A Taste of Rice at Just Rice

We want to thanks to all of you who attended and supported our very special lunch "A Taste of Rice". Thank you for being patient with our ambitious menu list. We wanted to share more rice meals and stories, but time was limited. Hope this venue inspires your daily rice life to share with others. Our rice venture will be continued.

Thankful to presents "Just Rice" special exhibition a unique and impactful destination to showcase the influence that rice plays in our daily lives and communities such as culinary, Art, Life style, Texture and more. Let us raise awareness together the importance of this singular ingredient: “RICE” as it nourishes people globally. Again, thank you for the big support KOSAKA, KODA Farms & Shichi Hon Yari.

Stuffed Grape Leaves (: Warak Dawali)


Rolls stuffed grape leaves with a few simple herbs and tomato. A rich Gaza kitchen through Hadeel Assali family stories. Homemade young grape leave from her parents farm in Texas farm, Laziza Farms. Hadeel's mom Nahida Saker has a PhD in food science with a specialty in cheese-making. 

Hadeel Assali is a Palestinian-American anthropologist who is interested in cultural practices around food, especially rice.  She is currently a PhD candidate at Columbia University. 


Rings of Age


Setsugekka Matcha Tea House located in the East Village, introduces Baumkuchen. Baumkuchen is one of the most popular pastries in Japan. The pastry has characteristic rings when sliced resemble tree rings which give the cake its German name, which literally translates to "tree cake".

Setsugekka named their cake “Rings of Age” and is made from the best grade of rice flour and a gentle sweetness of wasanbon sugar. Eggs, rice and a fine-grained Japanese sugar are all finest ingredients made in Shikoku Island, Japan. The grass-fed butter is freshly made in Hokkaido, Japan. It is a layered moist cake with a mild butter flavor and aroma. The layers uniformly precision spaced. You will have a perfect experience with warm or cold tea. Have a bite and take a sip.

The package box is specially designed by world renowned calligrapher Michael Lam.  “Rings of Age” will be available at Setsugekka, East Village.

74 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003
Follow more information and events.





roasted brown rice green tea


Genmaicha is the name for roasted brown rice green tea, 현미녹차 (Korean). In Japan, it was known as the poor person’s tea,  because the rice served as a filler and reduced the price of the tea. It was also drank during a fasting period  for religious purposes.  The sugar and starch from the rice cause the tea to have a warm, full flavor that is similar to that of nuts. It is considered easy to drink and helps one's stomach feel better. It is satisfying and filling to have between meals.

The tea has a light yellow hue. Its flavor is mild combining the fresh grassy flavor of green tea with the aroma of the roasted rice. Although this tea is based on green tea, the recommended way to brew this tea is different. To make the best aroma, brew 2 tablespoons (10 g) of tea leaves with boiling water for 30 seconds.

Rice with Cherry Blossom pickles

Pickled cherry blossoms are originally used to make sakura tea, which is used on special occasions such as weddings. They have used seasonal ingredients for dessert or drinks. However, when cooked together with rice, it creates a beautiful colorful contrast and rice also absorbs the flowery aromas of the cherry blossoms.

Five grains on the full moon day

Koreans celebrate the full moon two weeks after the New Year begins.  This custom has its ancient roots as the time when farmers sorted and carefully selected  their seeds that were harvested from the previous year. A special dish made with the five important grains of rice, barley, millet , sorghum and red beans is prepared and served with side dishes of nine to ten special herbs. It is eaten with hopes for a happy and healthy new year.

Eat the color with brown rice

Salads are popular in western culture and health-conscious people are turning to brown rice in their diet.  Because brown rice is coated with fibrous bran it has a high nutritional value. Combined with fruits and vegetables, the chewy, hardy textures of the rice makes for a popular salad.

