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Flavored with pork and chicken broth with a mix of toppings such as Chashu and Ramen Egg, this bowl of Miso Ramen is going to satisfy your craving. You can make delicious ramen with authentic broth in less than 30 minutes!

When you’re in Japan, you will quickly learn that there are 3 basic ramen flavors: Shio (salt), Shoyu (soy sauce), and Miso (fermented soybean paste).

If you’re wondering about Tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen, that’s actually a type of broth base. Interested to learn more about ramen? Read our Japanese Ramen Guide for Beginners. Today we’ll make the popular and my favorite, Miso Ramen (味噌ラーメン).

Watch How to Make Miso Ramen
How to Make Miso Ramen (Recipe) 味噌ラーメンの作り方 (レシピ) - YouTube

Flavored with pork and chicken broth with a mix of toppings such as Chashu and Ramen Egg, this bowl of Miso Ramen is going to satisfy your craving. You can make delicious ramen with authentic broth in less than 30 minutes!

Learn How to Make Miso Ramen

Ramen consists of 3 components: soup, noodles, and toppings. In this post, I’ll go over each topic in details.

1. Ramen Soup スープ

Although the Japanese enjoy eating ramen at ramen shops,  it’s pretty common for the Japanese moms to make ramen at home. Making good ramen soup from scratch requires a lot of time and effort, so most households use a packaged ramen which includes 2-3 servings of fresh noodles and concentrated soup base.

In this recipe, instead of spending many hours making the ramen soup base, I’ll show you how to make a delicious ramen soup that takes just 15 minutes. This miso ramen soup tastes much better than the soup base that comes with the package.

In case you’re wondering, the soup for Miso Ramen is not the “miso soup” made from dashi and miso paste.

Below, I explain the ingredients for Miso Ramen soup. I do not recommend skipping or substituting the following ingredients because each ingredient plays an important role. As a result, you get a rich and intensely savory bowl of miso ramen that will greatly satisfy your cravings.

Important Ingredients for Miso Ramen Soup
  • Miso:

Miso is a Japanese fermented soybean paste, and it’s one of the essential condiments in Japanese cooking. If you are new to miso, I highly recommend taking a look at my Miso pantry page to be familiar with it.

Based on the type of miso and the brand who makes it, the flavor of miso varies. In most cases, there is no type or brand that is better or worse, except for your preference. I personally love Hikari Miso® and you will see me using this brand exclusively on my blog.

For Miso Ramen, use any miso type except for Hatcho Miso or Saikyo Miso. My favorite miso is Kodawattemasu (center top with green No. 1 label in the above image).

  • (Spicy) Chili Bean Sauce/Paste or (La) Doubanjiang:

The key condiment in this recipe is Spicy Chili Bean Paste or (la) doubanjiang. This condiment adds depth and plays such an important role that you should not substitute. You can add more Spicy Chili Bean Paste if you like your soup to be spicy, but 1 teaspoon would be enough to give a kick to the soup.

When the kids were small, I was using non-spicy Doubanjiang from 岡山 brand (center in the above picture) which I get from a local Chinese grocery store.

  • Sesame Seeds and Sesame Oil:

Sesame flavor in this recipe is prominent as both sesame seeds and oil make the broth nuttier and richer, adding nice aroma and flavor to the ramen soup.

Japanese households always have a set of Suribachi (mortar) and Surikogi (pestle) to grind sesame seeds, but if you don’t have one, you can crush the sesame seeds with a food processor (coffee bean grinder).

The type of sesame oil you need is the dark roasted sesame oil. It has a deep flavor of sesame and only 1 tablespoon would give plenty of fragrance to the soup.

  • Homemade or Store Bought Chicken Broth:

For a richer and flavorful broth, homemade chicken stock is best. But it’s okay to use store-bought kind to make ramen soup if you don’t have the time.

I like chicken stock from Trader Joe’s. Use less-sodium one and adjust the salt according to your liking. Remember, some brand’s chicken stock can be saltier, so you always have to taste your soup before adding salt.

  • White Pepper Powder:

I believe white pepper powder is a magical spice in Chinese-style soups and fried rice. Just a few sprinkles of white pepper will elevate the flavor and add a nice kick without the spiciness. You can find white pepper powder in Asian grocery stores.

  • Do we need to add sugar?

Sugar is not added to sweeten the dish, but it’s there to counter the saltiness from the miso and spicy chili bean paste. Try adding 1 teaspoon at a time and taste the soup before adding next, if you like to reduce the amount.

  • Do we need to use sake?

Unless you can’t use it due to the religious reason, I strongly recommend using sake in Japanese cooking. Sake is an essential ingredient as soy sauce and mirin in Japanese cooking. In this recipe, sake removes the unwanted smell from the meat and add a subtle sweetness and umami. The best substitute would be dry sherry and Chinese rice wine.

2. Ramen Noodles 麺

Ramen noodles are made from four basic ingredients: wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui (かん水, saltwater). Kansui is a type of alkaline mineral water, containing sodium carbonate and usually potassium carbonate, and sometimes a small amount of phosphoric acid. Although the color of the ramen noodles is yellow-ish, they are not egg noodles.

Fresh vs. Dried Ramen Noodles
  • Fresh Noodles:

Ideally, fresh ramen noodles are the best. My favorite ramen noodles are from Sun Noodles, and I usually make my own soup instead of the soup base that comes with the package.

Fresh noodles are available in the refrigerated section of the Japanese grocery stores and some Asian grocery stores. Some stores may keep the fresh ramen noodles in the freezer, so don’t forget to check both sections.

From top: ramen in plastic packages – Yamachan Ramen (山ちゃん), Myojo (明星), and Chukazanmai (中華三昧) From left: ramen in clear plastic containers – Sun Noodles and Nijiya Market’s house brand.

Fresh gluten-free ramen noodles can be purchased from Kobayashi Seimen. They are made from rice and taste very similar to fresh ramen noodles.

  • Dried Noodles:

For those who can’t have access to fresh ramen noodles, you can use dried noodles. I’ve tried HIME Japanese ramen noodles (you can purchase on Amazon) and they are pretty good.

Left: Hime Japanese Ramen Noodles 3 Tips for Cooking Ramen Noodles

There are three important tips I want to share with you when cooking ramen noodles.

  1. Boil the ramen noodles in a big pot of water.
  2. Do not salt the water like pasta.
  3. Ramen noodles cook really fast. So make sure to prepare everything ahead of time. Once the noodles are cooked, you have to serve the ramen fast – in less than 30 seconds!

