Why I hate “fed is best”

For those who are unfamiliar, “fed is best” is a counter slogan to “breast is best.” In the not so distant past, baby formula was seen as equal, if not superior to breastmilk. In an effort to promote breastfeeding, the slogan “breast is best” was created in the 1990’s.

Happily, the culture around breastfeeding has changed drastically since then. While issues surrounding nursing in public still remain, it is now widely known and accepted by parents that breastfeeding is superior to formula. It IS the best source of nutrition (and antibodies!) for infants.

Of course, as a result, there are always those lovely people that assume that if you aren’t breastfeeding then you must not love your child and are either horrible, ignorant, or both. To them, “breast is best” is an opportunity to brag that they’re the best.

Enter “fed is best.” Basically, “fed is best” is a shorthand way of saying: “For those of you who don’t breastfeed, I’m not judging you. I know you have good reasons for using formula, and I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty. You are a good, capable parent.” Which is a fantastic, important sentiment that I agree with. But I HATE when people use this phrase!

First of all, breastmilk IS the best source of food. Countless studies confirm this. It’s not even slightly up for debate. So, in a way, the statement “fed is best” is a bit misleading. I worry that people may hear this phrase and think that the benefits of breastfeeding aren’t actually that significant.

Secondly, we don’t do this with anything else! When your kid (or someone else’s) pukes on all their clothes and the only things left are a tie-dye shirt with a hole in it and plaid shorts, we don’t say “clothed is best!” Once they’re older, and you feed them donuts instead of wheat berries with coconut flakes and agave nectar, we don’t say “breakfast is best!” We acknowledge that life happens, things aren’t always optimal and move on!

Lastly, and specifically, the statement “fed is best” is just dumb. It essentially means “alive is best.” Ummmm, yeah. I think we can all agree that babies staying alive is indeed best. Do we really need a slogan celebrating this?

We can be compassionate and kind to our fellow parents while not diminishing the medical fact that breastmilk is better than formula. We don’t need to use the slogan “fed is best.”

Why and how to learn a language

It’s weird to say, but I’ve actually lived more of my adult life outside of the US than in it. Even though I identify as one hundred percent American, when it comes to common place topics like work culture or politics I often end up prefacing my statements with “I don’t know how it is in the US right now but in (country I’m living in)…” Darn plane tickets! Someday I’ll be rich enough to visit home as often as I want.

To date we’ve lived in Korea, Japan, and now Germany. We’ve loved traveling and it has given us lots of interesting experiences and insights.

Every country we’ve gone to we’ve tried to learn the language. Why? Well, from a purely practical standpoint, not everyone speaks English! Speaking the language makes life way easier (“Where can I find the milk?” “Aisle 7.”) and allows you to have more meaningful connections with the people in your host country. Also, it makes you feel less dumb.

Feeling Dumb
This is a topic not often mentioned on blogs glamorizing travel and the tech nomad lifestyle, and I wish it was. Feeling stupid is a big problem and hurdle for everyone I know (myself included), who’s lived abroad. Not knowing the language basically means you are illiterate, have a limited grasp of any given situation, and are completely dependent on someone who does speak the language. That’s right. You’re basically a three-year-old with more money and motor skills.

The Language Immersion Myth
There are many expats who are unprepared for this experience and think being immersed in a new language and culture will be a fun adventure. And it IS! But you need to be prepared for that feeling of dumbness. I think many people have this romanticized notion that they will effortlessly “pick up” the language without any overt study or effort. This is simply not true. Language learning takes time, dedication, and constant effort. So what can you do?

Simple but Important Strategies for Learning

Don’t be afraid!
The most important thing is not be afraid! Even though you may sometimes feel like that illiterate three-year-old who wants their mommy, you have to USE the language to get better. As adults, we can really hate doing things we’re not good at. But unsurprisingly, you have to start somewhere. (This may not apply to everyone. My husband is always super excited to try out his new language skills! I’m super envious of his cheerful and fearless attitude!)

