daidokoro the japanese kitchen podcast by pat tokuyama square icon

Episode 11 – How to cook your first 5 plant based japanese dishes fast (without soy)

experience plant based japanese cooking, the easy way. follow these 5 simple steps to enjoy a japanese meal in less than 24 hours. 😉

Show Notes

How to cook your first five plant based Japanese dishes fast and without soy. you’re listening to the daidokoro video podcast. Hi, I’m Pat tokuyama. And you’re about to discover some of the tastiest ways to feed your mind, body and soul. A pharmacist by training you may know me as the founder of all day I eat like a shark, the food blog YouTube channel or as author of several Japanese cookbooks, if you desire to live a healthy life and are looking for a different way forward with a hunger for growth, then this video podcast is for you. Daidokoro is a Japanese term for kitchen. And I’m glad you’re here with each episode, we’re going to be bringing clarity to your cooking by blending Japanese tradition and life lessons into bite sized bits that even a shark would enjoy ready to make some magic happen.



Sometimes the most difficult thing is just getting started. So let’s break down that barrier and start with five simple steps that you can take if you’re getting started with plant based Japanese cooking, and you can do all five steps for just one meal or many. And if you’re wondering why without soy, I’ll tell you all about it as we finish. 


So the first step is going to be to start with a simple green leafy salad. These can be greens related to kale if you like kale, maybe baby greens if you like red leaf lettuce or any kind of lettuce, maybe even romaine lettuce, or a mixture of all three of those. And what you can do is use a Japanese dressing. So if you know about whole food plant based foods, it’s all about emphasizing as many whole foods as possible. And as it pertains to dressings, you may know sometimes there’s a lot of oil or other processed ingredients in them. 


However, when it comes to Japanese dressing, sometimes you don’t need to use all of those processed ingredients or even oil. In fact, two of my favorite Japanese dressings are ponzu and aojiso. Ponzu is usually a citrus and soy sauce based dressing. And then aojiso is actually a soy sauce and shiso based dressing if you didn’t know shiso is a green leafy herb. It’s got a very nice aroma and flavor. Typically it’s going in the summertime in abundance in Japan. But if you don’t have access to it, it’s very simple to grow at home. If you can grow basil, or any kind of herb or even if you kill your plants, you can probably grow shiso because it’s a very hardy herb to grow. I’ll link a seed source in the description if you’re interested in growing your own. But as far as the salad goes, I think that’s one of the easiest things that you can do. Not only with plant based Japanese food, but also just general plant based foods as far as getting started. 


So once you accomplish step one, once that’s complete, I think you can go on to step two and build upon that salad. So that’s going to be adding things like vegetables, maybe roasted vegetables, some of my favorites, for example, or kabocha Japanese pumpkin, satsumaimo which is a Japanese sweet potato so you can grow some onions as well. roasted onions go great with both of those with both of those ingredients that I just mentioned. You can even throw in some roasted tomatoes, roasted squash, as well as whole grains, you know, like farro bulgur, or which is similar to farro. Youfarro you can use wheat, whole wheat grains as well as barley or even things like quinoa or even lentils. sprouted lentils are some of my favorite things to use. 


If you’ve seen some of my YouTube videos where I use those in my Japanese recipes, very nutritious, got a unique, nutty, earthy flavor and go great with salads. On top of that, if you want a little bit of a sweet or sour or tart, flavor profile or some I guess complexity added to your tasty salad or now it’s going to be more like a grain bowl where you can also do is add in some seasonal fruits, fresh seasonal fruits, whatever you have in season is a good way to sweeten things up. And also add a little bit of additional flavor on top of what you’re already using. Totally optional, of course. And last but not least, you can also add in some nuts, so not just straight plain nuts out of the bag, or wherever you get your nuts but toasted, toasting the nuts helps to bring out a lot of the flavor and also the aroma and makes for a nice texture and it also makes the salad a little bit more fillings so that it’s more like a meal instead of just a side salad. 


So now that you’ve accomplished step one, which is just making a green leafy salad step two, which is turning that salad into more of a bowl or more of a whole meal based on all the ingredients that we’re adding to it. The third step is going to be to add a soup this is becoming more of a complete meal at this point. And some of the simplest ways that you can make a soup plant based is by taking a vegetable roasting it in the oven or even just cooking it in the microwave for a little bit and then throwing it into a pot with some vegetable stock or even better dashi. 


So Japanese Dashi is a typically made with a variety of different ingredients and if you’re trying to be plant based some of the simplest ways that you can make it are using a little bit of kombu as well as a little bit of dried shiitake mushrooms, letting that sit in some water overnights. And then you have plant based dashi that you can use for a variety of different things. So once you have your pureed vegetables and then your Dashi, you can mix those together, cook it For 30 to 40 minutes or even longer, and then you can puree everything together and you’ll have a nice vegetable soup that you can eat with your salad or your green bowl salad. And to dress things up. If you have some fresh herbs, or even some dried herbs, you can add in those to add some additional flavor. 


Alternatively, if you want something a little bit more traditional, you can make miso soup using the plant based dashi that I just told you about. And I will link that recipe in the description of the show notes so that you can access it and take a look and make it yourself give it a shot. If you haven’t tried that yet. The great alternative to powder dashi dashi that comes in a little tea packets, or any other form of dashi that you might find at the supermarket.


