cooking

Beat the heat with Japanese somen noodles dipped in Starbucks noodle sauce?!

For many Japanese, somen is the go to food of choice for keeping the summer heat exhaustion blues away. These thin, white Japanese noodles that resemble vermicelli are traditionally made from wheat flour and served chilled.

But what do you do if a somen craving hits and you don’t have a full serving of mentsuyu, or noodle dipping sauce, on hand to eat them with? What if you’re tired or eating somen the traditional way?  Or what if you’re in need of a little caffeine kick with your meal?

If you answered mix your noodle sauce with Starbucks coffee, congratulations! We’re stumped as to how our Japanese staff arrived at this weird food combination, but apparently it tastes much better than it sounds.

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We substitute mirin for sugar in pudding and then taste it ourselves 【Rocket Kitchen】

If you’re in the mood to cook but running short on ingredients, there’s always the old tactic of asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar. If you are in Japan though, why don’t you ask your neighbor for a cup of mirin, or sweet sake used for cooking, instead?

The Sanshu Mikawa Mirin Distillery has recently been promoting sweets made with mirin. This notion is bound to turn some heads as there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between mirin and sweets in Japanese cooking, where it’s instead often used to add a flavorful touch to grilled fish or sushi. So how is it that this seemingly savory flavor can be substituted for the sweetness of sugar? The RocketKitchen is going to get to the bottom of this and eat some pudding too!

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Turn rice balls into rice kitties with this adorable omusubi kit!

The Japanese words omusubi and onigiri are usually translated as “rice ball,” but there’s no rule that they have to be round. Walk into any convenience store or supermarket in Japan and you’ll find the shelves stocked with triangular versions, plus plenty that look closer to a soft-edged hockey puck than a perfectly spherical ball.

What we’re saying is that when it comes to omusubi design, your options are wide open, and with this kitty-shaped omusubi kit, they’re adorable as well.

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Feeling hungry? Dip into this delicious Princess Mononoke-inspired cheese ball recipe

With summer come picnics, potlucks and barbeques, but for those of us who aren’t so handy in the kitchen, it can be a real conundrum trying to come up with a dish that’s simple to make yet tastes great.

If you’re stumped for summertime snack ideas, why not try your hand at this easy-to-make cheeseball recipeShaped like the Forest Spirit from Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke, it not only looks delicious, but is sure to impress any Miyazaki or anime buffs in your circle of friends.

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Japan’s really into toasting marshmallows… on a takoyaki maker!

Mmm, marshmellers (as I like to call ’em.) Those squidgy little puffs of delicious goo. Bad for your teeth, bad for your waistline, but oh-so-yummy, especially when toasted. The outside goes all crispy and the inside melts juuuuust a little bit. In fact, they’re the perfect treat for toasting around the campfire.

But in Japan, they prefer to toast their marshmallows in a slightly more “Japanese” way – by which we mean they toast them over a takoyaki grilling machine!

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We made Sailor Jupiter’s out-of-this-world bento, and you can too! 【RocketKitchen】

Recently we’ve been seeing a lot of ways for you to express your inner sailor scout. There’s Sailor Moon pajamas, Sailor Moon cellphones, and even Sailor Moon designer bags and, um, menstrual pads.

But what about when you want to eat like one of the sailor scouts? Well that’s something we at RocketNews24 have been wondering ourselves, so we decided to try making one of Sailor Jupiter’s legendary bento boxes. How did it turn out? Let’s just say we ran into some interesting characters along the way….

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RocketKitchen: A simple and delicious recipe for cooking tuna

Tuna. It’s definitely a fish most of us all grew up with. And if you’re anything like one of our RocketNews24 crew, P.K., then you may have grown up believing that tuna only comes from a can!

Though you may associate tuna with cans, that need not be the case. You can actually use fresh tuna in your meals, and today we’ll show you how with a simple recipe that’s sure to impress, even though it requires only five ingredients. Read on to learn how to make this delicious yet simple tuna recipe!