Small Efforts!
See a sign? Label on your food? Advertisement on the train? Look it up! These days we almost all have smart phones, so this literally takes only seconds. Even if you aren’t saving these words to review later (which you really should), the constant repetition of common words will help you. One passive thing we like to do is turn on German subtitles for the American shows we watch. When we see new words, we either look it up in the dictionary, understand it from context, or simply ignore it completely. But we definitely learn a lot of new words this way!

Formal Study-Your way!
While you can stumble your way through copying what you hear and waiting for helpful people to correct you (this is how we all learned our native languages), everything will go faster with explicit study. People love to talk about how children learn languages so naturally without studying, but remember, it takes children 2-3 years to start talking! As adults we can (and should!) learn a lot faster by actual study.

So how do you study? I think here it’s important to understand your own personality. For me, the most effective way to learn is through formal lessons where the teacher leads me through with specific vocabulary lists, exercises, and of course, the accountability of formal lessons.

My husband is the exact opposite. He finds a reputable grammar book and flashcard app with the 3000 most common words and works his way through both with constant review and practice. He is then free to get additional study from fun sources like books and TV shows. Sadly, I lack this kind of discipline!

When we lived in Japan, I did most of my study on my own with the help of books and online resources. In Germany, I enrolled in a 6 month intensive course. The difference in my levels of fluency is night and day! I do WAY better when authority figures spoon feed me information, keep me accountable, and tell me exactly what to study every day! 🙂

Have fun with it!
I have a special love for language learning. There are moments of silliness that only you as a multi language speaker will understand! Like seeing potatoes in the grocery store labelled “extra dick” (dick means thick in German ;-))! Or the used appliance stores in Japan called Hard Off.

There are also moments of deep thought about cultural differences and communication strategies. In Japan, being indirect is considered more polite as it causes less conflict or embarrassment, whereas Germans value blunt directness so that there’s no room for misunderstanding. These nuances are what make language learning such a fulfilling part of living abroad for me.

I truly believe anyone can learn a foreign language. It may not be easy and effortless, but it’s not complicated either. You can do it!

Low Birth Rates and Disenfranchising Families

A few months back, I was kicked out of a movie theater. Not for screaming at the screen or filming a bootleg copy, but for holding a baby. That’s it. A quiet, almost asleep baby

Apparently, in teeny tiny print on the asterisk next to “children’s tickets” online it read “children ages three and up.” My baby is not big enough to sit in his own seat, so I had never even seen the asterisk when I bought our tickets online. And of course, the employees at the movie theater helpfully scanned our tickets, sold us 3D glasses, watched me nurse my baby in the lobby, said nothing, then waited until we were in our seats and the the commercials were starting before telling us we needed to leave. Not only that, but they were unable to issue us a refund and told us to contact customer service online.

Great. Just the evening out we were wanting. To add insult to injury, customer service refused to give us a refund and instead tried to give us a voucher. Thanks Cinestar, but by the time my child and any future siblings turn 3, I still won’t want to return to your movie theater.

Anyways, so what is the point of me sharing this terrible experience? Germany, like many modern countries is suffering from negative population growth. There are a myriad of policies to help combat this here: monthly stipend for children, reimbursed parental leave for up to a year(!), subsidized (and sometimes free) child care, and much more. These programs are great for addressing the financial reasons people may hold back from having children. However, they don’t address the decreased desire to have children. I think one aspect that policy makers are missing is creating a more inviting, family friendly environment.

Whenever establishments forbid children, or make bringing children inconvenient, they are sending the message that families and children are undesirable and unwelcome. And if you choose to have more children, you are only prolonging your exclusion.

“Why not just get a babysitter?”

Babysitters are a great resource for when you want time alone as a couple, but if everywhere you want to go requires a babysitter, then when are you spending time with your children? This further enforces the idea that you are only welcome when you’re without children.