Eating a variety of colorful foods insures that  a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants nourish your body. These organic sources have healthy benefits that cannot be replicated in a vitamin. These varieties provide a powerful mix that that benefit all parts of the body. Here is a power recipe full of colorful fruits and vegetables. Try it and enjoy!

Preparation Time: 1hr
Yield 4 Servings

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked black beans
1 cup cooked peas
1 cup chopped green bell peppers & cucumbers
1 cup chopped carrots
½ cup chopped purple onion
2 cups cooked corn
1 cup chopped red bell peppers
1 cup kidney beans
½ cup chopped Cilantro

1 tablespoon Salt, ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, ½ cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons Honey, juice of 2 limes

Whisk all ingredients in small bowl to blend. Add salt to taste. 
Combine all ingredients in very large bowl and mix. Add dressing and toss to coat.

Farmer liquor

Makgeolli or “Korean rice wine” is the oldest alcoholic beverage in Korea.  It is known as is a slightly sweet milky, off-white color 6-8% alcohol. It’s traditionally made using a blend of fermented rice (though other grains are commonly used), water and nuruk (:a fermentation starter) that provides microbial properties.

It was originally quite popular among farmers, so it used to called nongju (농주 / 農酒), which means farmer liquor.  According to The Poetic Records of Emperors and Kings (Jewangun-gi), written during the Goryeo Dynasty (established in 918) , the first mention of the drink was in the founding story of the Goguryeo during the reign of King Dongmyeong. During the Goryeo dynasty, makgeolli was called ihwa-ju (pear blossom alcohol), as the liquor was made during the blossoming of that particular flower.

As it is an unfiltered beverage, makgeolli is generally shaken or stirred before being consumed, as the cloudy white portion tends to settle to the bottom, leaving a pale yellow-clear liquid on top. It is best served chilled. Adding to the experience is the ritual of drinking it from a brass or wooden bowl, which is often poured from a brass kettle.

Aside from the alcohol, the bulk of  Makgeolli is pure nutrition. Other than the 80% water and 6-8% alcohol, Makgeolli consists of 2% protein, 0.8% carbohydrates, 0.1% fat and 10% dietary fiber, along with vitamins B and C, lactobacilli and yeast.

Makgeolli is unfiltered and contains high levels of lactic acid and lactobacillus bacteria 500 times the level in yogurt and dietary fiber. This helps to aid digestion, improve immune function and slow the aging process.

Everyone is a rice sommelier

I was raised in a rice culture where my Mom cooked rice just the way my Dad liked it, and she cooked rice for the rest of the family just the way we liked it.  She wanted to make everyone happy. This is common for families who enjoy rice. Every family cooks rice differently to suit their special textures and flavors. My grandmother also adapts her rice preparation to harvest time. Depending on the year, she will change the amount of time she soaks and cooks the rice and the amount of water used to make perfect rice.

At this time of year, it is exciting to try the new harvest rice and other grains. In Nalata Nalata, NYC, I purchased a brown rice called ‘Koshihikari’ from outside of Kanazawa, Japan. It is produced by SKURO, a small, organic, family-run farm. Exclusively imported, each bag contains 600g of rice grain or 5 cups.

As we know brown rice retains the outer layer called bran. Bran is usually milled away to become white rice. However, the bran contains many nutrients, high amounts of fiber, vitamins and minerals that bring chewy texture and earthy aroma.

I cooked the new “Koshihikari” rice on top of the stove instead of in the rice cooker.  I had this delicious rice with my homemade pickles. Just the way I like it!

Sake brewmaster Yasunobu Tomita

Photo Credit: Junya Mori

Photo Credit: Junya Mori

Shichi Hon Yari sake company, one of the oldest and smallest breweries in Japan. The sake brewery was founded in the 1540's and is managed by the 15th generation of the family.

1. What is your role at Shichi Hon Yari? 
I am owner of Tomita brewery. I have been in charge of sake making since 2005. I focus more on sake making in the winter time, but mainly I take care of sales of Sake in our company.

