cooking

Beautiful faces and floors – Five great ways to reuse the water from rinsing rice

While out shopping the other day, I picked up a bag of prewashed rice. The grocery store was having a sale, so it was just as cheap as the unwashed kinds, and I figured, “Hey, there’s no advantage to having to rinse it myself is there?”

But as it turns out, the water left over after you wash the rice, called togijiru in Japanese, is actually pretty useful, as shown by these five ways you can reuse it instead of just dumping it down the sink.

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Japan discovers awesome cheese snack that takes just one ingredient and two minutes to make

It’s amazingly easy to find good food in Japan, which is largely due to how hard many food industry professionals work when choosing ingredients are and preparing their dishes. Every now and then, though, the country stumbles across some new delectable that, by any logical standard, has no right tasting as good as it does while being so quick and simple to make.

For example, this week Japan discovered a delicious cheese snack with just one ingredient that you could be enjoying in literally two minutes.

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Raunchy manga title isn’t quite what it seems…or it is?

We often say “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but that’s precisely what many of us do when scanning the shelves of a book shop or comic store looking for a new read. With so many titles to choose from, how do you know what is going to be worth your time? Perhaps the cool cover art is what catches your eye, or maybe an interesting title?

Manga writer Onta Sakai clearly felt that the latter was the best way to get his newest manga series noticed. Opting to go with the title “Ane no onaka wo fukuramaseru no wa boku” or “It is me to fill the stomach of the sister” in its slightly awkward English form, this highly suggestive title already has tongues wagging and could only be about one thing…

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【TBT】From My Neighbor Totoro to Ninja Turtles: Anime food in real life!

Few things could delight kids (and big kids!) more than mimicking their favourite TV shows, movies and videogames, and sitting down to the exact same meal that their heroes enjoy.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles always had the most mouth-watering pizza; Ponyo and Sousuke had home-made ramen noodles; Pop-eye had canned spinach… OK, so maybe not every cartoon meal is the greatest, but putting together food that looks exactly as it did in our favourite shows is sure to inspire even the most kitchen-shy of us to have a go, not to mention encourage fussy eaters to try something new.

If it’s anime-inspired food you’re looking for, cooking website Bistro Animeshi (a combination of “anime” and “meshi”, meaning rice or food) has everything from the fish pie delivered by Kiki herself in Kiki’s Delivery Service to Naruto’s favourite ramen noodles. As well as providing step-by-step recipes for each dish, the food blog makes every effort to match the original dishes as much as possible. We’re sure that you’ll be blown away by what they have to offer.

Plenty of tantalising food photos after the jump!

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Grated white radish cat spices up traditional Japanese home cooking

Japan has some awesome food pairings: sushi and wasabi, red beans and green tea, and fish and grated white radish. While these food combinations tickle the tastebuds, they’ve actually been eaten for centuries to offset negative health effects and promote healthy digestion. But that doesn’t mean things have to be boring!

One creative twitter user has taken inspiration from their pet cat to show us just how amazing a staple Japanese dish can be. Gone is the obligatory mound of plain, grated radish that sits beside grilled fish dishes and in its place is an adorable white cat lovingly caressing a fishy prize from the sea!

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Celebrate Halloween with our recipe for jack-o’-lantern nikuman steamed buns【RocketKitchen】

Growing up, every year as Halloween approached, I could feel a sense of dread creeping up on me. It wasn’t the prospect of being hunted by werewolves or getting lost in a haunted house that frightened me, though.

I was terrified that someone would give me raisins when I went trick-or-treating.

Honestly, I understand that some people don’t approve of eating nothing but candy on Halloween, and there’s a valid point in trying to balance out your diet on All Hallows’ Eve. Do you have to do it with something as soulless as raisins, though, especially when you could use our recipe to whip up some tasty and jack-‘o-lantern steamed buns instead?

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How to make Ghost Forest Yakisoba and haunt your noodles for Halloween

Japanese cooking can be a little tricky, since many recipes involve a lot of complex prep work. Yakisoba, though, is a snap. The stir-fried noodle dish is quick and easy, and unlike more rigidly traditional Japanese fare, there’s a lot of room for putting your own spin on it by fiddling with the standard ingredient list of pork, carrots, and cabbage.

For example, with a few simple tweaks for Halloween you can whip up an awesome batch of Ghost Forest Yakisoba.

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Brilliant use for the almost expired milk in your fridge: It’s time for some milk jam!

