Japanese Style Brisket


Japanese style braised brisketKosher Japanese spare ribs? Well, perhaps something like that for Seudat Mafseket, the pre-fast meal before the Yom Kippur fast. While it is not traditional to eat such a heavy meal before beginning a fast, Mr. Tess wanted some beef. And I’ve been craving these pork spareribs from Hiroko Shimbo’s The Japanese Kitchen. So I thought, “Why not cook a beef brisket (which is usually fatty-rich like ribs) with the same seasonings!” Some of the Korean beef recipes I’ve posted about previously make my train of thought not so illogical…beef braised with spices and soy sauce.

Lamb Shanks, Japanese Style


japanese-lamb-shanks_3759Lamb shanks so tender you can eat them with a spoon make a noteworthy meal without requiring a lot of attention, only a block time for a slow braise. Because they can be prepared a day ahead, lamb shanks can be part of a dinner for guests even the hostess can enjoy. While lamb is not widely eaten in Japan, this recipe illustrates how well basic Japanese ingredients (sake, mirin, shoyu, miso), and Japanese cooking techniques can make this dinner unique but familiar enough to be comforting.

Poaching Eggs with Art and Technology

poaching an egg
Onsen tomango, Japanese hot spring eggs achieve a perfect balance between cooked and raw: the white with a texture like delicate custard, the yolk firm but bright yellow with a creamy texture. I cannot duplicate the slow cooking in a natural hot spring. Soft cooked eggs are the closest, and very delicious topping toast, noodles, or salads. But they are very tricky to cook to exactly the balance of cooked but runny. Until Mr. Tess brought home a gift of these wonderful silicone “poach pods” I thought poached eggs were beyond my kitchen skills. They work like magic! And are easy to clean, and don’t take up much kitchen drawer space.

Hayashi Rice (Mix)

Hayashi rice (ハヤシライス) is a popular Western-syle dish in Japan. It is made with thinly sliced meat (usually beef), onions, and button mushrooms, simmered in a thick red wine, tomato, and demi-glace sauce. The sauce is served atop or alongside steamed, buttered rice.

I bought a package of Hayashi Rice Sauce Mix, imported from Japan by S&B. Very convenient? I don’t know!

It would without doubt be a delicious dish made from scratch. Links to posts I’ve written related to this topic.

Cheese Grits, Japanese Style?

I was surprised to hear that my sister-in-law, who has traveled far and wide, has never eaten grits. This post is dedicated to her!

Grits are traditionally served in the U.S. South, east of the Mississippi River. Grits were first made with our American native corn by the indigenous American Indians of the region to preserve corn over the year from harvest to harvest. Grits are produced by treating corn kernels with an alkaline bath to remove the tough skins of the kernels, then dried and coarsely ground. The resulting product is made into a porridge and served for breakfast or as a side dish.

And they are very bland, but have texture. One can take a Japanese donburi idea to make a wonderful breakfast or light meal by adding toppings of your choice: cheese, grebenes, okra pickles, chipoltle Tabasco sauce

Autumn Chicken and Chestnuts

Chicken and chestnuts simmered in a salty sweet satisfying sauce is a favorite meal at this time of year, enjoyable for dinner guests—even folks who are not familiar with Japanese food). While a French fricassée of chicken might include olive oil, butter, garlic, herbs, and chicken stock or even some white wine, this Japanese recipe is both familiar and exotic with the flavors of saké, sweet mirin and caramelized sugar, soy sauce, and black pepper.
It’s a savory party in your mouth!

Another Thousand Leaf Cabbage

Cabbage does not bring to mind Japanese cuisine! But home cooks have a repertoire of recipes to take advantage of the humble inexpensive tender-sweet cabbages which come to market in autumn and winter. These meals are homely and comforting, warm and rich, and as you can see: they are not necessarily beautiful to the eye. Don’t be deceived. One cannot “judge a book by its cover.”
The “thousand leaves” (mille-feuille in French) in this casserole are layered horizontally with a pork stuffing. The casserole in my previous post involved layering the cabbage leaves vertically. The flavor of this version is also very different from the other. Enjoy!

Beef Donburi

Donburi meals are Japanese comfort food, served in fast food restaurants, available in ready to heat-and-serve packets, or cooked at home for family. Donburi (kanji: 丼; hiragana: どんぶり) are also the over-sized rice bowls themselves. Rice, usually white rice, is topped with meat, seafood, tofu, and/or vegetables. I wanted something a bit more hearty. I used a delicious nutty 6-Grain Rice mixture from Kagayaki.

Stewed Soybeans


Mr. Tess made a lovely garbonzo bean soup with potatoes, garlic, rosemary, and some “secret” ingredients. It was luxurious with a dollop of sour cream.

His soup got me thinking about the humble hardiness of beans and how they satisfy a desire for homey comfort. They are easy to cook, soaking and simmering without much attention from the cook, and yet they can be seasoned in all the variety of cuisines around the world.

I found a recipe for simmered soybeans, Japanese style, online and began to gather the ingredients. I found hijiki, a dramatic black sea-vegetable (allright, it’s seaweed), carrots, dried shiitake, and the usual suspects: saké, mirin, shoyu, and sugar.

My bag of soybeans was missing! Had I simply left them at the old place? (yes, we are still moving house…) Was my memory slipping?