Home Meals

Tororo (the Japanese yam, Dioscorea opposita)

Posted on May 5, 2013 in Home Meals | 0 comments

The other day, it was 20 c degrees. Yes, it’s hot for May! After 4 days, it was -6°C. And now (May 4th) it’s 20°C again! Harsh weather!
At our home, the temperature is supposed to be maintained at 21.5°C all the time, but when the temperature outside goes up so suddenly, the gadget doesn’t work accurately and our basement suite goes down to about 18-19°C. It’s been like this for the last few days, and my hubby can’t recover from his cold because it’s kind of chilly down here. We say staying cold is the origin of all sickness, in Japanese. We miss the Sun! (Even thought it’s right out there!)

The other day, Ms K gave us a nice piece of fruit tart all hand-made! Thank you so much! It was so beautiful and delicious. We were so impressed when we found out the base was also baked by her!


I’d like to talk about tororo. I just bought it here in Canada for the first time. It was $5.93 for 1 kg. A bit expensive?

I love tororo and the yamakake gunkan (tuna sushi and tororo) is one of my favorite sushi dishes.
We saw it sometimes in HK, but we rarely see it in Canada. So I really missed it.

In HK, when I saw tororo on the menu, I had to order one. The item I liked the most was Neva-neva Don at a restaurant at the Japanese Club. Neva-neva means slimy-slimy. ^^ It was a dish of tororo, natto and  molokheiya over a bed of rice. All neva-neva! So healthy and delicious! I want to eat it now….

Examples of how to eat tororo:
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I usually ate it at my parents’ or at restaurants and I’ve never really bought some myself and served it. It should be served just grated, I imagined. But wait. It’s a potato and it should be cooked. Can I eat it raw? Its name is Nagaimo (long potatos) or Yamaimo (mountain potatoes), it must be a potato but maybe it could belong to some radish!? Then it can be eaten raw. So I checked. Yes, it was a potato (as it claims)! You can cook it, but we can eat it raw. Great! It must be a good food for raw food eaters as well!

I grated it and put it on somen. Craving it for a long time makes it even more delicious!


It’s a potato, so it’s a carbo. But it stimulates the digestion process and is good for stamina, it is used for Chinese traditional medicine as well. This sliminess is called mucin and it is good for activating your cells/blood stream, anti-aging, your skin, causing a quick recovery, loosening up constipation! Sounds all good!
Reference: J-Medical


Posted on Mar 23, 2013 in Home Meals | 0 comments

I can’t forget about the quinoa that we ate at the Lake Louise Chateau restaurant, and I checked it online.

Quinoa has been harvested at an altitude of 2,500 – 4,000m in Bolivia and Peru mainly. I wonder if we ate some when we were there but just didn’t know…?

According to Wiki:

“Quinoa (the name is derived from the Spanish spelling of the Quechua name kinwa or occasionally “Qin-wah”) originated in the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, where it was successfully domesticated 3,000 to 4,000 years ago for human consumption, though archeological evidence shows a non-domesticated association with pastoral herding some 5,200 to 7,000 years ago.

The nutrient composition is very good compared with common cereals. Quinoa seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, and iron.”

The waitress said it was a “super food”. Now I understand. It has a nice texture when you crunch it. It’s light and delicious, so I can eat a lot.

When you boil it, some kind of sprout-looking thing comes out. So I was guessing it’s some kind of sprout or bean, but it says it’s a grain and seed. A bean is a seed. So my guessing was right?

We found it at a supermarket.
Just wash and boil them. That’s all. We can eat it as salad or throw them in anywhere you like.

At the restaurant, it was red quinoa, but the one we bought was not.

The year 2013 is supposed to be the United Nations International Quinoa Year! If you’ve never tried it, give it a try!


Posted on Mar 19, 2013 in Home Meals | 0 comments

Porridge is like congee made from oatmeal. We can cook it in water or milk, or both. Or Microwave it.

