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Inspirations from Everyday Life.

Mother’s Home Cooking: Hamburg

What is Hamburg and Where Did it Come From?

Hambāgu or Japanese Hamburger Steak, is a hugely popular dish in Japanese cuisine that is the ultimate comfort meal. It’s a steak patty made from ground meat; however, the dish is served with rice instead of buns. The style of meat is like Salisbury Steak or a single serving of meatloaf, but of course with a Japanese twist.

This dish originated in Hamburg, Germany, where they began cooking minced meat with breadcrumbs in the 18th century. And while the dish dates to the Meiji era in Japan, believed to be first served in Yokohama, it grew in popularity in the country during the early 20th century. Hamburg became widely popular in the 1960s, as minced meat was readily available and affordable, and the variations and sauces allowed for an elevated budget meal. Since the 1980s, vacuum-packed hamburg has been sold with sauce for bento-boxes.

–Wafu (or Japanese-style) Hambagu

Hamburg Ingredients

The patty is juicy and loaded with flavor. The key ingredients include minced meat (generally beef, pork, or a combination of the two), finely chopped onions, egg, and panko breadcrumbs – and for meatier dishes, that is all that’s needed. These ingredients are mixed and molded to make a flat, circular-shaped patty that’s about 1 cm thick and 10-15 cm in diameter.

Other varieties include a range of seasonings, carrot, cabbage, spring onions, or other seasonal vegetables that are on hand, garlic and sometimes milk (or milk substitute, such as almond milk). This patty is then glazed with a sweet and savory sauce that can be made with various approaches, such as: demi-glace sauce, soy sauce based wafu sauce, tomato-based sauce (or sometimes ketchup-based sauce), teriyaki sauce, or even cheese sauce. The variety allows for the dish to be customized from household to household.

How to Enjoy Hamburg

While you can certainly eat the prepared patty alone, the conventional way to enjoy this dish is to place the glazed patty on a bed of white rice and complement it with steamed or boiled vegetables. Some households enjoy the patties alone as Hamburg Steak and then utilize the leftovers in a Japanese Hamburg lunch. Another option is to serve the patty with mashed potatoes to give the dish a western twist. Many recipes online make a large batch because the patties freeze well, encouraging home cooks to enjoy some now, and have extra on hand for a quick meal in the future.

How to Make Hamburg at Home

If you’re excited to make this this at home for yourself, take a look at this recipe from No Recipes here, or try this Mini-Hamburger recipe from the Zojirushi kitchen that you can make right in your Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet (EP-RAC50)

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

Easy and Delicious Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas

Welcome to the Month of Love, Zo-fans – a time to celebrate your partner, especially on Valentine’s Day. While many couples decide to have a date night out, some may opt for a more intimate and romantic night in with a homecooked meal. Making dinner at home is a great gesture, but it can also be overwhelming to make a dish that’s more elevated than an everyday dinner, while not being too complicated to make or add hours to clean-up.

We’ve rounded up some ideas to help you prepare a dinner that’s delicious and sure to impress with our best tips for simple prep and clean-up.

Delicious Appetizer

Tomato & Basil Appetizer Style Thin Crust Pizza: Use your Zojirushi Breadmaker to make a homemade pizza appetizer, with fresh tomatoes, prosciutto, and cheese. Simple, yet refined. A wonderful beginning to any meal.

Side Dishes to Pair with Your Meal

Caprese Rice Salad: Use your Zojirushi rice cooker to make this twist on a caprese salad, with a rice base. Featuring pine nuts and herbs, this dish is tasty and can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for 12 hours before serving.

Green Peas and Asparagus Doria: Similar to French gratin, this Japanese dish is made with buttered rice with vegetables, meat or fish, soaked in a bechamel sauce and topped with cheese.

Okra, Asparagus, and Cherry Tomato Salad: This side dish is easy to prepare in minutes, by blanching vegetables with hot water from your Zojirushi water boiler.

Entrée Options

Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast: Faster than roasting a whole turkey but just as festive. This dish has a delicious stuffing and can be made in our product of the month, the Multicooker (EL-CAC60).

Baked Risotto Lasagna Style: This variation of lasagna is baked to perfection with layers of meat sauce and rice (instead of pasta).

Roasted Chicken and Porcini Mushroom Ravioli with Sherry Sauce: Luxurious porcini mushrooms are the star of this tasty ravioli dish, easy to make using your Zojirushi breadmaker.

Ending on a Sweet Note

Layered Trifle Tower: Not sure about baking? No problem! The batter is baked in your Zojirushi rice cooker. Just layer with custard, whipped cream and fruit!

Chocolate Raspberry Tofu Pie: If you’re looking for a non-dairy but luxe dessert to enjoy, try this pie with a smooth raspberry chocolate filling made with tofu.

