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View Full Version : My Tiny Kitchen-the cooking in Japan thread



coop52
June 28th, 2013, 09:25
Let's share cooking tips and recipes!

It can be tough cooking in a tiny kitchen with one burner, so it's best to only keep appliances around that can do multiple tasks. One of the most useful tools in my kitchen is my microwave/convection oven combo. I got a pasta strainer and a silicon steamer so I can cook pasta or vegetables while cooking something else on my burner. You can bake in them too, but only small batches at a time. A rice cooker is pretty useful too, even if you don't cook rice that much. Some have special options for cooking cakes or can double as a slow cooker. But, you can use regular rice cookers for those things too. For example, I've successfully cooked a pork roast in mine using the rice setting. It takes a little more baby-sitting than a slow cooker, but it can be done.

I also recommend getting a portable burner. Ones that use gas cartridges are really cheap. They're really useful for if you need an extra burner for something, are cooking outdoors, or for cooking nabe in the winter.

Appliances:
Check your local second hand store first. You might find some surprises for cheap! If that doesn't work, check on the internet. Generally, for electronics, online prices are a bit cheaper than in store.

Getting ingredients:
Of course you can get stuff from Foreign Buyer's Club, Flying Pig, Meat Guy etc, but recently Rakuten and Amazon Japan have been getting a lot more foreign stuff. Check them out since you might find it cheaper and get it faster.


Useful cooking-related Japanese:

大さじ(おおさじ)(oosaji) tablespoon
小さじ(こさじ)(kosaji) teaspoon
少々(しょうしょう)(shoushou) smidgen/very small amount
ひとつまみ (hitotsumami) a pinch
適量(てきりょう)(tekiryou) add to taste
電子レンジ(でんしれんじ)(denshirenji) microwave
度(ど)(do) degree
オーブン (oubun) oven

Rice:
Genmai (玄米)is unpolished rice. It requires washing and soaking for a long while before cooking.
Musenmai (無洗米)is rice that's prewashed. Just measure out the rice and water and hit the cook button.
There's a couple of varieties of regular white rice; fancier ones are a lot more expensive. They all require washing before cooking.

Vegetables and fruit:
Japan is real big on seasonal stuff, so some fruits and veggies are really hard to find out of season, except for canned or frozen. It's also a whole lot cheaper to buy stuff that's local and in season. Make friends with the local old people, and you should get a ton of free vegetables from their fields.

Meat:
You can often find meat already cut up into sizes for various dishes, such as curry, karaage, shougayaki, shabu-shabu etc. I don't really see big cuts of meat, but you might depending on your supermarket.

ひき肉(hikiniku)- ground meat. You can find ground beef (sometimes mixed with pork), pork, and chicken.
バラ肉(baraniku) - rib meat, usually pork or beef
すじ肉(sujiniku) - translated as "sinewy meat", usually pork or beef. I'm not sure what part of the animal this is from.
ホルモン (horumon) - cow or pig intestines
ヒレ (hire)- pork or beef tenderloin
ロース (rousu) - pork or beef roast
Chicken:
胸肉(muneniku)- breast meat, with skin. Sometimes you can find them with the bone (骨付き)(honetsuki)
もも肉(momoniku)- thigh meat, with skin
ささみ(sasami) - boneless, skinless breast meat
手羽(teba) - wings
肝(kimo)- liver
砂肝(sunagimo) - gizzard

Beef:
和牛(wagyuu) - fancy Japanese beef


Recipes:

Just Bento/Just Hungry - these sites are run by the same lady, and have recipes for bento and for meals with ingredients that can be easily found in Japan.
Cookpad- if you can read Japanese, there are tons and tons of recipes. Get the app, and you can tap on an ingredient to see other recipes using that ingredient. It's pretty handy for planning menus.

I know other people out there cook, so post your recipes and tips!

MJN
June 28th, 2013, 09:46
Probably the best place to say: The Meat Guy - Grade-A Meat and Cheese delivered to your door in Japan! (http://www.themeatguy.com)
Use it, you won't regret it if you're a meat lover.

Cytrix
June 28th, 2013, 09:49
If you're a vegetarian/vegan/baker you can get good stuff from Tengu Natural Foods (http://store.alishan.jp/). You can get all sorts of nuts, seeds, nutritional yeast, supplements, herbs etc. on here. They've also started stocking some Pilsner on there

coop52
June 28th, 2013, 09:59
For those who are completely new to cooking (or even those that aren't), Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course is really helpful.

hunterofpeace
June 28th, 2013, 10:12
I second the Meat Guy. Real bacon was such a life saver. And you can get large bags of spices and lentils, which would cost you a lot from foreign foods stores in Japan. You can even get cheese.


Is this just a resources thread or can we post recipes here? Maybe a separate thread for oven-free recipes?

