I guess at my age, I don’t have to think really hard to appreciate what I’ve got. I’ve never been one to be envious or jealous of my neighbor, or complain about what I don’t have, so it doesn’t take much to keep me happy. Some might say that’s great, some may say that’s why I don’t have more. I say it’s a byproduct of having experienced the hippie generation, when material things were frowned upon in the name of simple peace and love. (Best excuse!)
Take my Hainan Chicken Rice, for example. I’m grateful that I can cook it and steam the Chinese broccoli all in my rice cooker.
The natural chicken broth seeps into the jasmine rice as it cooks, and the steamer basket takes care of the broccoli. I found out that this is a signature Singaporean dish, brought over from the Hainan province in Southern China.
This is what both dishes look like right out of the rice cooker.
Homemade Hainan Chicken Rice. The ginger scallion sauce is a simple topping you can find easily online, and Hoisin sauce was sprinkled on the broccoli. This is good stuff, just using our rice cooker!
I am thankful for my electric griddle, which continues to be a really handy appliance to have in our kitchen. We have the takoyaki plate that fits into the griddle, which is a treat sometimes when we’re craving these.
Out of all the jobs I’ve had in my life, the four years I spent in Japan were the most influential and memorable that I can keep with me forever. And that includes the foods I ate that really opened my eyes to Japanese cuisine. It’s so much more than sushi and ramen, you know? I’ll always look back at my summers in Japan as the most excruciatingly sticky and uncomfortable seasons ever, but also the best time for all the fun festivals going on. Takoyaki and yakisoba are best eaten from paper trays at your local town festival during summertime.
By the way, just to let you know you can switch from the takoyaki plate to the flat griddle instantly to make these two summer classics at home.
Do you know what else I’m thankful for? I’m thankful I was raised Asian-American. Think about how lucky I am to know both cultures, having been around both worlds since I was born. This is one of the reasons I never let my kids forget that when they were growing up. A big part of keeping that alive is the food that we eat everyday. I think we take that for granted sometimes, but to be able to appreciate good food from whatever culture or cultures that make up your background is essential. And it only gets more important the older we get.
My Mom always used to make meatloaf when we were kids. And the tradition continues today.
And don’t forget the potatoes…
What are you guys thankful for this Thanksgiving? Don’t let it pass without giving it some thought—it’ll do wonders for your day.
Please note that these recipes were not tested by Zojirushi America.
All images by Bert Tanimoto ©2023