Summer Snack & Recipe Ideas!
One of the best ways to boost blah moods during rainy season and beat the heat of the late summer is through tasty summertime snacks! Whipping up something in the kitchen is not only a good way to pass the time when the weather isn't cooperating, it can also help the kids you're taking care of stay hydrated and healthy when temperatures rise.
Whether you want a quick fix or have a little extra time to dedicate, we have some snack ideas and recipes to make your summer sitting jobs in Japan delicious!
If you haven't heard about Japanese watermelons, you are in for a tasty surprise! These juicy fruits are considered a summertime delicacy and the pricetag can reflect that — especially if you opt for the fancy specialty versions. Some watermelons are even squared! These are usually reserved for gift-giving, though. You can usually find pre-cut packages in the produce section of the grocery store, which make for a simple afternoon snack after the kids come in from playing.
Kakigori is a festival favorite! Fortunately, even though most matsuri were canceled this summer, you can easily replicate the experience and become everyone's favorite babysitter. From handheld versions to novelty machines, you can find kakigori makers in abundance. The kids can set up their own shaved ice stand with an array of flavors, too!
Boiled edamame is a super simple snack on its own — just pour into boiling water, wait five minutes, strain and add salt to taste. If you want to make this side dish into a nutritious meal, step it up with a summer salad. We like this easy and delicious version with corn and tomatoes.
Cold noodles are just what the doctor ordered on a steamy summer day in Japan! Served with a little ginger and scallion and a special dipping sauce called tsuyu, somen is also a fairly quick meal to serve up. The noodles are thin, so cook time is only three to four minutes. You can purchase the sauce base pre-made at the grocery store — you'll just need to add some water if it's concentrated. You can also find directions for homemade sauce in this recipe if you're interested! (As always, for anything you're cooking, make sure you get the OK from parents first!)
Add some veggies and proteins to a cold noodle meal with Hiyashi Chuka. Ramen noodles, drizzled with sesame sauce and topped with sliced cucumber, tomatoes, carrots — or really any vegetables you may find stocked in the fridge! You can also add ham, tofu, or edamame for a little protein boost as well. This dish is easily customized for picky palates and makes for great buffet-style serving.
Grilled eel is a summertime must in Japan. Unagi is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for blood pressure and cholesterol and is also rumored to be good for keeping skin wrinkles at bay (important during the summer months!). It's a little pricier than some other summer dishes, but it's a perfect way to celebrate the season. If you have access to a charcoal grill (and permission from the parents!) you can't pass this delicious recipe up!
Cold tofu topped with eggplant, fish flakes, okra and more is another easy-to-serve, sure-to-please meal. This recipe walks you through four different topping options, but you can feel free to put your own twist on it, as well!