Ready to freshen up your meal schedule with some legacy recipes? We took a dive into some of our favorite community cookbooks to source some recipes that you definitely haven't heard of.

I got my cookbook hoarding tendencies from my mother, but what I love about her collection more than mine is that on her little kitchen shelf is a collection of old JA community cookbooks.

She inherited these from her parents and they serve as our go-to books whenever we’re trying to find a recipe. They are so well-loved that we have lost covers to some. Sometimes we don't even know where the recipes originated from. I look forward to inheriting them, stained pages and handwritten sticky notes posted everywhere, as well as adding them to my collection of cookbooks.

Part of my family's Japanese American cookbook collection.

My former AP literature professor, a lover of tie-dye T-shirts, would comment on his style by saying “I am so out of style, I come right back in,” and I laugh thinking how that can sometimes relate to so many things in life, especially in terms of throwbacks.

So combining the spirit of throwbacks and JA community cookbooks, here are some recipes that caught my eye that I didn’t know about or forgot about that now seem brand new!

Pages from the Orange County Buddhist Church cookbook. We lost the cover so we don't know the year, and you can see some stains!

Japanese Basics: Age Zushi

_From Fujinkai SFV Dharma School Golden Chain Cookbook, 1998


Originally from 100 Years of Itadakimasu 1921-2021 from San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple_._


  • ‍_‍_Age (fried tofu pouch)
  • ½ c. sugar
  • ¼ c. shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ c. dashi-no-moto (soup stock)
  • ¼ c. mirin (sweet sake)


Cut age in half and boil 20 minutes in water. Drain water. Rinse age in warm water and squeeze water out of age. Combine remaining ingredients and mix in saucepan. Add age. Simmer age in sauce for 30 minutes or until sauce is absorbed in age. Cool and rain age and stuff with sushi rice.

Bread - Portuguese Sweet Bread

Originally from Everything from Soup to Sushi: A Special Collection of Favorite Recipes - Wesley United Methodist Church 1991


  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 8 tablespoons or 1 stick butter, softened
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 4-4½ cup of flour
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tsp. water


Stir yeast and warm water together and let stand few minutes in a large bowl to dissolve. Add butter, warm milk, sugar, salt, lemon rind, and eggs. Beat briskly and well. Add 2 cups flour and beat until mixture is smooth. Add enough of remaining flour to make soft dough. Turn onto lightly floured board and knead 1 min. Let rest 10 minutes. Resume kneading until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in buttered bowl; cover; let double, 3-4 hours. Grease two 8 in. round loaf pans or two 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ in. loaf pans. Punch dough down; shape into loaves and place in prepared pans. Cover and let double in bulk again. Combine egg with 2 tsp water and brush tops of loaves with the mixture. Bake loaves 35-45 minutes in 350 F degree oven until bread is well browned and shiny on top. Remove and turn out on rack to cool completely. Makes 2 loaves. NOTE: Bread is best toasted.

Appetizer - Smashed Potato Wasabi

From Christine Tsutsui Saldana

Originally from O’Taste and See 4th edition from Faith United Methodist Church


  • 1-½ lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced (russet or yukon gold hold up well)
  • 2 garlic heads, roasted
  • ½ c. butter at room temperature
  • ¾ c. heavy cream, at room temperature
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ c. fresh wasabi or ½ c. wasabi paste


Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F. Steam potatoes for 15-20 minutes. Roast garlic heads by lightly rubbing with olive oil; place in roasting pan. Roast for 1 hour. When cool to touch, halve heads and squeeze out cloves. In a bowl, combine potatoes and garlic. Beat in butter and cream alternating. Whisk rapidly until potatoes absorb other ingredients. Season with salt to taste. Beat wasabi into potatoes just before serving.

Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Leave out wasabi, add rosemary or fresh sweet bail leaves.

Main Dish - Ise Ebi (Lobster in Miso Sauce)

I don't have the cover but this is a cute insert in the book!

Originally from Orange County Buddhist Church (date unknown because we lost the cover along the way due to it being well-loved).


  • 1 cup _dashi_‍
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mirin or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon shiro or aka miso
  • 1 pound lobster meat or 4 lobster tails


Combine dashi, soy sauce, and mirin in a saucepan; bring to a boil. In a small bowl, make a thin paste with the miso and a few spoonfuls of dashi. Add miso to dashi, bring to a boil, and add the lobster meat. Cover tightly, lower heat, and simmer until sauce is nearly absorbed. Serve hot. NOTE: Shelled, deveined, and butterflied prawns or shrimp maybe used in place of the lobster.

Dessert - Tofu Jello Pie

Originally from A Taste of Heaven: Favorites of Yesterday & Today from West Los Angeles United Methodist Church 65th Anniversary.


  • 3 oz. lime Jell-O
  • ⅓ c. sugar
  • 1 ¾ c. boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 pkg. Knox gelatin, dissolved in ¼ c. water
  • 1 Marinu tofu
  • 1 8oz. Cool Whip
  • 2 8in. graham cracker pie shells


Mix first 5 ingredients together and cool. Add tofu blended smooth in food blender first. Place in refrigerator to gel slightly. About 10-15 minutes. Fold in Cool Whip. Pour into pie shells. Refrigerated until time to serve. Can garnish pie with thin slices of lime on top. Serves 6.

Dessert - Haupia

From Andy Fujimoto

Originally from Heritage of Japan: Favorite Recipes Volume 3 from Pasasdena Buddhist Women’s Association 60th Anniversary.


  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cornstarch + 1 cup water, mix well
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla, optional


Boil together coconut milk, 1 cup water and sugar. Quickly stir in cornstarch water mixture. Bring to boil, stirring until thick and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour into 9x13 pyrex. Cool. Can be left out overnight. Refrigerate. Cut in desired pieces.

Note: For soft pudding, 1 cup cornstarch to ½ cup water.

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