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


Kamatama udon / hot wheat noodles with egg and soy sauce

The udon-version equivalent of tamago-kake gohan! The dish is as simple as its rice counterpart but with more variety, because of the endless possibilities of toppings. This one is kama-age udon, where udon noodles are not chilled (and reheated) after boiling. The method naturally leaves the surface of udon slightly rough, which lets noodles mingle with sauce better for a richer taste. Toppings for kamatama udon (kama-age udon with egg) can be as minimal as chopped green onion or as elaborate as including mentaiko spicy salted pollack roe, nori seaweed, cheese, and so on. Below is our favorite, a simple combination of green onion, chives, toasted white sesame seeds and agetama tempura pearls.   

1/2 of recipe:
451 calories; 12.2 g protein; 8.7 g fat; 73.6 g carbohydrate; 70.7 g net carbs; 798 mg sodium (with nama shoyu fresh soy sauce; 701 mg with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce; 857 mg with regular soy sauce); 210 mg cholesterol; 2.9 g fiber


Satsumaimo no tonyu kokonattsu purin / sweet potato and soy milk coconut pudding

This is for people who like a little dessert after meals. It is very mild and will not steal the spotlight from the main meal or overwhelm your mouth with clingy sweetness. Also great as an afternoon snack. A small amount of kuromitsu, a molasses-like syrup made with kurozato muscovado, provides the deep aroma and taste of this creamy dessert.

1/3 of recipe:
149 calories; 1.7 g protein; 5.6 g fat; 22.0 g carbohydrate; 21.0 g net carbs; 11 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.0 g fiber


Kuromitsu / muscovado syrup

A common syrup made of chunks of kurozato muscovado cane sugar and used for a number of sweets in Japan. The aroma and taste of typical kuromitsu syrup made with kurozato and water only is a bit too powerful for me, and I make my kuromitsu milder by blending in some brown sugar.

1 tablespoon: 
48 calories; 0.1 g protein; 0 g fat; 12.2 g carbohydrate; 12.2 g net carbs; 4 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol;  0g fiber


Itokoni / root vegetables and azuki beans simmered in broth

While itokoni is not very different from my usual root vegetables miso soup, it does offer something new -- azuki beans. Itokoni made with root vegetables, konnyaku yam cake and usuage thin deep-fried tofu or atsuage deep-fried tofu is a regional dish from Ishikawa, Toyama and Niigata prefectures. My aunt who lives in Namerikawa in Toyama brought us a pot of itokoni one day in late fall, and that was when I first discovered the magic of azuki beans, which make an ordinary soup slightly starchy and subtly mellow. As a young child, I did not really like soy sauce- or miso-tinted brownish simmered dishes; they all looked so unappealing and almost discouraging to eat, but Auntie Namerikawa's itokoni really grabbed my heart, and I begged her to bring us itokoni again and again. The recipe below tastes just like her itokoni.

1/2 of recipe:
141 calories; 7.7 g protein; 2.7 g fat; 21.6 g carbohydrate; 12.9 g net carbs; 238 mg sodium (with reduced-sodium miso; 300+ mg with regular miso); 0 mg cholesterol; 8.7 g fiber


Atsuage to mizuna no ponzujoyu-ni / deep-fried tofu and mizuna simmered in citrus soy sauce

The citrus note from ponzujoyu refines this simple pair of everyday ingredients.

1/2 of recipe:
175 calories; 12.8 g protein; 12.2 g fat; 3.1 g carbohydrate; 1.5 g net carbs; 137 mg sodium (when made with homemade ponzujoyu using 50% reduced sodium soy sauce; 350+ mg when made with store-bought ponzujoyu); 0 mg cholesterol; 1.6 g fiber