Gobo (Burdock) and Carrot Kinpira

gobo kinpira with chopsticksGobo (ゴボウ) is the Japanese name for burdock. It’s a root vegetable that has a very pleasant and earthy taste. Kinpira (きんぴら) is a Japanese cooking style that employs two cooking methods in one pot: sauté and simmer. Hurray, for one less dish to wash!

I had been taking burdock medicinally for a while before we moved to Okinawa to treat inflammation and eczema. Burdock supports the liver, acts as a mild diuretic, and is well-known as a blood purifier. It’s particularly good for treating the pitta dosha. When we arrived on island I saw lots of fresh burdock; I was excited to try cooking with it. I chopped it up and threw it into a soup. It was ok, nothing great though. I tried it a few more times because it was local, and good for me. I just wanted to like it better.   Continue reading

DIY Furikake

furikake kana lidFurry cakey? What the heck is furikake?! It’s delicious Japanese seasoning mix! Furikake can be added to onigiri (rice balls), or sprinkled over rice and vegetables to jazz things up. Generally, it’s got some seaweed, fish, and sesame seeds. Then there are other flavorings like umeboshi, clam, shiso, bonito, egg, miso, or vegetables.

Some of the furikake packages contain MSG and other ingredients I’d rather skip. My favorite kind is the umeboshi, or pickled plum. As with most things, the fresher the ingredient, the better the taste. Feel free to add whatever you like into your furikake mix. So, on to the makings of DIY furikake! Continue reading

Kitchari

kitchari arialKitchari is like the Ayurvedic version of chicken noodle soup. It’s great for cleansing, resting the digestive system, and for when you’re feeling under the weather. Also, it’s a nourishing and comforting food. I especially like kitchari when I notice that my digestion is off from eating too many meals away from home.

The basics of kitchari are basmati rice, mung dhal, and plenty of water. This can be cooked into a watery soup or a thick porridge. The mung (or moong) dhal are split and de-hulled mung beans. Instead of the whole green mung bean, look for the split yellow type. They cook faster and are easier to digest. Mung beans are balancing for all the doshas. White basmati is also easier to digest than brown basmati. Continue reading

Goya Salad

goya salad umeboshiI know, I know. Another goya post… I get it. But it’s just so dern good for the kaphas and pittas out there! Maybe you don’t like goya as much as our vata friends do, but give this a try. It’s surprisingly tasty. It’s really balancing to our typical American diets which are mainly made up of the sweet taste.

Typically, ayurveda encourages 80-90% cooked food. More raw foods in the summer time when digestive fire is strongest. So, while you probably shouldn’t be eating raw goya in the winter, it’s great to try some in the summer time. I’ve got 8 different preparations you can try out. Continue reading

Beni Imo Sweet Potato Cakes with Coconut Chutney

beni imo cakes on displayI made some steamed beni imo and was feeling ho-hum about mashed beni imo or a soup. I wanted something crunchy, like roasted beni imo or beni imo chips, but I don’t have a real oven. We only have a fish grill, which works great for… um… fish. And nothing else. So, I made sweet potato cakes in a pan.

These can be made with any ol’ variety of sweet potato. Beni imo is my fav, it’s local, and that’s what I had in my pantry. I went with Indian spices, but it’s a pretty flexible recipe, so use whatever strikes your fancy. Garam Masala is a combination of roasted spices. If you don’t have this on hand, I have a recipe for it here! It will only take a few extra minutes and is totally worth it. Plus you can store it for several months. Continue reading

Urizun mame- Winged Bean Thai Noodle

urizune plateWe have the winged bean here, with lots of names like; asparagus pea, Goa pea, and Thai green bean. Interesting-looking bean, don’t you think? I’ve walked past it several times thinking it was Goya San’s cousin, then hurried by, trying not to make eye-contact.

I’m so glad I finally picked it up to try. It’s got a really pleasant crunch and a nice flavor. It cooks faster than a regular green bean too. Continue reading

Kabocha Ice Cream with Miso Caramel Sauce (Dairy-free)

kabocha miso caramel pourYes! I did it again. Ice cream. Well, since my last ice cream post, l’ve discovered that people are much more excited to read about ice cream recipes than various gourd curry recipes…  Dessert bloggers get all the love. So, today I bring you a Japanese squash dessert!

I found kabocha at my local farmers market, but I think you can easily find it in the states too. Kabocha is a type of winter squash. It’s sometimes called a Japanese Pumpkin. It’s fairly sweet, which means less added sugar and more winning. Continue reading