miso grilled eggplant with cheese

This has been a favorite of our family since I first made it. I was inspired by a YouTube video I watched about Nikkei cuisine (basically Japanese-influenced Peruvian cuisine) and since I had some eggplant in the fridge and all the other ingredients needed, I made this. The miso sauce was adapted from another recipe, but the cheese on top of the eggplant is “Nikkei-influenced”. You can also make this without the cheese on top and it is also delicious.

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japanese potato salad

japanese potato salad

Growing up, I wasn’t a big fan of potato salad simply because there was always too much mayonnaise in it. I wasn’t a fan of mayonnaise as a kid and avoided it like the plague. It wasn’t until the hubs (then bf) introduced his chicken/tuna salad concoction to me that I realized that one need not put so much mayonnaise in their salads to get it to be nice and creamy. During that time I also had an awesome (and unforgettable) Japanese potato salad made by one of mothers of my students. I still dream about it – yes, I dream about food.

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green bean shira-ae salad

green bean shira-ae salad

Green beans are a staple in my freezer and we eat them often. I usually add them to stews or curries or stir-fry them with garlic and chillies. I was looking for another way to cook them when I remembered my ex-student’s parent (who was Japanese) who made a simple green bean dish by boiling green beans and topping it with sesame dressing. I went online to search for the recipe but came across this dish instead.

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creamy japanese sesame dressing

japanese creamy sesame dressing

Usually when I head to the Japanese grocer I like to buy Japanese salad dressing, especially this creamy sesame one. However, Japanese dressings can be quite expensive since it’s usually imported. I also don’t like additives like MSG in my dressing. I came across this recipe after having a craving to have this dressing with my salad.

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melonpan

melonpan

Melonpan is an Asian-style bun (i.e., soft and fluffy white bread) with a crisp, cookie-like top sprinkled with sugar. I haven’t looked much into the origins of the bun but the hubs and I speculate it’s called melonpan because the top part of the bun makes it look somewhat like a melon. It’s very similar to bo-lo buns or pineapple buns (no pineapple in these buns) that are popular in Hong Kong and Singapore. However, there isn’t a tonne of butter in this bun, unlike bo-lo buns which are served with a slab of butter in the middle. To read more about the differences between the buns, click here.

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japanese chashu (porkbelly)

sliced chashu

Japanese chashu is commonly eaten with Japanese ramen though I am sure it might also be eaten with other foods (rice?). I have seen it at the Japanese grocer but decided to try and make it on my own. The recipe is relatively simple but requires some babysitting. I had to turn the pork once every half hour to ensure even cooking. After slicing the pork, soak it in the cooking marinade to help it develop more flavour.

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