Soy-Glazed Burger (てり焼きバーガー)

January’s Washoku Warriors challenge was Comfort Food. We were given the option of two recipes: Miso Ramen (味噌ラーメン) or Soy-Glazed Burger (てり焼きバーガー). I initially wanted to make the ramen because I have some miso sitting in my refrigerator, but upon further inspection the recipe seemed a little more intensive and had some ingredients that I didn’t happen to have on hand. Unfortunately, for the past week I’ve been buried under feet of snow so I’ve been limited to what my local organic supermarket has in stock. Plus, burgers are an easy sell to my boyfriend!

I halved the recipe and though the burgers were a little on the large side, there was some left over for bento! I did add a little bit too much onion and didn’t mince it finely enough. Other than that, I would have mixed the miso a little bit more into the meat before making patties.

  • drizzles of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 of a small yellow onion, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 3/4 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • 2 tbsp beaten egg (about 1 large egg)
  • 1 tsp miso
  • 1 tbps sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp hot water
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce

Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until wilted and slightly aromatic but not browned. Add 1 /2 tbsp of sake and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the onion to cool to room temperature.

As the onions cool, combine the beef, panko, egg, and miso into a separate bowl. Add the cooled onion and knead until evenly distributed. Divide into equal portions and form patty shape.

Drizzle some more oil into the previously used skillet and place over medium heat. When hot, add the patties and sear on the first side until browned (about 1 minute). Flip and sear the second side, pressing to flatten. Lower the heat, add 1/2 tablespoon of sake, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes (medium to medium well).

While the burgers are cooking, mix sugar and hot water until combined. Then add soy sauce. Return skillet to high heat, add sauce and move pan around until burgers are evenly covered. Flip the burgers once after a minute to make sure they are evenly glazed.

Plate when still hot, as you like. I chose to eat it open face on half of a bagel with some lettuce. Traditionally, it’s served more similar to loco moco style, with rice and the extra sauce served over it.

I really liked the miso in the recipe, but the large amount of onion in the burger made it taste more like meatloaf. I also chose not to put the extra sauce on the patty since I could see all the fat and grease from the meat in it. Not sure if I’ll ever make this recipe again, but it’s an interesting take on the standard hamburger. Since it’s cooked in a covered skillet, it keeps all of it’s juices.

Roll Cake (ロールケーキ)

My sister and I are huge fans of a local Korean bakery, Shilla Patisserie. There are many locations around where we live, so we often either meet their or stop by whenever we’re in the neighborhood. My family often purchases one of Shilla’s delicious and beautiful cakes for family get-togethers. One of these type of cakes is called “Roll Cake”. I recently purchased a book called くるくるロールケーキ Kuru Kuru Roll Cake from Kinokuniya in New York City. Kuru kuru means to spin or wind up, which is appropriate because the cross-section of a roll cake looks similar to a lollipop or pinwheel.

Even though my sister’s birthday is in December, she often celebrates her birthday later so that family and friends are back from vacation.I wanted to try to make a Shilla-style cake using the book I recently purchased. If I messed up, I could always just stop by the bakery on the way and pick up a real cake, right?

Unfortunately, I totally forgot that I didn’t have the special 30cmx30cm pan, Japanese super-fine sugar, a kitchen scale, and the types of eggs I had would probably be too big. These are some of the many problems that arise when cooking recipes from other countries. I also had to translate this recipe. Let’s be honest–I’m not familiar with Japanese kitchen vocabulary at all!

Here is my version of the simple Strawberry Roll Cake with substitutions/conversions below.


  • 5 egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites
  • 40g butter
    • 2 2/3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 40g Low Viscosity Wheat Flour (薄力粉)
    • 8 1/2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 90g white superior soft sugar (上白糖)
    • processed 19 teaspoons granulated sugar in food processor


  • 200ml fresh cream
    • 200 ml heavy whipping cream
  • 20g icing sugar
    • 4 1/4 teaspoon powdered sugar

Combine egg yolks and 20g(4 1/4 teaspoon) of granulated sugar. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites and remaining granulated sugar until it forms stiff peaks like a meringue. Add the yolk mixture to the whites, combining gently. Sift the flour in, mixing from the bottom to the top to make sure everything is incorporated. Add the melted butter and mix thoroughly using a rubber spatula. Make sure there are no bubbles in the batter. Add batter to a pan lined with two layers of parchment paper with slits cut in the corners so it lays flat. Smooth out the batter with a card, bake @ 200 degrees Celsius (392 f) for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

For the cream, put the beater and bowl in the refrigerator until cold. Add the cream and sugar, beat for 6-8 minutes until thick. If you beat too long, it’ll turn into butter, so be careful!

Flip the cake over and remove the parchment paper carefully. Spread cream on with knife and fill with desired fruit slices. Roll 90 degrees (I rolled mine tighter, so it was really skinny!) using parchment paper on the outside. Once it’s rolled, keep rolled in the parchment paper for at least 30 minutes before cutting into slices.

I topped the cake with homemade dulce de leche and some toasted coconut. Toasted coconut marshmallows lined the side with milk tea pocky, some panda picks, and a bear-shaped marshmallow! (My sister’s nickname is “Bear” and one of her favorite animals are pandas) It tasted very good, but I don’t know yet if it was quite worth the effort. Granted, most of the effort went into translating and converting measurements. Now that I have a kitchen scale, it should much easier, right?

Unfortunately, due to the snow, her party was canceled! This cake won’t keep for long because of the cream in it, so I drove it out to her the night of her would-be-party so my family could enjoy it. I took a slice for myself and placed it in my French Postcard bento–that’s two slices I got to take because I had to make sure it tasted good before decorating it ^_^

 This recipe has been deemed a "hit at home" and is one of the tastiest recipes on Hapa-tite!

Banana & Cream Cheese Muffins

I was snowed in this weekend (still snowed in actually!), and didn’t have a chance to eat the bananas I had picked up for on-the-go breakfasts. They were looking awfully brown, so I decided to make banana muffins! This was a great recipe because it used up the last of my cream cheese, butter, and of course, bananas.

A quick search through my Google Reader yielded many results, but I don’t have a loaf pan and I didn’t have any whole or buttermilk on hand. I also didn’t have any nuts, so I subbed the cup of nuts in the recipe below with an extra banana.

Let’s Make Cute Characters with Quail Eggs! Recipe Booklet

This is a cute recipe booklet that comes with a set of cutters used with quail eggs. These cutters have been becoming more and more popular recently (though I’ve yet to use mine!), so I thought I’d post this book up.

The cutters are made by Arnest‘s Smile Zakka Group. You may recognize some of the other things they have listed on their site.

From cover to cover, this is an eight page book. I think it’s a great way to find ideas not just for quail eggs, but any type of egg. A lot of these decoration ideas could be used for other round foods such as onigiri or desserts.

Click on the thumbnails below for full-size images.