cooking

Rice cooker oden: Quick, cheap, and delicious

Rice cooker oden: Quick, cheap, and delicious

Between rising sales tax and the dropping value of the yen, prices are on the rise for food in Japan. That puts us in a bit of a bind, since food is one of our favorite things to buy, along with swell stuff like shelter and clothing (although if you’re a work-from-home Internet writer, you can sometimes get away without that last one).

Thankfully, we recently found a way to make a delicious, hot meal that’s also dirt cheap, by tossing the stewed vegetable contents of a pack of oden from 7-Eleven into our rice cooker.

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Master Japanese chef’s knife skills turn cucumber into edible art in just three minutes

Master Japanese chef’s knife skills turn cucumber into edible art in just three minutes

Artists of different disciplines each have their own unique tools of the trade. A painter has his brushes and canvas, while a sculptor’s skills might call for a chisel and block of marble.

And a Japanese chef? All he needs to make beautiful, edible artwork is a cucumber and a kitchen knife.

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16 fancy eggs from Japanese bento lunch boxes

16 fancy eggs from Japanese bento lunch boxes

Eggs are greatly underrated in the bento world. It’s usually rice and all the fun forms it can be molded into or seaweed and its ability to be cut into any shape that takes center stage in lunch boxes across Japan. But the humble egg can be quite fancy in the hands of a highly skilled and creative cook. Let’s take a look at 16 fancy eggs from Japanese kitchens!

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From Ponyo to Italy: Four delicious ways to improve instant ramen while your water’s boiling

From Ponyo to Italy: Four delicious ways to improve instant ramen while your water’s boiling

August 25 is Instant Ramen Day in Japan, in commemoration of the day back in 1958 when Nissin unveiled Chicken Ramen, the very first instant version of the country’s favorite noodle dish. In celebration, we were going to chow down on some instant ramen, but since we do that all the time anyway, somehow a bowl of plain ramen didn’t seem quite special enough.

So instead, we drew on our love of anime, world travel, and the simple joy of not sweating profusely to come up with four recipes to spruce up instant ramen, specially tailored to be simple enough for anyone whose cooking skills mean their home is always well-stocked with the stuff.

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This little bear just popped up from your toast to say good morning!

This little bear just popped up from your toast to say good morning!

Breakfast has never looked this cute! With the help of a clever little cutter and mold from Japan, you can make your toast smile every morning. Details on exactly how and where you can buy this meal-enhancing device after the break!

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Make a map of Japan in your oven with these intricate cookie cutters

Make a map of Japan in your oven with these intricate cookie cutters

Think you can identify all the prefectures of Japan? Yeah, neither can we. But that’s okay because now with the help of this impressively accurate cookie cutter set, you can study and eat a map of Japan at the same time. Mmmm, knowledge.

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What’s better than sushi? Ramen sushi!

What’s better than sushi? Ramen sushi!

If you look closely at the photo above, you’ll see that inside this sushi roll there’s no rice. Instead, it’s filled with the goodness of instant noodles!

The lifeblood of students, singles and people who just don’t have time to cook, the humble noodle has been used in many ways over the years and now it’s seeing a new dawn, wrapped in a roll and plated up as sushi. And did I mention this baby is wrapped in bacon?

We’ll give you the easy, step-by-step recipe after the jump, but purists be warned: the following images may disturb. Everybody else: come on in and take a seat!

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Put your washing machine to better use – cook Chinese soup with it!【Video】

Put your washing machine to better use – cook Chinese soup with it!【Video】

There are all sorts of electrical household appliances designed to make cooking easier these days. Multi-functional microwave ovens, bread makers, noodle makers, you name it. Advertisements make these kitchen gadgets look so easy to use, they tend to make us forget that these machines were created to help people who actually cook. They’re probably not going to turn folks who don’t usually cook (microwaveable food doesn’t count!) into instant chefs.

This might sound crazy, but your washing machine might just be the fool-proof cooking appliance! Not convinced? We weren’t either, until we saw this Chinese guy cook soup with his washing machine!

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Defrost a steak in 5 minutes without using heat or the microwave? What is this sorcery!?【Video】

Defrost a steak in 5 minutes without using heat or the microwave? What is this sorcery!?【Video】

Buying in bulk and freezing some of your purchase to cook another day is a great way to save money. But the problem with freezing things is that then you have to unfreeze them. That’s right, my friend. We need to talk about defrosting.

