How do I maintain my teapot and matcha bowl?

Cleaning a Japanese teapot

Cleaning a Japanese teapot is easy. Fill it halfway with clean water, then shake the pot gently back and forth to get the leaves off the net. Then rinse with clean water. You only need to use dish soap about once in every 10 times you wash the teapot.

Teapot screen cleaning

Matcha bowl- a little matcha powder will cling to the bottom of your bowl so wash with the dish soap of your choice. Then rinse it thoroughly with purified water.

White Matcha Bowl

matcha whisking

To clean the whisk fill a bowl half-full of clean water and rotate the whisk. Or rotate it under the tap. Then rinse it gently with clean water.

After several uses, the bamboo will become stained green. This is normal, the whisk is still good. If you use a whisk twice a day, every day, your whisk should last 2 to 3 months.

Matcha Whisk

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Cold Brewing Japanese Green Tea

Cold brewing Japanese green tea start

Cold brewed green tea is slightly sweeter than iced green tea.

This brewing technique takes a little time. It provides a wonderful cold green tea and is suitable for the highest grade gyokuro and sencha.

It is not necessary to use a special teapot for preparation. A glass container will work just fine.

Use a ratio of one to two tablespoons of tea leaves per liter of water.
Place the tea leaves in the bottom of a large teapot or container.

Add water, cover the container, and place it in the refrigerator to steep. Let it steep in the refrigerator for about three hours.

Give the pot a gentle horizontal swirl or a stir before you drink it, since leaves may settle at the bottom during brewing.

Cold brewing Japanese green tea add leaves

cold brewing Japanese green tea steep

Cold Brewing Japanese Green Tea (Iced Method)

Cover tea leaves with quality ice from purified water. Let the tea melt at room temperature. It takes about 30 minutes to one hour.

cold brewing Japanese green tea add ice

Pour into a teacup or glass over ice. Enjoy a cold and delicious serving of green tea!

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Grated Mountain Yam (Tororo) – Two Ways

Hero shot of Grated Mountain Yam on Tuna in a bowl.

Grated Mountain Yam is a quick and delicious side dish made simply by grating a mountain yam and pouring it over an ingredient. Mountain yam is a long, slender root vegetable and when grated, it turns into something quite unexpected and unique, with a very sticky and slimy texture.

I recently posted a recipe, Sautéed Mountain Yam, in which I explained a little bit about the mountain yam varieties that Japanese people often use. You can use any of those three mountain yam varieties to make Grated Mountain Yam.

I decided to post yet another mountain yam recipe shortly after Sautéed Mountain Yam so that you can enjoy a few different dishes using mountain yam before the season is over in Australia.

Grated Mountain Yam is generically called ‘tororo‘ (とろろ) in Japanese. The word ‘tororo’ (とろろ) came from the texture of the grated yam.


Japanese people are very good at expressing sound, appearance, and texture using repeated sounds or words. It is called onomatopoeia in English. But in the case of Japanese onomatopoeia, it often uses the same sounds/words twice, which is a bit different from the English onomatopoeia. Repeated words/sounds are usually written in Katakana.

For example, ‘ting-a-ling’ or ‘jingle’ are the words for expressing the sound of a gentle bell in English. But in Japanese, it is ‘rinrin’ (リンリン or りんりん). The state of glittering is expressed as ‘giragira’ (ギラギラ or ぎらぎら) or ‘kirakira’ (キラキラ or きらきら) depending on how strongly the object is shining and sparkling. The strong sun shine in summer is ‘giragira’, and the shining stars are ‘kirakira’.

Showing sticky and slimy tororo.

Grated Mountain Yam is sticky and slimy.

When something is sticky and/or slimy, people express it as ‘torotoro’ (トロトロ …continue reading


Japanese chef shows how to turn leftover mochi into perfect castella pancakes


Often enjoyed at chic cafes, “perfect” fluffy Japanese soufflé pancakes are actually pretty easy to make at home once you learn how to switch up some ingredients.

There’s more than one way to fluff up your pancakes, however. Popular chef Mugi Rice (@HG7654321) often shares helpful and easy cooking tips to level up people’s kitchen skills, whether it be gourmet tofu recipes or making game-changing tempura sauce.

Earlier this year, Mugi Rice decided to show how turn leftover mochi (since it’s a popular New Year’s treat, many Japanese families have leftover batches at the beginning of the year) into delicious castella pancakes.

First, dice block of mochi into small fine pieces and add to the pancake mix.

Source: @HG7654321

Then pour the batter into a pan heated over very low heat, cover it and let sit for 15 minutes.

Source: @HG7654321
Source: @HG7654321

Turn over, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes, then it’s done!

Source: @HG7654321
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Japanese airport’s international gourmet vending machines has netizens clamoring for them everywhere


Vending machines in Japan are known for conveniently being just around every corner, but they might as well be known for carrying just about everything as well. While standard beverages go without saying, recent years have seen vending machines in the country dishing out drinkable ramen broth, pizza, and even fancy French gourmet meals.

Twitter user Hirotaka (@tabi_gari) recently stumbled upon a vending machine in a surprising place that has many clamoring for it to be installed throughout the country. While visiting Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Hirotaka found a vending machine that dispenses international airline cuisine!

