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.
Remove the firm stringy fibers of the snow peas. You can also use snap peas or string bean pods instead. Add salt to a pot of boiling water to help keep the peas from getting soggy. Boil the snow peas for about 1 minute. Remove and strain the peas with a mesh strainer.
Boil the firm tofu in the same pot. As shown, tear the tofu and submerge it in the boiling water. This parboiling process will reduce the water in the tofu and also help it absorb the flavor.
When the inside becomes hot, remove and strain the tofu with a mesh strainer.
Let's cut the ingredients. Cut the snow peas into 1cm (0.4") pieces using diagonal cuts. Slice the carrot into 4cm (1.6") slices. Then, cut into relatively thick strips.
Rehydrate the dried shiitake mushrooms and squeeze out the excess liquid. Save the shiitake liquid for later use. Remove the stems. And cut the caps into fine strips.
As for the chicken breast, cut into 1cm (0.4") cubes. Cut the white part of the long green onion into thin circular slices.
Let's make the Iri Dofu. Heat the sesame oil in a pan. Add the white part of long green onion. Stir-fry until the onion is slightly browned and it starts to grow more fragrant.
Add the carrot. Then, add the shiitake mushrooms.
When the sesame oil is distributed evenly, add the chicken. Continue to stir-fry.
Now, the chicken is cooked. Remove the excess water from the tofu with a paper towel. Then, add the tofu. Roughly break the tofu into smaller pieces while sauteing.
Lightly season the tofu with salt. If you are a health-conscious person, you can definitely leave it out but a pinch of salt makes a big difference and brings out the savory flavor. Stir-fry on high heat and reduce the liquid.
Add the sugar, salt, soy sauce and shiitake liquid. The savory shiitake broth should be about 2 to 3 tablespoons. If you add too much liquid, you will need to spend more time to reduce it.
Thoroughly stir-fry the ingredients and reduce the excess broth. Then, pour the beaten egg over the mixture.
When the edges begin to firm up, gently distribute the egg. Add the snow peas and quickly mix.
Now, it is ready. Ladle the Iri Dofu into a bowl.
When you use the Iri-Dofu as a bento ingredient, be sure to stir-fry thoroughly to reduce the broth and cook the egg completely.
To rehydrate the dried shiitake mushrooms, soak them in water and store in the fridge overnight. You can also freeze the rehydrated shiitake to keep them on standby.
Let’s make the mango pudding. Heat the water in a pot. When small bubbles begin to form around the entire bottom surface, remove the pot.
Add the sugar and mix to dissolve. The sweetness depends on the type of mango so adjust the amount of sugar accordingly.
Add the gelatin powder and completely dissolve it. There are many types of gelatin powder so be sure to follow the instructions on the package.
Add the gelatin mixture to the bowl with the mango puree and mix. Add the heavy cream also. Combine the mixture thoroughly.
Add the lemon juice to taste. If your mango puree is very sour, you should skip the lemon juice.
Pour the mixture into 5 small cups. Chill them in the fridge for over 2 hours. If you are in a rush, place them in the freezer for 40 to 50 minutes.
Now, the mango pudding is firmed up. Spoon the lightly whipped heavy cream onto the pudding.
Slice off the mango along the flat seed and make cuts in the flesh in a grid pattern. Be sure not to cut the skin. By the way, this mango is from Miyazaki Prefecture. It is sweet and juicy but also expensive so we only used it for the topping.
Cut the mango in half lengthwise and peel off the skin. Looks so delicious!
Place the diced ripe mango onto the pudding. Finally, garnish with the mint leaves.
The type of gelatin we used is widely available in Japan and you can directly add it to hot water approximately 80 degrees Celsius. Make sure to follow the instructions for your gelatin powder.
To get the most out of the appetizing mango color, we didn’t add any milk at all and minimized the use of heavy cream.
We used a minimal amount of gelatin so it has a puru-puru, jelly-like texture.
Drop-lidotoshi buta, substitute: aluminum foil or parchment paper with several half inch holes
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Let’s prepare the saba, mackerel fillet. With kitchen tweezers, remove the small bones from the middle of the fillet.
Flip the mackerel over, cut it in half and make a shallow diagonal cut in the skin of each piece.
