Posts tagged ‘Japanese’

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime Sesame Sauce

Last Saturday morning I got the closest I’ve ever come to passing out.

It was the weirdest thing. I woke up first, and as my mom usually fixes breakfast on Saturday morning, I relaxed, read for awhile, set the table, etc. By the time we finally ended up eating breakfast (almost an hour and a half after I’d gotten up), I was starving.

It was a wonderful breakfast (cinnamon and raisin scones, turkey sausage, and scrambled eggs), and even after we were done eating, we continued talking for awhile.

About 5 minutes after I finished eating, and while we were talking, I started feeling slightly nauseous. Not only that, but it’s like my body was going numb and getting increasingly heavy at the same time. Finally, it was like someone turned my brain off. I was looking at my mom as she was talking, but it was like she was fading into the distance. I could actually hear her voice receding. I realized I was probably going to either pass out or vomit, so I quickly excused myself to the bathroom, where I promptly sat down, stuck my head between my knees, and concentrated on taking slow, deep breaths. That seemed to do the trick, because my naseau gradually faded and the world faded back in.

When I was sure I was no longer going to vomit or pass out, I headed back to the kitchen table, sat down, and informed my family with as much dignity as I could muster that I’d almost vomited and passed out, wasn’t sure why, but thought I was okay now. Hisa told me I was white as a sheet, as my parents asked what had happened. I explained what happened, and my mom laughed and kindly explained that I’d gone too long without eating, and my blood sugar had probably gotten too low. When I finally ate (too much, too fast), it made me nauseous and almost pass out.

I explained that I’d never almost passed out from not eating before, but she said it doesn’t really matter. Sometimes it can happen, and sometimes it won’t. She reminded me of the incident in which my brother actually did pass out after not eating breakfast (as he was standing on a platform operating one of those huge professional video cameras when he passed out, it ended with an ambulance ride, a concussion, and some stitches), and told me about a time when she almost passed out from not eating.
Next time, she told me, if it’s going to be awhile until I eat breakfast, I should have a banana or some orange juice so my blood sugar won’t get so low.
Lesson learned.

Last weekend, I decided to try out a new Asian recipe I found at Skinny Taste.

They were really easy to make, and really good as well. They reminded me of Japanese niku dango (肉団子), and are actually quite similar to the filling I use when I make Japanese gyoza (pot stickers).

These can be a great side dish, as well as a main dish. I served them with brown fried rice, but they’d also go well with steamed rice, miso soup, and a green vegetable or salad.

In a large bowl, mix 1 lb. of ground turkey, 1 tablespoon ginger paste, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, a dash of salt, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 3 diced green onions, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs. Mix everything up with your hands (it’s so much easier to mix this way) until it’s all combined. Wash your hands (please don’t forget this step…).

Use about 1/4 cup of the mixture to make each meatball. Roll them around in your hands to form each meatball, and place them on a greased baking sheet. It should make about 12 – 14 meatballs. If you have time, cover the pan and stick it in the refrigerator for an hour or so. This will allow the meat to really absorb the flavors of the seasoning, and make your meatballs that much tastier. If you don’t have time, no worries.
Pre-heat your oven to 450° F.

Bake the meatballs for 15 – 18 minutes, or until cooked through. Let them cool for about 5 minutes.
In the meantime, make your sauce. Mix 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons water, and one diced green onion. Place the meatballs in a serving bowl, and drizzle them with some of the sauce. Save the rest to serve with the meatballs at the table.

recipe adapted from Skinny Taste


Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime Sesame Sauce

(makes 12 – 14 meatballs)

  • 1 lb. ground turkey meat
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. panko bread crumbs

Sesame Lime Sauce:

  • 4 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 green onion, diced
  1. In a large bowl combine turkey, ginger paste, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, cilantro, green onions, egg, and panko. Mix with your hands until well combined.
  2. Use about 1/4 c. of mixture to make each meatball, rolling the mixture in your hands to form them. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and place sheet in refrigerator for 1 hour (optional).
  3. Pre-heat oven to 450° F.
  4. Bake meatballs for 15 – 18 minutes, or until cooked through. Let cool for 5 minutes before placing in a serving bowl.
  5. Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Spoon 1 Tbsp. of the sauce over the meatballs. Serve the rest of the sauce with the meatballs at the table.

April 24, 2012 at 8:57 am Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for Oct. 3 – 7

This past Saturday, Hisa applied to several different moving companies for a quote on moving our stuff to his parents’ place when we move out of our apartment next month. Some companies sent quotes by email, and some companies sent a representative to our apartment to see everything we have to move, and then give us a quote (it was like having a car salesperson in our apartment. Bleh).