I first tried it more than 10 year ago at my husband’s father’s place. His father was eating it almost every morning. I thought he was eating warm cereal, but then he explained it wasn’t so I tried it. It wasn’t so good, or very tasty… My husband doesn’t like it so much, so we never had it at home.
Plain porridge has no salty or sugary taste. So you might mix some salt or syrup or nuts and fruits, whatever you like. Cinnamon apple would be great with it, I think!

After we came to Canada this time, somehow we had it at home. Did my husband buy it by mistake or did he intend to start eating it for health? Anyway, it was in our kitchen cupboard for a while. He’s still not so interested in eating it, so I started it today.

During the time I had morning sickness, I really craved congee and often made it in the morning. But I didn’t want to use too much salt (Japanese congee is often flavoured simply with salt), so I used a very small amount or tried to get flavour from other foods or broth like Cantonese congee.  I got used to less flavoured congee.

Thanks to that habit(?), I didn’t mind this flavourless porridge. I just added some walnuts. Quite delicious. It’s a grain congee, right? I usually make congee mainly out of white rice, so I thought it would be a nice change.

I tried to take a photo of my first porridge, but because our place is in the basement and has a lack of natural light, the photo didn’t look so good.

I borrowed a photo from a recipe website.

I just did an image-search for porridge. I see some of them with cinnamon powder on top, which is looking so yummy! Japanese kinako would also go well with it, even though it would be very difficult to get in Canada.

In western countries, we often see oat cookies, oat muffins, and so on at cafes and stores. Health conscious people must be eating oats quite regularly, I’m guessing. It lowers cholesterol and contains a lot of fiber, minerals and vitamins. Even though I’m low on cholesterol, I’ll eat more from now on for sure!

I was reading Wiki, and now I realized that we’ve been eating muesli or granola cereals often, which are oatmeals mixed with dry-fruits and nuts, or sugar-coated (a little junkier though). So not a big deal… hahaha!

Feast at Our Iranian Friends’ Home

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 in Home Meals | 0 comments

It was my first time to meet them. They are my hubby’s friends from the U of A. We were invited to their place for dinner!

Jan 26th (Sat).

Wow, what a feast! It’s going to be a hard job to return the favour!

They are from Iran and have lived in Edmonton for almost 5 years. They are really a nice couple. There were beautiful religious motifs decorated at their place, but they are not religious, just like us. They are conscious of food and exercise, just like us!  And love talking, just like us! So of course, we enjoyed the evening chatting so much.

@ friends\' home What a feast!

Home-made wine!? OMG! @ friends\' home

@ friends\' home Thank you so much, R & S!!

They are Iranians, so it’s easy to guess that they often eat meat. But we don’t… We were a bit afraid that she had a hard time preparing meal. We are sorry. But she did a great job! Thank you!!

Persian dishes are so good. We know that. We remember delicious dishes when we traveled Iran. But we weren’t expecting that we could have great home-made Persian food here in Edmonton!
The big whole fish dish is a special dish for Persian New Year, Norouz, we were told. And she cooked it for us even though it’s not new year. Some herbs and berries were stuffed inside the belly of the fish. It was so flavourful!

She also served rice cooked with saffron and herbs, baked salmon, some Persian egg plant dish, Persian salad, nice garlic pickles and egg plant pickles and so and so… I guess Persian dishes use a lot of egg plants. I love egg plants, so it’s great for me!

On top of it, her husband’s home-made wine was astonishing! It was so good!

In Iran, having alcohol, drinking alcohol and making alcohol are all prohibited by law. So you would get it at black markets or make some for yourself secretly at home. But to make it at home, you need to be quite knowledgeable about alcohol, I think, even more than a regular drinker in other countries. And yes, he is knowledgeable. Is it OK to write about it here?? Yes, sure, it’s Canada here, eh? He was saying it’s not too difficult as there are kits here in Canada, but it sounds like it’s important to keep the temperature right to make it perfect.
As I’m pregnant, I had to prevent myself from having more than a few sips, but it was really really good! Why am I pregnant today!? I thought.

