New recipes and kitchen tools click via Internet
THE Internet is changing the way people cook.
Some simple recipes posted online have become viral hits, leading to the publication of cookbooks and even the development of kitchen tools.
An example is the chigiri pan, which is homemade bread baked in small portions and decorated as cute characters and animals.
A search for "chigiri pan" on photo-sharing site Instagram brings up more than 90,000 images.
The name chigiri pan (pieces of bread that can be torn up) refers to how people eat it by tearing off bite-sized chunks.
To try her hand at baking it for her one-year-old son last year, Madoka Funaki of Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, first searched for photos on Instagram before making her own version.
She posted a photo of her first effort on Instagram and it drew comments such as "How cute" and "Cool".
"After receiving so many responses, I now enjoy thinking about what kind of bread I can bake next time," she said.
Similarly, potter Michiyuki Onuma never expected his original recipe to become so popular.
For decades, Mr Onuma, who is in his 50s, has always made a sandwich of shredded cabbage dressed with mayonnaise for breakfast.
"It's easy to prepare and eat, and helped me get my vegetables," he said.
Last year, his wife, Yuki, posted the recipe, which she named as Numa-san, on Instagram at the request of a friend.
The sandwich soon became a hit with many saying it is "easy to make" and "tasty".
Today, more than 30,000 photos of sandwiches based on the original Numa-san one can be found online.
Its popularity led to the cookbook Numa-san, priced at 980 yen (S$13) plus tax.
"I'm astonished that our regular family breakfast has spread so fast," Ms Yuki said.
Social-media posts have also led to product development.
The latest incarnation of the classic onigirazu rice sandwich, stick onigiri rice rolls, is now trending online.
These are made by putting a filling on a layer of rice and using plastic wrap to shape the rice into a stick, making it look like a piece of candy.
When Yukako Sekine, who works at household goods company Arnest, found it hard to mould the rice into the stick shape, the company developed a tool to do this more easily.
The tool Deco Stick Onigiri Set, which comes with a stick mould for rice and nori seaweed punch cutters, is now available for 1,296 yen.
"Our product is designed to make small, stick-shaped rice balls that children find easy to eat because their mouths are small," Ms Sekine said.
THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN/
ASIA NEWS NETWORK