Foreign Foods in Japan –
Doria!

Dorias are so quintessentially Japanese that we sometimes forget they were once a foreign food introduced into Japanese cuisine!

Many foreign foods were introduced to Japan during the Meiji Era, from 1868-1912, as Japan began its journey towards global modernization. After the First World War, even more foreign influence permeated the country, and foreign-born and trained chefs began introducing new dishes inspired by their homelands yet catering to Japanese tastes. One such dish is the doria. It is said that Saly Weil, a Swiss master chef at the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama, developed the dish in the 1930s. The dish was inspired by classic French gratins and baked Italian casseroles, with signature components including a creamy béchamel sauce and melted cheese.

Instead of being made with potatoes, similar to pommes de terre gratinees, the Japanese doria was made with the local staple: rice. And while European gratins often featured beef or ham, the Japanese version most commonly used seafood. Today, numerous variations exist among Japanese dorias, including ones with vegetables, chicken, mushrooms and a host of other ingredients!

The classic Japanese doria starts with cooked white rice. The rice is typically buttered, and depending on taste seasoned with aromatics such as garlic or herbs such as parsley. To the buttered rice is added seafood such as shrimp, scallops or fish, or chicken or vegetables, such as broccoli and mushrooms. And the entire mixture is then folded into a classic French béchamel sauce, made of butter, flour and milk. The combined ingredients are layered into a baking dish and topped with meltable, creamy cheese, such as parmesan or gruyere. The dish is then baked until the cheese is golden on top.

Dorias are served at Yoshoku restaurants throughout Japan but are also frequently prepared at home for lunch or dinner. Our classic recipe is the Green Peas and Asparagus Doria, which is made using rice cooked in our rice cookers.

Have you made this comforting dish? Try it out…it’ll be great for the coming winter months!

Product Inspirations –
Automatic Rice Cooker & Warmer (NS-RPC10/18)

You know about our microcomputer-controlled rice cookers, but did you also know that we have a great line of conventional rice cookers, too?

Our new Automatic Rice Cooker & Warmer (NS-RPC10/18) adds style, ease and function to any kitchen – with great features and amazing ease of use.

This rice cooker comes in two capacities, either 5.5 cups or 10 cups, which are ideal for making small to large batches of rice. It also comes in two lovely finishes – Tulip and Metallic Gray – that coordinate with almost any kitchen decor.

The rice cooker is simple to use. It features a one-touch operation that starts cooking rice immediately. Simply wash the rice and presoak it for the desired amount of time, and then push on the switch to activate the rice cooker.

The triple heater is built into the bottom, side and lid of the rice cooker, and generates uniform heat all around the nonstick inner cooking pan, cooking the rice at an ideal temperature so that it’s fluffy when done. Once the water in the inner cooking pan is absorbed by the rice, the rice cooker switches to Keep Warm mode, indicated with an illuminated light, keeping the hot rice tasting fresh.

The best white rice is easy to make in this rice cooker. And that white rice can be used to make delicious dishes like Crisp Grilled Yaki-Onigiri and Hawaiian Loco Moco.

Along with its simplicity, this Automatic Rice Cooker features a convenient body style. The lid comes with a streamlined handle and can be opened with the push of a button. The hinge on the lid allows for convenient serving, and when closed, the lid snaps tight. The rice cooker features a dew collector, which traps condensation that collects when the lid is opened.

As with all of our products, cleaning and maintenance are simple. The inner lid and dew collector, as well as the nonstick coated inner cooking pan, can be removed and washed with mild detergent and warm water.

The unit comes with a detachable power cord, and accessories including a rice measuring cup, spatula and spatula holder. And these accessories make preparing rice super easy! Check out the steps to making great Japanese rice on our rice cooking tip page, and don’t forget to share how you make your rice at home. Just leave a comment below with your favorite tips!

Design Explained –
Our Half-Circle

Have you seen our half-circle?

It’s subtle. It’s small. It’s white. And it’s an ingenious feature that indicates whether the removable control plugs for our electric grills and griddles are inserted into the appliance properly.