3. Ramen Toppings トッピング

Choices are yours. Here are 5 toppings I added to this Miso Ramen recipe. Even though you would spend less than 30 minutes to prepare the ramen on the day of eating, I do spend one day, usually the previous day, to prepare my ramen toppings.

  • Chashu – braised pork belly
  • Ramen Egg (Ajitsuke Tamago) – eggs marinated in soy sauce base sauce
  • Blanched Bean Sprout (or spicy version)
  • Shiraga Negi – julienned white negi/leeks
  • Sweet corn kernels
  • Chopped green onion
  • Nori seaweed
Other Topping Ideas:
  • Wakame seaweed
  • Blanched greens (bok choy, spinach)
  • Menma (bamboo shoots)
  • Slices of Narutomaki or Japanese fish cakes
  • Thinly sliced butter (to make it “Miso Butter Ramen”)
  • Or anything you like, tofu, mushrooms, etc

Now that you have the template on how to make the best miso ramen at home, it’s time to impress yourself or someone you love with your bowl of ramen goodness. It’s really simple, and dare I say more gratifying than the bowl from your ramen joint!

Craving for more? Check Out Other Ramen Recipes On Just One Cookbook

Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

Sign up for the free Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on FacebookPinterestYouTube, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

Miso Ramen

You can make delicious Miso Ramen with authentic broth in less than 30 minutes! Please note: toppings are optional and their recipes can be found in the hyperlinks. Chashu and Ramen Eggs require to prep one day before.

For Ramen Soup:
  • 2 cloves garlic ((1½ tsp minced garlic))
  • 1 knob ginger ((½ tsp grated ginger))
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 Tbsp white sesame seeds (roasted/toasted)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • ¼ lb ground pork ((113 g))
  • 1 tsp Doubanjiang (spicy chili bean sauce/broad bean paste)
  • 3 Tbsp miso ((Each miso brand/type makes slightly different broth))
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp sake
  • 4 cups chicken stock/broth ((960 ml))
  • 1 tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt) ((adjust according to your chicken broth))
  • ¼ tsp white pepper powder
For Ramen & Optional Toppings:
  • 2 servings ramen noodles
  • Chashu (Recipe)
  • Spicy Bean Sprout Salad (Recipe) ((or blanched bean sprout))
  • Ramen Eggs (Recipe)
  • Corn kernels ((drained))
  • nori (seaweed) ((cut a sheet into quarters))
  • green onion/scallion ((chopped))
  • Shiraga Negi (Recipe)
For the Table (Optional):
  • la-yu (Japanese chili oil)
  • pickled red ginger (beni shoga or kizami beni shoga)
  • white pepper powder
  1. Gather all the ingredients.

To Prepare Ramen Soup
  1. Mince the garlic (I use this garlic press) and ginger (I use this ceramic grater).

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Brewed from buckwheat grains, this healthy and delicious Buckwheat Tea or Sobacha will be your new favorite drink! A popular tea in Japan, it is a great way to get the many benefits, along with its antioxidant power. You could enjoy it cold or warm and it’s perfect for an evening drink just before bed. 

Do you want to add a new and healthy beverage to your diet? If yes, then, you must try Buckwheat Tea or Sobacha (そば茶) and start drinking it regularly. The tea offers immense health benefits and it is absolutely one of our favorite beverages to relax and build up our immune system.

Of late Mr. JOC and I have started drinking more non-caffeinated drinks like buckwheat tea in replace of coffee and green tea. We still love our coffee and green tea, but we wanted to incorporate more simple yet healthy habits to keep our energy in check. Are you interested in knowing more about buckwheat tea? Keep reading this post!

What is Buckwheat Tea (Sobacha)?

Buckwheat tea, known as Sobacha (そば茶) in Japan, is a tea made from roasted buckwheat (soba 蕎麦,そば) grains, leaves, or flowers of the plant. The tea is drunk for enjoyment apart from health purposes.

Buckwheat tea is also known as memil-cha (메밀차) in Korea and kuqiao-cha (苦荞茶) in China. In the most recent development, tartari buckwheat grown in Gangwon Province in Korea is popular for making memil-cha, as it is nuttier and contains more rutin (plant pigment that is found in certain fruits and vegetables, and is known for powerful antioxidant properties).

Each brand of buckwheat tea yields a slightly different flavor and color. What Does Buckwheat Tea Taste Like?

The tea has a dry, nutty, earthy taste and a light scent.

How to Serve Buckwheat Tea

Brew the buckwheat tea just like any other tea and enjoy it as is without adding any sweetener or milk. You can serve either warm or cold. In today’s post, I’ll show you how to make the tea from grains.

Where to Find Buckwheat Tea

Look for them at Japanese or Asian markets and health food stores. Amazon sells some brands as well.

Amazing Benefits of Buckwheat Tea

There are incredible health benefits to drinking buckwheat tea. Sure, green tea is rich in antioxidants and is beneficial for overall health. However, if you have been advised to cut down on caffeine intake in your diet, buckwheat tea is the best alternative, offering all the benefits of green tea sans caffeine.

In nutshell, here are some of the health benefits I found online:

  • Helps in managing diabetes (reduce the concentration of glucose in the body)
  • Helps in the immune system (high in various antioxidants and vitamins)
  • Aids in digestion (antioxidant improves digestive function, eliminate bloating and constipation)
  • Improves heart health (lower levels of blood pressure and cholesterol count)
  • Prevents kidney problems (antioxidants slow the progression of the condition)
  • Reduce the risk of cancer (help defend against cellular mutation and the spread of cancer)
  • Promotes weight loss (low in calorie, stimulate metabolism, eliminate water weight)

But it is much more than the healthful compounds that I drink buckwheat tea; I also enjoy its subtlety and the relaxation it brings to my mind.

Note: Just One Cookbook is not specialized in health facts, so please do your own research if you would like to find out more about the health benefits of buckwheat tea.

How to Make Buckwheat Tea (Sobacha)

If you want to brew the tea, all you need is dry buckwheat grains* and a saucepan or teapot!

  • Step 1: Boil 3 ⅓ cups (800 ml) of water in a saucepan on the stove or in an electric kettle.
  • Step 2 – saucepan: Add 2 Tbsp (20 grams) of roasted buckwheat grains to the saucepan and boil for 30 seconds.
  • Step 2 – teapot: Add 2 Tbsp (20 grams) of roasted buckwheat grains and boiling water in the teapot.
  • Step 3: Allow the tea to steep for 3-4 minutes before straining.
  • Step 4: Serve hot.
  • Step 5: Brew 2-3 more times, but add a few minutes to the steeping time.

