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


Bakuraba / baklava

This satisfies Tom's new habit of eating sweets without increasing sodium intake. But when I made these baklava earlier last year, he blamed me for him gaining weight, as I repeatedly experimented to figure out a good proportion of ingredients, especially erythritol (calorie- & net-carbs-free sugar substitute) so it does not re-crystallize when completely cool and does not trigger any noticeable cooling sensation in the mouth.

My original thought was, if I made 28 small pieces in one batch, they should last for 28 days or at least a few weeks. Making baklava from scratch is time consuming, but it would be not bad if each batch lasted that long ... So far I have been proven ridiculously wrong. Tom cannot stop reaching for more pieces. Although the recipe below is not heavily sweet, as with other sweets I make, it could be addictive. 

Whole recipe:
2,396 calories; 37.5 g protein; 175.1 g fat; 225.9 g carbohydrate; 165.9 g net carbs; 44 mg sodium; 158 mg cholesterol; 15.3 g fiber

1 piece (1/28 recipe):
86 calories; 1.3 g protein; 6.3 g fat; 8.1 g carbohydrate; 5.9 g net carbs; 1.6 mg sodium; 6 mg cholesterol; 0.5 g fiber


Ninjin no shirishiri / stir-fried shredded carrot with eggs

A tasty everyday dish from Okinawa that has been gaining popularity across Japan in recent years. Slowly sauteing carrots with a small amount of oil enhances the sweetness of the vegetable, and eggs add a gentle, rich taste. Among a number of variations, canned tuna is often mentioned as an addition. The recipe below features okara-konnyaku (soybean pulp yam cakes) to make the dish more filling as well as snow peas for color.

1/2 recipe:
115 calories; 6.1 g protein; 5.4 g fat; 11.2 g carbohydrate; 5.1 g net carbs; 128 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-soy sauce and shoyukoji made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce; 106 mg cholesterol; 6.1 g fiber


Satsumaimo to ebi no tai reddo karee / Thai red curry noodles with sweet potatoes and shrimp

Once ingredients are prepped or chopped, it takes less than 30 minutes to cook this tasty, warm and filling dish served with noodles of your choice. Shoyukoji soy sauce rice malt and kurozu brown rice vinegar work their magic yet again here to minimize the amount of nampla as well as sodium-loaded red curry paste.

1/2 recipe (curry only, noodles are excluded):
311 calories; 16.2 g protein; 14.7 g fat; 30.0 g carbohydrate; 24.3 g net carbs; 622 mg sodium (with shoyukoji made of 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 99 mg cholesterol; 5.7 g fiber


Horenso to kani, shiitake no shiraae / spinach, crab and shiitake in tofu dressing

A small handful of crabmeat is transformed into a pleasantly light yet complex side dish. Shiitake is slowly roasted to intensify its taste and aroma, while blanched spinach is flavored with a tiny amount of soy sauce and dashi to give just enough underlying taste to ensure its presence as part of the melody of flavors in creamy tofu dressing.

1/2 recipe:
78 calories; 10.3 g protein; 2.8 g fat; 3.8 g carbohydrate; 1.5 g net carbs; 180 mg sodium; 24 mg cholesterol; 2.3 g fiber

Shiraae dressing only (1/2 recipe):
33 calories; 2.3 g protein; 0.1 g fat; 2.5 g carbohydrate; 1.5 g net carbs; 75 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0.7 g fiber


Osechi New Year's Day meal, 2018

Our New Year's Day meal was smaller than in other years, yet consisted of all of our favorites.

People say that holiday seasons are uplifting. For me, it is the last week of December. The feverish mood at grocery stores and shopping arcades in Japan toward the end of the year is infectious. Both sellers and shoppers are in high spirits, all hoping for an auspicious start to the coming year. Here in the US, a somewhat similar ambiance is seen at Japanese grocery stores that often carry better quality ingredients and special items for the New Year's Day celebration.