Babysitters are also cost prohibitive, particularly for young families. If a babysitter costs on average 10 USD an hour, and you want to see a movie (Marvel’s Endgame is three hours long), you are essentially charging an extra 30 dollars to anyone with children. And that’s not including travel time!

It unfairly impacts those who breastfeed (and don’t pump, like me) or anyone else who can’t be away from their children for long periods of time. Requiring a sitter also means planning. Requiring planning means going places with children is less convenient and less enjoyable.

I will admit that there are places that definitely need to be quiet and distraction free. However, these should be exceptions. Exceptions that we can find creative solutions to. Libraries, famous for being quiet, are a great example! If we want to make having children more desirable, we need to make it natural and easy to bring our children with us where we want to go.

What do you think would help make your community more welcoming to children? I’ll go first!

I wish there were more places with changing tables and high chairs. I’ve had to change a diaper on the floor, and once on that half foot gap between sinks in the public restroom! Trying to eat while preventing my baby from overturning my plate of food is also not fun! I’m pretty sure high chairs at Ikea are only 15 euro; it’s not that expensive of an investment, guys. Let’s do this! 😀

Your turn! What do you think would make your community more welcoming to children?

Simplifying Meal Planning

So, for the past two weeks now, I’ve made a radical change to the way I plan meals. We now eat the same thing every week. I thought this would be super boring, but actually it’s awesome because I get to eat my favorite foods every day!

I think I first heard of this idea when my husband was reading a book on reducing waste. Apparently, a huge whopping percent of waste is uneaten food and groceries. And while I care about the earth, I probably care about my wallet more. Wasted food = wasted money. Wasted money = sad wallet.

Of course, I didn’t think this applied to ME. I meal plan. I plan for leftover vegetables. I…have big plans for recipes I want to try out, but by the time evening comes around I am too tired to cook and instead find myself searching for the box of Dino nuggets in our freezer. Oopsies, guess we had a lot of unused groceries after all. Cooking simple recipes I know well is much quicker and doesn’t require nearly as much energy.

Also, while I do LOVE trying out new recipes, they don’t always turn out. For every AMAZING recipe out there that you know you’re going to want to eat again, there’s a mix of not so great ones. Especially when you’re a picky eater have a discerning palate like me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to try new recipes, but not more than one every other week or so, at least when it comes to dinner time.

So that’s it. That’s how I’ve simplified my life. And now I’m eating my favorite foods every day and loving it! In case you’re curious, this is what we’ve been eating for dinner:

Thom ka gai soup (sometimes with fried rice), bibimbap, Turkish red lentil soup with crusty bread, spaghetti, mapo doufu, tteokbokki, bean and cheese burritos, and the seventh one is whatever I feel like that week/still being chosen.

Eventually I’d like to work in lunch and breakfast, especially meals that incorporate more dark leafy greens, but for now this has been a huge help.

Boobs are awesome and so is breastfeeding

TLDR: Boobs are sexy, milky boobs are sexy, babies need milk from boobs.

As a new mother, I’m constantly amazed at my body. I made that! Yes, that baby there! I mean, sure my husband helped. But my body grew him to size, birthed him, and now that he is out here in the world, my body is still “growing him” by producing milk for him to eat.

This is still surreal to me. Milk literally comes out (sometimes SHOOTS OUT) of my body. Cued not only by a suckling baby, but also my baby crying, looking at my baby, or even thinking about my baby. At one point, I’ve even observed my baby screaming at my nipple, which then started shooting milk into his open mouth!

So yeah, I think my body, and its ability to breastfeed is amazing. Not only does my body produce nutrition for my baby. It also produces the BEST nutrition (and antibodies) possible. Because I have the time and ability, my baby’s breastfed. Therefore, if my baby is hungry, I’m going to feed him. Even if it’s in public.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never experienced any kind of negativity nursing in public, possibly because I live in Europe. However, in America breastfeeding in public is always a big topic.