Most of our remaining furniture and our large appliances (kitchen, washing machine, etc.) we’ll be sending to Hisa’s parents’ house, as they wanted it. I’m happy they can use it all, because otherwise we would have had to mess with trying to sell the stuff, or just throw it away (which I would have hated doing, because it’s perfectly good stuff, and not that old, and gosh darnit, I hate waste!).

The downside to all of this, is that we have to hire a moving company to move everything, and moving companies cost money. They don’t have rental trucks (ala U-Haul) in Japan, and large pick-up trucks are practically none existent, so when people move, they always hire a moving company.

Moving companies in Japan are both a blessing and a curse in my opinion. If you absolutely hate packing, cleaning, hauling boxes and furniture, then moving companies may be your best friend in Japan. They will do everything for you. With the most basic service, they’ll simply come to your home, haul all of your boxes and furniture to the truck, load it, drive it to your new place, and unload everything where you want it. You can purchase additional services, however, like having the movers pack everything for you, and then clean your entire place after everything is loaded into the truck. If you want, and if you pay, and won’t have to do a thing when you move.

Oh, did I mention they’ll also cover all your large appliances (refrigerator, washing machine, etc.) with protective covering and padding so that it won’t get scratched while being moved? It’s brilliant.

Like I mentioned before though, moving companies cost money (no, I know you already know this, but let me get to the point), and when I say that, I mean a lot of money.

To give you an idea, we’re just having the movers come and move our stuff (no fancy add-on services), and we don’t really have that much stuff to move (our futons, table, one small bookshelf, some plastic drawers, my stationary bicycle, refrigerator, washing machine, microwave, some small odds and ends, and maybe three boxes). That’s it. But the average price from the different moving companies we got was around $600.

Yeah… I don’t know. Maybe that’s not a lot to some people, but I’m used to moving with the use of a U-Haul truck or by borrowing someone’s pick-up, so $600 seems like a lot of me. Still, it’s really nice not having to move everything ourselves. Especially since our apartment is two floors and the entrance is on the 2nd floor (weird, I know), so the movers will have to carry everything (including our full-size refrigerator) up the steep narrow stairs of our apartment to get it out. Not fun. Good luck mover people!

Menu Plan for October 3 – 7:

  • Stew and homemade bread
  • Homemade pizza
  • Coconut curry pumpkin soup, salad, and
  • Japanese Nabe
  • Japanese croquettes (korokke) with shredded cabbage, steamed rice, miso soup, and stir-fried burdock root and carrot (kinpira gobo)

October 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

Sesame Asparagus

I think the only thing worse than having to go out on a rainy day is having to go out on a horribly windy day.

It’s sooooo windy here today, and being from Oklahoma, I know what a really windy day looks like.  Not fun.

I am happy that’s it’s warm though! I love the days when it suddenly gets warm in the spring (as opposed to the days when it suddenly gets cold. not a fan.). It would be a great day if it weren’t for the wind, but such is life.

I really hope the weather this Saturday is good! It’s going to be our one-year anniversary, and although we haven’t decided for sure what we’re going to do yet, it’ll be a drag if it rains. We’ll probably go to Tokyo and do something there.

Quick side dish for you today!

If you’re wondering what’s a good side dish for an Asian-themed dinner (or something like yesterday’s teriyaki salmon), this sesame asparagus is a great pick. It’s super easy to make, and if you like sesame, you’ll love this dish!

You can also make this with vegetables besides asparagus. I’ve also used green beans for this recipe, but I think it would also work for steamed broccoli, steamed spinach, sugar snap peas, etc. Be creative!

First, put a bot of water on to boil. Wash your asparagus, and cut it into 1 1/2 – 2 inch pieces.

Boil the asparagus just until tender, about 3 – 4 minutes. Drain, and place asparagus in individual serving dishes.

In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, and 1 Tbsp soy sauce.

Add 2 – 3 Tbsp ground white sesame seeds, and mix. If you can’t find ground sesame, toast regular sesame seeds, and then grind them in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle. You can use whole sesame seeds, but grinding them brings out the sesame flavor more.

When the sauce is mixed, spoon it over the asparagus and serve.

A nice way to include more veggies in your diet with fresh spring veggies!

Sesame Asparagus

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp ground white sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  1. Put a pot of water on to boil. Wash asparagus and cut into 1 1/2 – 2 inch pieces. Boil asparagus pieces just until tender, 3 – 4 minutes. Drain and place asparagus into separate serving dishes.
  2. In a small bowl, combing sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce, and ground sesame seeds.
  3. Spoon sesame mixture over asparagus and serve.

April 27, 2011 at 12:10 pm 1 comment

Teriyaki Salmon

Sometimes it’s really interesting living next to a science/space expo center.

For one thing, I have a view of a giant rocket outside of my living room window.

The “N” is cut off by the building, but it says “NIPPON” on it. Snazzy, right?

I also get hear crowds of hyper elementary school children unloading from buses when they come to the expo center for school field trips on almost a daily basis.