Edit: just noticed that the OP said "and recipes." Derp.

mteacher80
June 28th, 2013, 11:10
I really preferred Bom Preço Mercado: Uma forma econômica, cômoda e divertida de se comprar! (http://bomprecomercado.com/) over the meat guy. A quick google translate will help you sign up and it's generally better quality and price than the meat guy.

RomulusLupin
June 28th, 2013, 11:18
It would be amazing if coop was willing to periodically update her original post to link to posts within this thread that have recipes in them, if people don't want to read it all. Just a thought.

When I was still eating rice at home I lived my life off of fried rice. Sesame oil, scrambled egg, lots of veggies, rice, soy sauce. BAM.

word
June 28th, 2013, 11:21
I have a cooking-related question and am curious if any of you guys can help.

MG and I have had some weird problems with baked items settling into layers. It happens with all sorts of crap that we try to bake; pies, cakes, breads, etc. It seems to be somehow egg-related--the top layer is always kinda "eggy." MG just cooked a cheesecake the other day and we noticed this (it was less pronounced, but still). It happens pretty much every time we try to cook cornbread--there is an odd "layering" effect. We'd never encountered this problem until we came to Japan. Is it our oven? Our altitude (we're pretty high above sea level--much more than we were back home)? Something we're doing wrong?

RomulusLupin
June 28th, 2013, 12:27
I also want to take this opportunity to pimp out the Ishikawa JET Kitchen (http://ishikawajet.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/master-cooking-in-japan-with-the-ishikawa-kitchen/) cookbook. It's still available to anyone who can furikomi ¥1,000 to our AJET account!

coop52
June 28th, 2013, 12:43
I'm willing to update the OP sometimes. And I second the recommendation for the Ishikawa cookbook. The maple cookies and the kabocha cookies have been big hits at potlucks.

word: How many eggs are you using in your recipes? And are you mixing them by hand or using a mixer? You might need to experiment with the amount and how much you mix them. Most stuff I make needs one egg, if that helps.

therealwindycity
June 28th, 2013, 15:12
A bread maker is definitely worth it if you want whole-wheat bread in Japan. This is the one I have: �ڳ�ŷ�Ծ�ۥ����� 2���б��ۡ���١����꡼ SHB-212(1��)�ڥ�����(siroca)��[siroca�ۡ���١����꡼ siroca ���ե�]���ֲ��ɥ�å� (http://item.rakuten.co.jp/soukai/4580319910901/)

You can buy whole-wheat bread flour from the link Cytrix said or from a number of other websites (全粒粉, zenryufun)

I also bought a cheesemaking kit for ricotta and mozzarella (the only problem is finding milk that hasn't been pasteurized at too high of a temperature): Cheese Making Kits (http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/c/1-Kits.html) You can make other kinds of cheese if you're willing to get a cheese press.

Gizmotech
June 28th, 2013, 16:51
If you're a meat eater, I'd recommend a Foreman Grill. They don't cost a lot to get one shipped from US Amazon to Japan, and it has made cooking soo much easier (I can grill meat while I cook a side on the burner which means everything is warm)

RomulusLupin
June 28th, 2013, 17:13
If you're a meat eater, I'd recommend a Foreman Grill. They don't cost a lot to get one shipped from US Amazon to Japan, and it has made cooking soo much easier (I can grill meat while I cook a side on the burner which means everything is warm)
As an alternative to this, use the little fish cooker in your stove for everything. All kinds of meat and vegetables come out great in that goofy little thing.

Gizmotech
June 28th, 2013, 17:15
As an alternative to this, use the little fish cooker in your stove for everything. All kinds of meat and vegetables come out great in that goofy little thing.

I wish I had a fish cooker :(

Ini
June 28th, 2013, 20:21
i wish I had a kitchen.....

zombiekelly
June 28th, 2013, 21:00
If you own a knife, buy mune instead of sasami chicken and cut off the skin yourself. Apparently the people around here haven't figured this out yet because sasami is 1.5-2 times the price of mune.

Gezora
June 30th, 2013, 14:13
I thought mune also tended to be dark meat.

mothy
June 30th, 2013, 15:01
Mune is breast meat. So that'd be the whiter meat.

Japanna
July 2nd, 2013, 11:48
Ceviche salad works great since it takes negligible time or effort to make and the fish you can get in Japan is so fresh, though the seasonal availability of fruits is a downside. I prefer to use some variety of white-meat fish, which I simply de-skin/de-bone, chop into cubes and mix with lemon juice, and stir in chopped avocado, grapefruit, and parsley (the citric acid cooks the fish - eat sooner if you like the fish more raw, pop it in the fridge and wait if you like the fish more cooked). If you can find some decent bread to accompany it makes a helluva meal.

