Kanako's Kitchen


Taking the Fear out of Japanese Cooking

toshikoshiThis blog is all about taking the fear out of Japanese cooking, because I believe anyone can learn to cook delicious, healthy Japanese food that’s way more than just raw fish and vinegar-flavored rice.

Growing up near Kyoto, I spent years watching my mom do it: cooking for a family of five, on a budget, and turning out delicious Real Food day in and day out.

Now, I’m going to show you how. This blog will take you, step-by-step, through recipes I’ve grown to love, showing you how to make honest, down-to-earth Japanese home cooking favorites from scratch using real ingredients. In each recipe, I try to share the secrets that you won’t find in a typical cookbook: little kitchen tricks gleaned by making dishes again and again over many years.

So the emphasis here is very much on home cooking, stuff you can make at home and should make at home. I’ll let the restaurant chefs cook the restaurant meals: this blog is for people with families to feed. Because Japanese food doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be fresh, tasty and delicious.

For a little bit more on the philosophy that underlies this blog, read this.


16 Responses

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  1. Michelle said, on February 4, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Love your blog! I’m so happy I discovered it, so many recipes to try out! Would you have any recommendation for your favorite eating spots in Montreal? Thanks!!!

    • kanako said, on February 6, 2010 at 8:57 am

      Thank you Michelle,
      my favorite eating spots in Montreal… it’s a difficult question.
      Frankly I prefer to eat at home.
      Too often in Montreal restaurants are over priced and disappointing. And Japanese restaurants never go beyond the clichés of nigiri-sushi, tempura, yakitori, sunomono and miso soup….
      It makes me sad there is no place in Montreal for real Japanese high cuisine (Kyoto style kaiseki). I’m sure you’ll find in New York and we found one in Amsterdam. But in Montreal you find the same menu again and again.

      Home cooking (or Teishoku style) is not really a part of that cliché menu either. Simple dishes like Kenchin-jiru or grilled mackerel never appear in these menus. This is is why I wanted to start this blog. Because you really can get very good Japanese food in Montreal but you have to make it at home.

  2. AT said, on February 4, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Nice to see the spirit of washoku in a Montreal forum.

    Perhaps you could lobby for the following:

    -A true ramen bar

    -A kushiage joint; our city is full of lovers of fried food afterall. Maybe it could be a place for tempura AND kushiage!

    -at least 3 isakayas within walking distance of each. Could be the rising sun on Prince-Arthur…

    Keep it up.


    • kanako said, on February 6, 2010 at 9:14 am

      I agree with you up to a point.

      A true ramen bar would be really exciting but what I would really like is a true Udon shop. Of course I’m from Kansai and I’m absolutely obsessed with Udon! Kansai people are less interested in ramen in general.

      You know how regionalist Japanese people are about noodles. My parents are from Kyushu, and they’re convinced the ramen in Kansai is awful.

      In Kyushu, pig bone ramen (Tonkotsu ramen) is the only game in town. And I agree. But still, if I have the choice, I would prefer Udon.

      You can take the girl out of Kansai, but you can’t take Kansai out of the girl.

      About fried things, I am sure this seems totally arbitrary to non Japanese, but Tempura and Kushiage are never ever served in the same place. Kushiage you eat at the bar, often standing up. Tempura is for sit down restaurants. If I see both Kushiage and Tempura in the same menu, I will run away as fas as I can! It’s just not right.

    • caracaschronicles said, on February 6, 2010 at 9:28 am

      You know, the problem with isakaya drinking in Montreal is always going to be the taxes! The whole point of going out drinking to Izakayas is to get blitzed to within an inch of your life…you know how expensive that would get here?! There’s no way it would catch on…

      • Domingo Ruiz said, on December 3, 2012 at 4:24 am

        Wow, totally agree! Went to Kazu Izakaya and was surprised on how I got gouged on the beer.

  3. Lillian said, on October 27, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Hi Kanako,

    I just want to say what a great website!! I just came back from studying abroad in Kyoto, and quite frankly, am terribly missing the beautiful foods you can get there! Be it restaurant food or supermarket bentos, I miss them all! So now thank you to, I can try to make some now on my own!



    • Kanako said, on November 29, 2010 at 10:50 am

      Hi Lillian,
      you were in Kyoto! I’m in Japan now and I already miss the Tofu of Tono you can buy at Isetan department store in Kyoto station.
      Even if we can’t get certain ingredients outside Japan, we can still recreate many of them!

  4. Bonnie said, on December 14, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Kanako,
    I love your blog, and I have included it as one of my favourite Japanese food blogs on my own site http://www.bonniebites.com I am working on my own Asian food product at the moment, and your blog has really kept me inspired! Thank you!

  5. lee g said, on December 17, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Where are u?

  6. Tarako supagetti said, on January 10, 2013 at 6:48 pm


    • kanako said, on February 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm


  7. Jacopo said, on February 20, 2013 at 3:21 am

    thanks!! ありがとうございます!

  8. renaninggalih said, on April 15, 2014 at 4:19 am

    Hi Kanako…
    I have blogging about “saba” and find your blog. Now i live in Sendai. Im not japanese, but i like japanese food and try to make it for my family. Thank you for your wonderful japanese food blog. Keep writting! (⌒▽⌒)

  9. James said, on September 24, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Good Morning,

    My name is James and I got in touch last month about a sushi etiquette guide titled ‘How to Eat Sushi Without Looking Like a Noodle’.

    It contains useful information about sushi etiquette as well as fun and interesting facts about sushi such as ways to eat it, different types of fish and, importantly, chopstick manners!

    I was just wondering whether you might consider sharing the guide on your website?

    If you could let me know your thoughts I’d be grateful.

    Kind regards,

    James Edwards

    Outreach & Support

    Desk: 0203 4321 366

    4b Union Court, SW4 6JP

  10. 北京整形美容 said, on December 30, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    北京整形美容 http://wfsh.org/

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