Sometimes, however, disturbing sounds emanate from the direction of the expo center.

Right now, I can hear what sounds like dinosaurs roaring and a very load laser gun battle.


Moving on. For those of you who buy bottled teriyaki sauce to cook with, this recipe is for you. It really isn’t necessary to buy the bottled version, as teriyaki sauce is really easy to make.

Note: Cuts of fish in Japan are usually quite small compared to cuts in the U.S., so if you may want to double the amount of sauce you make if you’re cooking larger fillets of fish.

Note #2: This sauce is not just for salmon. You can use it cause for chicken, shrimp, other kinds of fish, etc. Salmon just happens to be my favorite.

First, mix 2 Tbsp cooking sake (available at your local Asian grocery store) and 2 Tbsp soy sauce. Place two salmon fillets into a wide, shallow bowl and pour the marinade over them. Allow them to soak for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make your teriyaki sauce. Mix 1 tsp. sugar, 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp mirin (sweet cooking sake, also available at your local Asian grocery store), and 1 Tbsp cooking sake. If you’re cooking larger fillets of fish or some other meat, I would double or triple the sauce as needed.

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a skillet on med-high heat. Pat excess marinade of the salmon fillets with a paper towel.

Cook fillets until brown on one side, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Then flip to other side and cook an additional 3 – 4 minutes.

Use a paper towel to wipe off the excess oil in the pan. I usually push the salmon to one side and wipe up the oil, then push them to the other side and wipe up the oil on that side.

Pour the teriyaki sauce over the fish fillets, and cook on medium heat for  4 – 5 minutes.

Flip the salmon fillets and continue cooking another 4 – 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken up and get bubbly like this. Spoon the sauce over the fillets every few minutes so they’ll be thoroughly coated.

Remove fillets to a dish and spoon extra sauce over the fillets if desired. Serve.


I served the salmon with steamed rice, tossed salad, miso soup, and sesame asparagus. It makes a delicious and healthy, but filling dinner.

Teriyaki Salmon

  • 2 (Japanese sized) salmon fillets
  • 3 Tbsp cooking sake, divided
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp mirin (sweet cooking sake)
  1. Make marinade for salmon. In a small bowl combine 2 Tbsp cooking sake and 2 Tbsp soy sauce. Place salmon fillets in a wide shallow bowl and pour marinade over them. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. In another small bowl, make the teriyaki sauce by combing 1 tsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. mirin, 1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp. cooking sake.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Pat excess moisture off the salmon fillets with a paper towel. Place fillets in skillet and cook until browned on one side, 3 – 4 minutes. Flip fillets and cook an additional 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Using a paper towel, wide up excess oil from the skillet. Pour the teriyaki sauce over the salmon and cook on medium heat for 4 – 5 minutes. Flip salmon fillets and cook another 4 – 5 minutes, occasionally pouring sauce over the fillets with a spoon.
  5. Remove salmon fillets from skillet and serve.

April 26, 2011 at 11:44 am 1 comment

Japanese Gyoza (a.k.a. pot stickers)

My husband and I have been having a kind of famous 80’s movies marathon the past several Saturdays. We often rent and watch a DVD on Saturday night (like all truly fabulous and exciting married couples do), but recently we keep checking out famous 80’s movies.

For three Saturdays in a row, we watched all the Back to the Future movies (Hello! McFly!), and this last Saturday, we watched The Goonies. Included on the DVD for The Goonies was the music video for Cyndi Lauper’s Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a really long, really 80’s music video, which is all good and fun, except that I’ve had the song stuck in my head now ever since we watched it. Today is Wednesday. That was four days ago. I’ve had “It’s gooood enooouuuugh! Good enough for meeeee, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!” running through my head over and over and over…. it’s not fun having Cyndi Lauper stuck in your head. It just isn’t. Trust me on this.

For whatever reason, I get songs stuck in my head incredibly easily. It drives me crazy. If you know of a tried and true method for getting songs stuck in one’s head out, please share. Please?

But that’s not really the point of this post. I just felt the need to share my current Cyndi Lauper plight with you.

What the point of this post really is, is gyoza. In the U.S., they’re often called pot stickers, and in China, jiaozi. I just call them delicious little hot dumplings filled with meat and vegetables, because that’s what they are.

Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my chin.

Having lived in Japan for three and a half years, I’m more familiar with the Japanese version, gyoza. You can find them at any grocery store, ramen place, or Chinese restaurant. Everyone loves gyoza. Kids, adults, grandparents. It’s hard not to love these scrumptious little dumplings though.

The Japanese version is made with a thin, round wrapper, and usually filled with ground pork, hakusai (Chinese cabbage), and nira (Chinese chives), along with various seasonings. They’re usually pan-fried on the flat side of the gyoza, creating a partially crispy skin. Then water is added, the pan is covered and the gyoza are steamed until they’re completely cooked through. To eat, they’re dipped in a soy sauce & vinegar (and sometimes also chili oil) sauce.

