May 15, 2013
Paella is a good choice for a family meal. Ideally, the rice should absorb the flavor of all the ingredients without becoming sticky. The secret is “to stir-fry until the rice is hot and transparent,” says cooking expert Megumi Fujii. Also, the soup should be piping hot when it is poured into the frying pan. She recommends using a pan that is 26 cm in diameter. Sausage or crisply sautéed meat from chicken wings may be used in place of seafood. Serves four.
May 10, 2013
The fragrant aroma of garlic and parsley will surely tempt your appetite. Aglio olio e pepperoncino is a dish to simply enjoy piping hot spaghetti. It reminds chef Kuniaki Arima of his training days in Milan when he would whip it up in the kitchen. He cites three key elements for a successful dish: fresh ingredients, the right amount of salt, and timing. For a twist, shiso leaves can be substituted for parsley. Once you get the hang of cooking oil-based pasta, try serving it with boiled spring cabbage or chopped broccoli or adding whitebait or tiny “sakura-ebi” shrimp to the oil along with garlic. Serves one.
May 02, 2013
The bamboo shoot is a symbol of spring. Why not enjoy it piping hot at the height of the season? Freshness is the key, and those dug in early morning are especially prized. If you get the tender ones with a fresh green aroma, “You do not need to spend extra time or trouble on cooking,” says chef Kimio Tomura. Ideally, the bamboo shoot should have pale skin and be thickset with a yellowish tip. The nubs at the bottom should be small and pale. Serves six.
April 26, 2013
Among the many Japanese rice bowl dishes, “oyakodon,” literally “parent-and-child bowl” with chicken and egg, is one of the most popular. Yoko Munakata of the Better Home Association introduces a way to prepare it in a frying pan instead of a specialized pan. To retain the flavor and keep it from drying out, she dusts the chicken with “katakuriko” starch. Since the cooking time is short, timing is important. Also, rice for rice bowl dishes with a soupy sauce should be cooked slightly harder (180-200 cc water for 1 “go” [180cc] rice). Serves two.
April 17, 2013
Cooking expert Megumi Fujii has put together a box lunch for adults. She reduced the calories with a minimal use of oil and two vegetable side dishes. The main dish--Japanese Spanish mackerel teriyaki style--is partly prepared the night before. Salmon or marlin may also be used. Green vegetables, including common beans and “komatsuna” leaves, add color to the box lunch. Fujii recommends the vegetables be simply boiled with salt or mixed with soy sauce, pickled plum and sesame seeds. Serves one.
April 10, 2013
A specialty of Milan, Italy, is the golden breaded veal cutlet. You can make an equally tasty dish using the more accessible chicken breast. The question is how to enjoy plain meat with little fat.
April 03, 2013
Try this hearty Japanese staple made with freshly harvested new potatoes packed with vitamin C and pork for that additional oomph. The secret ingredient is yogurt. According to Yoko Munakata of the Better Home Association, "Yogurt is a fermented food ingredient just like miso. That is why you get that satisfying rich taste."
March 28, 2013
If you are having a casual party at home, “bossam,” a Korean dish where boiled pork is wrapped in leafy vegetables, is a good choice. “The key is to cook the pork in soup flavored with miso and herb vegetables and make it succulent,” says cooking expert Megumi Fujii. Choose a pot that barely holds the lump of meat so the water covers it properly. If the lump is long, cut in half so it fits in. Serves six.
March 20, 2013
The fish to serve on auspicious occasions has always been the sea bream in Japan. You can enjoy most parts of this fine fish, and chef Kimio Tomura introduces a dish where the head and bony parts are steamed in sake.
March 14, 2013
Gnocchi are dumpling-like pieces of pasta made of potato. The dish has a chewy texture and is a staple of home cuisine in northern Italy.
March 06, 2013
Protein-rich and low in calories, creamed chicken and mushrooms is a dish for all ages. Yoko Munakata of the Better Home Association introduces a light and tender recipe without using fresh cream. Since white chicken meat has less fat and can turn out dry, she immerses it in milk to add moisture. The dish goes well with butter-flavored rice, pasta or may be turned into a gratin. Serves four.
February 27, 2013
Crisp cutlets are delicious when freshly fried. Cooking expert Megumi Fujii shows us how to use tofu to make a soft-centered, low-calorie cutlet.
February 20, 2013
Egg is a great topping for steamed sushi during the coldest days of winter. Tamago's golden color brings smiles to diners' faces.
February 13, 2013
Plump oysters and crisp cabbage make for a gentle zuppa (soup in Italian) as we await the spring. Chef Kuniaki Arima believes small careful steps result in a fine dish. One such step is the preparation of the vegetables. Garlic is cooked slowly in butter, while onion is sauteed as if to remove the tang.
February 06, 2013
Daikon radish is now in season in Japan. Yoko Munakata of the Better Home Association came up with a garlic-flavored dish made by braising it with beef. The sweetness and texture differs depending on the part of the radish used. The sweet yet hard part below the leaves is better eaten fresh or grated. The sweet and soft middle part is good stewed or in soups. The tangier tip may be grated to accompany grilled fish and other dishes. Munakata introduces another dish using the peel.
January 30, 2013
Although it is losing ground to popular broccoli, the cauliflower is in season now and is more likely to retain vitamin C when heated. Cooking expert Megumi Fujii introduces a pasta dish with aglio (garlic) and olio (oil).
January 23, 2013
When it comes to sake production, nobody should scorn the bottom of the barrel.
January 16, 2013
Chef Kuniaki Arima's latest creation is a vegetable dish with a hint of Italy.
January 03, 2013
A dish of simmered chicken and root vegetables known as “chikuzen-ni” is the perfect choice for festive occasions. “A fail-proof way is to sautee and simmer in a frying pan,” says Yoko Munakata of the Better Home Association. Dashi stock is not required since the “umami” flavor of each ingredient creates a rich flavor as a whole. Some of the ingredients may be omitted for everyday meals but chicken, burdock and dried shiitake are musts. Serves four.
December 26, 2012
Hotpot is easy to prepare in large amounts, making it a useful option when entertaining guests in the busy year-end season.