Nagasaki-Style Braised Pork: Buta Kaku-ni

Braised pork belly, buta kaku-ni, is a special occasion dish—so very rich and succulent that one wouldn’t eat it everyday. Today is this blog’s third birthday so celebrate with me! It’s Thanksgiving Day, and while it’s too late for you to make this recipe for the holiday, it would be perfect to serve as an appetizer for your other holiday parties.

mentaiko spaghetti

Fish eggs on spaghetti! As a kid, I would have laughed at the idea. It was not in my mother’s repertoire.
When my brothers went fishing, it was up to them to clean and cook their catch; I always wished they fished more often.
Hard roe, soft roe, shad roe, coral—I didn’t know; caviar in the movies, yes but not in my mouth! 

Ikura, Sujiko, Masago, Tobiko! Kazunoko, Karasumi, Uni! Tarako + Mentaiko!

Sometimes You Just Want a Hambagu!

If you shop when you’re hungry, then you’ll come home with a surprise. My plan was to cook a new dish from Hiroko Shimbo’s book (The Japanese Kitchen): pork belly braised with daikon, then simmered in a flavorful sauce involving hours and hours of cooking time. As I looked at the displays of fruits, vegetables, fish, and meats many quick and simple possibilities lured me toward one of the fastest meals I could cook. Japanese-style hamburgers are delicious!

Shrimp Wafers: Ebi Senbei

Soup with crackers is a classic combination, so I thought the rice consommé would be well matched with ebi senbei. The shrimp wafers are made with just that: shrimp! The shrimp are cut, flattened, then rolled thin, and deep-fried. An uncomplicated recipe, but the result depends on the quality of the shrimp. My shrimp were frozen, perhaps a bit on the small side of medium, and as soon as I began to pound them (gently), they turned to mush. This explains why my crackers are dumplings.
Should you have access to good quality shrimp, you might find this recipe worth trying.

Rice Consommé with Umeboshi
japanese rice porridge
Rice consommé is a fair title for this recipe, but it is better described as rice porridge. Porridge connotes comfort and warm pleasure. Picture Goldilocks enjoying the little bowl of porridge—it was “just right!” Porridge is poor man’s food, extending a little grain or legumes with liquid and vegetables. It can be so magical as to offer freedom from poverty and hunger.

From fairy tales to Shakespeare with humor