While our rice cookers, water boilers and other electric products are controlled by onboard LCD panels and powered using power cords, our Gourmet Sizzler? electric griddles and indoor electric grills use a removable control plug that serves both functions: to provide power to the appliance and to manage the temperature setting. These high-powered control plugs conduct electricity efficiently to the appliances, allowing them to heat quickly at the temperature set using the control knob.

The control plugs are installed into the sides of the grills and griddles and “click” into place. On the release buttons located at the sides of the control plugs are white half-circles. And while they look cool, they actually serve as a safety feature. When the control plug is installed correctly into the appliance, the entire white area of the half-circle becomes visible. If it hasn’t clicked correctly into place, the half-circle is obscured.

Such a small smart design feature makes a big difference in safety. Zojirushi’s indoor grills and electric griddles are designed so they do not turn on unless all components are installed correctly. The drip tray not set properly? The control plug won’t go in. The control plug not inserted correctly or loose? Power won’t turn on. This way, no one gets burned or hurt by a heated, but improperly setup appliance.

You can see the white half-circle in action for our griddles at https://youtu.be/vOPPBUhBJ4g and https://youtu.be/tLQABng_ck8.

Have you noticed any other hidden smart design features in our products? Let us know below!

Happy Fall!

Seems like no matter how many polls you listen to, people have a different season of the year that they like best. Spring and Fall lead the others usually, probably because the weather is milder—and Fall fans are really into it because Halloween is so popular. These pumpkins look scary enough for Halloween, don’t they?

I took a couple of Zojirushi Stainless Mugs with me this month and took some random shots—hope you like them!

This is a local park near our house called Los Arboles, more popularly known as Rocketship Park. There are only a handful of these rocketship slides left in SoCal, mainly because cities are constantly in fear of being sued by parents whose children might get injured. Geez! What happened to kids being allowed to play like kids? Torrance tried to take this one down in the middle of the night, but residents protested so strongly, they were forced to set it up again; and today it’s a historic landmark. I’ve heard there’s another one somewhere in L.A. county, but they decided to cover it up with steel plates to prevent anyone from climbing in. Sheesh…I’m so glad ours is still standing.

 

My gym where I’ve actually kept up my New Year’s resolution to this day!

I’m such a wimp tho…

 

The reason getting in shape is hard—I’ve already confessed I have a weakness for donuts. These apple fritters are AMAZING from Randy’s Donuts?. Highly recommended.

The iconic donut sign outside. It’s been in so many movies and TV shows, the big donut is an L.A. icon. Randy’s is open 24/7 and the fritter is only $1.50; I’d say that’s pretty reasonable!

 

This is the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. We love coming out here on a weekend, to people watch, enjoy the street musicians and shop at one of the best outdoor malls in Los Angeles. My only complaint is the lack of independent specialty stores, which are becoming more rare everyday, being taken over by the big chain retailers. But that’s everywhere you go, right?

Cool dinosaur topiary sitting under colorful polka dots.

 

Slurp! Ready to dig into an icy shaved ice dessert, flavored with mango ice and melon balls—served in a melon bowl! This was every bit as good as it looks. Cheers to Oakobing down in Koreatown, L.A.

 

Pumpkin season has officially begun! But before you order your pumpkin spice latte, go visit a pumpkin patch—a real pumpkin patch. This is Tanaka Farms, a working farm in Irvine, CA located right off the freeway. It’s been years since I visited this place, and the last time was during strawberry season. I was surprised at how busy it’s gotten—with an expanded gift store, produce stand and farm tours; but they still haven’t lost their identity as a farm that serves the local community.

Tanaka Farms is privately owned by a 3rd generation Japanese-American family. It covers 30 acres and they grow over 60 varieties of fruits and vegetables year ‘round. Thank you Tanaka family, for keeping your amazing farm going so all of us can visit an authentic farm so conveniently close!

Happy October everyone!

All images by Bert Tanimoto, Ugly Pumpkins by @ironchefmom