cooking

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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Our batch of homemade Oreos – Why didn’t we think of this before?

Our batch of homemade Oreos – Why didn’t we think of this before?

 

Pretty much everyone loves Oreos, and therein lies the problem. Even if you just picked up a pack on your last visit to the grocery store, odds are you, or someone else, has already gone through whatever stock you had in the house.

Case in point: right now we’re completely out of Oreos, and we’re not about to go out to buy more in the downpour that’s drenching Tokyo right now. While some people with less vision (or healthier eating habits) might patiently endure the hardship of no cookies, we decided instead to make our own Oreos from scratch with an incredibly simple recipe.

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How-to: Easy-to-make Capriccio rolls look like roses, make you look like a master chef

How-to: Easy-to-make Capriccio rolls look like roses, make you look like a master chef

My brother, who spent several years working as a seafood cook, is an extremely handy guy in the kitchen. Even still, one of his most popular dishes is the incredibly easy to make Lebanese staple called hushwe. He jokingly refuses to teach his friends how to cook the rice and beef dish, since he’s worried that if they knew how simple it is, they’d lose respect for him as a chef.

The secret’s out, though, on how our Japanese-language correspondent Kon crafts her gorgeous rose-shaped salmon Carpaccio rolls, and today we’re going to share the technique with you.

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Lotus root: the enlightened way to knock out hay fever

Lotus root: the enlightened way to knock out hay fever

Most of my early trips to Japan involved visiting my brother, back when he was living in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture. One day while waiting for a train at the station, I passed the time by staring out at one of the many lotus farms the town is known for.

“Ah, Japan!” I thought as the plants swayed almost hypnotically in the hot summer breeze. “So appreciative of the beauty of nature!” The lotus must be so highly prized that it’s economically worthwhile to use large tracts of what little arable land the country has to cultivate and sell the flowers, I concluded.

I found out later that I was only half right. While it is true that Japan tends to get more excited about blossoming flora than other nations, all those lotuses weren’t being grown for aesthetic reasons. Lotus root, called renkon in Japanese, is edible, and not only is it delicious, it can also help you cope with one of the absolute worst parts of life in Japan: hay fever.

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Struggling to prep the perfect rice for sushi? We have the answer!

Struggling to prep the perfect rice for sushi? We have the answer!

When it comes to making sushi, you obviously need some good fish, unless you’re happy with kappamaki and cucumber, we suppose. But there’s one other ingredient that you’re not going to want to forget: Rice!

If you prefer to stick with rolls, getting the rice just right isn’t quite so important, but when it comes to nigiri-zushi, or hand-pressed sushi, it’s essential. Since there’s no seaweed there to hold everything together, it’s easy for your tasty dish to literally fall apart on your plate. If you’re looking for some good chopstick practice, you could try picking up the individual rice one by one, but for the rest of us, there’s a new tool on the market to help perfect your rice shaping: The “Hayawaza! Nigirizushi Tongu”!

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We try chucking our lunchtime bento into a pan of soup, result is doubly delicious

We try chucking our lunchtime bento into a pan of soup, result is doubly delicious

The cutesy home-made lunches that lucky Japanese children take to school are famous worldwide. For the time-pushed or culinarily challenged among us, though, store-bought bento (boxed lunches) can offer great value for money. Convenience store bento, which are hugely popular all over Japan, contain all kinds of delicious goodies like fish, meat, stewed vegetables and pickles, along with rice. When one bento-loving Japanese university student threw caution to the wind and sunk her entire lunch into her miso soup, she discovered that the resulting soupy concoction was even more tasty than she could have imagined! Thus, convenience store bento soup was born!

Here at RocketNews24 we love to try out rice-augmenting recipes and other wacky food combinations, so when a writer from our Japanese sister site heard about this amazing invention, made by heating the entire contents of a convenience store lunchbox in a pot of miso soup, she just had to give it a try! Let’s see how she got on.

