Island Style Kimchi Fried Rice with Spam

Comfort food is different for everyone, depending on where you grew up. I grew up bi-culturally, so if Fried Rice is one of the great comfort foods of all time for most Asians, my #1 is Cha-han, Japanese style—but my #2 is Spam Fried Rice, Hawaiian style. Here’s where non-cooks like me can never fail. Fried rice is so easy, the only way to fail, besides burning the rice, is to use rice that’s too freshly cooked because you’ll get mushy fried rice.

This is my Kimchi Fried Fice and this is how I made it foolproof. You’re supposed to use day old rice so that it’s slightly harder already, thus preventing mushy fried rice. I didn’t have any—so I made fresh rice in the morning, using the “HARDER” menu setting on my rice cooker. I didn’t make any adjustments to the water; I only cooled it off to room temp. Worked like a charm.

Kimchi and spam—who’s gonna argue with that? I’ll wait.

The Zojirushi Gourmet d’Expert Electric Skillet at work.

The secret sauce (kimchi juice from the bottom of the jar). Feel free to add Korean gochujang if you want, but bear in mind it doesn’t really increase flavor, only spiciness.

Really fast Kimchi Spam Fried Rice.

The family liked it, so I guess that means I passed.

So now I’m getting cocky, right? I thought, OK—let’s try the steamer function on the electric skillet; I’ve already got it out anyway. I chose this Sesame Broccoli, a popular side dish that you get sometimes at Korean BBQ restaurants. The ingredients are simple enough—fresh broccoli florets, sesame oil, ground sesame seeds and lots of garlic.

The steamer plate is more than large enough to hold a bunch of veggies as you can see, and the skillet is deep. I filled it with about a half-inch of water, got it boiling, and lowered the broccoli inside. The steamer plate has a small handle and legs to hold it above the water. Steaming time was about 7 minutes, but I think I should have quit at 5. Still, it was OK.

Then all I had to do was dress it with the sesame oil, garlic, crushed sesame seeds and some salt and it was done! Looks good? I think my daughter really liked it—she even brought some to work for her lunch the next day.

 

Just For Fun
Remembering the late great Ruth Bader Ginsburg…my daughter must have been channeling her spirit with this hairstyle! LOL!

Have you ever been to the secret swing at the top of Elysian Park in Los Angeles? Not so secret if you’re on Instagram actually, but still worth finding if you want this great view! Check before you go though—it’s been known to disappear and reappear for various reasons, like COVID, too many influencers, etc.

 

credits: all photos by Bert Tanimoto, Sesame Broccoli recipe by Korean Babsang

 

 

 

Hosting the Perfect Tea Party at Home

Hosting a tea party at home is one of our favorite ways to entertain our guests. If you’re looking to gather a small group of family together for some afternoon tea, you’ll need to begin the planning a few weeks in advance to prepare some tasty finger foods and have an array of teas available for your guests to choose from on the day of the party.

The Basics

Before you start to work on the menu, make sure you have everything in order!  We provided a checklist so that you can have your bases covered:

  1. Pick a date that works for you and most of your guests.
  2. Send out an invitation so everyone knows when and where you’ll be having your party.
  3. Be sure to ask your guests if they have any allergies, so you can keep that in consideration when planning your menu.
  4. Confirm how many guests can make the event.
  5. Plan to have enough mugs, plates, cutlery, snacks and a wide selection of tea for the group.

Menu Planning

Tea parties differ from brunch or dinner parties, and generally require a lighter menu that features a selection of finger foods. Here are some of our favorite go-to recipes from around the world that can be easily made using your Zojirushi Breadmaker that you may want to consider for your upcoming event. Pro tip: make as many of these treats of these ahead of time as possible, so you can enjoy getting ready and just hosting your friends on the day-of.

