• Spotlight on Ponzu Sauce

    Ponzu is a popular ingredient in Japanese cooking that is only beginning to take its rightful place in American kitchens. If you love Japanese food, you have likely had ponzu sauce in your favorite dishes. It is used in many different ways, from marinades to dipping sauces, and has a taste that is very distinctive. Here’s what you need to know about ponzu sauce and how you can use it in your cooking—and how your favorite Japanese restaurant may be using it in theirs.

     

    What is ponzu sauce?

    Ponzu sauce looks similar to soy sauce, but it tastes very different. It is made from rice wine, rice vinegar, bonito fish flakes, seaweed, and citrus fruit. Typically, yuzu is used in ponzu sauce, but it is sometimes made with kabosu, daidai, and sudachi. The citrus fruit is added at the end, after the ingredients have been combined and heated together, then it is strained. This means that the citrus flavor is prominent. Describing the taste of ponzu is difficult, because it has sweet, sour, salty, and bitter flavors all at once. These complex flavors explain why it is used in so many different ways.

     

    How is ponzu sauce used?

    There are endless uses for ponzu sauce. Many people incorporate it into marinades for chicken, fish, beef, and vegetables. It is also sometimes used as a dipping sauce on its own for nabe and shabu shabu. Ponzu shoyu is a popular dipping sauce that combines ponzu and soy sauce that is used to sashimi and other fish dishes. Sprinkling ponzu on rice is a popular way of giving it some additional flavor. If you want to combine ponzu into Western dishes, it makes a good substitute for Worcester sauce. Try it with steak or oysters.

     

    Try more tastes of Japan with a visit to House of Genji. We offer traditional teppanyaki dining in San Jose, plus lots of other Japanese favorites on our menu. Learn more about the restaurant and our hours by calling  (408) 453-8120.

  • Ideas for Pairing Japanese Food with Drinks

    Japanese food comes in a variety of flavors and textures, and as such, it pairs well with many different kinds of drinks. From beer and sake to wine and cocktails, you’re sure to find a drink you love to match with your favorite Japanese foods. This guide will help you make the right selection to go with your meal.

     

    Fried Foods

    Most Japanese foods are not fried, but a few popular ones are, including tempura and katsu. Beer is a good pairing for any kind of fried food, and you won’ be disappointed if you pair any kind of fried Japanese food with a light-bodied lager. If you would like to pair your fried food with wine or sake, consider what you would pair with the food underneath the breading or batter. Shrimp and fish pair well with white wines, even when it is fried. Light reds are great for beef or pork that has been fried, while whites or light reds can work for chicken. Stay away from heavier reds, as they may be too rich. For sake, cold, dry sakes are a good pairing.

     

    Grilled Foods

    Grilled chicken is very popular in Japanese cooking. If you’d like a white wine, sauvignon blanc is a good pick. For red, go for something light, that won’t overpower the grilled meat.  If your grilled food comes with a sauce, you can opt for fuller-bodied wines. For sake, cold, unfiltered sake is a good option, but you can choose warm sake if you prefer for grilled, sauced foods.

     

    Teppanyaki

    Pair drinks with teppanyaki much as you would in a steakhouse. For steaks, full-bodied reds are a great choice.  Chicken dishes work with a variety of dry whites, as well as some light reds. Beer is a choice that can fit any teppanyaki meal.

     

    House of Genji offers a full cocktail bar plus a beer, wine, and sake menu to pair with Japanese dishes. Do you have questions about our drinks or our menus? Call our Japanese restaurant in San Jose at (408) 453-8120.

  • Tamago: A Staple in Japanese Food Culture

    Tamago is Japanese for egg. This simple food is one of the most popular ingredients in Japan. Sometimes it is a component of another beloved dish, and sometimes it stands alone, but eggs can be found in a huge number of places, from top Japanese restaurants to street food vendors. As a country, Japan consumes the most eggs of any place in the world, so it’s not surprising to find them in so many popular Japanese dishes. Here is a closer look at how tamago is used in Japanese cuisine.

    Raw Eggs

    Unlike many places in the world, people in Japan like to eat their eggs raw. Raw eggs are used in many popular dishes, such as tamagokake-gohan, which is a dish that consists of rice topped with a raw egg and soy sauce, and an omelet that is filled with rice. Although many people in other cultures think of eating raw eggs as dangerous, people in Japan believe them to be safe if they are eaten within a specific window of time. Eggs are marked with a best-by date that indicates the window in which eggs can be eaten raw. After that, they must be cooked to be enjoyed safely.

    Evolution of the Egg

    Eggs are a quintessential Japanese food now, but this wasn’t always the case. From the 14th century onward, eggs were frequently banned under Buddhist guidelines. Even when they weren’t banned, they were often not a popular choice. Starting in about 1603, eggs became embraced as a luxury item, but it wasn’t until after World War II that eggs became a dietary staple.

    Popular Egg Dishes

    Eggs form the basis of both sweet and savory dishes in Japan. Marinated eggs are frequently used to top ramen or enjoyed on their own. Egg puddings and custards are popular desserts. Raw eggs are frequently mixed with soybeans as a side dish, and many variations of chicken and eggs cooked together are served with rice or noodles.

