February 19, 2015

Kuishinbo: The Smiler Cocktail

by Yuki HD

As a Japanese person, I love to drink. The first time I traveled to the U.S. with my sister, the two of us would always order a bottle of wine during lunch, and then again for dinner. The servers were always amazed; we were usually the only customers to order a full bottle. I thought […]

March 10, 2014

Kuishinbo: Easy Homemade Mirin

by Yuki HD

I’m sure Umami Mart readers know about mirin and have used it in cooking, but may not be sure about what it is exactly. Culinary experts in the U.S. believe that mirin is a mix of sake and lots of sugar. Sadly, this is incorrect. Yes, it’s sweet, but not just syrupy sweet — mirin […]

January 31, 2014

Kuishinbo: Konnyaku Detox

by Yuki HD

Konnyaku has been used in Japan as a medicinal food for 1500 years and was very popular during the Edo period. It is likewise a staple in Chinese medicine, said to aid in detoxification as well as a host of other benefits. Konnyaku is also a very popular ingredient for weight loss because it is […]

November 22, 2013

Kuishinbo: Oname Koji

by Yuki HD

I met a wonderful couple on Instagram, who I visited on my last trip to Japan. When they cook, they always use local ingredients prepared with such care and style. I look forward to their dinner picture everyday and I often leave comments telling them how great their meals look. One day a couple of […]

October 7, 2013

Kuishinbo: Yuzukosho

by Yuki HD

Yuzu citrus is one of the most important ingredients in Japanese cooking. The juice of the yuzu is prized both for its citrusy flavor and elegant. The skin is often used as a garnish for chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) or osuimono (clear dashi soup). Lately, upscale restaurants in the States love to finish off their dishes […]

September 18, 2013

Kuishinbo: Otsukimi Dango

by Yuki HD

Japan has a wonderful fall tradition known as otsukimi (お月見) or Moon Festival, which celebrates both the moon and promise of a good harvest for the year. Besides otsukimi, it’s also called chushu no meigetu or jyugoya. The custom is believed to have originated in China. In the year 909, the Emperor hosted the first recorded celebration […]

August 1, 2013

Kuishinbo: Doyou no Ushinohi (A Day for Eel)

by Yuki HD

During midsummer, tradition is to have unagi (freshwater eel) on specific days. The days are called doyou no ushinohi (土用の丑の日) to provide a nutritional treat, as well as to help survive the hot season. Unagi carries a lot of “stamina” nutrition, such as vitamins A and B-complex. The ancient Japanese diet, like today, was mostly vegetables […]

July 10, 2013

Kuishinbo: A Trip to Yugeta Shoyu Brewery (Saitama)

by Yuki HD

I recently spent a month visiting my family in Tokyo. I had so many great meals, went to an onsen (hot springs), a winery, and paid my respects to my family’s gravesite. Many places to visit. I also had an opportunity to meet my new Instagram friend, Misako and her husband, Yasushi. This young couple […]

April 30, 2013

Kuishinbo: Pixian Doubanjiang (Spicy Fava Bean Paste)

by Yuki HD

Doubanjiang has been called “the soul of Sichuan cooking.” A spicy bean paste most recognizable in Sichuan cuisine, doubanjiang is also a popular ingredient for Japanese home cooking, called tobanjan. I use doubanjiang quite often in my cooking for sauces, and I was curious as to how I might make a home-style version using only […]

March 12, 2013

Kuishinbo: Oba-chan’s Shochu Kumquats

by Yuki HD

When we were little we used to watch my oba-chan (grandmother) make this seasonal treat from Kagoshima prefecture in southern Japan. We were too little to enjoy it at first, but as we grew older the dish became more and more delicious. Oba-chan’s preparation differed from the original recipe in that she substituted shochu for […]