  • Apple Danish: Originating in Denmark, this is one of many sweet pastries from around the world enjoyed by all. This flaky bread with sweet apple filling can be part of a relaxing breakfast, or a satisfying mid-afternoon snack.
  • An-Pan: An-pan is a Japanese sweet bun filled with red bean paste and is recognized as one of the most popular snack breads in Japan. It was first made by a former samurai during the Meiji period (around 143 years ago), when Japan was becoming more westernized. Make sure to pinch shut the bottom of the dough to prevent it from opening while baking!
  • Bacon Pain d’Epi with Coffee Spread: Pain d’Epi is a type of artisan bread in which baguette dough is baked in a shape of a wheat stalk. Our version features a slice of juicy bacon over a robust coffee spread inside.
  • Broccoli Salmon Crescent Pocket: This large, flaky crescent sandwich is filled with salmon and cheesy broccoli. It’s the perfect tasty party dish.
  • Luscious Blueberry Loaf: Our recipe for this luscious blueberry loaf uses fresh blueberries and finishes with a crumb topping for a lovely presentation. Add the blueberries when the kneading cycle completes to maintain its shape and color.

Tea Selection and Temperature

As important as it is to have a wide array of finger foods, it’s also great to have a variety of teas to offer your guests at your party. This allows them to select the taste and caffeine level they are comfortable with. Some different types of tea we love include: Matcha, Gyokuro, Oolong, Black Tea & Herbal.

Did you know that different teas are best brewed at different temperatures? If you don’t brew at the right temperature, the tea could become bitter or not be as fragrant and tasty as it should. Zojirushi water boilers have different temperature settings ideal for a variety of teas, so you can brew your tea to perfection.  Find the perfect temperatures for your favorite teas below:

Secret Weapon

The Zojirushi Micom Water Boiler & Warmer’s (CD-NAC40) capability to heat water to various perfect temperatures is one of the main reasons this machine is our secret weapon for all tea parties.

But, there are many other features that make the water boiler useful, on a daily basis. For example, its Quick Temp Mode. Zojirushi water boilers are all designed to boil the water first, before keeping it warm at the select temperature. This was designed for safety, as well as to reduce the chlorine in tap water. If using bottled or purified water, this step can be omitted by using the Quick Temp Mode, which skips the boiling process and heats to the select temperature, reducing time and energy.

Additionally, the boiler has a useful timer. The timer setting will shut off the heater for an extended period of time, and automatically turn it back on, so you’ll have hot water ready for you after 6-10 hours. This is useful to set up at night so hot water is at the ready in the morning without keeping the heater on all night, using up electricity. With features like this, every day can be a tea party with very little effort!

Learn more here:

 

Did you try any of these recipes or host your own tea party? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan #ZoParty

 

 

B-kyu Gurume: Kushikatsu from Shinsekai, Osaka

(source: Just One Cookbook)

Have you ever tried Kushikatsu?  Kushikatsu, also known as Kushiage, is a famous and delicious Japanese dish of deep-fried meat and vegetables served on a skewer. In fact, kushi actually refers to the bamboo skewers used to assemble this dish and katsu refers to the deep-fried cutlets.

The dish is most commonly made with chicken, pork, seafood and a variety of seasonal vegetables. The ingredients are dipped in egg and flour, and breaded with panko then deep-fried to be golden brown.

Kushikatsu is said to have originated in downtown Osaka in Shinsekai in 1929, and was primarily made for blue-collar workers. The skewers made the dish a fast food of sorts and were both inexpensive and filling for the locals of the region. While skewers are popular across Japan, the Osaka region’s Kushiage is particular in a few ways.

First, they offer one type of ingredient per skewer, whereas other regions might interchange their meats with vegetables, or place more than one type of meat per skewer. Secondly, the Shinsekai skewers are generally a bit smaller than other regions, because it is customary to order several for each meal. Lastly, in Osaka, the skewers are served standalone and are usually dipped in a shared pot of sauce before eating, to thinly coat the skewer (double-dipping is strictly prohibited). Other regions are known to instead serve the skewers with ginger, sauces, or other meats on the side of the skewer.

