More Neat Tokyo Tricks

As I’ve explored in previous posts about tempura, ramen, sumiyaki, sushi and other specialities Japonais, dining in Japan can be very segmented. Stroll about a street in Tokyo and you’ll find restaurants devoted to each of these particular styles of cooking (or not cooking) and many more.

Tonkatsu with Japanese cole slaw and egg/mirin dipping sauce

Tonkatsu with Japanese cole slaw and egg/mirin dipping sauce

Browsing the aisles of my favorite Japanese market the other day, I found a beautiful Kurobata pork loin on sale. Now pork loin can be one of the stupidest of meats, mostly because it has zero fat. But the Japanese have a nifty way of rectifying that problem with the dish, tonkatsu. More

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A Virtue Rewarded

About seven or eight years ago, I was making Japanese food at our previous home in West Los Angeles. I had a rare delicacy — a yuzu fruit, a small Japanese citrus that, on the odd occasion you can find it, sells for about $3-$4 a fruit. Yellow and wrinkly, about the size of a lime, it is filled with seeds, and you’re lucky if you get a few drops of the pungent, floral juice from within. More useful is the aromatic zest, which the Japanese will shave over tempura, use to brighten sauces and fold into dishes both savory and sweet.

Koi pond, bamboo & yuzu tree

Koi pond, bamboo, afternoon sun & yuzu tree

I have no recollection what I did with the yuzu that evening. But what I do remember is planting several of the seeds in a pot outside in the garden the next morning. A couple weeks later, I had a few bright green seedlings which somehow over time became reduced to one gawky, spindly little yuzu tree. More

Secret Weapon Ingredient #2: Ponzu

Some of my favorite secret-weapon ingredients come from the cuisine of Japan. Ponzu is one such product.

"Japan's Favorite" ponzu

You’ve probably been eating ponzu all along, even if you didn’t know it. It’s the citrussy soy sauce they put on top of certain dishes at the sushi bar. But it has uses far beyond that in your kitchen. More