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Centuries-old Japanese cookbooks give a peek at the dinner tables of the samurai

Centuries-old Japanese cookbooks give a peek at the dinner tables of the samurai

One thing that surprises many recent arrivals to Japan is that chefs put as much effort into the presentation of their food as they do the flavor. This has got to be a recent development though, right? Being able to take the time to delicately craft your meal into a feast for the eyes is a luxury that must be born out of the ease and convenience of a stable, technologically advanced, modern society.

It turns out, though, that Japan’s appreciation for the aesthetic qualities of cooking stretch back hundreds of years, as proven by these dishes made from centuries-old cookbooks.

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Ah, isn’t that cute? This rice omelet thinks it’s a corgi!

Ah, isn’t that cute? This rice omelet thinks it’s a corgi!

There are certain meats you can find at restaurants in Japan that aren’t exactly common in the western world. Whale is the one most likely to get foreign visitors up in arms, but with some pretty extensive searching, you can also find establishments serving up monkey and frog.

That isn’t to say Japanese culinary/cultural values are completely different from those of Europeans and North Americans. For example, people in Japan don’t really believe in turning dogs into food.

But turning food into a dog? That’s something the whole world can get behind.

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【TBT】Japanese character toast is the cutest thing since sliced bread, all you need is aluminum foil!

【TBT】Japanese character toast is the cutest thing since sliced bread, all you need is aluminum foil!

The Japanese have long since proved themselves adept at crafting adorable characters from globs of riceNow it seems they’ve chosen bread as their next canvas for cute, using a method much more accessible to those who don’t have the time to cut up and arrange hundreds of tiny pieces of seaweed—all you need is aluminum foil, a utility knife and a toaster!

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Do try this at home! 5 foods that you can recreate in taste by combining other foods

Do try this at home! 5 foods that you can recreate in taste by combining other foods

Have you ever had an experience when you ate two different foods at once, and the resulting flavor tasted like a completely different food? If yes, then don’t worry, because apparently your taste buds aren’t going crazy. Kyushu University in Japan recently publicized a list of different food combinations that mirror this phenomenon based on actual scientific research. Some of them are so outrageous that you won’t believe it until you actually try making them yourself!

Here’s a little question to get you started: What two food items should you combine in order to produce the flavor of corn soup? The answer and four more recipes after the jump.

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Toast with fermented soybeans and honey may not be good-looking, but it is good eating

Toast with fermented soybeans and honey may not be good-looking, but it is good eating

There are plenty of Japanese foods that meet little to no resistance on the Western palate. Soba noodles and beef bowls tend to go down easily for new arrivals, and while the weirdness factor may take some time to get over, not too many people have complaints about the flavor of things like raw fish and cod roe.

There is, however, one hurdle in Japanese gastronomic assimilation that is so high that some people never clear it: natto, or fermented soybeans. Recently, we took on the notoriously challenging (and smelly) natto with the help of a powerful ally, honey.

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Easy-to-make marshmallow toast is delicious, could open a gateway to Hell

Easy-to-make marshmallow toast is delicious, could open a gateway to Hell

I can eat marshmallows all day long. So when I saw this delicious, albeit simple, recipe for marshmallow toast on Japanese website, Jin115, I just had to try it for myself. It’s so easy you should try it too. But be careful, yours could become the next source of dark matter or gate to Hell.

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Japanese amateur chef shares his cooking secret (Hint: the secret is fish heads)

Japanese amateur chef shares his cooking secret (Hint: the secret is fish heads)

As any highly skilled chef will tell you, presentation is a key part of the total process that goes into crafting an enjoyable meal. How the food looks is often as important as how it tastes, which, unless you’re really into the Arabic salad tabouli, is likely the only reason you’ve ever bought a jar of parsley.

Japanese culture has a particular appreciation for aesthetics at the dining table. Even at home, many cooking enthusiasts take pride in their ability to elegantly position their meal’s components on a variety of dishes and trays with seasonally appropriate color schemes or designs.

But if that’s too much trouble for you, you can always do like the amateur chef whose creations we’re featuring today, and just hack the head off a fish and plant it in the middle of your spaghetti.