Some places in Japan offer Kushikatsu as a fondue-style meal, where you dip and prepare your own skewers at the table. If that sounds fun to you and you are ready to make this famous dish at home, here is a great video with the recipe for you to learn the ropes.

If you’re visiting Osaka and are looking for the best places to find Kushikatsu, give these a try!

  • Daruma Shinsekai Sohonten is known as one of the most popular places to grab Kushikatsu in Osaka. There are 14 of these across the region, so it will be easy for you to access on your trip.
  • Ueshima is located in Amemura, and they have no menu or price listed. The master chef will prepare the freshest ingredients they were able to find for the guests. When you are full, make sure to inform them!  It is advised to tell the chef your budget in advance if that might be a concern, so he knows how to keep the experience in your budget.
  • Rokkakutei Kuromon Honten is a more high-end Kushikatsu restaurant, with one-Michelin star. Similar to Ueshima there is no menu or price, and the day’s freshest ingredients are featured in the meal.

Let us know if you try (or make) any of these dishes by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushiamerica on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

 

Score Perfect Rice, Every Time

Welcome to September, Zo fans!  What better way to welcome a completely new season than with the celebration of National Rice Month Zo  and by making the perfect bowl of rice with our product of the month, the Zojirushi Pressure Induction Heating Rice Cooker & Warmer (NP-NWC10/18). We’re going to share more about what makes this appliance so special, as well as tips to help you make better tasting rice, right in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Product of the Month Highlights

The NP-NWC features three pressure levels for cooking and steaming, which promotes gelatinization. This helps to create fluffy and plump rice! The NP-NWC automatically selects from the pressure levels based on the menu you select and will automatically utilize pressure and steaming to eliminate excess moisture during the cooking process.

The NP-NWC also features advanced fuzzy logic with artificial intelligence. This advanced technology allows the rice cooker to adjust the cooking cycle to deliver the same perfect rice, no matter the season or water temperature, and even after years of use.

Through induction heating technology (or IH), the inner cooking pan itself serves as the heat source for cooking the rice. This allows high heat and fine heat adjustments to control the cooking process, delivering perfectly fluffy rice.

Top Tips to Make Better Tasting Rice

The biggest secret to making perfect rice is in the perfect measurements. Here are our top 2 tips to consider when you measure your proportions for your next meal:

  1. The rice cooker measuring cup is based on an old Japanese measuring cup (masu), and is different than your standard US measuring cup. Always use the measuring cup that came with your rice cooker, fill to overflow, then level off. Using the measuring cup will make it easy to figure out how much water to fill. White rice is milled brown rice. Milling leaves a lot of starch on the surface of the rice and if not removed before cooking, rice becomes gummy. To cook delicious rice, Zojirushi recommends washing the rice to remove excess starch. But you have to work quickly. Rice is dry, and will start absorbing water as soon as it can, and we want to prevent it from absorbing any starchy water, as much as possible.
  2. Yes, we know about the knuckle method for measuring rice. But we cook and test tons and tons of rice every year, so that our rice cookers can cook the best-tasting rice for you. It’s scientific. It’s precise. Trust us, and use the rice measuring cup in conjunction with the water measure lines. It will yield perfect result. Every. Single. Time.

Your Rice, Your Way

 

 

 

Our Zojirushi Pressure Induction Heating Rice Cooker & Warmer (NP-NWC10/18) also features a menu feature so you can select the type of rice or grain you’re making and it does the rest of the thinking for you. The NP-NWC menu options feature White, Umami, Mixed, Sushi/Sweet, Jasmine, Porridge, Congee, Brown, GABA Brown, Steel Cut Oatmeal, Rinse-free, and Quick Cooking.  We’re going to explain a few of the menu options you can select from:

  • White rice, with your choice of texture (regular, softer, or harder) utilizes 4 different pressure settings to perfect a variety of textures.
  • Brown rice, can also be activated using the GABA Brown setting, to increase the amount of GABA, one of the nutrients contained in brown rice.
  • Jasmine Rice Congee, a Chinese rice porridge.
  • Jasmine White Rice that unlocks the delicious flavor and texture of this grain.
  • Umami, Zojirushi’s exclusive setting that extends soaking and steaming for sweeter tasting rice.
  • Steel Cut Oatmeal, cooks your oats until they are delicious and soft, without burning or overflowing.

