Lesson Two


to intensify flavors, to simplify meal preparation

The key to boosting flavor in a wide variety of Japanese dishes is to have an intensely-flavored make-ahead soy sauce concentrate on hand in your refrigerator. As its name, bannō-jōyu ("all-purpose soy sauce"), indicates in Japanese, this umami-rich seasoning with smoky, earthy, salty-sweet overtones goes well with nearly everything. In this lesson, barely blanched spinach is steeped in a basic stock that has been tinged with the concentrate. Plating options include neat bundles of greens topped with toasted sesame seeds. Click on the links below for photo-illustrated instruction not found in WASHOKU. 

Seasoned Soy Concentrate (recipe on page 96) Bannō-Jōyu

Spinach Steeped in Broth (recipe on page 190) Horenso no Ohitashi

Basic Sea Stock (recipe on page 92) Dashi

Ingredients for Seasoned Soy Concentrate 

kombu, niboshi, shiitaké , katsuo-bushi

Spinach Steeped in Broth

presented as a roll garnished with toasted sesame

The Language of Learning

Okeiko (Lessons) + Osarai (Review & Practice + Commentary) 


Renjo (Places to Practice) + Happyokai (Recital) 


Most of Japan’s traditional arts are taught by an interactive, multi-staged process that begins with the teacher setting an example (demonstration) to be followed by students replicating what they see (practice session). Such lessons, referred to as okeiko, require students to be keen observers and diligent mimics.

Student query and teacher response are part of the next stage, called osarai – both a review of material covered (to be sure that it is properly understood) and a further opportunity for students to hone their skills and improve ease of performance. Renjo, literally “places in which to practice,” are the equivalent of classrooms where students gather to take okeiko and engage in osarai. Many of the traditional arts include yet another stage of learning: happyokai recitals, during which students perform for others.

At WASHOKUworkshop, these lessons are your okeiko. I hope you will try making the recipes in your kitchen, following the instructions I provide.  I hope, too, that you will create your own happyokai gatherings – hosting a dinner party, or perhaps organizing a community event at which others are asked to bring one or more components of the menu that you assemble together.

Your feedback is welcomed: please download a set of guidelines for submitting and displaying your work.To further teaching goals, I may post some of the feedback to this site, adding my commentary. Your feedback and my commentary become osarai.