Concluding our series of homestyle Japanese dishes with a delicious, savory salad.
I love trying out new recipes and new dishes. I’m not one who likes to eat the same thing over and over (though for breakfast, I almost always have toast with peanut butter—go figure, I’m a study in contradictions!). I’m the same with leftovers, unless it’s something I really, really like, I don’t care too much for leftovers. Thankfully Nate will eat up all the leftovers for me. My human “garbage disposal” so to speak ^_^.
So I like to experiment with new recipes and I’m willing to serve them to friends even if it’s the first time I’m making it. This doesn’t always work out as some dishes don’t turn out great the first time (case in point is a braised duck recipe I made recently for a party—I’m NOT blogging about that until I perfect that recipe). But I’m grateful I tried this recipe because the salad turned out perfectly the first time and is simple enough to make with few ingredients. Nate and I agreed that we could have just eaten this dish on its own as a meal.
Japanese pumpkin, braised in sake, sugar and soy sauce. An easy side dish, packed with lots of color and flavor.
I was looking for some side dishes to serve with my Niku-jaga the other day when came across this dish. I remember having eaten it once, a while back with some friends but I had forgotten all about it until I saw this recipe online. I immediately wanted to make it because I love kabocha and pumpkins in general! Lucky thing, kabocha squash (or at least something very similar in shape and colour) are found in abundance at the local Kuching markets.
This dish is so easy to make, plus it really packs a lot of flavor! If you cannot handle too much sugar, try substituting some of the sugar with agave or a sugar substitute like Splenda. This dish would make a nice option for a holiday side dish if you’re looking for something different. And, it doesn’t take any room in your oven! What more could you ask for?
Niku-jaga is the Japanese equivalent of Western-style “meat and potatoes”. Just like its Western counterpart, it is total comfort food.
Niku-Jaga (Japanese Meat and Potatoes)
The first time I had this dish was at the kitchen of my graduate dorm in Hawaii (yes, that place AGAIN!). A Japanese friend of mine was making it and the smell was heavenly. She offered me a small bowl and it was sooo good. I shared it with another Japanese friend who lived next door to me and she was transported back to Japan. She then proceeded to make it within that week herself (but she used ground beef—remember we were poor graduate students!).
What Japanese meal would be complete without miso soup? Sure, you could make it from prepackaged stock but it’s more fun to do it from scratch!
Miso Soup From Scratch
Updated 3 Dec 2009
Originally posted 10 March 2007
My son loves miso soup almost as much as he loves Mac and Cheese. Whenever we are at a Japanese restaurant, it’s so easy to feed him. Get him a bowl of miso soup and a bowl of rice. He would take that bowl of rice and proceed to dunk it all into the bowl of miso soup, treating it almost like rice soup! Then, in less than 10 minutes, he would’ve slurped up the whole bowl and many times, would ask us to get him another one. We always watched in bemusement because it’s so simple and so cheap (compared to our love for sushi which costs a gazillion times more!) to make. Happily I’ve learned to recreate miso soup at home for him.
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