FOOD

Konbu Cha Pickled Vegetables

Hero shot of Konbu Cha Pickled Vegetables served in a bowl.

Today’s dish, Konbu Cha Pickled Vegetables is super easy and quick to make. You only need to pickle the vegetables for 30 minutes and the preparation takes just 5 minutes. It is lightly salted and full of umami.

I have already posted a recipe, Simple Pickled Celery, which is also a very easy recipe using just salt to pickle. Today’s recipe uses Konbu Cha as a pickling agent.

Konbu Cha vs Kombucha

These two words mean completely different things even if they sound exactly the same.

Konbu Cha refers to a kelp tea and Japanese people call it ‘konbucha‘ (昆布茶) – well, the same as the English sound. The word ‘konbu’ (昆布) means kelp and ‘cha‘ (茶) means tea. On the other hand, Kombucha is ‘kōcha kinoko‘ (紅茶キノコ) in Japanese, which translates to tea mushroom.

Konbu Cha (昆布茶)

Konbu Cha is a Japanese beverage, like green tea, which is made from powdered dried kelp. It often contains salt to give it more flavour and some of them might even contain tiny pieces of kelp or rice crackers. The delicious flavour of Konbu Cha comes from the umami and saltiness.

Konbucha pack, powder inside the sachet, and Konbu Cha (tea).

Konbu Cha already existed in the Edo period (1603-1863). At the time, it was made by adding boiling water to a tea cup with finely chopped konbu in it. After drinking the konbu-flavoured water, the konbu pieces were eaten.

The modern, powdered version of Konbu Cha has over 100 years of history. It appeared in 1918 during the Taisho period. The founder of the Japanese tea company, Gyokuroen, invented it. He looked at the traditional way of drinking Konbu Cha and thought that it could be consumed by more people (just like tea and …continue reading

    

8 Delicious Japanese Mushrooms And Why You Should Eat Them More (Health Benefits)

Japanese Mushrooms - Shiitake 2

Japanese Mushrooms – The Japanese diet is synonymous around the world as being wholesome, healthy, and delicious. People are often trying to figure out what it is about the diet that allows the Japanese to eat such tasty foods and yet remain mostly trim.

Their secret? A wide variety of foods that make up a super balanced diet. You’ve probably heard of the phrase “everything in moderation”, but whilst most people may find it hard to stick by, it’s ingrained in the Japanese way of life from the day you are born.

The people of Japan have long praised the health benefits of such goods as matcha, tofu, and miso. What many people don’t realise is that the reason why they always seem to enjoy their foods is in large part because of the variety of mushrooms they incorporate into their diet!

Mushrooms have long been a global source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Not only that, but the varying types of mushrooms that exist means that there’s literally a type of mushroom for every occasion.

The health benefits of mushrooms have proven that they are just as nutritional as they are delicious, possibly even more so!

Honestly, we don’t know anyone who doesn’t love mushrooms, and this article is just to make sure you know that there are way more varieties than you can imagine!

Read on as we detail 8 of the most delicious Japanese mushrooms and why you should eat them.

1. Shiitake Mushrooms

Japanese Mushrooms - Shiitake 1

Encompassing an abundance of flavour and nutritional value, the shiitake mushroom is without a doubt the most famous Japanese mushroom. Usually found in Japanese soups and hotpots, tempura batters, and grills, the …continue reading

    

The Best Cafes in Yokohama

Along with Tokyo, Yokohama is home to a great number of lovely cafes that offer a range of food options as well as a delicious drinks. Yokohama’s cafe culture is a fusion of international influences that came to the charming city because of the international port. When Japan opened up for international trade again, Yokohama became one of the main ports of entry for the international trade and one of the import is is coffee. When you walk around in Yokohama, you can feel the international vibe and spot trendy, cute cafe’s everywhere. Some of them are also conveniently located near famous tourist attractions like Yokohama Chinatown, Aka-renga, and Minato […] …continue reading

    

Wafū Mushroom Pasta (Japanese-style Mushroom Pasta)

Hero shot of Wafū Mushroom Pasta.

Wafū Mushroom Pasta is not made with a cream or a tomato sauce. Its flavour comes from plenty of Asian mushrooms with a bit of bacon, soy sauce and mirin. Chopped green onions and thin strips of nori (roasted seaweed) scattered on the pasta make this pasta even more authentic.

This is a mouth-watering Japanese-style (wafū) pasta dish. Like me when I first made it, you may not be able to stop eating it. I cooked for two servings as per the recipe card and I was meant to have only a small amount of Wafū Mushroom Pasta to taste it. But I couldn’t stop eating it.

