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


Lunch, January 17, 2014

As usual, leftover tempura from the previous day becomes tentojidon.

  • Tentojidon / tempura simmered in broth with egg on rice (130 g steamed rice; 521 kcal; 323 mg sodium )
  • Tofu no akadashi / red miso soup with soft tofu (53 kcal; 253 mg sodium)
  • Daikon to ninjin no shoga-amazu-ae / daikon radish and carrot in ginger-flavored sweetened vinegar (10 kcal; 6 mg sodium)

Total calories & sodium content: 584 kcal; 582 mg sodium


Not bad. Coming up with a number of menu items that total less than 600 mg of sodium is one of my goals for this year.

Tentojidon (with leftover satsumaimo sweet potato tempura and kagiage mixed tempura of shungiku garland chrysanthemum, gobo burdock root and prawns) was prepared with tentsuyu tempura dipping sauce made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce, which instantly makes the dish sodium friendly or sodium aware without compromising the flavor.

The combination of shungiku garland chrysanthemum and gobo burdock root in kakiage mixed tempura is wonderful. Tom noticed this when we had a nabe hot pot the other day, and I have been enjoying trying the pair in different dishes since then. A few prawns were added to each kakiage piece, which added a nice sweet note. Rounding out the dish was a simple tempura of satsumaimo sweet potato. It was sliced somewhat thick, 1cm, to bring out the starchy sweet flavor, which intensifies when deep-fried.

The soup is red miso based. The sharp tang of red miso goes really well with tempura and rice. I usually prefer white or mixed miso in cold seasons, but tentojidon (or tendon) is the exception. A white or mixed miso soup would be too mellow.

I am somehow fixated on the idea of having tofu no akadashi with tentojidon and tendon. It is partly because tofu no akadashi is the soup you get at a tempura restaurant in my hometown. The restaurant is run by my father's cousin, and it has been one of the venues for family get-togethers. I sometimes went there with only my father and sat at the counter, watching my father's cousin meticulously cooking tempura right in front of us.

Lots of people say miso soup contains too much sodium. It does have a high amount -- 220mg per 1 tsp, which I use per serving of miso soup --  but miso's beneficial substances, including soy isoflavones (work like estrogen) and melanoidin (anti-oxidation; conditions digestive tract), should not be overlooked. Taking a small amount does no harm. My miso soup has yogurt in it, too. It may sound weird, but yogurt -- another cultured food -- blends well with miso and gives the soup depth and complexity, which allows you to reduce the amount of miso used.

Daikon radish and carrot were gently rubbed with rice vinegar, instead of salt, to soften the texture. The spiciness of ginger is a big plus. Daikon's digestive enzyme, diastase, is active when daikon is left uncooked, so it should help prevent a sour stomach from eating deep-fried items.

Hungry Tom had lots of rice. Plain steamed rice is virtually sodium free (about 2 mg with the amount in the photo at right) but high in calories.
... If you always order fried rice with entrees at Chinese restaurants, you should think about the additional calories and sodium you are getting; there are reasons for people to order plain white or brown rice.

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