Do More with Your Multicooker

You can use your Zojirushi Multicooker (EL-CAC60) to help with a variety of meals for your Valentine’s Day dinner. Nine convenient menu settings include: sauté, simmer, slow cook, steam, rice cooker, quinoa, yogurt, and keep warm. The appliance has 4 temperatures for slow cooking, and preprogrammed grain and yogurt settings that automatically adjust cooking time and temperature to make white rice, brown rice, quinoa and yogurt. The machine also comes with a full color recipe book to continue to make easy and delicious meals to enjoy with your partner. Learn more here:

Easy to Make, Easy to Clean

The best part about Zojirushi appliances is their thoughtful construction, not only for cooking but also for clean-up. Here are some tips to clean and maintain the rice cooker used for your Valentine’s Day meal:

Remove & Clean Inner Lid: During the boiling process, starchy foam will adhere to the inner lid and become dirty. The inner lid is designed so it can be removed and washed thoroughly. Especially if you add any ingredients other than rice (such as condiments) when cooking, wash thoroughly to prevent odors.

Remove & Clean Steam Vent Cap: The steam vent cap is there to catch any foam that forms during cooking. Make sure you remove and clean it after each use to prevent from clogging.

Tips to Keep Inner Pan Scratch Free: The inner pan is nonstick coated for easy cleaning (rice is very sticky). When cleaning or washing, don’t put forks, knives or other cooking utensils in the inner pan. The pan should be hand washed with a soft sponge and a mild dishwashing liquid. Please only use the rice spatula that came with your rice cooker to keep the pan from scratching and deteriorating.

What are your favorite meals to make for your significant other? Are you planning on trying any of the recipes or tips we shared today? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

Mother’s Home Cooking in Japan: Miso Soup

It’s a new year and a new series of posts on the Zojirushi blog! In our “Mother’s Home Cooking in Japan” series, we explore Japanese foods that moms often cook at home, beloved by young and old alike. For our past series such as “Japanese Street Food” and “B-kyu Gurume”, click on the categories on the right!

When you think of Japanese comfort food, it is natural to think of miso soup. Warm and delicious, and as nutritious as it is delicious – a staple dish prepared by moms across Japan – that can now be found all over the world. Today we take a closer look at miso soup and consider its origins, the traditional way to eat it, and how to make it at home.

The Origins of Miso Soup

Miso soup is said to be originated during the Kamakura period (1185-1333), serving as a daily meal for samurais. The soup has low calories, is high in protein and is easy to make with an instant paste, so military commanders were able to enjoy it without much preparation while they were on the move.

The Ingredients of Miso Soup

The instant paste that is used in miso soup is from a fish stock called Dashi, made from dried sardines, dried kelp seaweed, and smoked bonito or shitake mushrooms. The paste also includes fermenting grain and the longer this paste ages, the richer the flavor profile of the soup. Miso paste can also be found in different colors and deepness in flavor (based on the fermenting process). There are also variations of this paste that are not made with any fish, suitable for vegetarians to enjoy.

This paste is the umami core of the dish, providing the bowl most of its flavor. Many chefs or home cooks work to layer in additional flavors, textures, or ingredients to update the dish or customize it to their preference. Some options of these customizations include: sliced onions, tofu, spinach, mushrooms, egg, or various fish.

How to Enjoy the Soup

 

Once prepared, miso soup is prepared in a small portion as a side dish to complement a meal. Common main dishes might be rice, sashimi, steak, and other meal options. While some restaurants and households enjoy the side dish with a soup spoon, traditionally miso soup is consumed by lifting the small bowl directly to your mouth. Miso soup is enjoyed throughout the day, as breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a snack.

Making Miso Soup at Home

If you love miso soup and want to make this dish at home yourself, take a look at this recipe from Japanese Cooking 101 here, or try this Vegetarian Miso Nabe recipe that you can make right in your Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet (EP-PBC10)!

You can also make miso soup right in your food jar to take for a warm lunch, or give this savory Tonjiru, aka pork miso soup packed with tons of veggies a try!

To learn more about miso, also see our blog post “Essentials of Japanese Cooking: Miso.”

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

On-the-Go Tea Time with Our Tea Tumbler

Happy National Hot Tea Month, Zo Fans! At Zojirushi we love enjoying a cup of tea in the morning, on-the-go, at work, and even at the end of our day. Our new Stainless Tea Tumbler with Handle (SE-KAE48) is leak-proof, vacuum insulated and designed to perfectly house your beverage whether you are at home or on the run, and that’s why it’s the first product of the month in the new year! Inspired by the traditional purple clay teapot, the fine texture of its porous finish creates the sense of familiar comfort with every sip. Keep reading to learn all about this tumbler, how to take care of it, and how to use tea to prepare delicious dishes to celebrate this month.

