Let’s prepare the aburaage, fried tofu pouches. Roll out each fried tofu with a rolling pin. This will make the fried tofu easy to open.
Cut them in half and carefully open the pouches. Repeat the process and make 12 tofu pouches in total.
Let’s remove the excess oil from the fried tofu. Put the fried tofu in a generous amount of boiling water. Cover with the drop-lid and cook the tofu for 5 minutes. This process will remove the excess oil and also soften the fried tofu.
Turn off the burner and remove the drop-lid with tongs. Remove the fried tofu from the pot. Cool them down on a mesh strainer.
Squeeze water out of the fried tofu. Press them firmly between paper towels to remove any excess water.
Put the dashi stock, sugar, mirin and soy sauce to the skillet. Turn on the burner. Stir with a paddle and dissolve the sugar.
Spread the fried tofu in the skillet in four sections. Stack the each section in three layers. Press the fried tofu with the tongs and let them soak in the dashi stock thoroughly. Put the drop-lid on, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the cover and the drop-lid. Flip the fried tofu with the paddle and tongs. Replace the drop-lid. Simmer down until all the dashi stock is evaporated. Turn off the burner. With the drop-lid still on, cool down the fried tofu and let them absorb the dashi stock.
Let’s cut the ingredients for Inarizushi. Slice the carrot thinly. Stack them on top of each other and chop them into fine pieces. Chop the hijiki seaweed into fine pieces. The seaweed normally comes in dried form. Soak for 20 to 30 minutes beforehand, then rinse and drain well before use.
Here we have the dried shiitake mushrooms, which were left soaked in water overnight in the fridge. Squeeze out the excess shiitake liquid. Remve the stems and slice the shiitake thinly. Chop them into fine pieces.
Let's stir-fry the ingredients. Heat the small pot on the burner. Heat the vegetable oil in the small pot. Put in the carrot, shiitake mushrooms and hijiki seaweed. Thoroughly stir-fry the ingredients.
Pour in the shiitake liquid. Add the sake, mirin, sugar and soy sauce. Lightly stir with the paddle. Reduce the heat to low and boil it down until all the liquid is evaporated.
Let’s make sushi rice. Cook the rice with 1 tbsp sake and the dried kombu seaweed. Lightly stir with a rice paddle.
Put on the kitchen gloves and remove the inner container from the rice cooker. Put the fresh steamed rice in a shallow bowl.
Pour on the sushi vinegar evenly with the paddle. Quickly spread the rice in the bowl. Move the paddle in a slashing motion to keep the rice from becoming gooey. Continue to stir the rice gently while turning it over.
When the rice is evenly dressed with the vinegar, cover with a tightly squeezed kitchen towel. Leave the sushi rice to rest for a while and allow the vinegar to be absorbed.
While it is still warm, add the carrot, hijiki seaweed, shiitake mushrooms and toasted sesame seeds to the sushi rice. Mix the sushi rice with the paddle in a slashing motion.
Let’s stuff the tofu pouches with the sushi rice. Lightly squeeze the excess stock from the fried tofu. Fold the mouths outward and shape the tofu into pouches.
Shape the sushi rice into a small ball and stuff it into each tofu pouch. Adjust the shape and fold the mouth of the fried tofu. Repeat this process and make 12 pieces of Inarizushi.
Here is a premade omelette sheet. This will turn into an appetizing alternative to the Inarizushi. Wrap the egg sheet around the sushi rice ball like shown in the video. Tie the egg with the string of the boiled mitsuba, Japanese wild parsley.
Serve the Inarizushi and the omelette sushi on a plate. Finally, garnish with the pickled ginger.
How to Make Steamed Rice
Wash and drain 300ml rice (1.27 cups) with a sieve basket. Put the rice in a rice cooker and add 300ml water (1.27 cups), 1 tbsp sake and 5x5cm dashi kombu seaweed (2x2 inch). Let the rice soak in the water for 30 minutes and turn on the rice cooker.
Inarizushi is a perfect filling for bento. Select colorful ingredients and make your bento look visually appealing.
Premade fried tofu pouches in a freezer bag can be stored in the freezer so you can easily prepare Inarizushi any time.
You can also add fried tofu on top of udon noodles, making it Kitsune Udon.