A funny thing was that I thought they are from HOT Teheran, so they must feel sooo cold here, but actually he thought it was perfect (or at least it was comfortable) here! As you can see in the picture, we were wearing sweaters and he (she as well) is wearing T-shirt! I thought, aren’t you cold? But it was comfortable for him. So that’s good for him in Edmonton!

Another interesting thing was that they liked “Oshin“. Oshin is a TV drama that ran in 80’s in Japan. It was a big hit in Iran as well, they told us. Surprising! When I checked Oshin on Wiki, it was a hit in many countries and it’s one of the most famous Japanese TV dramas. I knew it was a hit in China and South East Asia, but I didn’t know it was also in Iran. They say that not only we learn how hard to live in Japan at that time and endure the hardship but also Japanese culture and the way of thinking. If you say so, I think it’s true. I feel like I want to watch it again (I think I watched it when I was in kindergarten). When I wrote that on FB, one of my Japanese friend told me that she started watching it on YouTube, being up until 3 in the monring! This Iranian friend also told me that she started watching it on YouTube, but some after some episodes, the English subtitles disappeared and couldn’t continue watching… that’s too bad…

We were talking like this, and then few days later, I heard news from Japan that Oshin is now turning into a movie! Oh! How timely! They just started making it, so we can not watch it for a while yet, but it’s so nice.

There are many interesting episodes about Oshin when I checked on Wiki (Japanese). The funniest ones were:

In Cairo, Egypt, When Oshin was on the air, a black out happened. The viewers got really angry and dveloped into a riot. They threw stones and fire against the electric company and the TV station. The government promised to run it again, and the riot calmed down.


In Afghanistan and Iran, the drama was dubbed into Persian, and got the highest-rate 90% on record. The word, Oshin, became a euphemism for  Japan. In Islamic countries, some scenes with some physical contact between men and women were cut, and that made them think that there were some obscene scenes in the drama, which is not true!


In Jamaica, when the Oshin boom has arrived, people started naming their children (didn’t matter girl or boy) Oshin.

Oh, we were just in Jamaica! If we knew that, we would look for the someone whose name is Oshin!


We were at their place from 6 to 11 !! We didn’t know the time has passed that much! We had a great time. Thank you so much. OMG, we were so stuffed!!


My Food Tendency These Days…

Posted on Feb 11, 2013 in Home Meals, Pregnancy | 0 comments

I’m eating crackers and fruits frequently everyday because of my morning sickness which I get the worst at night.
(*”Morning sickness” is totally mis-named. I normally get most sick at night.)

When I go out, I always take crackers in a zip-lock bag. Probably too much carbo (carbohydrates). So I thought of cutting carbo on meals, but I love rice and noodles so much and I realized I couldn’t do that for breakfast and dinner. So I decided to try that at lunch!

As a result, my recent lunch is like this:

Fish and a big bowl of veggies!

My Sunday lunch

My Sunday lunch

This fish tin is sardines (with chile jalapeño). Yum yum. It’s like my hubby’s dad’s snack for beer. I should take them out of the tin and put them on a plate, but it’s OK. It’s all for myself.

And some left-over from the dinner I made the day before. It’s a fried chile vermichelli with lotus root, carrots, celery and bamboo shoot in chille oil. Root veggies make your body warm from the inside, I heard. So I want to eat a lot in winter in Canada.

Salad would be a mountain in a ramen bowl.

It’s a super easy meal, but it still contains 12 kinds of food (sardines, jalapeño, lettuce, tomatos, wakame seaweed, artichoke hearts, cucumber, vermichelli, carrots, lotus root, celery and bamboo shoot). Plus, I had some Greek salad as well, so goat cheese and olives would be added into it. And it’s 14 kinds. 14 kinds just in one meal is pretty good!