*When making the tea from leaves and blossoms, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of dried tea to 1 cup of hot water and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

Perfect Tea for The Evening

Since we tend to work late at night after our kids go to bed, we found ourselves battling to concentrate on the overwhelming list of to-do. It is not exactly the wisest thing when we have to film recipes in the late evening. We get tempted with the food and often find ourselves snacking our way to stay awake. With buckwheat tea, we are able to relax and concentrate better. While I am not sure if I can successfully lose weight with buckwheat tea, I sure feel more energized and sleep better. Since it’s not caffeinated, it makes a great cup of tea to drink in the evening. I hope you enjoy buckwheat tea just like we do!

Potential Downsides

Consumption of buckwheat is not associated with many adverse health effects when consumed in moderation. However, some people may be allergic to buckwheat.

Sign up for the free Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on FacebookPinterestYouTube, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

Buckwheat Tea (Sobacha)

Brewed from buckwheat grains, this healthy and delicious Buckwheat Tea or Sobacha will be your new favorite drink! A popular tea in Japan, it is a great way to get the many benefits, along with its antioxidant power. Enjoy it cold or warm.

With a saucepan on the stove
  • 2 Tbsp buckwheat tea ((20 g))
  • 3 ⅓ cups water ((800 ml))
With a teapot
  • 2 Tbsp buckwheat tea ((20 g))
  • 3 ⅓ cups water ((800 ml))
With a tea bag
  • 1 tea bag ((See Notes for the brand I use))
  • ¾ cup water ((180 ml))
  1. Gather the ingredients. Please adjust the amount of water (or buckwheat tea) based on your preference.
With a saucepan on the stove
  1. Boil 3 ⅓ cups (800 ml) of water in a saucepan on the stove and add 2 Tbsp (20 grams) of buckwheat tea.

  2. Boil for 30 seconds and turn off the heat. Cover the saucepan with a lid and allow the tea to steep for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Strain the tea over fine mesh sieve and serve hot.
With a teapot
  1. Boil 3 ⅓ cups (800 ml) of water in an electric kettle or a saucepan on the stove. Add 2 Tbsp (20 grams) of roasted buckwheat grains to a teapot.
  2. Pour boiling water over the buckwheat in the teapot. Allow the tea to steep for 3-4 minutes before straining.
  3. Serve hot.
With a tea bag
  1. Boil ¾ cup (180 ml) of water in an electric kettle or a saucepan on the stove. Add 1 tea bag in a teacup or teapot and pour boiling water over the tea bag.

  2. Allow the tea to steep for 2 minutes before removing the tea bag. Serve hot.
To Serve Cold:
  1. Let the buckwheat tea cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. Serve cold.
To Brew Again:
  1. Brew 2-3 more times, but add a few minutes to the steeping time.

Buckwheat Tea (Sobacha) Tea Bag: You can purchase on Amazon.

 

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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Umeda is a major city center in Osaka with endless dining and shopping options, check out the gigantic food malls inside the mega department stores, take in the city view from HEP FIVE FERRIS WHEEL, and ride the floating escalator in the cool slick Sky Building.

Umeda is the go-to destination for shopping and dining choices in Osaka, with the major transport hubs Osaka Station and Umeda Station, flanked by Hankyu, Hanshin, Daimaru, and other super-sized retail shops,

Osaka Station Osaka Station

Umeda cemented its place as the center of transportation in Kansai area when Osaka Station open in 1874. Subsequent train and subway lines were added to the area including Umeda Station. A similar comparison for Umeda in Osaka would be Shinjuku in Tokyo.

Yes, there is a need for 6 escalators

Osaka Station went under a major renovation in 2011 and is now composed of South Gate and North Gate Buildings. Besides the many dining and shopping choices, South Gate Building includes the department store Daimaru and the North Gate Building houses Lucua shops as well as a movie theater on the top floor.

Department Stores in Umeda

If you are looking to shop in Osaka, then Umeda is where you want to be. There’s no shortage of large department stores surrounding the station. However, there aren’t many tourist attractions in the Umeda area. What we do highly recommend checking out for any foodie is the “depachika” the food mall underneath the department stores. We really liked the one at Hanshin so you have limited time go check that one out.

Hanshin Department Store Umeda

Hanshin’s history in Umeda goes back to the early 1930s. Like many other department stores in Japan, it’s home to many high-end boutiques, fashionable attires, restaurants, and cafes. However, the best way to peek into the daily Japanese life and what people buy and eat is in the food mall.

The food mall in Hanshin sells everything from ready-to-go food to delicate desserts, wine, tea, and many other gifts. The packaging and gift wrap for the purchases are exquisite and free of charge.

Roast pork from Kobe Chinatown shop

One of the conveniences the food mall offers is there are many famous stores from the nearby area (Kobe, Kyoto, etc) that will operate a booth there so you don’t have to travel all over to buy them. The photos we’ve shared below is just a small sample and it’s easy to spend an hour checking out all the different foods.

Fruit juice and other fruit products Croquette ready to be eaten! Bread and bakery shop Honey shop L’ABEILLE Home-cooked style food Unagi and Anago Sushi Salted fish shop Japanese confectionary shop Ippodo tea shop – 300 years of history and we love their hojicha

Tsukemono – Japanese pickled vegetables

Each shop beside offering their most popular products and items throughout the year, seasonal and limited time goods are often featured. One of our favorite indulgences during the summer is the white peach jelly. Eating the chilled white peach jelly on a hot summer day is simply too incredible to describe. At $10 per jelly, it’s really pricey so we usually share 2 between 4-6 people.

White peach jelly Dessert made from biwa fruit
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Make this easy, melt-in-your-mouth Chashu pork belly recipe at home! Braised in a sweet and savory sauce, you can now add the tender slice of meat as topping to your next bowl of ramen. It’s the most fulfilling reward for any pork belly lovers out there!

What is your favorite ramen topping? For me, it is the perfectly cooked soft-boiled marinated Ramen Egg (Ajitsuke Tamago). But for most people I know, including Mr. JOC, it is the melt-in-your-mouth juicy, tender, and flavorful slices of braised pork belly known as Chashu (チャーシュー).

What is Chashu?

Japanese have adapted the famous Chinese barbecued pork called Char Siu (叉燒) as chāshū (チャーシュー). Unlike the Chinese version which requires roasting over high heat, we prepare the meat by rolling it into a log and then braising it over low heat in a sauce seasoned with soy sauce, sake, and sugar.

In Japanese, Chashu is sometimes called “Nibuta” (煮豚), literally means simmered/braised pork, as opposed to “Yakibuta” (焼豚), which means barbecued pork. The Japanese enjoy Chasu as a topping for Ramen and other noodles, as well as Chasu over steamed rice in called Chashu Don, like a rice bowl.

