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


Kabu to tomato no nikomi / Japanese turnips in tomato sauce

Kabu's soft sweetness blends well with tomato sauce. This tender dish with basic ingredients goes very well with freshly baked bread.


Soramame-iri safuran rizotto / saffron risotto with fava beans

Cheerful and aromatic. The combination of saffron and fava beans is simple enough to pair with any dish -- fish, meat, other beans and vegetables.


Gobo to ninjin, enoki no misoshiru / miso soup with burdock root, carrot and enoki mushrooms

Burdock root gives lots of deep flavor while enoki mushrooms add a faint sourness. Thinly sliced vegetables liven up this hearty miso soup.


Soramame to ebi no tamagotoji / fava beans and prawns simmer-steamed with egg

A tender egg dish with a golden combination of fava beans and prawns. This pleasant oil-free dish is gentle enough for breakfast and for tired stomachs.


Soramame fava beans

Vicia faba
Inconvenience is probably what makes fresh fava beans unfamiliar or unpopular in this country; their season is short and they are sold in pods (bothersome to shell and lots of waste, which means “no deal” with this vegetable). Well, fava beans do not last long once shelled, so buying them in pods makes much better sense. You can freeze them after boiling. And the bitter taste? Cooking reduces the bitterness, especially when less water is used (steamed, fried, baked, grilled). The bitterness also can be a contrasting accent when combined with ingredients with a sweet note, such as prawns or sweet rice. Some ingredients, such as saffron and cheese, can enhance the bitter character of fava beans. It is a starchy vegetable. If you like potatoes (17.6 g carbohydrate/100 g), you might like fava beans (15.5 g).


Nasu no yakibitashi / sauteed eggplant marinated in light broth

A lighter version of agebitashi (deep-fried and marinated), which is probably more common with eggplant. Quickly sauteing and steaming make eggplant as soft and creamy as when deep-fried. A great companion for meals and drinks.


Yasai yakisoba, shoyu-aji / fried noodles with vegetables, soy sauce flavor

Yakisoba is a popular food for local festivals, school events and outdoor cooking on the riverbank or lakeside. Here is a light, simple version with soy sauce and oyster sauce.


Sogigiri slant slicing

When the thickness of a particular ingredient varies, slicing it at a slant helps to produce pieces of relatively uniform thickness, which allows pieces to cook evenly within a given time. In addition to fish as shown below, this is a useful technique for the thick, firmer parts of such vegetables as cabbage, hakusai napa cabbage and gailan Chinese broccoli (stems).


Yakisoramame / grilled fava beans

A super Tom-proof dish! It’s also the simplest way to enjoy fava beans in season. Grilling fava beans in their pods creates a steam-roasting effect, making the beans inside sweeter and more concentrated than when boiled.


Harusame to komatsuna no itameni / saute-simmered mung bean vermicelli and komatsuna

A simple mung bean vermicelli dish flavored with oyster sauce. Dried shiitake mushrooms add an earthy depth.

1/3 of recipe :
103 calories per serving; 2.1 g protein; 2.3 g fat; 18.3 g carbohydrate; 16.6 g net carbs; 489 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.7 g fiber

1/2 of recipe:
155 calories per serving (; 3.2 g protein; 3.5 g fat; 27.5 g carbohydrate; 24.9 g net carbs; 734 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 2.6 g fiber


Mizuna and mibuna mustard greens

(Mizuna) Brassica rapa var. nipposinica

A very versatile leafy green with a soft mustard flavor. Crispy white stems stay relatively firm even when blanched, and its juiciness makes mizuna especially worthy among leafy greens. It is tender enough to eat either cooked or uncooked. Simmering with other ingredients probably is the most common preparation method for mizuna in Japan or with Japanese food. It can also be blanched and marinated, sauteed, or even deep-fried. On the U.S. West Coast at least, mizuna has become increasingly popular at farmers’ markets and organic grocery stores, most likely as a salad green, in the past decade or so. Unfortunately, it does not keep for a long time in the fridge compared to, say, spinach, and it is best eaten quickly -- within several days after harvest, if possible. As shown by its other name, kyona [Kyoto leafy vegetable], mizuna traditionally was more commonly consumed in the western half of Japan.


Tomato to satsumaage, kabu no oden / oden stew with tomatoes, deep-fried fishcakes and Japanese turnips

A summery oden stew with ripe tomatoes. The soft acidity of tomatoes lightens this oden, making it perfect for hot days when you have little appetite.


Hiyashi kakeudon / cold udon noodles in soup

A cold udon noodle dish for hot days. You can enjoy endless variations by changing toppings. Here is a simple example with ginger, green onion and semi-cooked egg.


Howaito soosu / bechamel sauce

A basic bechamel sauce for many gratin and lasagna dishes.

Made with whole milk:
731 calories (whole recipe); 24.4 g protein; 45.1 g fat; 55.1 g carbohydrate; 52.8 g net carbs; 552 mg sodium (259 mg sodium when made without salt); 129 mg cholesterol; 2.3 g fiber

Made with soy milk:
647 calories (whole recipe); 29.9 g protein; 36.0 g fat; 47.7 g carbohydrate; 44.0 g net carbs; 312 mg sodium (19 mg sodium when made without salt); 55 mg cholesterol; 3.7 g fiber


Satsumaimo sweet potato

Ipomoea batatas

Japanese sweet potato has brownish red purple skin and slightly yellow cream-colored flesh inside. “Satsuma” comes from the Satsuma region, today’s Kagoshima Prefecture which produces 40% of satsumaimo consumed in the entire country. Satsumaimo was introduced to Japan via Okinawa (thus it is also known as “Ryukyu imo” – Ryukyu is Okinawa's old name; “imo” means potato) in the early 18th century. It is known for being easy to grow and was one of vegetables I grew as part of science class in elementary school.


Tentojidon / tempura simmered in broth and egg on rice

Leftover tempura is transformed into a hearty donburi dish. Tempura is quickly cooked in broth or tentsuyu, and adding egg gives it a mild flavor. I almost like this better than regular tendon.


Mini jagaimo no nimono / sweet and salty baby potato in reduced broth

A simple combination of soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar turns those potatoes into tasty little things. Great with rice, beer and sake.


Nanohana no namuru / field mustard namul (gochujang flavor)

Fresh mustard greens in toasty sesame-based dressing enriched by gochujang and garlic -- simple, straightforward and refreshing.


Konsai to ebi no kakiage tendon / root vegetable and prawn tempura over rice

Any tempura can be served over rice; the dish is called tendon. Here is an example with julienned root vegetable tempura with prawns.


Konsai to ebi no kakiage / julienned root vegetable tempura with prawns

An easy tempura with multiple ingredients -- this tasty combination of gobo, carrot and satsumaimo potato, boosted with prawns, makes a great tempura dish.


Dinner, June 29, 2012

We had our friends over for dinner yesterday (June 28), and there were leftover ohitashi with mizuna as well as gomadofu. I was originally going to make fish dumplings with crabmeat (another leftover from last night), but I had bought too much fish. Chingensai baby bok choy in the raised bed is about to bolt, and there are lots of mushrooms in the fridge. It would be good to use them up. With leftovers and the need-to-go ingredients at home, we had a pleasant meal.

    Tentsuyu / tempura dipping sauce

    Mildly sweet dipping sauce for tempura. It is also used as a base for tendon rice topped with tempura.

    62 calories (whole recipe); 1.8 g protein; 0.1 g fat; 10.2 g carbohydrate; 10.2 g net carbs; 473 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce; 929 mg with regular soy sauce); 0 mg cholesterol; 0 g fiber