Here are some of our favorite recipes for you to give a try with your NP-NWC:

Bibimbap (Korean Rice Bowl)

Chakin-Sushi

Oatmeal Pear Surprise

It’s no secret that the NP-NWC is one of our most advanced rice cookers, which is why we chose it as our Product of the Month!  Are you interested in having one of your own?  Make sure to follow us on Instagram and stay tuned for our giveaway with this rice cooker this month!

And don’t forget to try our recipes and rice tips!  Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZojirushiAmerica #ZoFan #ZoRice

Bert-san’s Take—Is it a Toaster or Oven?


Deep dish pizza from my new Zojirushi Toaster Oven (ET-ZLC30). Read on to see how I baked it with this high-tech toaster that does a whole lot more than just toast.

One of the functions that’s a little different on this toaster oven is called “RISE”, which is a kind of proofing setting for dough. I baked a simple Margherita Pizza with dough made from scratch…

And popped it into the Zojirushi for 40 minutes on the RISE cycle at 90°F.

Here’s something I should mention—this bowl is pretty big, but it fit comfortably. This toaster oven definitely had the room.

Pretty nice ball of pizza dough! Later on I’ll show you my wife’s bread dough, which is even more impressive.

Add my ingredients…

Annnd…Margherita pizza!

How do you like the Zucchini and Corn Pizza at the beginning of this post? I can’t take the credit—my wife decided to snatch my Trader Joe’s® store bought pizza dough and make her own. This is a brilliant, vegetarian pizza that was amazingly delicious and easy, and perfect for summer! First get any deep pan (we used cast iron to get that crispy bottom). We had this out in room temp for a few hours so it could expand. I could have used the RISE in the toaster but it was occupied with my Margherita!

Sauté zucchini, corn, green onion, some basil and some garlic. Season with garlic salt.

Add mozzarella cheese and a criss-cross drizzle of ranch dressing (!!), you heard me—don’t say “Eww” until you’ve tried this.

Top with the veggies and put the whole thing in the toaster oven. We preheated to 450°F and baked for only 15 to 20 minutes; pretty quick. Here’s another thing I should mention about the Zojirushi. This is a standard 10” cast iron pan and it fit inside easily. Also, these pans are heavy! I was impressed with the sturdiness of the rack. It’s tougher than it looks—no bowing or bending at all!

Done!

Isn’t it beautiful? Zucchini and Corn Deep Dish Pizza. Don’t tell anyone about the ranch and have them taste it first; you’ll get no critics.

Now what happens if you want to use that RISE function to do some real bread baking? Here’s dough mixed for easy no-knead bread.

And here’s the expanded dough after proofing in the Zojirushi for about 2 hours at 100°F. Mind you, this no-knead dough would normally require overnight to rise properly, so it was handy to be able to do it in the toaster oven.

Tah-da! No-knead bread!

We baked this in our other toaster oven because our cast iron Dutch oven was too high for the Zojirushi with the lid on. If yours is lower profile it may fit. One comment about proofing in a couple of hours vs. overnight. It was missing that “yeasty” flavor in the bread, but it was still very good. I guess there’s no substitute for time in some cases!

And lastly but very important, some dessert that you can bake in this toaster oven. A Plum and Peach Fruit Galette. Store-bought pie crust and fruit lying around the house and this one is done, baby!

Hope you guys enjoyed seeing all the things you can do with this Zojirushi Toaster Oven. Next time we’ll do some cooking and not just baking!

Just For Fun
Some people love the attention…but I give this person credit; that cannot be easy. And yes, he did make it all the way across.

Unlike this guy…

 

All images and videos by Bert Tanimoto