Happy Donabe Life

Tag Archives: Sesame oil

Nao-Jan (Naoko’s Yakiniku Sauce)

This is my regular tare (dipping sauce) for yakiniku (grilled meat), or anything grilled including seafood and vegetables. It’s rich in flavors with two kinds of soy sauce (or you can make with one kind), Hatcho miso, ginger, garlic, etc. And the addition of the pure daidai citrus juice gives the beautiful aromatic nuance. Great accompaniment for anything I cook with my Iga-yaki grills.


Oyster Sauce Flavored Steam-Fry Pork Yakisoba Noodle

Oyster Sauce Buta Yakisoba

Yakisoba (stir-fry noodles) is such a casual tasty dish which almost everybody in Japan loves. While there are so many variations of yakisoba, my all time favorite is the simple oyster sauce flavor with pork and cabbage. This yakisoba makes me feel nostalgic, as it’s similar to what my mom used to make for a quick lunch when I was a child. With the tagine-style donabe, Fukkura-san, the ingredients are steam-fried and the noodles have such a nice bouncy texture, while the meat and cabbage get lightly caramelized. Instead of typical karashi (Japanese hot mustard), I like serving this dish with Kanzuri.

As a variation, you can substitute soy sauce with Smoked Soy Sauce for a nice smokey and robust nuance.


Curry & Tamari Flavored Steam-Fry Vegetable Yakisoba Noodle

Enjoy this one-pot dish made with fresh yakisoba noodles and a lot of vegetables. I’ve been making this dish for years and had so many people turned on to this dish. The curry and tamari soy sauce flavors make a great combination. The noodles become nicely spicy and robust. This is a completely vegan dish with layers of flavors and textures. The sauce and sun-dried tomatoes bring out the rich umami, too.


Green Beans and Nori Salad

Ingen no Nori-ae

This quick salad dish is very easy to make, and I love how the nori brings a beautiful aroma to this dish. The roasted and ground sesame seeds, yuzu juice, and sesame oil adds extra layers of flavor, and go well with the tender green beans steamed in Mushi Nabe. You can substitute the golden sesame seeds/ golden sesame oil with black sesame seeds/ black sesame oil for a variation. The tamari soy sauce not only gives the rich umami to the dish, but makes the dish friendly for those on a gluten-free diet.


Pork and Napa Cabbage Mille Feuille

Buta to Hakusai no Mille Feuille Nabe

This dish is all about pork and napa cabbage, cooked in a minimum way. They are simply layered to pack in a donabe, with a small amount of water and sake. There is not even dashi or salt. You can top them with some sliced ginger and mushrooms, and gently simmer for 25 – 30 minutes. The result is a tasty treat rich in umami, and it looks beautiful, too. The soup is also packed with all the natural flavors from the ingredients, so make sure to enjoy it with the dish, too.

I like to serve it with Sansho Ponzu Sauce and Hatcho Miso & Black Sesame Sauce (recipe below) for flavor variations. Or, you can simply serve it with yuzu-kosho or Kanzuri, too.


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!


Tuna Poke Rice Bowl

Poke Don

As I have been to Hawaii almost 50 times since I was a teenager and I’ve been loving their local seafood dishes, I am a self-claimed poke expert (haha). My favorite style of poke is quite simple…it’s all about high quality tuna, soy sauce, sesame oil, and wasabi. When I serve it as an appetizer, I encourage my guests to enjoy on its own or make a wrap with lettuce and nori. To make a meal out of poke, I make this poke don (poke rice bowl). With the sushi rice made in double-lid donabe rice cooker, Kamado-san, this simple dish becomes such a decadent sushi dish you can create at home.


Tamari-Flavored Beef and Tofu Stew

Tamari Niku-Dofu

Simple, quick, and satisfying, beef and tofu stew is a popular home dish in Japan. With an addition of komatsuna (Japanese spinach – you can substitute with regular spinach or other leafy greens), it makes a nutritiously balanced one-pot dish. I love using Tamari Soy Sauce for seasoning, as it gives a nice deep flavor, but you can also make it with regular soy sauce and it will still taste great. If you have any leftovers, I highly suggest you reheat it in a donabe (or a small pot), drizzle some whisked egg over it, then once the egg is at your desired consistency, pour the whole thing over the rice to make a beef and tofu rice bowl. Just so that I will have enough leftover the next day, I tend to make extra amounts of this dish.