The Original Chinese Char Siu

Traditionally, Chinese char siu is marinated in soy sauce, honey, hoisin sauce, rice wine, five spice powder, and red food coloring, and then roasted in a covered oven or barbecued over a fire. You have probably seen the slabs of barbecued pork hanging in Chinese deli shop windows.

Chinese Char Siu offers a good bite with marked, smoky grilled flavor, while Japanese chashu is appreciated for its succulent and fork-tender texture.

Watch How to Make Chashu
How to Make Chashu (Japanese Braised Pork Belly) (Recipe)シャーシュー(煮豚)の作り方 (レシピ) - YouTube

Make this easy, melt-in-your-mouth Chashu pork belly recipe at home! Braised in a sweet and savory sauce, you can now add the tender slice of meat as topping to your next bowl of ramen. It’s the most fulfilling reward for any pork belly lovers out there!

A Quick Rundown on How to Make Chashu Pork

First, we sear the pork belly over high heat to caramelize the surface of the meat. My go-to choice is a solid cast iron pan which I use for searing meats. With a cast iron, you can really turn up the heat and food comes in direct contact with an evenly heated surface. This step makes a great difference with the finished dish, enhancing it with complex layers of flavors.

After searing the meat, we then braise the meat in a soy sauce based seasoning on a simmering low heat for about 1-2 hours. The pork will slowly soak up all the flavors in the pot. Ginger and long green onion (in Japan it goes by a few names – Naganegi (長ねぎ), Shironegi (白ねぎ) or Tokyo negi (東京ねぎ)) help remove any unsavory smell and add more depth to the sauce.

When the sauce is reduced, transfer the meat to a bag or a container with a little bit of sauce, and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight to intensify the flavors.

Next day it’s finally ready to serve. Slice the Chashu thinly but thick enough for the chopsticks to clasp on.

Chashu 2 Ways: Rolled (Log) vs. Non-Rolled (Block)

Chashu served on ramen is often rolled up although many ramen shops do serve slices of the Non-Rolled Chashu in Japan. Both ways are legitimate Chashu by the standard of ramen shops, but let’s take a look at the two options.

Rolled Chashu (Log)

The most common preparation for Chashu served on ramen is by rolling a big slab of pork belly into a log with butcher’s twine. The main reason for that is to keep the pork moist. As the meat is not directly exposed to the sauce, meat does not get dry yet it still absorbs flavors.

When I roll the pork belly into a log shape, I usually increase the amount of cooking time because you will need more time to rotate the Chashu and to make sure it soaks up all the good flavors.

You may wonder why I don’t increase the amount of seasoning so that Chashu will be completely submerged. Ramen shops make Chashu every day and they keep re-using the cooking sauce by combining with a new batch of seasoning. To a home cook, it is rather wasteful to make such a big batch of cooking sauce.

That’s why you will need 2 hours to cook Rolled Chashu (as opposed to 1 hour for Non-rolled Chashu).

Non-Rolled Chashu (Block)

If you don’t need a lot of Chashu, consider making Non-Rolled Chashu with smaller blocks of pork belly. The pork belly blocks I buy from the local Japanese supermarket come in small pieces (¾ to 1 lb). Since you don’t need to roll them up into a log, you can start searing the pork belly right away.

The benefit of Non-Rolled Chashu is that braising time takes just 1 hour as the slab of pork belly is fairly flat and easily absorbs flavors. Make sure to use Otoshibuta (drop lid) so that the sauce will circulate nicely and there will not be too much evaporation during braising.

Chashu (Non-Rolled Chashu) served with Shiraga Negi topping and Ramen Egg.

How to Roll and Tie Chashu Why do we roll Chashu?
  • To maintain the shape after rendering fat.
  • To keep the moisture in the meat (protected by outer layer/rind).
  • To look pretty

Learn how to roll and tie pork belly correctly

You can find the step-by-step pictures in the recipe below and video above to go over the step, but here’s the quick summary.

  1. Find out the right orientation for rolling. One or both ends should have the “bacon” like appearance, showing the varying layers of meat and fat.
  2. Roll up and find how much pork belly you need for a nice cooking Chashu. Cut off any extra meat and save it for other recipes.
  3. Once you roll up the pork belly into a log, wrap the meat with a butcher twine on one end and make a double knot.
  4. Wrap 2-3 more times on the same end (the starting point) to make sure it is secured.
  5. Then run the twine across the log to the far end and wrap 2-3 times tightly. Both ends are now secured.
  6. From this end, start wrapping tightly and work toward the starting point, keeping ⅓ inches (1 cm) between each wrap.
  7. Once you reach the starting point, run the twine under some wraps around the middle and then bring back to the starting point.
  8. Make a double knot with two ends of the butcher twine.

What Cut of Pork Do We Use for Chashu?

The ideal cut for chashu is pork belly, although you can use pork shoulder, and sometimes pork loin. Keep in mind that the last two choices don’t get the melt-in-your-mouth texture as they do not have as much fat as pork belly.

In Japanese cooking, we usually use pork belly without a rind/skin (except for making certain Chinese or Okinawan recipes).

I always use pork belly for my Chashu recipe, but if you try pork shoulder, let me know. I personally would not recommend using pork loin for this recipe.

Remember, pork belly is not bacon. Bacon is made of pork belly. Where to Buy Pork Belly

You may not find pork belly sitting at the butcher window or sold pre-packaged, but most butchers should have them stored in the freezer. So don’t be shy to ask the butcher at your local grocery stores or meat deli. Ready to make pork belly on the same day? Do call ahead and factor in the defrosting time as they usually come frozen.

The best place to shop for pork belly is Korean grocery stores. They sell different thickness and sizes of pork belly. I usually request the butcher to cut a specific size just for me.

You can also ask the butcher to remove the rind/skin (if there is any) or remove it yourself using a sharp knife.

How to Cut Chashu?

It’s pretty easy to cut the Chashu into thin slices when it has been rest in the refrigerator overnight. A sharp bread knife would make your job relatively easier too.

I don’t usually use up the entire Chashu in one meal, so I’d cut into several thin slices for Ramen, and then cut the rest into 2 to 3 blocks and pack each piece in the Food Savor bag to store in the freezer. I’ll show you below how I use Chashu besides Ramen.

How to Reheat Chashu?

There are 3 ways to reheat Chashu:

  • Soak Chashu in the hot cooking sauce.
  • Directly put in the hot noodle soup.
  • Sear the Chashu using a culinary butane torch. We call this Aburi Chashu (炙りチャーシュー). Aburi means searing in Japanese and you may have heard about Aburi Toro and Aburi Salmon from the sushi menu.

