Takuan is pickled radish commonly seen garnishing Japanese meals. It’s the bright yellow, crunchy, sweet, salty tsukemono (Japanese pickle) that is accompanying most bento, in sushi rolls, or even just on top of plain freshly cooked rice.
The bright yellow color is traditionally from turmeric, but commercially produced takuan gets its neon yellow color from food coloring.
I usually just buy takuan from Tokyo Central or Mitsuwa but I had been super busy lately that I just didn’t want to drive the 20 miles or so to get one.
I happen to have all the ingredients for a quick daikon pickle so I decided that I’ll make it one day after work and let it sit in the fridge, picking out a piece whenever I want to eat some.
The first time I tried to make takuan, I dried the daikon first before pickling but that was too much work and didn’t turn out quite as I wanted it to.
This recipe just involves salting the sliced daikon, rinsing and squeezing it of excess water, then placing it in a jar with the sugar/vinegar mixture. That’s it!!!
A note though that if you let this sit for a couple of days or so, it tastes so much better! I try to do double or triple the recipe so that I’ll have enough to last that long! 😊
Call it whatever you want, schnitzel, milanesa, katsu…I always go with what I called it growing up-TONKATSU. And it has to be pork chops! Chicken is only acceptable to me when I have no other choice. 😊
Served with very thinly sliced cabbage, freshly cooked white, sticky rice, and of course the essential Bulldog sauce (no, it is NOT made with bulldogs!), I am a happy camper! I can really eat this everyday and I won’t get tired if it!
My mom, being Japanese, used to make this when we were little. It is definitely a comfort food for me and my family. My son actually loves this as much as do so even if I try to avoid serving fried dishes, I do oblige and make this once in a while. I always top the cabbage with Kewpie mayo too!
Of course, this is also the perfect “milanesa” to top my Peruvian Tallarin Verde. But more about that in my later article!
You’ll need pork chops. As much as you like!
I marinate them in lemon juice and fish sauce if I have time. Equal parts of lemon juice and fish sauce will make your pork chops taste really good, not fishy at all! Leave them in your refrigerator, covered, for a few hours, ideally overnight.
If you’re pressed for time, just salt and pepper them. It’ll taste good too!
You’ll also need flour. I start with about a cup of flour in a plate, and mix in a pinch or two of salt and pepper. This will be your first coating on the pork chops.
Next, you’ll need an egg or two mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of water. Beat that well in another plate. This is your second coating.
Panko. Japanese bread crumbs. This will turn your pork chops into Tonkatsu.
Grab a bag, open, and pour some into a clean plate. A third plate. One for the flour mixture, one for the egg mixture, and one for the panko. Yup, this is your final coating before frying. 😋
Step 1: place a pork chop into the flour mixture, lightly press down on it to coat with flour,
Step 2: Turn over and coat the other side well.
Step 3: transfer to the egg mixture, coat well.
Step 4: turn pork over to coat the other side too.
Step 5: move on to the panko, coating one side thoroughly,
Step 6: turn over and press pork onto the panko to coat the other side. Repeat with remaining pork chops.
Step 7: heat a good amount of canola oil in a fry pan over medium heat.
Step 8: When hot, slide a couple of pork chops in. Let cook for about 3-4 minutes.
Step 9: Carefully turn over to cook the other side. I find this is easiest done with a metal kitchen tong.
Step 10: cook the other side until golden snd meat is cooked through.
Step 11: carefully remove tonkatsu onto paper towel lined plate or wire rack.
Step 12: thinly slice a small head of cabbage. Rinse in cool water snd drain thoroughly.
Step 13: arrange tonkatsu, cabbage, and rice on s plate.
Step 14: serve with Bulldog sauce snd Kewpie mayo! Enjoy!!!
One of the easiest recipe ever! As easy as – place everything in a saucepan, simmer until done and sauce is reduced to a thick, sweet syrup. And of course, the chicken cooked through.
This is another Brentwood UCLA recipe that I still constantly prepare. The original recipe is from my work spouse, Loraine Yokote. She has a lot of easy to prepare yet utterly delicious recipes that I love! I mean who won’t like easy recipes, as we mostly work away from home yet still need to feed our families when we get home, right?
This is perfect, specially for when you are crunched for time. Simmer this on the stove then prepare the sides (rice in a rice cooker needs no supervision, a salad will come together in 5 minutes…) and you will still have enough time to take a shower, or help with homework while dinner is cooking by itself. All around awesome, I think!
Strawberries are pretty tasty this time of the year. I had been purchasing them from farmer’s stands and farmer’s markets as they are always good, unlike other places where it’s hit or miss.
They’re quite expensive though, at $5 -$8 per green basket, but totally worth it as they are sweet and delicious all the way through. I like eating them just as is, after washing. No need for anything else as they are very tasty…and fragrant.
There are no green sour patches on these at all. And since they are so good, I decided to make a cake for my mom’s birthday. I have quart of whipping cream and a dozen home grown eggs in the fridge so I’m all set.
