B-kyu Gurume: Sobameshi from Hyogo

Image link: https://www.chopstickchronicles.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Sobameshi-11.jpg

When you think of street food in Japan, you probably think of noodles or fried rice. But, have you ever heard of Sobameshi?  Sobameshi derives from the words for both noodles and rice: yakisoba and yakimeshi – coming together to make the ultimate street food, comfort dish.

This delicious meal is said to have originated in Hyogo in 1957, when a customer brought cold rice from their lunch box to a shop and asked the owner to heat it up for him. The owner then added the rice to the soba dish that was in the middle of being prepared, and voilà! This shop is believed to be Aomori located in Nagata ward, Kobe City, which is still serving their delicious creation to this date.

Another story suggests that the dish was invented by women factory workers, who mixed the rice and noodles they brought for lunch with sauces on grills at okonomiyaki restaurants close to their work.

Whatever the origin, the dish has become a fan favorite across the country. The main ingredients? Rice, noodles, and beef – with many variations available at each establishment.

The meal is generally prepared by placing a bowl of rice on top of the grill, along with a pile of noodles. Next, there is a sweet and salty mixture of meat, some cabbage, and then a delicious sauce. All ingredients are chopped and grilled. The dish is finished with more sauce that was used to cook the dish, and sometimes other sauces are offered as options (from mild to spicy, depending on your taste preferences).

Sobameshi is often considered to be a must-eat when visiting Kobe, renowned as the most famous cheap-and-easy local dish in a town known for its many gourmet dishes. You can find the dish at okonomiyaki restaurants or grill-it-yourself (or grilled live in front of you) dine-ins. Dining in this type of eatery is often a social affair, where regulars and new patrons sit at the counter and socialize while they enjoy their meals. In front of the guests is a large griddle where everything is cooked and served. It’s a sight to watch the ingredients being chopped and prepared in front of you, and an enjoyable scene to see the community of people enjoy their meal together.

If you’re looking to make the dish at home, take a look at this easy-to-follow recipe on YouTube, with English and Japanese subtitles:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZV_hdjy87A

Where You Can Find Sobameshi

  • Aomori: Considered to be the creators of this dish.
  • Kobe Entrecote (Teppanyaki): Menu available in English, where sobameshi is available as a side to the fine tenderloin steaks they’re known for.
  • Nagata Tank Suji: Known for their sobameshi, which features many sauce options to pair with and top the dish.

Let us know if you try any of these restaurants, or make this dish at home by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

Our Favorite Warm Beverages for Cozy Days

At the beginning of November, the holiday season becomes more lively as the weather becomes more chilly. We like to enjoy these cold autumn days by cozying up on the couch and watching movies, having long talks with our loved ones, or just curling up with a great book. Our favorite accessories for these activities? A comfortable blanket and a warm beverage.

Our Favorite Warm Fall Beverages

  • Spiced Rooibos Tea: This caffeine-free herbal tea is rich in antioxidants and features an aromatic blend of ginger, cinnamon and orange. It’s rich in flavor and soothing to the soul.
  • British Tea: If you’re in the mood for a warm milk tea, try our British tea recipe! In England, milk is added to lower the temperature of the tea to drink sooner, but also to sweeten and add richness to the beverage. For those that want a more refreshing cup of tea, substitute for lemon and honey to deepen the flavor profile.
  • Oh So Soy Latte: If you’re looking for a dairy-substitute or a tea-alternative for your cozy evening – give this soy latte a try. Simply brew your favorite coffee or espresso and add in your milk-substitute, like soy milk!
  • Hot Indian Lassi: Instead of milk, try a warm yogurt-based drink. A lassi is commonly enjoyed in India and can be sweet or salty. This recipe is for a warm, sweet variation of a traditional lassi, made with Greek yogurt and cardamom.
  • Cold Buster Soothie: Feeling a little under the weather? Try our soothie, a beverage that aims to soothe the body and comfort your throat – and all you need is lemon, hot water and honey.

Share the Warmth

Image link: https://www.zojirushi.com/user/images/prod/267.3.jpg 

When we make larger batches of warm drinks for the whole family, we use the Zojirushi Glass Vacuum Carafe (AH-FAE10). The beautiful design of this product was inspired by Imono – traditional cast-iron products in the Japanese culture. Matte black accented with gold features an elegant contemporary spin to the classic aesthetic, making it a perfect addition for your home or office.

 

As it gets colder, we tend to all love reaching for a warm beverage for comfort. Thermal Carafes are great for keeping hot beverages at-the-ready, anywhere in your home. Its vacuum insulation provides superior heat retention, keeping your beverage hot on the inside, while the exterior stays cool to the touch. Just pour yourself a cup to enjoy a hot cuppa, anytime, anywhere.

