Manga-inspired Plates Add Another Dimension To Food

Manga-inspired plates add another dimension to foodDiners looking for a more entertaining entrée are finding themselves drawn to a Kyoto-based designer's line of manga-inspired dinner plates.

The bold, black-and-white plates, designed by 24-year-old Mika Tsutai, feature common manga tropes, such as jagged motion lines and written sound effects, to add another dimension to the dining experience.

Boiled And Seasoned Spinach Warms You Up

Boiled and seasoned spinach warms you upA simple way to enjoy vegetables is "ohitashi" style, in which the ingredients are boiled and then drenched in a seasoned stock. This dish warms even more when made with a thickened gravylike sauce.

"Ohitashi should taste crisp in the summer, but chewy and soft in winter. The desired texture changes according to the season," says cuisine expert Tatsuo Saito, who selected spinach for this recipe because it is in season.

Two Classic Potato Side Dishes

Two classic potato side dishesThis week, we offer potatoes, those reliable and useful side-dish ingredients. "The 'danshaku' (baron) brand of potato turns flaky and soft when cooked, while the 'May queen' brand retains moisture and shape. It's good to know their characteristics and then choose which you prefer," says cooking expert Masayo Waki, introducing mashed and sauteed versions.

Boiled Gyoza Dumplings

Boiled gyoza dumplings Today's dish is boiled gyoza dumplings, or "sui-gyoza". The handmade dough offers a rich texture. "If you prefer more chewiness, increase the proportion of strong flour," says chef and restaurant owner Tomoshige Ichikawa.

Seven Lucky Vinegared Vegetables And Nanten Roe

Seven lucky vinegared vegetables and nanten roeToday we feature two vinegared dishes: "shichifuku (seven lucky) namasu" and "nanten ikura" (salmon roe). A namasu dish is a salad of vegetables or fish strips with a vinegar dressing. Cooking expert Atsuko Matsumoto says of the seven-ingredient version: "My family loves it. So I make plenty." She added that the nanten salmon roe gets its name from a resemblance to the bright red berries on the "nanten" shrub.

Salmon Teriyaki Recipe

Salmon teriyaki recipeThe fall salmon is an affordable delicacy of the season. Yoko Munakata, of the Better Home Association, came up with a teriyaki recipe that strikes a fine balance between the rich taste of honey and savory flavor of vinegar. The base seasoning reduces the fishy smell.

Filling Toppings To Go With Rice

Filling toppings to go with riceAs a hearty addition to boxed lunches, why not make filling “furikake” (dry toppings) to go with the newly harvested rice? Cooking expert Megumi Fujii starts by mixing the ground meat, ginger and seasoning before heating the frying pan.

Sott'olio Of Saury (saury Packed In Oil)

Sott'olio of saury (Saury packed in oil)A bountiful catch of saury is always good news in autumn. Chef Kuniaki Arima introduces a preserved food that he calls “tasteful savings in the fridge.” In Italian, “sott’olio” means cooking in oil at low temperature. To add flavor, Arima uses “shiokara” (meat and innards of seafood fermented with salt) of squid. The saury dish can be kept in the fridge for two to three weeks. It will also make a nice pasta sauce. Serves four.

Japanese Potato Salad

Japanese Potato saladPotato salad is a perennial favorite in Japanese households, where it's often made lighter and with a different twist than its Western counterparts.

Yoko Munakata of the Better Home Association recommends using floury Irish Cobbler (“danshaku”) potatoes rather than the May Queen (“mekuin”) variety. She uses mayonnaise sparingly and adds onion marinated in sugared vinegar to pep things up.

Hamburg Steak With Cream Sauce

Hamburg steak with cream sauceHamburg steak, the favorite among children, will appeal more to adults if it has less salt content. Cooking expert Megumi Fujii does the trick with the help of vegetables and sauce containing milk and cream cheese. “The onion and shiitake mushroom will add volume and flavor to the meat,” she says. Salt reduction can be achieved by using ingredients with an aroma or firmness to appeal to the senses other than taste. Serves two.

Sesame-flavored Raw Wheat Gluten

Sesame-flavored raw wheat glutenGrilled raw wheat gluten flavored with sesame is crunchy on first bite and then chewy.

“The joy of cooking also lies in making good use of ingredients you tend to overlook,” says Kimio Tomura, owner of a Japanese restaurant. Called “fu” in Japanese, wheat gluten is sold raw or baked dry. Since fu itself is tasteless, the sesame sauce should be rich in flavor. The remaining sesame sauce may be kept in the fridge and used to accompany grilled eggplant for instance. Serves four.

Pumpkin Risotto

Pumpkin risottoHarvest season has arrived. Chef Kuniaki Arima introduces an Italian dish where rice takes center stage.

This sun-yellow pumpkin risotto takes him back to the days he spent at a winery in Piemonte, Italy, where he helped bring the harvest in.

Stir-fried Green Bell Pepper And Pork

Stir-fried green bell pepper and porkA stir-fry of colorful fresh vegetables and pork is just the trick to rid yourself of fatigue caused by the lingering summer heat.

The dish will come out nicely even if you don't have a wok. "The dish will not become sloppy even if you use a non-stick frying pan," says Yoko Munakata of the Better Home Association.