2. Have brewing methods & taste changed in recent years from 1500's?
Unlike these days, in the 1500’s they hadn’t developed a refined milling system, so sake was made with brown rice and natural yeast. After World War 2, a new develop a milling system changed the taste of Sake.

3. How well do your retailers in Japan sell Sake vs Shochu or Wine?
After World War 2, beer has been consumed more than sake. Along Japanese food culture’s changing, gradually Shochu to wine sales increased. Shochu sales started to pick up in 1973 and finally started to settle 2014. Now, people are able to choose their favor of sake, so small breweries could stay a marketable business.  A wine boom had started 15 years ago and has slowly decreased.  

Good news, small breweries have been in the spotlight the past few years. Despite of big competition from corporate companies, current consumers look for who makes and what ingredients used that help to small breweries stay strong.

4. What about the costs associated with making sake compare to 20, 10 years ago?
Sake Labor union (Toji Kumi) throughout Japan work in agriculture fields during the season, and move on to Sake making during their off season which is winter time. It has provided a good balance between the Union and the brewery. Sakakura (Sake Brewery) numbers has decreased almost ½ of what it was 20 years ago. Now there are only 1300 breweries in Japan. Sakakura has been an aging generation which could cause the financial troubles and close down the Sakakura. We decided to have full time employees. Not only they make sake in wintertime, but they learn from the consumers during the off season, to provide us with the information to for make great sake the following year. I believe the strong financial base keeps us going and I need to find a balance between quality and profit.

5. What percent of your sales does the US and overseas market account for?
We started exporting in 2005. Total sales of 10% is overseas and the USA is the largest market.

6. What are your visions for for future?
I would like to grow rice and make sake from our own rice. However, due to modern culinary lifestyles, it has led to decreasing rice consumption, and local farms have had a hard time with production and profit. I would like to support our local farms. However, I feel that not knowing growing our own rice misses a step in the sake making process. I would like to grow own rice. So, I have been looking for a right place (such as soil & weather) to grow sake rice.

7. What kind of rice do you (or your local community) plant for your sake?
Saka Mai (:Sake rice) ‘Tamasakai’. FIY, that grain of rice is different than rice we consume at the dining table.

8. I heard that you had a special rice plant 50 years ago and started to grow it again recently. ‘Watari Bune’. Tell me about separates it from the others.
11 sake brewery decided to get together and to grow the old Shiga rice ‘Watari bune’. This old style Shiga rice easily absorbs water and is easily broken. However, we try to use flavors contained in the the grain.

9. What is your message to audience how important rice as one of main ingredient in Sake?
Like Beer is hops, Wine is grape, if there is no rice; sake would not be born. 

Photo Credit: Junya Mori

Photo Credit: Junya Mori


Nigerian Jollof Rice

Regina Agu is a dear friend whom I met in Houston many years ago. We share a common connection to Louisiana as well as a diasporic heritage: Regina's father is Nigerian. Regina is an artist who works in a number of mediums: drawing, photography, collage, installations, performance, text, and, of course, the art of food. The beautiful fruits of her Houston garden are featured through her stunning photography, and during a recent gathering, she brought her delicious Nigerian jollof rice. She agreed to share her recipe and memories for our blog.

Regina Agu (Source: Modern Luxury Magazine, Houston)

Regina Agu (Source: Modern Luxury Magazine, Houston)

Since living in Harlem, I have discovered the riches of West African cuisine. "Little Senegal," as it is commonly known, centers around the west end of 116th St. Alongside the Senegalese restaurants and shops are also those from Ivory Coast, Mali, Guinea, and others - many of which also feature their version of the signature jollof rice dish. Some say "Jollof" is from the Wolof language, primarily spoken in Senegal, where the dish is also known as "Benachin," which means "one pot." Regina tells me, however, that people from Nigeria and Ghana claim they invented the dish and that in fact there has been a debate raging on Twitter since 2009 on who is the originator - it is, after all, a source of national pride! They also playfully compete in other things, she says, but as for who truly originated jollof - who knows?

