Cucumber and Chicken Marinated in Chili Oil 鶏肉ときゅうりのラー油漬け

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Cucumber and Chicken Marinated in Chili Oil |

Today March 11th in Japan marks the 2nd anniversary of the devastating 2011 Tohoku earthquake, also known as the Great East Japan Earthquake.  A 9.0-magnitutde earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami wave cost the lives of over 16,000 people with almost 3,000 still reported as missing.  Recovery will take time and many people are still working hard to repair and rebuild in affected areas.  To me, it is important that we never forget and keep supporting those who need us.

Remembering this tragic event today, I want to talk about this amazing Japanese lady and her book that was recently released, and share one of her recipes at the end of this post.

Her name is Nobuko Hashimoto, known dearly as “Hashimoto mama” among the earthquake volunteers from all over the world.  She was a victim of the devastation herself in Ishinomaki (石巻), where the city was among the most seriously affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

In addition to her own hardship of getting her life back aside, she generously opened her house for volunteers and has been preparing food for over 5000 volunteers with her and husband’s own money that they saved in case of emergency before the tragedy happened.

Hashimoto Gohan |

Hashimoto mama’s new book, Hashimoto’s Tohoku Recipes (「石巻ボランティアハウスの橋本ごはん」), tells the story of how she ended up preparing thousands of meals for people and how this has impacted to her life as well as volunteers’.  In her book, she also shares the popular Tohoku regional recipes that she has been cooking for volunteers.

Hashimoto Gohan |

My Pantry page was also mentioned in this book thanks to Joseph, a California Just One Cookbook reader.  He spent a lot of time volunteering in Ishinomaki and fell in love with Hashimoto mama’s cooking which led him conceive the idea for this book.  I want to thank Joseph for letting me be a part of this beautiful book.

Hashimoto Gohan |

I received this book a couple days ago from the publisher and I started reading this book.  I’m moved by Hashimoto mama’s kind and giving heart as well as her positive and cheering personality despite the hard situation she is in.

The book is written in both Japanese and EnglishIt’s truly my pleasure to give away 3 books to Just One Cookbook readers.  This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide.  Please click HERE to enter the giveaway.

Full disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by yours truly.  Just One Cookbook is not being paid or given any compensation for this giveaway.

For those living in Japan, you can order the book from Amazon.  Each copy is 1680 yen with free domestic shipping!  If you are living outside of Japan, you can order the book from a non-profit volunteer organization It’s Not Just Mud (INJM).  For those living in the U.S, you can order the book at

I cooked one of her most popular recipes from the book and I hope you enjoy the recipe below.

Cucumber and Chicken Marinated in Chili Oil |

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Cucumber and Chicken Marinated in Chili Oil
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 3-4
  • 6 (1.16 oz/500 g) Japanese cucumbers, or 2 English cucumbers
  • 3 (12.9 oz/365g) chicken thighs with/without skin
  • Ito Togarashi (Korean Chili Threads) for garnish (optional)
Seasonings A
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. sake
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
Seasonings B
  1. Discard both ends of the cucumbers and peel the skin, leaving some part unpeeled for the look.
  2. Cut the cucumbers in “rangiri” style, making long, thin diagonal cuts while rotating one-quarter between every cut.
  3. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Place the chicken in a frying pan skin side down and add the Seasonings A.
  5. Cover and start cooking over medium heat. Simmer for 2 minutes, then turn the chicken over and continue simmering covered for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  6. Continue cooking with remaining heat and make sure the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Combine Seasonings B in a large air tight container.
  8. Remove the warm chicken from the pan and add in the container.
  9. Add the cucumbers and mix well. Let marinate for at least 10 minutes. You can keep in refrigerator up to 2-3 days. Serve at cool or room temperature.
Slightly adapted from Hashimoto's Tohoku Recipes.


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  1. Nami what a beautiful post. I love learning more about this amazing woman. It’s people like her that give me hope the world is going to be okay. Congrats on the mention in the book too, that’s fabulous. Great recipe choice to accompany the post, this is something I could whip up and every member of the family would be happy and full.

