One way to stay healthy is to maintain a balanced diet. Natto and umeboshi might be polarizing ingredients, but there's no denying their health benefits, especially when combined in this easy, punchy pasta.
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 11th printing.
For Makiko Itoh's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Gyōza are fun, easy-to-make and absolutely delicious
Who says cheese isn't good for you? This hot pot has three gut-friendly fermented foods that make it a hearty, warming family favorite.
For centuries, mochi rice cakes have been a part of festive occasions in Japan, especially during the new year holidays. A hearty zōni soup is one classic way to incorporate mochi into your new year meal.
Move over complicated bentos: Japanese recipes in the 2010s are all about making cozy, unfussy food that looks good online.
Lotus root may be fairly bland on its own, but adding a mustard-miso filling gives it a pop of flavor — and maybe some additional health benefits, too.
Tenshinhan — a crabmeat-filled omelette over rice covered in a sweet-and-savory sauce — is a flavorful Chinese-influenced Japanese dish that will soon become a weeknight staple.
Natsubate, the fatigue and lethargy you feel during the summer months, can seriously affect your energy levels. But eating the right food, such as this easy-to-make ginger pork, can help keep you feeling energized.
This perfectly spicy soup curry is packed with healthy vegetables in a light, flavorful broth for an easily customizable, quick and easy meal.
A surprisingly difficult dish to master, omurice (rice omelette) is a beloved — and tasty — dish of the yōshoku (European-style Japanese cuisine) canon.