Category Archives: japanese challenge

Japanese Challenge Complete! A Rundown of #MissysMidnightDiner

If my math is right, I ended up making 62 different Japanese dishes. Wow! Here they are:


Noodles, Soups, and Noodle Soups:
Miso Ramen (plus Chashu, Soy-Marinated Eggs, and Ramen Stock)
Kitsune Udon
Stamina Udon
Kare Udon with Katsu
Nabeyaki Udon
Mori Soba
Tempura Udon
Miso Soup

Stews and Curries:
Vegetarian Curry
“Retro” Beef Curry
Chanko Nabe
Matsutake Sukiyaki
Battleship Curry
Pressure Cooker Chicken Curry
Hot Pot for One

Donburi and Rice Dishes:
Yuzu Salmon Donburi
Matsutake Gohan
Pressure Cooker Sushi Rice
Salmon Teriyaki Donburi
Beef Bowl
Green Tea Rice

Meat Dishes:
Baked Tonkatsu
Beef and Eggplant with Miso

Seafood Dishes:
Quick Ponzu Salmon
Miso-Glazed Salmon
Simmered Shrimp
Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura
Tuna Tataki

Izakaya Dishes/Skewers
Agedashi Tofu
Grilled Shitakes
Simmered Daikon
Gyoza-Stuffed Wings
Negamaki (Note, these fell apart terribly so I didn’t actually end up blogging them)

Yoshoku/Other Fusion
Okonomiyaki-style omurice
Pork Hambagu Steak
Japanese Mapo Tofu

Japanese Sweet Potatoes
Japanese Pickles (salt, miso, and miso-rubbed eggplant)
Soy Cucumber Pickles
Pickled Daikon

Japanese Breakfast
Matcha Latte
Ginger Carrot Salad Dressing

Random observations:

-Ramen is kind of a hassle to make (not entirely news to me since I’d done shio before, but still). Definitely spread out the labor over a few days if you can.

-Matsutake mushrooms, lotus root, and tofu rule. Also, Japanese breakfast is my favorite breakfast.

-Not surprising: that noodles and soups were the most frequent dishes to show up in the rotation. Somewhat surprising: that I ended up making five types of Japanese pickles and four types of curry.

-I knew dashi, mirin, soy, etc. were important to Japanese cuisine but perhaps didn’t understand what core building blocks they were to so many dishes.

-Great sources for recipes: Just One Cookbook (probably my #1 resource), my cookbooks “Japanese Soul Cooking” and “Tokyo Cult Recipes” (I have other Japanese cookbooks, but these were the best), and Harumi’s “Japanese Mini Kitchen” series on NHK. I made a handful of Serious Eats and Japanese Cooking 101 recipes, too, and worked in a few other sources as well.

-MVP Dishes: The dishes I actually made multiple times during the challenge: kara-age, nishyoku don, tuna tataki, Japanese salt pickles, grilled shitakes (once by John), Japanese breakfast, ponzu salmon, dashi. My overall favorite recipe, though, was probably the tantanmen. The omurice was also a show-stopper.

-Least successful recipes: Miso-marinated salmon (eh), Green tea rice (we didn’t really eat it, though I bet there’s a better recipe out there), negamaki (fell apart).

-My Japanese pantry and fridge have reached epic, yet ridiculous proportions (“well, of course I need two different colors of sesame paste, OBVI”). I also am now the proud owner of everything from a daikon grater to multiple drop lids, thanks to my husband who encouraged this hobby (especially during the Christmas season).

-Dishes I really wanted to make but didn’t get around to it (yet!): croquettes (though John made them one night), tako yaki (I even bought the pan!), somen, kaki age. I’d hoped to work on my rolled omelet, which I haven’t really mastered yet, but  never got around to it. I didn’t make much in the way of sushi (though I’ve done maki rolls a few times before this year), but I honestly find it a hassle so I’m not shocked that I slacked here.

Such a fun challenge! I definitely discovered that Japanese cooking will remain a hobby long after 2017.


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Japanese Vegetarian Curry

This was curry #2 for potluck, and was a hit among vegetarians and meat eaters alike. I used this chicken curry recipe as a building block, subbing in vegetables (including new-to-me-for-cooking ones like burdock and lotus root) for the protein.


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Miso Ramen (Plus Ramen Stock, Marinated Eggs and Chashu Recipes)

My third ramen from scratch! This was fairly doable if you spread the workload out into multiple days. I was impressed with this recipe from “Japanese Soul Cooking.” Note a few different building block recipes are included here (I’ve made both marinated eggs and chashu before but think I give a slight edge to this version).


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Baked Pork Katsu and Katsudon

Katsudon was one of the recipes I made when on a Japanese recipe tear when John was out of town. First I prepared the katsu (I baked it to save a few calories given the texture of this dish). Then I turned it into katsudon, the Japanese rice bowl. I’ll admit I got distracted when making it and my eggs ended up overscrambling. But this is still a good recipe (two, really) to have on hand — remember to make katsu sandos with any remaining katsu!


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Retro Curry

I am approximately eleven recipes behind on updating the site, so bear with me. This is one of two (new!) Japanese curry recipes I made for our annual holiday potluck. This beef one was thinner than some we’ve made before, but had a nice depth of flavor. From my “Japanese Soul Cooking” cookbook. I doubled this recipe with no issues.


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Kitsune Udon

This was a different spin on udon using pre-fried tofu. I did make it while John was out of town because I didn’t see it being his thing. Recipe from “Japanese Soul Cooking”.


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Yuzu Salmon Donburi

I improvised this recipe and was super happy with it. I made it all with stuff I had on hand besides the salmon.


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Chanko Nabe

Sumo stew! I was really excited to make this recipe and we enjoyed it a lot. It has a really gentle, comforting flavor to it. I made this recipe – it’s admittedly a little involved and makes a considerably larger portion than I expected. I also made the sesame paste linked to in the recipe.


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Japanese Mapo Tofu

I knew I wanted to make this when I saw it on Japanese Mini Kitchen. I love traditional mapo tofu. This was really good and easy to make, but less spicy than I am used to. More subtle.


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Candied Japanese Sweet Potatoes

I tried this out as a potential Thanskgiving recipe. I don’t think it’s happening for this, but these were interesting. It was my first time using Japanese sweet potatoes (found at the farmers market) which were a little starchier than I expected.


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