cooking

Five simple ways to take your curry rice to the next level

Curry rice is the perfect Japanese comfort food. It’s hearty, filling, sweet and just a little bit spicy, being a much milder version of Indian curry introduced to Japan by way of the British (you’re welcome, Japan!).

One of the best things about curry rice is how easy it is to customise it. You can subtly alter the flavour of the sauce by adding honey, apples, or even chocolate, and you can switch up serving methods by swapping the rice for udon or ramen. You can pour it over deep-fried pork katsu or seafood, or throw in all kinds of vegetables… the possibilities are endless!

But if you’re looking for ways to really step up your curry game, then we recommend trying some of these tips and tricks from professional curry chefs…

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Satisfy all your slicing and dicing needs with this incredibly kawaii kitty kitchen knife

Do you like cute kitties? Do you like chopping things up? Of course you do! And now you can combine both of those passions (in a nice way!) at the same time with this adorable laser-cut stainless steel kitty knife. It’s just purrfect for all your culinary needs, especially if you’re of the opinion that even the most mundane of tasks can be rendered instantly more enjoyable with the inclusion of a little touch of cuteness.

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Floppy bacon got you down? We’ve got a bacon enhancement secret for you

Bacon is a bit of a misnomer in Japan. When you say the word bacon to a foreigner, they often imagine crispy, tasty strips of goodness; you also might need to wipe up a bit of their drool. However, when confronted with “bacon” in Japan, the disappointment is immense. What is labeled as bacon looks like strangely cut pre-cooked ham.

Even when you attempt to bring home the bacon and cook it yourself, as much as you attempt to crisp it up, you will still have supremely floppy frustration. Or you overcook it and end up with black burnt inedible garbage. There is a little trick that has been making its way around the Internet that is turning floppy disappointments into crispy deliciousness. All it takes is one little secret ingredient!

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The defrosted reality of 24 frozen meals at Thai 7-Elevens [Photos]

The frozen food section at the local convenience store may not hold any lofty culinary treasures, but it does hold the key to saving time and energy after a long day. All around the world, people value frozen foods for their convenience and, sometimes, their deliciousness.

But can you really trust the picture on the front of the package to be what comes out of the microwave? One Thai netizen went on a quest to demystify the frozen food section of Thailand’s 7-Elevens and posted photos of 24 heated up meals to see how they compared to people’s expectations.

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Clever kitchen tool adds paws-itively adorable cat paws to your meal

Japan’s numerous cat cafes are proof positive of the appeal of combing a bite to eat and feline companionship. But no matter how cute those kitties may be, you don’t actually want one walking all over your food, do you?

So instead, this clever kitchen tool will add an adorable pawprint to your meal even as your cat’s feet stay firmly on the floor.

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From lotus root to alcohol: Are powdered foods the next big boom in Japan?

What’s that crumbly brown stuff on the rice pictured above?

If you guessed that it was some combination of spices, you’re (mostly) wrong. It’s actually the powdered form of a common cooking ingredient that you can find in any Japanese home. In fact, powdered foods in general have recently been drawing a lot of attention in Japan, so we wanted to share some interesting tidbits about them with you. And like the powder in the picture above, you might be surprised by what you find!

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We follow Twitter recipe to cook “coffee rice”! 【RocketKitchen】

As many of our readers are undoubtedly aware, white rice is an essential part of the Japanese diet, a food that we Japanese treat with reverence. It so happens that we also enjoy various flavored rice dishes known as takikomi gohan, in which rice is cooked with different ingredients to give it a distinct taste. Some of the  common takikomi gohan flavors that we like to have include kuri gohan made with chestnut and  matsutake gohan made with matsutake mushrooms. But a particularly unique kind of flavored rice causing a buzz on the Japanese Internet has come to our attention recently, and as unconventional and unexpected as it sounded, we decided we had to cook and try it for ourselves. The ingredient used in this unusual flavored rice?  It’s something you would ordinarily never associate with rice: coffee!

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How to cook pot stickers in just three seconds: Lots of garlic, lots of craziness 【Video】

I love gyoza, the pork and garlic-packed dumplings that you can find in diners, ramen joints, and grocery stores across Japan. Seriously, when the Japan Gyoza Association released an ad that was just a dude running around with a delirious grin saying, “Aha! Gyoza! Ahaha!” it seemed, to me, like the most natural reaction in the world to the little wrapped bits of deliciousness.

Really, the only complaint I have about gyoza is that I don’t have a freshly cooked batch in front of me right now. With a solution to that problem, here’s a video of how to make gyoza in just three seconds, without using a microwave.

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Revenge bento show us it’s a dish best served cold (and boxed) with insults and hidden chilies

There are two advantages to the large variety of foodstuffs that go into a typical bento, or Japanese boxed lunch. Not only do they provide a diverse collection of flavors and vital nutrients, they also give aesthetically minded chefs plenty of options for arranging them in an expressive manner.

Of course, “expressive” can end up meaning very different things depending on what the bento-maker wants to express. In happy times, the result might be fun and playful chara-ben, boxed lunches that resemble popular fictional characters. But on the other end of the spectrum lie shikaeshi bento, “boxed lunches of revenge” that are as spiteful as they are creative.

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Netizens awed, charmed by company’s insanely detailed culinary miniatures 【Pics】

Japan clearly has no shortage of incredibly realistic miniatures. Only recently, we’ve covered Ginji, the wise hamster behind the world’s smallest izakaya (may he rest in peace), as well as the creator of some remarkable small-scale hangars.

