Comfort food. Those two words put together usually conjures up images of gooey macaroni and cheese, a slab of homemade meatloaf with piles of fluffy mashed potatoes or a big bowl of boeuf bourguignon. Being half-Japanese, however, means sometimes a comforting meal is found in some katsu-curry, a big bowl of ramen, or a nice teishoku, or “set meal.” Teishoku usually consists of some sort of meat or fish, rice, miso soup or a salad, and some pickles on the side. I always eat my teishoku in a circular order- take a bite of fish or meat with the pickes, then rice, sip some miso soup, eat some salad and then start over. It’s always a perfect combination of flavors and textures and tastes best when you eat it that way.
The other night, my teishoku was comprised of:
Hiyayakko- or cold tofu. This time I topped it with a mixture of kuro goma (black sesame seeds), grated shoga (ginger), shoyu (soy sauce), a little sugar, goma abura (sesame oil) and su (rice wine vinegar) all topped with some chopped green onions:
Grilled saba (mackeral) seasoned with sweet miso, served with a side of celery pickels made with rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger and jalapenos. Those are definitely not your traditional Japanese pickles but boy, they were good.
Daikon salad with wafu (Japanese style) salad dressing and cilantro. My sushi chef, Toshi (as in the sushi chef at my local sushi joint, not my personal sushi chef!), often uses cilantro in Japanese dishes and it seriously works, so I’ve started adding it to my dishes as well!
Put them all together with a bowl of nutty brown rice and you have a teishoku supper! Next time I’ll make some miso soup but it was too hot that evening for soup so I left it out.
Most of these things can be purchased at your local Japanese supermarket (depending on whether or not you have such a thing in your city!). Why not try to make your own teishoku supper? It’s healthy, hearty Japanese comfort food.