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.


Mabo Tofu

This is a Japanese version of popular Chinese dish (mapo tofu), which is a spicy stew of tofu and ground pork. My Mabo Tofu is seasoned with miso, and it gives nice rich flavor to the dish. For the spicy heat and extra umami, tobanjan (Chinese chili bean paste) is an essential ingredient for this dish. While there is no ideal substitute for this ingredients, if you can’t find it, Sriracha could work also. You can make this dish with any classic-style donabe, or Mushi Nabe without the steam grate. I used my Bistro Mushi Nabe in the photos in this recipe.


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.


Smoked Chinese-style Cold Noodle

Smoked Hiyashi Chuka

Smoked toppings give such a tasty and unique upgrade to the popular summer dish. This dish has not only been a summer hit at my home, but I actually like to make it whenever I want all year round. The yuzu-flavored broth is so refreshing and creates a nice balance with the smoked toppings. For me, Yuzu-Kosho is an essential addition to add a nice kick to this dish, but it’s totally optional for those who prefer a less spicy flavor.


Cold Ramen with Spicy Pork & Sesame Dipping Broth

Tan Tan Tsukemen

Cold ramen noodles with simmering hot and spicy broth with toppings create a wonderful dish to enjoy in the summer or all year round. The dipping broth is especially rich as it’s seasoned with hatcho miso (very dark miso made of 100% soybeans) with tamari soy sauce. But, if you don’t have either, you can simply substitute with quality red miso and dark soy sauce respectively and it would still be very tasty. You can also serve the broth cold, and it will be so refreshing and perfect to enjoy on a hot day.


Steamed Halibut with Daidai Chive Sauce

Mushi-Zakana to Daidai Asatsuki Sauce

Whenever I get a very fresh piece of fish, my favorite way to prepare is to make it as simple as possible to best appreciate the natural flavor of the fish. Steaming fresh-quality fish filet in donabe takes no time and it’s always a treat for me. Once you have a sauce ready, it creates a great main course. I like steaming halibut for its rich flavor and texture but it’s basically you can steam any fish of your choice. Daidai Chive Sauce is a quick sauce for which the only ingredient you need to chop is the chives. It’s full of flavor and great with steamed fish. Quick Daidai Citrus Ponzu can go well with the steamed fish, too.


Steam-Fry Carrot in Oyster Mayo Sauce

Ninjin no Oyster Mayo Kimpira

This simple dish brings the wonderful natural sweet flavor of the carrot with the umami nuance from the oyster sauce and mayo. I also love the hint of nutty sesame aroma coming from the Golden Sesame Oil. I can make this dish so easily and it always feels like a treat. This dish is great either hot, right when it’s cooked, or at a room temperature. So, you can bring it to a picnic, too.


Soy-Simmered Beef and Burdock

Gyu to Gobo no Shigure-ni

Beef and burdock always make a great combination, and this dish is no exception. This is a traditional Japanese dish, and is very popular as a home dish, especially as you can make it with inexpensive komagire cut beef (basically thin end-cut or scrap meat). By simmering the thin slices of beef and burdock together in the sweet soy-based sauce, the dish creates the wonderful rich and earthy flavor. I love to add a generous amount of ginger for the additional layer of flavor. I often enjoy serving this over plain rice to make a rice bowl dish. It’s so good!


Daidai Chive Sauce

Daidai Asatsuki Sauce

Very aromatic Daidai Citrus Juice and the umami-rich Ayu Fish Sauce create such a brightly refreshing flavor, and the generous amount of chives gives the nice herbal touch to the sauce. The golden sesame oil brings nutty character. This sauce takes no time to make, and it’s very versatile. So, enjoy with simple steamed fish, chicken, tofu, etc.


