Happy Donabe Life

Tag Archives: Kombu

Shrimp and Rapini Chirashi Sushi

Chirashi Sushi (sushi rice with scattered toppings) is a great dish for celebration, and I make this colorful dish for Japanese New Year or other party occasions. The most unique part about this dish is that the rice is seasoned with daidai citrus juice, instead of rice vinegar to make the sushi rice. Daidai is a Japanese citrus that is similar to orange but with brighter aroma and flavor. When the rice is seasoned with daidai juice, the beautiful aroma of daidai spreads around it and it’s so appetizing.

Egg crepes, rapini and shrimp create beautiful colorful visual and and the flavors are also wonderful together, too. Feel free to substitute them with other toppings of your choice for fun.


Soymilk Porridge with Turnips

Kabu no Okayu

I eat a lot of porridge especially in the winter time, as the dish is not only so gentle to your stomach, but is also a great way to keep your body warm. In Japanese tradition, on January 7, we eat Nanakusa-gayu (7-herb rice porridge), and it’s a custom to to bring health and longevity. It also has a meaning to clean your body with this simple porridge after consecutive days of feast during the New Year holidays.

Outside of Japan, including Los Angeles where I live, it’s not easy to source all the 7 kinds of Japanese herbs locally, so I actually enjoy making my own version with just kabu (Japanese turnips; its’ leaves are one of 7 herbs in Nanakusa-gayu) and use pure soymilk, in addition to kombu infused water, to cook the rice. It’s rich, creamy, really flavorful, and still light in your stomach.

It’s totally fine to cook it only with water (for more plain version), or use your choice of dashi such as kombu and bonito dashi for slightly deeper flavor. And, you can enjoy with your choice of condiments.


Pressed Sea Bream Sushi

Tai no Oshizushi

Tai (sea bream or also called tai snapper) is one of my favorite kinds of fish to eat both raw or cooked, and this fish is a symbol of celebration in Japanese culture. So, I love making this dish especially when I want to celebrate. The beautiful pink color of the fresh tai brings out the happy feelings and stimulates appetite. And, as long as you get the high quality sashimi-grade fish and rice cooked in Kamado-san, this dish is basically error-proof and always tastes wonderful. The fish is sliced not too thin, and I like to use a generous amount of it, so I can really enjoy the taste of it. The shiso leaves between the layers of the sushi rice gives nice aromatic quality to the dish, but if you can’t find them, it can be omitted.


Shiso Chicken Meatball & Grated Daikon Hot Pot

Shiso Tsukune Mizore Nabe

This dish is packed with nutrients, and so easy to make. It’s also a great dish to enjoy with guests. Chicken meatballs have the very nice subtle shiso flavor and they become fluffy after cooked. I like adding a generous amount of coarsely grated daikon (I highly recommend you use Onioroshi daikon grater for the nice crunchy texture for grating daikon). They give both texture and more flavor to the dish.

For seasoning, I use both white tamari and soy sauce for more complex flavor (and also to keep the broth from becoming too dark), but you can use just soy sauce if you like. You can also adjust the seasoning with extra sea salt at the end. But, please remember, this dish is served with Sansho Ponzu Sauce, so the seasoning should be minimum.

Make sure to save enough broth, so you can enjoy the shime (finishing course) of soba noodles!


Earthy Burdock Root Rice

Gobo Gohan

Gobo (burdock) has a natural sweet earthy aroma, and I love the combination of minced gobo with rice for its hearty taste. Daikon leaves add a layer of earthy flavors and texture. If you can’t find daikon leaves, kale can work nicely, too. With this rice dish and a bowl of miso soup, it will make a happy donabe meal for me.


Soup Udon with Steamed Vegetables

Mushi Yasai Udon

This vegan treat is so easy to make and very satisfying. You just prepare the dashi broth for the udon in the bottom bowl of the Mushi Nabe, set the steam grate on top to steam the vegetables first. Once the vegetables are ready, remove the grate and cook the udon in the broth. Because the vegetables are steamed, they tend to retain more nutrients and taste very pure. The ginger-scented broth stays also very clear and the flavor is so rich in kombu‘s umami. So, this is a win win dish. In this recipe, I used Bistro Mushi Nabe, but you can make this dish with any donabe which is equipped with a steam grate. Adjust the recipe amount according to your size of donabe.


Soba Noodle with Hot Mushroom Dipping Broth

Kinoko no Tsuke-Soba

I love making this dish especially when I am feeling a little weak and need something gentle for my stomach. Once you simmer mushrooms in a rich dashi-based broth, pour it into serving bowls and dip cold noodles in it to enjoy. The mushrooms adds the nice savory flavors to the broth. And, I love to use a generous amount of thinly-sliced ginger for both flavor and helping my body stay warm after having the dish. It’s so soothing and you can keep eating more and more. This dish is also nice to serve for a larger group. You can also change around the ingredients to cook in the broth for fun. For a vegan version, you can make with kombu dashi or vegetable dashi instead of kombu & bonito dashi.