 And going back to the vegetable soup really quick, I just remembered, if you don’t have access to kabocha or Japanese pumpkin, some alternatives that you could use is butternut squash, just regular potato with some onion, make that more of like a potage, or potage, I don’t really speak French, but you know, the French style vegetable soup. And you can even throw in some plant milk like almonds milk unflavored, of course, gotta make sure that it’s not flavored, so it doesn’t affect the flavor of the soup and make it sweet, or vanilla, vanilla e because you want to savory soup, I’m thinking not a sweet vanilla soup, and then puree all that together. And it makes for very simple and satisfying and filling sided soup.


 So now that you’ve done steps, one, two, and three, step four is going to be adding on one more dish. So this is going to be another small side, it could be something like a whole wheat pasta, gotta use whole wheat, of course, brown rice, which is considered like a whole food as well, or other types of salads or little dishes, also known as okazu in Japanese to go with your other dishes that we have created so far. And what this is going to do is add in another dish for you to enjoy. So you’re going to take a little bite sized pieces of each dish, you’re going to enjoy them thoroughly by chewing 20 times like I had mentioned in my previous episodes like my grandma told me about and that’s going to help to give you a little bit of variety in your meal, which I’m sure many people enjoy, at least I do. And what you can do to make it I guess go with all these other dishes that we’ve made so far is put a Japanese spin on it of course. 


So if you’re going to be doing something with whole wheat pasta, you might want to be using some Japanese ingredients like soy sauce for the seasoning, as well as maybe shiokoji or even our favorite herb shiso. So those are three things that I like to put in a tomato pasta, for example, like a tomato spaghetti or even the tomato penne. So Japanese style of course, thanks to those ingredients. 


Alternatively if you’re going to be making rice brown rice, you can use the little packets of whole grains which you can also get at your local Japanese supermarket or on Amazon and make something like zakkokumai which is zakkokumai is a mixture of grains and you stir that into your rice and it makes for a nice texture and also color because usually there’s some purple or black rice in there that helps to color the rice a little bit of a pinkish purplish hue. And it also helps add some nutrition and texture. So if you don’t have access to that you can actually make your own multigrain mixture packet you’re just going to put in like a couple tablespoons for a couple of cups of rice and stir that in there as you cook it in your rice machine. Those are our first four steps pretty easy right. If you have any suggestions or if I missed anything, let me know in the comments or if you have any feedback also make sure to leave me a voicemail if you haven’t already if you’d like to contribute to this podcast and if each episode. 


Okay, so last but not least we have step five which is going to be our dessert. So we’re going to round things out with a little bit of a sweet flavor or sweet notes. And as you know whole foods plant based foods means trying to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. So that means fruit fruit is one of my favorite ways to enjoy sweet foods. And as far as making its whole food plant based as well as Japanese I got a couple options for you. The first is going to be to make a chia pudding chia pudding is one of my favorite ways to enjoy chia seeds as well as some of the plant milks that I make. All you got to do is mix in usually a quarter cup of chia seeds with about two cups of plant milk and mix it up. I usually just shake it in a canning jar really well make sure that it’s evenly distributed because it tends to settle at the bottom if you’ve ever done that, and then let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. And then the next day you have chia pudding, you can actually add in some matcha powder, maybe a teaspoon or two depending on how strong you like your matcha and then add in some fresh fruit on top and have that for dessert.


 So those are two different ways that you can enjoy a nice Japanese plant based dessert. Now we have completed five simple steps for you to get started cooking plant based Japanese foods fast so if you remember at the beginning of this episode, I said that one of the things that we’re doing for this for these five steps is that we’re going to be making everything without soy. And the reason that I did that is because soy gets a bad rap. And it’s very unfortunate because soy is a very versatile plant food it can be used for anything that’s savory or sweet. 


As you know, in Japanese cuisine and Asian cuisine, it’s used in a variety different dishes not only for soy sauce, for example, but tofu, Okada, Yuba, and all of the other different soy dishes that you might get to enjoy if you ever visit Japan, because it gets a bad rap. It’s unfortunate, there isn’t really any marketing firm or big pharmaceutical company that’s out there doing the marketing for it to change people’s beliefs about soy. And maybe this is something that we can talk about at a future episode. And it is only a plant so it doesn’t really have any way to fight back against all those bad words, waruguchi or unchi talk and really stand up for itself against all the lies and the bullying, if you will against it. But I digress. In the future, maybe we’ll discuss but I will leave some references for you in the show notes or the Resources section that you can do some reading up on after we’re done and educate yourself. 


And last but not least, if you do like soy make sure to check out my tofu cookbook tofu pod which you can find on Amazon if you just search for my name, or the soy workshop on my website alldayieat.com 


So I’m curious if you guys enjoy this episode, let me know in the comments below. Send me a voicemail if you would like to contribute to a future podcast and if I missed anything, or if you have other suggestions or tips, please share them in the comment section so that we can all learn from each other. 


Thanks for joining us today from wherever you’re watching or listening from. And if you haven’t yet it means a lot to me if you could share your thoughts in a review on on iTunes. So let me know what you think of this new video podcast. And then I can take that feedback and make things better for next time and to celebrate the launch of this brand new video podcast where you are going to be doing a little giveaway all you got to do to enter is subscribe and send us a screenshot of your review make sure to check out the link in the description or show notes for all the details and I’d encourage you to share this with a friend or a loved one because if you’ve gotten value out of its chances are they will too. want to try cooking Japanese food at home from scratch. Head over to alldayieat.com/aisatsu to get started today. And if you’re new here make sure to check out alldayieat.com/daidokoro for all the show notes, bonus materials, resources and more.


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Konnichiwa! (Hello!) I'm Pat Tokuyama, a Japanese tofu cookbook author, who travels for music, food, and adventure. If you like Japanese tea, fill out this short survey for an exclusive discount on your first order!!

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