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Makiko Itoh

Makiko Itoh writes the Japanese Kitchen column and is the owner of two popular blogs about Japanese cooking: JustHungry.com and JustBento.com. She’s the author of “The Just Bento Cookbook,” now in its 6th printing.

For Makiko Itoh's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

A short history of Japan's long noodles

| Jun 19, 2015

A short history of Japan's long noodles

Soba, udon and ramen noodles are all well-known outside of Japan, but sōmen — the thin, white wheat noodles that are similar to Italian angel hair pasta — is not as famous. Yet these delicate noodles are very versatile, since they can be served ...

Nanban dishes are fit for a barbarian

| May 15, 2015

Nanban dishes are fit for a barbarian

The first Europeans on Japanese soil were the Portuguese — a handful of passengers on a Chinese ship that got blown off course and washed ashore on Tanegashima, an island off the coast of current-day Kagoshima Prefecture in southern Kyushu, in 1543. For almost ...

Sake: Best drink for 'washoku'

| Jan 21, 2015

Sake: Best drink for 'washoku'

What are good alcoholic beverages to enjoy with “washoku,” traditional Japanese cuisine? While beer, shochu and even whisky and wine are popular choices, the best match by far is sake, the national beverage of Japan. After all, washoku has been developed over many centuries ...

Ring in the new year with refinement

| Dec 16, 2014

Ring in the new year with refinement

The quintessential washoku, or traditional Japanese cuisine dish, is nimono — vegetables and other ingredients simmered in a broth of dashi stock, sake, mirin, sugar and soy sauce or miso. Nimono can be made in advance and served warm or cold, saving the cook ...

Warm up over a shared hot pot

| Nov 18, 2014

Warm up over a shared hot pot

What comes to mind when you think of convivial home-cooked family meals? In Japan, the answer is usually nabe, or hot-pot cooking. A large communal pot is placed in the center of the dinner table on a portable burner, bubbling with a flavorful broth, ...