A Closer Look

Have you ever looked inside your glass lined carafe or air pot and noticed a shimmer? It’s because between the 2 layers of glass, there is a silver plating. The plating helps reflect heat like a mirror, to improve heat retention. The high quality vacuum glass liner in all Zojirushi Glass Carafes provides excellent heat retention. Learn about different ways to prevent heat transfer here:

All Zojirushi vacuum glass liners are made in Japan, and use medical-grade borosilicate glass which not only provides superior heat retention, but also repels odors and stains! It’s also safe for food contact, and really easy to clean. If you’re interested in learning more about how glass liners are made, take a look at this fascinating video here: https://youtu.be/wvxX5DgoDxw

What’s your favorite autumn beverage? Are you planning on trying any of the recipes we shared today? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

One-Pan Meals Are Too Easy

This is getting dangerous. My Zojirushi stuff is making it so easy to cook, pretty soon I’m going to be expected to do more cooking around here. My wife already said, “You’re gonna have to cook more if you want to get better. What if you start cooking every Sunday?” Waaait a minute…how come I feel like I’m going to get more “to-dos” around the house? Actually we usually buy take out food on Sundays anyway, so cooking might save us money—and I’m never opposed to that.

I recently tried these One Pot/One Pan recipes that really seemed perfect for my Electric Skillet and my Toaster Oven. The hardest part is prepping the ingredients, which isn’t that time consuming. The cooking part all happens in the same pot, so even if there are steps to follow, it’s not like you’re washing anything in between. I found that being able to electronically control the temperature when the recipe calls for it, helped a lot for a novice like me.

I’m happy to say this One-Pot Beef Stroganoff came out tasting as good as it looks,  Here are the ingredients I used (link to this recipe below if you’re interested). I used the shallow pan from my skillet for this one, which was the right choice because pasta stroganoff isn’t a soupy stew like sukiyaki or a hot pot.

Then it was a matter of cooking each stage of this dish in the same pan. First I sautéed the mushrooms.

I set that aside to make room for the ground beef and onions.

Here I’m stirring in the flour and paprika real good so it dissolves. Look at me—two fisted cooking technique! LOL.

Here’s where I added the broth and finally the pasta. That was basically it—all I had to do then was cover it and let it simmer for 10 or 12 minutes until the pasta cooked al dente. 

The sour cream is added after the heat is turned off, and then garnished with the parsely. Look at how creamy it looks!

I’m realizing that one-pot literally means one pot, so that’s easy on the cleanup, but I sort of thought you load up everything in the pot in the beginning and just let it cook by itself. There are recipes like that, but most recipes require “steps”, because different ingredients cook at different times. Not complainin’, just sayin’.

On the other hand, one-pan recipes are exactly like that—and are fast becoming my favorite kind. This is a sheet pan Garlic Butter Salmon and Asparagus that I found online that can be baked all at once in the oven (or toaster oven). Now this was easy—make the garlic butter, coat the fish and veggies with it on the baking sheet, and pop into the oven to cook.

14 minutes later, we got dinner, with sides! I am definitely trying more sheet pan recipes in the future. And having a toaster oven large enough means you can do everything on the countertop—from prep to bake to serve.

Check out the sizzlin’ salmon! Woohoo!!

Just For Fun
What in the world is this guy doing??

Products used for these recipes: 
Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet EA-BDC10
Micom Toaster Oven ET-ZLC30

Beef Stroganoff recipe by JoCooks
Garlic Butter Salmon recipe by Chrissy Teigen

All photos by Bert Tanimoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

B-kyu Gurume: Kanazawa Curry from Kanazawa, Ishikawa

 

 

Curry in Japan vs Kanazawa Curry

Curry in Japan is widely considered as a comfort food.  It’s occasionally spicy and full of flavor, and served with rice and meat. In Kanazawa, the curry is a unique experience.

Kanazawa Curry is different from most curries because of its thick texture. It is gooey and made with caramel, has a dark brown color, and is often enjoyed with a fork or spork. This Kanazawa Curry style

 can be dated to the 1950s as a specialty in western-style restaurants in Japan. This means the dish is relatively new in terms of the history of the country, but it actually didn’t catch widespread popularity until around 2005, when the restaurant chain, Champion Curry, featured the dish in their establishment.

How Kanazawa Curry Is Served

This curry is standardly served with rice and katsu, a breaded cutlet, with sauce on top and shredded cabbage on the side. Some restaurants allow you to add additional cutlets, boiled eggs, fried shrimp, sausages, scrambled eggs, cream croquettes, and more. The meal is served on stainless dishes, because the curry is heavy and needs a strong base to be served on.

Where You Can Find Kanazawa Curry

According to Food in Japan, the best places to grab this dish when you’re visiting the region would be:

  • Champion Curry: Considered the forefathers of the dish, they have several varieties of the curry. You order on a vending machine outside the restaurant and then bring your paid ticket to the shop and order with the team that’s working in the store.
  • Go-Go Curry: Another chain that contributed to Kanazawa’s regional popularity. While this restaurant’s curry is slightly spicier than other chains, they have a kid’s version that is milder.
  • Gold Curry: This restaurant features a curry that’s uniquely sweet and focuses on using local ingredients.

Make Kanazawa Curry at Home

Curious on how Kanazawa Curry tastes?  Try it out for yourself in the comfort of your own home with this ingredient list:

  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Black honey
  • Water
  • Chutney Paste
  • Tomato Puree
  • Garam Masala
  • Cumin
  • Curry Powder
  • Curry Roux
  • Bouquet Garni

You’ll also need to make plain white rice, have a breaded cutlet, and some shredded cabbage when assembling the dish.

Here are some of our favorite recipes to make the roux at home: Travel Monitor | Cook Pad

Let us know if you try any of these restaurants, or make this dish at home by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushi on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

 

 

 

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