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Impress dinner guests with these simple yet dangerous-to-make apple swans

Impress dinner guests with these simple yet dangerous-to-make apple swans

Everything worth doing is worth doing to the extreme, if you ask us. So if you have a nice, juicy granny apple, sure, you could eat it as is, or you could spend 15 to 20 minutes with your fingers in dangerously close proximity to a sharp knife and make this adorable apple swan!

If you follow these instructions, it seems reasonably easy to consistently make these edible dinner decorations, but we hope your hand-eye coordination is up to snuff because the only thing more dangerous to your digits is playing that old saloon game “Five Fingers.”

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12 meals to make using your leftover curry

12 meals to make using your leftover curry

Japanese curry is usually the first dish any new resident of Japan learns to make. It’s cheap, easy, and actually tasty, not to mention pretty healthy depending on how many vegetables you choose to add in. But as many new curry cookers have come to find out, it’s hard to make the exact amount of curry you want, resulting in an awkward amount of leftovers that’s too little to make into a full meal but too big to throw away. That’s why Japanese site, Naver Matome, compiled a list of 12 awesome recipes using that little bit of leftover curry we’re always stuck with. Enjoy our English version and never waste a drop of precious curry again!

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How to easily turn your dry pasta into “fresh” noodles

How to easily turn your dry pasta into “fresh” noodles

Pasta, for many of us, is the miracle food. Boil, strain, add sauce, and just like that you have a delicious dish! It’s cheap, easy, and quick–the perfect food for everyone from starving students to busy professionals. It’s even moderately healthy, as long as you choose the right sauces.

On the other hand, it’s so easy and cheap that some of us tend to eat it often enough for it to get a bit boring. If you’re starting to get tired of your dry pasta dishes, why not try using some “fresh” noodles?

If you’re thinking that making noodles by hand sounds like a lot of work, well, we’re sure you’re probably right–but our colleagues at RocketNews24 Japan have a trick that will basically revert your dry pasta back to its “fresh pasta” state!

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We visited the famous monjayaki street and ate until we burst!

We visited the famous monjayaki street and ate until we burst!

Japan is, of course, known for its unique cuisine. From sushi to takoyaki, there’s something for everyone! One domestic favorite is the cabbage-pancake okonomiyaki, which can include anything from squid to pork to cheese. The dish is beloved by both children and adults throughout the country and can be found in restaurants, festivals, and even hamburgers! However, if you live in Tokyo, you’d probably want to some monjayaki instead, a similar dish that is closer in consistency to scrambled eggs–but still incredibly delicious!

Last weekend, we headed out to Tsukishima, one of the most famous mojayaki destinations in Japan, to try the dish. Check out our report of the excellent monjayaki shop, Bambi, below!

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Don’t eat that! We make delicious-looking models of tempura out of wax

Don’t eat that! We make delicious-looking models of tempura out of wax

Although the language barrier can make traveling or living in Japan tough at times, dining out is a snap. There are plenty of conveyer belt sushi restaurants where you just grab what you want as the plates go by, and at many ramen and beef bowl restaurants you simply buy a meal ticket out of a vending machine, then pass it off to the cook.

Even when technology isn’t there to save you, ordering is still easy, thanks to the numerous Japanese restaurants that display wax models of their menu items, allowing you to bring the wait staff to the display window and point and what you want. There’s a whole industry devoted to replicating food, and we recently tried our hand at making a wax creation of our own.

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We try surprisingly delicious Miso Curry Milk Ramen in Aomori

We try surprisingly delicious Miso Curry Milk Ramen in Aomori

Locally owned ramen shops can be found spread out all across Japan. In fact, some of the best flavors aren’t found at the big chain restaurants, but at the hole-in-the-wall shops that you might never even notice without a proper introduction. Hence, we’d like to make it our duty to tell you about an amazing, little ramen joint in Aomori Prefecture, which is famous for its miso flavored curry milk ramen.

When we at RocketNews24 first heard about this place, we couldn’t imagine how so many different flavors could possibly achieve good balance within a single bowl of noodles, so we sent one of our adventurous Japanese reporters, Mami Kuroi, to try it out. Here’s what she had to say about the experience.

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