  2. Wow, Nami, thank you for sharing the story of Hashimoto-san and her cookbook. That’s amazing that she’s been cooking and sharing food with all of the post-earthquake volunteers!

    This recipe looks great, too! And I will definitely be entering the giveaway (the language-nerd in me is just as excited about the recipes written in Japanese as I am about all of the food photos & food ideas in there!), but if I don’t win the giveaway, do you know if there’s a way that I can buy that cookbook in the U.S.? It seems like it’s only for sale on Amazon Japan (and not, right? Please let me know if you happen to know of a way I could buy it! :)

  3. Joy Ramos

    Love Seaweeds, sashimi, sushi. I must say everything Japanese cuisines. Thanks for sharing your delicious recipes and looking forward in trying them myself.

  4. The story behind the cookbook is one of human will and determination overcoming natural disaster. Thank you for sharing it with those of us who haven’t had to fight just to survive and then triumph.

    There don’t seem to be too many ingredients in this dish and the technique seems pretty simple but the results look so elegant.

  5. Only what I can say is what a women! She is simply amazing in every possible way….
    Recipe that you made from her book looks absolutely fantastic, Nami! I AM in love with your pictures–they are like an art that I want to hang on my wall. Just beautiful!

  6. Excellent recipe – I love the flavors in this. Definitely something I should make. And thanks for sharing the story behind the cookbook. Really this is such an excellent post – thanks so much.

  7. Kimmi

    What a delicious dish and a heart-warming story! Thank you for sharing both with us — I hope that Hashimoto mama gets a lot of love around the world, and that people will feel heartened by her generosity in light of the anniversary of the earthquake.

    • Hi Kimmi! Yes I agree – I think it’s her turn to receive some love from all over the world through her book. Thank you for your kind words. :)

  8. Eha

    The wonderful story of Hashimoto mama has been on at least two documentaries here in Australia. Am so glad for her and all the readers-to-be that such a beautiful book has ensued from such devastation. Absolutely love the healthy but tasty recipe made more appetizing by the way it has been presented – yes it can matter how cucumbers are cut 😀 ! Would be wonderful to hold the volume in my own hands . . .

  9. Linda | The Urban Mrs

    What a lovely heart – her story really inspires me to give more and be thankful. Thanks for sharing such a lovely post and congrats to be part of the book.

  10. Jayne

    Such a heartwarming story. In times of pain and sorrow, food always heals. That’s what I believe. Also, love that the chicken gets marinated with the cucumber after cooking. All that lovely flavours get absorbed and not wasted!

  11. Hi Nami! I just read the news today that the 2011 Japanese earthquake was so powerful that its effects were felt by an orbiting satellite 270km above the Earth!

    My heart goes out to all the victims, their families and friends. Reading the story of “Hashimoto Mama” touches my heart…

    Thanks for sharing the story and recipe. I would go get the book in support of Hashimoto Mama!

  12. Thank you for sharing that amazing story, Nami! It’s always incredible to think of the impact a meal makes. Your cucumber and chicken look so tasty – I want to come for dinner at your house :).

  13. Love the story and the recipe.
    I remember the earthquake at it was today. We have a lot of love ones in Japan and were terrified with the news. Actually, we were supposed to arrive to Tokyo on March 20th and had to change our plans. When we arrive there a month later, we were deeply moved for the solidarity everywhere. A lot of people took the Golden Week to go and help at affected areas. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend there and just gave money to some organizations, but I will love to be able to do what mama did someday in my live.

  14. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    What a wonderful story and wonderful woman! Thank you for sharing her book with us Nami! This recipe sounds like it has a beautiful balance of flavours too! :)

  15. Nami, when I saw this book was written by a volunteer who helped people after this big tragedy, I thought “I will buy it even if it’s in Japanese only; it would take me one year to decipher one recipe, but I don’t care” (you know I’m a big cookery books addict and if I can help people at the same time…). Then I saw it was in both Japanese and English and decided to buy it NOW; and now I see you kindly offer it in your giveaway! I don’t believe really in my luck, but I will try. Who knows… If I’m not lucky, I will buy it through internet. Thank you so much for making this book popular. I’m sure many people will buy it. The beautiful chicken salad is certainly a big invitation to try other recipes from this book. As someone who has cucumber and chicken at least three times a week, I will certainly try it very soon.
    Congratulations for the mention in the book!
    PS Are these chili threads on top? It looks so elegant!

