Ask Maki Almost Anything

a type of dango-ish thingy?

Since university, I've enjoyed cooking my own meals (necessity became enjoyment) and having recently started my first graduate job (meaning low pay, high transportation costs) what better time to use my 'uni skills'. When I came across your website, it was seriously a lifesaver! I didn't hesitate to buy your book when I saw it released at my local Kinokuniya bookstore (I live in Malaysia if you're curious). Thankfully there is rather large japanese community here in Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding suburbs that it is quite easy to get the japanese ingredients. continue reading...


Hi Maki,

I'm back from Japan and I've got a big question.... What is purukogi???


Powdered tofu?

Hi Maki,

A friend asked me if I could look for a powdered tofu for use in making a Vietnamese dessert that is a kind of gelatin. Do you know what this might be and where could I find it in Japan? Thanks!

Sake alternative

I love the recipes here and cook them quite often for my work lunch group. Only problem is that there's a new person in our group who is a recovering alcoholic. I don't want to cause any problems for her because of my carelessness. Can anyone suggest an alternative to sake & mirin that will offer some of the same benefits (i.e. tenderizing the protein) without the drawbacks?? Please help!!! I want to make both Chili Prawns & Soboro, so any help is welcome. Thank you in advance!

Kiyoken's Shumai Factory Tour

Morning, Maki!
Have you ever been on the Kiyoken Factory Tour in Yokohama? Each time that I have been in Tokyo I've bought a box of their shumai in a department store just so that I can have the Hyo-chan ceramic shoyu container. I see from your Tokyo Google Map that you've been to a Kiyoken restaurant. I'd certainly go to there for the shumai , especially if I could get more Hyo-chans. ^_^

growing edamame

I would like to try to grow edamame, since here where I live I can only get the frozen kind, which is very expensive... moreover, spring has just begun, and I'm looking forword to spending more time outside the university's library ;-)
does anyone have suggestions? I have read the post about growing Japanese herbs and vegetables, but there was not much information on edamame..

Grilling on induction cooktop

I've just remodelled my kitchen with an induction cooktop and am cautiously collecting my new cooking equipment. Will one of those small Japanese stovetop grills work on this type of cooktop? I am unclear as to whether it is the grill surface or the heat from below that cooks food on regular cooktops. I was not successful with using a stovetop grill on my old electric cooktop.

Help! I'm moving to the mountains and need to know...

I need to know how to start cooking from absolute scratch because the area I'm moving to is a very remote area of Montana and you can't just go to the market and get things for dinner. The nearest food store is an hour away in good weather. I went to school for Horticulture and passed with honors, so growing the food is no problem. I have a supplier of Japanese garden seed and another for things like nori and rice, but I need to know how to make my own fermented, pickled, dried, and canned produce. continue reading...