B-kyu Gurume: Kushikatsu from Shinsekai, Osaka

(source: Just One Cookbook)

Have you ever tried Kushikatsu?? Kushikatsu, also known as Kushiage, is a famous and delicious Japanese dish of deep-fried meat and vegetables served on a skewer. In fact, kushi actually refers to the bamboo skewers used to assemble this dish and katsu refers to the deep-fried cutlets.

The dish is most commonly made with chicken, pork, seafood and a variety of seasonal vegetables. The ingredients are dipped in egg and flour, and breaded with panko then deep-fried to be golden brown.

Kushikatsu is said to have originated in downtown Osaka in Shinsekai in 1929, and was primarily made for blue-collar workers. The skewers made the dish a fast food of sorts and were both inexpensive and filling for the locals of the region. While skewers are popular across Japan, the Osaka region’s Kushiage is particular in a few ways.

First, they offer one type of ingredient per skewer, whereas other regions might interchange their meats with vegetables, or place more than one type of meat per skewer. Secondly, the Shinsekai skewers are generally a bit smaller than other regions, because it is customary to order several for each meal. Lastly, in Osaka, the skewers are served standalone and are usually dipped in a shared pot of sauce before eating, to thinly coat the skewer (double-dipping is strictly prohibited). Other regions are known to instead serve the skewers with ginger, sauces, or other meats on the side of the skewer.

Some places in Japan offer Kushikatsu as a fondue-style meal, where you dip and prepare your own skewers at the table. If that sounds fun to you and you are ready to make this famous dish at home, here is a great video with the recipe for you to learn the ropes.

If you’re visiting Osaka and are looking for the best places to find Kushikatsu, give these a try!

  • Daruma Shinsekai Sohonten is known as one of the most popular places to grab Kushikatsu in Osaka. There are 14 of these across the region, so it will be easy for you to access on your trip.
  • Ueshima is located in Amemura, and they have no menu or price listed. The master chef will prepare the freshest ingredients they were able to find for the guests. When you are full, make sure to inform them!? It is advised to tell the chef your budget in advance if that might be a concern, so he knows how to keep the experience in your budget.
  • Rokkakutei Kuromon Honten is a more high-end Kushikatsu restaurant, with one-Michelin star. Similar to Ueshima there is no menu or price, and the day’s freshest ingredients are featured in the meal.

Let us know if you try (or make) any of these dishes by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushiamerica on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

 

Score Perfect Rice, Every Time

Welcome to September, Zo fans!? What better way to welcome a completely new season than with the celebration of National Rice Month Zo ?and by making the perfect bowl of rice with our product of the month, the Zojirushi Pressure Induction Heating Rice Cooker & Warmer (NP-NWC10/18). We’re going to share more about what makes this appliance so special, as well as tips to help you make better tasting rice, right in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Product of the Month Highlights

The NP-NWC features three pressure levels for cooking and steaming, which promotes gelatinization. This helps to create fluffy and plump rice! The NP-NWC automatically selects from the pressure levels based on the menu you select and will automatically utilize pressure and steaming to eliminate excess moisture during the cooking process.

The NP-NWC also features advanced fuzzy logic with artificial intelligence. This advanced technology allows the rice cooker to adjust the cooking cycle to deliver the same perfect rice, no matter the season or water temperature, and even after years of use.

Through induction heating technology (or IH), the inner cooking pan itself serves as the heat source for cooking the rice. This allows high heat and fine heat adjustments to control the cooking process, delivering perfectly fluffy rice.

