Eternal Theme-how to cook easy-peeling eggs

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I often use a boiled egg for my husband’s OBENTO unintentionally.  When I have still some space in the box and don’t have anything I could put,  I reach  a carton box of eggs in the fridge and take one egg and boil it.  Last resort.

How to cook eggs perfectly for easy-peeling is often being asked in cooking magazines, and , like many people, I have tried various ways, seeking the BEST way.

Here is my way.   I put eggs in a pot with water, and start boiling it.  After it boils fully, I turn off the heat and put a lid on.  Wait 8-10 minutes.  Then save eggs from the water and put them in the cold water.   This is the way I decided to do ten years ago.

When I went back to Japan last year, I found an interesting tool in the grocery store.

 

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The product name is TSU RU RI N, which is the sound we use when something is slippery or smooth.  For example, you could use it  for the slippery floor or  you could use it for beautiful smooth skin. Oh, that makes me remind that we express a beautiful skin as egg-like-skin!  Do you have the same expression here?

Returning to the topic, how to peel eggs perfect is still my forever theme, even though I have my  way.  So I purchased this product.

 

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This is a simple tool.  It has a hidden sting underneath.  I put an egg on this product and push it under.

 

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Then the sting makes a tiny hole on the egg-shell.  That tiny hole helps making space between shell and inner membrane.  If you are interested in this product, go and get  it in Japan.  Kidding.  You don’t need to go to Japan.  Just simply use a pin.

 

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It works well, but sometimes it fails. Very close, but Still not perfect for me.

Then I decided to do a new method.  I am not going to boil eggs this time.  I will steam them!

 

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I used to cook white rice in Le Creuset, but recently I got a new pot, DONABE.   Donabe is a story type of clay cookware from Japan.  This pot has a long history, but recently people rediscover its wonderful utility.  One  day  my lovely friends gave me  a recipe book of Donabe witten by Naoko Takei Moore and Kyle Connaughton.  That book fascinated me a lot!  I just enjoyed seeing all the beautiful photos and interesting recipes!  I thought Donabe is only for a hot-pot, but NOT!  As soon as I found out various usage of  Donabe, I asked my husband to get one for me.  Since he could get benefits from that, he gladly ordered it for me!  Now I switched from Le Cruiset to DONABE for rice cooking.

 

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This pot has an inner lid for keeping contents from boiling over and providing extra heat retention.    On the inner lid, we could put eggs just taken from fridge.

 

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Make sure not cover the holes of the lid.  Then just cook rice.  As rice is being cooked, eggs are also being cooked.

 

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Smell so good!

It cooks rice always perfect!

How about the EGGS?

I thought they might have some cracks on the shell, but they didn’t.  Right after steaming time for the rice, I saved the eggs and put them in  cold water.  After a while, I peeled them.

TSU RU RI N!!!!

This is the best TSU RU RI N!

The egg was hard-boiled(hard-steamed?), but it was so easy to peel.  This can end my challenge to seek the best way to cook eggs.

 

Then a few days later,,,,

 

 

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Oops,,,I did it again.

I reached the carton box again.  However I didn’t put an egg in the water.  I put the egg on the inner lid.

My husband must enjoy this perfect steamed-egg.

 

 

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versatile TSUKUNE (chicken patty) base 

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When I showed this picture to my friend, she said ” it will never happen to me“.

This is OBENTO for my husband.   I have been living in the US for more than 15 years now, and I know lunch styles are different for each country.  For us Japanese, as well as breakfast, lunch is also important, and we have a wonderful OBENTO culture.

Recently the word OBENTO ,or lunch box is often appearing in food magazines, and they suggest healthy and delicious lunch box menus.

My friend who was very surprised to see my OBENTO for my husband told me she could do PB & J, but she wouldn’t wake up early in the morning and prepare that kind of OBENTO.

I know sometimes it is hard to wake up early, but OBENTO culture is in my DNA! This is THE LUNCH for me. This is THE LUNCH mothers and wives would like to prepare for someone they love.  We have a special word for OBENTO made by wives.  That is AISAI BENTO, literally means BENTO made by wives with love.