Add water to a large amount of boiling water to bring it just below the boiling point. With a mesh strainer, submerge a piece of mackerel into the hot water. When the surface turns white, immediately drop it into a bowl of ice water. Repeat this process for the other piece of mackerel.
Gently rinse the surface of the fillet and remove the moisture thoroughly with a paper towel. This process will help remove the fishy smell and clean the surface.
Let’s simmer the mackerel. Combine the water, sake, sugar and mirin in a pan. Dissolve half of the miso in a ladle and then distribute it into the mixture. Turn on the burner and bring it to a boil.
Place the fillet into the miso sauce with the skin side facing up. A pan or shallow pot is easy to use when simmering fish. Bring the sauce to a boil again and remove the foam with a mesh strainer.
Drop in the ginger root slices and the green part of the long green onion. The onion will help cover the fishy smell.
Place the dampened wooden drop-lid called otoshi buta onto the fillet to help it cook evenly. Simmer for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Uncover and remove the long green onion. Ladle the broth into a bowl and dissolve the rest of the miso and then distribute it back into the pan. Adding the miso in 2 steps will help prevent the miso from losing its aroma.
Add the bell pepper, cover and simmer for 2 to 3 more minutes.
Uncover and remove the bell pepper before it fades in color. Ladle the miso sauce over the fillet and reduce the sauce without the drop-lid.
Turn off the burner and place the fillet onto a plate. Put the bell pepper next to it and ladle the miso sauce over the mackerel. Finally, garnish with the shiraganegi, the shredded white part of the long green onion.
For the drop-lid you can substitute aluminum foil or parchment paper with several half inch holes. In that case, you should place some kind of small weight on top, for example a light plate.
Let's grind the coffee beans to make fresh coffee. Using a hand-cranked coffee grinder is fun and gives you a special hands-on feel!
Place the coffee into the filter in the dripper. Even out the grounds making a flat surface. The water should be about 90°C (194°F). Slowly pour just enough water in the dripper to moisten the grounds. Let it sit for 30 seconds.
Then very slowly drip the hot water over the grounds.
Continue to slowly drip the water over the grounds until you have about 250ml or 1 cup of coffee. Remove the dripper to avoid the last few drops as they can add a bitter astringent taste to the coffee.
Add the sugar to a bowl and pour the coffee over it to dissolve it thoroughly. Then, add the gelatin powder and stir it into the coffee.
Pour the mixture into a chilled square mold. Make sure to remove any surface foam or bubbles. Let it sit to cool and then chill the jelly in the fridge so it firms up.
When the jelly is firm cut it into cubes as shown. To remove it easily, warm the bottom of the container with hot water.
Place it into a bowl and then spoon the coffee jelly into individual cups. Pour a little of the whipping cream over the jelly or top with a dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle a little cocoa powder on top and it's ready to serve!
Regular milk, evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk can be used instead of the whipping cream.
Make sure it is well chilled. The jelly will begin to melt if it gets too hot.
The aroma of the coffee and the refreshing texture make the jelly so delicious.
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.
We are making Japanese-inspired French Toast. It is topped with nutritious Kinako, roasted soybean flour and lots of Okinawan Kuromitsu, black sugar syrup. The combination of the crispy outside and the gooey inside makes the French toast very delicious.
Let’s make the custard mixture. Beat the egg thoroughly. Make sure the chopsticks scrape the bottom of the bowl to avoid creating unwanted foam. Add the sugar. And stir to dissolve.
Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Combine all the ingredients evenly. You can also use soy milk instead of the regular milk.
Place 2.5cm (1”) thick slices of baguette in a tray and pour the custard mixture over them. Make sure both sides are completely soaked with the custard mixture. Let the bread sit for 3 to 5 minutes.
This is Kuromitsu, sugar syrup made from kurozato also known as black sugar. It is rich in flavor and often used in wagashi, traditional Japanese desserts.
With tongs, squeeze each baguette and then flip it over. The squeezing will help it absorb the custard mixture quickly. Then, let the bread sit for about 5 more minutes.
Let’s make the French Toast. Heat the pan on low heat and add the unsalted butter.
When the butter is completely melted, place the baguette slices into the pan. A tip to presenting a beautifully browned surface is to toast the top side first. Cover and cook on low heat until the bottom is deliciously browned.
