Ask Maki Food Questions

Shiso thinnings

Hi Maki,

I've got a little bowl of green shiso seedlings which I collected while transplanting today, just a tiny little bowlful, so I was wondering what you think might be a special perfect first shiso tasting idea.

I could make one lunches worth of pretty shiso onigiri, I figure, but I would love any suggestions to make my first shiso-eating delicious and memorable. The red seedlings are a bit smaller, and don't need thinning, just potting up. But soon!

Marinated Garlic Cloves

Hello Maki,
A while back I was at a party for my friends birthday.
She had at her party garlic cloves which I think had
been left to soak in soy sauce or something similar
for a long while. She said that they were sort of a
Japanese snack. With that being said, have you ever
heard of this and if so, is it really just as simple as
leaving cloves of garlic to soak in soy sauce?

Thanks for your time ^_^

Organic meat in Japan

I just saw your post about miso pork and wondered whether you recommend buying organic meat in Japan. I moved to Tokyo a year ago and don't know anything about how meat is raised in Japan, whether there is widespread use of hormones and/or antibiotics in treating cattle or poultry. Thanks!

what is tori no renjinseeji?

I got a Japanese cooking magazine for the bento stuff in it (magazine is called "renusuhurabu", I think, blocky katakana throws me)

I can't really read much Japanese, but I can recognize the characters and the pictures work - but there was one thing called "tori no renjinseeji" (I may have the spaces wrong). It kind of looks like sort of hot-dog shaped rolls of ground chicken? or something, I don't know. Help? What is it?


I just saw some shiso oil for the first time in our local Japanese grocery store in the olive oil section. I was tempted to buy a bottle, but I wanted to learn more about its use and shelf life before plunking down 1100 yen. Would it be just as easy to make my own? Thanks!

Shoyu vs. Soy Sauce

Is there any real difference? I see recipes calling for shoyu and wonder if soy sauce can be substituted if I don't have shoyu? Is there really any taste difference? I assume no texture difference. I no longer purchase tamari because I can't tell any difference from that and regular good soy sauce in cooked items. Is it the same with shoyu?

Salad Dressings

Hi Maki,

I've tried a couple (and seen several others) of Japanese-style salad dressings I've bought from a Japanese grocery store that is not conveniently reachable for me... I have to travel over an hour just to get there. Might you be coaxed into suggesting a few recipes for dressings like Wasabi dressing, Sesame Dressing, Shoyu dressing etc that can be made at home?

Thanks in advance
Bell ^_^

Sweetness help? >.<

Hi, I have a couple of questions:
1 - I saw a recipe on justhungry for spicy crunchy roasted chick peas, besides sugar, what else should I put on if I wanted a sweet version? I'm afraid sugar isnt enough to get the sweetness.
2 - I'm not a fan of red bean, what other sweet things can I put in onigiri?
Thanks! -mdu