Foreign Foods in Japan –
Piroshiki!

So many of our Foreign Foods in Japan have come from Europe, the US and China, so this month we’re finally focusing on Japan’s neighbor to the north…Russia!

Piroshiki are hand-held dough pockets filled with various types of fillings. The original dish from Russia is spelled as pirozhki, piroshki or when plural, pirogi or pierogi. In Russia, pirozhki can be found all over the place, made at home, in restaurants and at street food stalls. The Russian version is commonly filled with meat, vegetables, cheese and infrequently fish, when savory, or with fruit and jam when sweet. The dough is typically a yeast dough, leavened and brushed with egg wash, and the entire pocket is baked in a hot oven…perfect for the cold Russian climate!

Pierogi

In Japan, pirozhki were adapted to Japanese taste and cooking methods. One account states that this dish was introduced to Japan after WWII, and the original Japanese piroshiki were filled with minced onions, boiled eggs and ground beef and deep-fried, instead of baked. Another states that Miyo Nagaya, a Japanese chef from Tokyo, became interested in the cuisine of Russia and Central Asia, and opened a restaurant in Tokyo in 1951, where she modified the Russian dish to Japanese tastes.

Piroshiki

Today, piroshiki can be found at bakeries and restaurants in Japan and frying is still the most common way of preparing the dish. Typical fillings range from ground meat, fish and vegetables such as onions, carrots and shiitake mushrooms. One delicious and unique Japanese-centric filling is cooked and chopped up harusame glass noodles, which add incredible texture and umami to the piroshiki. Some believe that piroshiki were the inspiration for kare-pan or curry pan, which is a beloved Japanese deep-fried dough pocket filled with curry flavored ingredients.

Kare-pan

No matter where you get your piroshiki in Japan, you’re sure to enjoy this hot pocket. Have you had it? Have you made it? Share your favorite recipe with us below!

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!

Product Inspirations –
Mr. Bento? Stainless Lunch Jar!

Back to school, back to college, back to autumn routines with work and family and friends!

September is here and we’re excited to make creative meals that we can take to school and work in our Mr. Bento? Stainless Lunch Jar (SL-JBE14). Our Mr. Bento? as a lunch jar, is full of convenient features that allow you to customize your to-go meal experience.

SL-JBE with Carry Bag

This lunch jar has five main components: an Outer Container and four Inner Bowls. The Outer Container provides insulation for 2 of the Inner Bowls and is made using our superior vacuum insulation technology. As with our other stainless products, the vacuum insulation keeps the food inside the Inner Bowls hot or cold for hours.

The four Inner Bowls consist of a Soup Bowl that holds up to 9 oz., a Main Bowl that holds up to 15 oz., a Small Side Bowl that holds up to 7 oz. and a Large Side Bowl that holds up to 10 oz. In total, the bowls can hold up to 41 oz. of food!

The bowls are meant to be stacked in a particular order inside the Outer Container. The Soup Bowl rests at the bottom of the Outer Container. The Main Bowl sits on top of the Soup Bowl and comes with an insulated lid that prevents heat from transferring through, keeping the content of the two bottom bowls at ideal temperature. The two Side bowls sit on top of the Main Bowl, keeping food at room temperature.

Each bowl is microwaveable making it convenient to fill them ahead of time and reheat the food before putting them in the Outer Container. All areas that come into contact with foods are BPA-free.

Once all of the bowls have been placed correctly, the outer lid clips easily into place and keeps all bowls intact.

This lunch jar’s large capacity and multiple Inner Bowls allow you to pack inspired meals! A traditional Japanese ichiju sansai meal, which means “one soup, three dishes” fits perfectly into the Inner Bowls. Western dishes, such as soup, Pasta A’la Zo, salad and dessert also work great, and since September is National Bento Month, kyraben or character bento are ideal!

The Mr. Bento? comes in 4 stunning colors – Plum, Blueberry, Carbon Black and Stainless Steel –and comes with a Forked Spoon and a Carry Bag.

In 4 colors – Plum, Blueberry, Carbon Black and Stainless Steel

Add the Mr. Bento? Stainless Lunch Jar (SL-JBE14) to your lunch box collection and enjoy hot, fresh meals all season long. And be sure to share how you fill your lunch jar…we love the creative ideas you all have!