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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 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.


Chilled Tofu with Condiments

Hiyayakko

Hiyayakko is one of the most simple and beloved Japanese home dishes that is enjoyed all year round. It’s really about simple plain tofu, enjoyed with sliced scallion, shaved katsuobushi, and soy sauce or any condiments of your choice. In the summer time, to make the maximum “cold” effect by both taste and visual, I like to serve the tofu in ice bath in a donabe. Also in this way, you have a beautiful presentation and can even impress your guests. Medium-firm or soft tofu are recommended for hiyayakko, for the most pleasant texture.


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.


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