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Waiting for your meal is so much more fun with a tiny, projection-mapped chef cooking for you

It’s no surprise that many celebrations and social gatherings center around food. Food is a big part of pretty much every country’s culture, and since many of us eat around three times a day, it makes sense to enjoy your grub in the company of friends or family.

But when we’re out to eat at a restaurant, sometimes the wait for our food can put us in a bad mood, particularly if our stomachs have been empty for a bit too long. One company, however, has come up with a nifty way to help restaurants serve up a bit of high-tech entertainment to its guests: a pint-sized chef who cooks up your meal right on your plate!

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Professional Chinese food chef teaches us how to make the perfect fried rice

If you’re anything like us, you love Chinese food. Ramen, dumplings, spicy ribs, the always delicious chahan (fried rice) – you name it, we’ll keep eating it so long as you keep bringing it! Chahan is, we have to admit, pretty easy to make, but even so we can never get it to taste as good as the stuff they serve in the restaurant.

But no more! A couple of writers from our Japanese sister site recently went to get some pointers on cooking great fried rice from a real Chinese-food chef. Here are his four tips for making killer chahan at home!

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How to make a mouth-watering Japanese beef bowl in just five minutes 【RocketKitchen】

The beef bowl is essentially Japan’s equivalent to the American hamburger. Offered by inexpensive restaurants across the nation, the beef bowl, or gyudon, as it’s called in Japanese, is a tasty, hot meal that’ll give you all the protein and carbs you’re craving without costing you much money or time.

But while you’re usually never far from a beef bowl joint in Japan, what if you live in a town or country that doesn’t have a Yoshinoya, Matsuya, or, most tragically of all, a mouth-watering Sukiya? No problem, because with this amazingly simple recipe, you can make your own Japanese-style beef bowl in just five minutes!

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These rad, super-rare cutting knives are (presumably) for cooking

If you’re gonna slay a dragon, you might as well do it in style. May we suggest these crazily cool-looking cutting knives that only need to be sharpened every 25 years?

You read that right: These knives will keep their edge for an astonishing 25 years – a quarter of your entire life, if you’re lucky, and five times as long as your passing interest in cooking that you took up to impress that one girl in college who was really into kale and organic, grass-fed wagyu beef.

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Got a great recipe that requires soy sauce? Enter this competition to win 100,000 yen!

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a soy sauce connoisseur or if you enjoy dabbling in Japanese fusion cooking, we’ve found a perfect way for you to earn some easy prize money.

The Japan Soy Sauce Association is currently accepting entries for two special contest categories: Washoku, for Japanese-style recipes and Your Country’s Cuisine, for food that incorporates the use of soy sauce into traditional dishes from your homeland.

With the top prize being 100,000 yen (US$834.87), if you’re a foreigner living in Japan, now’s the time to get that apron on and get cooking!

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Feasting with Fluffy! Learn how to cook for both you and your feline friend

“Cooking school for my cat and me”? Sounds like a dream come true for ailurophiles (cat lovers) the world over!

ABC Cooking Studio, a popular chain of cooking schools across Japan, has recently teamed up with MonPetit, a brand of gourmet cat food under the Purina label, to offer cooking lessons on how to craft the perfect meal which can be eaten by both you and your cat! With four special recipes to learn, this is the ultimate chance to pamper your adorable kitty and to partake of a top-quality meal together.

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We spend a morning with an expert wagashi chef creating no-bake traditional Japanese sweets!

If you’re someone who enjoys making treats like cakes and pastries, then perhaps you have first hand knowledge of how baking can sometimes be a tricky affair. Well, in Japan, we have a whole category of wagashi, or traditional Japanese sweets, that aren’t baked at all, called namagashi (literally, “raw confectionaries”). Namagashi are typically made from various colorful bean pastes and often crafted into delicate seasonal-themed shapes.

