Washoku is the Japanese word for Japanese cuisine. This blog will introduce Japanese food, the chefs, dishes, pottery, and Japanese culture. All photos are by Naoko Takagi, contributions from other individuals will be noted.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Washu Beef

washu beef copyright Naoko Takagi
Washu Sirloin

washu beef copyright Naoko Takagi
Washu Sirloin

washu beef copyright Naoko Takagi
Washu Sirloin

Washu Beef

The American cow predominantly raised for meat consumption when bred with a Japanese cow known for having a high percentage of body fat creates a crossbred variety of cows sought after by professional chefs because the richly marbled meat creates mouth watering meals.



Photo shooting at Hirohisa

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

HESHIKO (Nuka Pickled Fish)

Saba Heshiko (Pickled Mackerel)


One of tapas which Japanese foodies love.



Photo shooting at Hirohisa

Saturday, November 5, 2016



Karasumi (Bottarga)



Photo Shooting at Hirohisa

Monday, October 24, 2016

Infrared Grilled Sanma

infrared grilled sanma dish photo copyright Naoko Takagi
Infrared Grilled Sanma dish

Infrared Grilled Sanma

Sanma is infrared grilled with shredded daikon radish and rich sanma's belly sauce.
Sanma is popular and common in Japan as a cheap fish, but with a professional touch, it can transform into an elegant dish. Sudachi, homemade mushroom chips and sanma's bone chips are nice additions that add sophistication.



Photo shooting at Hirohisa

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Deep fried Matsutake mushroom and Ohitashi of Matsutake mushroom

copyright 2016 naokotakagi
Deep Fried Matsutake Mushroom with Sudachi and Truffle Salt

 The Matsutake mushroom season is coming. This ubiquitously known mushroom has Japanese people salivating and checking for this specialty mushroom each Fall. It is very expensive and rare mushroom with a unique texture and scent. There is no substitute for this ingredient so far. Here this time, Chef Hirohisa Hayashi (Owner chef at Hirohisa SoHo) introduces two dishes that he thinks best suit the Matsutake mushroom.

The first is "Deep Fried Matsutake Mushroom with Sudachi (a species of Japanese citrus)".

This way of preparing the Matsutake mushroom is simple but very tasty. This dish is extremely satisfying, even more than a steak some might say. From the first bite to moment I swallow the flavor is so rich that even inhaling and exhaling after enjoying a morsel is satisfying. I recommend you to close your eyes for the best experience.

松茸の季節がやって参りました。日本人ならばこのキノコに心が踊らない人はいません。松茸の芳醇な香りと独特の歯ごたえは他の食材をもって替えることはできません。いまだに人工栽培のめどが立たない、希少な食材の松茸。今回はシェフHirohisa Hayashi氏 (Owner chef at Hirohisa SoHo)に、彼が思う松茸の一番美味しい食べ方で調理していただきました。


Ohitashi of Matsutake Mushroom and Mizuna Greens

The second dish is "Ohitashi (boiled greens in bonito-flavored soy sauce) of matsutake mushroom and mizuna greens".

The mizuna greens absorb the full flavor of Matsutake mushrooms and dashi (a soup made with bonito flakes and kombu kelps). This dish makes me realize I am alive.

The matsutake mushroom is harvested from the wild, but cannot be cultivated, so when you have a chance to try this mushroom, don't miss it.



Saturday, September 17, 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Kumamoto Oyster

The kumamoto oyster, harvested in Washington state.

Eat fresh kumamoto oysters by steaming, grilling, deep frying, sauteing, boiling, raw and among other methods.

Photo shoot at Hirohisa

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Yaki-Anago Bozushi (Grilled Conger Eel Sushi)

Yaki-Anago Bozushi (Grilled Conger Eel Sushi)

Yaki-Anago Bozushi (Grilled Conger Eel Sushi)

This is a popular dish in southern Japan, but the steamed variation of the dish is "Edomae" which means representative of the traditional food of Tokyo.

Grilled Conger Eel

Photo shoot at Hirohisa

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Grilled Eggplant (Yakinasu)

Grilled Eggplant (Yakinasu)

Grilled Eggplant (Yakinasu)

Grilled Eggplant (Yakinasu)

Eggplants are one of the favorite summer vegetable in Japan. One dish made with eggplants is called "Yakinasu", grilled eggplants.

Chef Hayashi made Yakinasu with an advanced technique this time. This dish is made with grilled eggplants, shredded Japanese yam, steamed abalone and watershield (Brasenia schreberi), topped with green dried seaweed, unprocessed nori, baked seaweed and bonito flakes.



