Unagi Maki, Inari, and Onigiri


For this month’s Washoku Warriors, our challenge was sushi. I’ve made sushi before, but it has been a long while since I was able to successfully execute a maki roll. One assignment was a maki roll containing unagi 鰻 (broiled eel), daikon radish sprouts, and cucumber. My cucumber went bad before I got to it so I substituted the crunch with red pepper. I added a mayo/sriracha sauce  inside. I really didn’t like this sushi, but it was mainly because the eel I used was from a can and disgusting looking.

ww_sushi2 ww_sushi3 ww_sushi5

Another challenge was inari いなり寿司 (fried tofu pocket sushi). I make inari all the time,  so it was quite easy. After making 3 inari and a maki roll, I still had leftover sushi rice so I made some onigiri mixed with furikake and bean sprouts. After making all of these, I found out the rice was too dry and had too much vinegar in it.


Inari – Nov 18th Bento; Onigiri – Nov 20th Bento

Tangy Seared Chicken Wings (鳥手羽さきのすいため)


For this month’s Washoku Warriors, the theme was vinegar. We had to make Tangy Seared Chicken Wings with the choice to make one or more of the following: Tart Miso-Mustard Sauce, Classic Sweet-and-Sour Sauce, Kelp & Mushroom Relish, and Red & White Radishes. It seems like a lot, but I was actually able to make all of the recipes and also made a vinegar-based Salted Plum Dressing and Enoki Miso Soup.

The image above is the Chicken, Miso-Mustard Sauce, and a salad with plum dressing. There seemed to be a lot of prep work involved in the chicken but I didn’t like the flavor profile. I chose to use chicken thighs instead of wings, but our local supermarket only had boneless, skinless thighs. Even though I know all of the ingredients that went into this dish were Asian, the end result tasted like Chicken Marsala. The sauce was was too strong for me, and was mostly miso instead tart or mustard-y. Unfortunately, we both agreed that the best part of this dish was the non-Washoku related salad.


I used the sweet and sour sauce to make the red & white radishes (this is a very versatile recipe!). I chose to use the pink, ume-su based sauce instead of the rice-vinegar and kombu based one. I haven’t had an opportunity to try the radishes that much, but I have mixed feelings. I like my radishes smaller and the sauce seemed a bit strong and dirty (maybe from the radishes). I prefer Just Bento’s version since it tastes better and is seems easier to make.

I haven’t tried the Kelp-Mushroom Relish yet, but I did make it! I tried to make onigiri with it as a filling, but the relish was too wet. I made inari with the relish as a topping and will take a picture and my thoughts later. The relish is a good way to use up leftovers, but I did not like cutting the many squares of kombu. I chose to cut them into half-inch strips, which was tedious when cutting almost twenty squares of seaweed (I halved the recipe). My cutting board got a bit slimy after a while too.


I had full plans to make the soup the way the book laid it out, but my tofu had gone bad! I was just going to use enoki and scallion, but I dropped an egg in for some added protein. I realized I don’t like enoki or scallion and the miso didn’t dissolve into the soup so I had one nasty bite that was just miso.

Konnyaku and Carrot Tossed in Creamy Tofu Sauce (こんにゃくと人参の白和え)


This was part two of this month’s Washoku Warrior challenge. The first part was Saikyou Yaki (Miso-Marinated Broiled Fish). Oh so many things went wrong with this recipe.

I made the sauce (shira ae) first. I think I squeezed too much water out of the tofu, and I used firm tofu. For this sauce I should have used a silkier tofu and I should have used a food processor. I thought that this yet another time that I could get away with using a blender instead, but it didn’t work. I tried adding in more liquid and the sauce was still very dry, like a dough.

I also chose to use instant dashi granules instead of homemade dashi stock, but for some reason the container does not have any instructions on how to create the stock using the granules. I used about a teaspoon for a 1/2 cup, which is double the amount I was supposed to use (apparently?).