Top Tips to Make Better Tasting Rice

The biggest secret to making perfect rice is in the perfect measurements. Here are our top 2 tips to consider when you measure your proportions for your next meal:

  1. The rice cooker measuring cup is based on an old Japanese measuring cup (masu), and is different than your standard US measuring cup. Always use the measuring cup that came with your rice cooker, fill to overflow, then level off. Using the measuring cup will make it easy to figure out how much water to fill. White rice is milled brown rice. Milling leaves a lot of starch on the surface of the rice and if not removed before cooking, rice becomes gummy. To cook delicious rice, Zojirushi recommends washing the rice to remove excess starch. But you have to work quickly. Rice is dry, and will start absorbing water as soon as it can, and we want to prevent it from absorbing any starchy water, as much as possible.
  2. Yes, we know about the knuckle method for measuring rice. But we cook and test tons and tons of rice every year, so that our rice cookers can cook the best-tasting rice for you. It’s scientific. It’s precise. Trust us, and use the rice measuring cup in conjunction with the water measure lines. It will yield perfect result. Every. Single. Time.

Your Rice, Your Way

 

 

 

Our Zojirushi Pressure Induction Heating Rice Cooker & Warmer (NP-NWC10/18) also features a menu feature so you can select the type of rice or grain you’re making and it does the rest of the thinking for you. The NP-NWC menu options feature White, Umami, Mixed, Sushi/Sweet, Jasmine, Porridge, Congee, Brown, GABA Brown, Steel Cut Oatmeal, Rinse-free, and Quick Cooking.? We’re going to explain a few of the menu options you can select from:

  • White rice, with your choice of texture (regular, softer, or harder) utilizes 4 different pressure settings to perfect a variety of textures.
  • Brown rice, can also be activated using the GABA Brown setting, to increase the amount of GABA, one of the nutrients contained in brown rice.
  • Jasmine Rice Congee, a Chinese rice porridge.
  • Jasmine White Rice that unlocks the delicious flavor and texture of this grain.
  • Umami, Zojirushi’s exclusive setting that extends soaking and steaming for sweeter tasting rice.
  • Steel Cut Oatmeal, cooks your oats until they are delicious and soft, without burning or overflowing.

Here are some of our favorite recipes for you to give a try with your NP-NWC:

Bibimbap (Korean Rice Bowl)

Chakin-Sushi

Oatmeal Pear Surprise

It’s no secret that the NP-NWC is one of our most advanced rice cookers, which is why we chose it as our Product of the Month!? Are you interested in having one of your own?? Make sure to follow us on Instagram and stay tuned for our giveaway with this rice cooker this month!

And don’t forget to try our recipes and rice tips!? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZojirushiAmerica #ZoFan #ZoRice

Bert-san’s Take—Is it a Toaster or Oven?


Deep dish pizza from my new Zojirushi Toaster Oven (ET-ZLC30). Read on to see how I baked it with this high-tech toaster that does a whole lot more than just toast.

One of the functions that’s a little different on this toaster oven is called “RISE”, which is a kind of proofing setting for dough. I baked a simple Margherita Pizza with dough made from scratch…

And popped it into the Zojirushi for 40 minutes on the RISE cycle at 90°F.

Here’s something I should mention—this bowl is pretty big, but it fit comfortably. This toaster oven definitely had the room.

Pretty nice ball of pizza dough! Later on I’ll show you my wife’s bread dough, which is even more impressive.

Add my ingredients…

Annnd…Margherita pizza!

How do you like the Zucchini and Corn Pizza at the beginning of this post? I can’t take the credit—my wife decided to snatch my Trader Joe’s? store bought pizza dough and make her own. This is a brilliant, vegetarian pizza that was amazingly delicious and easy, and perfect for summer! First get any deep pan (we used cast iron to get that crispy bottom). We had this out in room temp for a few hours so it could expand. I could have used the RISE in the toaster but it was occupied with my Margherita!

Sauté zucchini, corn, green onion, some basil and some garlic. Season with garlic salt.

Add mozzarella cheese and a criss-cross drizzle of ranch dressing (!!), you heard me—don’t say “Eww” until you’ve tried this.

Top with the veggies and put the whole thing in the toaster oven. We preheated to 450°F and baked for only 15 to 20 minutes; pretty quick. Here’s another thing I should mention about the Zojirushi. This is a standard 10” cast iron pan and it fit inside easily. Also, these pans are heavy! I was impressed with the sturdiness of the rack. It’s tougher than it looks—no bowing or bending at all!

Done!