Today I would like to  introduce one of the nice items not only for dinner but also for AISAI BENTO!

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That is TSUKUNE , chicken patty.

If you have been to Japan, you many know what TUSKUNE is.

Tsukune is made of grounded chicken and ,in some cases , vegetables such as green onion.

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(they are yakitori)

Wikipedia says tsukune is a Japanese chicken meatball most often cooked yakitori style.

The last two in the photo were tsukune.

My tsukune base is very versatile.  Once you make the base, you could make meatball with sauce, or put that in the hot-pot, or like I did, fill them into vegetables and pan fry them.

Besides, they freeze very well, so you can stock them in the freezer!  How nice!

Even my friend could prepare OBENTO then!

I sometimes make grounded chicken at home using standing mixer attachment, but you could use store-bought grounded chicken or turkey.

Depending your favor, you could use chicken breast or thigh.  When I ground at home, I put green onions and ginger at the same time, that way they distribute well into the meat.

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You may be able to use a food processor.  I used to do that.  Just chop meat by cube, and put all the ingredients you want.  Be careful not to run the machine too much.  We don’t want paste here.  We need some meat texture left.

Either home-made or store-bought, now  you have grounded poultry in your hand.  Then I will show one example of tsukune base.

Here are the ingredients example.

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  • 1 pound of ground poultry
  • 2-3 tablespoons of green onions, finely chopped
  • 2-3 teaspoons of grounded ginger or only liquid
  • 2 teaspoons of shiokoji (if you have)
  • 2 teaspoons of grounded sesame (optional)
  • some wild mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 medium size cooked carrot, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 large size egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons of potato starch (or any other starch)
  • 2 teaspoons of sake

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Remember, you can use any vegetable as far as you chop them fine, and they are easy to be heated through. ( if not, cook them beforehand.)

Egg is kind of MUST ingredient for tsukune to have soft texture, but you can adjust other condiments.  For example, when I bake tsukune with sauce, I don’t put any salt.

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When I prepare, I make two kinds of tsukune base.  One has lots of enoki mushrooms, which give tsukune crisp texture.  I use this for chicken patty for my husband’s obento.

 

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I shaped them and put sesame on both sides and sautéed them with shoyu based sweet sauce.

 

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The other  base in the bowl was for hot-pot.  I put lots of vegetables along with those tsukune ball, so I didn’t put any vegetable other than green onions and ginger.

 

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For this obento, I put tsukune base inside baby bell peppers.

 

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Half the peppers and fill tuskune base inside the peppers covered with potato starch.  Then pan-fried them, first meat side down, and then flip them and cover the pan with lid and heat them through.You can eat them with soy sauce and some citrus if you want.

 

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Would you like to make this kind of OBENTO for someone you love?

Set the alarm at 5!

I heard someone says NO WAY!!

 

 

 

EHOMAKI PART 1 -tamago yaki-

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February the 3rd is SETSUBUN, a very traditional Japanese event.

SETSUBUN literally means ”division of seasons“.  It is used to mark the end of winter according to the old lunar calendar, which we don’t use any more.

However, the most of our seasonal events follow the lunar calendar, and we keep SETSUBUN as well.

On this day, we throw soy beans from inside of our houses to the outside, saying ONI HA SOTO, FUKU HA UCHI, evil out and happiness in.  Usually ogres are the symbol of evil, so one of family members has to play this role, putting a mask of an ogre on the face, and be a target of throwing beans.  Of course, usually fathers do this role. No question.

We throw beans at night.  On the same night for the dinner, we have EHOMAKI, a big and long sushi roll.   We shouldn’t cut the roll.  While eating, we wish for our health and happiness, and should eat it at once without breath.  We hold this sushi by both hands, and  eat it as if it is a burrito.

When we eat this roll, we have to face toward the year’s lucky direction.  This year the direction was South-southeast.

