Tag Archives: Japanese

Japanese food Recipes

Easy-peasy curry (Japanese curry)

The Japanese adaptation of curry is a mild, creamy, and slightly sweet concoction, with chunks of meat and vegetables swimming in a thick gravy. And, surprisingly, Japanese curry typically comes in a box! Another example of a convenience product for the busy home cook.

Most Asian grocery stores now carry boxes of the instant curry sauce. In each box are cubes of concentrated sauce (in essence a thickened roux). Just add water! Since this is a quick, easy and fail-safe meal to make, I always have a box in my cupboard for emergencies. Although the label says it makes 10 servings, I find that half a box (4-6 cubes) of the instant curry mix is plenty for 6-8 servings.

The curry comes in mild, medium, or hot versions, none of which are really spicy. Meat, potato, carrot and onion are the standard ingredients for a Japanese curry. Since I like my green veggies, I often also add broccoli, bell peppers, and peas. These ingredients add a brightness to an otherwise starchy dish.

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 cups chopped broccoli
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 – 3.5 cups hot water
4 cubes (half box) of curry sauce mix
2 tbsp cooking oil
Heat the oil in a large pan or pot, and brown the chicken pieces. Add onion, potato, carrot, and pepper and stir fry for 1-2 mins. Add the broccoli and peas. Top with hot water, until everything is just covered. Add the curry sauce cubes and stir gently, until the cubes start to melt. Cover and simmer for 10-15 mins, stirring once midway through. Serve over rice.

Fusion Healthy cooking Japanese food Recipes Tools and kitchenware

Tajine nabe

Tajine pot

Tajine nabe seems to be very popular in Japan now, with frequent appearances on TV and in special displays in stores. There are constantly new recipes popping up here and there, iand t is hard to miss the craze.

You would be led to think that Tajine pots were invented in Japan with the way they are promoted here with large signs saying “Made in Japan”, and pictures of Japanese ingredients floating around them. In fact, Tajine pots originated in Morocan cuisine, and are used to simmer dishes and stews of meat, beans, and vegetables.

The Japanese version of the tajine is used mainly for steaming foods. It is heralded as a new healthy way of cooking in which foods are steamed in very little water, and so they retain more of their vitamins and nutrients. And of course, oil is not needed. The food is often cooked with only a little salt or soy sauce for flavour, and when eaten, can be topped off or dipped in a sauce, such as ponzu, soy sauce or sesame sauce.

Cooking Tajine nabe is an easy process. Simply arrange the desired vegetables and meats on the base, add salt or sauces if desired, add a little bit of water, close lid, and heat on the stove until steam comes out of the pot, and ingredients are cooked to desired consistency.

Mushroom, carrot, fried tofu (atsuage), and slices of bacon (before/after cooking)

Cabbage layered with bacon, and carrots with meat balls (before/after cooking)

Some popular ingredient include:
Cabbage with bacon slices slitted between leaves
Eggplant slices layered with minced meat
Lotus root (renkon) slices layered with a minced meat mixture
Mushrooms, leek, bean sprouts, garlic, and slices of pork

Slices of eggplant layered with garlic miso

Japanese food Restaurants

Guu – a short whirlwind trip to a Tokyo bar

I’ve been hearing great things about Guu, so I was excited to finally try it out! Guu is a casual Izakaya (Japanese pub) newly opened in Toronto, known for it’s lively atmosphere and unique Izakaya food. In short, perfect for a Friday night!

Notorious for lengthy wait lists for a table, we arrived right after work and enjoyed some drinks on their heated patio. After about an hour, we were seated at a long table with benches, rubbing elbows with other groups enjoying good food washed down with mugs of beer.

The menu features small share plates (tapas style) of Japanese nibbles. Starting with orders of yakitori, we soon moved onto other more adventurous dishes. Salmon and tuna sashimi came lightly seared in a tangy citrus sauce. Creamy baked avocado and shrimp melted on the tongue (with just a touch too much mayonnaise.) Other must-haves include the eggplant, unagi rice, pork belly, and pumpkin croquette.

Along with Japanese beer, sake, and wine, Guu’s signature cocktails are a delightful way to re-live late nights at a Tokyo kareoke bar. Vodka sodas, and cocktails of lychee, sour plum, and sugar cane, are sweet but typically watery – pro: you can drink twice as much while enjoying the frenetic atmosphere.

Guu has a loudly bouyant energy that makes it difficult to hold onto the stresses of the work week. From the moment we stepped through the door, service was fast, efficient, and most of all, cheerful. Wearing traditional Japanese work garb, the staff take the spirit of “genki” to new heights – deftly delivering orders, and yelling greetings to each customer as they arrive or depart.

We could have stayed all evening, but did I mention that they hold customers to a 2 hour sitting time? Nevertheless, we rolled out of Guu well-fed, well-watered, and slightly heady from the experience.

398 Church Street
According to their website, they also have several pubs in BC.

In this picture – tuna sashimi, eggplant in garlicy miso sauce, sapporo beer, and sugar cane cocktail.

Japanese food Restaurants

Tokyo Grill (Toronto Restaurant)

The BEST Casual Japanese Food Joint in Downtown

A couple of Japanese exchange students clued us into this tiny unassuming restaurant on a busy section of Yonge Street. It’s specialty is authentic casual Japanese fare – I’m told it’s the type of food families eat around the dinner table, or at the local izakaya (pub). It’s actually run by Japanese folks, and the small tables are usually packed with groups of Asian students looking for quality cheap eats.

A warning to the uninitiated – there is no sushi here. Many unsuspecting customers who equate Japanese food with sushi have left disappointed. For those looking for something other than the old california roll, tempura, and miso soup combo, Tokyo Grill is something special.

The appetizers are simple. Edamame, grilled fish, and japanese pickles are good starters if you’re hungry, but the mains arrive equally fast.

A selection of ramen bowls, donburi, and grilled foods dominate the menu. If you can’t decide, the specials board offers great suggestions, and all featured meals come with complementary miso soup (incidently, one of the best miso soups we’ve had this side of the Pacific).

The croquette dinner is a favorite – two panko encrusted crispy potato patties served with rice and salad and sauce. The terriyaki dishes are popular, and also come with pan-grilled vegetables. Salmon is usually a great choice.

The sukiyaki is perfect in the winter months, with a soul-warming sweet broth chocked-full of thin-sliced beef, tofu, Japanese spinach, bean sprouts and onions. Ask for an extra bowl of rice, and there’s enough for two.

And on the last Saturday of the month, Tokyo Grill serves up freshly made soba noodles by the platter. It surprised me how different fresh soba tastes compared to the store-bought dried variety – not quite the same difference between fresh and dried Italian pasta.

This visit, I opted for the chicken kastu – deep-fried breaded chicken fillet served with salad, rice, and tangy tonkatsu sauce. The chicken was moist, but not greasy. The salad was simple, with a citrus-y dressing. Just non-pretentious, wholesome food

582 Yonge Street (at Wellesley)