I’ve received some feedback that posting photos of meals Takao has made without also providing a recipe is…not helpful.  So, by popular demand, here goes:

Tonight, Takao made us some Hiya Jiru and Piman Nikuzume. 

I think Japanese cooking has this image of being a bit rigid, like sushi masters barking at apprentices and all that. There is all manner of variety within Japanese cooking and I believe these would fall into category of Katei Ryori, which means home cuisine or something that might be whipped up at home.

It is summer in Tokyo and there are more ways to beat the heat then blasting the air conditioner and deep freezing your vodka. Hiya Jiru is a cold soup that is poured over rice and served with sliced cucumbers, shredded perilla leaf, myoga and sesame seeds. This soup cools you down from the inside and it looks pretty! Think of it as summer risotto versus cold gruel.  That sounds terrible.

Nikuzume are tiny wafu sliders served in a green pepper – think stuffed peppers. While beef-stuffed green peppers aren’t in-and-of themselves Japanese, they are something you might typically find at a Japanese supermarket or a fridge in Tokyo. Simply add ginger and soy sauce and BAM, Japanese food.

So get ready to eat!


Before we do anything let’s get our rice cooking.


For the Hiya Jiru, begin by thinly slicing 1-2 cucumbers, perilla leaf, myoga and set aside, along with toasted sesame seeds.
Next, for the broth, you will need:
  • One block of Tofu
  • 1-1 ½ tsp. Dashi Powder (Sold at most Asian grocers)
  • White Sesame Paste to taste (this is getting exciting)
  • Meat from a grilled mackerel (again to taste, just serve any leftovers with a squeeze of lemon and soy sauce)
  • 1 Tblsp. Miso (choose a lighter colored one)
  • ice
Toss the block of tofu into the blender with the dashi powder and a little bit of mackerel paste. Add the miso and blend away. Sample as you go along and adjust seasonings to your taste. Once finished, simply add about 5-7 ice cubes cubes and place in the fridge to chill. Keep in mind that the ice cubes will melt into the broth. So, if it tastes a little too rich, that’s fine as the ice cubes will thin out the broth as they melt. If the mackerel paste is freaking you out simply skip it — the miso is delicious on its own. Once you have a broth that you like, put it in the fridge to cool while we make the Nikuzume, which is quite easy.  Begin by seeding and slicing 2 green peppers in half.

Next, mix the following together until blended:
  • 1 lb hamburger meat
  • fresh grated ginger
  • shio kosho (a simple salt and pepper seasoning available at most Asian grocers)
  • cumin 
  • chopped garlic
Just imagine you are making an Asian-inspired hamburger and you’ll know how much to add of the spices, ginger and garlic. Feel it in your bones!
Stuff peppers with the ground meat mixture and then place into a frying pan with 1 tsp oil, meat side down.  Fry until the meat has browned. Then flip over and place the lid on the pan and steam them a bit.  Transfer stuffed peppers to a bowl. Add a hefty splash of soy sauce to the drippings in the pan and cook on medium until the liquid is reduced to create a nice sauce to pour over the Piman Nikuzume.
Piman Nikuzume

Ding! That was the rice finishing. Let’s go plate our meal.


All right! We’ve got our piping hot bowls of rice, cucumber, myoga and sesame seeds. We’ve also got out Piman Nikuzume and our sauce.

Dress up your rice with the condiments however you like and then pour your ice cold broth on top.


That’s it! You did it! You made a super Japanese-style meal without too much fuss.


Look at that soup! How pretty is that? All that green and purple. Have fun with this! Have any fun ideas for changing this? I think it would also be great substituting sesame dressing for the miso. Let me know how it turned out in the comments! 

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