Even though there were a lot of components to the dish that made it take much longer to make than I thought it would, I loved the complexity the final dish’s flavor had. It was sweet, salty; light and rich. All at the same time. It’s not pretty to look at, but now that I’ve made it I’ll be including it in every bento for this week and eating it whenever I can.

Miso-Marinated Broiled Fish (西京焼き)


This is the first time I’ve participated in La Fuji Mama‘s Washoku Warriors series. I’ve been following her site for the past several months, before Washoku Warriors begain, but I didn’t really see a reason (read: kept forgetting) to join until I purchased Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen myself. Then I saw all the amazing recipes contained within, but needed that extra catalyst to get the creative juices flowing. Washoku Warriors is a great way to challenge yourself as well as learn about other bloggers out there.

This is a great dish to make because it’s ちょ~和食 (sooo traditional Japanese cooking). This dish is what comes to mind when thinking about traditional Japanese cuisine. Saikyou Yaki (西京焼き) means to cook a slice of fish that has been fermented in Saikyou miso (西京味噌に漬け込んだ魚の切り身を焼いた料理). Before refrigeration, using miso was one of the popular ways to preserve fish.

This dish takes a lot of miso because you are basically burying the fish in miso to prevent anything from the outside environment coming in contact with it. Washoku includes an alternate marinade that you can use instead of this longer one, but I like the original method better. This way, there’s less prep time on the actual day of preparation and you can make it 1-3 days in advance when you have a spare pocket of time.

This was also my first time cooking with fresh fish, from start to finish. Washoku recommends salmon (sake), saberfish (tachiuo), kingfish (sawara), and black cod (gindara) as types of fish to use with this preparation. We eat salmon often and our fishmonger had none of the fish recommended. White cod was available, but I opted for the marbled rockfish (kasago) since it was more like black cod in texture and similar to salmon in taste. Since this dish was for two people instead of the four to six servings in the book, we got .69 lbs of fish, which was plenty.

Saikyou Yaki Kasago (西京焼き笠子)

  • ¾ lbs fish fillet with skin
  • 1¼-1½ c. light miso (20 tbsp)
  • 1/8 c. mirin
  • ½ tbsp. lemon or orange zest
  • cheesecloth

Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry. Combine marinade ingredients and mix well. Use half of your marinade and spread it along the bottom of your non-reactive marinade dish. Fold cheesecloth in half and lay overtop of the marine and press gently, leaving enough cheesecloth un-used to fold on top of fish in later steps. Put fish on top of cheesecloth and fold the extra cloth over the fish. Spread the remaining marinade over the cloth and cover with a layer of plastic wrap. Even out the miso through the plastic wrap layer. Cover marinade container if you have a lid. Marinade at room temperature for six hours or for one to three days (miso flavor becomes stronger the longer it marinates).

When ready to cook, remove cheesecloth and miso and broil fish skin-side up 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes on the other side. You can serve with rice, pickled vegetables, or soup.

I really liked this recipe because it only has four ingredients! Miso, citrus zest, mirin, and fish. It was also very easy to make because the miso marinade did all the work for me. I don’t think I’ll use this certain technique again because the half portion recipe used up almost my whole container of miso. Not that miso is expensive or anything, but I was surprised that I had to scoop out twenty tablespoons of the stuff. My miso container was looking quite sad afterwards. The rockfish was a great fish. It had the flavor of salmon but the texture of black cod (supposedly, I’ve never had black cod, but that’s what the fishmonger told us). I may have cooked the fish a little too long because it seemed a little dry or tough for my boyfriend. I’m really glad I tried this recipe, but I don’t think I’ll make it again unless I chose to make it with a cheaper fish. We really don’t buy fresh fish in our house often, so it was a splurge. A little over ten dollars for less than a pound of your main protein is expensive when you’re living on a budget.

I served the fish with steamed rice sprinkled with sesame seeds (goma), edamame, lemon wedges, and two types of pickled radish. The lighter radish is daikon and the darker is traditional radish, and both were home pickled. My boyfriend also chose to add some spicy cashews that I made earlier in the week.

Mine Closeup of Miso Fishie Boyfriend's