Japan Eats

Japan Eats Podcast: Episode 8, “Beware the exploding watermelon!”

The panel road test Yuzusco, talk about seasonal produce and issue a warning to those in the market for watermelons

The Japan Eats Podcast is presented by Garrett DeOrio, Marcus Lovitt, and Christopher Pellegrini. To listen, click play on the audio player below:

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In this week’s Japan Eats Podcast, Garrett DeOrio, Marcus Lovitt and Christopher Pellegrini discuss yuzukosho, Yuzusco and seasonal produce.

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Recipe: Matcha ice-cream

A delicious summer dessert

Summer has well and truly arrived and what better way to beat the heat than to make your own ice-cream?

In Japan, one of the most popular ice-cream flavors is matcha, or green tea.

Ideally one would use an ice-cream machine to churn and freeze the mixture, however with a little extra effort it’s possible to make matcha ice-cream without one.

Matcha ice-cream

Matcha ice-cream

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 100 ml milk
  • 5 g matcha
  • 7 g corn starch
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 100 ml fresh cream


Put all of the ingredients other than the fresh cream into a pan and place on a low heat.

Mix with a whisk and once it has thickened, turn off the gas and allow the mixture to cool.

Place the cream in the bowl and whisk until thickened (it should still drip slowly from the whisk). Pour the now cool matcha into the cream.

Pour the combined ingredients into a plastic container and freeze for 3 to 4 hours.

Scoop the ice-cream from the container and serve.

Recipe: Apple compote with red wine and vanilla ice cream

How bout them apples?

Most people are familiar with the  pear compote. A simple dish consisting of pears slow cooked in sugar, water, wine and spices, it’s a dessert which never goes out of date.

What people may not know, however, is that apples work just as well as pears. Here, we’ll be preparing a version which makes use of Japanese apples.

These come in many varieties: Fuji, Kogyoku, Tsugaru and Jona gold. For the purposes of this dish, use a Fuji apple. Its sour flavor will better compliment the sweetness of the syrup and whatever creamy goodness you serve alongside it.

Apple compote with red wine and vanilla ice cream

Apple compote with red wine and vanilla ice cream

Ingredients (serves two people)

  • 1 apple (400g)
  • 100g sugar
  • 250 ml water
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 1 clove
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 liter water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ice cream/yogurt/marscapone


Peel the apple and then slice it into 4 – 6 wedges, disposing of the core. Add the teaspoon of salt to the half-liter of water, then place the apple pieces into the liquid.

Pour the sugar into a pan together with 250 ml of water. Place the pan on a low heat so that the sugar dissolves. Next, put the apples into the pan, and gently cook for 15 – 20 minutes.

Add the clove, the cinnamon and the red wine and stir. Cook the mixture for a further 3 minutes.

Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. After 12 to 24 hours, the apples should have absorbed the red wine and changed color. When you’re satisfied the apples are ready, take them out of the pan and slice them again (optional).

Place the an back onto a low heat and warm it slowly. Once it has thickened, it can be used as a sauce.

Plate the apples and serve with a dollop of ice cream, yogurt or marscapone. Pour a tablespoon of the sauce over the apples.

Japan Booze Blind: Baird Summer Beers

Host Christopher Pellegrini discusses summer beers with the Baird Nakameguro Taproom’s Marco McFarren.

Baird Beer’s Nakameguro Taproom is a shining beacon for beer-o-philes around Tokyo and is doing its best to broaden that group, not only through events such as tastings and seminars, but through serving some of the best beer in the country.

There are currently 28 beers on tap, all but a few Baird’s own. The few guest beers are also high-quality microbrews. Most beers are 900 yen a pint, with some at 1000 yen and some in slightly differently-sized glasses (depending on type). Smaller sizes and tasters are available. Read more

Recipe: Shiso juice

The perfect way to beat the summer heat

Tokyo is enjoying (some would say enduring) one of the hottest starts to summer in years. What better time to try out this refreshing Japanese drink? Made with red shiso (a relative of mint and basil) it’s sweet, doesn’t require refrigeration and looks wonderful.


1 l water
200 ml rice vinegar
300 – 400 g sugar
300 – 400 g aka shiso (red shiso)


Place a saucepan containing the water and rice vinegar on the gas table and bring it to the boil.

Take the red shiso and lower it into the pan, boiling it for 5 minutes. Once done, pour the contents of the saucepan through a colander, into a large bowl. Allow the boiled shiso leaves to cool.

Once the leaves are cool enough to handle, squeeze them between your fingers extracting any remaining juice. Now discard the leaves themselves and pour the juice back into the saucepan. Add the sugar and then heat the pan on a medium flame for 15-20 minutes.

Once the juice has again cooled, pour it into a bottle or jar. Be sure that this container had previously been washed and dried thoroughly.

Try the juice before serving, adjusting the taste by adding fresh water and ice. I usually serve a mixture of 50 per cent juice to 50 per cent water.

Recipe: Hiyashi soumen

With the arrival of summer, Japanese are increasingly looking towards light meals at lunchtime. A bowl of soumen (cold noodles) is one of the most popular ways to relieve the summer heat.

Soumen is traditionally served with a large variety of yakumi, or condiments. While it may be tempting to cut back on the number of different garnishes, it’s worth trying all of the yakumi listed below at least once so that you can better judge which you prefer.

Serve the noodles on ice in a wooden bowl.  Pour a little soup into each guest’s bowl and allow them to choose their own condiments, which they mix into the soup.  Finally, guests add noodles which they should mix together with the yakumi.




Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 3 bunches of dried soumen
  • 1-1.5l water

Yakumi (condiments)

  • 1-2 mioga (mioga ginger)
  • 10 asatsuki chives
  • 4-5 green shiso (green perilla) leaves
  • 1 package of kaiware daikon (radish sprouts)
  • 1 deep-fried tofu pouch
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sake
  • 1 teaspoon of shichimi togarashi (a mixture of red pepper and six other spices)
  • 1 clove of ginger

Tsuyu soup

  • 2 cups of dashi soup
  • 1/2 a cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 a cup of mirin


First prepare the tsuyu soup. Pour the mirin into a pan, place it onto the gas table and bring it to the boil. Add the dashi soup together with the soy sauce and bring it to the boil again. Once boiling, turn off the heat and allow it to cool.

Now for the yakumi (garnishes). Cut the mioga in half lengthwise and then again into thin strips. Rise  in a bowl of cold water for a minute then drain.

Cut the asatsuki chives into thin round slices.

Slice the green shiso leaves into julienne strips, rinse them in a bowl of cold water and drain.

Peel the skin of the ginger grate it.

Cut off the root of the kaiware daikon, then cut into halves.

Toast one deep-fried tofu pouch for about one minute. Mix a tablespoon of soy sauce, a tablespoon of sake and a teaspoon of shichimi togarashi and spread onto one side of the tofu pouch. Toast it again for about one minute until it becomes crispy. Finally, cut the pouch into bite-sized rectangles (12-16).

Bring a bowl of water to the boil and cook the soumen noodles for roughly two minutes (refer to the cooking instructions on the package). If the water rolls up to the edge of the pot, add a half cup of cold water. Once the noodles are ready, rinse them in running fresh water.

Place water and ice in a wooden bowl and arrange the noodles so that they don’t stick together.

Serve the noodles with the tsuyu (soup) and condiments in individual plates or bowls.