Wafū Pasta Flavouring

Since Italian pasta was introduced to Japan during the Edo period, numerous pasta dishes were introduced. At the time, most pasta dishes were Western-style pasta dishes. The only pasta dish invented by Japanese people when the pasta became one of the mainstream Western-style dishes post WWII, was Spaghetti Napolitan (Japanese Ketchup Pasta) like this.

In the early 1960s, a pasta restaurant in Tokyo introduced various pasta dishes with Japanese flavouring using soy sauce, mirin and other typical Japanese seasonings. Some of them also had traditional or unique Japanese food items such as tarako (たらこ, salt cod/pollock roe) and natto (納豆, fermented soybeans) with takuan (沢庵, pickled daikon).

To call pasta ‘wafū‘, the flavouring has to be made of Japanese seasonings. Many of them do use soy sauce and today’s recipe, Wafū Mushroom Pasta, is no exception. In addition to the soy sauce and mirin that I used today, dashi stock powder, cooking sake and sesame oil are the ingredients often used to make a wafū flavour.

It is quite surprising …continue reading

    

How much caffeine is in green tea & matcha?

shop for green tea

Not all green tea is the same- it comes in many varieties, including matcha, sencha, and gyokuro. The precise amount of caffeine in green tea will depend on the type of tea and how it’s brewed.


The most common type of green tea (sencha) has a moderate amount of caffeine.

Green tea has less caffeine than coffee

Many recent studies have focused on caffeine from 8 ounces (237 ml.) cups of green tea and coffee.

The amount of caffeine in coffee varies depends on the type of beans, how they are roasted, and the method of brewing.

An 8-ounce cup of brewed loose-leaf green tea contains between 25 and 40 mg of caffeine.

An eight-ounce cup of coffee has considerably more- somewhere between 70 and 140 mg of caffeine depending on potency. Espresso coffee is more potent and contains more.

match caffeine content
Matcha contains more caffeine than brewed green tea

When you drink matcha you consume the leaves. Matcha is also more concentrated so it contains more caffeine (by volume) than other green teas.

The servings are usually smaller, though. A bowl of Ceremonial-grade matcha is prepared with about 4-6 ounces of water and it contains more caffeine than a cup of brewed tea.

How much more? A bowl of matcha contains about 60-80 mg. of caffeine. Like coffee, the precise amount depends on potency.

matcha and gyokuro

Japanese green tea and matcha contain L-theanine

L-theanine is a healthy amino acid that works in synergy with caffeine.

For more information on L-theanine please click here.

L-theanine and caffeine give you a boost while also producing a state of relaxed awareness.

President Japanese Green Tea Online

Larry O’Connor is the President and founder of Japanese Green Tea Online.

…continue reading

    

Hōtō Noodle Soup (Hōtō Nabe)

Hero shot of Hōtō Noodle Soup in a single serve clay pot.

Hōtō Noodle Soup (Hōtō Nabe) is a noodle soup dish with flat noodles, pumpkin, and other vegetables. They are cooked in a miso-flavoured broth. It is a perfect dish on a cold day (it’s winter here in Australia), but I don’t mind eating it in summer too. It’s almost a big bowl of miso soup full of ingredients.

Hōtō Noodle Soup (Hōtō Nabe) is known as Yamanashi prefecture’s most famous local cuisine. It is so famous that, if Japanese people think of Yamanashi prefecture they will think of Hōtō. In Yamanashi, particularly the northern side of Mt. Fuji, you will find many noodle restaurants that specialise in Hōtō.

There are variations to the ingredients, but a particular kind of flat noodle is the ‘must have’ ingredient for this dish, otherwise it won’t be called Hōtō.

About Hōtō

Hōtō is the traditional name of this dish but many people in Japan call it Hōtō Nabe (ほうとう鍋, Hōtō Hot Pot), even though the dish can also be classified as a noodle soup.

This is understandable because the dish contains noodles in a broth (which makes it a noodle soup), and many different ingredients are cooked in a pot (which makes it a hot pot). In addition to this, the dish is often served in an iron pot with handles or a clay pot.

Zoomed-in photo of scooping some noodles and pumpkin piece in a small spoon.

The noodles look almost identical to flat udon noodles, and they are also made with flour. But Hōtō noodles do not contain salt and more importantly, how you cook the noodles is very different.

As soon as the noodles are made, you cook them in the broth while the noodles are still soft and coated in flour. The surface …continue reading

    

Which green tea is best for you?

Matcha

Sencha, gyokuro, and matcha all vary greatly in quality. Even within first-harvest teas there are different grades of tea.

Japanese Green Tea Online only markets fresh first-harvest teas of the highest quality.

The Choice is Yours

Here are the types of Japanese green tea.

