Perfect cafe for vegans in Tokyo! “Eat More Greens” : 「イートモアグリーンズ」ビーガンの皆さんのパーフェクトなカフェ!

I’ve been visiting a few cafes lately and the one I kept going back to when I seriously want to boost up my veggies intake is this small famous cafe in Azabu-juban called “Eat More Greens”. Stepping in and you’ll be surprised of how many foreigners are there. Menu as well as the product label are written in English as well as Japanese. I particularly love the lunch time menu which includes a choice among 4-5 different dishes plus drink and small dessert as a set. Check it out for yourself here: http://www.eatmoregreens.jp/# as the menu changes a little bit depending on the week.

What I had this weekend is the usual favorite: soup and salad plate. The soup (changed every time I went) this time is miso-based  soup with white beans and cabbage (and lots of stuffs I couldn’t remember lol). The salad is actually the unique point for me that attracts me to come at the first place. Its size is A LOT BIGGER than normal cafe; it’s like a mountain of countless ingredients dressed all over with this amazingly tasty and flavorful dressing. ALL VEGAN so no milky/dairy stuff! The salad I had this time included silk tofu, chickpeas, walnuts, various greens with Asian spicy sesame dressing. On the side, 3 varieties of bread are freshly toasted to the perfect point of crispiness. I don’t eat much bread but I fell for the bread here.

ImageI choose iced corn tea for drink and the dessert is something like annin tofu with blueberries and small pieces of orange. I still don’t know what it’s made of. All for 1,280 yen. A big and satisfying healthy lunch that left me and my stomach happy. 🙂

check out more here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eat-more-greens%E3%82%A4%E3%83%BC%E3%83%88%E3%83%A2%E3%82%A2%E3%82%B0%E3%83%AA%E3%83%BC%E3%83%B3%E3%82%BA/289782454477987

 

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Must-try healthy Japanese menus at Ootoya! : 大戸屋の「絶対ヘルシー」メニュ!

Must-try healthy Japanese menus at Ootoya! : 大戸屋の「絶対ヘルシー」メニュ!

Okay, so if you have a chance to visit Ootoya (in case you don’t know where to go for a light and healthy dinner after you have a heavy lunch or sweets earlier in the day), try to find this page on the menu book. (near the back) Now that you’re in Japan, why not try something healthy in the Japanese style! I know some may look daunting to you and might raise your eyebrows about the taste. How are they gonna taste like? Don’t worry, though it might look unfamiliar to you, the way to eat is sooo easy.

Start with the top left: tofu, okra, natto (fermented soy beans), dry seaweed, grated yam and raw egg. To eat this, pour the shoyu (soy sauce) provided at the table into a little vessel that have a drop of wasabi (the green spicy stuff eaten with sashimi or sushi), and use chopsticks to mix just a bit of wasabi with the shoyu. Don’t mix the whole thing if you’re not good with the wasabi taste. Then pour it into the bowl, then mix it together. Don’t be afraid to break the tofu. It’s meant to be soft acting as a glue to hold all the ingredients together. Then use the spoon to scoop the mixture up. Try circling your spoon like a helicopter for a bit to cut the slime of the natto. Believe me, you belly will love you as the whole 247 kcal of that dish has all the glorious healthiest ingredients you want your body to have.

Similarly is the one below it called Bakudan. Basically, it has almost the same ingredients as the one above, except it doesn’t have tofu but instead have a few pieces of raw maguro (sashimi). Eat it the same way as above mentioned.

PS: These menus might be considered as side dishes but I would recommend those of you who really wanna go on a cleansing diet for a while to just pick item by item instead of going for a set. This way, you can cut the rice, and substitute it with sooo many more healthy side dishes. (just if you’re on a diet)

Oh-so-healthy! Yogurt and Tofu cheesecake!

Oh-so-healthy! Yogurt and Tofu cheesecake!

Look for a super easy recipe with few and easy ingredients PLUS super healthy?? Try this cheesecake recipe mainly made with yogurt and tofu. I found this translated page of cookpad. Try it out! (I made it twice already cuz it’s sooo easy and so delicious!)

Let’s talk about TOFU! ② SILKEN 絹ごし豆腐って?

I talked about Momen or Firm tofu last time, which is the most widely known and versatile in general sense. Silken tofu, on the other hand, might not be available in some countries. The package is usually smaller than Momen’s and lighter. The kanji “絹” or “Kinu” which means silk could help you distinguish it a little bit. Its full name is “Kinu goshi tofu”.

絹ごし豆腐

Why do people call it silk?? Obviously, this is tofu and so it has nothing to do with textile…
The very reason lies in the texture of it. Silken tofu is very soft, slippery, almost like chawanmushi or steamed egg. In short, it is very “silky”. 

The way it’s made is a little different from the firm tofu in that it is not drained or pressed, so all of the liquid remains in the tofu as it forms, making it very smooth and light. It has a delicate, silky texture like fine custard. (source: morinu.com) You can use it to make one of the easiest Japanese dish ever – Hiya yakko (冷奴)No cooking required!! Just cut the tofu, and pour something on top of it. The “something” I mean has many variations depending on the recipes; it can be ginger with soy sauce, or sesame oil with spring onion, etc…The list goes endless so search it on Cookpad!

