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 Kampyo

干瓢・かんぴょう・KAMPYŌ

This Kitchen Culture Cooking Club PROJECT is about using KAMPYŌ, sun-dried fukubé gourd ribbons in YOUR kitchen… and sharing with fellow members what you have made with them. Be sure to source UNBLEACHED (無漂白 mu hyō haku) gourd ribbons so that you can use the softening liquid as a tasty stock.

Gourd ribbons are used to tie up any number of edible packages in the Japanese kitchen such as kombu maki (An American Taste of Japan page 116 Gift-Wrapped Kelp Rolls). When gourd ribbons are simmered in a sweet soy broth they become a filling in sushi rolls called nori maki.

When simmered in sweetened umezu the ribbons turn vividly pink and exude a lovely, plum-like aroma. They, too can be used in sushi rolls. See page 33 in Kansha (Festive Flower Sushi Rolls).

Gourd ribbons can also be deep-fried to make (addictatively delicious) crunchy gourd chips. See page 145 in Kansha.

Bulbous fukubé gourds are harvested in the summer; the gourd is set to spin against a sharp blade that shaves it into ribbons. The ribbons are then hung to dry in the sun (or well-ventilated shade). Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo, has been the center of production of kampyō since the Edo Period (1603-1868). It continues to produce about 80% of all dried gourd ribbons sold in Japan.

Want to know more about kampyō? Look at the Kampyō Kitchen Culture post and my July 2022 newsletter.

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 Kampyo

Project Kampyo

干瓢・かんぴょう・KAMPYŌ This Kitchen Culture Cooking Club PROJECT is about using KAMPYŌ, sun-dried fukubé gourd ribbons in YOUR kitchen… and sharing with fellow members what you have made with them. Be sure to source UNBLEACHED (無漂白 mu hyō haku) gourd ribbons so that you can...

PROJECT Yakumi

PROJECT Yakumi

薬味PROJECT Yakumi This Kitchen Culture Cooking Club PROJECT is about making YAKUMI, fresh herb and spice mixtures, in YOUR kitchen… and sharing with fellow members what you have made, and how you are using it. Use yakumi to top dishes such as chilled tōfu, fresh...

Yakumi condiments

Yakumi condiments

薬味YAKUMI A Lively Mixture of Aromatic Herbs Food cultures around the world employ various aromatic herbs and spices to stimulate the appetite, maximize flavor and promote healthful eating. Japan has a long history of using yakumi, condiments, that provide a benefit to...

Earthy Gobo

Earthy Gobo

ごぼう・牛蒡・Gobō (burdock root; Arctium lappa) Kimpira, named after a folk-hero celebrated for his fervent determination and fiery ways, is a quickly assembled, skillet-stirred vegetable dish finished with an incendiary 7-spice blend. Kimpira frequently appears on the menu...

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