By the way, my hubby’s lunch is this:

My husband\'s Sunday lunch

Smoked salmon on a bagel. We often put avocado as well, but this day it wasn’t ripe yet.


From at least one month before pregnancy until three months of pregnancy, the intake of folic acid is recommended to prevent the onset of neural tube closure failure. That’s what I was told 1 year ago. So I’ve been taking this recommended Materna since. This contains not only folic acid but also a balanced variety of stuff.

For someone who are planning to get pregnant or pregnant ladies, it’s recommended to take 0.4mg of folic acid per day. But 2 heads of spinach (60g) contains only 0.25mg. If you cook them, 50% of folid acid reduced and you get only 0.125mg. So it’s pretty difficult to intake enough every day.

Doctors would say that if you are too sick, just eat whatever you can or you like, and when I search on the net, I often see the same advices. I think you can eat whatever you like only if you are too sick, but I think doctors can say that only when the patients are taking some supplement like this regularly. Otherwise, you need to have balanced food.

There is nothing I can not eat really. Maybe coffee at the first stage of pregnancy. Caffeine should be anyway avoided, so it was OK. And I started hating Kimuchi (a traditional fermented Korean dish) somehow.

And the liquid that I’ve been hating since I got pregnant was water. Yes, our essential thing: water. This troubled me a lot. I’ll write about it later.

Basically I can eat anything. But I start getting sick when I stop eating… this kind of symptom or feeling hungry all the time is called “Tabe-tsuwari” in Japanese. I don’t know if you have a name for it in English. What troubles me is that even though I’m feeling full but also feeling sick, I have to keep eating. And I get fat in result of suffering… What’s the point!?

I just can’t wait when it finishes…

A year ago, I was only recommended to take Materna, but this time Vitamin D as well. And my hubby also started taking some. It’s important for men too.

Originally I’m not so leaning towards taking supplement. They are not really food in my opinion. So taking more supplement doesn’t make me feel good. But it’s true 90% of pregnant women in Japan is lacking Vitamin D. And actually it’s easy to get Vitamin D from the Sun, but if you live on the area where winters are long, or the Sun time is too short, or rainy or cloudy all the time, you can’t help. You don’t get enough Sun. So we started taking it. Especially us! When we go out, our bodies are all and covered tight for the cold and only a part of face exposed to the Sun even when it’s out there. And we live in the basement. And I don’t commute. I’m not getting any Sun. It’s kind of scary when I think of that.
Having said that, when we travel, we would be exposed to the Sun the whole time with only once-a-day Sun screen put on the skin. So I have a lot of freckles and mottles.


Today I made sweet and sour seafood with veggies for the first time! I’ve never made dish with some starchy sauce, so I was worried about how the corn-starch can get starchy well. But I didn’t need to worry too much. It was a success and my hubby loved it. So I was happy. It was a good dish. I’m glad I tried a new dish!

Our dinner today

So for dinner, we had 18 kinds of food! Garlic, shrimp, squid, cod fish, green pepper, (carrots,) onions, green onions, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, white rice + grain, miso, (wakame seaweed,) tofu and mushrooms. For snack, I had oranges, strawberries and crackers. And I had a decaf cafe latte after dinner.
33 kinds just for lunch and dinner! Good for me!

For breakfast, I had a natto with rice.
(* Natto is a Japanese traditional food – fermented beans.)
Natto is so great. It has a good amount of folic acid, and calcium, iron, fiber, a few kinds of vitamins and more. And it’s so delicious! When I’m eating it, I always ask my hubby “it’s delicious. And it’s good for you. Do you wanna some?”. But he never ate it in the morning. He must not like it so much…

Anyway, I had 34 kinds of food today!

It reached 50 once before. But it’s not an easy job.

By the way, sardines come with a variety of flavors. So nice!

The ones I often buy are the one with chile jalapeño and in tomato sauce. They are good!
By the way, my hubby wants nothing to do with these also! Too bad.