    • Thank for your kind comment, Sissi! You will enjoy this cookbook! :)

      The chili threads are called Ito Togarashi 糸唐辛子 (red chili pepper threads) which I asked my mom to send from Japan… it’s very hard to find here.

    • 上に乗ってるのは「糸唐辛子」っていうんだけど、ご存知ですか?よくラーメンの上に乗ってたり、あと飾りとして普通の料理に使われてます。アメリカで探したけどないので、母に送ってもらいました。母も(日本にいながら)スーパー何件か行かないといけないくらい探したらしいです(笑)。

  16. Tonia Nishioka

    I am remembering today the sadness felt in Japan and worldwide for what happened two years ago. The Japanese are a great example of strength, courage and hope for the rest of us. Thank you.

  17. Anna-Maria

    Nami, thank you for reminding us of what matters today – the people in Tohoku. I’d also like to thank you for your blog, who helped me a lot in recreating the food I learned to love when I lived in Japan.

    • Hi Anna-Maria! Thank you very much for your kind words and feedback. I’m so happy that you are cooking Japanese food at home. Hope my recipes are suitable for your taste and similar to what you enjoyed in Japan. :)

  18. Julia Yuko Lee

    Thank you for this post. It is inspiring how people in times of tragedy encourage one another in powerful ways, especially through food, just like Jesus’ example in Matthew 15:32-38. One can do so much with so little resources, yet make a lasting worldwide impact through heart and love.

  19. Eha

    This dish looked so appetizing I changed my menu last night and thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it! OK, I did not have mirin and used a tad sherry indeed, so it was ‘slightly’ fusion :) !

    • Wow thank you so much for trying this dish already, Eha! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this dish. Thank you for your wonderful feedback!

  20. John Pierre L. Dormido

    Will try this dish as I like spicy food.
    Btw, when I was in Japan, I ate a cold salad-like dish whose ingredients were slices of chicken, cucumber and vermicelli or harusame with a hint of sesame oil and whose color was light orange. Would you happen to know the name of this wonderful dish and its recipe? Thanks.

    • Hi John! I hope you enjoy this dish. You might want to add even more chili oil as I make it milder for myself and the kids. :)

      I’m thinking it’s some kind of Harusame Salad (春雨サラダ), when vermicelli in it. Each family makes it different way with different toppings/ingredients, but the main part is that they use soy sauce + sesame oil as base, maybe sometimes ponzu.

      Harusame Salad is on my list to make for the blog… I’ll share my version one day! Thank you!

  21. COngrats on the feature, Nami, I must admit I am very new to Japanese cuisine, despite watching Oshin, Chiaki etc whilst growing up! This chicken and cucumber combo look delicious. Btw, I enjoyed reading your article in Food & Travel:-)

  22. It is amazing and wonderful how people step up like Nobuko Hashimoto to help those that are in need. She will be honored not only in this life, but the next for her service and kindness. This is a really lovely recipe too and a great cookbook. Thank you for sharing this with use today. :)

  23. Jo

    I am usually not a huge fan of cucumbers because I feel they are usually very bland. But this here makes it look very tasty and juicy!

  24. I remember the tragic earthquake, devastation and outpouring of kindness by the Japanese people. She sounds like such a remarkable woman! Congratulations on the feature and it surely sounds like a wonderful book. The chicken recipe is mouthwatering!

  25. Carol | a cup of mascarpone

    What a beautiful post, Nami…thank you for sharing! Your cucumber and chicken marinade is gorgeous!

  26. Nami, a first photo is a winner, very beautiful. I have a question for you – what is a red stuff on a top? Looks very interesting. I like the recipe very much also, must be very good. Thank you for introducing to us new book, and thank you for giveaway!

