Back to Basics with Ingredients No One Can Pronounce: Grilled Age with Ginger and Green Onions

I’d like to pause for a moment, in acknowledgment of anyone who is currently having one of “those” days.

And so on and so forth. When these days occur, there are several plans capable of being put into action to assuage the damage. For me, the breakdown usually works itself into something like the following….

Plan A: Cry. Curl into a ball and plan on letting gravity carry you through the floor to somewhere near Earth’s core.

Yeah, right. Did you really think I’d leave you hanging there? There’s no crying in baseball, y’all. Or anywhere else for that matter, unless you’re under extreme provocation.

Plan B: Have some sort of alcoholic beverage.

Yes, I realize this screengrab is overused. This just means it speaks to all of us. #PreachSJP

I’m not saying this doesn’t work, for the most part. But I have a feeling those who care deeply about you, numerous people in the medical industry, and your liver will thank me for providing you with what’s next.

Plan C: Eat something.

Padma Lakshmi, you demonstrate this point far better than I ever could. All my “sexual eating photos” will never come close. You are a goddess divine and I worship at your alter.

See? Crickets. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Padma, how on earth do you do it?

Those close to me can always tell when I’ve had a bad day based on the way I conduct myself in the kitchen. This doesn’t mean I throw pans around, curse, or anything of the sort. It’s the opposite – I get very quiet, put my head down, and get to work.

I’ve been reading a book about Japanese Farm Cooking in attempt to restrengthen my family roots. I’ve been scribbling recipes on a mini brown paper notepad since New Year’s Day, and I finally made one of them. Of course, the majority of you aren’t going to know what some of these ingredients are. Hopefully that doesn’t add to your bad day.

Look at it this way – nothing to lose, everything to gain. Etc. and so forth. Just cook the thing, already. Less time in the kitchen means more time with your feet up and wallowing in your misery.

Grilled Age with Ginger and Green Onions


  • As much steamed white rice you think will cure your sadness. (Yes, that’s a measurement.)
  • 2 packages usuage – It’s fried bean curd. It gets used in miso soup quite a bit. Most Japanese markets will call this inari.
  • 1 tablespoo-ish Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
  • Bonito shavings to taste – Yes, they’re dried fish flakes.You can find them at any Japanese market. If this grosses you out, don’t use them. Simple enough, right?
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce to taste (I used none, but that’s because I’m strange. Use as much or as little as you like.)

If you haven’t already cooked your rice, do so, then follow the rest of these instructions.

Cut the usuage in half horizontally, then into triangles.

Heat the Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a pan over High heat. Cook the usuage until lightly charred. These are extremely thin, so flip and toss them around in the pan a lot, so they don’t burn.

Take the pan off the heat and toss in the ginger and green onions. The leftover heat from the pan will be plenty for finishing the cooking process.

Scoop the steamed rice into a vat (sorry, I mean bowl), and top with the cooked usuage. Top with bonito and soy sauce, if you like.

Inhale without tableside manner, and feel better.

A zen garden after a non-ideal day.

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