There seems to be a prevalent argument among pro-public breastfeeders that goes something along the lines of “breasts are made for babies to eat from, not for men to play with! You should not be turned on by women breastfeeding. Boobs are for FOOD. Therefore it’s fine to breastfeed in public.”

Ummmm, excuse me? I would be very sad if my husband told me that my breasts are no longer attractive because my baby eats out of them. I love my boobs, and think they look nice.

If I’m out in public and need to nurse, I do. Because my baby is hungry, and I think breastmilk straight from the breast is superior to any other form of nutrition. However, I don’t think my breast automatically becomes asexual because I’m holding a baby near it.

I DO think my baby eating is more important than anyone’s discomfort. I would hope that any males (or women who are attracted to women) would try to give me some privacy if possible and look away, because they, too, understand that babies need to eat. Or would also like my baby to stop crying ASAP.

I’m sure someone out there is asking “but what about covers?” As a first time mom, I consider mothers who use covers breastfeeding ninjas. Like, seriously, HOW DO YOU DO IT?!

Learning to breastfeed was very difficult for me and baby, so I never used a cover (it made it easier to see what was happening). Now, if I attempt to use one, my baby thinks it’s some kind of peek-a-boo game. Even without a cover, my son enjoys pulling off my breast to smile at everyone around him as if to say “Look what I get to eat!” While I frantically try to block my nipple from view and then stuff it back in his mouth.

For me, breastfeeding rooms are a huge help, but not everywhere has them, and there can be long lines, so I often end up breastfeeding in public.

If you need to feed your child, you should do it. But don’t try to apologize for it or rationalize it by saying boobs aren’t sexy. THEY ARE! Moms already face so many negative stereotypes about their bodies post-baby. Lies such as “you’ll never get your body back” or “having children means you lose your figure” are rampant. We should be celebrating the beauty and sexuality of mothers’ bodies, not telling them that having children is their consolation prize for becoming dumpy and tired. People with children can and do have sexy bodies. I like to think that I’m one of them.

So nurse in public. Do it because your baby is more important that people getting a peek at your sexy breasts. Not because your breasts aren’t fantastic and might give someone a hard-on 😉

Fusion Spaghetti for Morning Sickness (or a Light and Healthy Meal for Anytime)

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Nothing says fusion food like shiso on spaghetti! Or in this case my substituted mint.

This post was written originally way back in February or March, when I was in the early stages of pregnancy. But, since it was early, I wasn’t keen on posting about it on the internet. This week I’m at 33 weeks, so no more worries about everyone knowing!

So, the other day I was browsing around the bookshelves at my local Japanese bookstore. And by local I guess I mean all the way downtown in the somewhat Asian part of town. Anyways, while I was browsing I stumbled upon a guide in Japanese for pregnancy. It was so cute! It had tons of cute illustrations and color coded bullet points. But what most impressed me, was that it had specific recipes aimed at pregnancy tummy troubles such as morning sickness, bloating, and constipation.

This really impressed me because all What to Expect When You’re Expecting has to offer is a suggestion to eat 6 times a day healthily. A search of the internet turns up all sorts of wacky things for morning sickness food: steak, mac and cheese, ice cream. And while food aversions can vary greatly from person to person, I find it hard to believe that the puking women out there really want a giant steak for dinner. However, obviously I can’t know, since I only have my own experience to go on.

This recipe starts really simple for the super sick feeling (the original recipe from said pregnancy book), but you can build it up and add more depending on how much and what kind of food you can handle (or for the non-pregnant people in your life). I have nausea, but no barfing (so far), so my stomach may be able to handle more than yours.

Fusion Spaghetti

serves 1-2, 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Basic version:

spaghetti for 1-2 people

salt

pepper

Extra virgin olive oil (be careful that it hasn’t gone rancid!)