Tea Tumbler Special Features

Excellent Temperature Control: This tumbler is built with a stainless steel vacuum insulated wall to offer superior heat and cold retention for hours after pouring into the container. The stainless steel vacuum insulation also minimizes heat transfer to keep the exterior from getting hot and minimizes condensation if you’re carrying a cold drink.

Tea Strainer & Infuser: Included with this tumbler is a stainless steel direct brewing tea infuser & strainer combo, which has a handle for easy removal. Use just the tea strainer to brew large loose tealeaves like oolong, or the infuser for black and green tea. The tea strainer will keep tealeaves from flowing out, or if you prefer, the infuser/strainer combo can be removed and placed on the lid that conveniently turns into an infuser stand.

Leak Proof: The lid and handle are designed to be carried with you and provide peace of mind to be leak proof (when used according to the manual). Take it with you on your morning walk, in the car on the way to work, or as you move around the house to enjoy your Sunday.

Caring for Your Tea Tumbler

Zojirushi loves building products that last. Here are some tips on how to clean, maintain or update your tumbler to keep it as good as new:

How to remove coffee & tea stains: As the tumbler is used, tea or coffee stains may accumulate on the interior surface of the mug. These stains can be easily removed using a bleach/chlorine-free food and beverage stain remover.

When to replace gasket and plastic parts: The gaskets should be replaced if they are becoming less flexible or cracking. The cover and stopper should be replaced if they are damaged or cracked. We recommend that the parts are carefully inspected at least yearly in case a part is showing signs of wear.

Don’t use bleach: Bleach will cause the stainless steel to rust and the stopper and cover to experience premature wear. The tumbler and its parts should be hand washed with a soft sponge and a mild dishwashing liquid.

Our Go-To Tea Recipes

You’ve heard of cooking with wine, but did you know you can use tea as a signature ingredient in many other dishes? Take a look at our favorite recipes below that incorporate various teas and pro-tip: make more tea than the recipes ask for so you can have something to sip on while the dishes are being prepared.

  • Black Tea Panna Cotta: This creamy Italian dessert with a hint of Earl Grey tea makes an excellent afternoon dessert. Make some extra tea when you are preparing the dessert to enjoy in your tumbler while the dish is being prepared.
  • Green Tea Chicken Stew: If you’re looking for something savory, this green tea chicken stew is a delicious and comforting soup that features grated ginger, sake, mirin, and other umami-rich flavors.
  • Oolong Tea Chicken Bites: This dish features meatballs cooked in a delicious oolong tea soup, which adds a savory and unique flavor profile. Warm and comforting, perfect for National Hot Tea Month.

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

B-kyu Gurume: Tebasaki Karaage from Nagoya

Nagoya is famous for many types of street foods, including hitsumabushi (grilled eel on rice) and various udon and flat noodles, as well as a delicious fried chicken dish called Tebasaki Karaage.

If you’re familiar with Japanese dishes, you might be familiar with a version of karaage that is bite-sized pieces of marinated chicken. Tebasaki karaage however, uses the whole chicken wing, bone and all, and each piece is deep-fried before a sweet, sticky glaze finishes off the dish. Tebasaki translates to “wingtips”, which refers to the cut and the name of the dish. If you love chicken wings, this Japanese style of the famous dish satisfies that same meaty craving.

The dish is said to have originated in the 1960’s at the restaurant bar “Furaibo” when there was a shortage of the usual karaage meat, and wings were offered instead. Believe it or not, the wings were originally discarded as livestock feed, but this happy accident turned the dish into a fan-favorite at many eateries across Nagoya, as well as all over Japan.

Each wing is deep fried without batter and coated in a sweet and salty sauce. Even though the dish is not breaded and has no formal crust, the wings are usually double dipped into the fryer and the skin fries to a crisp. Once coated, it is finished with spices and sesame seeds resulting in a crispy and juicy dish.  Sounds delicious right?

The sauce is similar to a teriyaki sauce, but flavored with ginger and garlic. This mixture is simmered until it is rich and sticky to coat the deep-fried chicken. It is recommended to dip the chicken wings as soon as they are removed from the hot oil. This method allows the sauce to caramelize without making the wing soggy.

The wings retain their crisp for a half hour, and many people will fry the chicken once and wait for the second deep-fry until they are closer to eating the meal. Serve with a cold beer, cabbage leaves, veggies, cucumbers, or celery sticks.

If you’re looking to make this dish at home, check out this video from No Recipes:

Where You Can Find Tebasaki Karaage

  • Furaibo: considered to be the creators of this dish
  • Torikai Sohonke Meieki Minami Branch: This branch uses one of the top kinds of chicken in Japan and a unique red wine-based sauce.
  • Sekai no Yamachan: Known for being heavily seasoned and for their large portions

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!