    For a taste of Japan, visit House of Genji. Our teppanyaki dishes offer an authentic Japanese experience close to home. You can learn more about our Japanese restaurant in San Jose by calling (408) 453-8120.

  • How It’s Made: Miso Soup

    Miso soup is a staple on the menu of nearly every Japanese restaurant. The simple soup packs a lot of flavor and plenty of health benefits. The original version of miso soup was traditionally eaten with rice, but today, when you order it in a Japanese restaurant, you usually just get the broth with pieces of tofu and seaweed in it. What is exactly is miso soup, and how is it made? Here is what you need to know.

    Miso Soup Ingredients

    Although other ingredients are sometimes added, miso soup at its core contains only two ingredients: dashi and miso paste. Dashi is a Japanese soup broth that is made from anchovy, kelo, and bonito flakes. Dashi is used frequently in Japanese dishes, and if you’ve eaten at Japanese restaurants, there is a good chance that you’ve smelled its distinctive aroma in the air. Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans, and frequently, salt. The miso paste doesn’t dissolve in the broth completely, and it gives miso soup its recognizable cloudy appearance. In addition to these ingredients, there are many different twists on miso soup recipes. Families tend to have their own preferences that include everything from adding radishes to adding potatoes to the mix.

    Making Miso Soup

    For a simple miso soup, the dashi and miso paste are heated together gently until it is time to serve. It’s important for the soup to never boil, which will cause the flavor of the miso to break down. After the two are combined, salt may be added. At this point, the addition of other ingredients, like tofu and seaweed, can occur. Miso paste comes in a variety of colors, and the darker the color, the stronger the flavor. This is an important consideration when preparing the soup.

    Let House of Genji do the work for you, and stop by our restaurant for a steaming cup of miso soup plus a delicious teppanyaki meal. Contact us today to find out more about our menu of Japanese food in San Jose by dialing (408) 453-8120.

  • What Is Breakfast Like in Japan?

    When most people think of Japanese food, they picture things like teppanyaki, ramen, and sushi, but they seldom think of breakfast foods. What exactly is breakfast like in Japan? As it turns out, the answer varies greatly, depending on location and preference. Here is what you need to know.

    Japanese Hotel Breakfast

    Most hotels in Japan offer what they refer to as a traditional breakfast. When staying in a hotel, you will likely be offered grilled fish, rice, nori, onsen tamago, and a selection of Japanese pickles. This breakfast is increasingly less common outside of hotel settings however, particularly because of the amount of time it takes to prepare. Some hotels are also starting to move away from this traditional breakfast towards more modern offerings.

    Breakfast at Home

    At home, breakfast in Japan looks very different. Most people eat thick slices of toast with butter instead of rice, especially young people. They accompany it with ham and eggs, and often, a green salad is part of the meal. Salads are a very common part of breakfast in Japan. When a salad is not served, another vegetable is usually served instead. People who do have rice for breakfast at home still usually accompany it with a salad, eggs, and ham. Other breakfast meats, including sausage and bacon, are also sometimes enjoyed instead of ham. In some parts of the country, natto, or fermented soy beans, are eaten with rice instead of eggs, ham, and vegetables.

    Breakfast at Coffee Shops

    Going to a coffee shop for breakfast is very popular in Japan. The meals served in the coffee shops depend on the region, but they often include udon, buttered toast, toast with azuki paste, mochi, and various tempuras. Some places also serve salads and even hot dogs, and of course, coffee is an important part of the meal.

    At House of Genji, we have your Japanese lunch and dinner covered, with our full menu of Japanese food favorites, from teriyaki to teppanyaki. Whether you need a business launch with your co-workers or a fun night out with friends, you’ll love the menu of classic dishes at our Japanese restaurant in San Jose. Call us at (408) 453-8120 with your questions about our menu and more.

  • Spotlight on the Japanese Raindrop Cake

    In Japan, food is not just something you eat. Preparing food is an artform, and each dish is therefore a work of art. As a result of this emphasis on visual details in food, some Japanese dishes are more about the presentation than the flavor. The Japanese raindrop cake is a perfect example of this trend.

    The raindrop cake is not much of a cake by traditional standards. It takes its name from the piece of nature it represents: a raindrop. It is completely clear and evaporates in just 20 minutes. The cake is mostly composed of water and is a largely flavorless dish, but it is usually enhanced with a bit of soybean powder and brown sugar syrup to make the dessert more palatable. Often, there will be an edible flower or pieces of fruit inside to add to the stunning visual appeal of the dish.

    If you love to have a visual experience along with your meal, then check out House of Genji in San Jose. We provide an exciting tableside hibachi experience, so you can enjoy your food being prepared as much as you enjoy eating it. Visit us online to learn more about our menu, or call (408) 453-8120 to make reservations.

