Tofu Steaks and Lentil Curry in Japan!

Hello friends! I stepped away from my blog for a bit while I traveled and pursued some exciting projects, but now that things are settling down, I’m hoping to get back to regular posts this summer. I have loads of fun photos from my travels and cooking experiments that I’m excited to share!

To start things off today, when I was in Japan a little while ago, I visited this fantastic vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurant called Kizuki Kitchen. I know Japan has a common reputation of being a difficult place to eat veggie, but it’s not true! There are so many fun options, and over the recent years, trendy vegan and vegetarian restaurants and cafes are popping up all over the place!

The ideas are often really creative, too, with a special Japanese twist. These are some deep fried tofu steaks that came with a whole bunch of delicious sides.

There were various salads, brown rice, and mushroom miso soup. We tried a number of other set menus, including the lentil curry, which was nicely spiced. The only adjustment that I wanted to make was that there wasn’t quite enough heat for my taste. I asked the restaurant staff, and they were incredibly helpful, searching all over until they found a little shaker of red chili for me.

One thing that made the cozy little restaurant even more fun was that they would prepare all the food right there in front of you, so you could see your dishes as they were being put together. It’s sort of like dinner and a cooking show at the same time.

The third meal that we ordered was a hotpot set. In it, were daikon raddish, an egg, carrot, konyaku, shiitake mushroom, and a deep fried tofu pouch — all well seasoned and bursting with umami flavour. By the time we finished, the tiny little restaurant was packed, and there was a line out the door. If you ever pay this place a visit, make sure you get there early! This was one of the first health-angled restaurants that I ever visited in Japan, so it was a very neat experience to see what they do with all these different and unique ingredients.


Potato-stuffed Bread, Fresh Salsa, and Vegan Chili

I spent the day cooking up a big pot of vegan chili, fresh salsa, and some more of my new favorite flatbread (paratha) stuffed with potato masala.

aloo paratha2

This time I actually recorded the recipe for the bread so that I can recreate it with a little more accuracy next time!

  • 6 heaping tbsp atta flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil (or vegan butter)
  • just enough water to knead it into a firm dough

I began by sifting the dry ingredients together, then kneaded in the water and a few drops of olive oil. I made the dough in the morning, and let it sit for several hours. Just before dinner, I stretched it out and placed a large scoop of potato masala in the centre, then folded the dough over, flattened it by hand, and heated it in my contact grill for a few minutes. This time I didn’t even use a rolling pin which actually made it a lot easier to handle.

aloo paratha4

For the fresh salsa, I just chopped up 3 roma tomatoes, 1/2 an onion, and a bundle of cilantro, then mixed it together with a heaping tbsp of tomato puree and some green chickpeas. I also added in some salt, black pepper, garlic powder and chili paste.

aloo paratha1

For the chili, I cooked up about 2 cups of an assortment of dried beans, lentils and peas, and let it simmer with: 1/2 an onion, tomato puree, 1 roma tomato, a handful of cilantro, green chickpeas, corn, chili paste, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and 1/2 tsp of madras curry powder.

aloo paratha3