Fresh shiso, mint, or basil chiffonade (aka thin strips)

1 Fresh beefsteak tomato, cut into bite-sized pieces

Optional add ons:

Black olives

Seasoned tuna:

1 can of tuna packed in oil (138 grams or 5 ounces. My can listed 2 weights, this is the “fish” weight)

1/2 Tablespoon mirin

1/2 Tablespoon white sugar

1 Tablespoon usukutchi soy sauce (can substitute 3/4 Tbs. normal soy sauce)

First: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain immediately. In a mixing bowl add olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Top with tomatoes and shiso (or your chosen herb).

If you want more substance: Open the can of tuna and try to press as much excess oil out of the can as possible. Heat a frying pan to medium and add the tuna directly (no need for extra oil). Add the mirin, stir it around, and let it sizzle for a while. When it starts to look a little flaky, and less like a big wet mess, add the sugar and stir. After 30 seconds to a minute, add the soy sauce. Cook until it looks a little bit flaky and the liquid is mostly absorbed. Remove from heat. Add desired amount of olives and tuna to your spaghetti. Bon Appétit!

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Nutritious and light! In hindsight I probably would have used less olives 🙂

Avocado Toast

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Yummy brunch! A slice of avocado toast and a tuna-leftover concoction!

Can you believe I’ve never tried avocado toast?! I absolutely love it! Super easy with an awesome play of acid from lemon, salt, and fattiness from avocado. And probably takes one minute to put together! Hello breakfast/light lunch with lots of vegetables and nutrients!

Avocado Toast

Makes 1 slice time: 1-2 minutes

Ingredients:

1 slice of multigrain bread, toasted (I also tried this on a whole wheat English muffin and it was great!)

1/4 of a ripe avocado

squeeze of lemon juice (1 tsp or to taste)

sprinkle of salt and pepper

sprouts

flax and chia seeds OR sunflower seeds

Directions:

Mash pieces of avocado onto the slice of bread until it looks like a spread. Squeeze lemon juice on top and add other ingredients to taste. Done. It’s just that easy

Original recipe from Cooking Light: Avocado Sprout Toast

Rice and Broth Soup: For when you need some gentle food

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A gentle, nourishing broth

Want to be amused? Right now, search Pinterest for “light meals.” While half of these will indeed be light, the other half will be filled with things like fried sweet potato balls, 3 cheese ravioli, and stuff with kale. Now, I guess kale is “light,” but it’s not exactly gentle, nor what I want to eat when I’m feeling queasy! Which I was today. After some stomach upset involving some really rich food I was hungry, but wanting something gentle for my tummy.

I’m not sure if this dish really has a name, but there are several variations of rice with added liquid in Japan (probably with added tea is the most well known). This recipe evolved as I was making it, so some of the directions here call for a lot of “season/add ingredient” to taste. Which honestly, I think is preferable if your stomach is feeling off. Your seasoning preferences may be different than normal.

Basically: yummy broth + glutinous rice + gentle toppings. It was really good! My husband, who was feeling super healthy and fine also enjoyed this!

Ingredients note: I call for “water that you’ve boiled chicken in” or dashi. Why not chicken broth? Because western chicken broth is made with a lot of aromatics like onions, cellery, carrots, etc. I wanted to use the chicken water as a substitute for dashi, which is made with only fish and seaweed. (as an aside, Japanese chicken broth also has aromatics, but they’re different.) Depending on what kind of dashi you use, you could easily make this entire recipe vegetarian.

I also chose to do a 2:1 ratio of Japanese white rice to mochi rice so it would be extra sticky, and I could use the extra rice to make a sweet snack. You could definitely use normal Japanese white rice.

