Japanese food

I love cooking and in particular, love Japanese food. In addition to being addicted to fishing, I’m addicted to cooking - thankfully we get to eat multiple times a day. Anyhow, I’ve digressed. Of our approximately 350 cookbooks at home (yes - you read that correctly and yes, we use them all!), about a dozen of them are Japanese.

Recently I needed to make ramen. So, I took two days and made some チャシュラーメン (chashu ramen) and we had some friends over to share it!


I also love cooking, and occasionally venture into Japanese stuff, or at least Japanese-inspired stuff.
I have not attempted ramen from scratch, mostly because I can’t get any fresh noodles around here. I do dress up instant ramen at least once a week though. I also order various “fancy” instant ramens from Amazon Japan from time to time, so I’m not making cup noodle here.

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It’s pretty difficult to get fresh noodles here too. I have to drive at least an hour and half to get them. Because of that, we either make the ramen noodles (awesome once you figure it out!) or use dried ones (not the instant packs).

Yaki Soba (焼きそば ) Fried noodles.

Lately I’ve been making Yakisoba. I tend to be a free form cook. I watch or read about different ways of making a dish, then cook up something that either follows the method that appealed to me the most or just kind of merge all of them. I also don’t go crazy finding the exact same ingredients. Often it’s look in the fridge and see what is close and start cooking. Anyway, making it easy, fairly quick, and tasty. Here are three methods. From professional chef to home cooks who use different process. Try it you might like it. :wink:

Yaki Soba - DIY At Home Series - Hiroyuki Terada - Diaries of a Master Sushi Chef

How To Make Yakisoba - TheJapanfoodchannel

How to make Japanese Yakisoba ソース焼きそば - runnyrunny999

His home made sauce works well if you don’t have a local Asian mart or well stocked local super market.

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A Korean version of Omurice, as Maangchi explains it is a dish that came to Korea from Japan.
Anyway, I made this Thursday evening. Mostly the same, only using a different kind of sausage, and I had no pickled radish, substituting some Mezzetta Italian Mix Giardiniera pickled vegetables.



On her website are several other Korean versions of dishes imported from Japan, and of course Korean dishes for those who like Korean foods. Many look simple to make. Some not so much. Maybe difficult to find the proper ingredients unless you live some place with a large Asian Mart.

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We’ve used her recipes from the website a lot and also have her cookbook. Her YouTube channel is particularly good if your want to learn how to cook Korean food.

Great food! A friend who lived in Japan for a long time said the food in her cookbook reminds him of the Korean area of Tokyo.

This video - How to make Perfect Tempura (RECIPE) -天ぷらの作り方

  • on the TabiEats YouTube channel, is my favorite video showing how to make Tempura.

Because it’s not to long, it also shows how to make Tempura Sauce [天ぷらつゆ, Tempura tsuyu] aka 天つゆ Tentsuyu, how to prepare shrimp so it stays straight, and how to make a simple type of Tempura Kakiage [かきあげ], which is shredded vegetables.

On their blog, which is in Japanese, they call it 炭酸水天ぷら, Carbonated Water Tempura. But the key to good Tempura batter is to make it with ice cold water, plain or carbonated, not to thick. And keep it cold by sitting the bowl of batter in a bowl of ice to keep it cold. Why? Because that is needed to make the tempura crispy.


If you open the video in a separate tab you can expand the video description and read the ingredients and instructions in English or Japanese.

I had never heard of the Perilla Leaf they used. It is aka Shiso (紫蘇, しそ), apparently from the Mint family. The red shiso (赤じそ) is said to be anise flavored. It’s used to to dye pickled plums or pickled ginger. But it is not as popular as the green shiso, which strangely is written with the kanji for blue (青しそ、青紫蘇). Maybe it’s one of those deals where the native language you speak controls your perception of color, I know native French speakers see more shades of green than native English speakers. Strange but true. The green shiso or green perila is said to have a bit of a cinnamon flavor. Not available where I live afaik, and I have yet to try just Mint leaves that are available. However, I’ve read that the green perilla grows wild in Tennessee. Perhaps elsewhere too.

Kakiage Tempura
If you tried the Kakiage Tempura, and liked it. You might find the next video of interest. It shows a more complex mix of vegetables plus shrimp

サクサク天ぷら「かき揚げ」の作り方 - How to make Kakiage Tempura.
Crispy Tenpura [kakiage] how to make.


The same advice applies. Open the video in a separate tab, expand the video description to see the ingredients and instructions in English.

Mitsuba is a type of parsley, as is Japanese Chervil. Not available where I live. Just substitute something similar.

Kakige is also good served as Kekigedon, aka Kakiage bowl. かき揚げ丼 Kakiage donburi.
The Kakiage is served on top of a bowl of rice.

Anyway, recommended. Experiment with different vegetables. A favorite is sweet potato. And for a pleasing colors, use red or yellow peppers where the batter is only applied to the inside surface, fry it with the shiny side of the pepper un-coated with batter. :sweat_smile:


We often put the bowl of tempura batter in the freezer while we have a batch that is frying. Although, depending on what it is and if you have the oil at the right temperature, the frying is very quick and the bowl of ice underneath is perfect; like David says.