  27. Rowrow


    I only discovered your website last Saturday and so far each of my meals have been a recipe from Justonecookbook – All have been utterly amazing!
    This recipe was absolutely brilliant for a packed lunch!
    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Rowrow! Aww you made me so happy! Thank you so much for trying my recipes and I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed them. Thank YOU! xo :)

  28. Hi Nami,
    what an amazing story of generosity and hope!
    Isn’t it incredible how people can overcome such a tragedy and give an example of solidarity to many others.
    Very special post, great message.

  29. Nami, thank you for sharing this inspiring story and beautiful recipe! I love learning the story behind the cookbook – the recipes are extra special and delicious.

  30. thanks for sharing this amazing story and spreading the love by giving away the recipe book. This chicken dish looks very appetizing especially with the addition of chili oil. Since I am a fan of spicy food I’ll probably end up using too much chili oil (I get really excited with spicy food). Thanks again for sharing this!

  31. How truly wonderful she is for preparing all the food for people. An amazing woman, indeed. I feel so happy that there are people like her in this world. I also love the fact that the book is in two languages!

    Thanks for sharing about Nobuko Hashimoto (and the giveaway) with us! :)

  32. Oh yeah for the cookbook! I love this recipe. Chili oil always brings out the best flavor in any and everything! I love using cucumber in it. How wonderful to be apart of this cookbook and this amazing woman’s life. Would love to get my hands on all the recipes some day

  33. Hi Nami – thanks for reminding us about the 2 year anniversary. I’ll never forget those images and the people’s hardship.
    Love this dish, chile oil addiction!!

  34. It’s been two years?! What a great story Nami and thanks SO much for sharing it! People are amazing and have such good hearts and to read a story of someone so truly special, is such a great way to start the day. Congratulations on being part of her cookbook. What an honor! I hope she and her husband are reaping the monetary returns from the book’s sales. After everything they gave, they definitely deserve the returns. This recipe is definitely something I want to make! It’s light and healthy and quite easy – everything I look for in a recipe. Thanks for sharing the recipe, the book and the story!

  35. Oh Nami, what a lovely and light dish…I never had chicken with cucumber.
    And yes, I was so surprised to see the cookbook with both Japanese and English, because when looking for Japanese cookbook they are all in Japanese only, therefore I have hard time in getting one.
    Hope you are having a great week :)

  36. Hi Nami – Thanks for sharing with us about Nobuko Hashimoto and the amazing work that she has done. The cookbook not only celebrates a delicious spread of the local cuisine in the Tohoku area, but it beautifully captures the strong will and compassion of a woman in a hard time. I am truly glad to see that you get to be part of this.

    Love this Chili Oil Chicken recipe too!

  37. Cassio

    Hi Nami,
    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I have a question regarding Sake.
    Is there a particular variety that you prefer to use? I have access to a local intl. super market, and the selection is … a little wider than I expected.


  38. I remember that day, it was more than a tragedy.
    Peru is also on the Pacific side, so we know the feeling to have an earthquake, I don’t like it, it still scaring me. But I never be in a tsunami, and hope I never have to be in one.

  39. Nami, this is one of the most wonderful posts that I have read in a while – I am very impressed by this outstanding cookbook – what a fantatstic story found its way from the heartbrake of this horrific natural disaster. And you are also part of the this book!
    Now, the recipe looks healthy and delicious, your presentation could not be prettier! I love the way you cut the cucumbers, I will attempt my hand at cutting cucumbers this way to see how it looks, it certainly makes for a catchy presentation. Again, simply a wonderful and thoughful post!

  40. Hi Nami,
    I can’t believe it’s already been two years, incredible how fast time flies. This is one beautiful post and thank you for book highlight and introducing “Hashimoto mama”, her story is one of the most inspiring and humbling ones.