I use searing options to reheat Chashu and to add smoky charred flavor. Don’t forget to drizzle some hot cooking liquid on top!

What Can I Use Chashu for?

Besides enjoying Chashu with ramen or by itself, you can also use it for many other dishes. Here are my suggestions:

  • Noodle dishes – Hiyashi Chuka and Tsukemen
  • Rice dishes – Chashu Don (over rice) and Chashu Fried Rice – a great way to use up the broken pieces or edges of Chashu.
  • Sandwiches – Serve with steamed buns (use this recipe)
What Can I Use Chashu Cooking Sauce for?
  • Stir fry seasoning
  • Marinate for grilling meat
  • Make Ramen Egg

Family’s Favorite Recipe for a Long Time!

I’ve been cooking this exact Chashu recipe for almost 20 years (and on the blog since 2011) and my family loves it. It’s not that difficult to make at all, but you may need to be around in the kitchen while simmering the meat. The final reward is phenomenal and it’s totally worth your time!

Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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Chashu (Japanese Braised Pork Belly)

Make this easy, melt-in-mouth Chashu pork belly recipe at home! Braised in a sweet and savory sauce, you can now add the tender slice of meat as topping to your next bowl of ramen!

For Rolled Chashu (Log) (Serves 8-10)
  • 2-2½ lb pork belly block ((907-1134 g))
  • 1 Negi/Long Green Onion ((Sub: 1 leek or 2-3 green onions))
  • 1 knob ginger
  • 1 Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
  • 1 cup sake ((240 ml))
  • 1 cup soy sauce ((240 ml))
  • 2 cup water ((480 ml))
  • ⅔ cup sugar ((150 g))
For Non-Rolled Chashu (Block) (Serves 3; This is the original recipe posted on May 2011)
  • ¾ lb pork belly block ((340 g; You got 1 lb block? See Notes))
  • 1 Negi/Long Green Onion ((Sub: 1 leek or 2-3 green onions))
  • 1 knob ginger
  • ½ Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
  • ⅓ cup sake ((80 ml))
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce ((80 ml))
  • ⅔ cup water ((160 ml))
  • 3 Tbsp sugar ((45 g))
FOR ROLLED CHASHU (Scroll down for NON-ROLLED version) DAY 1
  1. Gather all the instructions.

To Prepare the Pork Belly
  1. Roll up the pork belly, making sure one or both ends should have the “bacon” like appearance, showing the varying layers of meat and fat. If your slab comes with the skin (rind), it should be facing out. My block does not come with it. See Notes if you want to remove it. 

  2. Run some butcher twine under the far end of the log. Tie a double knot to secure the pork tightly. Make sure you leave about 3 inches (7.5 cm) twine at the end.

  3. Wrap around the pork belly 2-3 times around the same area to secure the end. Then pull the twine to the other end of the pork belly. Wrap around 2-3 times at the end area to secure before working toward the middle. Each wrap should be a ⅓ inch (1 cm) in between.
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Coated with a sticky, sweet, and savory ginger sauce, this Ginger Pork Rolls with Eggplant recipe makes the tastiest weeknight meal for the family. 

One of the delicious combinations of food I enjoy is pork, eggplant, shiso leaves, and ginger-based sweet soy sauce. Today’s recipe – Ginger Pork Rolls with Eggplant (茄子の肉巻き生姜焼き) is in every way the marriage of all these ingredients. As a result, you get a homey and tasty dish that goes amazingly with rice.

Quick Weeknight Meal with Ginger Pork Rolls with Eggplant

This pork roll recipe is very simple and easy to make, and I especially love that it is super bento-friendly. The kids get vegetables and meat together, and with a delicious savory sauce that even at room temperature, the pork rolls are still delicious by lunchtime.

You will be surprised by how fast it can be put together and the complexity of the flavors it offers!

Thinly Sliced Meat in Japanese Cooking

Many of you have asked me what Japanese people eat at home that we don’t eat at restaurants. Well, pork or beef rolls like today’s recipe is definitely one of the examples of food we eat at home. An honest-to-goodness kind of food that our grandmothers and mothers cook for the family.

Japanese don’t typically consume a lot of meat, so it’s not common to cook a whole chicken or a big block of pork or beef. Instead, we eat a whole range of foods, rice or noodles for carbs, plenty of vegetables and soy-based foods like tofu, seafood and a small amount of meat in a meal.

When you go to Japanese markets, you will see pre-sliced pork and beef that are as thin as paper. We call this cut of meat “Usugiri Niku“(薄切り肉), thinly cut meat.

These thinly sliced meats can be from different parts of the meat. For example at the Japanese grocery store I visit, they carry pork belly slices, super thin pork loin slices (for Shabu Shabu), and semi-thin pork loin slices (for Sukiyaki). Same goes with the beef cut. In Japan, there are more categories for thinly sliced meat.

If you can’t find thinly sliced meat locally, here’s the tutorial on How to Slice Meat Thinly (with video).

On Just One Cookbook, you’ll find different meat roll recipes using thinly sliced pork/beef:

2 Unique Japanese Ingredients Used in this Dish + Substitutes 1) Shiso leaves (sometimes called Ooba)

Shiso (perilla leaves) is my favorite Japanese herb that I often use to add extra zing and to elevate the presentation of a dish. It is an optional ingredient, but it’s worth getting if you live near a Japanese grocery store or lucky enough to have access from your farmers market.

This herb is also super easy to grow with low maintenance, and many Just One Cookbook readers have started growing their own shiso plants from seeds (you can purchase from Kitazawa Seed online).

2) Yuzu Kosho (yuzu pepper paste)

Came from Kyushu area, yuzu kosho is a little spicy but packed with umami flavor. It’s made of red chili pepper fermented with salt and yuzu zest and has the ability to enrich any bland dish. Just a tiny dab of yuzu kosho goes a long way.

I like serving Ginger Pork Rolls with Eggplant with a small drop of yuzu kosho on the serving plate. Feel free to skip it, but you can find yuzu kosho on Amazon if you’re curious to try. If you appreciate flavors, you’d be happy that you have one in your pantry. It’s truly a magical condiment.

And when you make this Ginger Pork Rolls with Eggplant for your family, do cook up more rice as everyone will be going for seconds! It’s everything we all love about home cooked food.

Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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Ginger Pork Rolls with Eggplant

Perfectly juicy and savory Ginger Pork Rolls with Eggplant! This is something that you won’t find on menus at your local Japanese restaurants, but the combination of pork, eggplant, and shiso leaf is simply amazing.