I had been trading loaves of sourdough bread for eggs with my co worker once a week, so the eggs I have are really fresh. Which is important, as the cake is a simple sponge cake recipe where in your ingredients need to be really good and fresh for it to taste great. The frosting is a simple, lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream, and topped with the best tasting strawberries you can find, this will be a cake you will make over and over.
We had to go to a soccer game at 9 am so I baked the layers and let it cool upside down for 20 minutes while we got ready, turned them right side up to cool completely while we were gone. I then whipped the cream, sliced the strawberries, and put the cake together after lunch, then chilled it for an hour before driving it over to my mom’s. Busy day!
I did not expect a lot of requests for this recipe so I did not photograph anything while whipping up the first, full sized cake. I did not have the time to either as I was rushing to get it done before we had to leave. However, since I did get a few requests, and since there was no left overs after it was demolished at my mom’s, I decided to make another, smaller cake for our home.
I halved the recipe and baked them in two 5-inch round cake pans. They were filled and frosted the same way as the full sized 8/9 inch cake. It was just enough for 6 slices, 2 each for me, my husband, and my son.
So here it is. There are a lot of steps but it is easy and the results are more than worth it. Feel free to break the steps down like I did to fit your schedule. I promise you will be amazed with the end results.
Have you heard of, or even maybe TRIED, Natto (fermented soybeans)?
When you see it in Japanese or other Asian grocery stores, they come in a package of 3 little white, styrofoam boxes. It is usually served with rice in Japanese meals, most often breakfast. You stir it well to make it super stringy and slimy, add the tiny mustard and soy sauce packets that come with it, and pour everyting over hot rice. Then, you dig in!
It is for sure an acquired taste, even for those who grew up eating Japanese food. You either love it or loathe it. However, with all the fermented food craze lately, I read that it is added to everything, and I even saw it used to top a pizza! Now that is something I have to try! 😋
So, in this post, I will show you how to make this super healthy, fermented food at home. In case you are like me and my mom, who happen to love natto, you can have an unlimited supply if you make it.
You will need an incubator that can keep a constant temperature of 100F. You can use an oven, a proofing box for bread making, yogurt maker, or an Excalibur Dehydrator.
*yogurt makers keep a temperature of about 105-112F and natto fermentation needs a temperature of around 100-105F, which is almost in the same range. I suggest checking the temperature first, if using a yogurt maker.*
A few years ago, I purchased a Japanese Yogurt maker specifically because you can adjust the temperature, unlike the ones available here in the US. The brand is Tanika and it is really a handy little appliance that I always use to make my homemade natto.
Of course, I also have an oven, an Excalibur dehydrator, 3 different kinds of yogurt maker, and a Brod and Taylor Folding Bread Proofer, but I do not like warming up that much space for a little jar of natto.
So, this Tanika yogurt maker is just perfect for me. Labels on the appliance and the manual are in Japanese but I recently saw some on Amazon that are made for the US market with English labels.
Just like yogurt, you need to buy a package first to be able to get the bacteria you need to make natto, then if you make it regularly, you just get a little from the prepared batch to make more. This is the easiest way to get started. Of course, you could also buy some natto spores to start the Bacillus Subtilis culture. Mitoku is the brand I use. It’s from Japan and makes really tasty natto. It comes with a tiny measuring spoon so you get a lot of natto even though the culture bottle is tiny.
1. Rinse 1 1/2 cups of soybeans in water and soak in at least 5 cups of water overnight at room temperature.
*the soybeans will more than double its size, see photo below, so make sure you use a lot of water when soaking the beans.*
2. Rinse and strain soybeans and place in a metal footed strainer basket (or a colander over a trivet).
3. Pour 1 1/2 cups water in the pressure cooker liner.
4. Place the strainer with soybeans in the pressure cooker and pressure cook for 45 minutes.
5. Let pressure drop for 10 minutes, then release pressure, placing a kitchen towel over the vent to help dissipate the steam.
6. In the meantime, prepare your yogurt maker.
7. Place 1/4 cup of water in the Tanika Yogurt Maker’s inner container, place the spoon inside and cover with the clear cover.
8. Position the spoon so that the handle sticks out of the cut out in the cover.
9. Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds to sterilize. Dump out the water.
10. If using the natto spores, mix 2 teaspoons boiled and cooled water with 1 tiny spoonful (included in the spores box) of the culture. Mix well and set aside.
11. Take one soybean and squeeze it between two fingers, it should be soft enough that it will crush easily.
12. Transfer half of the hot soybeans in the prepared yogurt container.
13. A. *If using spores, pour the half of the diluted culture over the hot soybeans.
13. B. If using ready made natto, add a spoonful of it onto the hot soybeans. Stir with the sterilized spoon.
14. A. *Add the rest of the soybeans to the yogurt container and then the rest of the diluted culture, if using spores. Mix well.
14. B. *If using pre made natto, add a spoonful more to the soybeans, then mix throughly.
15. Make sure to mix well, but be careful not to crush the beans.
16. Set the container into the yogurt maker, cover with a clean towel and place the blue cover over, slightly ajar to allow air in.