  41. Gosh, has it really been two years already? It seems to have gone so fast, and yet at the same time it seems like something which can’t possibly have happened – or which happened so long ago. I remember sitting at work watching the videos on the news as it was happening and I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing… such devastation and such sadness :(

  42. That’s an amazing story – so great of her and it really gives you hope that there are great people like her out there.

    Buying a book now – do the sales go to her? I want to be sure that she get’s some reimbursement for opening her heart/house/savings to help.

    Plus this dish looks delish! Perfect for making ahead and to have on hand to feed large groups of people.

  43. Judy

    Hi Nami,
    I accidentally found your blog and I like it a lot. Your blog has become my references of cooking Japanese food. Most of your recipes are really suitable for cooking at home. That’s really great. I hope you are keeping sharing your wonderful recipes with us.

    Btw, do you know how to make Taberu Rayu? I’d like to learn to make it. Thanks.

    Cheers :-)

    • Hi Judy! I’m so happy you found my blog – welcome! :) Most recipes you find on my blog are our everyday meal, so it shouldn’t take too much time. Japanese condiments are pretty much same for most recipes and I hope you enjoy cooking Japanese food at home!

      My kids and I don’t normally eat spicy food (my husband LOVES it), so I haven’t tried making Taberu Rayu yet despite the popularity. I think someday I should try making it. It is great for many dishes (and husband will appreciate it!). Thank you for suggestion. I put that down in my list of recipes to make in the future. :)

      Thanks for writing!

    • Helene, this Japanese chili oil, La-yu, is not as spicy as other spicy chili oil. My kids eat without realizing it’s spicy when I use just 1 Tbsp. of chili oil. The ingredient list is short, and I think la-yu plays an important role. I don’t eat spicy food (my tummy cannot handle very spicy food), so when I say it’s not spicy, it’s probably no spice at all for most people. Hope that helps! :)

  44. Ilonka

    Nami-san–I made this on the weekend and it was fantastic–perfect for warm days. I reduced the chilli oil a bit and my husband absolutely loved it served with plain Japanese rice. There was some dressing left over, which I strained and tossed with cold Udon noodles, chopped scallion, cilantro, and poached salmon for yesterday’s dinner. This recipe is definitely a keeper!!!

    • Hi Ilonka! So happy to hear you enjoyed this dish. That’s true, it’s really nice dish for warm summer days when you can cook in short time and you marinate in the fridge so the food is cold/room temp. I especially love your idea of tossing with cold udon noodles! I’ll definitely give it a try next time. Thank you for your kind feedback! :)

  45. Great recipe!! Thank you for sharing.
    It turned out great as donburi. Only thing is,I have problems figuring out what matches well as side dishes. Any ideas?

  46. Sunny

    I’ve been obsessed with Japanese Food and cooking japanese daily for about a year now, so I can say I tried all the big classics that suit my boyfriend’s and my tastes. When it started I didn’t have internet so I already own several books. I love japanese cooking books but after you get a couple, it is always the same recipes, maybe slightly different. So when I read your article about this REGIONAL cooking book, I knew I really wanted it. So yeah, just bought it, and I’m trying Pinched Noodle Soup tonight! Thanks for sharing this educating book, with japanese recipes that are different from all the popular recipes!

    • Hi Sunny! Glad to hear you bought this book and trying the recipe from it. Hope you enjoy her recipes! Thank you very much for writing, Sunny! :)

  47. Miche

    This recipe is fantastic! I’ve been eating it for lunch the past two days. I’ll have to buy the book now!

  48. Konrad de Vries

    I’m a student all the way from South Africa, living in an apartment, away from my parents’ cooking for the first time in my life. But I’ve always loved Japanese food and culture and I’ve cooked a few of your recipes, this being the latest one. My roommate has been converted to Asian food and I’m learning to love cooking so much :) so thank you Nami, all your stuff is absolutely amazing

    • Hi Konrad! I was once a student all the way from Japan, missing my mom’s home cooking, so I know exactly what you’re going through. Being able to cook and eat something delicious always comfort homesick, and I’m glad you started to love cooking! Thank you so much for trying some of my recipes and I’m glad you liked them. Thank you for writing, and good luck with studying! :)