Do you use good quality salt for cooking? When I was younger, salt was to make food salty so that I can eat without tasting the real flavor of ingredients, especially vegetables. As I matured, I learned that salt is like a supporting actor or actress that makes ingredients more flavorful. Why don’t we dress up an ingredient with GOOD quality salt?
Salt is very important for Japanese cuisine. Now, high end restaurants are serving yakitori, tempura, sushi, and even steak with high quality salt. For really good ingredients, you do not need sauce or dressing. Besides, you do not want to hide beautiful colors of ingredients.
If you go to a grocery store, there are so many kinds of salt. There are different shapes, colors, origin and price. There are two main categories, sea salt and rock salt. Sea salt is made out of sea water that is concentrated with sun dried method. In Japan, it’s common to concentrate sea water by cooking in pot because we have too much rain to use the sun dried method. Rock salt is mined where sea water was buried due to crustal movement and crystallization. 60% of the salt market in the world is rock salt. However, Japan is importing rock salt because rock salt is not available.
Natural salt has a variety of the colors: pink, gray, yellow, red, light and dark brown. It contains sea kelp, coral, pigments from clay, minerals, iron and other organic matter. Table salt is just white because they are chemically processed. It is way salty and has no minerals. It is also good idea to stay away from processed food and fast food that has lots of BAD salt.
A healthy choice is Himalayan salt. It is rich in minerals. It contains a good amount of iron and calcium. Sea salt contains magnesium chloride and magnesium sulfate which cause high blood pressure. Good news! Himalayan salt contains less than 0.1% of magnesium chloride. People believe that magnesium chloride was diminished over a long time (200 million years!) or from magma heat (1000 Celsius!).
There are many colors of Himalayan salt, black, purple, red, pink, white, and even gold. Himalayan pink salt is the most common to find in the store. The color comes from the characteristic of iron. It has mild flavor and, as a result, it makes meat more flavorful. Let’s cook 500 calories set meal: Grilled Salted Salmon!
Grilled Salted Salmon Set Meals Total 487 Calories
Main: Grilled Salted Salmon
Side 1: Cabbage and Egg Stir Fry
Side 2: Pickled Cucumber and Celery
Soup: BLT Soup
All recipes are made for 2 servings. This printable recipe box will allow you to change the serving size to adjust the recipe.
Main: Grilled Salted Salmon 174 calories
Japanese people eat salted salmon instead of fresh salmon. Salt has so many characteristics.
Salt improves texture of salmon. Salt will make salmon have a plump texture because the protein will become sticky. Salt also breaks down protein into glutamic acid and amino acid which is umami component (good taste). Salt extracts water from salmon and at the same time it removes fishiness.
Here in the US, fresh salmon is common for cooking. You do not have to go to a Japanese store to get salted salmon. You can make it home as long as you have fresh salmon and GOOD quality salt. Remember? Dress up the salmon.
Read more Grilled Mayonnaise Salmon about the health benefit of salmon.
You never run out of eggs in the refrigerator, correct? Egg is an excellent nutritious ingredient for diet. Egg contains EVERYTHING EXCEPT vitamin C and dietary fiber. Egg is a good source of protein, and the Glycemic Index is low. It means that eating an egg doesn’t spike your blood sugar. Do you worry about your cholesterol? Cholesterol is generated in the body, and only 20-30% cholesterol is originated from the food you eat. Besides, cholesterol is a source for hormone and vitamin D. Let’s use eggs for other than breakfast.
Store eggs pointed down in the refrigerator. If you find a crack on egg shell when you come home from shopping. Beat the egg and freeze in a soufflé cup. It can be kept in freezer for up to one month. You cannot store without beating an egg because egg yolk changes the texture after defrosted. Also, never freeze an egg with shell because inside expands, and shell breaks. Finally, never wash eggs because bacteria get into inside through pores.
Read more Daikon and Shitake Soup to learn how to use dried shitake mushroom.
Lightly pickled vegetables (Asazuke) is very important for Japanese home cooking. It is a small dish that helps to change your pallet during the meal. It requires simple two steps. Cut and hand massage with spices like good quality salt. The process makes vegetables crunchy and tasty. You can eat more vegetables because vegetables shrink. You can try different vegetables such as cabbage, napa cabbage, carrot and more. Also you can use soy sauce or vinegar for different flavors. For the best result, leave 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
BLT, bacon, lettuce, and tomato is perfect ingredients for soup. Remember? No bread is allowed for 500 calorie set meals. Read more Cooking Tips for Success to learn about the 500 calorie cooking. Canned tomato is more nutritious than fresh tomato. Tomato contains lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant. It cleans blood so that it flows smoothly and promotes the metabolism. Canned tomatoes contain 2 or 3 times more lycopene than fresh tomatoes!
Each 500 calories set meal comes with 100g of steamed rice. You will need to cook rice in a rice cook or in a heavy gage pot. And measure cooked rice for 100 grams. I will show you how to make your cooking life easier. Read more How To Cook And Store Japanese Rice.