We are making soft-cooked omurice where the top is covered with the egg instead of being wrapped completely. The combination of the soft-cooked egg and the thoroughly stir-fried rice is very delicious!
Let’s make the omurice sauce. Using a hand blender, make the tomato sauce smooth.
Pour the sauce into a small pot and turn on the burner. Heat the sauce while stirring. Then, add a splash of soy sauce. This will bring out the flavor and give the sauce a touch of Japanese style. This simple sauce goes great with omurice.
Let’s make the chicken rice. Lightly season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Then, toss to coat. Heat a pan and add the vegetable oil. Add the coarsely chopped onion and the mixed vegetables. Saute the vegetables for about 1 to 2 minutes.
When the pungent taste of the onion disappears and it starts to grow more fragrant, add the chicken pieces. Continue sauteing.
When the chicken is almost cooked, add the button mushrooms.
When the mushrooms are coated with oil, add the white wine and stir. Then, add the ketchup. Distribute the ketchup and allow the excess water to evaporate. A tip to making this dish delicious is to reduce the moisture of ketchup here.
Add the hot steamed rice. Coat the rice with the sauce but be careful not to crush the grains.
Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the chicken rice onto a plate.
Let’s make the soft-cooked omurice. Break up the egg white with chopsticks and then lightly beat the eggs. Avoid over-beating the egg to give it a pleasant texture. Add the milk, salt and pepper.
Heat a pan and add the butter. Melt the butter and distribute it on the pan.
Lightly stir the egg mixture and quickly pour it into the pan.
When the edges begin to firm up, keep moving them to the center of the pan to give the egg an even silky texture. Keep watching the consistency of the egg and remove the pan from the burner to adjust the heat. Cook the egg halfway through and now it is ready.
Gently place the egg onto the chicken rice.
Pour on the tomato sauce. Finally, sprinkle on the chopped parsley leaves.
Bacon, ham or sausage can be also used instead of the chicken pieces.
The tomato sauce is easy to make and it is full of savory tomato flavor.
If you are not sure about the quality of your eggs or want to cook the egg completely, please check out our previous omurice recipe.
Let's prepare the ingredients for Gyudon. Cut the onion into 1cm (0.4") wedges. Separate the layers with your fingers. Grate the ginger root. Cut the scallions into fine pieces.
Let’s make Onsen Tamago, which means hot spring egg in Japanese. Place 2 eggs in either a heavy pot or an earthen pot. Add enough boiling water to submerge the eggs. These eggs are often heated in Japanese hot springs.
Cover and let the eggs cook for 20 minutes. Remove the eggs, and let them cool in icy water.
Let's crack the eggs into a bowl and see how they look. The egg white will be softer than the yolk.
Let’s parboil the beef. This will bring out the flavor and remove unwanted smell along with the excess fat. Bring water just to a boil, turn off the burner and parboil the beef.
When the beef loses its red color, remove and drain well. Do not overcook the beef or it will lose its savory flavor.
Let's make Gyudon. Add sake, mirin, soy sauce and sugar to a skillet. Turn on the burner and stir the mixture on medium heat.
When it starts to sizzle, add the beef. Toss to coat evenly.
Before the liquid evaporates too much, turn off the burner and remove the beef.
Reheat the skillet and add the water, dashi stock powder, grated ginger and onion to the mixture. Stir lightly and cover.
When the liquid boils, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5 more minutes. Remove the lid.
Mix in the beef. When the beef is cooked, put steamed rice in a bowl.
Spoon the beef and onion along with the juices on top of the rice.
Sprinkle on the spring onion leaves. Garnish with beni shoga, pickled ginger and Onsen Tamago. Finally, top with shichimi, seven flavored chili pepper.
A tip to making delicious Gyudon is using the thinnest possible beef slices and finding the right balance of sweetness and saltiness.
If sliced beef isn't available, partially freeze a block of beef and slice it as thin as possible.
To make the nanban sauce, combine the sugar, soy sauce and the vinegar. Adding the dried red chili pepper will give the sauce a little bit of kick. Make sure to dissolve the sugar thoroughly.
Let’s make the tartar sauce. Add the salt to the chopped onion and rub it in. Rinse the onion and thoroughly squeeze out the excess water using a paper towel. Add it to the mayonnaise in a bowl.
Using an egg slicer, cut half of the boiled egg into fine pieces.