If I told you there was a super-fast way to defrost meat that doesn’t require a heat source, a microwave, or even hot water, you’d probably think I’d been drinking too much Lemon Coke or something. But, dear reader, never again will you feel depressed about the single-person servings lined up neatly in your freezer. Never again will a good steak go to waste for want of an eater. Never again. And it’s all thanks to the magic of physics. Yes. Magic.

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Our recipe for green tea rice-cooker pancakes: amazingly tasty, ridiculously easy

Our recipe for green tea rice-cooker pancakes: amazingly tasty, ridiculously easy

We recently found out that you can use a rice cooker to make awesome, gigantic pancakes. Our first reaction was surprise, as we’d honestly never even thought to try. Soon enough, though, our surprise faded and was replaced by something even stronger: hunger.

So we decided to get off the culinary sidelines and whip up a batch for ourselves. Since we were using Japan’s most beloved kitchen appliance, we decided to take another cue from our adopted country and spruce things up a bit by making matcha green tea pancakes.

We’re going to spoil the ending right now and tell you that they taste amazing. Want to make them yourself? Read on and we’ll give you the whole incredibly easy recipe.

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Want your cooking to taste like world-famous chef Nobu’s? Here’s the seasoning you need

Want your cooking to taste like world-famous chef Nobu’s? Here’s the seasoning you need

One of the few Japanese restaurateurs to gain international fame and popularity is Nobuyuki Matsuhisa. Better known by his professional moniker Nobu, the Saitama-born chef began his culinary career in Tokyo, before leaving Japan to open restaurants in Peru, Argentina, and the U.S.

Being so far away from the birthplace of Japanese cuisine, though, meant Nobu had to come up with new recipes and flavors that would suit the palates of his non-Japanese clientele. This often meant finding roles for locally available ingredients, but in one case, Nobu took things a step further by developing one of his own: miso powder.

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How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker

How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker

Every summer, I try to spend as many days as possible on the beach at Enoshima, and each time I get out of the station and walk towards the sand, I pass a long line of people waiting for a seat at the local pancake restaurant. This isn’t Japan’s only pancake joint with a lengthy wait, either, as you can find similar eateries with comparable lines in Tokyo, too.

It used to strike me as a little weird. After all, whipping up a stack of pancakes isn’t exactly the most challenging culinary feat. It can get tedious, though, as you settle into a monotonous pattern of plopping batter into the pan, flipping the half-cooked cake, and repeating over and over again.

Or, you could bypass all that by making an entire batch of pancakes all at once in a rice cooker.

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No time to cook? No problem! Three easy ways to improve instant curry

No time to cook? No problem! Three easy ways to improve instant curry

Even though it’s pretty easy to make, there are times when you just can’t be bothered to whip up a regular batch of curry. While the individual steps might be simple, the total process of peeling, chopping, and boiling all those ingredients can take a long time, so often people who are busy, lazy, or bachelors take the easy way out and just microwave a pack of instant stuff.

Convenient as it may be, though, instant curry isn’t always the tastiest version of the dish. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of ways to spruce it up.

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In the kitchen with Kiki – We whip up some Ghibli-inspired rice porridge

In the kitchen with Kiki – We whip up some Ghibli-inspired rice porridge

Recently, our Japanese-language reporter Hotaru has been a little down in the dumps. She’s not sure if she’s come down with a cold or is just feeling the doldrums of the dreaded Gogatsu-byou, but either way, she needed a boost.

Realizing that good health and a good mood starts with good food, she headed into the kitchen to whip up a batch of porridge. But not just any old porridge would do for helping Hotaru shake off her funk, she needed to recreate the porridge that picks up the heroine of classic anime Kiki’s Delivery Service.

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Is British food really that bad? Our Japanese writer tries her hand at some UK dishes

Is British food really that bad? Our Japanese writer tries her hand at some UK dishes

Japanese people seem to love telling me that British food is terrible, and the only good thing we have going for us is fish and chips. No one can believe that I actually get a bit tired of Japanese food and pine for my favourite dishes from home! Perhaps to try and change this perception, the British Embassy has been undertaking a campaign called ‘Food is GREAT!’ (for Great Britain, geddit?), and our Japanese writer decided to put some of their recipes to the test.