Eggplants (Nasubi)

Friday, July 15, 2016




One of the Japanese summer sweets that many enjoy eating to cool down in the hot and humid summers.

Photo shoot at Hirohisa

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sashimi of Thinly Sliced Fluke (Hirame no Usuzukuri)

sashimi of thinly sliced fluke ヒラメの薄造り
Sashimi of Thinly Sliced Fluke (Hirame no Usuzukuri) ヒラメの薄造り

Sashimi of Thinly Sliced Fluke (Hirame no Usuzukuri)

Fresh fluke from Montauk, Long Island NY on a Kutani-yaki plate with grated daikon radish and chili, chopped scallions and homemade ponzu.

During fluke season, chefs around Japan sharpen their knives and prepare to cut freshly caught fluke into nearly paper-thin slices. These slices are meant to be eaten a few at a time rather than one at a time--the way that sashimi is normally enjoyed. The resulting texture is savored by many. The freshness of the fluke is limited, so they must be prepared within the window of freshness in order for the dish to present the texture desired.



sashimi of thinly sliced fluke ヒラメの薄造り
Sashimi of Thinly Sliced Fluke (Hirame no Usuzukuri) ヒラメの薄造り

Photoshoot at Hirohisa

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Lightly Seared Skipjack Tuna Dish (Katsuo no Tataki)

Katsuo no tataki bonito カツオのたたき
Lightly Roasted Skipjack Tuna (Katsuo no Tataki)

Lightly Seared Skipjack Tuna (Katsuo no Tataki)

With chopped ramps, homemade ginger oil and wisked shiso (Japanese basil) sauce to round off the dish. A Japanese early summer signature dish.



Katsuo no tataki bonito カツオのたたき
Lightly Roasted Skipjack Tuna (Katsuo no Tataki)

Photoshoot at Hirohisa

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wakatake-ni (Bamboo shoots and wakame seaweed)

wakatake wakatakeni
Wakatakeni  若竹煮

Wakatake-ni (Bamboo shoots and wakame seaweed)

Wakatake-ni is a one of the most popular dishes in the spring time in Japan. There is a limited amount of time that we can enjoy eating the tender bamboo shoots. They grow quite fast and only baby bamboo shoots are edible. As a result, the youngest shoots must be harvested before they begin to mature. Fresh bamboo shoots have very delicious flavor and unique crisp texture. We cook them with sashimi, stewed, steamed, broiled, grilled, mixed with rice, salad and other dishes. However, the most popular way of cooking is "Wakatake-ni", in other words, simmered bamboo shoots and wakame seaweed. Wakame seaweed is also well-known as a spring time ingredient.

The bamboo shoots and the wakame seaweed, a bounty from the mountains and bounty from the ocean. Both ingredients come from different places but the combination of the two yields a very special dish.



Photoshoot at Hirohisa

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Cold Soba Noodle with Grated Spicy Daikon Radish (Echizen Oroshi Soba in Japanese)

Cold Soba Noodle with Grated Spicy Daikon Radish (Echizen Oroshi Soba in Japanese) 越前おろしそば
Cold Soba Noodle with Grated Spicy Daikon Radish (Echizen Oroshi Soba in Japanese)

Cold Soba Noodle with Grated Spicy Daikon Radish (Echizen Oroshi Soba in Japanese)

The soba noodle is one of the representative foods of Japan, in the way that tempura or sushi has become around the world. Buckwheat flour is prepared and eaten by people from many countries, but only in Japan will you find people enjoying the flavor and texture of the buckwheat noodle itself. Depending on where in Japan you travel, you will find regional variations of this dish. The soba noodle has been a staple of the Japanese diet since the 8th century according to historical documents. In earlier times, soba noodles were very expensive, so much so that only elite and wealthy individuals could afford to enjoy slurping up these noodles, but as wealth spread across the country and commodity prices for buckwheat and other fresh ingredients fell, enjoying soba noodles became a part of everyday life in Japan for all families.

Chef Hirohisa Hayashi (owner chef at Hirohisa in SoHo, NYC) introduced us to "Echizen Oroshi Soba (Cold Soba Noodle with Grated Spicy Daikon Radish)" which is one of the ways to eat soba noodles and is from the northern part of the Fukui prefecture in Japan, where he was born.

After the soba noodles are boiled quickly, rinsed with ice cold water and splashed with the soup, grated spicy daikon radish, bonito flakes and chopped scallions are placed gently on top. It's simple but fresh flavor and aroma gives us motivation to slurp noodle after noodle.

In recent times, because of global trade, the buckwheat noodle--nutritious and easily grown--we may find a local chef reinventing the soba noodle in the near future.