Calorie-wise, it is lighter…56 kcal per 100 grams, also high in protein and all similar to the firm tofu. I would say, though, that if you’re not a big fan of soy products, then you might wanna start with this curdtard tofu. You won’t have to suffer from the smell nor the texture. When mixed with some other toppings (of your choice…but not ketchup or mayonnaise please), you will actually enjoy it! Oh, I forgot to say, Hiya-yakko is a COLD dish, very popular during winter but available all-year round. One of my favorite when I go to the canteen. 😉

Look for it in the supermarket! You can start from a small portion of 80 grams! (usually that’s just about 47 kcal…)

Look here for some inspirations: http://matome.naver.jp/odai/2136232279108931401
or here: http://cookpad.com/search/%E7%B5%B9%E8%B1%86%E8%85%90%E3%80%80%E3%83%87%E3%82%B6%E3%83%BC%E3%83%88?purpose=%E3%83%87%E3%82%B6%E3%83%BC%E3%83%88

Ciao!

Let’s talk about TOFU! ①Momen 木綿豆腐って?

When we think about Tofu, I guess most of us have an image of it being one of the top ten lists of health food worldwide. And, yes, its nationality seems to be branded as Japanese. Not that I have anything about this, just sayin.

I love tofu too….but probably less than meaty fish that i can keep on munching on. Prior to coming to Japan, I always the only representation I had of tofu was white squares that floats around in my miso soup at a Japanese restaurant (which wasn’t even authentic I supposed). Once I had been awakened by how extensive the store shelf is designated just for tofu in Japanese supermarket, I decided there must be something MORE to merely white square fake meat lol…. And indeed there are a lot more knowledge revolving around it, starting from types, products, and usages…The knowledge goes endless.

Maybe many of you who are new to Japan got confused as to how kinds of tofu are different and what to use them for. Well, let me start my series of Tofu posts! Today we would go with the most ubiquitous and versatile one that you would definitely find in supermarket around the world, not so esoteric – Momen tofu! (or firm tofu as it is usually called in the Youtube videos or recipe blogs.)

Momen in Japanese spells like this: 木綿
I got so confused the first time…

This might be more familiar to you. This is FIRM tofu. Press it and it’s kinda harder than another kind that is called SILK tofu or 絹豆腐(kinu-tofu). You would find or you could use momen in cooking dishes like Mabo-doufu (麻婆豆腐)or a Sichuan style bean curd stir-fry dish. It’s usually oily, contains minced pork, and a little bit spicy. It’s one of the must-have “Chinese” dishes in any Chinese restaurant in Japan. (So be careful of the calories!)

<–something like this

More easily found would be the Tofu burger (豆腐ハンバーグ). Don’t be confused with the word burger as in hamburger than we usually know (from McDonald’s) because in Japan it is just a paddy of minced stuffs. In this case, Tofu burger is usually thought of as a healthier version of the usual ハンバーグ(Japanese read as Hamburger lol) which is made of beef and pork and can be higher in sat fat and so on. Normally, momen tofu is mashed with minced chicken and onion, sometimes renkon, then made into a paddy and pan-seared in the pan. My favorite fast-cooking menu!

You might also find Tofu steak when you go to an izakaya. That is also made with momen tofu, as well as other nabe dishes (hot-pot) and shabu-shabu. Due to its firm texture, it’s not likely to break easily when boiled, however, it needs to be pressed on by weight for about 30 minutes before use to rinse off all the water, and dried using kitchen paper. I found in some recipes that it is also possible to put the tofu in the microwave for a minute or less so the water would come out and then you dry it. (a lot faster way lol)

One block of tofu is called “chou” or “丁” and it is pretty heavy, usually used to cook for 2-3 people. One chou is in average 315 grams, around 230 kcal. Check out more about different sizes here; http://www.eiyoukeisan.com/calorie/gramphoto/mame/tofu_momen.html (This website is super useful in helping you familiarize with other foods in Japan too.)

Now….for food, most of it is usually cooked by using momen tofu due to the ease to handle. But for desserts!? Yes…in Japan tofu is not limited to food as we mostly think; it is used A LOT in many kinds of desserts as a substitution for cream, butter, and all sorts of dairy when girls are on a diet.

From cookpad.com, if you search “豆腐”together with “デザート” you will be amazed!(http://cookpad.com/search/%E8%B1%86%E8%85%90%E3%80%80%E3%83%87%E3%82%B6%E3%83%BC%E3%83%88?purpose=%E3%83%87%E3%82%B6%E3%83%BC%E3%83%88)
BUT…THIS IS NOT MOMEN TOFU…THIS IS SILK TOFU.
I made a few mistakes in the past by using momen instead of silk and the result came out weird and I decided not to eat it. T__T

I hope I helped save some of you some troubles!