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 join the KITCHEN CULTURE Cooking Club Facebook Group (formerly the TSUDOI Project), an interactive community space.


Project: Enjoy Junsai

PROJECT Enjoying Junsai

潤菜料理 (junsai ryōri)

JUNSAI (water shield; Brasenia schreberi) grows naturally in lakes, ponds and slow streams in many parts of the world but only Japan and China have a long history of cultivating the plant as a food. Young, unfurled sprouts covered in slippery, transparent jelly, are especially prized by the Japanese.

Junsai can be enjoyed in soups, salads or as a topping for chilled noodles, sushi rice (easiest to eat as a gunkan wrapped in nori), tofu or egg custard.

Using the recipes below as a point of departure, create your own JUNSAI dish… Then share your dish with us at Kitchen Culture Cooking Club.

Prepping JUNSAI


Download  general guidelines for preparing junsai to use in a variety of dishes.



Chilled Tofu with Toppings

冷奴 hiya yakko, chilled blocks of tofu topped with junsai and okra enhanced by seasoned soy concentrate — either the VEGAN version or UMAMI Essence.

Junsai as a Topping for Tamago-Dofu Custard


Make tamago-dofu custard according to instructions on page 285 of WASHOKU.

Spoon prepped junsai over each portion and drizzle with either Umami Essence OR Vegan Seasoned Soy Concentrate.


Standard Sea Stock (this recipe includes a variation known as oigatsuo or “extra smoky sea stock”) is made with kelp and fish flakes.

A simple vegan broth,  Kelp Alone Stock is, as its name suggests, made from just kombu.

A more complex broth called  Sankai Dashi is made from dried shiitake mushrooms and kelp.

Visit my Kitchen Culture blog to learn about JUNSAI, a summertime delicacy.

Read my June, 2024 newsletter about the texture of food, mouthfeel.

Show Us Your Kitchen Project

Ready to SHARE YOUR KITCHEN PROJECT with others?

KITCHEN CULTURE Cooking Club members, head over to our Facebook Group. Not yet a member? Please join – membership is opt-in and free of charge.

Looking forward to seeing what you’re making in your kitchen…

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.

Kashiwa Mochi

Kashiwa Mochi

So named because this sweet is wrapped in kashiwa (oak) leaves, kashiwa mochi 柏餅 is enjoyed during the Golden Week holidays, early in May. Historically this sweet is associated with Tango no Sekku (also known as Kodomo no Hi or Children's Day). What's the connection?...

PROJECT Cooking with Bamboo Shoots

PROJECT Cooking with Bamboo Shoots

A single bamboo shoot has different segments, each with a different texture and flavor profile. The BROAD BASE is best suited to cutting into circular slabs, half-moon slices, or chunks. Try slathering these with miso and broiling to make dengaku... or soy-glazing...

Fresh Bamboo Shoots

Fresh Bamboo Shoots

The moment in the culinary calendar when a food is at its seasonal peak of flavor is referred to as shün, and it is the driving force in most Japanese kitchens. Indeed, entire menus are planned around shün ingredients. In the spring, as tender bamboo buds begin to...

Project Kiriboshi Daikon

Project Kiriboshi Daikon

Cooking with KIRIBOSHI DAIKON in your kitchen. This versatile ingredient can be used in soups, pickles, rice dishes and a variety of sides, too. Here are a few recipes to get you started: Kogane Meshi, a takikomi-style rice dish Granny's Sun-Dried Radish, a...

Recent Posts & Projects

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