Add the egg to the mayonnaise. Add the chopped pickle to the mixture.
Mix it with a spatula and then pour in the milk. Season with the salt and the pepper. Combine the tartar sauce evenly.
Let’s prepare the chicken breast. Peel the skin off the chicken.
Using kitchen shears will help to remove the skin. Trim off the excess fat. Remove the excess moisture thoroughly with a paper towel.
Slice off the thin part of the chicken. Then, slice the rest of the chicken into 5 pieces, cutting at an angle. Make sure that each piece has about the same thickness.
In a cooking tray, sprinkle the salt and the pepper. Place the chicken pieces into it. Sprinkle on the salt and the pepper again. Pour the sake over the chicken. Flip the pieces over and allow the chicken to absorb the sake.
Place the all-purpose flour and the chicken into a plastic bag. Shake the bag to coat the chicken with the flour evenly.
Dip the chicken into the beaten egg. Coat the pieces with the egg evenly.
Heat the vegetable oil to about 170 °C (340 °F) and gently place the chicken into it. Let the chicken sit until the outside firms up. Then, flip the pieces over.
When the surface becomes golden brown, drain the oil thoroughly and place the pieces into the nanban sauce. Flip the chicken over and coat both sides with the sauce.
Place the chicken onto a plate along with the side vegetables. Spoon a generous amount of the tartar sauce onto the chicken. Then, top with the shredded parsley leaves.
Chicken breasts are often used in this recipe but you can also use chicken thighs.
The deep-fried batter absorbs the nanban sauce, making the dish more delicious.
You can pour the remaining nanban sauce over the side vegetables.
Let’s make the dashi stock. Remove the heads and stomachs of the dried baby sardines. Soak the sardines and the kombu seaweed in water and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Pour the water along with the baby sardines and kombu seaweed into a pot. Gradually heat the dashi stock on medium low heat.
When small bubbles begin to form, remove the kombu seaweed. Simmer the baby sardines on low heat for 5 more minutes. Keep ladling out the foam thoroughly while simmering. This will help remove any unwanted flavor.
Remove the baby sardines. The used kombu and the sardines can be saved and used as the ingredients of kakiage, mixed vegetable tempura.
Turn off the burner and add the bonito flakes. Let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes.
Then, strain the dashi stock using a mesh strainer covered with a paper towel. Lightly squeeze the bonito flakes and now the clear dashi stock for the udon is ready!
Measure the dashi stock. If it is less than 600ml or about two and a half cups, add water to compensate.
Let’s make the broth. Pour 600ml (2.54 cups) of the dashi stock into a pot. Add the salt, soy sauce and mirin. Turn on the burner and mix it evenly. When it begins to boil, turn off the burner. Now, the broth is ready.
Let’s make the kitsune udon. Heat a bowl in a pot of hot water and remove. Place the frozen udon noodles into the boiling water.
When the noodles are completely separated, turn off the burner and quickly place them into a mesh strainer. Remove the excess water thoroughly and place the noodles into the preheated bowl.
Pour a generous amount of the hot udon broth over the noodles.
Top with the sweetened aburaage, thin deep-fried tofu, wakame seaweed and the kamaboko fish cake. Add the chopped spring onion leaves. Finally, sprinkle on the shichimi, seven flavor chili powder to taste.
To make the sweetened aburaage, please check our Inarizushi, fried tofu pouches filled with sushi rice.
You may think that making the dashi stock takes too much time but the homemade dashi is exceptionally delicious.
You can substitute dashi stock powder if the ingredients are not available.
Yakisoba noodles are commonly served by vendor booths at festivals and also when people go out camping in Japan. This is a simple, delicious and healthy recipe and you can eat plenty of healthy vegetables.
Let's make the Tebasaki sauce. Combine the soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, and the grated garlic and ginger root in a pot. Turn on the burner. Stir evenly with a spatula.
Bring it to a boil to let the alcohol evaporate. Turn the heat to low, reducing the sauce for a few minutes. Pour the sauce into a bowl. Add the vinegar and stir with the spatula.
Let's prepare the chicken wings. Place the chicken wings onto a paper towel. Cover with another paper towel and press with your hands, removing all of the excess water.
