Kanako's Kitchen

Hakusai and tuna fish nimono

Posted in main dish, Recipe, side dish, today's meal by Kanako Noda on July 30, 2012

Japanese food has this image as fussy and sophisticated, but of course busy Japanese people need quick-and-easy recipes to feed hungry families just like anybody else.

This  braised dish is one way my mother solved that perennial “so, what’s for dinner?” problem:  unbelievably delicious, made from ingredients that cost next to nothing, healthy and ready in just a few minutes.

When you find you’ve bought a bit too much Napa Cabbage (hakusai) and you’re not  sure how to finish it all, this is the solution.


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Gomokuzushi: Sushi Rice with Vegetables

Posted in main dish, Recipe, rice by Kanako Noda on July 23, 2012

Hello everyone, long time no see!

Since I started this blog, a key goal has been to show that Japanese cooking is much more than sushi. For that reason, I’ve mostly avoided sushi recipes – the only exception being Inarizushi. Now, after a long break, I’m breaking my initial promise once more.

Last time I went back to Japan and visited my grandmother in Kyushu, she made a traditional dish, Gomokuzushi,  for our family reunion. Gomokuzushi is Gomoku (a mix of many ingredients) Sushi. It was so delicious I wanted to share the recipe with you.

Gomokuzushi is often served for a special occasions, such as birthday parties, family reunions and Hinamatsuri (Girls’ Day celebration). It is a perfect dish for a party because it looks gorgeous but you don’t need special ingredients, such as super fresh fish, so it’s not too expensive to make, and it’s easy to scale it up to feed many people. You wouldn’t want to bring sushi with raw fish to a potluck or a picnic, but Gomokuzushi is perfect for these sorts of occasions.

It’s is one of those dishes where the exact recipe will vary from family to family. The main ingredient in my grandma’s Gomokuzushi is chicken. The process seems complicated, but that’s just because I’m writing all the “insider tips” you need to get it just right in full detail. So don’t be afraid. Once you get the knack, it’s quite simple.

My grandma’s original recipe is just 4 lines!


We had a baby!

Posted in info by Francisco Toro on May 17, 2012


She’s cute!

…but Kanako never finds time to add new recipes anymore.


In the meantime, you can still enjoy the Recipe Photo Index, though!

It’s pretty much an online cookbook at this point…

Chilled Udon Noodles          Sea Kelp Rice Topping                    Gobou fries                 Minced Chicken over Rice

Grilled Aubergine                 Mock Pork Roast with Tea       Seasoned Rapini                  Ginger-flavored rice

Chilled Noodles                   Marinated Fried Vegetables       Noddles with Salad             Simmered Mackerel

Shrimp-Lettuce Stir-fry         Braised Saury Fillets              Lotus Root Dumplings            Azuki pound cake

Inari Sushi                                 Seasoned Okra                        Pickled Turnips                      Tofu Salad

Cabbage Pancakes                      Raw tuna on rice              Salmon roe with daikon            Fried Mackerel

Potato Salad                            Ginger flavored stir-fry          Garlic-sprout stir fry              Miso soup with tofu

Simple hot pot                          Vegetable tempura                  Bean sprout stir-fry                 Rice balls

Taro nimono

Stuffed peppers                          Boiled taro roots                   Green onion miso salad       Grilled Pacific Saury

Hijiki itame Osuimono II Shiso gohan Butajiru

Hijiki Seaweed Stew                Clear egg-drop broth            Rice with shiso leaves           Miso soup with pork

spring roll Jagaimo mochi Sasami roll katsu spinach namul

Classic spring rolls                 Potato pancakes                   Chicken vegetable fritters      Seasoned spinach

Oyakodon Japanese Curry Furofuki daikon and negi miso Chicory itame

Chicken and egg on rice              Japanese Curry               Garnished Daikon Radish     Chickory rice topping

Yaki-udon Konnyaku itame Goma-ae Kuri-gohan

Stir-fried udon noodles        Konyaku scrambled eggs       Dainty vegetable salad        Rice with chestnuts

Gyoza agedashi tofu Umani Tsukimi udon

Gyoza Potstickers                  Fried tofu with sauce              Boiled mixed vegetables      Udon soup with egg

sunomono Gyuniku itame zousui gohan

Vinegar based salad                  Beef stir fry                         Rice porridge with shrimp        Basic white rice

yakiimo Osuimono Daikon nimono Chijimi

Roasted sweet potato            Clear broth with fish             Boiled daikon with pork          Korean pancakes

tonkatsu Miso soup with pumpkin Ohitashi Tempura

Japanese cutlet                      Miso soup with pumpkin        Seasoned spinach                  Tempura

Goya Champuru Kenchin-jiru

Braised Burdock Root           Bitter Melon stir-fry             Boiled tofu with vegetbles     Savoury Rice

Kabocha Nimono: Simmered Squash

Posted in Recipe, side dish by Kanako Noda on January 24, 2011

This is one of the most popular Japanese home cooked side-dishes. It’s not a complicated recipe, but you do need some tips and experience to make a really good one that blends the squash’s natural sweetness with just the right amount of salty soy sauce and umami dashi. In fact, this is one of those recipes where it really pays to measure things carefully before tossing them in!

Squash arrived in Japan in the middle of 16th century from Cambodia through the Portuguese. Originally, we got a kind of butternut squash, but today the green-on-the-outside variety, known as kabocha squash or Japanese pumpkin, is the most common in Japan.

Kabocha Nimono is the kind of old kitchen stand-by recipe most Japanese moms can make with their eyes closed. Cooked this way, you don’t even have to peel the squash: the skin becomes very soft through simmering. The big pitfall to watch out for here is using too much moisture and letting the pumpkin get all soggy. The goal is to get the squash soft and buttery, almost like a chestnut. You don’t want it waterlogged.


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Ramen, Nabemono and more

Posted in Recipe by Francisco Toro on January 17, 2011

Kanako is building up quite a little article trail on Menuism.com. Her new essay on Nabemono just came out today – another on Ramen came out last month. She’s really enjoying the research that goes into these, and I’m really enjoying the edit wars we get into before submitting!

Three Color Torisoboro Gohan: Minced Chicken and Garnish over Rice

Posted in main dish, Recipe, rice by Kanako Noda on January 16, 2011

Hello loyal readers! Sorry for disappearing but I’ve been really busy with my non-cooking life. I don’t want the blog to stay dormant forever, though, and my husband really wanted me to add this recipe for his new favorite way to eat chicken: minced!
When you think about it, it’s funny: ground beef and ground pork are common enough, but how often do you see ground chicken? Our local supermarket sure doesn’t sell it, so for this recipe, we mince it ourselves. It’s not the most pleasant of kitchen tasks, granted, but it’s not actually hard either…just chop some chicken thigh and breast meat into blocks and put it through a food processor. Takes a minute or two.

Torisoboro Gohan isn’t really a fancy dish, but it’s very flavorful and always seems to be a major hit when I’ve served it to Westerners. To make it really appealing, you want  to pair it with brightly colored garnishings – usually green beens and silk-thread eggs – aiming for a tri-color effect at the end.

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The Tofu Manifesto

Posted in Recipe by Francisco Toro on December 6, 2010

Kanako’s breathless dithyramb to Tofu, Japanese style, is up on the Menuism.com blog today.  Check it out.

Full disclosure: on our recent trip to Japan, we ate an outrageous amount of tofu.

All I can say is, she made a believer out of me. Or, maybe that’s soft-pedalling it a bit. A fanatic. Yes. She made a tofu fanatic out of me.