All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Dokudami / fish mint / fishwort

Houttuynia cordata
In the US, a tricolor variegated form called chameleon plant is commonly available for ornamental use (often marketed as a ground cover). When we say dokudami, it usually refers to the original form with green leaves, which are sometimes edged with dark red.

The Japanese name dokudami comes from an old expression that means to control/suppress poison, reflecting the plant's long history of remedy use despite the fact it is largely regarded as a weed that grows in shady sites with moist soil. As its alias juuyaku [lit. ten medicines] suggests, the plant is regarded as a useful home remedy for many purposes, including detoxification and cleansing wounds of infection as well as treating acne, eczema, burns, insect bites, bee stings, and so on. While the entire plant is considered effective, leaves, stems and flowers are often dried to make a tea or more concentrated decoction for routine consumption. The tea works as a diuretic.


Ebi to kabu no misoshiru / miso soup with shrimp and Japanese turnip

This very gentle yet full-flavored miso soup features our local coon shrimp -- baby-size botan ebi spot shrimp -- and kabu turnip. Sweet Saikyo white miso is used for maximum tenderness, which is countered by the nostril-clearing sensation of karashi mustard.

1/2 of recipe:
73 calories; 8.2 g protein; 1.0 g fat; 4.8 g carbohydrate; 3.5 g net carbs; 338 mg sodium; 46 mg cholesterol; 1.3 g fiber; 287 mg potassium


Yakinasu, atsuage to ebi no raisunuudoru sarada / rice noodles with grilled eggplant, deep-fried tofu and shrimp salad

The sweet and sour flavor of a spicy dressing or dipping sauce is a big appeal in warm or hot weather. While grilled eggplant, atsuage deep-fried tofu and shrimp make a great salad individually or in combination, pairing them with rice noodles makes a quick, filling meal. Grill eggplant and atsuage until slightly burnt for a stronger aroma! This is something similar to what I used to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant in Portland, Oregon, years ago.

1/2 of recipe:
473 calories; 21.8 g protein; 15.2 g fat; 62.5 g carbohydrate; 57.3 g net carbs; 439 mg sodium; 58 mg cholesterol; 5.2 g fiber; 636 mg potassium

Dressing only (including shami dried shrimp solids; 1/2 of recipe):
25 calories; 1.9 g protein; 0 (0.08) g fat; 4.5 g carbohydrate; 4.2 g net carbs; 375 mg sodium; 10 mg cholesterol; 0.3 g fiber; 49 mg potassium


Furaido onion / onion chippu / fried oinion

A handy, toasty and crunchy topping or deep-tasting ingredient for lots of Southeast Asian dishes and more. While widely available at Asian grocery stores, it is very easy to make at home under the sun or in the oven using remaining heat after cooking other dishes. Being homemade translates into flexibility -- using minimum oil and no additional salt in this case. Shallots and garlic can be prepared in the same way.

Whole recipe (21 g):
97 calories; 2.1 g protein; 2.2 g fat; 18.7 g carbohydrate; 15.3 g net carbs; 4 mg sodium; 2 mg cholesterol; 3.4 g fiber; 318 mg potassium


Iri-kuromame gohan / steamed rice with toasted black soybeans

When something crunchy is wanted in steamed rice, how about toasted kuromame black soybeans? Kuromame's dark skin also adds nice color to the rice. Its deeper flavor than regular daizu soybeans is another benefit, ensuring tasty results without seasoning. I mix in some mochigome sweet rice, partly because the uruchimai regular rice I use is medium grain. If you use short-grain regular rice, which is more glutenous than medium-grain regular rice, adding mochigome is optional.

1/3 of recipe:
221 calories; 6.5 g protein; 2.3 g fat; 41.8 g carbohydrate; 39.9 g net carbs; 0 (0.4) mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.9 g fiber; 226 mg potassium

1/2 of recipe:
331 calories; 9.7 g protein; 3.4 g fat; 62.7 g carbohydrate; 59.9 g net carbs; 1 (0.6) mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 2.8 g fiber; 338 mg potassium


Fuki to satsumaage no nimono / Japanese butterbur and deep-fried fishcakes in broth

This is a reduced-sodium version of previously posted fuki to kamaboko no nimono (Japanese butterbur and fishcakes in broth). The process is pretty much the same, other than soaking fishcakes in boiling water to desalinate them in advance. Seasonings are tweaked a bit -- sweet elements (sake and mirin) and the salty ingredient (soy sauce) are both reduced while adding a tiny amount of rice vinegar. The result? It is just as tasty as the older version.

1/2 of recipe:
68 calories; 5.2 g protein; 1.4 g fat; 7.2 g carbohydrate; 6.6 g net carbs; 99 mg sodium; 8 mg cholesterol; 0.6 g fiber; 189 mg potassium


Sansai tanuki soba / buckwheat noodles with mountain vegetables and tempura pearls

As a noodle topping, sansai mountain vegetables alone give a refreshing taste but could be a bit too light. Tenkasu tempura pearls add a rich note but could lack texture. They soak up the soup, which could also mean you get more sodium than desired. Combining these two ingredients while reducing the volume of each is one delicious solution. Sliced young myoga stems offer a clean aroma and taste.

For the recipe below, usukuchi pale soy sauce and regular dark soy sauce, not reduced-sodium soy sauce, are used for the soup to achieve stronger umami. Dried enoki mushrooms are also added to enhance the umami effect. The strong soup means more satisfaction with a smaller amount compared to a weaker soup, and this naturally makes us refrain from taking extra sips, preventing excess sodium consumption. This works especially well with unflavored toppings or toppings that contain lots of moisture.

1/2 of recipe: 
425 calories; 17.7 g protein; 3.6 g fat; 78.6 g carbohydrate; 8.4 g net carbs; 479 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 7.2 g fiber; 371 mg potassium