A Case for Making Homemade Furikake (Thank Us Later)

Furikake, the savory and salty Japanese seasoning for sprinkling on plain rice, merits an entire section even in Manhattan’s tiniest Japanese markets.

And if you’ve tasted this Japanese condiment, you understand why: Furikake enlivens a plain bowl of …

Furikake, the savory and salty Japanese seasoning for sprinkling on plain rice, merits an entire section even in Manhattan’s tiniest Japanese markets.

And if you’ve tasted this Japanese condiment, you understand why: Furikake enlivens a plain bowl of steamed rice: Add some mayo and a fried egg and you can call it a meal. I relied heavily on furikake when I lived in a dorm room with just a rice cooker for making dinner. It transformed something that was mediocre at best (white rice) to something delicious and satisfying.

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‘The Japanese Art of The Cocktail’ Is More Than Just a Cocktail Book

Mixologist Masahiro Urushido’s debut recipe book, co-authored with drinks writer Michael Anstendig, is part cocktail book, part memoir. The Japanese Art of The Cocktail tells Urushido’s story while introducing readers to the cocktail recipes he’s creat…

Mixologist Masahiro Urushido’s debut recipe book, co-authored with drinks writer Michael Anstendig, is part cocktail book, part memoir. The Japanese Art of The Cocktail tells Urushido’s story while introducing readers to the cocktail recipes he’s created along the way. The final product is a book that embodies the spirit of Urushido’s New York City bar, Katana Kitten, a distinctly Japanese-American establishment that melds the cocktail traditions of both countries to create expertly made and wonderfully playful drinks.

For Urushido, the dream of becoming a bartender wasn’t always clear. The first part of the book chronicles his journey from growing up in the small village of Minowa, drinking his first canned whiskey highballs bought at a local convenience store as a teenager, and then moving to Tokyo to complete high school while working to deliver pizzas and bartend at a karaoke bar. A combination of fate and good luck led him to a job at Tableaux, one of Japan’s most revered fine-dining restaurants at the time, working as a food runner and then barback, slowly ascending the ranks. Eventually, he moved to the U.S. to attend a junior college and began on his journey toward opening Katana Kitten.

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The Comforting Fusion of Matzo Ball Ramen

I hustled into Shalom Japan in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on a stormy Friday night. It was dimly lit inside and had all the ambience of a casual Japanese ramen joint. Inside the bathroom, there was an enlarged photo of a Levy’s Jewish Rye ad from the ’60s…

I hustled into Shalom Japan in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on a stormy Friday night. It was dimly lit inside and had all the ambience of a casual Japanese ramen joint. Inside the bathroom, there was an enlarged photo of a Levy’s Jewish Rye ad from the ’60s, which read “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy's real Jewish Rye” in large black letters, with a picture of a Japanese boy dressed in a white shirt and red tie holding his sandwich next to an open bag of Levy’s Jewish Rye.

There was only a handful of tables. I grabbed a seat at the bar with an open view of the kitchen to my right. A native New Yorker I had met in Berlin happened to be in town at the same time and joined me. I saw chefs Aaron Israel and Sawako Okochi busy at work and turned my attention to the menu, giving it a cursory glance. But we both already knew we were getting the matzo ball ramen soup. How could we not?

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Marisel Salazar Thinks If You Can Eat It, You Can Probably Put Adobo on It

Welcome to Marisel Salazar​​’s Pantry! In each installment of this series, a recipe developer will share with us the pantry items essential to their cooking. This month, we’re exploring 8 staples stocking Marisel’s Panamanian, Cuban, and Japanese kitch…

Welcome to Marisel Salazar​​’s Pantry! In each installment of this series, a recipe developer will share with us the pantry items essential to their cooking. This month, we're exploring 8 staples stocking Marisel’s Panamanian, Cuban, and Japanese kitchen.


When you think of Latin American cuisine, Panama may not jump to your mind; we’re mostly known for the canal, as a financial hub, and for our breathtaking beaches. Our food is a mix of African, Spanish, and indigenous (like the Kuna Indians) techniques, dishes, and ingredients, with rice, beans, and corn as basic staples. Since the country is surrounded on both sides by oceans, we have incredible seafood, tropical fruits, and vegetables. In fact, our unique terroir has contributed to the worldwide popularity of the award-winning Geisha coffee.

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An Ode to Slimy, Slippery, Sticky Food

Few foods paint upon the blank canvas of a bowl of jasmine rice quite as brilliantly as natto. A much-loved Japanese dish of fermented soybeans, natto complements the rice sitting beneath, its gooey, stringy texture and pungent aroma lending the plain …

Few foods paint upon the blank canvas of a bowl of jasmine rice quite as brilliantly as natto. A much-loved Japanese dish of fermented soybeans, natto complements the rice sitting beneath, its gooey, stringy texture and pungent aroma lending the plain grains a satisfying kick. The moment natto hits my tongue, the luscious mouthfeel leaves me craving another bite.