Isn’t it beautiful? Zucchini and Corn Deep Dish Pizza. Don’t tell anyone about the ranch and have them taste it first; you’ll get no critics.

Now what happens if you want to use that RISE function to do some real bread baking? Here’s dough mixed for easy no-knead bread.

And here’s the expanded dough after proofing in the Zojirushi for about 2 hours at 100°F. Mind you, this no-knead dough would normally require overnight to rise properly, so it was handy to be able to do it in the toaster oven.

Tah-da! No-knead bread!

We baked this in our other toaster oven because our cast iron Dutch oven was too high for the Zojirushi with the lid on. If yours is lower profile it may fit. One comment about proofing in a couple of hours vs. overnight. It was missing that “yeasty” flavor in the bread, but it was still very good. I guess there’s no substitute for time in some cases!

And lastly but very important, some dessert that you can bake in this toaster oven. A Plum and Peach Fruit Galette. Store-bought pie crust and fruit lying around the house and this one is done, baby!

Hope you guys enjoyed seeing all the things you can do with this Zojirushi Toaster Oven. Next time we’ll do some cooking and not just baking!

Just For Fun
Some people love the attention…but I give this person credit; that cannot be easy. And yes, he did make it all the way across.

Unlike this guy…

 

All images and videos by Bert Tanimoto

 

 

B-kyu Gurume: Okinawa Soba from Okinawa, Japan

Welcome to our last summer B-Kyu Gurume blog post of the year, Zo fans!? Today, we’re going to introduce you to Okinawa Soba.

Okinawa is Japan’s southernmost prefecture, comprised of 160 islands, and the name of the largest island in the geographical collection. If you’re planning a visit to Japan in the future, you definitely want to try and visit this subtropical climate known for its white sand, magnificent beaches, undersea life and tropical jungles. After snorkeling amongst an amazing array of coral, we recommend ending your day by grabbing a delicious bowl of Okinawa Soba.

In this region, there is a saying that translates as, “One who eats plain food is healthy”. Fun fact: Okinawa’s residents live to be some of the oldest people in the world! One of the reasons for this is their tendency to consume low-calorie, high carbohydrate food such as the soba they are so famous for. Japanese soba is made with buckwheat flour while Okinawan soba is made with wheat flour. The flat, broad and wavy noodles are paired with an assortment of proteins, such as tofu, pork, and/or vegetables, all served in a flavorful broth topped with green onions, fish cakes, fish paste, pickled ginger, and egg.

The first recorded mention of the dish was in 1902, but it was not popularized until the 1960s. What might have once been considered street food is now enjoyed across all classes and in all communities of the city, served in a traditional pot and eaten with chopsticks. Okinawa Soba is ultimate Japanese soul food, a noodle soup packed with umami goodness.

If you’re curious on how you might be able to make this famous dish at home, here is a great recipe for you to learn the ropes:

?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3gjNdnRSAs&feature=emb_title

And if you’re visiting Japan, here are three places where you can eat Okinawa Soba when you’re in town:

  • Doraemon is a five-minute walk from the Kenchomae station’s monorail. They have a hint of dashi broth and are known for simple and authentic soba.
  • Shuri Horikawa is famous for their elegant presentation, which is a departure from what people think of when they think of this comfort food. The noodles are cooked right after they are ordered, so they take a little longer to make than other establishments but are said to be worth the wait.
  • Yanbaru Soba is about fifteen minutes from Okinawa’s famous Churaumi Aquarium. Their exterior is incredibly plain with no frills, but there is generally a line to experience their famous dish.

Let us know if you try (or make) any of these dishes by tagging Zojirushi on your photos with #zojirushiamerica on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

Back-to-School Prepartion with a Parenting Secret Weapon for Healthy Lunches

As summer vacation rolls to an end, students are preparing to head back to learn!? With online classes slowly starting, moms and dads across the country are getting ready to prep meal so that the kids can enjoy a delicious meal and remain focused and energized throughout the day.