Source: @tabi_gari
Source: @tabi_gari
Source: @tabi_gari

While at Haneda airport, I went to check out the “in-flight meals of the world” vending machines that launched this month. You can get a total of five different meals for 980 a person, including Coq Au Vin from France, Paella from Spain, and Gapao rice from Thailand. It’d be great if you could warm it up right there and eat in the airport. Then you could feel international even on domestic flights.


— Hirotaka (@tabi_gari) June 7, 2022

To the surprise of many on Twitter, Haneda Airport has a specific vending machine that dishes out international themed airline food. While airline food may not top many Michelin lists, something about the novelty of gourmet options from different international flights such as Coq Au Vin (France), Paella (Spain), Gapao rice (Thailand), Massaman curry (Thailand), shrimp with yuzu black pepper and cream sauce (USA and Japan) being available in a vending machine to take home has gotten a very positive response.

The vending …continue reading


Instant noodles “modified recipe” becomes a hot topic in Japan; Just add ingredients and boil?

  • “I really want to make this”
  • “It looks soooo good!”
  • “I’m hungry and I want to eat this now!”

Japanese chef and Twitter user 麦ライス Mugi Raisu (@HG7654321) received enthusiastic comments such as these after posting a noodle recipe.

The recipe uses “Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen,” a long-selling Japanese instant noodle product made by Sanyo Foods Co. and available in North America, Hong Kong, and other countries around the world.

Mugi Raisu says, “I made Sesame Soymilk Dandan Noodles with Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen and it tasted like a specialty restaurant!”

Recipe for Sesame Soymilk Dandan Noodles


  • 1 package of Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen
  • 300 ml soymilk
  • 2 tablespoons sesame paste (Chinese or Japanese made with roasted sesame, not Tahini)
  • 2/3 teaspoon Sichuan bean paste (dòubànjiàng)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • A pinch of Chinese hot chili oil (or Japanese rāyu)

First, bring 300 ml of water to a boil in a pot and boil “Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen” noodles for 2 minutes.

Image reproduced with permission from 麦ライス Mugi Raisu (@HG7654321)

Then add the included broth powder, soymilk, sesame paste, Sichuan bean paste, sugar, and hot chili oil, bring to a boil, and voila!

Image reproduced with permission from 麦ライス Mugi Raisu (@HG7654321)

All you have to do is add seasonings and bring it to a boil again, so anyone can easily enjoy this recipe for a modified version of Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen. It also happens to be vegan as well!

You can add bok choy, soft-boiled eggs (marinated in seasonings for a Japanese nitamago), or thinly sliced green onion as toppings to make it more satisfying.

If you’re interested, why not give it a try?

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Japanese Tea is Special

Steamed Japanese green tea

Japanese freshly-harvested leaves are dried naturally, and then kneaded and rolled into various shapes until they are completely dry. Leaves for matcha are ground into a fine powder.

Processing this way stops fresh leaves from oxidation and fermentation. Most Chinese green teas are pan-fried.

Japanese green tea is not pan fried. It is steamed to prevent oxidation

This is an efficient method for preventing the oxidation of flavonoids and polyphenols that gives Japanese green tea its unique flavor and health-enhancing properties.

Japan originated shading their plants to make gyokuro

Gyokuro leaves

Matcha comes from specially handled gyokuro leaves (tencha).

Matcha in bowl
Ceremonial grade matcha

More on gyokuro and matcha.

Japanese and Chinese Green Tea Differences

China is the world’s largest exporter of green tea by far. Most of the green tea you see in shops and dining establishments comes from China.

Japanese and Chinese green teas both come from the same Camellia Sinensis plant which is native to Asia.

Japanese green tea has a crisper and slightly sweeter taste due to the absence of fermentation.

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Garlic Chives and Egg Stir-fry with Bean Sprouts

Hero shot of Garlic Chives and Egg Stir-fry with Bean Sprouts.

The garlic chives in my backyard are overgrown so I decided to cook Garlic Chives and Egg Stir-fry with Bean Sprouts. It is a quick and easy dish, stir-frying garlic chives, bean sprouts and eggs for no more than a few minutes. The flavour is just soy sauce and salt with a couple of pinches of black pepper.

Garlic Chives and Egg Stir-fry originated from China. The original recipe consists of only garlic chives and eggs, but my version includes bean sprouts to it. It is an extremely simple dish and takes only 10 minutes to make!

Two Versions of Garlic Chives and Egg Stir-fry

The original dish without bean sprouts is called 韭菜炒蛋 (jiǔcài chǎo dàn) in Chinese, which means scrambled egg with garlic chives. But in Japan, it is called ‘niratama‘ (ニラ玉). ‘Nira‘ (ニラ) is garlic chives and ‘tama‘ (玉) comes from the word ‘tamago‘ (玉子), which means egg.

Niratama is known to be a stamina-boosting food due to the abundance of nutrients in the dish. Garlic chives contains Vitamin B1, B2, and iron to help your body recover from fatigue. It also contains nutrients to improve immunity. The protein from the eggs also helps build your body.

Zoomed-in photo of Garlic Chives and Egg Stir-fry with Bean Sprouts.

There are two methods of making niratama.

  1. Scrambled egg method – in this method, egg is firstly cooked like a scrambled egg, leaving large chunks, then mixed into the stir-fried garlic chives strips.
  2. Omelette method – garlic chives are chopped into small pieces and mixed with beaten eggs. Cook it the way you make a large pancake.

I think that method 1 is more common judging from the images I can find on the web. My cooking method is also the scrambled …continue reading