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


New Year's Day breakfast 2020

We started 2020 with a quiet New Year's Day meal.

As with other years, we had ozoni soup with rice cakes, kuromame black soybeans, datemaki seafood omelet, tataki gobo burdock root in sesame vinegar dressing, shrimp, lotus root in sweetened vinegar, grilled saikyo-zuke black cod, and so on. It was simpler than usual, mainly because the meal was meant to be for us only. No guests were involved this year, since my father passed away last fall.


Biitsu beeguru / beet bagels

Confectionery sweet, according to my family in Japan. Pureed baked beet is added to the dough for a colorful hue. When made into bagels, the pureed beet has no earthy overtone that some people are not very fond of. Orange peel bits give a fruity note, which pairs well with beets. As with kale and walnut bagels, these reddish bagels also are on the smallish side and have much less sodium than regular commercial versions.

1 bagel (1/8 recipe; 75 g baked):
203 calories; 6.3 g protein; 0.9 g fat; 41.5 g carbohydrate; 38.1 g net carbs; 99 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 3.4 g fiber


Daikon to ika no misoni / daikon radish and calamari simmered in miso-flavored broth

The humble daikon takes on the flavor of calamari, becoming something gentle yet deeply aromatic. This is my mom's kind of dish, which I grow to like as I get older. While miso paste typically is the only main seasoning, modifying the dish to reduce sodium content by partially replacing miso with sakekasu sake lees, kurozu brown rice vinegar and shoyukoji soy sauce rice malt successfully results in a pleasantly mild flavor that lets you unwind after a busy day. If a bit of extra flavor is wanted, add grated ginger for a zesty punch or taka no tsume red chili pepper for picante heat.

1/2 of recipe:
125 calories; 12.2 g protein; 1.3 g fat; 11.4 g carbohydrate; 10.1 g net carbs; 155 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 163 mg cholesterol; 1.3 g fiber


Nagaimo no acharazuke / Chinese yam pickled in spicy sweetened vinegar

By simply adding taka no tsume red chili pepper to sweetened vinegar, you have another standard marinade for pickles. Fresh nagaimo Chinese yam stays relatively crisp in the marinade, and by Day 2 it becomes a bit milder although still offering some crunch and piquant sensation. As the pickle name's origin -- achar -- suggests, it pairs very well with a number of cuisines beyond Japanese dishes.

Whole recipe (nagaimo only):
60 calories; 2.0 g protein; 0.3 g fat; 12.9 g carbohydrate; 12.0 g net carbs; 2.8 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0.9 g fiber

1/4 of recipe (nagaimo only):
15 calories; 0.5 g protein; 0.07 g fat; 3.2 g carbohydrate; 3.0 g net carbs; 0.7 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0.2 g fiber

Marinade whole recipe (with shiokoji, erythritol and stevia):
32 calories; 0.2 g protein; 0.02 g fat; 5.3 g carbohydrate; 3.0 g net carbs; 98 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0.02 g fiber


Tsusuna to atsuage no oisutaasoosu itame / stir-fried New Zealand spinach and deep-fried tofu with oyster sauce

A quick stir-fry with tsuruna New Zealand spinach that takes advantage of aromatic oyster sauce to mask the vegetable's slightly earthy taste. Atsuage deep-fried tofu makes this dish somewhat substantial.

1/2 of recipe:
109 calories; 8.3 g protein; 7.0 g fat; 3.1 g carbohydrate; 1.3 g net carbs; 102 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 0.04 mg cholesterol; 1.8 g fiber; 256 mg potassium


Mabbuha / matbucha / stewed bell pepper and tomato salad

A bit fruity, sweet, sour and picante with a creamy texture. While it goes with many kinds of dishes, I like pairing it with an eggplant omelet for breakfast.
This is a recent WOW dish for me, and something I make repeatedly to have on hand. Adapted from a recipe by Ta-im, an Israeli restaurant in Tokyo, published in Ryori Tsushin [The Cuisine Press] May 2018 issue.

Whole recipe:
309 calories; 6.4 g protein; 25.0 g fat; 34.5 g carbohydrate; 2.7 g net carbs; 287 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 10.7 g fiber

1/6 recipe:
52 calories; 1.1 g protein; 4.2 g fat; 6.1 g carbohydrate; 2.7 g net carbs; 48 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.8 g fiber

1/8 recipe:
39 calories; 0.8 g protein; 3.1 g fat; 4.6 g carbohydrate; 2.7 g net carbs; 36 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.3 g fiber


Kabu no shinodamaki / Japanese turnip rolled in thin deep-fried tofu, simmered in broth

Usuage thin deep-fried tofu wrappers absorb the flavor of dashi-based broth and kabu turnip, and each bite fills your mouth with the tasty broth along with the almost creamy texture of kabu. The oil content of usuage, although reduced almost 30% in the prep process, gives this simple combination more than enough richness.

1/4 of recipe (without grilled shishito): 
29 calories; 1.4 g protein; 1.1 g fat; 3.1 g carbohydrate; 2.4 g net carbs; 142 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0.7 g fiber