All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Lunch bento, September 22, 2017

We had a day off due to a sudden job cancellation, and since nice sunny weather was expected, we decided to go up the road to the top of Blue Mountain in the Olympic National Park.

  • Onigiri / rice balls
  • Menuke no yuan-yaki / grilled yuan-sauce marinated rock cod
  • Tamagoyaki / plain omelette
  • Kyabetsu to hakusai no okaka-ae / steamed cabbage and napa cabbage mixed with bonito flakes
  • Shishito no sotee / sauteed Japanese peppers
  • Konnyaku no itameni / braised konnyaku yam cakes
  • Satoimo no nikkorogashi / baby taro root in broth
  • Kabu to usuage no nimono / Japanese turnip and thin deep-fried tofu in broth
  • Murasaki tamanegi no amazuzuke / red onion in sweetened vinegar


Satsumaimo no taruto / sweet potato tart

A very easy and delicious tart with satsumaimo sweet potato. One of our favorites for fall, it tastes like a rich sweet potato pudding.

Whole tart:
1,114 calories; 12.6 g protein; 66.4 g fat; 96.2 g carbohydrate; 80.7 g net carbs; 47 mg sodium; 131 mg cholesterol; 10.0 g fiber

1/8 slice:
139 calories; 1.6 g protein; 8.3 g fat; 12.0 g carbohydrate; 10.1 g net carbs; 6 mg sodium; 16 mg cholesterol; 1.3 g fiber


Guriin oriibu no chuuka-aji / Chinese-flavored green olives

An experiment on simultaneous desalination and flavoring with a Chinese taste. Instead of adding salt to water to draw out the excess sodium of olives, I used shaoxing wine along with a couple of Chinese spices. As hoped, finished olives have very mild saltiness while imparting soft spiciness from Sichuan peppercorns and deep aroma of star anise. They work great as a Chinese pickle substitute.


Tosho chaamen / dao xiao chao mian / fried hand-shaven noodles

A cheater version of hand-shaven noodles made with a peeler, and stir fried with an assortment of goodies. Noodle dough is basically the same as teuchi udon handmade wheat noodles but uses less water, which makes the dough prep a bit more time consuming (dry and wet ingredients need to rest together longer before kneading). Less water in turn ensures easy shaving and cooking at the end. While any goodie works great in this noodle dish, dried shiitake mushrooms with their deep flavor and aroma function like underlying seasoning to bind everything together. Very tasty and satisfying.

1/2 recipe: 
596 calories; 26.6 g protein; 15.0 g fat; 85.8 g carbohydrate; 73.1 g net carbs; 595 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce and shoyukoji made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 226 mg cholesterol; 6.1 g fiber


Somen no tsuketsuyu, goma-aji / sesame-flavored dipping sauce for thin wheat noodles

Ground toasted sesame seeds and chili bean sauce make this somen noodle dipping sauce taste richer and more satisfying. Great cold or hot.

1/4 of recipe (dipping sauce only):
54 calories; 2.2 g protein; 3.0 g fat; 3.4 g carbohydrate; 2.4 g net carbs; 228 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce and shoyukoji made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 0 mg cholesterol; 0.7 g fiber

1/3 of recipe (dipping sauce only):
72 calories; 2.9 g protein; 4.0 g fat; 4.5 g carbohydrate; 3.6 g net carbs; 304 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce and shoyukoji made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 0 mg cholesterol; 0.9 g fiber

Whole recipe (dipping sauce only):
216 calories; 8.7 g protein; 11.9 g fat; 13.5 g carbohydrate; 10.7 g net carbs; 913 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce and shoyukoji made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 0 mg cholesterol; 2.8 g fiber


Momo daifuku / soft rice cake with peach and sweetened bean paste

A fruity rice cake with a juicy filling. Pickled ginger added to the bean paste accentuates the sweetness of fresh peach. Best chilled on Day 1. Tom's current favorite (after learning that "momo" meant the fruit, not our cat, which happens to be named "Momo").

One daifuku cake (1/4 of recipe):
111 calories; 2.2 g protein; 0.1 g fat; 27.7 g carbohydrate; 25.9 g net carbs; 4 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.8 g fiber


Benishoga / red pickled ginger

Unlike the bright red of store-bought pickled ginger, benishoga takes on a pinkish hue when made at home in the traditional way. It is as easy as getting rid of the excess moisture of ginger by salting or drying it, and marinating in brine produced by plums during the umeboshi-making process.

Below, shinshoga [new crop ginger] is sun-dried and soaked in the brine of anzuboshi pickled apricots. The finished benishoga offers a combination of flavors: softly salty, sharp, spicy and even fruity.

Whole recipe (56 g solids)
27 calories; 0.8 g protein; 0.3 g fat; 5.9 g carbohydrate; 4.0 g net carbs; 231 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.9 g fiber