Jul 22, 2018

Summer Japanese Cooking Styles

Summer Japanese Cooking Styles photo

Don't wanna turn this on at all during the summer.

All year I'm a fan of minimal cooking, just a few ingredients and a short amount of prep time. During summer, I do my best to stay out of the kitchen except in the early morning, when I prep everything for the day if possible.

For drinks, we switch from hot coffee and tea to mizudashi.

Here are some super simple Japanese recipe ideas for leaving the stove off this summer.

Summertime is the best time for raw foods. I'm calling this section namamono or raw stuff.

Salads are so nice. Cold tofu on a salad or on its own works too. Miso cucumber (as easy as it sounds) is one of my favorites, but this summer I heard another fresh cucumber recipe: slice cucumbers into golf pencil size, sprinkle a little of your favorite salt, and tear some aojiso /ooba (green shiso) into little pieces. It's ready to eat right away.

Sashimi, also technically a raw food, is another fantastic cold food. Of course other types of sushi are equally cold if you want to cook rice and make them at home.

Likewise, there's sunomono. Vinegar stuff, similar to raw foods, but technically refrigerator pickles. Cucumbers, a little vinegar, and sugar in the fridge for a couple days and it's a refreshing side. This can be done with daikon, carrots, bell peppers, etc. Sunomono are great because if you make a lot you can eat a little as a side for several days. It's the best way for me to use cucumbers if I have too many to eat fresh.



Rice is so easy because the rice cooker does all the work. I love mixing in veggies or seaweed (mazegohan) to our rice to make it an all-in-one simple meal without turning on the stove.

I measure rice and water as usual, then add some bite size veggies plus a splash of tsuyu (soy sauce, bullion, or salt works too). Then cook as usual.

Bonus Okinawan / ethnic food: I found a tacos rice recipe for rice cookers and adapted it to our level of spicy. (We eat brown rice or genmai at home, but this works with white rice of course.)

Here's how we do it:

two (rice cooker) cups rice and water as usual

a quarter cup or so of chopped onion

a teaspoon each of garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne powder

*one tomato bullion

We don't have this in Japan (to my knowledge) so I brought some from the US last year. Now that we're out I use the consomme I can find here, but adding a fresh tomato might get the flavor more accurate. Salted vegetable broth instead of the water will probably work too.

Add cilantro, avocado, tomato, lettuce and cheese if you like that.


(Men is noodles in Japanese! Menryui is types of noodles) For cold noodles we stick with zarusoba (basket soba) most of the time. Boiling the noodles is the only hot part. A lot of people prefer somen noodles or hiyashi chuka. Toppings are also cold and fresh, depending on what's available in the season. Green onions, shiso, or anything in the balcony garden works.

Next (or in the fall), some hot Japanese cooking to heat up the house when it's cold.



What if whales don't communicate with whale calls & they're just farting?

1 Comment

  • edthethe

    on Jul 22

    Oooooh cooking in the rice cooker sounds brilliant. I wouldn't be able to get awayh with it for dinner for the fam, but my own lunches this is great.