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We eat the Attack on Titan instant curry, plus make our own edible Titans

We eat the Attack on Titan instant curry, plus make our own edible Titans

Sometimes, you don’t realize how much you’ll miss something until it’s gone. A few months back, hungry Attack on Titan fans could get both hamburgers and bento boxed lunches inspired by the hit series. They were only available for a limited time though, and both are gone now, leaving us without a way to simultaneously satisfy our cravings for giant-fighting anime and a quick, hot meal.

That is, until the release of a new line of Attack on Titan instant curry. We got our hands on a pack, then created a batch of edible Titans to go with it.

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No chopping board? No problem! Genius device makes food prep a walk in the park, woods, hills…

No chopping board? No problem! Genius device makes food prep a walk in the park, woods, hills…

One of the best things about camping is gathering around the fire at the end of the day to cook, eat and drink with friends and family. Free of the trappings of our modern life, we’re able to focus on the food, the nature around us, and – a something of a rarity in our paradoxically lonely social network-obsessed world – each other.

But cooking out in the wilderness can be a fiddly affair. With none of our modern kitchen appliances or shining stainless steel countertops on which to prepare meals, doing something as simple as chopping up an onion for the pot can be a real pain, least not for the poor soul who has to carry a wooden chopping board and knife in their backpack.

This genius device from India, however, does away with the need for a knife and chopping board altogether making campfire cooking an absolute breeze.

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Freaky veggies trending in Japanese groceries, possible precursor to real-life “The Last of Us”

Freaky veggies trending in Japanese groceries, possible precursor to real-life “The Last of Us”

So, apparently numerous ’50s and ’60s B-Movies (and one glorious ’80s cartoon) and a popular, genre-defining video game weren’t enough to deter scientists from playing God with plant-life if the growing number of hybrid vegetables available on Japanese store shelves is any proof.

These days, most hybrid vegetables are created over a roughly 10-year period of crossbreeding certain seeds in what we presume is some kind of laboratory setting, although the practice has been alive for centuries – yielding some hybrids that the general public isn’t even aware are hybrids. The Romanesco, for example, is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, and was created in the 16th century. Side note: It’s also probably mind blowing to look at while high.

But the things we’re seeing increasingly often in Japan these days are just plain weird.

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Celebrate Korea’s loneliest holiday with black noodles for one 【Recipe】

Celebrate Korea’s loneliest holiday with black noodles for one 【Recipe】

Valentine’s Day is known all around the world and many of our readers will be familiar with the East Asian tradition of following it up with White Day. In Japan and Korea, women are expected to give chocolates to the men in their lives, in some cases to every man they know (referred to as giri choco, or “obligatory chocolate” in Japan). White Day arose as a way to balance the inequity (or maybe just to sell more sweets). On March 14th, men are supposed to give sweets to the women they return feelings for. Sadly for the women, they are usually white sweets like marshmallows, hard candies, white chocolate or something else similarly boring. While men are not obligated to give sweets to women they do not have feelings for, they are expected to spend 3-4 times as much as the gift they received was worth.

South Korea has innovated a new holiday along the same theme: Black Day! Black Day falls on April 14th and is celebrated by people who didn’t receive anything for either of the more well-known love-themed holidays. On Black Day, single people all over the country get together to eat a dish of black noodles called jjajangmyeon, which is a well-known Korean comfort food. It consists of noodles in a sauce made of black soybeans with veggies and protein (typically pork or seafood). Similar to curry udon, it’s not incredibly healthy but is extremely satisfying!

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U can haz Pokénoms! A how-to guide to cooking your own Pokémon pancakes

U can haz Pokénoms! A how-to guide to cooking your own Pokémon pancakes

The recent news that Denny’s Japan is offering Pikachu pancakes—but only on the kids menu—has some readers, and us too if we’re being honest, pining for Pokémon sweets. While store-bought kits have had less than perfect results, even when they’re for cakes, we are determined to produce cute ones at home!

Thankfully, with this recipe, you can make your own “Peachu” pancakes! Pichu is essentially a baby Pikachu, making it even cuter, right?

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