Tempura batter is also really great made with a lager or pale ale. Put the beer in the freezer and get it extremely cold, but don’t freeze it. Then proceed with the recipe. Two more tips: 1. Don’t beat the batter too much, only enough to get the lumps out. 2. Let the batter rest for 15-20 minutes before using it. This allows the gluten to rest and relax again after beating it.

I love squash/pumpkin, shiso, and shungiku (春菊 or chrysanthemum greens) as tempura. If you are in a hurry, the recommendation in the first video to use dashi no moto (だしの素 or だしのもと or ダシノモト) is great. Although, I would encourage you to find one that is made without MSG and without any sweetener. It can be difficult, but we have found at least two brands made in Japan that do not have these. If you have the time and inclination, making dashi from scratch is the tastiest way to go.

For those who like to experiment, here is a blog post about how to make dashi no moto at home (I have not done so).

There are actually several varieties of perilla or shiso (紫蘇, しそ or 들깨 in Korean), with different types being more popular in different cuisines. As you noted David, it is very popular in Japanese food as well as Korean and Vietnamese.

It is very easy to grow in the garden or even in a small pot on your patio. However, it is very cold sensitive like basil. There is a lot of information out there about growing it and it is very delicious. Over the past five or six years, my wife and I have been cross-breeding our own variety between a light green leaved variety and a very dark purple one. Unfortunately, seed viability with shiso is not very high, not to mention that it can become inbred quite easily which further decreases seed viability.

Wild perilla does grow throughout much of the US and Asia. The red variety is usually cooked or pickled in some form and not often eaten raw (though of course there are always exceptions). The green varieties are more commonly eaten raw as a garnish or raw in tsukemono (漬物 or 香の物 or 御新香).

Mitsuba isn’t quite parsley, but if you do not have a Japanese grocer or farmer near you, flat-leaf Italian parsley is an acceptable alternative. They have slightly different flavor and texture. Mitsuba stems are somewhat akin (though not identical) to celery in texture (though much smaller and not so stringy) with leaves that are somewhat similar to parsley albeit much larger. It is also much slower growing than parsley. Japanese chervil is a different English translation for mitsuba.

If only T.S. Elliot had not written about Cats, but instead written about Herbs, Peter Ustinov’s rendering of his words would have been much different.


Yes indeed,
The naming of Herbs is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games.
You may thing at first.
I’m mad as a hatter.
When I tell you an Herb must have
Three Different Names
They got their ordinary name,
And their fancy name.
Well now, it’s got a third name.
An herb needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified.

My wife recently, finally, planted the herbs in an herb kit I got for her a couple of years ago.
I decided to expand the selection, and purchased a few different ones.
Where I found that the seed packages had these names:
Sweet Italian Basil, aka Large Leaf Basil, aka Neopolitan Basil
Slow-bolt Cilantro, aka Coriander, aka Mexican Parsley
Garlic Chives, aka Chinese Leeks.

And when I look up Mitsuba on the i-net I find it called Japanese Parsley, or Cyspotaenia.
Ya need a program to keep up with what is what. :dizzy_face:

Maybe what you call them the day you use them effects the taste, :wink:

Anyway, lately fairly often I’ve been making namasu 紅白なます (pickled carrots and daikon), or sunomono, 酢の物.
And just recently purchased a 1.6 L P-Carrot brand Tsukemono-ki, 漬物器, essentially a pickle press.
Last April I started only eating one meal per day, with only one shot per day I’m always looking for something different and good to keep me motivated, and happy. Eating an unsatisfying meal makes the next day a long one.


We have one too, that we use all the time.

Hi Peder san This is a one way to enjoy Ramen Noodle . you may try it once!



Recently I have been using a product from the Chinese grocery that works well. It is a sodium bi-carbonate and potassium carbonate solution. This works well to make ramen noodles. From what I have read, a similar product is used in Japan in powder form instead of liquid.


I must comment about Onigiri! This is potentially the greatest stream side snack! For those that don’t know it google it. Tons of simple ideas for basically “stuffing” rice with various fillings and then wrapping the rice in nori. Easy to pack and munch on stream side. I recently got back from a trip to Japan where I was touring sake breweries (I sell sake and wine for a living) and from spending some time with Go Ishii who many might know. Onigirii were a very handy Japanese version of the the “power bar”.


Namasu (紅白なます) is a daikon and carrot salad lightly pickled in sweetened vinegar. … it is especially enjoyed during the New Year in Japan.
Red and white (紅白) are considered celebratory colors in Japan and these colors are often used in many traditional ceremonies.

How to Make Namasu (Daikon & Carrot Salad) (Recipe) 紅白なますの作り方(レシピ)

More details here:

Still more traditional New Year’s Day lucky foods:
New Year’s Day Lucky Foods

Except for no Daikon in the house I’m good to go. Hopefully some available at the store. I’ve got cabbage, sour kraut, spinach, 3 kinds of lettuce, pomegranates, grapes, and some left over Frijoles Charros I cooked in the fridge, which has the pork and green chilies covered. There’s always rice and I’m pretty sure there are some black-eyed peas too. That ought to cover most traditional American New Year’s Day good luck foods, even the ones not common where I live. And provide a good superstitious start for a more successful Tenkara 2019 than 2018 was. :wink:



We make namasu pretty regularly in our house. Although, I never realized it was associated with New Years.

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