And while most kids may not head back to school physically, it doesn’t mean that parents can’t help them with their new school supplies and getting back into their usual school routine!? With Mom or Dad (or both) at home working while the kids are taking online classes, we definitely understand how important it is to make lunch ahead!

We believe that the ideal lunch is delicious, healthy, and different from day-to-day, so they don’t get bored of eating the same thing.? The challenge sometimes is to find meal ideas to meet this criteria, are easy to make in the morning, and will keep well until lunchtime — especially if the meal is best served hot or cold, and not room temperature.? Our stainless steel food jars have been helping parents prepare delicious, versatile, and healthy meals, keeping them perfectly hot or cold for lunchtime, because of their vacuum insulation.

What does vacuum insulation mean?? It means that air between 2 walls is removed, to create a vacuum.? When there is a vacuum, heat can’t escape through conduction, keeping hot contents hot and cold contents cold.

Did you know that our company name in Japanese is Zojirushi?Mahobin???Mahobin means “magic bottle” or “vacuum insulated bottle”!? You can learn more about this feature here.

Usually, when hot foods begin to cool it creates a suction within the container, making the lid hard to open. But fear not, all Zojirushi food jars have a built-in pressure release valve on the lid. Just remove the lid cover, and gently push down on the valve with a toothpick to relieve the pressure, and voile, the lid is much easier to open. This helps the kids enjoy their lunch without any mess or fuss.

We understand that every parent lives a busy life, so instead of always making lunch from scratch, you might just want to send them off with leftovers from last night’s dinner from time-to-time. Preheating or pre-chilling your food jar before filling it with your food or beverage will ensure the temperature won’t drop (or rise) when you put the food in, in turn, keeping it hotter or colder for longer. Vacuum insulation too good that your food or beverage is too hot to eat or drink? In that case, allow it to cool a bit before putting it in the food jar.

For all of these reasons, we’ve named these containers our product of the month. They come in an assortment of sizes and colors. You might love them so much that you end up buying extra for you and your partner!

Learn more about this magical container here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://youtu.be/eC9FihCvCzM

Other highlights:

  • Eliminates the use of wasteful disposable containers, or the use of a microwave or refrigerator
  • Dimples on the lid make it easier to grab and open
  • Clear-coated finish reduces fingerprints and makes cleanup easy
  • Made from BPA-free plastic and stainless steel
  • Good for hot meals, soups, oatmeal, cold desserts and beverages and more

Here are some of our favorite recipes to kick-off the school year with a one-week meal plan:

  • On Monday, you can start off with hot Pollo Tortilla Soup. This hearty Mexican-inspired soup is full of flavor, yet fun, easy and filling for the kids to eat during their lunch break. Our recipe also includes a quick-hack for fresh tortilla chips that you can pack separately and they can throw into the soup for added crunch. We recommend you let it sit for 15 minutes after it’s done cooking before pouring into the containers, and that it is consumed within six hours of making.
  • For Tuesday, make your salads heartier by adding ramen noodles as a base, with fresh karashi This Chilled Out Ramen Salad is so delicious and perfect for the warmer months. Also, you can throw all the ingredients into the food jar, close the lid and shake to mix it without any additional fuss.
  • On Wednesday, let’s take the kids to Italy! Our Saucy Pasta recipe features broccoli, bacon and onions, and is part soup, part pasta, full delicious. We love making this for dinner, and heating the leftovers in the morning.
  • Another fun cold dish for Thursday’s meal: Shrimp Escabeche! Inspired from the beach-days in the summer, this dish will be such a delight for the kids at lunch. Marinate the chilled shrimp in a garlic and oregano vinaigrette overnight, and pack it with minimum effort and time.
  • For Friday we recommend a power-packed Adventurous Couscous Medley. Quick to whip up by heating some onions, carrot, mushrooms, green peas in chicken broth, and adding the couscous in at the end to round out the dish – a healthy and delicious way to end the lunch week duties.

Did you try any of these recipes or make up your own? Be sure to share with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

From us here at Zojirushi, we hope that all of you are continuing to remain safe and healthy!