 

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Eating a long sushi roll on SETSUBUN has been a KANSAI (west side of Japan) area’s long tradition, but  Seven-Eleven had started this as sales promotion in 90s, then it spread quickly because Japan is a small country!

That’s why I didn’t have EHOMAKI when I was a kid.  I lived in Tokyo.  The first time I had EHOMAKI was when I was here in the US!

Now because I am away from my home country, I am trying to be a JAPANESE harder, so I have to make EHOMAKI like many Japanese people do!

 

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I would like to show how to make EHOMAKI, but before that, I would write about TAMAGO YAKI, one of the ingredients of EHOMAKI.

 

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TAMAGO YAKI is not only the stuffing for sushi roll, but this could be a dish!

We eat TAMAGO YAKI for breakfast, put it in obento, and also many IZAKAYA style restaurants offer this as appetizer.

TAMAGO YAKI is very simple and very Japanese, and everyone loves it.

Each house has its flavor, a little sweet or a little salty.

My mom makes it a little salty, so I like that way, but we could change depending on situation.

Here is how to cook TAMAGO YAKI.

Ingredients are 3 eggs, shirodashi (you could use salt instead), and oilThat’s it!

However we need special equipments.  Makisu, bamboo mat, and a special pan for TAMAGO YAKI.

 

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You could use a regular pan, but there is a pan only for TAMAGO YAKI in Japan.

I believe every mother has one in her kitchen.

My mom sent this pan for me 10 years ago, and this is not the popular style.

This is an easy TAMAGO YAKI maker, and it curves for us to roll eggs easily from one side to the other.

You have no idea what I am talking about, so I will show you.

 

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By the way, when you cook eggs, do you take the chalaza off?

In Japan, I think many people take this, and I had been seeing my mom always taking that, so I thought it was so crucial.  When I took a biology class here in the US, I learned this is not harmful at all.

I get accustomed to not taking this, but when I want eggs to finish smooth, I take it off.

Then beat the eggs.  I heard that when you make omelet, we need to beat at least 80times with a fork.  I do that for omelet.

 

You can use salt for eggs, but I used shirodashi because it has UMAMI flavor along with saltiness.

Add a just half teaspoon of shirodashi or salt.

Heat a tamago yaki pan or a regular small sized pan well with a little oil, pour about 1/4 of beaten egg to the pan, then immediately distribute it evenly.

When the most of the surface looks cooked,

 

roll the egg towards the other side with a spatula.  Roll it until it hit the other end.

 

If necessary, wipe the pan with a paper towel with a little oil again, then pour another 1/4 of egg to the pan.

Here is a key. Try to pour the egg under the cooked part.  That way it attaches the cooked part.

Then like the first roll, distribute the egg evenly, and when it looks cooked, roll it towards the other side, in my case, towards the right.

 

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Then repeat the same  another one or two time.

If you prefer sweet TAMAGO YAKI using some sweet agent, it easily gets burned, so do quickly.

 

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This is going to be my 4th time roll.

When you finish rolling, put the cooked egg onto a bamboo mat.

 

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Here the egg is a kind of cylindrical shape.   You can eat as it is, just cutting into several pieces horizontally.

I want this egg to be in my long sushi roll, so I want to cut it vertically.

For that, I want it to have angles.

That’s why I need this bamboo mat!

When you make sushi rolls with this mat, this helps sushi to be round, but also this could help egg to be angular.

 

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While the egg is still warm, make angles with this mat and leave it.

 

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That’s it!

When it gets cool, I cut this vertically into 6 pieces.

 

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I like the smell of TAMAGO YAKI.

 

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You could put this in obento like this.

 

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Did you get how to make TAMAGO YAKI  now?

Now I could move on to the main topic, EHOMAKI!

That will be in my next article!

I am so tempted to eat this TAMAGO YAKI, though……

 

 

Curry flavored pork sautee

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When I prepare obento (lunch box) for my husband, I try it to be not boring in both appearncewise and tastewise.  I wake up at 5 am every day, and the first thing I do  after washing my face is to stand and think in the middle of my  kitchen.