Rice and Broth

Serves Two, 20 minutes to make

Ingredients:

For the broth:

500 ml water that’s had chicken boiled in it, or dashi

Soy sauce

Usukutchi soy sauce (optional)

white sugar

brown sugar (optional)

for the rice:

2:1 ratio of Japanese white rice to mochi rice, cooked normally

for the sweet omelet:

2 eggs

1/2 tsp usukutchi soy sauce (can substitute normal)

1/2 tsp sugar

4 Tbs chicken water or dashi

1/2 tsp mirin (can substitute white sugar and a little water)

additional toppings:

nori

green onion, thinly sliced

sesame seeds (optional)

First: Set aside 4 tablespoons of dashi and bring the rest to a boil. Add sugar and the two soy sauces until you like the flavor. I probably added about 4 Tablespoons of mostly white sugar (some brown), and about 1/4 cup of soy sauce. I recommend adding everything 2 tablespoons at a time if it scares you to eyeball it. The broth is now done.

Second: Using chopsticks (or a fork) beat the egg ingredients until one uniform color (no egg whites separate from the yolk). I think it’s better not to use a whisk, to avoid frothy bubbles. Lightly oil a pan using a paper towel to make sure it’s thoroughly covered.

You now have two options: rolled omelets, or thin strips. Thin strips are easier.

Pour the egg batter into the pan and swirl it around until the egg has spread out to touch all sides.

For strips: Wait until the eggs have “set” and the top is glossy, but no longer liquid and mobile. Turn out onto a cutting board and slice into strips.

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These are the sliced version. WAY easier in my opinion! And easier to keep moist!

For a rolled omelet: As soon as one side has finished cooking, roll the omelet on itself to create a tight roll. Remove from heat and using a kitchen towel, paper towel, or sushi roller, roll the omelet tightly and let it sit in this shape for a minute or two. Remove and slice into rounds.

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Here you see the rolled version. Mine aren’t perfect. Ideally there should NOT be a dark line where it was rolled. But still yummy!

Third: If you have an electric stove, place the nori directly on the turned off (but still hot) burner until it has shrunk in size, and darkened in color. For gas, turn the flame on medium, and use tongs to hold the nori above the flame.

Fourth: Place toppings on top of rice and ladle a little bit of broth over it. Enjoy!

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Before adding broth

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After adding broth and sesame seeds. Time to eat!

 

Bonus recipe:

Smoosh the left over rice up with a spoon or rice scoop until it clumps together a bit. Using hands moistened in water, loosely pack the rice into small balls. Combine kinako powder and white sugar (to taste) in a separate tupperware. Toss the balls in the powder. This is essentially ohagi minus the sweet red bean paste in the middle (which you can buy in a can and add if you want!).

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Yeah, there’s no getting around the fact that these are SUPER ugly! But they make a light and sweet snack.

Gochujang Tofu

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I’m not vegan, but I’m always super excited when I manage to make something that is. Maybe because:

A) For some reason I perceive veganism as super difficult and exotic.

B) Any time I can cut down on meat I feel like my meal is a lot healthier.

C) So many vegan and vegetarian recipes suffer from a lack of umami (the savory flavor), so I’m really happy when I find one that’s delicious and well balanced flavorwise.

So basically I felt like a super hero that just ate something really delicious after making this recipe. And guess what? It was actually really easy!

This is a spicy Korean sauce with a little bit of sweetness. Serve it with rice and a variety of Korean side dishes like bean sprout namul or takuan/danmuji (the yellow pickle).

Gochujang Tofu

Serves 2, 25 minutes

Ingredients:

400 grams (14 oz. or 1 large block) firm tofu

1 1/2 Tbs (22 ml) Cornstarch

Oil for frying

For the Sauce:

2 Tbs (30 ml) Garlic, minced

4 Tbs (60 ml) Gochujang

2 Tbs (30 ml) Sesame oil

4 Tbs (60 ml) Soy sauce

2 Tbs (60 ml) Sugar (used 1 part white sugar to 3 parts raw sugar, but use whatever you want)

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) Apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup plus (or a large handful) green onions, sliced

1/4 cup (60 ml) sesame seeds (optional)

Water

Step One: Press your tofu between some paper towels for 5 minutes to a half hour. Cut into desired size (I cut mine into 1 cm cubes) and dry with a paper towel. In a large container toss the tofu with the cornstarch until all pieces are lightly coated.