Tofu & Spinach Hot Pot

Yu-Dofu

Yu-Dofu (tofu hot pot) is a very simple and popular home dish in Japan. This version has addition of spinach and enoki mushrooms to boost nutrients and flavors. Yu-Dofu‘s best accompaniment is ponzu, and my quick daidai citrus ponzu tastes so refreshing and aromatic. Then, you can top the tofu with a generous amount of freshly-ground toasted sesame seeds in suribachi and surikogi (Japanese mortar and pestle), which is so nutty and aromatic. Kanzuri (chili condiment from Niigata, Japan) is another great condiment.


Chicken Meatball Hot Pot in Miso Broth

Tsukune Miso Nabe

This simple miso-flavored hot pot is always so popular among my family and friends. By adding grated ginger and egg, the chicken meatballs becomes so fluffy and flavorful. The other main ingredients are tofu and mushrooms, which complete the dish to full satisfaction. The suggested shime (finishing course) to cook in the saved broth is udon or ramen.


Mixed Mushroom Rice

Kinoko Gohan

I love the earthy treat. I like to use a few kinds of mushrooms such as shiitake, king oyster, and shimeji. You can try with your choice of mushrooms. By adding sweet rice, the dish becomes nice and slightly chewy texture, but you can also make it only with short grain rice and it will taste very nice, too. For seasoning, I love white tamari, for its mellow and slightly sweet aroma, but you can substitute with usukuchi shoyu or regular soy sauce, too.


Oil Sardine Rice

Iwashi no Takikomi Gohan

Canned oil sardines are great items to store in your pantry. It’s ready to use and rich in umami and nutrients. This sardine rice is so easy to make, as all you have to do is basically remove the sardines from the can and top on the rice with a few other ingredients to cook. Make sure to use a little amount of the oil from the can, as it’s infused with all the rich flavors of the sardines. I also highly recommend you sprinkle some Sansho Powder when serving, as the bright citrusy kick of the sanshowith the rich sardine flavors work so well together.

I also like to cook this dish with the addition of Mochi Mugi barley. If you would like to cook with the Mochi Mugi, add a packet of Mochi Mugi to the rice and extra 1/2 cup (120 ml) of dashi and a pinch of salt in Step 1 of the recipe.


Cold Soba with Black Vinegar Dipping Sauce

Zaru Soba

Zaru Soba (cold soba with dipping sauce) has been a traditional fast food since Edo Period (1,603 – 1868) in Japan. From kids to elders, people in any social class can enjoy the fresh and smooth soba by quickly dipping in a sauce. While it’s a very popular quick dish for lunch, you can also find soba restaurants or posh izakaya establishments that serve soba as a final course after various small dishes to savor. I remember my late father ate soba for lunch 3 – 4 times a week because it was on of his very favorite foods.

This version, instead of a typical soy sauce and mirin based sauce, I made it with an extra amount of dashi with a generous addition of brown rice black vinegar. The result is a very refreshing umami-packed dipping sauce, which you can even drink up (and it’s so good for you because of its high vinegar content).


Smoky Shoyu-Flavored Corn & Bacon Rice

Here’s another version of my corn rice; this one has a big, bold flavor with the addition of rendered bacon, Smoked Soy Sauce, and butter. This is a great dish to serve at a summer party, too. When I made this dish at an outdoor BBQ dinner one day, everybody went crazy and it was gone so quickly! Corn is so sweet and savory at the same time, with its nice smokey and nutty flavor. Although this addition is highly recommended, if you would like to omit the 16 Multi Mixed Grains, you can reduce the amount of the dashi by a tablespoon or so.


Pressed Smoked Salmon Sushi

Smoked Salmon Oshi-Zushi

Oshi-Zushi (pressed sushi) is always fun to make and is also tasty, especially when the rice is cooked in a Kamado-san. You can see in the photo how each grain retains its shape and is shiny after the sushi is pressed. The traditional hinoki wood sushi mold makes the process so easy and brings beautiful results.

Here’s my quick oshi-zushi recipe, which can be made with something I normally stock in my fridge…smoked salmon, radish, and shiso leaves. If you don’t have access to shiso leaves, you can substitute with arugula or simply omit it.

If you want to add Mochi Mugi barley to the rice, simply add a packet of Mochi Mugi to the rice and increase the water by 1/2 cup (120 ml) and cook together.


