Grilled as you like it

Gobo-maki and Teriyaki Chicken Drumettes February 25, 2009

gobo-maki (rear) and teriyaki chicken drumettes (front)

Here are two of my favorite recipes from my family’s New Year’s celebration. They’re my grandma’s recipes and both are big hits with adults and kids alike. Since we use these recipes for New Year’s we often make double, triple, or more to make sure that no one misses out. I don’t just make these yummy chicken wings for New Year’s though; they’re great grilled or baked any time of year. Although my grandma doesn’t do this, I like to boil the marinade while the wings are cooking to make a thick, syrupy sauce to pour on top.

A note about working with gobo: it will brown when exposed to air, so cut it just before you put it in the marinade or cover it with water after you cut it to prevent browning.

Gobo-maki: flank-steak wrapped burdock root
by Grandma Suzie

1 lb piece flank steak
2 or 3 gobo (burdock root)
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup sake or mirin
1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger root
1 clove garlic, grated
2 Tbsp distilled vinegar
2 qt water
1 cup dashi
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Have your butcher tenderize the flank steak. Cut the meat into 3 strips each about 1 1/4 inches wide. The meat should be about 1/3 inch thick. Mix the soy sauce, 3/4 cup sugar, sake or mirin, ginger, and garlic. Marinate the steak for 3 hours. Remove the steak from the marinade and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Cut gobo into  strips about 10 to 12 inches long and 1/3  inch square. Combine dashi, salt, and sugar and boil. Remove from heat and soak gobo in this mixture for 2 hours. With a long string, tie 4 or 5 gobo strips at one end. Then secure one end of the meat. Wrap meat and string around burdock and tie string at the other end. Broil 15 minutes, basting with marinade. Cool and slice 1/2 inch thick. Garnish with parsley and dip in soy sauce and mustard.

Teriyaki Chicken Drumettes
adapted from Grandma Suzie’s recipe by Laurel

1 or 2 large packages of chicken drumettes or wings
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup mirin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, sliced

Stir together soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic, and ginger until the sugar is dissolved. Cover chicken with marinade. Adjust amount of marinade if needed to cover chicken, or make sure to turn chicken occasionally so that everything gets marinated evenly. Marinate for several hours or overnight.

Drain chicken and bake on foil-lined baking pan at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes.

If you like your wings extra-sticky, reduce the marinade to a thick sauce in a saucepan over low heat while the chicken is cooking.

copyright 2009, Laurel S.


Oshogatsu February 21, 2009

Kakudo-family New Year’s feast

During our holiday trip home, we took a short trip to Los Angeles for New Year’s. As always, we started the day with ozoni: mochi in soup. In Japan, it seems like every family has it’s own unique recipe for ozoni that is informed by the region that you live in. At our house, ozoni is made with dashi broth, just a splash of shoyu for saltiness, blanched mizuna (or spinach), kamaboko fish cake (preferably the pink one), and mochi. It’s simple and so good. Of course, we also like hot mochi with shoyu and sugar too. After that, we helped prepare the foods. Here is our New Year’s feast: inari-zushi, maki-zushi, nigiri, tempura shrimp, kohaku namasu, green beans, tai, gobo-maki, teriyaki chicken drumettes, kuri-kinton, kuromame, kamaboko, kombu-maki, lotus roots, nishime (with Shimonita konyaku that I brought from Gunma), komochi kombu, Kobayashi farm dried sweet potatoes, datemaki, and Chinese chicken salad (not a Japanese tradition, but a tradition in our house). Phew! I hope I haven’t forgotten anything. It didn’t seem like so many things while we were making them…

kurikinton, datemaki, kuromame, and Kobayashi farm dried sweet potatoes

Here is my new lacquered jubako (above) that I bought in Kappabashi in Tokyo. The motif is called sho-chiku-bai, meaning the pine tree, bamboo, and plum tree. I hope this lovely box is at many New Year’s meals to come.


We don’t usually have datemaki, a sweet rolled egg cake, but I wanted to try it and found an easy looking recipe in December’s Kyou-no-Ryouri magazine. I didn’t have a square omelet pan, so I baked it in the oven instead. After it was baked, I wrapped it in the oni-sudare rolling mat (see above) to give it ridges and held it shut with rubberbands while it cooled.

I also made the kuromame, but they were much less successful. I’ll have to work on my Japanese-reading ability before next year, because I left the beans in the syrup overnight and it sucked all of the moisture right out of the beans. 😦


Gobo-maki and teriyaki chicken drumettes are definitely a New Year’s tradition in our family. They’re really a favorite among the “kids.”


I made the nigiri sushi while Alex, Jackie, Jenn, Kacy, and EB made the maki-zushi.


adapted from Kyou-no-Ryouri

4 eggs
80-100 grams hampen (steamed fish cake)
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons dashi
1 tablespoon mirin
pinch of salt
vegetable oil

Blend hampen to a paste in a food processor. Add eggs, sugar, dashi, mirin and salt; mix well.

Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer.

Oil a square omelet pan (or square or rectangular baking dish) and cook the egg mixture until cooked through and lightly browned on both sides (if you’re using an omelet pan you will need to flip the eggs). (Depending on the size of your pan you may need to reduce the quantities or cook the eggs in batches because you don’t want it to be so thick that it’s difficult to roll.)

Place the cooked egg cake on the pointed side of an oni-sudare. Roll the mat and egg cake together at first to give it a basic, round shape. Then unroll and roll again, wrapping the mat just outside of the egg cake (like making sushi) to make a pretty, round roll. Fasten the mat closed with rubberbands and allow to cool.

When cool, slice into 1/2 inch slices.