Published by Fatma AlSayegh
Gohan (Boiled Rice)
- 1 cup Japanese short-grain rice, uncooked (available at most supermarkets and Asian food stores)
- 1¼ cups water
- Wash the rice and allow it to soak in a saucepan for about 30 minutes; let drain.
- Return the rice to the saucepan, add water, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer, cooking about 15 minutes more until water has been absorbed by the rice.
- Reduce the heat to medium and keep covered, allowing rice to steam for about 15 minutes.
- Serve in individual bowls with chopsticks (optional).
Serves 4. To eat rice, the rice bowl is held in the left hand, close to the mouth. The chopsticks are used to push the rice into the mouth as the bowl is slowly rotated in the hand.
- Small bamboo mat (makisu) for preparing sushi
- Dry seaweed sheets (nori)
- Bowl of water to which 1 Tablespoon vinegar has been added
- Wasabi (dried horseradish powder)
- Strips of avocado, cucumber, carrot, or other vegetable
- Cooked shrimp or crab meat (or frozen imitation crabmeat, thawed)
- Place a sheet of nori (dry seaweed), shiny side down, on the makisu (bamboo mat).
- Wet your right hand (or left hand, if you are left-handed) in the bowl of vinegar water, and use it to scoop up a ball of rice.
- Spread the rice out in an even layer on one side of the nori .
- Sprinkle a line of wasabi (horseradish powder) down the center of the rice.
- Arrange the strips of vegetables and seafood over the line of wasabi .
- Using the mat to support the nori , lift one end of the mat to gently roll the nori over the rice and other ingredients.
- Use gentle pressure to compact the rice and other ingredients so that they hold together.
- Continue rolling until a long cylinder is formed, completely encased in nori .
- Carefully slice through the nori and other ingredients to make the bites of sushi .
- Serve immediately so the nori will still be crispy.
Onigiri (Rice Ball)
- 2 cups cooked rice
- Pickled plums, cut into small, bite-sized pieces
- Cooked salmon, cut into small, bite-sized pieces
- Dry seaweed sheets (nori), cut into strips
- Cook rice according to directions on package. Allow to cool slightly.
- Have a bowl of lukewarm water handy.
- Dip clean hands into water, and then sprinkle salt on wet hands.
- Place a small mound of rice (about 2 Tablespoons) in the palm of your hand.
- Press a piece of pickled plum or cooked salmon into the mound of rice.
- Toss the mound back and forth between wet, salted hands to form a triangular mound, with the filling item in the center.
- Wrap mound in a dry seaweed strip.
Serves 10 to 12.
- 2 scallions
- ¼ pound tofu
- 1¼ cups dashi (Japanese fish stock) or 1 chicken bouillon cube, dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
- 2 Tablespoons red miso
- Wash the scallions and cut the green parts into 1½-inch lengths.
- Cut the tofu into small cubes and place the scallions and tofu in soup bowls.
- Boil the dashi (broth) in a saucepan.
- Put a little of the boiling liquid in a bowl and mix with the miso .
- Pour back into the saucepan, then ladle into the soup bowls.
- Serve immediately.
Makes one serving.
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup dashi or beef broth
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound beef tenderloin, sliced into thin strips
- 10 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces (both and green and white parts)
- 4 stalks celery, sliced on an angle, in ½-inch pieces
- 12 mushroom caps, sliced
- 8 ounces tofu or bean curd, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 can bamboo shoots (8½-ounce), drained
- 4 cups rice, cooked
- Mix soy sauce, sugar, and dashi or broth in a bowl and set aside.
- Arrange beef and vegetables on a large platter.
- Heat an electric skillet 300°F; or heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat.
- Add the meat and brown for 2 minutes.
- Add the vegetables and the tofu, including the bamboo shoots, placing each on its own part of the skillet.
- Add the sauce and cook mixture for 6 to 7 minutes, turning gently to prevent burning and keeping all ingredients separate from each other. Serve at once over rice.
Serves 4 to 6.
- ½ cup soy sauce (preferably Japanese-style)
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh gingerroot, grated
- 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1½ to 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into small serving pieces
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Combine soy sauce, sugar, gingerroot, and sesame seeds in a large bowl.
- Place chicken in a baking dish and pour sauce over it.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Turn chicken about every 15 minutes, coating with sauce in the process.
Yaki-Soba (Fried Noodles)
- 2 to 3 medium-size shiitake mushrooms
- 8 ounces fresh ramen or 6 ounces dried noodles
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small to medium-size onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons gingerroot, minced
- 2 cups green cabbage leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 to 3 dashes black pepper
- Salt, to taste
- Soak mushrooms in a bowl of warm water for 30 minutes.
- Dry mushrooms. Cut off stems and discard. Slice mushrooms thinly.
- Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add ramen . Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until tender yet firm.
- Rinse ramen ; drain well. Toss with 1 Tablespoon of the oil; set aside.
- Heat remaining 2 Tablespoons oil in a wok or large skillet over medium to high heat.
- Add onion and gingerroot and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
- Add cabbage and mushrooms; stir-fry 3 minutes. Sprinkle with mirin . Stir-fry 1 minute more.
- Add ramen ; toss until hot. Season with soy sauce, pepper, onions, and salt.
- Shrimp, ham, chicken, or other tempura can be added.
Ozoni (New Year’s Soup)
- 4 mochi (rice cakes)
- 2 boned chicken breasts, trimmed and sliced into thin strips
- 2 thin leeks, sliced very finely on the diagonal
- 4 cups dashi
- 3 Tablespoons white miso
- Broil the mochi cakes under a hot broiler on all sides until the cake is crisp and brown, but not burnt.
- Remove from heat, piece with a fork, and set aside.
- Dip the chicken slices into salted boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain.
- Bring the dashi to a boil in a saucepan, then add chicken pieces and simmer until tender.
- Ladle ½ cup of dashi into the miso and whisk until blended.
- Pour back into the soup and bring just to a boil, then remove from heat.
- Place a cooked rice cake in the bottom of each of 4 bowls, then ladle the soup over them, distributing the chicken pieces evenly. Top with slivered leek.
- Place tops on the bowls, and serve immediately.
Serves 6 to 8.
Sweet Peanut Mochi (Rice Cakes)
Rice cakes are a popular dessert for both New Year’s and Children’s Day. These may sometimes be purchased at Asian markets or specialty grocery stores.
- 1 cup sweet glutinous-rice flour ( mochiko )
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- ⅓ cup cocktail peanuts, unsalted
- ½ cup water
- Potato starch or cornstarch
- Orange blossom honey, rice syrup, or molasses
- ½ cup roasted soybean powder ( kinako ) (optional)
- In a medium-size bowl, combine rice flour, salt, and brown sugar.
- In a blender or food processor, grind peanuts until they form a paste.
- Add the water; process until blended, scraping sides of container once or twice.
- Pour peanut mixture into rice-flour mixture. Stir to form a stiff dough.
- Lightly knead dough about 30 seconds.
- In a wok or deep pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
- Spread a piece of dampened and unbleached muslin or several layers of cheesecloth over a steamer tray.
- Spread the dough evenly over the cloth, about ½-inch thick.
- Place the steamer into the pot, over the boiling water. Cover and steam for 20 minutes.
- Remove tray from pan and lift out cloth with dough.
- Pull away cloth, dropping dough onto a flat surface dusted with potato starch or cornstarch. Cool 2 minutes.
- Knead 1 minute or until smooth and shiny.
- Roll dough into an 8-inch long sausage roll and cut into 8 equal pieces.
- Dust lightly with cornstarch to prevent sticking. Form into smooth, round shapes.
- Drizzle rice cakes with honey and roll in soybean powder.
- Serve on small plates with cups of hot green tea.
Yakitori (Grilled Chicken on Skewers)
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 2 small leeks
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 Tablespoons soy sauce
- Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes prior to using
- Cut chicken into bite-sized chunks.
- Wash leeks, remove the roots, and cut into ¾-inch lengths.
- Slide the chicken and leeks onto bamboo skewers.
- In a bowl, mix the sugar and soy sauce together.
- Spoon a little of this mixture over the chicken skewers.
- Broil for 5 minutes.
- Turn the skewers over, spoon on some more sauce, and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Serve hot and eat with your fingers.
Ramen (Noodle Soup)
- 1 package ramen noodle soup
- Vegetables to add to soup (choose up to four, such as chopped celery)
- 1 carrot, cut into very thin sticks, about 2 inches long
- 1 scallion, chopped
- Daikon radish, cut into very thin sticks, about 2 inches long
- 1 mushroom, sliced thin
- 3 snow pea pods
- 1 Chinese cabbage leaf, shredded
- Make soup according to package directions.
- Place up to four of the add-ins into a large soup bowl.
- Carefully pour hot broth and noodles over vegetables.
- Use chopsticks to eat the vegetables and noodles, and drink the broth from the bowl.
- 4 salmon steaks (8-ounces each)
- ¼ cup white soybean paste ( shiromiso )
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons sake (or rice wine vinegar)
- 2 green onions, thinly-sliced
- Place salmon under broiler for 5 minutes each side.
- Mix soybean paste, sugar, soy sauce, and sake (or vinegar) together in a bowl.
- Spread mixture on salmon steaks and broil another 2 minutes per side.
- Garnish with the sliced green onions and serve immediately.