Wrapping the gyoza can be time consuming, so I don’t make them often, but I’ve been craving gyoza recently, so I decided to make them for dinner last night.

First, get all your ingredients together. Here, from top to bottom, left to right, I have garlic powder, ginger paste, soy sauce, ground meat, salt, pepper, hakusai (Chinese cabbage), nira (Chinese chives), an egg, and the wrappers. Although gyoza are almost always make with ground pork in Japan, you can use just about any ground meat you want for these. This time, I used a mixture of beef and pork.

Dice up about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of hakusai. If you can’t find Chinese cabbage where you live, normal cabbage works just fine.

Add the diced hakusai to the bowl with the meat. Next, dice the nira (Chinese chives), and throw those in as well. If you can’t find Chinese chives, green onions will work fine.

Add in 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 Tablespoon ginger paste, 2 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce, and a dash of salt and pepper, then mix it all up.

Don’t forget to add your egg, and mix some more!

For this next part, you need a small bowl of water, several plates covered with wax paper (or a cookie sheet with wax paper), your bowl of gyoza filling, and the wrappers. I recommend doing this at the table where you can sit down, because, basically, you’re gonna be there awhile wrapping these things.

Spoon a small amount (about a tablespoon) of the filling into the center of a wrapper. Is it just me, or does my hand look unusually red?

Dip you finger into the bowl of water, and then use it to moisten the outer edge of the wrapper. If you don’t do this, the sides of the wrapper won’t stick together, and your gyoza won’t stay closed.

Fold the wrapper in half. As the next part of this requires two hands, I was unable to get a picture of the process. What you do, is you pleat one side of the wrapper, squeezing each pleat against the opposite side of the wrapper as you make it, sealing in the filling and closing the gyoza. It takes some practice, but it’s not that hard once you get the hang of it.

Here’s what it looks like when it’s done. Just continue wrapping gyoza until you run out of the filling…

…and eventually you’ll have a bunch of gyoza ready to be cooked. If you have two packages of 20 wrappers, you’ll probably have some left over. These are great for letting your imagination run wild, and filling them with all different things. Here are some ideas for filling: Jam, peanut butter and jam, peanut butter and banana, chocolate (or nutella) and banana, cheese, ham and cheese, avocado and tomato, etc.

I had some ham on hand, so I simply put some shredded cheese on a piece of sliced ham, rolled it up, cut it in half, and used one half per gyoza wrapper.

Now, after I made all the gyoza, I went about doing other things, and by the time I actually cooked them, I kinda forgot to take any pictures. Bad me. But the process is simple.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet on medium heat. Place the gyoza in the skillet, flat side down and so they’re not touching, and cook until the gyoza get brown on the bottom, about 4 – 5 minutes.

Next, get a glass of about 1/2 cup of water in one hand and a lid for the skillet in the other. Quickly pour the water in the pan and then cover it with the lid. It’ll make a lot of noise, but you cover the skillet, so it doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t hiss, then your pan isn’t hot enough, and you need to up the heat. Let the gyoza steam in the skillet until they’re completely cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.

When finished cooking, remove the gyoza to a plate, and serve them with a dipping sauce of soy sauce and vinegar. Enjoy the wonderful dumpling goodness!

I served the gyoza along with steamed rice, miso soup, and a mixed salad. And just so you don’t think we’re pigs, my husband and I only ate about half of all those gyoza. Oh, and the ham and cheese gyoza were really good. 🙂

Mmmmmm, gyozaaaa

Japanese Gyoza (makes about 34)  recipe by Rachel (The Joyful Kitchen)


  • 1 lb ground pork, beef, or mix (about 450 grams)
  • 1 1/2 2 cups diced hakusai (Chinese cabbage or regular cabbage)
  • About 5 nira (Chinese chives or green onions), diced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • gyoza wrappers (available in most grocery stores)

In a large bowl, add ground meat, hakusai, nira, garlic powder, ginger paste, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and egg, and mix.

Place a small spoonful (about 1 Tbsp) of the meat mixture in the center of one wrapper. Moisten the outer edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half without joining the two sides. Pleat one side of the wrapper, squeezing each pleat against the opposite side of the wrapper as you make it, sealing in the filling and closing the gyoza. Continue wrapping gyoza until you use up all the meat mixture.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place gyoza in skillet, flat side down, and so not touching. Cook gyoza until the bottoms turn brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Pour about half a cup of water into the skillet and quickly cover with a lid. If it doesn’t sizzle loudly when you add the water, then you’re pan isn’t hot enough, and you need to increase the heat. Continue cooking the gyoza in the covered skilled until they’re cooked completely through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a plate, and serve.

March 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm 2 comments

About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 12 other followers

July 2018
« Dec