にわ My Japanese garden

This year I decided to start my own Japanese garden so I wouldn’t have to go all the way to the Asian market to get some of my favorite produce. I ordered the seeds from Kitazawa Seed company based in California. Here’s the progress of my plants.

This is shiso. I believe it’s part of the mint family.


This is mitsuba. It reminds a little bit of parsley.


This is azuki beans. No beans yet but they are growing nicely. I can’t wait to make anmitsu!


I also planted burdock and Japanese turnips. The turnip leaves look good, I just hope the root turns out. The burdock on the other hand might not turn out so well. I’ll see in late August when it’s time to harvest!


ラーメン Rai Rai Ramen


This weekend I was at Animenext and was lucky to find a ramen shop nearby. It is located in Franklin township near North Brunswick, NJ. They have so many ramen choices. I had the shoyu ramen which was amazing! Best yet that I’ve tasted.

Rai Rai Ramen
1980 New Jersey 27, Franklin Township, NJ 08873
There is also one in Philadelphia too.

食べ物 Chicken Katsudon


This chicken katsudon I made isn’t exactly traditional but it was really good!

Instead of frying I baked the chicken.


1 pack of chicken tenderloins
Powder ginger
Olive oil

Heat oven to 350F. Lightly grease pan with olive oil. Set out in separate bowls/plates beaten egg, flour, and Panko mixed with desired amount of salt, pepper, and powdered ginger. Lightly coat chicken in flour, then egg and cover with panko. Place an pan and drizzle olive oil on top of chicken. Bake till lightly brown and cooked through.


1 2/3 cups dashi (I didn’t have dashi so I did half chicken stock and half water)
1 2/3 oz mirin
1 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp soy sauce

Place mirin in pan, bring to a boil, add dashi(or chicken stock/water), sugar, and soy sauce, and bring back to a boil.

Vegetables and putting it together

1 pack cut exotic mushrooms
2 or 3 green onions
1 cup soy beans (I used gmo free soy beans)
1 large carrot or 4 small sweet carrots
3 or 4 eggs
Chicken katsu cut into slices

Wash mushrooms. Wash and cut green onion into thin slices. Wash and cut carrot into thin matchsticks. Have sauce still on pan and add mushrooms and cook half way, add carrots and continue to cook till liquid is half the starting amount. Add green onions, soy beans, and sliced chicken katsu. When chicken is reheated add pre-beaten eggs and stir till half cooked. Serve over individual bowls of rice(I used jasmine rice). Enjoy!

レストラン Princeton Japanese restaurant

Yesterday my fiancé and I were in Princeton and found this restaurant Ajihei.


The restaurant is on 11 Chambers St. with steps leading down to the restaurant at the basement level. It is quite small with seven tables and three chairs at the sushi bar. It was authentic feeling with the light lacquered wood and a painting of a Japanese scene. The staff there speaks Japanese which adds to the authentic feel and is a good way to practice your Japanese.

Below are tatsuta-age and the second photo is potato and corn korokke with tofu on the side. (The korokke was awesome too!)



おいしい Chilled somen and kanten jello

I’m noticing a trend with my blog that I am posting more and more about food. I guess it’s the taste of Japanese food that makes me feel like I’m in Japan just for a moment. Nothing quite compares to the flavor and a artistry of Japanese cooking. So with that said, last month I posted about an awesome Japanese cook book I got for my birthday. I decided to make chilled somen and also Japanese jello. The recipe for the jello was actually mamekan but I forgot to pick up the beans at Mitsuwa, so it was just kanten jello with fruit and dark syrup. If you would like to buy the book they sell it on jbox.com along with some other awesome Japanese/English bilingual cook books.


I topped the somen with jumbo shrimp, thin omelet, shiitake, grated ginger, green onions and mitsuba. I also added the dipping sauce in the bowl which was amazing!


Japanese jello (let the kanten soak for two hours, boil and add sugar, and let sit) with fruit and homemade dark syrup.

食べもの Mitsuwa food fair

This weekend for my birthday I went to Mitsuwa’s food fair. There were so many different types of food from all over Japan to choose from. When I first arrived I went to the Takoyaki stand, one because it’s one of my favorites and two because they were so energetic. They were saying いらしゃいませ! おいしい たこやき!(Welcome! Delicious Takoyaki!) Then I went to get a kabocha korokke(my favorite!) and also an inari with crab bento. Lastly at the very bottom is Mitsumame from one of their cafe’s that is there year round.






ドキュメンタリー Jiro Dreams of Sushi




A few weeks ago I watched this awesome documentary called Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It was so inspiring how this 85 year old man, Jiro Ono, works every day making amazing sushi. All he serves is sushi in his 10 seat restaurant in a Tokyo subway station. He says in the movie that he really does dream of making sushi at night. I think this is what keeps him living, knowing he has such a love for something that he has perfected. If you like something to inspire you I highly recommend watching this documentary. When you are done watching you will feel the need to be as dedicated as he is to whatever your craft may be.

本 Japanese/English cookbook


For an early birthday gift I got this awesome cookbook. It is written in both Japanese and English. So whether you are looking to just cook Japanese cuisine or if your trying to read and cook Japanese this book is for you! You can find here on jbox.com.


えび Shrimp with a Japanese flair recipe


So for lunch today I made a salad with shrimp. I’m going to share this tasty shrimp recipe.


1 pound of fresh uncooked shrimp peeled
1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking sake or white wine
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/4 celery salt
1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
Just a small drizzle of Sesame oil
Olive oil to lightly coat
Lemon after cooked

Put all ingredients except lemon in a bowl with shrimp an mix well. Fry on medium heat till cooked. Afterward squeeze fresh lemon on top and place on your favorite salad ingredients.

べんとう Lunch

Last week I was in the mood to make a bento lunch. For the first time I tried making the chick hatching out of a hard boiled egg. I used black sesame seeds for the eyes and a carrot piece for the beak. I also added in my bento bowl carrots, broccoli, strawberries, rice underneath and canned sardines(by the way I love sardines (^ – ^) ).


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