Which brings us to the newest development in this saga: miniature food sets. Many have taken to Twitter to express their love for the ant-sized creations of company Re-ment, a maker of toys and other miscellaneous goods. With names like “Dad, eat the bitter part for me!” and “”Grandma’s House,” these sets recreate each scene with uncanny accuracy, but at a fraction of the size.

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Adorable little kitten auditions for her own cooking show, charms us all

Pets are an extremely important part of our lives as they provide us with companionship that can’t be compared. People will try to do pretty much everything with their pets: walk, talk, bathe, cook (not like that!), the list just goes on and on! If you’ve never seen a pet cooking then let us remind you of YouTube veteran Francis, who hosts the cooking show “Cooking with Dog”.

Perhaps this show has inspired this kitten to start up her own cooking venture. They might want to work out a few tiny details first, but for now let’s introduce Meow, the cooking kitten sensation!

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We made world-famous French toast in our office, and so can you! 【RocketKitchen】

Have you heard of the Hotel Okura in Tokyo? It’s recognized as one of the top hotels in the world, often housing rich business travelers and foreign heads of state visiting Japan. Every U.S. president since Richard Nixon has stayed there, and even James Bond has been a guest!

But despite all that, the Hotel Okura is best known among us mortals as “the home of the most delicious French toast in the world.” It’s been praised by innumerable websites and reviews, turning the small, simple breakfast dish into a 1,840-yen (US$15.50) delicacy. With a price and reputation like that, you wouldn’t expect us to be able to make the exact same thing in our office kitchen. Right?

Well, we did. And so can you!

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Frozen marshmallow cream: Just two ingredients, at least as good as ice cream 【RocketKitchen】

Every now and again, we stumble across a dessert recipe that’s so simple and tasty, it almost feels like we’ve discovered some sort of hidden secret that man wasn’t meant to know. Last year, we found out that instead of making pancakes one at a time, we could just make one huge one in a rice cooker, sprinkle in some green tea powder, and have a dessert that looks and tastes great with no fuss at all.

But what if you prefer chilled desserts to hotcakes? No problem. We recently tried a recipe for a frozen marshmallow dessert that may or may not technically be ice cream, but amazingly creates something that tastes even better from just two ingredients, and takes almost as few steps to make.

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Minimal effort, loads of flavor: Make juicy roast beef in your rice cooker with vacuum cooking!

Our Japanese sister site Pouch would like to let our English-speaking readers in on a simple, time and effort-conserving way to cook a flavorful roast beef. This method also allows the meat to retain all of its natural juices, so you can impress your friends with an incredibly tender home-cooked meal.

But get ready for the best part of all–you get to let your rice cooker do all the hard work!

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Eat your beans the doubly delicious way with this mushiyaki edamame recipe 【RocketKitchen】

Edamame – young, green soybeans and (in this writer’s opinion anyway) the food of the gods – are usually prepared by boiling the beans in the pods, before draining and sprinkling with salt. While some people might think of edamame as an appetiser, or a side dish to sushi, in Japan the mighty green soybean has a special purpose – edamame’s best friend and soulmate is a cold beer.

And the writing team over at our Japanese sister site Pouch have their own special method of cooking edamame that they swear is doubly delicious. All you need is edamame, salt, and a lot less water than you might think.

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Coffee Jelly: The Japanese treat that’s surprisingly easy to make

Although coffee and gelatin aren’t typically associated with Japanese cuisine, the popular dessert called “coffee jelly” was actually created in Japan during the Taisho period (That’s over 100 years ago!). As you might expect, the dessert consists of gelatin that has been flavored with black coffee and sugar.

Curious culinarians abroad are in luck! The dog/human chef duo over at YouTube channel Cooking with Dog show us just how easy it is to make this delicious Japanese treat at home.

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Science just proved you can unboil an egg, but what about a reversed boiled egg?

Making news headlines around the globe, scientists were able to unboil a boiled egg. That’s pretty awesome for science, but what does that mean for us, the everyday eaters? Not a whole lot at the moment, but here is another trick with an egg you can do right in your own home. All you need is an egg, a stocking, and some household items and you can enjoy a reverse hard-boiled egg!

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Japanese food blogger makes fried chicken poodles: “They’re too cute to eat!”

Whether our parents like it or not, food is an art form. Playing with food is awesome, and we’ve seen some spectacular examples of shaved-ice masterpieces, printed designs onto food, or corgi omelets.

But if you’ve been looking for a quick, easy artistic recipe you can do at home, look no further. Get ready to make the cutest little appetizers you’ve ever seen: fried poodles.

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“100 Sizzling Japanese Maids in Action” video is less sexy yet more awesome than it sounds

Japan has a long-standing and highly publicized infatuation with maid outfits. As such, it’s really not much of a surprise that you can find a video on YouTube that bears the English title 100 Sizzling Japanese Maids in Action.

The 100-second video isn’t a contribution to Japan’s highly specialized pornography industry though. Rather, it’s an ad for something altogether less prurient, as its true theme isn’t so much “hot girls” as “hotcakes.” It is, nevertheless, extremely compelling viewing.

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An Italian take on a Japanese classic, but do people in Japan consider it sushi?

For years Japan has been toying around with combining its signature flavors with the many different cuisines of the world. Japan even has its own take on pasta that they call Japanese-style pasta (和風パスタ). Wouldn’t it be fair for Italian chefs to experiment with Japanese cuisine? Two chefs in Italy have been putting their personal touches to the idea of sushi, and their pasta sushi creation is now starting to make some noise in the US and on the Internet.

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