Regina continues: Jollof rice can be an everyday food, but any social gathering such as weddings will definitely involve large foil trays of Jollof, or "party rice," as it is sometimes called. For fancier occasions, fancier meat, vegetables and spices are used. "I am not sure if I have ever been to a Nigerian function without Jollof rice." For her, it is a very nostalgic dish. She began eating it as a very young child and now she connects it to her father and his culinary traditions. Her first time to Nigeria at age nine is a special memory for her, and it involved her aunt and grandmother making a special Jollof rice for their festive homecoming.

Regina shares her recipe sans measurements (because she does not measure, she says). In the coming weeks I will attempt her recipe, noting the amounts that I use and the results, for a future blog post. For now, here is Regina Agu's Nigerian Jollof Rice recipe:

Regina Agu's Nigerian Jollof Rice

Regina Agu's Nigerian Jollof Rice

First, parboil the rice. Bring rice to boil in a pot of water. Reduce to low heat and simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Rice should be firm, but not hard. Remove the pot from heat and pour out the water and rice into a sieve. Rinse the rice with cold water to stop it from cooking.

Prepare the sauce by blending plum tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, scotch bonnet peppers and red bell peppers. Heat vegetable oil over medium-low heat in a pot. Add the tomato sauce blend and stir to cook until sauce thickens and is streaky with oil, and all water is evaporated.  This will take several minutes.

Add the rice to the tomato sauce.  Fill the pot with chicken/veggie broth to just over the level of the rice. Season with salt, pepper, spices (like curry, garlic, thyme), ground oporo, Maggi/Knorr cubes (bouillon), and bay leaves. Stir to combine, cover and cook over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until all liquid is absorbed. Rice should not be mushy or over-scorched. Enjoy!

Attempting My Mother's Recipe

We have an event coming up for which I committed to make Maqluba. It has been awhile since I've made it, so after posting my mother's recipe, I figured I would do a trial run and tweak as necessary. Many who cook regularly have a different ideas of how to explain their "measurements." For example, I am often told when cooking rice, cover the rice with water until it reaches the first crease of your finger. I try these things, but mostly feel confident with exact measurements (or a rice cooker). I insisted my mother give measurements for her recipe, but even I made my own tweaks, thus forging my own signature on the dish.

I began with a whole (organic) chicken, which I cut into parts, and made a gorgeous chicken brother using only the breasts, back meat and innards and the spices from my mother's specified. The result sparkled with flavor. 

Freshly made chicken broth  

Freshly made chicken broth  

But I had already begun my revisions of her recipe by omitting the rest of the chicken in the broth. I don't really like boiled chicken, so I saved the more savory sections (thighs, legs, wings) for baking and serving alongside the final dish. I marinated them while I did the rest of the prep work.  

With careful planning, I roasted and fried the veggies simultaneously. Broil the tomatoes, fry the onions, flip the tomatoes, fry the potatoes, roast the eggplant, drain the oil... Quite the balancing act in a tiny New York kitchen!

Roasted tomatoes with olive oil and salt

Roasted tomatoes with olive oil and salt

Fried potatoes and onions 

Fried potatoes and onions 

Now let's talk about the rice. My mother's recipe calls for medium grain rice which is quite difficult to find in most grocery stores. I'm not sure why that is. The goal of this dish is for the rice to hold together, ideally in the shape of the pot. And the more I think about it, the more I realize many of our rice dishes are in fact sticky. We stuff many things: grape leaves, squashes, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots (in Gazan Palestine), onions (in Iraq) - so of course the rice needs to stay together. Even "mansaf" or "fatah" - a very traditional rice dish - I often remember being sticky enough for those who gather around to gather morsels in three fingers. My mother says for Maqluba one could use risotto, which makes sense. Egyptian rice, which I assume was a major source for neighboring Palestine, is also a short grain rice.

