cooking

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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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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