Cold Somen Noodle with Slow-Roasted Tomato

Hiyashi Roasted Tomato Somen

Here’s another variation of my recipe using slow-roasted tomatoes. After 4 – 5 hours in the oven, the tomatoes become so rich in umami flavors and very soft. So, I like to serve it very simply by topping them over the cold somen noodles and pouring a soy-flavored dashi broth over it. I like breaking the tomatoes with chopsticks and gently mix with the noodles as I eat, or you can coarsely chop the tomatoes before topping over the noodles, too.

The best thing is that both the tomatoes and broth can be prepared up to a few days in advance. So, once I make them for the next days, all I need to do is just boil the somen noodles and assemble them for a quick delicious meal.


Corn Rice

Tomorokoshi Gohan

Corn rice is one of my favorite summer dishes to make. It’s simple and full of summer flavors. I like to cook with my cold-infused Kombu and Shiitake Mushroom Dashi, so I just let the dashi infuse half-day to overnight in the fridge and it’s ready to use. This dish is completely vegan, but you can cook with your choice of other stock (kombu & bonito dashi, chicken stock, etc.), too. For this recipe, I also added a packet of 16 Multi Mixed Grains (it’s so good), but if you would like to make it without it, you can reduce the amount of the dashi by a tablespoon or so. To add some kick to the dish, I like adding the Kanzuri Yuzu Sauce to the dish. You can top the rice with a small amount of the sauce or mix it in to the rice to enjoy. It’s quite addictive.


Chicken, Kabocha & Mochi Mugi Stew in Shio-Koji Broth

This hearty stew is so nourishing and tasty. The only seasoning is basically Liquid Shio-Koji, and this magical seasoning makes the chicken extra tender. With the addition of kabocha and Mochi Mugi barley, this dish tastes so complete and makes an ideal one pot meal. My body always feels so great after eating a big bowl of this stew. For this dish, I like making dashi (soup stock) with kombu and dried shiitake by soaking them in water for a few hours (to over night) in advance. They not only make the soup taste wonderful but also they can be sliced and added to cook in the stew to enjoy. But, you can also make this dish with chicken stock or vegetable stock and it will be delicious, too.


Kombu and Shiitake Mushroom Dashi

Shojin Dashi

This is an easy cold-steep vegan dashi (Japanese stock). All you need to do is just combine the kombu (dry kelp) and dry shiitake mushrooms in a bowl and pour water. After infusing overnight, the rich vegan dashi is ready.


Somen Noodle and Cherry Blossoms Hot Pot

Sakura Nyumen

I always get so excited when the spring season comes and make a lot of cherry blossom-theme dishes. This is one of them and I add salt-preserved sakura (cherry blossom) flowers to the broth, and I even use the pink sakura-flavored somennoodles made from flour and sakura from Japan. The aroma of sakura in this dish is just so beautiful. But, don’t worry if you don’t have any of them! You can totally make the delicious somen hot pot without the sakura flavors, and this dish can be enjoyed all year round. You can also change the other ingredients to cook with the noodles by using different kinds of mushrooms or tofu, if you like. It’s so gentle on the stomach and always comforting.


Clam Rice

Asari Gohan

This is a popular Japanese dish and we love it especially in the spring time when the clams are in the top season. Plump sake-steamed clams are folded in to the donabe rice, cooked with the combination of clam juice (from steaming) and dashi. My version uses extra amount (almost double or more) of clams compared to normal clam rice recipes, because I like to really enjoy the meaty clams in the rice! But, you can also make the dish with less amount of clams, and the dish would still taste delicious.

I also like to cook this dish with the addition of Mochi Mugi barley. If you would like to cook with the Mochi Mugi, add a packet of Mochi Mugi to the rice and extra 1/2 cup (120 ml) of dashi and a pinch of salt in Step 3 of the recipe.


Cherry Blossom & Tofu Skin Rice

Sakura Yuba Gohan

In the spring time, Japan is all about sakura (cherry blossoms). People go out to see the beautiful sakura trees in full bloom and also enjoy both sweet and savory treats using sakura flowers and leaves. With thin and tender yuba (tofu skins), this dish is full of spring flavors! The additional Mochi Mugi barley also adds the nice texture. Salt-preserved (pickled) sakura can be found at some Japanese markets and online specialty stores.


Spicy Pork Sesame Hot Pot

Buta no Goma-Suki

The marinade has such a rich flavor, and the creamy sesame paste makes it so aromatic. Once you have all the ingredients ready, all you need to do is just piling up the ingredients and build your excitement while waiting for the dish to cook. I love that I can taste so many different ingredients in this one dish, but you can always substitute or omit most of the ingredients as you like.