Earlier this month, we participated in a seminar to experience what namagashi-making is like. Join us as we see how a master chef creates beautiful flowers from bean paste, and then try our not-so-expert hand at creating our own confections!

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Do play with your food: “Dam curry rice” looks dam tasty to us!

Recently, we shared five tips for extra-yummy curry rice with our dear readers, because we believe that everyone should be able to enjoy the very best of this mildly spicy, sweet and hearty Japanese comfort food the right way. But one thing we forgot to mention is that presentation is an important part of the curry experience. You can’t just slop spoonfuls of the yummy brown stuff all over the rice and expect it to look appetising.

Luckily, we’ve now stumbled upon a new serving method that’s gaining popularity in Japan: “Dam curry”!

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Mochi hot cakes: The Japanese pancakes you don’t even need a rice cooker to make!

There’s a reason we say “selling like hotcakes”, and that reason is that hotcakes are awesome. These fluffy, light little circles of joy were sent to make snack time delightful and fill the world with rainbows and sunshine.

But if you’ve ever looked down at your little pancakes and thought “hey, this just isn’t Japanese enough for me!” then we have the answer for you. Mochi, Japan’s favourite rice cake, is said to make hot cakes even fluffier and even more awesome. But how do you add a solid, square block of mochi to a bowl of pancake mix anyway?

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Japanese Twitter user attempts British cuisine, ends up with monstrous fish dish from hell

As a British person living overseas, you get to hear a lot of negative stereotypes about your country’s cuisine. Generally, people think that we eat nothing but fish and chips, washed down by copious amounts of tea, and that the rest of our food is bland, unappetizing and poorly presented. But this couldn’t be further from the truth – British people are actually crazy about food and cooking, we’re obsessed with celebrity chefs and cooking shows, and Britain has plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants to be proud of.

Still, there’s certain aspects of British cuisine that are hard to defend, like the disgusting fish dish known as Stargazy Pie, which one Japanese Twitter user recently attempted, to horrifying results and plenty of ridicule…

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Kawaii kitchenware alert! Create cute kitty cookies with this awesome rolling-pin!

Recently we’ve been going crazy over kitty kitchen cookware, like the adorable kitty knife we featured a little while back. But our quest for kittycat-themed culinary goods is still ongoing, and this amazing kitty rolling-pin by Etsy seller Mood For Wood has got us seriously craving some freshly baked cookies, pronto!

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3-D printer “Lunchbot” will put pretty patterns on your rice while you get ready for work 【Video】

As a kid growing up in the 80s, I had imagined that by the year 2015, we’d either be waging war against an army of unstoppable killing machines of our own creation or zipping to work by hoverboard (or perhaps in phallus-shaped train pods) while enjoying eggs ‘n’ bacon in tablet form. Alas, science has let me down on both fronts, with the closest thing I have in my life to robot warfare being Apple constantly bugging me to sign in to the Cloud or Facebook suddenly deciding that we all have to download a totally separate smartphone app just to receive private messages.

But at least we can now let machines make our bento lunches look pretty while we’re busy ironing a shirt or looking for the keys to our stupid, dead dinosaur-fuelled cars. Say hello to Lunchbot.

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Make your own “wagashi” Japanese sweets at home with these creation kits

Pretty much anyone can pick up some brownie mix at the local grocer, crack an egg into a bowl, mix, and end up with a piping hot tray of delicious goodies. That’s child’s play (literally, if you’re using an Easy Bake).

It’s another thing altogether to create some truly Pinterest-worthy “wagashi” Japanese sweets. You know what we’re talking about: The wabi-sabi-riffic, colorful eye-and-mouth candy we’ve gushed over here on this very site time and again.

Wagashi are equally intimidating items to make for foreigners and Japanese alike, often calling for seemingly exotic ingredients, mysterious baking methods and coming in hard-to-replicate shapes and sizes. But, lucky for enthusiasts, there’s now a series of home kits available online to make the process a (relative) breeze!

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