilled. Or you can make cheese toast - you have to toast one side of the bread, turn it over, then top with cheese and grill.

If you want to wrap things in foil, you can cook little parcels of fish, meat, and vegetables, turning as needed.

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I love my oven. It has a rotisserie in it. Which I use once in a while but mostly think is cool. It's wide and has 4 rack positions. The problem is that it is uninsulated so I feel like It is not so efficient. It's not a microwave but I never find myself wanting a microwave (except to melt butter). There was one advertised on TV that heats from the sides and bottom. It was advertised cooking pizza. I thought that one looked great but I have no idea how much it is.

I don't have a fish grill either. I do everything on the ami stove top grill.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Yes, just enough water to cover the bottom of the grill...but some new ones say emphatically NOT to put water in.

Is yours a top-only fish grill, or a top and bottom "ryoumen-yaki" type? In the latter case, you can cook all kinds of things, but in the former case, you are limited to things that you can turn over, or which only need top  heat. So you can make dengaku in it, if the item only needs the miso topping to be grilled. Or you can make cheese toast - you have to toast one side of the bread, turn it over, then top with cheese and grill.

If you want to wrap things in foil, you can cook little parcels of fish, meat, and vegetables, turning as needed.

My fish thing is top only. I've been using it lately, but I think I must still be putting too much water in the bottom (I checked, and mine says to put water in it). Sometimes I feel my fish is coming out more steamed than grilled.

About your oven, if you haven't already purchased one, I found a restaurant supply shop that sells used equipment. It's called Tenpos, and they have them all over Japan. I found two used but new-looking ovens just like mine that were only Y40 000 each--that's less than half the regular price. Different stores will have different used equipment, of course, but it might be worth checking out if there's one near you.

Lots of other great stuff there, used and new, and they sell to the public. They even ordered some stuff in for me, as they didn't have enough of what I wanted in stock.

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Thanks for the tenpos link. That looks extremely useful. My oven recovered after about a week of inaction, but I think I will be shopping for a new one fairly soon.

I'm taken by the call system gadgets which you use to beep people to come up to the counter and collect their order. We could use a few in my house :hmmm: .

Fish grills - what I wrote was a bit misleaading, you only need a very little water, don't even have to fully cover the bottom.

John, I have to admit I'd get a microwave before a rotisserie, because the 5am bento rush is much easier with a microwave (I've tested, and cooked food packed cold from the fridge is still colder at lunchtime than reheated food, even in winter).

The rack positions are a big decision-maker for me - I inherited my oven, and have found the single position extremely limiting.

Flicking through brochures, I see that nothing under 20L oven capacity really has good oven functions.

I notice that manufacturers don't really explain their oven functions in detail, apart from the latest gimmick. So some ovens seem to use convection, but it's not mentioned in the brochure.

I think Prasantrin's idea of getting a commercial oven is best for people who use their ovens a fair amount. I remember a serviceman gasping and saying "But...I bet you used this oven EVERY DAY!" That gave me a good idea of how much use the big "kaden" (whiteware) makers expects their ovens to get.

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  • 2 months later...

It's getting so I can't even walk by a Muji shop these days without being sucked in to the kitchenwares section. As soon as I'm in there, I'm completely defenseless, and I end up walking out 2,000 yen lighter. It started with the slimline bento for my husband in January (very practical for his briefcase! And it would save money on lunches, too! How could I go without?) and moved on too fairly innocuous items like a silicone spatula (for eggs); a kitchen knife; and some deep bowls for soup and pasta and the like. Perfectly reasonable; our apartment only came with plates. Then it escalated with their new bento items, to a bento carrying bag, and some silicone side-dish holders. But these last few weeks have been deadly; first, I found some cute mise-en-place cups (do the Japanese have a word for mise-en-place cups?) and then I couldn't live without their fabulous salad spinner. Then, because I was making salad, I needed their chic erlenmeyer flask-inspired salad dressing shaker. What will it be next? Their thermal bento sets would be just perfect for going to work with soups....They must be stopped!

Has anyone else been sucked in?

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Has anyone else been sucked in?

Alas, yes. Graters, mandolins, strainers, metal bento boxes with elastic belts... my favourite purchase so far has been a set of tea cups that stack. There's the cup, the strainer, the lid and the citrus squeezer. All the pieces are ceramic and fit together like a Russian doll. Alas, they seem to have stopped stocking them a while back.

---

I saw torakris showed a picture of her 漬物器 tsukemonoki - pickle press.

I'd love to get a couple of these. Does anyone have a recommendation pertinent to Tokyo?

(Or, perhaps better still, a practical way of making my own)

Edited by MoGa (log)
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  • 3 months later...
Ok this is a pretty big gadget, but I can't imagine a Japanese kitchen without a コンロ (konro or kasetto conro) a portable gas range used for cooking at the table.