Remove the paper towels and sprinkle on the salt. Lightly pat the salt onto the chicken. Flip it over and sprinkle on the salt again, lightly patting it.
Place the chicken into a bowl. Add the sake and ginger root juice. Rub the seasonings into the chicken thoroughly. After seasoning the chicken, allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
Press the chicken with a paper towel to lightly remove the excess liquid. Put the potato starch into a food storage bag. Place the chicken wings into the bag. Shake vigorously to coat the chicken with the starch. Place the chicken wings onto a cooking tray.
Let’s deep-fry the Tebasaki chicken. Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Drop in a sprinkle of sesame oil for added fragrance and taste. The amount of the frying oil should be enough to almost cover the chicken wings.
Remove the excess starch from the chicken. Place them into the pot while the oil is still cold. Deep-fry the chicken without stirring until the surface is cooked. This will help hold the starch in place while cooking.
When the temperature begins to rise, ladle the hot oil over the chicken to cook thoroughly. The hot oil tends to splash so be careful not to burn yourself.
When the edges of the chicken begin to brown, flip them over. Deep-fry the chicken evenly until golden brown. Place the chicken onto a cooling rack. Turn off the burner.
When they are still hot, put the chicken wings into the bowl of Tebasaki sauce. With a paddle, toss to coat with the sauce.
Serve the Tebasaki chicken wings on a plate. With a kitchen brush, coat the chicken with the extra sauce.
Sprinkle on the toasted white sesame seeds and a generous amount of the coarsely ground black pepper. Finally, top with the sansho pepper powder and red chili powder to taste.
Be sure to drop in the chicken when the oil is still cold. This will help the chicken heat up slowly, cooking the inside with the juices while deep-frying the outside to a golden brown.
This recipe allows you to make plenty of Tebasaki chicken wings without any trouble. You should definitely try it on Thanksgiving Day.
Drain the rinsed sweet rice with a mesh strainer for 30 minutes. As for the dried shrimp, soak them in 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water for 30 minutes. Add the shrimp liquid to a measuring cup. Fill with water to equal 180ml (6.1 fl oz).
Place the sweet rice into the inner bowl of a rice cooker. Pour in the shrimp stock. Then, cook the rice in sweet rice mode on the rice cooker. If your rice cooker doesn't have a sweet rice mode, select the white rice mode instead.
Meanwhile, let's prepare the ingredients. Coarsely chop the rehydrated shrimp into smaller pieces. As for the shimeji mushrooms, remove the stem ends and tear them into individual pieces.
Let's make the seasoning. Combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sake, sugar, pepper and water. Mix thoroughly.
Cut the pork shoulder into 1cm (0.4") cubes and pour the sake and soy sauce over it. Thoroughly rub the pork with the seasoning until all the liquid is absorbed.
Next, heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a pan. Place the pork in the pan. The diced pork cubes are visually appealing but you can also use ground pork. Brown the pork cubes and flip them over.
When both sides of the pork turn golden brown, place onto a tray. You don't need to cook the pork completely at this stage.
Clean the pan with a paper towel. Add the vegetable oil again and reheat the pan. Add the minced ginger root and rehydrated shrimp. Stir-fry the ingredients.
When the aroma grows stronger, add the shimeji mushrooms. Distribute the oil and stir-fry until the mushrooms are slightly softened. Stir the seasoning and add it to the ingredients. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Then, add the shelled amaguri chestnuts. Now, add the pork shoulder. Continue to stir-fry and reduce the seasoning until most of the liquid is reduced.
Finally, add a small amount of sesame oil and distribute. This will help to bring out the aroma and the flavor. Turn off the burner and the ingredients are ready.
When the sweet rice is ready, lightly loosen up the rice with a rice paddle. Then, add the seasoned ingredients to the inner bowl. Using the steaming hot rice will make it easy to combine the ingredients.
Distribute the ingredients evenly but be careful not to crush the rice grains. Close the rice cooker and let it sit for 5 minutes to even out the flavor.
Now, the Chuka Okowa is ready. Place the mixed rice into a bowl. Finally, garnish with the chopped spring onion leaves to taste.
This recipe doesn't require soaking the sweet rice in water or steaming the rice so you can easily make Chuka Okowa.
This is a great bento ingredient since sweet rice is tender even when cold.
You can also make onigiri rice balls and keep them in the freezer on standby.