It's no secret that the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has brought out the home chef in many of us, from toast art to some of Japan's next-level kitchen creations. Japan's professional chefs have been doing some quarantine cooking, too – even sharing recipes online for everyone to try.
Chef Shusaku Toba, from Tokyo's one-Michelin-starred French-Japanese restaurant Sio, has been sharing simple recipes for the home using kitchen staples and items found at convenience stores. So far, he's shared recipes for a quick and easy carbonara, Napolitan spaghetti and mentaiko (cod roe) pasta. He's also shown us how to make two crowd-pleasing Japanese dishes – chicken karaage and deep-fried shrimp – as well as demonstrate how simple it is to upgrade the usual konbini sandwiches.
All Toba's recipes are in Japanese, but the photos he provided make the steps pretty easy to follow. Here are our favourite konbini sandwich recipes from him.
Konbini Croque Monsieur
Chef Toba transforms the average store-bought egg sandwich into a croque monsieur hybrid with the addition of ham slices and melted cheese. This one is easy, no matter how bad your cooking skills are.
Mayo, Corn and Cheese Roll
Next is an upgraded mayo-corn bread roll. Simply add some shredded cheese on top, pop it in a toaster oven to melt the cheese, and then sprinkle on some Japanese sansho pepper before serving.
Peanut, Soy and Egg Toastie
This unique creation is a peanut butter sandwich with added soy sauce, cheese and a fried egg. Quirky, but it works. First, brush the peanut butter sandwich (store bought or make your own) with a bit of soy sauce. Then top it with a slice of melty cheese and pop it into a toaster oven. In a frying pan, cook an egg to your liking and add that to the warm sandwich. The chef compares the taste to mitarashi dango, chewy rice cakes that are coated in a sweet and savoury soy glaze.
Tartare Katsu Burger
This is a riff on the ready-made katsu sandwiches you can find at any convenience store in Japan, and it requires a little more prep time. First, heat the sandwich in the microwave. Then, transfer it to the toaster oven and open up the bun to toast the inside.
Next, slather on a generous helping of tartare sauce, which Toba makes by mixing Japanese Nara pickles, onions, mayonnaise, fresh cream and a bit of honey. Add in some extra shredded cabbage and voila, you've got yourself a pretty solid meal. The konbini sandwich Toba uses is a cabbage and chicken bun, but you can use any kind you like.
More home cooking inspo
How to bake a flourless chocolate cake in a rice cooker
Learn how to make classic Japanese dishes at home
These documentaries will leave you hungry for Japanese food
Here's what Japan is cooking in quarantine