I managed to find medium grain rice in my East Harlem grocer, and so I followed the recipe measurements she recommended - sort of. I put the handful of rice in the pot the layered the veggies and boiled chicken as specified. 

Layered vegetables and chicken  

Layered vegetables and chicken  

Then I warmed and seasoned the broth as specified. 

Seasoned broth

Seasoned broth

I put two cups of rice over the layered veggies, put a small plate on top to weigh everything down, and poured the broth over it. But I got worried about the rice being undercooked (a big fear of mine), so I added more broth - at least a half-cup more than the recipe specified.

I think this explains why the dish did not hold its shape when flipped out of the pot: 

TA-DA! A tasty failure 

TA-DA! A tasty failure 

Oh well, it was still delicious. Will try to get it right next time!

I served it with plain greek yogurt, hot sauce and the baked chicken. 

Craftmanship with Rice

The Birth of Sake came back in NYC, IFC Center last weekend. As expected, it was a beautifully executed documentary describing sake brewing season. Sake makers are commit 6th months being away from their family and they input their soul into the 6th generation of traditional sake methods.  We were fortunate to be present for the Director & producer Q & A after the screening.

How did you feel during the film?
The Crew and sake makers lived together for the during the shooting of the documentary. This  allowed sake makers at the Brewery to open their heart and build trust, as one of their own.

How long did it take to film?
3 extended visits for 2 years

What was the biggest change/challenge the story?
One of sake makers (Yuchi) sudden and unexpected death provided devastating emotional turmoil as Japanese do not like to display emotion openly.

What was a initial meeting and how did you approach them?
Erik met  Yasuyuki Yoshida brewery’s sixth-generation heir at a fundraising event. Erik had asked him to donate their sake for the event. Since then, their friendship grew over the next year and he visited the the Brewery and fell in love with the process of making sake. It was originally intended to be a Short film, but it became a full length documentary feature film.

Is there female workers?
Like other Japanese craftsmanship, Japanese believe the God of Sake will not allow any female workers in their work. They believe it would bring jealousy. However, the new generation has made a change to bring a female workers for the first time last year (2015.)

How is their Business doing now?
Since the Film screened in public two years ago, their sales has increased. As a result, they have  extended the work from 6 months to 7 months in production.

How many crew members for this film
Usually Director and producer, sometimes a 3rd person for audio

What is the difference of this Brewery that distinguishes it from a modern sake Brewery?
Modern sake making is year round and a full time 9-5 pm without discrimination upon the rice quality. Over the course of the year, Rice quality and/or flavor could be different and it has to be to adjusted. The best way to control the quality is the traditional way used by this traditional brewery and not by the mass produced factory process where this is not accounted.

What was the reaction from sake makers and/or village?
As Special guest, the master and Yuchan were at Tribeca film festival. It was also screened in their town, where it became very emotional because Yuchi’s sudden death.

Explain the film’s ending:
Wanting to film as a circle, the film starts at the brewery in beginning of sake making and the ends with sake makers walking back in brewery again for new season displaying the cycle as continuous.

Fermented Rice Bran Bed

One summer’s day, I received an email from one of my Japanese friends, Aya saying, “Nukazuke is ready. Come over”. Nukazuke (糠漬け) is a type of fermented Japanese pickle that uses rice bran powder (nuka). So, I stopped by the next day to pick it up. She has been making it for me the past few months. She handed me a small container with full of pickles and a bag of rice bran powder. I was excited! I have never thought that I was able to make Nukazuke. I thought it would be very difficult to make process. My old Japanese friend, Sakai, had introduced it to me long time ago. When she took the pickles out of her old jar, the pickles were covered with brown crumbs which was different than I was used to seeing. In Korean culture, we make so many different types fermented pickles that most of them are soybean based or red pepper based. So, I was very happy to hear from Aya to remind me of another way to use rice. The more I learn about rice, the more curious I become. Any edible vegetable and fish can be pickled in Nuka. The taste of nuka pickles can be sour and salty. However, the flavor of pickle opens the appetite and after the meal helps digest the meal.