This meal is also incredibly flexible - you can add chilis, garlic, shrimp, mango, cilantro, red/green/white onion, pineapple, lettuce, oranges, scallops, tomato, beans...it can use virtually any ingredients you've got lying around and be tailored to any taste.

coop52
January 20th, 2014, 17:30
I saw in the newbie survey thread in Applying that someone wanted to talk about cooking, so I thought I'd bump this thread. I moved apartments after I got a new job in August, and my kitchen isn't that tiny anymore (so freaking happy!). I got a larger size microwave/oven to go with my bigger kitchen (大型レンジ) and it's awesome. The microwave part is higher powered than the smaller one, so it doesn't take as much time to heat stuff up, plus it has two racks for baking.

Since I got the oven, I've been baking bread on a regular basis. I've tried a couple of recipes with mixed results. One was a random no-knead that I found on Pinterest. It didn't work as well since I used all whole-wheat flour, so it didn't rise as much as I wanted. It still tasted good. The other recipe, which is the one I've been using regularly, is this one- Quick rise homemade bread (http://hiddenponies.com/2012/12/quick-homemade-bread/). The only change I've made to it is using soy milk instead of regular and using 2 cups of wheat/3ish of regular flour. It's easy to make and freezes well.I got silicon loaf pans from Muji and Cainz Home. The one from Muji is for pound cakes and is a bit skinny for making bread, but it does ok. If you don't have loaf pans yet, get a couple from Cainz; they're pretty cheap.

I've also started making applesauce in my crockpot (you could do it on a stove, too) and it's ridiculously simple. I buy a bag of apples, core and cut them into smallish pieces. You can get an apple corer/slicer at the 100 yen store if you don't want to cut it up yourself. I leave the peels on, but you can peel them if you want. Then put the apple pieces in the crockpot, add a little lemon juice to prevent browning and some cinnamon, and let it cook for a couple of hours (high or low doesn't seem to matter that much). It makes a few cups depending on how many apples you use. A bag of 5-6 big fujis usually makes 3 or 4 cups for me. I portion it out and freeze it. It reheats well and tastes like apple pie filling if you eat it warm.

Gizmotech
January 20th, 2014, 17:50
Crockpot was the best purchase I made in the last year.

coop52
January 20th, 2014, 17:55
What kind of stuff do you make in it? Other than the applesauce, I usually just make stew or curry. I know people back home use them for everything.

Gizmotech
January 20th, 2014, 18:37
Stews and soups mostly. Though I did make pulled pork once and that was awesome.

word
January 20th, 2014, 19:19
Chili; it's a fantastic crock pot food.

Ini
January 20th, 2014, 20:02
ŷǥХ꡼: ԥʡ󥰤ۡǥХ꡼ݥդǥݥȤޤۡǥХ꡼ʸ (http://delivery.rakuten.co.jp/index.php?l-id=top_normal_special04)

boom - cooking problem solved

therealwindycity
January 20th, 2014, 20:34
Made kimchi chige tonight! God I love Korean food

Jiggit
January 20th, 2014, 20:35
Yeah but do you make your own kimchi?


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therealwindycity
January 20th, 2014, 20:37
Sometimes. I'm not very good at it though. Do you?

Jiggit
January 20th, 2014, 20:41
Yeah it's pretty good once it ferments properly. I think I need stronger fish sauce. I use one made in my prefecture that's lovely but I think it's too subtle. And expensive. I'll get some thai stuff next time I go to the foreign goods store.

Did you use the Maangchi guide?


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therealwindycity
January 20th, 2014, 21:52
No, I learned from a friend in university. There are a few Korean restaurants in my area that make really great kimchi though so I usually just buy it from them; the homemade stuff is good if it turns out well, but I've screwed up before and wasted 5 kg of cabbage (I think it was the chili)

Lianwen
January 21st, 2014, 00:02
iHerb.com was introduced to me by another ALT. It's cheap, they ship to Japan, and it's all natural!

word
January 21st, 2014, 09:01
That honestly sounds like it's a website that sells something that would get you deported.

Jiggit
January 21st, 2014, 09:03
No, I learned from a friend in university. There are a few Korean restaurants in my area that make really great kimchi though so I usually just buy it from them; the homemade stuff is good if it turns out well, but I've screwed up before and wasted 5 kg of cabbage (I think it was the chili)

That's weird. Did you use chilli powder instead of flakes or something so it was just incredibly spicy? Or it went rotten somehow?

therealwindycity
January 21st, 2014, 09:16
I used chili flakes grown locally in my prefecture, and they were weirdly sweet and didn't have very much spice to them at all. Do you use mostly Japanese ingredients when you make it? If I make it again I'm going to try to find Korean chili.

I looked at Maangchi and I really like a lot of their info!

Jiggit
January 21st, 2014, 09:18
The chilli flakes I use are korean, yeah, otherwise just Japanese stuff. Seems like they are fairly easy to get hold of.

Lianwen
January 21st, 2014, 10:21
That honestly sounds like it's a website that sells something that would get you deported.

It's actually amazing...but yeah. The name.

They sell my favorite protein bars though.