What can be the main dish?  Then, what color can I have?  Flavor?  Japanese or other?

Within 30 seconds, I start moving as if I am somebody who is  challenging in the iron chef.

I open the window even though the outside is 32F.  I have to wake me up REALLY.

After 30minutes or so, the best part is coming.

Put them together in  this small box.

How can I put everything neat for it to look delicious?

 

Today I reached thinly sliced pork butt.  I decided to go to curry flavor, but I wanted it to be something Japanese, so I used curry powder and soy sauce together.  They match so well.

 

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Here is what I did.

  1. Massage the pork with a little bit of shiokoji and leave it while preparing other dishes.
  2. Wipe off shiokoji from the pork, and cover the pork with flour.
  3. Heat the pan with a little oil, and sautee the pork.  Set aside.
  4. Sautee  vegetables, in my case purple onion, green pees, orange pepper, red pepper, and thinly sliced butternut squash.
  5. Return the pork and add 1 teaspoon of curry powder.
  6. While sauteing, prepare the mixture of soy sauce, sake, sugar, and mirin.  All of them are 1 teaspoon respectively.
  7. Add the mixture at once, and sautee a little more.

That’ s it!

Adding soy sauce and mirin makes this dish Japanese.

I like to use curry powder in various dishes, but when I use it for Japanese dishes, I use S&B brand’s.

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I used this for Rintaro’s curry.

I always have MY curry powder in stock, but they have more like Indian.

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So I decide which I should use , depending on a dish type.

By the way,  you have to cool it completely like I do in the photo before putting it into a box.

Otherwise the warm temperature makes bacteria happy. We don’t want it to be happy!

Besides the pork, for this obento, I prepared egg.  I try not to rely on egg dish every day, and when I have to rely on, I don’t make egg dish for the breakfast.  Today I didn’t use an egg for breakfast, so I happily relied on it!

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Just doing omelet is not fun at all, and more over, this GURU GURU TAMAGO (I named  it.  Guru guru means “round and round” in Japanese, and tamago means egg.) only requires one egg!

In a heated pan with a little oil, just pour  egg beaten with a little salt (in my case I use a little SHIRODASHI, concentrate dashi stock with saltiness).

Actually I put one more thing besides shirodashi to enhance the yellow color and for his health.  That is TURMERIC!

Especially when I use egg white only, I put turmeric.  When you add turmeric, don’t add directly to an egg because it gets crumbled in the egg.  Mix a little bit of turmeric with a little amount of egg or water, and then pour it into the left of the beaten egg.

Also be careful of the amount of turmeric.  Turmeric has a bitter taste, so just a pinch would be good.

After pouring the egg, swirl the pan for letting the egg distribute evenly.  Before it is cooked through, put cooked spinach (mine was freeze dry) on the egg, and set it aside as it is on a plate.  While it is warm, just roll it!

That’s it!

Then after cooling down, you can cut it into three to four.

I like this appearance, so I do often, but every time I change ingredients.

Sometimes dried shrimp, sometimes seaweed, sometimes sesame seeds, sometimes green onions, and so on.

 

On the other side of this obento, I put,,,

 

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snow peas with sesame seasoning.

I have already introduced how to make GOMA AE with burdock.

We could use the same sauce here with cooked snow peas.

He would love all these dishes, but  the most exciting part of this obento is

 

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UMEBOSHI, plum pickle!!

We call this type of obento as HINOMARU BENTO.

We call our national flag as HINOMARU.  “HI”is sun, “no”is of, and “MARU” is circle.

As you may know, our flag is like umeboshi in the middle of white rice!

Don’t you think so?

Mine has a line of sesame seeds, but this is HINOMARU!

This umeboshi is so plump that I don’t know if I could put lid on tight.

It is obvious that umeboshi gets smashed…..
Anyway, I hope my husband enjoys this obento!