Slightly roasted nuka
Dried kelp (Kombu)
Vegetables (Cucumber, Carrots, Radish, etc)

1. Mix the salt and roasted nuka powder together in a container.
2. Add water, a little at a time, until you have a fairly dry paste.
3. Submerge kombu (kelp) and chilli in the paste (being careful not to break the chilli and release the seeds), and pat down the surface of the paste until smooth.
4. wipe the excess paste from around the edge with clean damp cloth.
5. Cover with a lid. Keep in a cool and dark place in the kitchen (or refrigerator) . Stir the paste at least twice a day, three times in hot weather.
6.After a week, the paste should be ready to use and have a slightly sour smell to it like sourdough starter does. Remove the chilli and kombu.
7. Place the slightly salted vegetable into the nuka paste.
8. After a week, They will be ready to eat.
* You will need to add nuka powder when you see the moisture on paste or when you place new vegetable or lose the pickle from the nuka paste.

Maqluba or Upside-Down

by Hadeel Assali

Photo: minahalal.com

Photo: minahalal.com

“Maqluba” is a rice dish that means “upside down” in Arabic. Some might say it is the quintessential Palestinian dish, and many debate - quote passionately sometimes - which are the ingredients to use (i.e. eggplants vs. cauliflower*). The rice is layered in a large pot with vegetables, meat and flavorful spices, and the prevention is almost as important as the last. The chef achieves star status if, upon flipping it upside-down, the rice retains the shape of the pot once the pot is removed. This is usually a performed in front of the crowd of diners and met with cheers and applause (even if it doesn’t hold the shape of the pot, because everyone is just excited to eat maqluba!).

Here is my mother’s recipe from Laziza Farms.

For preparing chicken and broth:
Whole chicken cut up into 8 pieces
oil for frying/sauteeing
1 stick cinnamon
4-6 pods whole cardamom
3-4 whole black peppercorns
1/2 onion (un-chopped)

For the rice:
2 cups of medium grain rice
2 large eggplants peeled and sliced into 1/2 - 3/4 inch slices
2 onions peeled and sliced
3 medium potatoes peeled and sliced into ½ inch slices
3-4 tomatoes sliced in half
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½- 1 teaspoon turmeric
oil for frying
Salt to taste
slivered almonds or pine-nuts (optional)

1. Sauté the washed and cleaned chicken in some oil then cover it with water. When it starts boiling skim the foam that comes up. Add the half-onion, stick of cinnamon, cardamom pods, black peppercorns and a teaspoon of salt. Once the chicken is done remove it to a separate container and strain the broth.
2. Fry the sliced onions to a light golden brown and drain on a paper towel.
3. Fry the potatoes to a golden brown and drain from oil.
4. Arrange the eggplant slices in a pan and brush with oil. Broil in the oven until golden-brown.  Turn the slices over, brush with oil and broil until golden-brown. 
5. Spray the skin side of the tomato halves and broil
6. In a heavy bottom 6 qt pot sprinkle a handful of the rice in the bottom of the pot. Arrange the cooked chicken and the fried and broiled vegetables in alternating orders.
7. Spread the rest of the rice on top of the vegetables and cover with a plate to weigh down the rice and prevent things from shifting while adding the liquid.
8. In a separate pot, add 4 cups of the reserved broth and the remaining spices and salt. Bring to boil. Pour the hot and seasoned broth over the rice.
9.  When the broth begins boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot tightly. Cook until all the rice is done.
10. Let the Maqluba cool for at least half an hour. Remover the cover of the pot and replace it with a flat round tray or plate that is bigger than the pot. 
11. Make sure you have an audience. Quickly and carefully flip the pot and pan. You might have to bang the sides and the top of the pot to loosen the rice. Remove the pot. You can decorate with toasted nuts.

