I made Nanban-zuke yesterday with Pacific Ocean perch, leek, onion, carrot, green onion and celery, Mentsuyu, sushi vinegar and red chili flakes. The name Nanban-zuke tickles my curiosity. In order to understand Japanese cuisine you need to understand Japanese history or in this case a little bit of Chinese history as well. Nanban 南蛮 literally means “Southern Barbarians”. The origin of this word lies in China. Having such a large land there were many groups of people in China and the most powerful and reigning group called the indigenous peoples in the southern part of China as “southern barbarians”. Many years later when Portuguese people started to visit Japan in 1543 the term “southern barbarians” took on a new meaning. Portugal had already been trading with India and China and other countries in the Southern Asia, they could bring spices, cultures, people and languages to Japan but it is said they took japanese people as their slaves too. It seems like all Nanban-zuke recipes call for red chili flakes, often leeks, and it is a dish of deep fried fish or meat marinated in sweet vinegar sauce. It has many similarities Escabeche in Portugal.

It is just a dinner dish but can’t you see many histories behind this Nanban-zuke? At least, I do.

xxx Rie


Bento yesterday and today


Tuesday March 13, 2018


Yesterday we had a lunch meeting at my office and I made sandwiches for everybody. I baked a loaf of bread too, I have been baking bread regularly once a week.




Home baked bread is so fresh.
No additives, no preservatives are added to this bread.
I know the fact best as it was baked by myself!

I cut some slices, spread some hummus.


Then put some lettuce, a boiled egg, fried bacon strips,



red cabbage shreds and danish salami sausages. Colors, colors, colors….



It was such a fun meeting!!

Today I just made a bento for myself, I took a close-up snap shot of the Okazu part… It turned out to be a good shot, I liked it!!  Long winter is still here, but it is getting lighter in the morning!! I can enjoy natural light to take photos!! Yay!


Freshly roasted white sesame seeds and Japanese Siso Furikake on top of my rice. 🙂



My bento yesterday and today… and tomorrow.

xxx Rie


A warm bowl of noodle soup – Nyumen


March 2, 2018

Oslo is freezing!!



In a cold day like this, it is so nice to have a warm bowl of noodle soup.

Udon, Soba, Somen are the three main types of Japanese noodles. Nowadays Ramen is very popular all over the world but it is originally a Chinese noodle. Udon and Somen are made from white wheat flour. Udon is a thick fat type of noodle and Somen is a thin one. Soba is made from mixture of buckwheat flour and/or white wheat flour and yam flour. People in the eastern part of Japan are said to prefer Soba and the western part eats more Udon.

Somen is a very typical summer noodle served cold but it is also very good served hot. When it is served hot, it is called Nyumen. While Soba and Udon are both served cold and warm but they do not change its name, Nyumen can be said the winter version of Somen.

Tamago Nyumen

Here is Egg Nyumen (warm Somen). It does not take much time to cook Egg Nyumen and if you can use more time to upgrade it with some savory chicken meat balls, here is the recipe. This recipe was used at my cooking class in September 2016 and it was fun to cook with you! Somen noodles (dry type) are available at asian stores and it needs just a short time to cook. Enjoy!!


Nyumen with chicken meat balls

Ingredients for 4 people
Somen noodle (dry) 6 bundles

Chicken ground meat 1 pack
Green onion 2 (minced)
Ginger 1 piece about 3 cm long (minced)
Sake 1 table spoon
Ra yu (Japanese chili sesame oil) 1 tea spoon
potato flour 1 table spoon

Salt and white pepper

Green onion to garnish

Cooked leaf vegetable like spinach or Bok Choy

Soup stock DASHI 6 cups (Dashi powder and water)
Soy sauce 3 table spoons
Mirin 1 table spoon
Salt 2/3 tea spoon

How to make :
1. Preheat your oven at 190℃

2. Put the chicken ground meat in a large mixing bowl. Add green onion, ginger, sake, Ra yu, potato flour, salt and pepper. Mix well. Make small meat balls and place them on an oven tray (use an oven paper)

3. Bake in the oven for 10-15 min. until golden browned and crispy outside.

4. In a pot put the soup stock Dashi, add soy sauce and mirin and heat it up.

5. When the meat balls are done, in a large pot bring water to a boil. Put Somen noodles and cook 2 min. Drain and wash the noodles in running water.

6. Bring the soup to boil and add Somen noodles. Serve in a bowl. Top with meat balls and green onion.
You can add some cooked leaf vegetables like spinach or Bok Choy on top.