Salmon and Ikura Sushi Rice Bowl

Sake Ikura Chirashi Sushi

With Kamado-san, you can make really tasty sushi rice with perfectly chewy texture. I like making sushi rice bowl and top with whatever the freshest sashimi grade seafood I find at a local market. Salmon and ikura (salmon roe) combination makes beautiful bright visual and always tastes good together.


Taro and Konnyaku Stew

Sato-Imo to Konnyaku no Nimono

Sato-imo (Japanese taro) is one of my favorite ingredients in the fall to winter seasons. When it’s simmered in broth, it becomes creamy inside and flavor becomes rich. This goes well with konnyaku (yam jelly) and makes such a hearty healthy treat. I used ball shape konnyaku in this recipe, but you can just get a block of konnyaku and tear into bite-size pieces by hand, so they will absorb the flavors from the broth well. This dish tastes delicious right when it’s ready, but I like it even more after a few hours of resting. If you let it rest for a few hours or longer. You can reheat it or serve at room temperature.


Sweet Potato & Walnut Rice

Satsuma Imo to Kurumi no Takikomi Gohan

Satsuma-imo (Japanese sweet potato) and roasted walnuts bring rich earth and sweet flavors to this dish.


Bamboo Shoot Rice

Takenoko Gohan

Spring is the high season for freshly foraged bamboo shoots and they taste really wonderful. They are crisp tender and full of sweet spring flavors. In Japan, people enjoy so many different kinds of bamboo dishes while the fresh shoots are in season. Bamboo shoot rice used to be my favorite bamboo dish my mom made when I was a child. This dish also tastes great at room temperature or even cold. If fresh bamboo shoots are not available, pre-cooked bamboo shoot can be found at Japanese grocery stores and they are sold all year round.


Egg-topped Garlic Chives & Shiitake

Nira Shiitake Tamago-toji

Nira (garlic chives) and shiitake mushrooms are quickly simmered in kombu & shiitake dashi-based broth, then finished with eggs. I like the very soft and slightly runny stage of the eggs, so let it cook for a short time once the eggs are added. This dish is great as an appetizer (served as a soup), side dish, or I also like to pour over rice. If you can’t find nira, you can substitute it with spinach or pea shoot. You can also add rehydrated dry shiitake used to make the dashi for extra flavor and texture.


Mushroom & Mizuna Hot Pot

Hari Hari Nabe

This simple vegan hot pot is so rich in flavor and satisfying. I like to slice the abura-age very thin, as these slices soak up the broth and taste like juicy noodles. If you don’t have access to abura-age, thinly-sliced tofu can work, too. The key for the rich broth flavor is to add the mushrooms before heating up the kombu-soaked water, so the mushrooms release all the umami flavors during the slow heating process. For the shime (finishing course), I like to add udon noodles to the remaining broth, but soba is also good, too.


Basic Japanese Stock – Kombu and Bonito Dashi

Awase Dashi

Dashi is the mother of Japanese dishes. This is the basic awase dashi (dashi made of two ingredients – kombu and katsuobushi), and besides knowing how to make it right, using the high quality ingredients is extremely important to make good dashi. Here’s my basic dashi making process. It’s very simple and straightforward, and the result is always superb. If you let the kombu sun-bathe (just leave it in a basket under the direct sunlight) for about 30 minutes before soaking in water, it would help increasing the vitamin D and umami levels of the dashi.


Tofu and Wakame Miso Soup

Tofu to Wakame no Miso-shiru

Tofu and wakame miso soup is such a classic Japanese soup, and it’s one of my ultimate comfort foods. Because Miso-shiru Nabe has such a high heat retention ability, the soup stays very hot for a long time after turning off the heat. Make sure to turn off the heat as soon as you add the miso, and never boil the soup, so you can really enjoy the most aromatic stage of the miso. If you have access, salt-preserved wakame (or sometimes it’s called “fresh wakame“) is recommended as it gives the nice fresh texture to the soup, and you can add it at the very end to the donabe or add to your bowl after the soup is poured into individual bowls.


Chicken Wings & Daikon Hot Pot

Teba Daikon Nabe

Chicken wings and daikon are a classic combination in Japanese cooking. By pan-frying these ingredients before adding to the broth, the flavor of this simple dish enhances dramatically. Because the chicken is already marinated in shio-koji, this dish doesn’t require much more seasoning. Feel free to use fingers to savor the wings, as it’s part of the fun of this dish!


Japanese Beef & Potato Stew

Nikujaga

This hearty beef and potato stew is such a popular Japanese home dish among people from little kids to elders. While there are countless variations, for my nikujaga, I like to caramelize the onion before adding other ingredients. The onion gives nice rich layer of umami flavor to the dish. Miso-shiru Nabe always makes the perfect caramelized onion without having to constantly sauté it. I also add a lot of thinly sliced gingers for the accent.


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