Some recipes use fried florets of cauliflower and carrots instead of eggplants and tomatoes. Some meat (preferably lamb) instead of chicken. 

*In the short film by Nicolas Damuni titled “Maqloubeh” http://euromedaudiovisuel.net/p.aspx?t=videos&mid=103&l=en&did=1343 , the debate of eggplants vs. cauliflower in Maqluba is the humorous backdrop to the grim realities of daily life in Palestine. 

Rice with Glasses

at Hacienda Cusin

at Hacienda Cusin

Rice is another staple of Ecuadorian cuisine and was introduced by the Spanish. High yields and ease in cultivation make rice an important crop and food source in Ecuador as well as many parts of the world.

I have been traveling in Ecuador for few weeks. I have met great people and learned new things. Here is the simplest recipe that made me happy one day my lunch.

Arroz Con Gafas (Rice with Glasses)
Typical Ecuadorian dish basically consists of white rice and two fried eggs served to pretend to be a pair of glasses, eye or lenses. Shh, if you have one fried egg, it is a pirate eye.

Ingredients:Two Fries Eggs
Two Fries Eggs
White Rice
Olive Oil (option)
Avocado (option)

Once the rice is ready place it on the plate and place the two fried eggs on top.

Hope to gain the strength of the rice divinities

One of the traditional foods served during shōgatsu(Japanese New Year) is Mochi. Traditionally, neighbors would get together to make the Mochi. It is made of glutinous rice pounded into a paste and formed into shape. The traditional ceremony of pounding Mochi is called MochitsukiThe big lump will be divided up into round pieces or squares. Some popular ways of eating Mochi are: coating it with anko (a bean paste made of boiled and sweetened beans), kinako (a sweet powder made of roasted soybeans) and dipping it in soy sauce and wrapping it with nori (dried seaweed). By eating Mochi, believers hope to gain the strength of the rice divinities.

Photo: n9nlinar

Photo: n9nlinar

Ozoni (Japanese rice cake soup) is a Japanese tradition to eat on New Year’s holiday. Ingredients for zoni vary region to region. Basically, zoni is seasoned with soy sauce in eastern Japan, and it’s seasoned with shiromiso (white miso) in western Japan.

Prep Time: 15 min.   Cooking Time: 30 min.      Servings: 4 Ingredients:
4 cups dashi soup stock
4 blocks mochi (rice cake)
1/4 lb. boneless chicken thighs
2 inches carrot, cut into thin
4 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed.
3 inches negi (scallion), rinsed and diagonally sliced
1/4 lb. fresh spinach, boiled and cut into 2 inches
4 slices kamaboko (fish cakes)
1 tbsp soysauce

1. Peel the carrot and use the food cutter to create flowers.
2. The top of the shiitake mushroom cap, creating a star pattern.
3. In a large pot, bring the water, dashi and chicken stock to a boil.
4. Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface.
5. Add the carrots, green onion and shiitake mushrooms into the pot. Turn down the heat to low. Add soy sauce in the soup. Simmer for a few minutes.
6. Grill mochi in the oven until softened.
7. Add grilled mochi, kamaboko, and negi slices in the soup.


Full of good fortune in New Year

photo credit: timetree.zum.com

photo credit: timetree.zum.com

tteokguk(Korean rice cake soup) is a traditional Korean foods. Garaetteok is the main ingredient  and is made out rice powder and they are sliced up into thin oval shapes. Long waterhose-shaped rice cake; its shape is symbolic wishing for longevity in life. Traditionally, Koreans eat tteokguk in the Lunar New Year’s morning. They believe that they will add one more year to their age with New Year full of good fortune. No one knows for sure exactly why tteokguk became a traditional Lunar New Year’s food. There is one theory that because rice was harvested in the fall and in the olden times, there wasn’t a means of storing it long-term. Thus, making rice cakes was a way of using up the old rice. Old people are so wise.

