Eggplant Salad With Lemon-flavored Plum Dressing

Eggplant Salad with Lemon-flavored Plum DressingIngredients:
4 small eggplants, each about 3 1/2 ounces (100g)
3 or 4 shiso leaves, finely shredded, optional
2 tablespoons pickled plum paste
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Serves 4

Sugar Removes Edge From Curry-flavored Stir-fry 'goya' And Chicken

Sugar removes edge from curry-flavored stir-fry 'goya' and chickenA popular summer vegetable known for its distinct flavor is the bitter gourd “goya,” which is rich in vitamin C.
Stir-fried goya with eggs is a popular dish, but chef and restaurant owner Tomoshige Ichikawa introduces other ways to enjoy goya. Salt is usually used to remove the water and reduce the bitterness. He also uses sugar “as a step to make it easier to eat.” Both serve four.

Ume-flavored Steamed Dish With Potato And Pork

Ume-flavored steamed dish with potato and porkSteamed dishes that enhance the flavor and retain the nutrients are becoming popular again. Cooking expert Atsuko Matsumoto introduces a dish with pork fillet, potatoes and umeboshi, or picked plum. "By adding katakuriko starch to the seasoning, the pork and potato will stick together through steaming and the flavor will blend nicely," she says.

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.

Bento With Mustard, Soy Sauce-flavored Pork

Bento with mustard, soy sauce-flavored porkTime-saving tips appeal to most of us in fast-paced modern Japan. Yet we do not want to sacrifice taste or our health. Making packed lunches involves many time-saving techniques. Using just a frying pan, cooking expert Megumi Fujii whips up a colorful box lunch with pork, egg and vegetables.

Clam-flavored Egg Custard

Clam-flavored egg custard“An ingredient is ‘in season’ when it is fully prepared and telling us, ‘eat now,’ ” says Kimio Tomura, owner of a Japanese restaurant who believes 80 percent of the cooking is done if you can capture this moment.

Nowadays, you can buy pretty much anything all year round in Japan, and people seem quite intent on getting ahead of the seasons. Why not relish the spring with clam-flavored “chawanmushi,” an egg custard dish?

Curry Flavored Rice Vermicelli

Curry flavored rice vermicelliSimple and tasty noodles are perennial favorites. Let’s try making a dish using rice vermicelli, known as “bifun” in Japan.

“Above all, the feature of rice vermicelli is its texture,” says chef and restaurant owner Tomoshige Ichikawa.

So the key is to get the right firmness. Another tip is to roast the noodles well. That way, “an aroma similar to roasted riceballs will rise,” he adds. Serves four.