Cooking for cousin: Japanese ingredients 従姉妹料理:和食材料

I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, to organize my recipes and give them a bit more focus on this blog. Cooking is one of my hobbies and I often get requests from my cousin to teach her easy and healthy recipes. It’s just more convenient for all of us if I do this on the blog. So now, I will try to make a little series of cooking, called “cooking for cousin”.
最近熟考した、どうやってブログでレシピに集中して、うまく見せてあげればいいか、って。料理は私の臭味でよく従姉妹ちゃんに簡単で健康にいいレシピを教えてくれ、といわれる。ブログで書けば、それは簡単に出来ると思った。ということで、今から“従姉妹料理“という連続シリーズを作ってみようか、と思った。

The reason for focusing on this very cousin, Idaboy, is that you wouldn’t say that she is a masterchef. I don’t mean to say that she’s bad at cooking, I just happen to know that she doesn’t enjoy it as much as I do. Also, she’s doesn’t like when things get too complicated. She wants space for mistakes and variation. I know many times when she has baked something and since she couldn’t find an ingredient or didn’t feel like buying it, she just swapped it for something different and the result of her baking ended up very weird. I think it’s quite common that people don’t cook because it’s a bit complicated and it’s easy to fail. You spend hours on a dish, and in the end it’s not as expected because you made a tiny mistake or you couldn’t find exact the ingredient you needed.
従姉妹ちゃん、Idaboy、に集中する理由は、彼女は料理長の反対、というか、下手ではないがクッキングのはあまり好きじゃない。しかも、複雑になるといやな方。失敗やバリエーションの空間がないと無理。たとえば、よくクッキーを作る時に、特別な必要な材料を店で見つけられないとか買うのはめんどくさいと思ってしまえば、その材料の代わりにほかのものを使う。結果はほとんど大失敗。たぶん、そうする人が多い気がする。失敗しやすいし複雑だから料理したくない人が多い。何時間を使ってクッキングして、小さいな失敗や材料の間違いで結果がまずいことがあるとあきるよね。

The above said, I will post recipes here where there’s room for variation and that are fairly fail proof.  I improvise a lot when I cook and many of the ingredients I use are easily swapped and exchanged for something else. Also, the recipes I will post don’t take long to make and only use simple ingredients. As I lived in Japan for two years and the Japanese kitchen is my favorite, it inspires lots of my food. Much of what I cook is just variations of Japanese traditional dishes. I also often make Thai or Indian, somewhat Swedified though, so those spices and flavors might turn up. Also, being a vegetarian, and a kickboxer that works out on a regular basis I’m very concerned about nutrients. I cook no meat, sometimes fish, and I try to use other sources of protein such as tofu and lentils instead. Also, I try to include healthy vegetables rather than fatty things like cheese. So, you might get some nutrient lectures as well, if you don’t watch out =)
ということで、私がここで載せるレシピがバリエーションを出来るし、失敗しにくい奴だ。私が使う材料が使いやすいし、ほかのものに交換したかったら問題ない。しかも、あまり時間かからないし、基本的な材料しか使わない。日本に二年間住んでいたし、和食が大好きだから日本の料理に影響を凄く受けた。ほとんどの作る料理はただのちょっとしたSaraboy化された日本の伝統的な食べ物だ。あと、タイやインド料理が好きから、そのスパイスや味もよく使う。しかも、ベジタリアンでよくコックボクシングの運動しているため、栄養物に気にする。肉を使わないからほかのレンズ豆や豆腐などの淡白源をその代わりによく使う。後、チーズなどの油っぽいものを出来るだけ避けて、健康にいい野菜とかのほうを使っている。もしかして、栄養物の講義をしてあげてしまうかも =)

So, basically, from now on I will post easy, tasty, vegetarian, healthy, Asian inspired recipes here once in a while. Feel free to use and experiment and I hope you enjoy it!
ということで、今から簡単、美味しい、ベジタリアン、健康にいい、アジア影響のレシピをたまにブログで載せる。使って実験しながら楽しんでみてください!

To not make this post totally boring I will start my cooking series by introducing some of the basic ingredients of the Japanese cookery. I know this might seem a bit complicated for you who are not accustomed to Japanese cooking, but really, investing in these sauces and bouillon opens up a whole world of Japanese cooking! If you have this, there are so many dishes you can make! Also, they are almost always available at your local Asian shop so they shouldn’t be hard to get hold of. I’ll guide you through them one by one. I know my cousin will need it.
このポストをつまらなくならないように、今すぐ日本の基本的な材料を紹介します。これでちょっと複雑になりそうだけど、本当にこの材料だけ持っていれば和食の世界が広がってくる!日本に住んでいないかたはほとんどの外国の国の小さいアジアショップでこれを買える。たぶん、日本人にて下記の説明はいらないけど、私の従姉妹が必ずいるんだ!

  1. Japanese soy sauce. You can almost always buy this in your normal super market as well. Make sure you get Japanese soy sauce and not Chinese, which tastes entirely different. Soy sauce is the base of Japanese flavors and you can’t do without it.
    醤油。和食の一番必要な材料かもしれない。外国では普通のスーパーでも買える。
  2. Tsuyu. This is a dipping sauce for Japanese noodles that is also great for dipping tempura.
    つゆ。麺や天ぷらととても美味しい!
  3.  Mirin. This is a kind of rice wine that you use in most sauces. It’s similar to sake but has less alcohol.
    みりん。料理酒と少し似ているが割りとアルコールのパーセンテージ低い。
  4. Cooking sake. This is also a very important flavor, sake. It’s very different from normal white wine and is great for many dishes, everything from fish to veggies.
    料理酒。とても大切な味だね。洋食ではホワイトワインが食べ物によく使われるけど、それを酒の代わりに使うのはいいアイデアじゃないよ。
  5. Konbucha. Konbu is Kelp, and cha means tea. So this is a powder seaweed tea that Japanese use for bouillon. If gives a very rich flavor without adding to much salt. I’d say this is a very good way to add some umami to your food. You can also use Konbu Dashi.
    昆布茶や昆布だし。これはうまみの味をくれる!
  6. Hondashi. Without dashi you effort to make Japanese food will just be a half hearted imitation. This is what will give your food the real Japanese taste. It’s also in powder form and sometimes it’s called katsuodashi since it’s made from katsuo (tuna) flakes. This is also known as a rich umami flavor.
    本だしやかつおだし。和食を本だし無しで作ろうとするのは時間の無駄だよ。これは日本の味だと思う。うまみ!

I know, I just wrote above that all my recipes are really easy, and now I just introduce a lot of strange Japanese ingredients. But trust me, if you just get your hand on these, you just need to add some vegetables and other simple easy to get ingredients to make great food! It’s worth it, I promise!
はいはい、上記に私のすべてのレシピが簡単だと書いたのに、いっぱい変な日本の材料を紹介してしまった。でも、信じてくれ、この材料さえゲットしたら、それからいっぱいとても作りやすいうまい食べ物できるよ!約束です!

5 thoughts on “Cooking for cousin: Japanese ingredients 従姉妹料理:和食材料

  1. Oh, this guide is perfect! Thank you cousin!!🙂 Really awesome and pedagogic start. Ill buy all of these ingredients when I get to Gothenburg (Örebro sucks when it comes to asian food!)

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