Flip them over. As for the other side, cook on low heat without replacing the lid.
When both sides are golden brown, arrange the French toast onto a plate. The strawberry looks great as a garnish but orange or kiwi fruit can also be used.Spoon the ice cream next to the french toast.
Sprinkle on the kinako, roasted soybean flour. Finally, drizzle on the kuromitsu syrup. The kuromitsu is delicious and very rich in flavor.
We recommend soaking the bread with the custard mixture for no more than 10 minutes to give the inside a gooey texture. If soaked too long, the inside becomes soggy.
The kinako and kuromitsu add a touch of Japanese style and you won't be able to stop eating it.
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.
Pour hot water into a bowl. Float another bowl in it to gradually melt the butter. The melted butter should be lukewarm when combined.
Beat the egg in a bowl. Be sure to bring the egg to room temperature beforehand. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Dissolve the sugar but be sure not to create any foam.
Add the grated lemon zest and honey. Make sure not to use zest with any waxy or chemical coating. Combine the egg mixture well.
Add the baking powder to the cake flour and stir to combine. Then, sieve the flour into a bowl. Add the flour to the egg mixture. Gradually mix it from the center to the outside. This will help to avoid any pockets of dry flour.
Add the lukewarm melted butter to the mixture a little at a time. Avoid using hot butter otherwise the baking powder will activate.
Let the batter sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. If the room is hot, let it sit in the fridge.
We are using the aluminum foil cupcake molds for the madeleines. Thin molds easily fall or open so place in other molds to hold them steady. You can also use thick molds or a traditional madeleine pan instead.
Place the batter into each mold. If you make lots of madeleines, consider using a pastry bag to fill the molds quickly. We recommend using a kitchen scale to measure equal amounts of the batter. This will help each madeleine to brown evenly.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F) and bake at 170°C (338°F) for 15 to 16 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet and place it onto a trivet. With the aluminum mold still attached, place the madeleines onto a cooling rack and let them sit to cool.
Be sure to bring the egg to room temperature before use.
If your honey is too firm, lightly microwave to help it mix with the egg mixture.
Let's prepare the ingredients for gyoza. Cut the cabbage leaf into strips. Chop them into 2~3mm (1/8") pieces.
Slice the onion wedge but leave the root part attached. Chop the onion into 2~3mm (1/8") pieces.
Chop the garlic chive stems first. Cut the leaf parts in half and chop them into fine pieces. Grate the garlic clove and ginger root.
Let's make the gyoza filling. Knead the ground pork in a bowl until a bit gooey. Add the soy sauce, sugar, pepper, sake, sesame oil, potato starch, grated garlic, grated ginger and oyster sauce to the ground pork.
Knead the mixture thoroughly. The thickness shown in the video is ideal to give the filing a juicy texture when cooked.
Add the chopped cabbage, onion and garlic chives to the mixture. Lightly stir until evenly mixed.
Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. Keep the mixture in a fridge for 30 minutes to make the pork and vegetables blend well together.
Let's wrap the filling with gyoza wrappers. Sprinkle some flour on a baking sheet to keep the gyoza from sticking. This will also give the gyoza an extra crispiness.
Scoop the filling and spread it onto the wrapper.
Wet the edges of the wrapper.
Fold the wrapper in half and begin forming pleats only on one side. This is one example of how to wrap the fillings and you can arrange it as you like.
Place Gyozas on the baking sheet.
Let's make gyoza sauce. Put the black vinegar and soy sauce in a bowl. Stir lightly.
Let's cook the gyoza. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Arrange the half of the gyoza in the pan. Make a little space between each Gyoza so that they don't stick together.
Pour over boiling water until they are half submerged.
Put a lid on and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 to 6 minutes.
When the water has evaporated and gyoza start to sizzle, remove the lid. Add some more sesame oil to the gaps of gyoza and replace the lid. Cook for 1 to 2 more minutes.
When the bottom becomes golden brown, turn off the burner and remove the gyoza with a spatula.
Place the gyoza onto a plate with the bottom side up. You can add rayu (hot chili oil) or sesame oil to the gyoza sauce to your taste.
The uncooked filling will easily go bad even if stored in the fridge so cook it as soon as possible.
This recipe can be a great side dish for ramen noodles.