There are lovely places all over the world.

I love traveling, and in every travel, I encountered a beautiful scenery.

I got impressed with the Great Wall in China, Airs Rock in Australia, the Iguazu Fall in Argentina, Paine National Park in Chile, and so on, so on….


Even here inside the US, there are tons of wonderful places, and I had a great time exploring Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Monument Valley, the wildness of Alaska, the Niagara fall, and so on , and so on,,,,,

Here I have to mention there is another exciting place in a sense.



MITSUWA, Japanese grocery store, in New Jersey!

This store is  a little far from where I live, so I only have a few chances in a year to explore there.

That’s why every time I go there, I couldn’t help being so excited.

They have EVERYTHING I miss here, and if there were MITSUWA in my neighborhood, I might not miss Japan that much.

Well, luckily, I had a chance to go there on the way back from the vacation in Vermont, and of course, I threw many things into my shopping cart including GOYA.

Goya might have been a new thing for you, but how about this?

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I know you can’t see it.

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This is YAMAIMO, and specifically this is one kind of YAMAIMO, called NAGAIMO.

IMO means potatoes in Japanese.

YAMAIMO is a type of yam  that we could eat  as raw unlike the other potatoes.

The best part is using YAMAIMO for cooking is not only they are delicious, but also it doesn’t take much time for preparation!

We could just julienne or grate it, and we have a delicious dish in front!

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Since YAMAIMO itself is very mild and somehow bland flavor,  it goes well with any salad.

We could mix julienned YAMAIMO with UME (Japanese plum pickles) or soy sauce or sesame oil dressing!


Today I will introduce one of the popular way of eating YAMAIMO.

We call that TORORO.

Tororo is the grated YAMAIMO.

We could put this TORORO onto soba noodles or rice.

I will show it how.

Let’s cooking!

Here are the ingredients.

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  • 4 inches of YAMAIMO
  • 1 cup of relatively thick miso soup  (how to make miso soup is here)

The tools you need is ,,,

  • grater
  • mortar with pestle

When you prepare misosoup, add a little more of miso than usual.

(The way how to cook miso soup is here.  You don’t need to add any vegetables in this case.)

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This is a quite simple dish.

First wash YAMAIMO well with running water, and peel the skin.

Be careful!

It is really slimy!!!

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Now we have peeled YAMAIMO here.

Then we grate this,,,

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into the mortar.

The key is the air.

The more air we add, the softer and fluffier TORORO would be, so if you have very fine mesh grater, it would be wonderful.

Mine is not that fine, so I need to work more in the next step.

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After finishing grating YAMAIMO, add thick miso soup little by little.

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Make sure they blend well.

Work hard trying to add air.

You could use a whisker here.

I should have done that,,,,,

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OK, then how much miso soup do we need to add?

It really depends on you.

If you like strong flavor of miso, add a lot.

However in that case, you need to prepare really thick miso soup, otherwise TORORO truned out to be very soupy.


This is easy, but I know this is so delicious!

My husband would get surprised to see this very JAPANESE dish on today’s dinner table!

(He wasn’t with me when I threw YAMAIMO into my shopping cart!)

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I would be satisfied only with this TORORO and rice as dinner!!

He screamed and enjoyed it!

It is very easy for me to satisfy him if I have Japanese vegetables.

That is why MITSUWA grocery store is a wonderful place, but I know more wonderful place.



I know MITUWA help me not missing Japan, but,,,


I need to go back again for this!!!!

Goya Chanpuru ( pork with bitter melon)


I  purchased Kohlrabi this summer. It was my first time.

I encountered this alien like vegetables at the local farmer’s market.

They looked so new and strange to me, but looked so good for the health because of the purple color.

I reached my arm towards the alien, and brought them home.

I enjoyed them for several dishes such as slaw and Japanese pickles.

They are not alien any more.

They look even beautiful to me.

Kohlrabi might not look like alien to you, but  this  vegetable might look like it to you.

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Are you familiar with this green Godzilla looking vegetable?

This is a GOYA, a bitter melon.  Also we called it NIGA URI, which literally means bitter melon.

When I found this beautiful creature at the Japanese grocery store, I was so excited, screaming in my mind


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I could say this is so fresh.

Look at the each bump!  They look like sea anemone, and look as if they are moving now!

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Momordica charantia is the scientific name for GOYA, and is originally grown in the southern prefectures of Japan, Okinawa.

When I was a kid, I had never had GOYA, but now this vegetables are very popular in summer.

The most popular dish using GOYA is GOYA CHANPURU for sure.

CHANPURU is a dialect of OKINAWA prefecture, and means “scrambles”.

SO, GOYA CHANPURU is a dish, in which we scramble GOYA with other ingredients such as tofu.

Today I will introduce GOYA CHANPURU.

Here are the ingredients.

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  • 1/2 big goya or 1 small goya
  • 1/2 package of tofu (preferably firm)
  • 1/3lb of pork (thin slice)
  • (optional) Japanese leek
  • (optional) 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of white flour
  • 1 tablespoon of sake
  • soy sauce
  • brown sugar
  • bonito flakes

Before start cooking, marinate pork with a little bit of sake and tenderize it in a plastic bag and keep it in a fridge for about an hour or more.

Let’s cooking!

Cut  the goya vertically.

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They have seeds and white fiber in the middle.