 

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By the way, I always use this two balls (to be precise, they are an ogre and a boy) when I cook white rice in a pot.

If you would like to learn again how to cook white rice, please click here!

We are now in February, and an ogre is coming to you.

I will talk about that in the next article!

See you soon!

 

 

 

everyday obento

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I have been preparing my husband’s OBENTO for more than ten years.  Before that, I was working as well, so I didn’t prepare, and even didn’t think and worry what he would have for his lunch.

Now I am so worried if I couldn’t prepare.

I am a full time house wife, and to take care of my husband and my furry kids is my job.  After these ten years as a housewife, I have been improving. (Lucky my husband!  or the previous me was just not good.)

Some people think “housewife is not a job!”.

I would like to say loud  HOUSEWIFE IS NOT A JUST HOUSEWIFE.  IT IS A FULL TIME JOB!!!

As far as I am at home, I am at my working place, so I couldn’t feel relaxed.  Poor me..

However I love my job.   That’s why I am keep working!  I couldn’t earn money, but I could get reward by words.

As I said in my previous article about OBENTO, obento is very special for me.

Even though I couldn’t put anything special, I try to make it, thinking the balance of the nutrition, and more over thinking and wishing that my husband would enjoy it.

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I woke up this morning at 5 AM as always, and stood in the kitchen and thought.

Well, what could I put today in my or his ( ? ) obento?

 

Today I would like to introduce a very easy side dish, using celery.

Also I will introduce a Japanese flavored boiled egg.

I always have those two in my fridge, so they are my last resort!

 

Before showing the instruction, I want to mention why I cook celery like this.

Have you ever heard of FUKI, a butterbur?

I didn’t know fuki in English, so I had to look up in the dictionary.

I don’t know if you have fuki here, but at least you have the word.

FUKI is a very fibrous vegetable, and also we have to pre-treat  in a certain way otherwise it remains harshness.

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(the photo borrowed from here)

Fuki is not common vegetable even in Japan, that’s why when I have fuki at my parents’ house, I feel like I am eating something very special.

Usually kids don’t like it or wouldn’t eat because of its humble appearance.

There are tons of dishes cooked by my mom which I strongly remember  and feel nostalgic about, but I don’t remember fuki at all from my childhood memory.  Probably I had fuki for the first time when I was over 30.

Then its taste reminded me of one vegetable, which was celery.

That’s why I come up with this dish.

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Very simple.

I prepare dashi stock and put some soy sauce and sake.

Cut celery, and add into the dashi soup.

If you have bonito flakes, finish it with the flakes.

THTA’S IT!

( in my case, I used one stalk of celery root, and 3/4cup of dashi stock with 2 teaspoons of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of sake.)

It might be slightly blunt for you, in that case, you could add more soy sauce or even Japanese seven spices, shichimi, to give it a punch.

 

On the other side of the obento,  I have cooked egg.

Egg is very popular ingredient for obento because every house has eggs in the fridge and it is easy to cook.  In the busy morning, it is necessary.

I could put just boiled egg with some salt and spice, but this morning I did cook a boiled egg for it to be more delicious.

 

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Prepare a boiled egg.  Cut in half, then put some katakuri ko, potato starch, on the cut side.

If you don’t have katakuriko, you could use flour instead.

In a small bowl, prepare approximately 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of unseasoned rice vinegar.

 

Heat a pan with some oil, and put egg, cut side down.

After a minute or so, add the prepared sauce in the pan.

Be careful!  It splashes sometime.

Cook for just a 10-20seconds, and,,,,

THAT’S IT!

This is very good for obento because it has strong flavor. (we usually make foods a little salty or rich for obento to satisfy the appetite even they are small portion.)

 

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I hope my husband enjoys today’s obento.

 

Then I got a message from my husband in the middle of the day.

GOCHISO SAMA DESHITA! (It was delicious!)

MY REWARDS!!

Anniversary OBENTO!

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We celebrated our 19th anniversary a few weeks ago.

Time flies so fast, and I could still remember our first date like yesterday.