Step Two: Depending on how fast you are in the kitchen, you can do this while doing step three. Combine all sauce ingredients except water together in a clean saucepan. Add the water a few tablespoons at a time until you have a thick sauce consistency to your liking (I used about 1/4 cup of water).

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So much spicy yumminess!

Step Three: Heat oil in a large pan. It doesn’t need to be super deep, but enough that you can fry each side of the tofu pieces in it. Test a small piece of tofu before putting all of them in. The oil should immediately start sizzling and bubbling when the tofu touches. If not, let the oil heat up some more.  Add all of the tofu to the oil and fry each side until it’s a very light golden beige (approximately 2 minutes per side). To me, it looks just a little bit lighter than a chicken nugget. Remove tofu to paper towels to drain and blot off any excess oil.

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Desired “golden beige” color

Step Four: Heat the sauce until it bubbles. Immediately combine sauce with tofu and serve immediately. This recipe makes a lot of sauce, so I would combine a little at a time until you’ve reached your desired “sauciness” level.

 

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That’s it! Time to eat!

Thanks to the bloggers out there with all the different versions of this recipe that inspired this one. Especially Food52’s Gochujang Tofu with Scallions which mine is heavily based on.

If this were an academic paper with a “further work” section: Make a sandwich with this tofu!

Japanese Hamburg Steak

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ハンバーグ Japanese Hamburger Steak

One of the things English speakers quickly learn in Japan is the difference between hambaaga and hambaagu. The first one is your typical hamburger. The other one is a hamburg steak. Apparently, in the States we also have this, and it’s called Salisbury steak. I say apparently because I’d never heard of it before moving to Japan.

Hamburg is a super soft steamed patty made with ground meat, and some stuff to bind it together. There are lots of different toppings and sauces, but I like the wafu “Japanese” style. It’s topped with a sweet teriyaki sauce and grated daikon. For a Hawaiian twist, use a slice of grilled pineapple for the topping!

Fun fact: Hamburg is one of children’s favorite foods in Japan!

For the language learners out there: The word たね (tah-neh) is used for both seeds and meat patties.

Japanese Hamburg

Serves: 2 (makes two patties)

Ingredients:

1/3 cup grated daikon

thinly sliced green onion or shiso

For the hamburg:

250 grams ground pork and beef mixture

1/2 beaten egg

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1/3 cup panko

1/3 cup milk (or soy milk)

1/4 onion, minced

Sauce

3 Tablespoons of each: water, sake, mirin, soy sauce

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/2 tsp corn starch

 

First: Combine all hamburg ingredients and stir until it combines into a slightly sticky homogenous mixture. Divide in half for large patties, or 4 for small ones.

Second: lightly throw each patty from hand to hand. This will compact the patty and get rid of any extra air. Shape it into a round circle.

Third: In a frying pan add a enough cooking oil to coat the pan and gently place the patties in it. Brown both sides of the patty. After each side is browned, add half a cup of water, cover with a lid. Allow to steam for 4-6 minutes, or until cooked through.

Fourth: Wipe out any remaining water in the pan. Combine sauce ingredients and pour over the patties. With a spoon, keep pouring the excess sauce in the pan over the meat until the sauce has thickened and the hamburgs are coated in shiny brown layer.

Fifth: Remove from heat to serving plates. Ladle extra sauce over the patty, and top the patties with shredded daikon, green onion, and a tiny spoon full of sauce over the daikon.

Itadakimasu! Let’s eat!

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I was too lazy to make any side dishes…

Thanks to orangepage.net for the original recipe! They also have some lovely pictures that are much more appetizing than mine ^_^;