Japanese Kitchen turns readers into chefs by providing information about traditional Japanese recipes and…
In this classic simmered dish, the squid is added in the first stage of cooking just to transfer some of its flavor to the liquid, then taken out and added again just at the end, to ensure it remains tender and delicious. It also uses new potatoes, which are in season, instead of the usual taro root or yamaimo.
Shiitake mushrooms add distinctive flavor to this punchy vegetarian pate. The recipe is endlessly customizable, and is a great way to familiarize oneself with what American chef Samin Nosrat describes as the four elements of good cooking — salt, fat, acid, heat — and understanding what role each ingredient plays.
Here are two recipes where the bitter melon is combined with umami, salt and sweet flavors. The first is a quick aemono (mixed side dish). The second is the quintessential chanpurū (Okinawan stir-fried dish) with sōmen noodles. I’ve used bacon and sausages instead of the usual Spam that’s popular in Okinawa.