17. Set the fermentation temperature to 45C and the timer to 24 hours.
18. Carefully remove the blue cover and check the beans after 24 hours.
19. They should have a white, fuzzy growth around most of the beans.
20. Cover with the clear cover then the blue screw, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating.
21. Take a big spoonful of the natto and place on a serving dish. Cover and return the rest to the refrigerator. Using a spoon or chopsticks, thoroughly mix the natto until stringy and slimy. I was told to stir vigorously 100 times! Add a little soy sauce and hot mustard, serve over hot plain rice. Enjoy!
Microwave mochi was one of the food that me and my coworkers at Brentwood made one fun day.
I purchased a few of the microwave Mochi makers from Marukai (now Tokyo Central) in Gardena, CA. We brought in boxes of Mochiko rice flour, sugar, and any filling we want to eat! We had strawberries, mangoes, coconut, chocolate, peanut butter, truffles, peaches, blueberries….anything and everything you can imagine.
We made batches upon batches and quickly formed the hot mochi into little balls with our chosen filling inside. Then quickly pop it in our mouths. We had an hour lunch so we had time to make our mochi and enjoy it too.
I really like the mango filled ones that I then rolled in desiccated coconut. That was yum!
So here I’m sharing the basic recipe! It’s easy to make and takes 5 minutes or 9 minutes depending in which method you follow!
1-1/2 cups mochiko (rice flour) 1-1/2 cups water 1/2 cup sugar Pinch salt Katakuriko (potato starch) or kinako (roasted soybean flour), for dusting 1 cup tsubushi an (mashed bean paste) or koshi an (smooth bean paste)
Lightly coat a microwavable tube cake pan with cooking spray.
Mix mochiko, water, sugar and salt in a bowl.
Pour mixture into pan and cover with plastic wrap or a microwave cover.
Microwave 3 minutes on low, then 3 minutes on medium and 3 minutes on high, for a total of 9 minutes.
OR microwave on high for 5 minutes.
Cool in microwave 5 to 10 minutes, then turn onto a baking pan sprinkled with katakuriko, kinako, or cornstarch. Cut into 16 pieces using a plastic knife.
Dust hands with katakuriko or kinako and flatten each piece. Place 1 tablespoon an (or any filling of your choice) in center of each piece. Bring edges together and pinch to seal. Shape as desired.
Note: This recipe is based on microwave wattage of 1,000. Depending on your microwave wattage, cooking time may need to be adjusted.
>> Add fresh strawberries, peanut butter or sweet chestnut covered with bean paste. >> For chocolate flavor, stir 1/4 to 1/3 cup melted chocolate chips into mochi batter before cooking. >> Add a few drops of food coloring into batter for color variation. >> A few drops of flavoring (strawberry, grape, orange, blueberry, etc.) may also be added.
I always have this big can of Nesquick Strawberry mix as my son loves it mixed in his morning mug of milk. I started buying it when I was pregnant, as I didn’t like chocolate then, so was happy to see they offered it in strawberry flavor! It was the only way i could drink milk then. I guess it got passed on to my son! 😊
When I was making the mochi recipes for the ELB, I happened to see the can of Nesquick and immediately thought of using it as flavoring. And here is the result of the experiment!
I would add more Nesquick next time as the flavors and color was minimal. Otherwise, the mochi was chewy, sweet, and delicious enough for a snack.
*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*
While experimenting with the mochi recipes using pudding mix to add flavor, I can’t help but notice the Jell-O packages next to the pudding mixes at the grocery store shelves. I am aware that there are more flavors of gelatin available than pudding, so a lightbulb went off immediately!
I picked up one that sounds so delicious – mango passion fruit! I only got a pack but now I wished I got more. It tastes like Hawaii…if ever Hawaii was a flavor!
I tried making 2 bowls of mochi at a time in my Itaki Jumbo but it didn’t work out so I recommend you only make one bowl at a time, using the big ELB bowl. This way, the steam can concentrate on cooking your Mochi properly.
When I made two, the cooking time was way too long (I was up to 5 ELB cups of water!) and still, it wasn’t cooked through. So I decided to scrap those and start over with only one batch at a time. It worked out better so please try it this way. If you notice the photos, it will show the small ELB bowl. I forgot to take photos of the time I made it using the big ELB bowl, except for when it was done.
*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*
1.5 oz (3 tablespoons) jello mix, any flavor you want (I used Mango Passion Fruit)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup hot water
1. Place rice flour in a small bowl.
2. Add Jell-O mix,
4. And the hot water….
5. Mix everything well until there is no visible clumps and mixture is smooth.
6. Spray the ELB bowl with a nonstick spray.
7. Pour the mixture in and cover with foil. Set the bowl in the ELB base. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base.
8. Covers and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour. Carefully open the ELB and check if the Mochi is pulling off the sides and set in the middle. Add more water and steam a bit longer if needed.
9. Dust top of the mochi with kinako, katakuriko, or cornstarch.
10. Dust a plate with kinako, katakuriko, or cornstarch.
11. Run a spatula around the mochi and gently release it from the ELB bowl onto the prepared plate.
12. Dust with more kinako, katakuriko, or cornstarch. Then cut into pieces using a plastic knife.
13. Dust with more powder if needed. Cool completely. Enjoy!