Cabbage Rice

Cabbage Rice and Miso Soup
I wanted to eat something healthy, simple and cheap.

I don't use rice cooker ( I used to have one.  When the old one was broken, I was looking for new one.  Nowadays Japanese rice cookers are so high-tech and also expensive.   Additionally they are too big for my small apartment.  I decided to go with donabe --- earthen pot.  You can use regular pot.  ) .   Used earthen pot.

Spring cabbage is sweet and juicy.   I wouldn't say it is super delicious, but it was savory.  

Ingredients: ( for two servings or one donabe )
Cabbage   two three big leaves  chopped
Carrot       1/2 or one small carrot   chopped
Parsley      Just to decorate, so a pinch ( chopped )
Deep fried tofu    1/2 cut  chopped
Maggi Soup Stock ( Consomme )    1 tea spoon   ( Granulated or 1 cube )   Any brand is fine.
Salt            a pinch
Pepper       To your taste
Butter       1 table spoon
Rice         1 cup
Water       3/4 cup  ( usually 1 cup.  But because of the water from cabbage, it's less )

How to make:
Wash rice and soak the rice in water for over 30 min.
Drain the water, add all the ingredients except parsley and 3/4 cup of water ( fresh water ).
Cover the lid, start cooking.   Bring it to boil.

When boiled, reduce heat to low. keep cooking.  Soon you will hear the spit-spat sound.   Till the sound stops, keep cooking, then turn off the heat.  Leave it for 20 min. or so to steam.    It will be ready.



Tofu and Cherry Blossoms

Restaurant Shonan Club

Near Shibuya Station

Cherry Blossom Flavored Tofu
I realized I hadn't uploaded cherry blossoms this year.

Didn't go to any "hanami" party, but still enjoyed them in town.

This tofu is from a Japanese restaurant located in Shibuya.   A Canadian friend living in the U.S. was staying in Japan for a while, so we enjoyed this tofu restaurant's Japanese food together.
Catching up with each other was fun.    Now somei yoshino ( the most popular cherry blossom) is over, the season is now for fresh greenery and double-petalled cherry blossoms whose pink stands out in green color.      Next time if you plan to come visit Tokyo, the end of March through 2nd week of April would be the best.

If you haven't seen  seen this beautiful pink flowers.   Of course, if you go up north, you can still enjoy cherry blossoms since the blooming timing starts from south to north.   I' ve probably written many times, but you can also enjoy various kinds of cherry blossom flavored foods and sweets during this season.

Tofu Restaurant Sorano
Double Petalled Cherry Blossoms


Kaisen Misakiko ----- Conveyer Belt Sushi Restaurant

Conveyer-Belt Sushi 
While there are luxurious, expensive sushi restaurants, you can also enjoy reasonable, easy to walk in places like this.

This shop is operated by Kyodaru, a company who operates wide range of sushi shops and restaurants.

This one is one of the most casual, reasonable ones.    They used to have workers, but now those workers, cooks are working in the kitchen which is hidden in the back.   There are seats around this counter and you order sushi by choosing your orders on the display located in front of your seats.

The prices, seasonal recommendations are all written there.   English Chinese and some other languages are available, if my memory is correct.

I was behind my schedule and wanted to have quick lunch.  So ordered only two plates each of which has two sushi pieces, that makes total 4 pieces.  I think I paid only 301 yen including tax.   One of the plate ( bonito sushi ) was discounted yesterday, so I was lucky!

After ordering, it took perhaps 7, 8 minutes, then the bullet train ( shaped carrier ) came and stopped in front of me.  How convenient!    Take the plates and eat.
Powdered green tea pot is also there, so you put the powder into your cop.
There is a hot water tap, you pour the hot water into the cop.  Self-made green tea.  

Often expensive, authentic places are scary to order because you don't know how much total it will costs. ( Some authentic places cost $200 or more per person. )

This is easy way to enjoy sushi PLUS it is casual and quick.  Are you alone?  No problem.     After eating, you ask for the check ( also on display ), the staff will come to your seat and make the bill.   Go to cashier and pay.


Ise Udon Noodle ---- Unique Texture will dance in your mouth

Ise Udon Noodle @ Ushitora

The other day, I had this lunch set.  Ise Udon, salad, two quail eggs, pickled cucumber and dessert.

I am from Tokyo and had never tried Ise Udon before this.   Very different other Udon noodles.
Sanuki ( Kagawa Prefecture ) Udon has more al dente like texture.  Usually I like Sanuki style better.

Ise Udon is fluffier and it doesn't have soup.  It has thick, slightly sweet sauce and chopped green onion only.  I googled it and it seems like in old days, it was very special dish in the region.  The origin is Ise city, Mie Prefecture.  It takes time to make this noodle ( imagine, if you try to make pasta from scratch and everything is handmade.)   It is now, quick easy meal, but it was served as a part of their celebration.     Ushitora, a Shimokitazawa restaurant serves this for lunch.  If you are interested, visit the restaurant and ask for it.  The set was less than 1,000 yen.

Direction to Ushitora:
Come out of West Exit (Nishiguchi ) of Shimokitazawa Station.  Take a right and go up to ground level.   Then go along the street ( between Hakuyosha, a cleaner and Seven Eleven ).   Ushitora will be on your left in 30 sec.  


Konoha Don

Konoha Don 
Konoha means foliage.
Looks like leafy rice bowl, doesn't it?

Sounds like this is popular in Kansai area. ( Western Japan )

Since I am from Tokyo, I didn't know.

Found the recipe and tried it.

The ingredients are something we can find in our fridge, cheap, daily things.
Kamaboko ( fish sausage ) is most common ingredient for this, but I only had Cihkuwa ( also fish sausage, but the shape is like cylinder ), so used it instead.