Have you ever opened your fridge and were faced with just a carton of milk? How about going to the pantry and only finding a few slices of bread? What are you supposed to do for breakfast, lunch or dinner? If you thought the only thing you could do was soak the bread into the milk and call it a meal, you are in for a surprise, a sweet surprise! Turns out with just a bit of sugar and a microwave, you can turn that boring old milk into something incredibly delectable.

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Why are some Japanese preschools banning awesome, adorable character bento?

Considering how much Japan loves food and cute things, it’s no surprise that the country is in the middle of a chara-ben boom. Chara-ben, bento boxed lunches with their contents arranged like popular characters such as Hello Kitty and Doraemon, are a hit with adults and children alike, as parents seem to be having as much fun making them as their kids are eating them.

But not everyone loves this trend of culinary creativity, though, as some preschools and day care centers have started banning chara-ben.

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When first-try character bentos go wrong 【Photos】

The culinary custom of bento, boxed lunches, goes back for generation in Japan. What’s a little less clear, though, is how long people have been dressing up their bentos to look like cute characters.

We’re sure some creative people with both artistic and culinary talents have been making character bentos, or chara-bens, for a long time. But recently, media coverage of chara-bens has gotten intense, and it’s inspiring a wave of newcomers to try their hand at making one for the first time.

But you know the saying, “The third time’s the charm?” People say that because you’re likely to screw things up the first two times, as this collection of first-try bentos shows.

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Raw, frozen eggs are the new food trend in Japan, apparently

Japan seems like a heaven for lovers of raw food–you can even get raw horse meat, if you’re so inclined. Coming from the midwest of the US, I am seriously disinclined to touch any meat that’s not cooked well-done, especially if it comes from a formerly feathered friend. The very concept of “raw egg” is intrinsically linked to “death by salmonella” in my mind, despite the fact that raw egg dishes have been popular in Japan since long before I was born.

But knowing something logically and accepting it emotionally are two very different things. So, while I’m reluctant to try it, I’m that sure raw, frozen egg dishes are actually exceptionally tasty.

So, if you are interested in trying it, here’s some information on the dish and how to make it yourself.

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Cosplay as you cook with new Sailor Moon aprons!

If you’re a woman in her late twenties in Japan, chances are you grew up obsessed with Naoko Takeuchi’s “Magical Girl” manga series Sailor Moon and its accompanying anime. Given Japan’s love of natsukashii (nostalgic) cuteness, it’s really not that shocking that there’s now a thriving market out there for adult-appropriate Sailor Senshi outfits and accessories – we’ve even recently seen a trend for grown women wearing Sailor Moon undies. Not content with mere ribbon-bedecked panties? Well, now you can replace your dingy old curry-stained cooking apron with a stylish and colorful Sailor Moon version! In the name of the Moon… let’s get cooking!

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Bored of sushi? Level up those rice rolls to sushi gratin!【Recipe】

All right, who loves sushi? The colorful, beautiful little clusters of rice that look and taste like little pieces of art. To many people, sushi is synonymous with Japan, but Japan’s neighboring country Korea has their own version of maki sushi, known as gimbap (or kimbap).

As we’ve previously seen, the Koreans are incredibly creative when it comes to food improvisations, so we weren’t totally surprised when we came across this funky recipe for sushi/gimbap gratin. See the full recipe after the break!

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Onigiri without the nigiri – Japan’s traditional rice balls get an update

Onigiri are rice balls, and they’re basically the Japanese version of sandwiches. They’re a fast, convenient snack that you can eat without getting your hands messy, and they’ve been a staple of Japanese lunches since medieval times. But now there’s a hip new version that’s trying to take over from the long-established practice of molding the rice by hand.

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Top 10 food disasters prepared by Japanese wives who have extraordinary talent in the kitchen

So, a week or two ago, we saw this video of a Japanese woman explaining why she thinks Japanese women great girlfriends or wives, and one of the reasons she stated was that Japanese women care a lot about cooking. That’s a wonderful thing. I mean, there’s even a saying that says the best way to win a man’s heart is to first win his stomach.

However, caring about cooking and having the talent and taste buds for cooking are two entirely separate issues. Sorry to burst your bubble if you were thinking that all Japanese girls make fantastic home-cooked meals, because among the Japanese, there is a group of women collectively referred to as meshimazu yome, which means “wives who make unpalatable meals”. A survey by Goo Ranking reveals the top 10 shocking meals made by Japanese wives with… unique tastes. Are you in for a treat?

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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

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

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

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!

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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