  • A Brief History of Tempura in Japanese Cooking

    Tempura is a standard menu item in many Japanese restaurants and is a meal or appetizer made with fried fish and vegetables. Typical fish options include shrimp and white fish, and the vegetables are often carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, squash, and mushrooms. Take a look at the history of tempura in Japanese dining:

    Origins of Tempura

    The Japanese people have a long history of taking foreign foods and recreating them to suit Japanese tastes. The frying style used for tempura was introduced to Japan in the 16 th century by Portuguese missionaries. The meal that provided the inspiration for tempura was designed to feed Christians during Lent. In this span, when many Christian denominations are forbidden to eat meat, missionaries referred to their meal as ad tempora cuaresma , which is Latin for “in the time of Lent.” This term was misinterpreted by the Japanese as the name for the cooking style.

    Popularity of Tempura

    In its beginnings, tempura was typically enjoyed by the wealthy of Japan due to its use of oil, an ingredient that was expensive at the time. During the Edo period (1603-1867), however, cooking oil became more affordable, and tempura was soon a popular food throughout the Japanese population. Eventually, tempura evolved from being a snack eaten between meals to a course served as the main dish. During the Meiji period (1868-1912), restaurants were built specifically to serve primarily tempura, and this dish became associated with Japanese dining.

    Tempura of Today

    Tempura is one of the most commonly ordered Japanese foods outside of Japan and is distinct from other fried foods due to its batter that uses less grease and no bread crumbs. Today, tempura is typically served with rice or soba noodles with a side of dipping sauce, but you can sometimes find tempura style sushi rolls, fruit, and ice cream. Originally a foreign dish, tempura is now considered a traditional Japanese food.

    Are you craving tempura and Japanese dining in San Jose? House of Genji is a Japanese steakhouse that features a cocktail lounge, hibachi grill menu, and more. To schedule your reservation, call us today at (408) 453-8120.

  • A Guide to Popular Japanese Cooking Sauces

    Japanese food can be healthy and delicious, and it is made using a broad variety of cooking sauces. To have a better understanding of the various sauces used in Japanese cuisine, read this guide before your next visit to a Japanese restaurant.

    Soy Sauce

    This Japanese culinary essential is used not only as a cooking ingredient but for marinating and dipping as well. The most popular type of soy sauce in Japan is dark soy sauce, which is not too salty and has a rich flavor. Also popular, light soy sauce is slightly sweeter than the dark variety, and is also saltier, giving it a more intense flavor which makes it ideal for cooking. If you find these soy sauces to be overpowering in flavor, shiro soy sauce offers a good alternative due to its mild flavor. Shiro is made using more wheat, which is why it has a light golden color. For people who prefer to avoid gluten, tamari soy sauce is made using little to no wheat and provides strong flavor.

    Mirin

    An ingredient that is called for in many Japanese recipes, Mirin is a type of rice wine that is sweeter and has less alcohol than sake. This sauce is light in color, has a slightly syrupy consistency, and its low alcohol content usually burns off with cooking. Mirin is one of the main ingredients in traditional teriyaki sauce and is commonly added to soups.

    Ponzu

    A pantry staple for anyone who loves cooking Japanese dishes, ponzu is a citrus-based sauce that is often used as a marinade or is added to soy sauce. Ponzu is made using rice wine, rice vinegar, seaweed, and bonito (fish flakes). This sauce pairs nicely with seafood, meats, and vegetables, and has a unique flavor profile that ranges from sweet and sour to bitter and salty all at once.

    House of Genji Japanese Steakhouse offers unique and delicious Japanese dining and hibachi grill cuisine in San Jose. To make your reservation, contact us at (408) 453-8120.

  • The Health Benefits of Japanese Food

    What we eat is an essential aspect of a healthy lifestyle, and the traditional Japanese diet found at Japanese steakhouses has many health benefits. Japanese people consider consuming high amounts of protein to be vital for good health. In Japan, fish is a dietary staple, and is eaten baked, poached, teppanyaki, and raw. Many Japanese people associate eating high quality fish with maintaining healthy skin.

    Japanese people traditionally include green tea with their meals, considering it to be an essential factor in fighting off illness and maintaining vitality. Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, so is generally preferred by Japanese people. Because it helps to break down oils, green tea is often served with dishes that are higher in fat, helping to aid in digestion.

    House of Genji Japanese steakhouse specializes in Japanese dining, offering teppanyaki, sushi, and hibachi. To experience memorable Japanese dining in San Jose, please call (408) 453-8120 to make a reservation.

  • A Taste Bud-Friendly Tour of Japanese Street Cuisine [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Like many places these days, Japan has a thriving culture of street food. Throughout Japan, people line up at the tables, trucks, and stands of vendors for a variety of sweet and savory food options. Some popular street foods might be recognizable from your favorite Japanese restaurant. For instance, yakitori—chicken skewers—aren’t unusual to find in a Japanese restaurant, but the ones served on the streets of Japan may also contain chicken livers and skin. Ramen, or noodle soup with a variety of toppings, may also be familiar and is extremely popular in Japan. Other street foods, like takoyaki, or fried octopus, might be more surprising. Learn more about Japanese dining on the go in this infographic from House of Genji. When you’re hungry for teppanyaki or other Japanese specialties, choose our Japanese restaurant serving San Jose. Get your friends fired up for a tasty and fun Japanese meal by sharing this information with them.