Other ingredients are green onion, egg, seasonings.   Easy to make, healthy enough and tasty.   Good for quick lunch.

It is almost Cherry Blossom season here.   The weather bureau announced that Tokyo's Sakura ( Cherry blossoms)  have just started blooming officially ( This official announcement is important for us. )We feel " Spring has come" when we hear this.

Hope I can upload some pics of fully bloomed cherry blossoms within a week or so.

Ingredients for Konoha Don ( Don or Donburi means  Rice Bowl ) :
Serving for One

Steamed white rice    1 Bowl

Fish Sausage ( Japanese Kamaboko or Chikuwa ) sliced.   I used about about
10 to 15 very thin slices.

Green Onion   1 to 2 stalks   Chopped

One Egg ( beaten in a bowl )

Soy Sauce  1 table spoon
Dashi ( Japanese Soup Stock or you can use powder)  50 cc or 1/2 cup
Sugar  1 table spoon
Mirin ( Sweet Rice Wine ) 2 tea spoons

Bring Dashi to boil.   Add Fish sausage.   Add soy sauce, sugar and mirin.
Add green onion.    Then, pour egg.   When the egg is half cooked, it's done.

Put the above onto the rice.  Enjoy!


R.I.P. to those deceased in Tohoku

3.11 came again.

R.I.P. to those people in affected regions.

Have not done much to you, but will try to do what I can do.

Sorry, they didn't have sake from your region today.

Thinking of you.


Deep-Fried Tofu w/ Dashi Soup

Agedashi Dofu w/ Spring Vegetables
Had early lunch at Shonan Club- a local restaurant located 2 min. from Shimokitazawa Station.

When you arrive at Shimokitazawa Station, come out of West Exit.

Take a right and go up stairs to the ground level.

Take a right again and turn left at the first corner.  Keep walking to the end of the street.   There you will find a nicely decorated entrance to the Shonan Club.

You can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner there.   They open at 8:30 a.m.
Closed on Tuesdays.   On Saturdays and Sundays, they are closed after lunch through before dinner, say 5 p.m.  

They have reasonable lunch set menu, which is 1200 yen which includes lettuce salad, potato salad, main dish, rice, miso soup and a drink.   This photo is one of my favorite, deep-fried tofu with seasonal vegetables.    Flavorful Spring vegetables and tofu with dashi soup, you can enjoy UMAMI and feel so healthy.

At night ( although I have not seen them yet ) , Japanese raccoons come visit their garden.   You are lucky if you could see them.  


Ask for "Hamburg" Restaurant - WOODSTOCK-

 Went to WOODSTOCK located in Musashi Koganei.

Recommended by my student, this was the place I was looking forward to visit.

Finally!   Visited with local friends.

On Saturdays, they open at 11 a.m.

We left our town around 10 a.m. and got there around a little past 11.

Yay!   There were seats.  We were lucky.   After we got seated, it was full.
People who came later had to wait for 30min.  

This place is known for its juicy HAMBURG.   We took a taxi from the station.
The driver knew it.  It is near Musashi Koganei Park, but not close to the entrance actually.  Probably 10 min. walk.

So, our decision to take a cab was right!   We shared the combination salad.
Ordered " recommended" set menu.   I had Hamburg and Duck combination.
Other friends ordered " Spicy Sausage and Hamburg" and " Herb Sausage and Hamburg".    It came in a shape of straw bag.    Immediately after delivering the plate, the waiter starts flatting the hamburgs.  ( there are two on the hot plate. )

Then the sauce is poured.   I chose Garlic.   Other friends had Grated Daikon & Soy Sauce ,  Demiglace Sauce.  Sizzling sound follows!

Not just delicious, it is entertaining.   Worth trying once.   Actually, all of us decided to come back.

The soup, coffee ( or tea, OJ ) is also included in this set menu.  A little over 2000 yen.   Still feels reasonable.

After this happy lunch, we headed to Tokyo Metropolitan Library which is known for a wide variety of magazine stock.   I enjoyed reading " Architectural Digest", " In Style " " Cosmopolitan " and " Monocle".   ( Monocle is actually my favorite! )

This library is located near Nishi Kokubunji Station.   7 min. walk from the station.

Japanese magazines and Foreign magazines are there and anybody can enter the library.   Newly opened, so clean and well designed.


How The TV Series was Produced

Broiled Conger Eel 
It was a pleasure to meet Mr. L on Friday.

He is the executive producer of the notable TV series.

I felt honored to be a part of his dinner company.

We went to this Sushi- Sashimi restaurant in Tokyu Plaza Ginza.

Current Los Angeles, TV series, How Blake Lively was finally selected for this series etc. etc....

Always enjoy talking with Hollywood producers.     They are so passionate to create good " contents" which impact people, encourage people.

Food was good, of course.   They have various sake, too.


Nanakusa Gayu ----- Rice Porridge of Seven Herbs , Traditional Ritual on Jan. 7

This year again, I made this porridge for breakfast.   This is our ritual after holiday season.  During new year's celebration, we keep eating, drinking..... the stomach is exhausted by now.  So, this is supposed to help care of your stomach....mild, light porridge.  Also, these herbs are supposed to work to cleanse your internal organs.

We eat this wishing state of perfect health for new year.   So light.
It felt like digested within in hour :-)   That was perhaps good for the stomach.

Wishing you a healthy year for 2017!
Nanakusa (Seven Herbs )Gayu (Rice Porridge)


Osechi --- New Year's Feast..... Not so big, but still Enjoyed Ritual

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a happy 2017 and food-full year ( !) !

Small, yet still traditional osechi.

Feeling blessed having this ritual this year again.

Will be back again soon.  Last year, didn't write much I realized.    This year, I will write more.   Thanks for stopping by.