Today I made a Japanese style soup with bacon for dinner. I suppose if I still were in the States I might have made the soup with potatoes, cheese, leeks, or beans but this time since I am in Japan using Japanese bacon, the soup had a light chicken broth base with mizuna, enoki mushrooms, and green onions.
I suppose everyone has their opinion of Japanese bacon depending on where they come from. Coming from the States you might be surprised at how it tastes more like ham. But as long as you know how to cook with it, I’m hoping you will crave more of these new set of flavors rather than just longing for whatever is back home.
Using bacon with ingredients like asparagus, spinach, potatoes, and cheese is quite common in Japan but I love it when I find bacon recipes that really have an obvious Japanese twist to it like bacon and nanohana blossoms pasta. You can either make a simple version with just basic flavors like olive oil, garlic, red pepper, and of course salt and pepper, but a cream sauce would work well too. Add any sort of Japanese mushroom you find at the supermarket that day that is cheap like maitake mushrooms and voila!
I honestly cannot imagine my Japanese mother making this dish at home since it definitely is the younger generation that has incorporated this new ingredient into their diet for better or for worse. However, it is not uncommon for quick and easy East meets West types of dishes like these to appear in a modern Japanese home cooked meal.
So although it is definitely good to learn about purely Japanese ingredients, sometimes it is fun to learn how these perhaps more familiar ingredients are used in Japanese home cooked meals.
Make sure to ask us about seasonal vegetables like nanohana during our Nagomi Kitchen cooking lessons because spring is coming to Japan and it’s definitely an exciting time for food here!
Note: we no longer conduct Nagomi Kitchen cooking classes but feel free to look for Nagomi Visit hosts who are interested in cooking with you by checking their profile pages. Nagomi Visits are not cooking classes but it will be an enjoyable experience like cooking with a friend.