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 RED Foods and Tableware

Recipes for Red Foods

Generations of Japanese have been well nourished daily by modest meals following a simple pattern: soup, rice, and a few other dishes. This easy-to-compose menu model called ichi jū san sai (一汁三菜 ) that satisfies hunger while fulfilling nutritional needs. The soup provides hydration and becomes a vehicle for delivering many water soluble nutrients (vitamins, minerals). Rice and other grains supply energy-giving carbohydrates and feeling-full fiber. The few other dishes balance out whatever essential elements might be missing from the broth and rice.

For centuries, Japan’s indigenous food culture, washoku, has recognized the importance of crafting menus that are mindful of color, flavor, and method of preparation. The phrase goshiki, gomi, gohō (5 five colors, five flavors, 5 ways) describes this notion. Why is this beneficial? The pigmentation of a food is a roadmap to its nutritional value: consuming colorful foods ensures nutritional balance. Colorful foods provide visual interest, too, making the meal more appealing.

Red foods are especially rich in polyphenols and beta-carotene — antioxidants that protect against cell damage, promote healing and boost overall health. Here are just a few  suggestions for incorporating red foods in your daily mealtime routine.

Gingery Soy-Stewed Red Snapper

Omusubi/Onigiri Rice bundles stuffed with pickled plums or seasoned salmon flakes.

A chunk vegetable and tōfu chowder called Kenchin-Jiru

Spicy saute of vegetables called kimpira

What Red foods will you prepare in YOUR kitchen? Please share with us at Kitchen Culture Cooking Club (Facebook group)

Visit Kitchen Culture Many Shades of Red

Tableware in Shades of Red

RED tableware — lacquer, glass, ceramic — conveys a celebratory mood at the Japanese table, whether a ceremonial event or taking pleasure in the passage of the seasons.

Clockwise from upper left: a (shu 朱) red lacquered set of serving dishes used to celebrate a newborn’s 100th  day; ceramic teacup with cherry blossom motif, Hasami yaki kiln ware from Nagasaki (波佐見焼き長崎); a (akané) red lantern-shaped soup bowl with lid; exquisitely crafted (akai) red Edo kiriko cut-glass tumbler; (shu 朱) red lacquer bowl with white and black goma-dōfu garnished with wasabi; a red lacquered oval tray with cherry blossom motif.

My March 2023 NEWSLETTER is about Many Shades of Red.

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.

Project RED Foods and Tableware

Project RED Foods and Tableware

Generations of Japanese have been well nourished daily by modest meals following a simple pattern: soup, rice, and a few other dishes. This easy-to-compose menu model called ichi jū san sai (一汁三菜 ) that satisfies hunger while fulfilling nutritional needs. The soup...

Naga Negi

Naga Negi

NAGA “long” NEGI “onions” (Japanese bunching onion; Allium fistulosum) have been enjoyed in Japan since the 8th century. They are indispensible in nabé (hot pot) cookery, as a condiment for noodles and tōfu, and in miso soup. Like other members of the allium family,...



Indispensible in nabé (hot pot) cookery, as a condiment and in soups all parts of naga negi (Allium fistulosum) are edible. Plan from the start to use the plant fully. If your naga negi have roots attached, wash them thoroughly to remove all the dirt that clings to...



HAKUSAI・白菜 Because hakusai is such a favorite wintertime vegetable in Japan, I assumed it had a long, deep history in Japan's cookery. Not really. It seems that the original Brassica oleracea ancestor of hakusai is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe. What is...

Recent Posts & Projects

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