Japanese 100 Yen shop or $1 store

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Japanese 100 Yen shop

I love to shop and when I travel, I love to pick up cool kitchen gadgets. My kids laugh at me as they think it’s funny when I get excited about a new strainer or peeler.

Tokyo has 100 Yen shops that sell household items and are equivalent to North American dollar stores. I was very surprised that they would even exist here. When I found out that many of Saya’s gadgets are from there, I was very excited to see the store for myself.

They are basically the same as the $1 stores that we have in Canada. The only difference is that the quality is very high in Japan and the design of the items are very practical and cute.

I had accumulated a long list of items that I wanted to bring back to Canada but by the time I stocked up on Japanese sauces, rice crackers and other food, my free luggage space had diminished.

I went a bit wild at the first 100 Yen store and bought some beautiful Japanese ceramic bowls, a ginger grater, felt coasters and tea towels made from linen. I decided to cool down at the second store but of course I could not resist. I bought a veggie slicer, a cute minnie mouse lunch container with a picture of the eiffel tower, a cute animal duster and lots of candy for my kids.

I have already started a list for the next time that I visit Japan and for sure will bring extra luggage.

Yaki Onigiri – Baked Rice Ball

September 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

yaki onigiri

This is one way that the Japanese serve rice. This morning it was beautifully presented to me with miso soup. The rice is mixed with soy sauce and cheese and baked or lightly pan fried. It is crunchy on the outside and holds together pretty well. The miso complements it nicely. At home I can see myself eating this as delicious midday pick me up snack.

Cooking time 20 minutes

Yaki Onigiri
cooked Japanese rice
soy sauce

Miso Soup
wakame seaweed
green onions sliced

1. combine the ingredients for the yaki onigiri and either bake in the oven or lightly pan fry.
2. combine the ingredients for the miso into a bowl. Serve together and enjoy.

Saya’s Harusame Salad

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment


Harusame is a transparent noodle made from either potato or mung bean starch. It has texture and requires a good chew. This salad is very light and refreshing and easy to pack for lunch.

harusame noodles
sliced zucchini
sliced yellow pepper
sesame oil
soya sauce
white rice vinegar
slices of dried chill
sesame seeds

Place the ingredients in a bowl and toss.

Saya’s Watercress and Inari Salad

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

watercress and inari salad

A delicious and filling salad that can be eaten as a meal or light snack.

Cooking time 10 minutes

sliced warm inari

plum dressing
sesame oil
white rice vinegar
2 umeboshi chopped (pickled plum)

1. Place the watercress in a bowl and top with sliced inari.
2. Mix the ingredients for the dressing and drizzle on salad.

Organic Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Snow peas and green beans

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment


This is the other pasta dish that I made for my Japanese friends. I made one cold dish and one hot one. I decided to make spaghetti using my favourite cooking method. Basically I sauté fresh veggies that are in season and melt in fresh parmesan. In this dish I added a dried hot chili and you can also drizzle a chili oil when you serve the dish. I have to say, I will miss using chopsticks for every meal. I am actually getting quite good at using them. I even eat like the Japanese now, hunched over bowls slurping noodles.

Cooking time 30 minutes
Serves 4

1 package organic whole wheat spaghetti
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
1 dried hot red chilli
1 handful green beans cut into 1/3 inch pieces
1 handful snow peas
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
1/2 tsp (2ml) basil powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) parsley powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) grated pepper
1 large jar of organic tomato sauce
1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/2 package fresh basil thinly chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh parmesan shavings (optional)

1. Cook pasta as directed on package.
2. In a large saucepan on medium heat, add the oil, garlic and chili and saute until golden.
3. Add the green beans and cook until outside gets slightly soft about 2 mins and then add the snow peas.
4. Add the salt and spices, stir, cook for a minute and then the tomato sauce.
5. Cook for 5 minutes or so and add the tomatoes. When the sauce is ready, add the cooked pasta, mix and then add the parmesan. Serve and garnish with fresh basil.

In the kitchen in Tokyp

Fusilli Pasta Salad

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Tokyo, Japan

One my last night in Tokyo, my friend Saya and I cooked a delicious feast while her husband Sunny played bartender. He requested that I make a cold pasta dish, so I made a pasta salad.

I had fun being in the kitchen as I knew it was my last night to enjoy being in Japan with my good friends. It was a fun challenge to create recipes that I am used to using different ingredients and adding a Japanese flare on it.

I used fusilli pasta with fresh vegetables that were available at the market with parmesan in a sweet balsamic dressing. I used the beautiful purple cabbage sprouts as a garnish. Sunny was very happy and thought the dish was beautiful as well as having harmony in the flavours.

Cooking time 30 minutes
Serves 4

1 package cooked fusilli pasta
1 handful snow peas
1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
corn niblets
shavings of parmesan (optional)
1/2 handful green olives
handful of baby greens
finely sliced green onions
chopped fresh basil
purple cabbage sprouts.

olive oil
balsamic vingegar
raw sugar
sliced dried hot pepper
fresh ground pepper

1. Place the veggies in a bowl and marinate with the dressing for 1/2 hour.
2. Toss with the pasta, parmesan and 2/3 of fresh basil. Garnish with fresh basil and purple cabbage sprouts.

cold pasta salad

Vegetables with Saya’s miso yogurt dip

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

yogurt miso dip

Saya has impressed me once again. Her miso yogurt dip was absolutely divine. It only has three ingredients, yogurt, miso and sesame oil. The thing that I love about her food is that it is simple, delicious and extremely healthy. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix and serve with veggies.

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