Ask Maki Almost Anything

What to do with yuzu?

I love yuzu, so when some popped up at my local market at a decent price I snatched them up. But now I don't really know what to do with them. Any suggestions for what to do with 5 tiny yuzu, whether it be preserving or recipes?

You said "Maybe some day I will tackle ramen"

::begin light-hearted humor::
On August 8th, 2007, a date that seems like an eternity ago, you made a comment about making ramen. Well, I must say "Where's my ramen?"

I must request that, after you finish your rough draft (or the book, whichever it may be) that you do indeed tackle ramen. Run at it flat out and clothesline it.

There are various other websites on the tubes that have pretty trashy instructions. Some, are just plain wrong. Most of the quality ones that I have seen are actually in Japanese, and engrish instructions from a translator are no good. continue reading...

Should shiro miso have a slightly moldy smell?

Hi Maki--I love reading your blogs and I've learned a lot about Japanese food on my visits. My question concerns some shiro miso I just bought. It's the first time I've used it (previously using red miso) and when I opened the container, I noticed it had a slightly sweet, almost moldy smell to it. I just used a few teaspoons to make a cup of miso soup with some wakame (yum!) and it tastes fine. Is this smell normal? I never noticed this smell with the red miso. It's a fresh variety called Miso Master, available at Whole Foods here in the Boston, MA (USA) area. What do you think? continue reading...

What can I do with Mochigome?

I accidentally purchased mochigome instead of Japanica rice - apparently, the cheap supermarket around her stocks the former but not the latter! I've since bought more rice, but I was wondering what-all I could do with the mochigome other than seikhan? I tried using it in place of normal rice in a bento with disastrous results. Thanks!

White Natto-like food, what could it be?

I've eaten japanese-style breakfast during homestay and the family served something that was so yummy, but I cannot remember the name. The texture was similiar to Natto, however it looked white. We put it on top of rice and also added some nori. Does anybody know what it might have been?

How do you make old-school soba noodles?

I have a gluten allergy. I adore soba. I have heard that in ye olden times, that you could make soba with buckwheat only, as opposed to adding wheat or other grains. I have plenty of buckwheat here, and my problems lay in cutting to the proper thickness and cooking them. I seem to cut them too thick, but any thinner and they crumble. Also boiling causes them to disintegrate, and steaming makes them gummy.

So, What am I doing wrong here?

PS: I also make my own Buckwheat flour. some is roasted and then it is all ground up together.

Silly question

I am currently studying in Japan for a semester, and have to cook for myself. I am currently living in Yokohama, and my question is where can I find chili? More specifically, bird's eye chilis. I saw them when I was in the Chinatown here, but figured I would be able to find them in my area. Oddly, I can't. Is it just uncommon? My Japanese is not the greatest, so I decided I'd rather ask on the forum than try to ask shopkeepers.

Cherry tomatoe flowers

Hi Maki,

I have been intrigued by people's bentos with their cherry tomatoe flowers. I have tried searching and have not found a site that shows how to make them.

Would you know how to make them? If so, please can you share with us...