This simple breakfast—topped with the sharp fragrance of garnishes like mustard, soy sauce, and chopped spring onions—appeared frequently on my family's table when I was growing up. With an enthusiasm instilled in me by my father from the time he spent in Japan, I always devoured natto, delighting in its punchy flavor and never minding its sticky texture. Natto and similarly slick foods such as seaweed and mountain yam (usually known as nagaimo or yamaimo) were permanent fixtures in my diet, their distinctly slippery textures downright slurp-worthy.

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The Flavorful Secrets of Saké Kasu

This excerpt has been adapted from Water, Wood & Wild Things by Hannah Kirshner, published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright (C) 2021 by Hannah Kirshner.

One of the great pleasu…

This excerpt has been adapted from Water, Wood & Wild Things by Hannah Kirshner, published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright (C) 2021 by Hannah Kirshner.


One of the great pleasures of life in Yamanaka—a mountain town in Ishikawa, Japan—is eating saké kasu soft serve after a soak in the public hot spring. The local sake brewery, makers of Shishi no sato, sell the cones year round at their shop, just a block away from the baths. The ice cream’s refreshing and not-too-sweet flavor has all the floral yeasty aromas of saké without the alcoholic burn.

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Hojicha Powder Adds Nutty, Roasty Flavor to Desserts & Drinks

Though brown in color, hojicha is actually a type of green tea made from the plant’s lower leaves, stalks, stems, and twigs. These components are charcoal-roasted in a ceramic pot over high heat, and sold either as a loose-leaf tea or ground into powde…

Though brown in color, hojicha is actually a type of green tea made from the plant’s lower leaves, stalks, stems, and twigs. These components are charcoal-roasted in a ceramic pot over high heat, and sold either as a loose-leaf tea or ground into powder. Hojicha powder can be used easily in a number of applications as an extraordinary flavor element for both savory and sweet culinary ideas

Though hojicha is roasted, doing so doesn’t change its green tea health benefits. Hojicha does have a lower caffeine content than matcha, which is a powder made from dried (and comparatively babied) young green tea leaves. For those with sensitivities to caffeine, a cup of matcha ingested at the wrong hour may lead to a sleepless night, so it might be time to switch to drinking hojicha at teatime and beyond.

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5 Mirin Substitutes That Live in Your Pantry (or Bar)

Mirin is a sweetened Japanese rice wine commonly whisked into sauces, dressings, and marinades, and added to simmered dishes like soups and stews. A little goes a long way, but a bottle won’t last forever. If you find yourself fresh out of this fragran…

Mirin is a sweetened Japanese rice wine commonly whisked into sauces, dressings, and marinades, and added to simmered dishes like soups and stews. A little goes a long way, but a bottle won't last forever. If you find yourself fresh out of this fragrant, umami-rich seasoning but still want to add the flavor and depth that comes from cooking with wine, here are our best mirin substitutes, so you can get that Japanese-style roast chicken on the table without further delay.

1. Sake

Sake makes a great substitute for mirin—already being rice wine takes it halfway to the finish line. Many kinds of sake, especially unfiltered, are sweet enough to substitute for mirin without any doctoring up. In the case of drier sake, a splash of apple or white grape juice or a pinch of sugar will make up for it.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Shochu

“The first written record of shochu was actually graffiti on a temple,” Rule of Thirds partner George Padilla told me. “In the 1400s, some builders working on a temple had scrawled, in the wood, a snide comment about the high priest being stingy with h…

“The first written record of shochu was actually graffiti on a temple,” Rule of Thirds partner George Padilla told me. “In the 1400s, some builders working on a temple had scrawled, in the wood, a snide comment about the high priest being stingy with his shochu. Fittingly, this is the first record of what is, still today, considered a blue-collar beverage in Japan.”

Japan’s oldest, most traditional alcoholic beverage, shochu is a clear, distilled spirit made from fermented, well, almost anything. “I’ve actually calculated this once,” Kyushu-based osteopathic researcher by day, Kanpai blogger by night Stephen Lyman said to me. “For all the different decisions made during the process, there are literally millions of styles of shochu you can make. The scope is enormous.”

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A Vegan Pantry Staple You Can Get at Any 7-11 in Japan

Even though—like miso and tempeh—it is made of fermented soybeans, sticky, earthy, funky natto does not receive the same love as its cousins. Slimy foods are just a little bit challenging to sell—no matter how high in protein or environmentally sustain…

Even though—like miso and tempeh—it is made of fermented soybeans, sticky, earthy, funky natto does not receive the same love as its cousins. Slimy foods are just a little bit challenging to sell—no matter how high in protein or environmentally sustainable.

Let’s get the technicals out of the way: Natto is boiled soybeans that have been inoculated with Bacillus subtilis and left to ferment for about a day. The culture is found in a type of straw that was used historically in Japan to store food. Like yogurt, natto’s origin was likely accidental, probably involving an epicure discovering that she liked the taste of soybeans that had been wrapped in straw. Somewhere between the discovery that fermented soybeans are edible and 2020, natto became a Japanese staple.

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