Well, with the weather having turned so cool and rainy lately, when my husband dragged me into Bic Camera on the weekend to game-shop, I wandered over to the portable gas range section (already decorated with chestnuts and fall leaves - they were in a similar mood, I guess).

I'm going to get one this fall for nabes, ddalk galbi and the like, as I had one in Korea and loved it. They seem to range between 2,000 and 5,000 yen. If I'm going to spend more, then I'll probably get the sleek white model from Muji. Although heaven knows what the gojchujang will do to its finish. But if I can I'd like to get away with the 2,000 yen Iwatani model. Any recommendations?

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I have the absolute cheapest model that I could find about 10 years ago and I am still using it (a lot). I think I paid in the 1500 yen range and am more than happy. The only problem I have is that it doesn't do a weak flame really well. I make fondue in my donabe and use the portable gas range. I do find that even the lowest I can get it is just a little too strong after the cheese has melted. I tried using a friend's more expensive model and still had the same problem though.

This, unfortunately, is not something that can be tested for in the store...

For any other purpose the cheap ones perform just as good as the pricey ones and I would go for the cheaper one myself.

I do still make fondue, I just keep an eye on the cheese and control it by turning it off when needed. :biggrin: I see no point in actually purchasing a fondue pot.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I have the absolute cheapest model that I could find about 10 years ago and I am still using it (a lot).  I think I paid in the 1500 yen range and am more than happy. The only problem I have is that it doesn't do a weak flame really well. I make fondue in my donabe and use the portable gas range. I do find that even the lowest I can get it is just a little too strong after the cheese has melted. I tried using a friend's more expensive model and still had the same problem though.

This, unfortunately, is not something that can be tested for in the store...

For any other purpose the cheap ones perform just as good as the pricey ones and I would go for the cheaper one myself.

I do still make fondue, I just keep an eye on the cheese and control it by turning it off when needed. :biggrin: I see no point in actually purchasing a fondue pot.

Get a flame-tamer or whatever they're called (a round metal thing for putting on top of elements to help disperse the heat better). I picked one up in the US a couple of years ago because even the smallest element on my gas stove was too hot on its lowest setting. It's one of the best things I ever hauled back to Japan with me--and it was one of the smallest and lightest, too! And cheapest! (I think I paid about $5 for it.)

ETA: Mine looks like this one. I've never seen them in Japan, or even in Canada (my area doesn't have a lot of gas stoves), but I know they're available at places like Target in the US.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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. . .

ETA:  Mine looks like this one.  I've never seen them in Japan, or even in Canada (my area doesn't have a lot of gas stoves), but I know they're available at places like Target in the US.

Just for info I have to say that these are readily available in the Toronto (Canada) area from most dollar stores.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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I saw torakris showed a picture of her 漬物器 tsukemonoki - pickle press.

I'd love to get a couple of these.  Does anyone have a recommendation pertinent to Tokyo?

(Or, perhaps better still, a practical way of making my own)

Too late I'm sure, but we purchased ours at Don Quijote (locations throughout Japan) for about 1,500 yen, although I'm sure you can find one at any well-stocked housewares store.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Get a flame-tamer or whatever they're called (a round metal thing for putting on top of elements to help disperse the heat better).  I picked one up in the US a couple of years ago because even the smallest element on my gas stove was too hot on its lowest setting.  It's one of the best things I ever hauled back to Japan with me--and it was one of the smallest and lightest, too!  And cheapest!  (I think I paid about $5 for it.)

Thanks!

I have just added this to my list for things to pick up next year. I remember at one time fashioning a ring out of foil and using that as a sort of a flame tamer, at least it elevated the pan a little higher off the flame. I have the same problem with the range in kitchen. I can get it fairly low but if a breeze comes through the flame will go out....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Can someone tell me what a food/meat grinder is called in Japanese? I'm doing on online search, and so far haven't been able to find any. I saw a cheap-looking hand-cranked plastic one at Tokyu Hands, but it was more than I wanted to pay for a cheap-looking hand-cranked plastic one and silly me, I didn't bother to see what it was actually called.

Nevermind, I found them under meat mincer, but even the hand-cranked cast iron types are 3x the cost as in the US! I'm going to have to think about this purchase...

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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Yup! I really wanted one of the electric ones like on the second page, but those are way out of my price range. I was willing to settle for one like those at the top of the second page, but Y15 000 is a lot of money for something I'm just going to use to grind nuts and dried fruits! (I want to make the fruit and nut balls that andiesenji makes.) I was only expecting to pay about Y3000 for it. I did find a similar looking metal one for about Y4000, but it came with plastic parts which isn't really a good thing.

The plastic one of the first page is like the one I saw at Tokyu Hands, but it seemed a bit flimsy. Maybe I'll see of they have anything at Yodobashi Camera--if I can get it free with my points, I might not mind the cheap flimsy-ness as much. :smile:

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