Kitchen Culture Cooking Club

EXPLORE and PRACTICE Japanese cooking in your own kitchen

About Kitchen Culture Cooking Club

Welcome to the Kitchen Culture Cooking Club, a community space providing encouragement to those who want to EXPLORE and PRACTICE Japan’s washoku wisdom in their own kitchens.

To facilitate this, themed projects will be posted to this page periodically. Project Assignments and links to relevant reference material stored on this site will be posted to this page. Anyone, anywhere in the world, with a sincere interest in Japanese food culture is welcome to browse the contents of this page and then replicate the themed project in their own kitchen.

For those who wish to display-and-discuss their projects with like-minded people, I invite you to become a member of the KITCHEN CULTURE Cooking Club Facebook Group (formerly the TSUDOI Project), an interactive community space. If you are not already a member, please apply. Members are encouraged to post photos and a short description of what they make in their own kitchens in accordance with the chosen theme.


Project Rice Snacks

Project Rice Snacks

Crisp-and-Crunchy Rice Snacks are a delicious way to use up leftover omochi. Inevitably after the New Years holidays pieces of omochi remain uneaten. Dried and cracking they can be repurposed into tasty ARARÉ.

This Kitchen Culture Cooking Club PROJECT is about making crisp-and-crunchy rice snacks in YOUR kitchen… and sharing with members what you made. Use the basic recipe (above) to make araré. Did you take some innovative steps? Try using a distinctive flavoring as a finishing touch? Let us know: post a photo and brief description in the Kitchen Culture Cooking Club. Please include your location (where in this wide world your kitchen is).

Looking forward to seeing YOUR araré snacks.

More information about New Year’s ceremonial rice cakes called kagami mochi and their connection to araré can be found on the Kitchen Culture blog post.


What about moldy omochi?

Japanese Granny-wisdom claims no harm will be done by cutting away the blue-green moldy spots that grow on omochi. Indeed, in the old days, ao kabi (blue mold) was cultivated for its medicinal (antibiotic) properties, placing it on open wounds to avoid infection. Anyone with allergies to penicillin (or similar antibiotics) should not eat omochi that has developed moldy spots.

Currently nutrition scientists in Japan advise the public NOT to eat omochi that has turned moldy, even after cutting away visible spots. It is difficult for non-professionals, they warn,  to determine the difference between harmful molds and benign ones merely by color. Heat (cooking), they add, does not render toxic molds harmless.


Recipes and Resources

Stock (Dashi)

Dashi stock is essential to making soups and simmered or stewed dishes. Dashi is also used when making many egg dishes and all sorts of sauces, dips and dressings. Using good dashi will make a noticeable difference in the outcome of so many dishes you prepare.

Click to download recipes for (vegan) Kelp Alone Stock or Standard Sea Stock + Smoky Sea Stock

How to Cook Rice

In Japanese, the word for cooked rice, ご飯 GOHAN, is the same as the word for a meal, ご飯 GOHAN. Indeed rice is central to the meal.  Download the Rice with Mixed Grains recipe.

How to Prepare Sushi Rice

Sushi dishes are made with rice that has been seasoned (with sweetened vinegar) AFTER being cooked. Download the Classic Sushi Rice recipe.

Quick Pickles

The Japanese enjoy a wide variety of tsukémono pickles, many can be assembled quickly and are ready to eat within a short time.

Download a recipe for Quick-Fix Hakusai Cabbage.

ARARÉ Rice Snacks

ARARÉ Rice Snacks

あられ・霰・ARARÉCrisp-and-Crunchy Rice Snacks When listening to the weather report araré means “hailstones” but in the kitchen (or other culinary setting) it means “small cubes” or fine-diced omochi (sticky rice) that has been fried or baked. No doubt the origin of this...

OZONI Honorable Miscellany Stew

OZONI Honorable Miscellany Stew

お雑煮Ozōni “Honorable Miscellany Stew” Served for brunch on Gan Jitsu (New Year's Day), and on many chilly winter mornings thereafter, ozōni is enjoyed throughout Japan. The name of the dish is rather straightforward and descriptive: the “o” is an honorific applied to...

Project Ozoni

Project Ozoni

A sampling of REGIONAL OZŌNI Top row, from left: Kanto (Tokyo area) style, Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka) style, Kanto, KansaiBottom row, from left: Tottori with adzuki-jiru, Miyagi with whole grilled goby fish, Kagawa (Shikoku) with anko-filled mochi, Hakata with buri and...

Yuzu Yu

Yuzu Yu

ゆず湯・Yuzu Yu Food customs in Japan often involve word-play. The winter solstice​ that occurs on or about December 22 is called tōji 『冬至』, literally "winter arrives." But the word tōji can also be written as 『湯治』meaning "hot-spring cure" or "taking the baths​." One of...



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