Prep Time: 10 min.   Cooking Time: 35 min.   Servings: 4-6 Ingredients:

1.5 – 2 lbs rice cakes (Garaetteok)
1/2 lb. ground beef (or anchovy stock)
1 TB minced garlic
4-5 scallions cut in 2″ slices
8-10 cups water

4-5 large sheets of unseasoned seaweed, cut 2”

For garnish: ground beef (cooked with garlic & sesame oil) & egg (cooked flat & cut same size of seaweed)Soy sauce, salt, pepper, sesame oil to taste


1. Rinse and soak the tteok in a large bowl filled with cold water for 5-10 minutes

2. Cook the beef with minced garlic in a frying pan on medium high heat until fully cooked. No need to add any extra oil. Put a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the cooked ground beef. (or heat the anchovy stock in a pot over medium high heat. Season the soup by adding salt, soy sauce and minced garlic.)

3. Bump up the heat to a boil. Skim off any impurities.

4. Drain the tteok and add to the broth. When the tteok float to the top, they are now cooked and ready to eat.

5.Turn off the heat, sprinkle some black pepper and add sliced green onions.

6. Ladle tteokguk into large bowls and garnish with some beef and egg or cut-up seaweed and sesame oil if you like.


Snap, Crackle, and Pop

W.K. Kellogg pours milk over a brand-new, toasted rice cereal from the Kellogg test kitchen, and gives it a try. “You’ve got something there!” he exclaims in 1927 and “ Rice Krispies” are released to the public in 1928 for the first time.

“Rice Krispies” are made of crisped rice which expands to form thin and hollowed out walls that are crunchy and crisp. When milk is added, the cereal collapses and creates the recognizable sound "Snap, crackle and pop"

FUN FACT! Snap, Crackle, and Pop are popular all over the world, but they aren't known as the same thing in every country.
Sweden: Piff! Paff! Puff!
Germany: Knisper! Knasper! Knusper!
Mexico: Pim! Pum! Pam!
Finland: Poks! Riks! Raks!
Holland: Pif! Paf! Pof!
South Africa: Knap! Knaetter! Knak!
Canadian French: Cric! Crac! Croc!

Photo: www.ricekrispies.com

Photo: www.ricekrispies.com

3 tablespoons butter

1 package (10 oz., about 40) JET-PUFFED Marshmallows
4 cups JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows
6 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
2. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.
3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.

-For best results, use fresh marshmallows.
-1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème can be substituted for marshmallows.
-Diet, reduced calorie or tub margarine is not recommended.
-Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container.
-To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.



Dark Roasted Rice

Rice espresso sounded very elegant. It’s dark roasted powder looked and smelled like fine coffee grounds.  I found this delicious rice espresso at the Risotteria Melotti New York restaurant for few years ago.  The Melotti’s are 3rd generation owners of an organic rice farm in Verona, Italy. Their expertise brought out the flavorful taste of rice that I had experienced in my childhood in Korea. From Korea to Italy, rice brings our diverse cultures together through food.

Photo Credit: Melotti Farm

Photo Credit: Melotti Farm

Before the modern rice cookers, rice was cooked in an iron pot directly over a wood fire. The rice at the bottom of the pot would scorch from the heat and become “roasted.” The cooked rice would be scooped off the top and served, while the roasted rice would remain in the bottom of the pot. More water was added to the pot and boiled again, allowing the water to absorb the flavor of the roasted rice. The boiled “roasted rice water” was then served after meals as a drink like rice tea.

Today we can buy pre-made roasted rice, ‘Nurungji, ‘at Asian grocery stores. This rice can also be deep fried and sprinkled with sugar to serve as a snack.

Pre-made roasted rice

Pre-made roasted rice