After my children were born, I started incorporating Japanese food into their diet as soon as they could take down solids. They all ate “hot tea rice” when they were six months old and now they love nori (Japanese seaweed) wrapped around almost anything. I make nori squares crispy and flavorful by brushing a small amount of sesame oil on both sides of each sheet then gently wafting the individual sheets over a low flame on a gas stove until they crisp up. Next, I give them a sprinkle of sea salt and cut them up into quarters. With these we have our own 'Japanese Taco Night' and wrap up rice, chicken teriyaki, fish, avocado, cucumber, or anything the kids feel like eating.
I'm a firm believer in that the more you introduce to your kids, the more they will adapt to trying new things for the rest of their life. My kids can eat raw fish, tofu, and seaweed with ease because they see these as part of their normal diet versus something foreign or weird. The plus side is that the whole family can enjoy eating healthy, fresh, nutritious and protein enriched foods that are very prevalent in Japanese cooking. Japanese cooking is great for families because it doesn't use a large amount of salt or seasoning and allows for kids to appreciate food in a very natural state.
My recipes show how to use Japanese ingredients in every-day cooking in a way that's easy and accessible. If you aren’t Japanese or experienced in Japanese cooking, it really doesn't matter. All of the beautiful dishware, intricate knife cutting, and laborious attention to detail are a part of the beauty of Japanese presentation, but the core ingredients are actually quite simple and available.
Given that my kids are half Japanese, mealtime gives them memories of the different smells and tastes of their culture, hopefully showing them how important heritage and traditions are. I hope you and your family learn a little about Japanese culture through cooking and want to thank you so much for supporting me on this culinary journey.
どうぞめしあがれ (Douzo meshiagare) = Please enjoy your meal!