My husband and I were in the same tennis club, and our first date was at the tennis court.

We decided to enter for the tennis tournament as mix doubles.

Everybody in the club was excited, thinking who they should ask as a partner.

Luckily my husband asked me to go to the tournament as a partner! BUT,,,there was one problem.

This is very Japanese, but girls were supposed to prepare OBENTO for boys.

It was like MUST.

ME?

NO!!!

I was living with my parents at that time and my mom was a really good cook, so I had never prepared meals for my family…

SHAME ON ME!!!!

So, when I was asked from my future husband to entry the tournament, I warned that I couldn’t and wouldn’t prepare OBENTO.

I didn’t have confidence to make a good OBENTO.

On the day, even though I warned I was not going to bring OBENTO, he expected I brought OBENTO.

He was so shocked when he found out there was no OBENTO, and we went to Seven Eleven to get pastries and rice balls….

However still he chose me as his wife, so I have to thank him!

Now I prepare OBENTO almost every day with strong confidence that I could please him with my food.

Even though I have to wake up early at 5AM, I really enjoy and love preparing OBENTO for him.

What should I make for him on our 19th anniversary?

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When I make OBENTO on his birthdays or anniversaries, I decorate with some surprise or put number or alphabet made from carrot on rice, but for this time, I wanted to  make really ordinary OBENTO, remembering ordinary but happy  each day of our life.

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I didn’t want please him with letters for this time, instead I wanted him to feel relaxed with my comfort OBENTO.

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Very Japanese.

I put grilled sword fish marinated with UMEBOSHI (I will show you how to prepare at the end), KABOCHA NO NIMONO, sautéed Japanese green pepper, sautéed snap peas with KATSUOBUSHI (bonito flakes), and ,,,

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TAMAGOYAKI (Japanese style omelet)!  The black thing in the egg is HIJIKI, a kind of sea weeds.

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When I close the lid of the box, I always wish he loves it.

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I wish he loves this ordinary OBENTO.\

YES!  He enjoyed it!

He expected the numbers “19” on the rice, but he couldn’t find them.

He said It surprised him.

I explained my intention after his coming back home, and he told me that he could feel my heart.

That’s why I love to make OBENTO.

In such a  small space, I could put all my heart, and he could feel it!

The best thing is I couldn’t see him eating.

I have to use my imagination, hoping he is enjoying it.

That was an ordinary OBENTO, but very special OBENTO.

Thank you very much for praising me I am a good cook for 19 years with saying GOCHISOSAMA!

Thanks to you, now I have a strong confidence in me.

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HAPPY OUR 19TH ANNIVERSAY!!!


UMEBOSHI flavored sword fish

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Since the OBENTO box is small, I purchased a small slice of sword fish.

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small but a little bit thick, so,,,,

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I butterflied into two pieces.

I only use one piece for OBENTO.

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Prepare about 1 Tb spoon of soy sauce and sake in a bowl, then dip the fish.

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If you have time, you could do it overnight.

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This is UMEBOSHI.

UMEBOSHI is a really sour pickle, and I think this flavor is similar to rhubarb.

Don’t you think?

Of course, UMEBOSHI is a pickle, so it is sour and salty.

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Then prepare the finishing sauce.

1Tb spoon of soy sauce, 1Tb spoon of SAKE, 1Tb spoon of MIRIN, and 1/2 Tb spoon of sugar.

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UMEBOSHI has a pit in the middle, so take it off, and chop the pulp, then,,,

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add into the prepared sauce.

UMEBOSHI has very refreshing flavor, so it really goes well with  fish.

It kills the smell of fish!  Besides it has antibacterial effect, so it is good for OBENTO.

After a while, take the fish from the soy sauce and sake mixture, and wipe it with paper towel.

Then heat the pan with medium flame, and grill the fish 2 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the fish).

Then pour the prepared UMEBOSHI mixture into the pan and saute until most of the sauce evaporates.

THAT’S IT!