  • 1 knob ginger ((Will need ½ tsp grated ginger))
  • 2 Japanese eggplants ((or 1 long Chinese eggplant))
  • ½ lb thinly sliced pork loin ((1 package shabu shabu meat))
  • 2 Tbsp potato/corn starch
For Seasonings:
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp mirin
  • 1 Tbsp sake ((or water))
  • 1 tsp sugar
For Cooking:
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp miso
For Garnish:
  • 4 Shiso leaves (Ooba)
  • Yuzu Kosho ((optional))
  1. Gather all the ingredients.

  2. Grate ginger and you will need ½ tsp of grated ginger.

  3. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the sauce.

  4. Peel the eggplant with a peeler and soak the peeled skin in water.

  5. Cut the eggplant into 2 inch pieces widthwise, and cut each piece in half. 

  6. Then cut each piece into 4 sticks and soak in water.

  7. Now cut the eggplant skin into julienne strips and continue to soak in water.

  8. Remove any moisture on the eggplant with a paper towel.

  9. Wrap 2 eggplant sticks with a thinly sliced pork. Continue with the rest of pork slices.

  10. Sprinkle half of the potato/corn starch on the pork rolls and spread over the meat. Then flip over and spread the remaining potato/corn starch. Remove any excess starch.

  11. In a large non-stick frying pan, heat sesame oil on medium heat. Add the pork rolls.

  12. Cook them until all sides are golden browned.

  13. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on medium-low heat, until the eggplant is tender roughly 2-3 minutes.

  14. Add the sauce to the pan.

  15. Coat the pork rolls well by rotating them and spooning the sauce over.

  16. Serve the pork rolls on a plate and pour the sauce on top.

  17. In the same pan (without washing), add the eggplant skin and miso. 

  18. Mix well together and cook on medium-low heat until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Put them on top of the eggplant. 

  19. Roll up the shiso leaves and cut into chiffonade strips.

  20. Garnish the pork rolls with shiso leaves. If you like it spicy, serve with a dab of yuzu kosho. You can put a tiny bit of it on the pork roll and enjoy!

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 21, 2011. New images and step by step images have been added to the post in May 2019.

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As one of the most recognizable landmarks in Osaka, the grand Osaka Castle rises high above the ground surrounded by a beautiful park and impressive stone wall.

One of the most iconic landmarks for visitors to Osaka is the grand Osaka Castle. Located in the beautiful Osaka Castle Park, it’s a must-stop for any first-time visitors to the city.

Where is Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is located in the eastern part of the city inside Osaka Castle Park. Since the park covers a large space you can get there via five different stations. If you want to see Otemon Gate (大手門), we recommend exiting the Temmabashi or Tanimachiyonchome Station for a shorter walk.

Osaka Castle Park

There is a fee to get inside Osaka Castle itself (600 yen for adult and free for children 15 and under) but it’s free to roam around the surrounding enormous park. When we visit Nami’s relatives in Osaka, we would sometimes go to the park just to walk around and enjoy the scenery.

Osaka Castle Park is especially beautiful during the cherry blossom season with flowers blooming all around the castle.

When the weather is nice, the walk around the park to the castle is relaxing and a nice stroll. However, in the oppressive Japan summer heat, the walk to the castle tower could be brutal. The good news is are electric cars services that will bring you closer to the castle tower (for a fee).

You can ride the electric car near the Lawson’s at the southwest corner of the park. It was a lifesaver for us in 38 ºC heat. The car will drop passengers off near the Sakura-mon gate.

Electric car shuttle

Today, besides the castle tower and ruins, there is also the Osaka-Jo Hall, a baseball field, and a music hall on the park grounds among other facilities.

Osaka Castle

When you first get to Osaka Castle, one of the first things that will catch your attention is the giant moat and the tall stone wall. The moat varies from 70 – 90 meters in width and the walls are up to 20 meters in height. It is estimated there were more than 500,000 stones used in building the massive wall.

History of Osaka Castle

When you travel around Japan, there are a few significant names that you should be familiar as they appear in many museums, temples, and other historical references. The names are Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, and they are considered the 3 unifiers of Japan.

Otemon Gate

It’s a very complex relationship between the three but the simple version is both Hideyoshi and Tokugawa were allies of Nobunaga who came very close to unifying Japan. After Nobunaga’s death, Hideyoshi succeeded him and unified Japan.

Later on, Tokugawa eliminated the entire Toyotomi clan and subsequently ruled Japan for over 250 years until imperial rule started in 1868. Osaka Castle’s historical importance is significant as it has ties to all three of the unifiers.

The history of Osaka Castle goes back to 1496 when it was Ishiyama Hongan-ji  (石山本願寺), a temple run by a sect of warrior monks and peasants who were opposed to samurai rule. Nobunaga attacked Hongan-ji and after winning the battle set the temple ablaze and burnt it to the ground in 1580.

Constructions of Osaka Castle

In 1583, Toyotomi Hideyoshi started building a grand castle on the ground and completed in 1597 but died the year after. Tokugawa started attacking Hideyoshi’s son at Osaka Castle in 1614 and eventually killed the entire Toyotomi clan and burned the castle down.

Tokugawa Hidetada started reconstruction to the castle and completed in 1620. The castle was burned and destroyed in later years and rebuilt as a concrete replica in 1931. It withstood the bombing during the war and went under a complete restoration in 1995 based on Tokugawa’s design.

Giant boulders used to construct castle wall Our kids grew!

Osaka Castle Floor Guide

The castle consists of 8 floors with the entrance on the first floor, along with a museum shop and theater. The second floor contains facts and history of Osaka Castle. The third and fourth floors are about the Sengoku (wartime) Era and Hideyoshi Toyotomi.

The fifth floor is about “The Summer War in Osaka”. The sixth floor is closed to visitors and the seventh floor is about the life of Hideyoshi Toyotomi. The observation deck is on the eighth floor.

If you can’t walk up all the way, no worries. The castle is updated so it is wheelchair is accessible up to the observation deck.

Wheelchair access on the side of the castle

When you go through the floors, there is no photography the main exhibitions on the third and fourth floors.

Miniatures depicting “The Summer War of Osaka”

View from the observation deck at the top of Osaka Castle Plaza around Osaka Castle

The plaza area around the castle has the recently opened Miraiza building. It was a former military building that used to be the Osaka City Museum. It is now home to shops, restaurants, and cafes.

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Hearty and savory rice bowl with unagi (eel) and eggplant! A really great rice bowl that won’t disappoint, this Eggplant Unagi Donburi is also easy to make and packed with amazing flavors. 

