Happy Donabe Life

Tag Archives: Vegetarian

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.


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.


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.


Japanese Sweet Potato Rice

Satsuma-Imo Gohan

This is one of my favorite fall-to-winter rice dishes since I was a child. This is such a simple dish, as the main ingredients are just the rice and satsuma-imo (Japanese sweet potato), and they are seasoned very lightly only with salt. The natural sweetness of the satsuma-imo is fully brought out after cooked with the rice, and the texture is nicely soft to work great with the shiny chewy rice. I also love making onigiri (rice balls) with this dish. They taste great hot or room temperature. If you want to add more flavor, you can cook the rice with dashi or even consommé works nicely, too.


Homemade Tofu

Sukui Tofu

Authentic fresh tofu can be made at home very easily, once you have a donabe and high quality soymilk. All you need to do is to heat soymilk, stir in nigari liquid, turn off the heat, and rest until the mixture sets to become tofu. Iga-yaki donabe is perfect for fresh tofu making, because the porous body achieves the gentle and even heat distribution. It also cools down very slowly after turning off the heat, so the tofu can set to ideal stage during the resting time. The fresh warm tofu right out of donabe is simply a joy and I always have my first few tastes without any seasonings or condiments. It’s so fluffy, delicate, and pure. Then, I enjoy it with different toppings. Sometimes simply with shaved katsuobushi (shaved dried bonito flakes) and soy sauce, or wasabi, sea salt (such as moshio sea salt), and sesame oil. Ponzu is great, too.

Premium quality Banrai Soymilk and Banrai Nigari Liquid are both available at our shop. So, hope you give it a try. You can make a full-size sukui tofu to share or a small individual-size tofu in a mini-size donabe for everyday breakfast.

The recipe introduced in this page is calling for 1-liter soymilk. For the half amount, you can use a small-size classic-style donabe (approx. 0.8-qt/ 800 ml size). The photos below are made with small-size Rikyu-Tokusa donabe.

For an idividual-size silky tofu making method, please see Banrai Soymilk and Banrai Nigari Liquid product page.


Sansho Ponzu Sauce

Combination of soy sauce, daidai citrus and sansho powder (did you know sansho also belongs to citrus family?) create such refreshing bright aroma and kick in this quick dipping sauce. Adjust the amount of sansho powder according to your taste (or tolerance to its numbing heat). Originally introduced to serve with Shiso Chicken Meatball and Grated Daikon Hot Pot, this sauce is good for any hot pot dishes, or as a dipping sauce for gyoza dumplings.


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.


Japanese-style Simmered Kabocha

Kabocha no nimono

This is a classic Japanese home-style dish, and we love the full flavor of nutty kabocha with light seasoning of soy sauce, etc. This dish is almost ridiculously easy to make. Once you arrange the cut kabocha pieces with seasonings in a donabe, you heat it and let the donabe do the work for you. You don’t even need to stir the contents. With Miso-shiru Nabe, the delicate kabocha can cook so tender without falling apart.


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.


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.


Tomato Ginger Rice

Tomato to Shoga no Takikomi Gohan

Half-cut tomatoes are cooked together with rice in the donabe and becomes an extremely luscious dish. Tomatoes break so easily with a rice paddle and once you gently mix the contents, the beautiful red color coats the rice and imparts the sweet aroma of tomatoes and ginger. While this dish is completely vegan, even my meat-loving friends go crazy over it. (And, they fight over Naosco, the Yuzu-Kosho flavored hot sauce I make as a condiment for this dish.)

I love making this dish while the tomatoes are in season during summer. But, tomatoes don’t have to be very ripe to make this dish, so you can enjoy making this dish any time of the year.


Yuzu-Kosho Mayo Dipping Sauce

Made from Japanese mayonnaise, Yuzu juice, Yuzu-Kosho, and chives, this is a super quick dipping sauce which can be made with everything I always have in my fridge, and it always tastes so good. You can adjust the amount of the yuzu-kosho according to your taste. This sauce is great with Salt-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes made in Fukkura-san, or grilled vegetables, fish, etc.


Steamed Vegetables (Basic Steaming)

When I first tried simple vegetables steamed in Mushi Nabe, I was so surprised how pure and delicious they tasted. Mushi Nabe cooks vegetables fast and really brings out their natural flavors well. All I need to do is just get the seasonal high quality vegetables I like and steam in Mushi Nabe. Try those vegetable simply with a quick dipping sauce of some sea salt and extra virgin olive oil, or your choice of dipping sauce.


Steam-roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes

Yaki-Imo

Simplicity at its best, when a sweet potato is steam-roasted in Fukkura-san, the texture becomes rich and creamy, and the flavor becomes so sweet. The glaze in the lid gives the effective FIR (Far-Infrared Rays…same effect as how a glowing charcoal heats to the core of ingredients) and moisture from the lid gives the perfect steam effect. I used purple sweet potatoes in this recipe, but you can use Satsuma-Imo (Japanese sweet potato with pale color interior) or other types of sweet potatoes or yams. Serve with simple sea salt & butter, or Shio-koji Mascarpone Dipping Sauce, suggested in this recipe below.



Sansho Mayo

Just mix mayonnaise and some sansho powder, and all-purpose condiment is ready in a few seconds. Sansho adds the beautiful aromatic touch with tong-numbing spicy kick in the finish. Adjust the amount of sansho according to your taste. This condiment is great with smoked dish, fried chicken, fresh vegetable sticks, and so many more.



Mochi Mugi Barley & Rice

Mochi Mugi Gohan

Mochi Mugi is a type of barley and it is considered to be a “super food”, as it contains much higher amount of fiber than brown rice or regular kinds of barley. For me, Mochi Mugi simply tastes so good and I really enjoy its nice bouncy texture. By adding a small amount of Mochi Mugi to your rice, your rice becomes not only more nutritious but it adds another nice dimension in the flavor. For each packet of Mochi Mugi, 1/2 cup (120 ml) water is needed to cook.


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.


Salt Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Simplicity at its best, these salt-roasted fingerling potatoes always make my guests go crazy whenever I serve them at a dinner party. The potatoes are lightly salted and cooked in Fukkura-san over medium-high heat until done. It gives both the roasting and steaming effects during the cooking, and the result is always the best roasted potatoes I’ve ever tasted! The skin gets delicately crispy and the interior becomes almost creamy. Just be careful with the heat, as the donabe gets extremely hot during cooking and even for a while after the heat is turned off. I love to serve it with simple Yuzu-Kosho Mayo Dipping Sauce which I can whip up in seconds.


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.




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