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


Ebi-iri tanuki donburi / shrimp and tempura pearls over steamed rice

At our house, we call this "fake tendon." Tempura pearls perform the wonderful trick of transforming this sober combination into a rich, filling dish. Add the pearls right before the egg to enjoy some crunch in the final dish as below, or add them at the same time as shrimp for mellower results.

1/2 of recipe above when served with 150 g steamed rice:
379 calories; 15.1 g protein; 4.6 g fat; 65.0 g carbohydrate;
63.6 g net carbs; 301 mg sodium (with homemade tempura pearls and 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce; 497 mg with regular soy sauce); 157 mg cholesterol; 1.4 g fiber


Ninjin to enoki no pirikara itameni / braised spicy carrot and enoki mushrooms

This kinpira-style spicy side dish with the clear taste of soy sauce and a sweet underlying note is an everyday favorite. Cooked enoki become a bit creamy, providing a nice contrast to the texture of carrot spears. Quick and easy, this is a great small addition at your table or in the lunch box.

1/2 of recipe:
52 calories; 1.3 g protein; 1.2 g fat; 8.7 g carbohydrate; 6.3 g net carbs; 98 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce; 177 mg with regular soy sauce); 0 mg cholesterol; 2.4 g fiber


Tenkasu / agetama / tempura pearls

Little balls of tempura batter are an essential ingredient for many people when making wheat-based snacks such as okonomiyaki savory pancakes, takoyaki octopus balls and monjayaki half-cooked savory pancakes. They are also added to make other dishes rich and flavorful, in a similar way as cheese or butter is added in western cooking. While tempura "pearls" are inexpensive and widely available at grocery stores in Japan, it takes some effort to find them at a store outside Japan. But yes, they are easy to make. Using leftover batter after making tempura is one way. Below is a recipe to make tenkasu or agetama only. It makes enough to freeze for use over several months.

1 tbsp (4-5 g): 
12 calories; 0.2 g protein; 0.4 g fat; 1.8 g carbohydrate; 1.7 g net carbs; 2 mg sodium (with shrimp flakes;5-7 mg with sakura ebi); 0 mg cholesterol; 0.1 g fiber


Ebi fureeku / shrimp flakes

I much prefer head-on shrimp over headless shrimp for taste and texture. They take a bit more time to devein and whatnot, but then you have shells and heads that make superb stock for any cuisine. They also add a stronger shrimp aroma and flavor when sauteed before the main ingredients. And when you end up having too many shells and heads, you can turn them into shrimp flakes, which are a great substitute for sakura ebi and other dried shrimp in a number of dishes.


Karifurawaa to asupara no kuzuni / cauliflower and asparagus in thickened broth

A gentle side dish for spring. Both vegetables are subtly sweet and cooked to be soft, yet the cauliflower crumbles in your mouth while the asparagus remains intact and juicy. Perhaps this dish is not so exciting, but it is well appreciated as a "bridge" between other dishes. One of my favorites.

1/2 of recipe:
53 calories; 3.5 g protein; 0.3 g fat; 9.2 g carbohydrate; 6.4 g net carbs; 146 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce; 242 mg with regular soy sauce); 0 mg cholesterol; 2.8 g fiber


Kinoko no sotee sarada / salad with sauteed mushrooms and citrus soy sauce

One of my typical baby leaf salads comes with sauteed mushrooms. Sauteed mushrooms work as a dressing, so cook them on lower heat to get the moisture out for mellower texture. Olive oil goes so well with citrus soy sauce, adding another fruity layer to the overall taste. See notes if you are out of ponzujoyu.

1/2 of recipe:
88 calories; 1.7 g protein; 6.1 g fat; 9.7 g carbohydrate; 125 mg sodium (when made with homemade ponzujoyu using 50% reduced sodium soy sauce; 350+ mg when made with store-bought ponzujoyu); 7 mg cholesterol; 5.6 g fiber