Rice bowls are lifesavers for everyday dinner, be it a hectic weeknight or lazy Friday night. Today’s rice bowl – Eggplant Unagi Donburi (茄子と鰻の丼ぶり) is a little luxurious yet simple enough to pull it together when you need dinner fast on the table. The sweet meat of unagi, tender eggplant, fluffy steamed rice, and the most tantalizing sauce all in one bowl. You’d be in for a treat!

Economical Way to Enjoy Unagi

If you are like us who enjoy eating unagi, you have probably noticed that the price of eels has been skyrocketed in recent years. It used to be a relatively inexpensive ingredient, but now it has become a highly prized food. With today’s recipe, you cut down on the serving of unagi yet you won’t feel like you’re missing out.

I use 2 tricks:

  • Use eggplant to bulk it up
  • Use delicious unagi sauce to coat everything ♥

Why eggplant, you may ask? Well, eggplant has a meaty and tender texture once it is cooked, and best of all is its ability to soak up the delicious sauce like a sponge. Not a fan of eggplant? You can use another meaty ingredient like portobello mushrooms. But do give eggplant a try first. You’d be surprised how complementary eggplants are with unagi.

And here comes my second trick. When you smother everything in the delicious homemade unagi sauce… and everything tastes just like unagi!! The sauce is so utterly good that it evokes the flavor of the entire dish, don’t you think? Mr. JOC and my kids who are not so fond of eggplant devour the rice bowl like they had not eaten for days.

Quick Meal in 15 Minutes!

I usually keep one package of Unagi in the freezer in case I need to make a quick dinner. This Eggplant and Unagi Donburi recipe requires just one frying pan. If you want to serve this dish over rice, then you will need to make rice using a rice cooker or pot over the stove or instant pot separately. If you’re well-prepared, a couple of containers of steamed rice may be stocked in the freezer (the best way to store leftover rice!).

Once the rice is taken care of, you just need to quickly stir fry the eggplant and steam unagi, and a satisfying dinner will be ready in less than 30 minutes!

Homemade Unagi Sauce

Did you know it’s super easy to make Homemade Unagi Sauce? It’s one of the condiments that I like to make when I have time in the kitchen and store in the refrigerator for easy access. All you need is 4 ingredients: soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar!

With the magic homemade sauce, you get to enjoy this Eggplant Unagi Donburi, Yaki Onigiri, and Unadon (Unagi Donburi/Unaju).

The Final Touch – Shiso Leaves

As the final touch, I used shiso (perilla leaves) to garnish the rice bowl as it not only adds a pop of color, but it also provides a refreshing taste to the dish. A common herb used in Japanese cooking, shiso goes well with the milder flavor of eggplant. I often use both together in recipes, so check out this delicious ginger pork rolls and this eggplant side/appetizer).

It’s optional, but if you can source green shiso from your local Japanese grocery stores or farmers market, get them for this Eggplant & Unagi Rice Bowl!

Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

Sign up for the free Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on FacebookPinterestYouTube, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

Eggplant Unagi Donburi

Hearty and savory rice bowl with unagi (eel) and eggplant! It is super easy and simple to make this Eggplant Unagi Donburi.

  • 1 Japanese/Chinese eggplant
  • 1 fillet unagi (eel)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp sake ((Sub: dry sherry, Chinese rice wine, or water))
  • Unagi Sauce ((Click for the recipe))
To Serve
  • 2 servings cooked Japanese short grain rice
  • 5 Shiso leaves (Ooba)
  • Shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice) ((optional))
  • Sansho pepper
  1. Gather all the ingredients.

  2. Cut the eggplant into 2” pieces widthwise.

  3. Then cut each piece in half lengthwise. Finally cut the halves into 2-3 sticks. Soak in water to remove bitterness.

  4. Roll up the shiso leaves and cut them into chiffonade strips.
  5. Cut the unagi fillet into 1” pieces.

  6. In a non-stick frying pan, heat oil on medium high and add the eggplant.

  7. Cook the eggplant until they turn brown.

  8. Add the unagi to the pan and then add water and sake. 

  9. Immediately cover with a lid and cook for 1 minute. Open the lid and let the remaining liquid evaporated.

  10. Add the Unagi Sauce. Coat the eggplant and unagi with the sauce.

  11. Using a spoon, coat the eggplant and unagi well with the sauce. Put steamed rice in a serving bowl and transfer the eggplant and unagi over the rice. 

  12. Garnish with shiso leaves. If you like to add some kick, sprinkle shichimi and sansho pepper. Serve immediately.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 5, 2011. New images and step by step images have been added to the post in May 2019.

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Sweet, savory, and full of flavor, this delicious Homemade Unagi Sauce or Eel Sauce is the dream sauce for unagi and BBQ dishes!

Have you tried grilled unagi (eel) or unagi sushi before? What is that caramelized sweet, salty sauce that goes with the unagi? Well, the irresistible golden brown sauce is basically called the Unagi Sauce (うなぎのたれ).

What is Unagi Sauce?

Unagi Sauce or Unagi no Tare (うなぎのたれ) is a special type of thick and sweetened soy sauce.

Traditionally, it is commonly used on grilled eel or different dishes that feature grilled eel such as unagi don (Unadon/Unaju) or unagi sushi. Although there are many commercial brands of the sauce available in the market, the best eel sauce is the one you make at home.

How to Make Unagi Sauce At Home

To make this sauce at home is as simple as one can imagine. You only need 4 ingredients – sake, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce – to create a rich, umami-packed eel sauce. Combine the mixture in a small pot and let it simmer over the stove until the sauce caramelizes and thickens to your desired richness.

The great thing about making the sauce at home instead of buying the pre-made stuff is you can decide on the sweetness and saltiness level. And there are no additives in the ingredients.

Can Unagi Sauce Be Gluten Free?

Yes! Use Gluten Free Soy Sauce to make the gluten-free version of the sauce!

What is Unagi Sauce Used for?

Aside from regular unagi dishes, unagi sauce is finger-licking delicious on any BBQ dishes. Think grilled meat, grilled fish, grilled tofu, grilled mushrooms, and grilled rice ball (Yaki Onigiri). All you need is a light brush or a drizzle of this sweet-savory sauce to heighten the flavor of the dish. In addition, you can use the eel sauce as a marinade for meats or as a dressing for freshly cooked noodles.

If you’re looking for a new flavor to add to your grill menus this year, you want to try out this recipe! It is absolutely one of my favorite sauces to make in the summer.

Where to Buy Unagi Sauce (Eel Sauce)

If you want to skip making homemade sauce, you can purchase the bottled one at the condiment section of Japanese grocery stores. You may also find it in well-stocked Asian grocery stores. If that’s not an option, get on Amazon.


Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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Unagi Sauce

Sweet, savory, and full of flavor, this delicious Homemade Unagi Sauce is the dream sauce for eel and BBQ dishes!

  • ¼ cup mirin
  • 1 ½ Tbsp sake
  • 2 ½ Tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  1. Gather all the ingredients.

  2. In a small saucepan, add mirin, sake, sugar. Turn on the heat to medium heat and whisk all the mixture.

  3. Then add soy sauce and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to the low heat and continue simmering for 20 minutes. Toward the end of cooking, you will see more bubbles.

  4. Turn off the heat and let cool. You can store the sauce in an airtight jar and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

Editor’s Note: The post is originally published on May 6, 2013. The new images have been added to the post in May 2019.

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What do you do with the leftover kombu from making Japanese soup stock (dashi)? Make Kombu Tsukudani (Simmered Kombu) cooked in a sweet and savory sauce. It’s a great dish to accompany your ordinary steamed rice!

Once you start making Japanese dishes, you will realize you are left with used kombu from making homemade dashi (Japanese soup stock), Mentsuyu (noodle soup base) or Ponzu Sauce. Don’t throw these leftover kombu pieces away! We’ll make them into delicious Simmered Kombu called Kombu Tsukudani.

What’s Kombu Tsukudani?

Tsukudani (佃煮) is seafood/fish, shellfish, meat, seaweed, or vegetable that has been simmered in sweet and savory sauce (typically with soy sauce, sugar, mirin) for a long time. It usually has an intensely sweet and savory flavor, which helps preserve the ingredients.

Because of the strong flavor, Tsukudani has been served as a side dish to accompany plain steamed rice since the Edo period (1600s-1800s). We call it the Gohan no Okazu (ご飯のおかず), or rice side dish, as it’s eaten with steamed rice as a flavoring agent.

Tsukudani is always served and eaten chilled from the refrigerator and will not be cooked again prior to eating.

Kombu Tsukudani (昆布の佃煮) is one of the most common tsukudani, and I think it’s the best way to use up all your used kombu.

Did You Know Kombu has Varieties?

Do you know which type of kombu are you using? If you are new to Kombu, check out my Kombu post which I discuss different types of kombu.

For the best texture of Kombu Tsukudani, I think Hidaka Kombu (日高昆布) is the most suitable choice. It achieves tenderness a lot faster than the other types of kombu.

If you are like me who use different types of kombu in your cooking, I highly recommend freezing the used kombu separately based on the variety. Then you can cook the same type of kombu at the same time for a consistent result.

3 Tips on Tenderizing Kombu

Before you start cooking, it’s good to know that some kombu can be hard to eat as it takes a long time to get tender. Here are my tips for making delicious, tender Kombu Tsukudani.

1. Choose the right type of kombu

If you plan to make kombu Tsukudani, it might be a good idea to pick the tender variety of kombu such as Hidaka Kombu. But sometimes you just have to use whatever kombu you have. Then try my next tip #2.

2. Add rice vinegar while simmering

In Japan, kombu is often cooked with a little bit of rice vinegar, which tenderizes the kombu. Don’t add too much though. You don’t want the Tsukudani to taste vinegary.

3. Refill water and cook until tender

If the kombu hasn’t turned tender after simmering for 20-25 minutes, add some water and continue to simmer until it gets to the right texture.

Final Thoughts…
  • Freeze Used Kombu: We don’t have to make Kombu Tsukudani right after you have used kombu. Freeze those used kombu pieces in a glass container and put away in the freezer until you have time or you have enough kombu to make Tsukudani.
  • Great Meal Prep Dish: Tsukudani is a wonderful side dish to add to your meal prep dish collection. It lasts for 2 weeks in the fridge and it’s perfect to go with simple steamed rice!
  • Add Some Kick: I recommend adding some chopped dried red chili pepper (赤唐辛子) to this dish. If you like it spicy, you can add two pieces, but one is good for our family, just enough to add some kick.

Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

Sign up for the free Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on FacebookPinterestYouTube, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

Kombu Tsukudani (Simmered Kombu)

Cooked in a sweet and savory sauce, Kombu Tsukudani (Simmered Kombu) is a delicious way to use up the leftover kombu. It makes a great side dish to accompany your ordinary steamed rice!

  • 2 oz used kombu (kelp) ((55 g, I used Hidaka Kombu from making dashi; See Notes))
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
Seasonings
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp sake
  • 1 Tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
  • 1 dried red chili pepper
  1. Gather all the ingredients.
  2. Cut the kombu into thin strips.
  3. Remove the seeds from the dried red chili pepper and cut the pepper into thin rounds.
  4. Transfer the kombu into a medium saucepan. Add water, mirin, and sake.

  5. Add rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and katsuobushi.
  6. Add the red chili pepper and bring the mixture to a boil.
  7. Cook on low heat until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 20-25 minutes. If kombu is still not tender, add water and continue to cook.
  8. Sprinkle sesame seeds and ready to serve.
To Store
  1. Keep the Tsukudani in the refrigerate and consume within 2 weeks.

Kombu: Hidaka Kombu is tender and easy to cook while Ma Kombu and Rishiri Kombu are thick and hard to cook. Check out the different types of kombu.

 

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.d link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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We’re hiring a Social Media Coordinator to join Join Just One CooKbook team. You will provide tactical and strategic support for our social media to ensure its growth and success. 

Position: Social Media Coordinator, Part Time

We’re looking for a Social Media Coordinator to join Just One Cookbook team. In this role, you will provide tactical and strategic support for our social media. You’ll partner with our Marketing Manager to scale and enhance our social media marketing. The ideal candidate excels in taking initiatives, follows digital media and trends, and thrives on a performance-driven team. This job can be 100% remote.

Your job requires:
  • Set and meet goals for social media growth
  • Research social media best practices and growth strategies and report important metrics.
  • Schedule contents to social media.

Compensation: dependent on the qualification of the applicant.

Hours: between 10-15 hours per week

About the ideal candidate:
  • have a good understanding of social media growth tactics.
  • has previous experience in managing brand social media accounts
  • writes native level English.
  • is a self-starter and is motivated.
  • are familiar with Japanese food and culture.
  • speaks/writes Japanese (optional).

To apply:

Please email us at jobs @ justonecookbook.com [no space] with your resume and a short description of yourself. If you have an Instagram account, please include in the description. We’ll be reviewing the applications over the next few weeks and will be in touch shortly.

Thank you so much for your time, and very much looking forward to hearing from you.

– Just One Cookbook Team

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