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 Makiko Itoh

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Makiko Itoh
Makiko Itoh writes the Japanese Kitchen column, and is the author of the bestselling "The Just Bento Cookbook" and its sequel, "The Just Bento Cookbook 2." A Tokyo native, she runs two Japanese cooking blogs, JustHungry.com and JustBento.com.
Making your own sarada chikin is quite easy and economical, and a marinating ingredient that makes it especially tender and juicy is "shiokōji" — cooked rice inoculated with Aspergillus oryzae mold.
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Apr 26, 2024
Recipe: Japan’s diet-friendly ‘salad chicken’
You can add whatever herbs or seasonings you like to the marinade for a personalized, healthy dish.
The best way to eat spring cabbage is to either treat it like a quick pickle by rubbing the leaves with salt and leaving them to ferment for a brief time, or by cooking it quickly so that the leaves turn even softer.
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Mar 17, 2024
Recipe: Spring cabbage has sprung
Although spring cabbage is tender, it isn't suited to Japan’s traditional method of eating the vegetable raw.
This simple bento recipe is perfect for meal prepping, school lunches and any other meal where you want maximum flavor for minimum effort.
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Feb 25, 2024
Recipe: 'Rainbow' bento lunch box
The idea of making a bento every day can seem daunting, but there are a few tricks that you can add to your arsenal that will make the task go smoothly.
'Menchi katsu' are actually made with as much chopped vegetables as ground meat, so it’s a sneaky way to get some veggies into your childrens' diets.
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Feb 4, 2024
Recipe: Deep-fried minced meat cutlets
These days, 'menchi katsu' have been become popular as a "B-class gourmet" item — something that is inexpensive but tasty.
The recipe combines daikon with pork belly for a traditional style simmered dish with a twist.
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Jan 21, 2024
Recipe: Simmered radish with pork
More than 100 varieties of daikon were once grown around Japan, but now only 10 dominate the market.
This savory-sweet cake can be made with either fish paste or shrimp — whichever you think will best guide you into 2024.
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Dec 17, 2023
Recipe: Good luck egg and fish rolls
The trickiest part of making “datemaki” is rolling it up — the rolled form is supposed to resemble a paper scroll, representing wishes for the new year.
This stir-fry is a staple of many Japanese meals, and the techniques used to make are also commonly used throughout traditional cuisine.
LIFE / Food & Drink
Nov 5, 2023
Recipe: Carrot and burdock root stir-fry
When selecting "gobō," choose ones that are straight and relatively thin — the thicker, the older.
This sweet and salty dish owes much to both early modern merchants and 20th century Tokyo University students.
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Oct 22, 2023
Recipe: Deep-fried sweet (and salty) potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an iconic Japanese treat. Originally from Central America, they came through China in the 17th century to southern Kyushu.
Get a taste of Hokkaido’s playfully named chan-chan yaki — or griddle-cooked salmon.
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Sep 11, 2023
Recipe: Hokkaido-style griddle-cooked salmon
This dish reflects a combination of Ainu food traditions from Hokkaido.
Almost every household in Yamagata has their own recipe for this dish of sliced and lightly sauced vegetables.
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Aug 6, 2023
Recipe: Yamagata’s famous summer veggie relish
Unlike in most of Japan, in Yamagata Prefecture, “dashi” can refer to this dish of finely chopped summer vegetables and herbs.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Jul 2, 2023
Recipe: Chilled lime soba
A common saying among Japanese noodle lovers goes: “Udon in the west, soba in the east.”
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Jun 18, 2023
Recipe: Fresh vegetable kakiage fritters
Deep frying fresh vegetables like these is not as popular when they're in season, but it’s still one of the easiest ways to bring out the sweetness and crunch of veggies.
Japan Times
Special Supplements / Hiroshima G7 Summit Special
May 19, 2023
From surf ’n’ turf to sweets, Hiroshima a foodie’s oyster
Situated on the western tip of Honshu between the Sea of Japan and the Seto Inland Sea, the climate of Hiroshima Prefecture is one of contrasts, with a northern side chilled by cold currents and a southern side that stays mild and warm. The mountainous areas see snow and the coastal areas can get plenty...
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
May 3, 2023
Recipe: ‘Carp’ sushi bento
Perfect for Children's Day, this colorful meal is easier to put together than the final result might suggest.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Mar 12, 2023
Recipe: Botamochi sweets to welcome spring
Spring is just about to ... well ... spring, and these sweet adzuki treats are traditional equinox bites.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Feb 19, 2023
Recipe: Crab cream croquettes
Try your hand at making some deep-fried, deep sea delights.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Jan 8, 2023
Recipe: Sumo hot pot
It's said chicken makes for a perfect chanko nabe since the animal usually stands tall on its two feet.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Dec 11, 2022
Recipe: Kakiage soba
Casting about for the perfect Japanese meal to close out this year and ring in the next? Look no further.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Nov 6, 2022
Recipe: Simmered kabocha
In honor of all the jack-o-lanterns headed for the trash heap this week, turn some kabocha in to a subtly sweet treat.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / JAPANESE KITCHEN
Oct 9, 2022
Recipe: Kyoto-style rice bowl
Dating back to the 19th century, oyakodon rice bowls taste far better than their slightly macabre name might suggest.

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