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Use a metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and the white fiber.

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This will give you two long halves that are crescent-shaped.

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This goya was relatively big, so I only used half of them.

Slice the half by 1/4 inches.

If you have Japanese leek, slice them diagonally.

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Break up 1/2 package of tofu by hand roughly and put them on a sieve with paper towel, trying to drain water well.

That way they absorb flavor well .

Take out the pork in the fridge, and wipe the dripping with a paper towel.

Coat them with some flour, and take away excess flour.

Heat the pan with some oil, and cook the pork.

When they change the color, take them onto a plate.

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Using the same pan, cook drained tofu and saute them nice.

Take tofu from the pan and put aside.

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Now saute them all together.

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Saute goya and leek until they get tender.

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Put reserved pork and tofu into it, and saute together for a while.

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Now pour sake, and then,,,

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Put just a little bit of sugar (I usually use brown sugar for cooking) to balance out the bitterness and sweetness.


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Put a little bit of soy sauce, about 2 teaspoons of it, from the side of the pan, and stir them well.

If you want to use egg, you could add beaten egg towards the end.

Turn off the heat.

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Pour this bonito flakes generously!

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Smell so good!!

That’s it!!

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I think my husband will like it!


The other day, I made stuffed goya with chicken and vegetable mixture.



cooked in Dashi based soup, and,,,


I thickened dashi soup and poured onto them with peas and see weeds.


Also I used goya for toppings of rice.


I cooked with soy sauce and sugar and that became my husband’s lunch box.

OK, they look good, but where can we purchase such a unique vegetable?

I have an answer.


If you don’t have a Japanese grocery store in your neighborhood, you could purchase them on-line.


Suzuki Farm in Delaware offers various types of Japanese vegetables on-line!!


I have  another unique vegetable in my fridge now, so I will introduce it next time!

My husband came back home, and was enjoying GOYA CHANPURU.


I think my husband enjoyed it in a proper way.

By the way, I have never had GOYA CHANPURU at OKINAWA, I think we have to go and make sure mine is authentic, don’t you think?



My husband and I sometimes discuss what we would like to have for the last meal before we go to the heaven.

That is a tough question.

The more we get old, the more chances we have to encounter GOOD FOODS.

So many choices!!

However my mind is determined.


I would  love to have my mom’s food at the end of my life if it is possible.

As for my husband, he might choose TONKATSU (Panko crusted deep-fried pork) for the last day.

TONKATSU is definitely one of his favorite food.

The problem is,,,,,


I try to give him a healthy meal every day.

I know just one time deep-fried dish doesn’t harm him at all, but for the future I decided to make non-fried TONKATSU for the dinner as an experiment.



Besides I don’t need to get rid of oil,using oil solidifying agent!

Also I don’t need to worry about the smell for the next day, either!


This method doesn’t sacrifice the taste, and if I didn’t tell my husband, he might have not noticed.

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Here are the ingredients and instruction of non-fried TONKATSU.

  • 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick of pork fillet or loin
  • heaping 1/2 cup of PANKO ( Japanese style bread crumb)
  • 1 egg beaten ( I use just a half beaten egg actually, and I used the half for the next morning’s omelet with another egg.)
  • some flour
  • SAKE
  • salt and pepper
  1. Insert knife into the pork at several spots to cut a muscle of meat
  2. Tenderize the meat several hours before cooking. I used SHIO KOJI, but I know it is difficult to get it, so  you could use SAKE instead. In a plastic bag, put the meat and a little bit of SAKE and rub and store in the refrigerator for several hours.
  3. Roast Panko in a pan until it gets golden brown.

after several hours…..

4.Preheat the oven at 430-450 F.

5.Wipe off the excess dripping of the meat with paper towel, and if you use SHIO KOJI, wipe it off as well.  If you don’t use Shio Koji, sprinkle a little bit of salt and pepper (preferably white pepper).

6.Sprinkle the flour and take off excess flour, then dip into the egg, then coat the meat with browned Panko.  Again put the Panko crusted meat into the egg, and repeat Panko again for the extra crust.

7.Put the crusted meat on the rack of the baking sheet, and put it into the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

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When I make TONKATSU, my husband usually notices the dinner is his favorite because of the smell, but this time he didn’t notice and he was excited when he saw TONKATSU on the table.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell the most important thing for TONKATSU.

That is the special condiments, TONKATSU sauce and Japanese mustard!

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So sorry for the blurred photo.

I had to take in a hurry because a hungry boy was waiting for the dish in front of me.

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The yellow one is called KARASHI, Japanese mustard, and it has a tangy and spicy flavor.

We use this mustard not only for TONKATSU, but also for pork dumplings, ODEN ( hot pot ) and several dishes.

The brown sauce in the small cup is,,,

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called TONKATSU SAUCE, and it is like thickened Worcestershire sauce.

This sauce is MUST.

With this sauce Tonkatsu is completed.

Otherwise it is just crusted pork cutlet.  Actually if you put tomato sauce, it could be American or Italian dish.

SO before making this delicious non-fried TONKATSU, please go to an Asian grocery store, and get it!

I could make this healthy version of TONKATSU every day for my husband now.

He was so happy, and I was happy as well to see him happy!


I wonder if you choose this non-fried TONKATSU as one of the last day meal….