YAKITORI & Japanese seven spices

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Japanese food is getting popular now , so you might have known or even had YAKITORI already.

For some of you who don’t know what Yakitori is,  Yakitori is a Japanese style  skewered chicken (and sometimes vegetables).

After it is grilled, it is dressed in a traditional Japanese sauce which base is soy sauce, or salt.

If you have a chance to visit Japan, you could enjoy street YAKITORI  at the stands with SALARYMEN in suits after 5,6, 7 or 8 o’clock.

In Japan the workers sometimes don’t go back home straight, and hang out with colleagues, grumbling about their companies, drinking and eating Yakitori.

That is their relaxing moment.

I am not MEAT person, but I miss YAKITORI in Japan. Maybe I miss the smoke and its grilling smell.

They use SUMI (charcoal), so they are so flavorful like BBQ here.

TEMPTING!

So I can understand the men end up eating Yakitori at stands even though their families are waiting.

Sadly I don’t have a yard, so I can’t do grilling Yakitori with charcoal, but I do sometimes grill it in the oven.

Today I will introduce my in-home Yakitori.

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Here are ingredients you might want to prepare.

  • 1 deboned chicken thigh (please don’t replace with chicken breast)

In Japan we use chicken thigh with skin.  It is up to you.

  • assorted vegetables such as thick green onion, regular onion, green or red pepper, or shishito pepper.)

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(for sauce) (for 3-4 skewers)

  • 1 tablespoon of mirin
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • shichimi – Japanese seven spices

First soak the bamboo skewers in the water at least for 3-4 hours not to burn them during the grilling.

Cut the chicken thigh by bite-sizes, and prepare any vegetables by bite-sizes as well.

Then mix the ingredients of sauce together, and set aside.

If you want to have THICK sauce, you could cook them for a while until it gets thickened, but I use it as it is.

Skewer the meat and vegetables alternately.

OK, I confess.

Today I didn’t have enough time since my husband was coming back straight home (there are no Yakitori stands here!), I cheated.

I pan-fried a little before grilling to cook through fast, BUT please grill them from the beginning.

That is the right way.

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Now they are on a sheet pan. (It is better to use oven rack!  Again I cheated..)

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Then put the prepared sauce on skewered chicken and vegetables.

If you live in Japan,  every kitchen has a tiny oven for grilling fish, so we could use that oven for Yakitori.

We don’t have that convenient thing here, so put and broil them in the regular oven with the oven door ajar.

YES, the door needs to be ajar.

Here are the reasons of that.

1) Keeping the door ajar helps vent steam, so the oven environment stays dry and hot .

2) Keeping the door ajar  prevents an excessive heat up of the oven.  If the door isn’t ajar, the food gets burned before being cooked completely.

However there is another opinion.  Some people say if we open the oven door during broiling, the smoke comes out of the oven and we will  be in trouble ( I hate that loud siren noise for my four legs kids.)

When I broil skewers from the beginning in the oven, I put some water in the pan sheet under the rack, so even if the fat drops from the meat, it doesn’t cause smoke.

Today I cheated and pan-fried beforehand as I told you before, so I don’t need to worry about uncooked meat.

All I want is just some smoky flavor, so I keep the oven door ajar, and  I put the sauce every 1-2 minutes and finish grilling them.

THEN,

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TA-DA!

Can you see the red powder on them?

That’s SHI CHI ME!

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Literally it means SEVEN FLAVORS.

Like Chinese five spices, it is Japanese seven spices.

A typical blend may contain, coarsely ground red chili pepper, ground sansho (This spice is so tasty.  If you have had UNA JYU (Eel with rice), you may know this flavor.), roasted orange peel, black sesame seed, white sesame seed, hemp seed, ground ginger, and aonori (a kind of seaweed).

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My husband will get excited again when he sees Yakitori on the table, and won’t regret heading straight from the work to this table!

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By the way, I sometimes prepare Yakitori in OBENTO,

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to prevent him from stopping at stands beforehand.

Enjoy Yakitori at home!