Dashi-Rich Steam-Fry Hiramasa and Napa Cabbage

Simply assembled hiramasa (amberjack) with napa cabbage and shimeji mushrooms taste so pure and satisfying with the rich flavor of the dashi broth. The broth’s umami level is boosted with the addition of ayu fish sauce (I call this “magic essence”).  Hiramasa can be substituted with yellowtail, sea bass, snapper, salmon, or any buttery fish filet. I like to serve this dish with plain donabe rice (white or brown).


Pork Shumai Dumplings

Niku Shumai

Simple pork shumai dumplings are so easy to make and taste so good that I always have hard time stop eating. The meat becomes so juicy, and with the dipping sauce (combination of soy sauce and rice vinegar) and a little dab of karashi(Japanese mustard), the flavors explode in the mouth. You can make the filling a few hours in advance, and just wrap in wonton skins right before steaming, so the wontons won’t get too wet and sticky. Very thin wontons skins are my choice and they are normally available at Japanese markets. Karashi is very hot, so if you are not familiar with it, try a tiny amount first to see how much you can handle.


Chinese-Style Steamed Fish

Sakana no Chuka-Mushi

This colorful treat is an easy one-pot dish with a lot of flavors. I like to use black cod for its fatty texture for this dish, but you can also make it with other kinds of fish such as yellowtail, sea bass, salmon, etc. The sizzling sound and aroma of the smoking sesame oil when it’s poured over the fish stimulate your appetite so much. With the umami-rich sauce and aromatic toppings, this dish can become a healthy and satisfying main course.


Egg Drop Vegetable Soup

Kakitama-jiru

This soup is full of flavors and very satisfying. The addition of the black vinegar gives the nice umami-rich accent to the dish. The fluffy egg with vegetables make wonderful layers of textures, too. I like to sprinkle some sansho powder to the soup for extra kick, but it’s totally optional.


Chirashi Sushi with Soy-Marinated Tuna

Maguro Tegone-Sushi

This dish is very easy to make and always a crowd pleaser. Once you get a block of very fresh tuna, all you have to do is to make sushi rice, slice and marinade tuna, get other small components ready and just assemble. The marinating time of tuna should be just up to 15 – 20 minutes. If it’s marinated too long, it will start to “cook” the tuna and the color could get a bit too dark. I like to make the sushi rice by adding 16 Multi Mixed Grains for more complex flavor, texture, and beautiful color in the sushi rice, but you can make it without, too. Whenever I make this dish for friends, it disappears in a matter of moments!


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.


Make Your Own Shoyu Ramen Hot Pot

Okonomi Shoyu Ramen Nabe

Making ramen is easy and fun, especially if you cook and serve as donabe hot pot right at the table. I like adding the chopped nira (garlic chives) to the ramen right before serving, but if you can’t find nira, you can substitute with thinly-sliced green onion and serve as a topping, instead. Enjoy with a couple of simple toppings or a make a platter of a wide selection of toppings to choose from for fun.



Korean-style Spicy Miso Condiment

Ssamjang

This Korean-inspird spicy miso sauce is great with grilled or steamed meat, seafood, or even as a dipping for vegetable crudités (fresh vegetable sticks). I love serving this especially with grilled kalbi (beef short ribs) or steamed pork shoulder to make lettuce wraps. Both the hatcho miso and Okinawa black sugar make the flavor so deep, but you can also make with regular miso and brown sugar, if you like.




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!


Nao Man Gai (Chicken Over Rice)

Naoko-style Asian Chicken Rice

This dish is inspired by kao man ghai, a very popular Thai-style chicken rice dish, (or the Singapore-style is known as Hainanese chicken rice), and I made it in my donabe Japanese version with mostly Japanese ingredients. So, I call it Nao Man Gai! The rice is cooked with rich Japanese chicken stock with chicken on top, so the rice tastes really special even on its own. The chicken is sliced and served on top of the rice along with two kinds of special sauces. Don’t forget to make non-boiled “boiled eggs” by placing eggs on the inner lid of Kamado-san when cooking the rice. The eggs are ready when the rice is ready, and they taste so good with the 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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