今回はニューヨークはSoHoにある日本料理店「ひろ久」のオーナーシェフ、Hirohisa Hayashi氏に、彼の故郷である福井県の「越前おろし蕎麦」を紹介していただきました。



Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sharpening Knives

Sharpening Knives

For the professionals, equipment is like an extension of the body. The great professionals take care to maintain their equipment on a regular basis. In the culinary industry, for example, well sharpened knives can greatly impact the texture and quality of presentation, but beyond this, many would argue that even the flavor itself is improved. Top chefs are sharpening their knives daily.



Wet the sharpener 砥石を濡らす

Sharpening well needs skill 上手に包丁を研ぐには技術が必要です

Sharpener made by Shapton Precision シャプトン株式会社製研磨器

Sharpening knife makes its blade smaller 研ぐことによって刃は減ってゆきます

Several kinds of knives are required, each have their own purpose. 食材によって包丁の機能が違います

Maintaining the sharpener is also necessary. 砥石もメンテナンスが必要です

Well sharpened knives should be reserved for professionals with cutting skills to avoid injury. 良く研がれた包丁は取り扱いも技術が必要です

Photo shoot at Hirohisa

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Osechi-Ryori (Special dishes prepared for the New Year)

おせち料理(三段重) Osechi Ryori
おせち料理(三段重) Osechi Ryori

Osechi-Ryori (Special dishes prepared for the New Year)

In Japan, there is traditionally a feast on New Year's day with family. This feast is called "Osechi-Ryori". It is usually prepared a week to one day before the New Year's day so the food must be able to last a few of days in the refrigerator or stored at a cool room temperature because they've been heated, dried, pickled or heavily flavored. The dishes chosen are reserved for the first day of the year, in many cases. For example, prawns are prepared bent back, meaning we hope we have longevity like our back will hunch one day. Only eating this dishes once a year create a special feeling for those who enjoy the feast every year.

Here is an example of the menu photographed this year:

・Ebi-Shoga-ni (ginger stewed prawns)
・Kamo no Roast (roast duck)
・Masu-Misoduke (grilled miso-marinated trout)
・Buri-Teriyaki (teriyaki yellowtail)
・Kuri-Kanroni (chestnuts compote)
・Komochi-Konbu (herring spawn on kelp)
・Karasumi (bottarga)
・Nanohana-Ohitasi (boiled flower blossoms with a soy sauce dressing)
Ikura-Syoyu-duke (salmon roe Prepared by marinating in soy sauce and dashi)
・Koohaku-Kamaboko (red-and-white fish cake)
・Umaki (roasted eel wrapped in a rolled omelette)
・Smoked Salmon
・Shungiku-Goma-ae (crown daisy dressed with a sesame sauce)
・Tataki-Gobo (burdock root topped with sesame seeds)
・Su-Renkon (lotus roots pickled in vinegar)
・Satoimo-Kosenage (deep fried taro with crispy rice)
・Gyu no Heshiko (beef pickled in rice-bran paste)
・Kuromame (simmered black beans)
・Awabi-Yawarakani (boiled tender abalone)
・Hotate no Kunsei (smoked scallops)
・Lobstar Uni-Yaki (grilled lobster with sea urchin)

Each of these dishes are very special, gorgeous and delicious. It suddenly feels like New Year's Day.






一の重 the first tier
一の重 the first tier

二の重 the second tier

三の重 the third tier
三の重 the third tier

お重の蓋 the lid
お重の蓋 the lid

おせち料理 osechi ryori

海老生姜煮、黒豆、酢蓮根 ginger stewed prawns, simmered black beans and lotus roots pickled in vinegar
海老生姜煮、黒豆、酢蓮根 ginger stewed prawns, simmered black beans, lotus roots pickled in vinegar   

里芋香煎揚げ、ロブスター雲丹焼き、いくら醤油漬け、鱒味噌漬け deep fried taro with crispy rice, grilled lobster with sea urchin, ikura, grilled miso-marinated trout
里芋香煎揚げ、ロブスター雲丹焼き、いくら醤油漬け、鱒味噌漬け deep fried taro with crispy rice, grilled lobster with sea urchin, ikura, grilled miso-marinated trout

鴨のロースト、菜の花のおひたし、鮑やわらか煮  roast duck, boiled flower blossoms with a soy sauce dressing, boiled tender abalone
鴨のロースト、菜の花のおひたし、鮑やわらか煮  roast duck, boiled flower blossoms with a soy sauce dressing, boiled tender abalone

三段重 the multi-tiered food box

Photo shoot at Hirohisa