Gyokuro

Netto Gyokuro: High grade gyokuro from Uji. This tea has a wonderful naturally sweet aroma and a crisp gyokuro taste.Uji Tezumi Gyokuro: The highest quality gyokuro from Uji. This tea is slightly sweeter than Netto Gyokuro and is among the finest gyokuro teas in Japan,

Sencha

Netto Sencha: A paler infusion than Fukamushi cha and has a clean, slightly astringent taste. A delicious tea with meals.

Fukamushi Sencha: 100% certified organic sencha. It brews to a consistency like matcha but sweeter. This tea has a delicious, natural taste. Fukamushicha is famous for its rich emerald color.

Matcha

Healthy and invigorating. Matcha is high quality gyokuro that has been ground to a very fine powder. This tea is whipped to a bright green froth. For connoisseurs our Houn no Uji matcha is of the highest quality.

Fresh Japanese Green Tea

Shipped to you directly from Japan!

Also:

Genmaicha: The combination of quality sencha, puffed brown rice (genmai) and a bit of matcha give this tea a delightful toasted barley taste and a rich green color. Genmai cha has a very low caffeine content.

Teabags: Our teabags are user-friendly and contain fresh, high quality green tea. Great for the office and traveling.

Shincha: Shincha is freshly harvested sencha leaves. Aromatic and delicious. Only available in late spring and early summer.

Japanese Green Tea Online buys teas from several tea growers in Uji and Southern Japan. We sampled many teas before we selected the teas you will find in our online shop.

This commitment extends to all of our teas. Even genmaicha, a …continue reading

    

Simmered Sardines with Pickled Plum (Ume-ni)

HEro shot of Simmered Sardines with Pickled Plum.

Simmered Sardines with Pickled Plum is the dish that lets you eat the entire body of the sardine including the bones. The umeboshi (pickled plum), sake, and ginger in the simmering sauce eliminates the strong fishy smell of the sardines. They also make the bones so tender that you can eat them.

Looking at all the images of sardine dishes on the internet, it seems that Simmered Sardines is a unique way of cooking sardines. Most sardine recipes are either grilled, fried, or roasted. And of course, some recipes use canned sardines.

Today’s recipe, Simmered Sardines with Pickled Plum, is a typical Japanese home-cooking recipe. The dish goes so well with rice, but I think that it can also be a great appetiser with Japanese sake or other drinks.

Sardines used to be extremely cheap in Sydney. About 40 years ago, sardines were $1-2 per kilo. Aussies perhaps used sardines only as fishing bait. Now, the price has gone up to over $10, although they are still cheaper than most fish. And they are good for you.

About Ume-ni

When you simmer fish, meat or vegetables in a broth/sauce with umeboshi (梅干し, pickled plum), the dish is called ‘ume-ni‘ (梅煮). It translates to ‘simmered with plum’, but in this case the plum means pickled plum, i.e. umeboshi.

Pickled plums in a pack as well as a pickled plum on a plate.

There are many different kinds of umeboshi, and I talked about them in my post Daikon Salad with Pickled Plum Dressing. In the case of ume-ni, you need to use large, brown, soft umeboshi, like the on in the above photo.

The sourness of umeboshi can vary and some soft umeboshi might even come with other seasonings such as bonito …continue reading

    

Cold Brewing Japanese Green Tea

Cold brewing Japanese green tea start

To make tea with this method, 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.

When your tea is ready, give the finished pot a gentle 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. It takes about 30 minutes to one hour.

cold brewing Japanese green tea add ice

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

…continue reading

    

How To Cook Rice The Japanese Way

How_to_Cook_Rice_4

This post – How to Cook Rice The Japanese Way – is all about the Japanese way of cooking rice. Preparing rice is one of the fundamentals of Japanese cooking. It is not boiled like pasta, it is cooked using the so-called absorption method. But there are more secrets to it.

I have included methods not only for cooking rice in a saucepan but also using a rice cooker in this post.

In Japanese culture, cooking rice (okome, お米) is almost an art. At home appliance stores in Japan, you will find so many different types of electric rice cookers on display.

About Rice in Japanese Cooking

Rice is one of the most important staple foods for Japanese people. People have a favourite brand of rice grain, and they strive to cook the best rice possible. Hence, most Japanese people have an electric rice cooker that will deliver consistent results.

Japanese rice is a short grain white rice that is fluffy and slightly sticky. Unlike long grain rice, including Basmati rice and jasmine rice, Japanese rice grains stick to each other when cooked. This is quite important because you can easily pick up a mouthful of rice with chopsticks.

Rice grains in a wooden measuring cup.

The brand of rice grain is also a critical factor. There are so many different brands from all over Japan as well as overseas and competition is fierce. Japanese farmers put a lot of effort into the pursuit of producing the best rice grain.

The high quality of rice however also means a high price. But many Japanese people say that they are happy to pay a lot for good rice, even if they have to buy cheaper side dishes to go with it.

…continue reading