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Translating Japanese Cookbooks: Butterscotch Apples and Bananas

Hello everyone, it’s Umi. I am here once again to post about my journey in translating Japanese cookbooks to English. This recipe was an interesting one to make. So far, this is the first one that actually involves cooking the food.

Again I would love to give credit to the book 10 Minutes Sweets ときめく十分スイーツ (flash 10 minutes sweets) by 若山曜子 (Wakayama Yoko).


This recipe is actually two different dishes with the same flavors and the book put them in together.

Illustration for article titled Translating Japanese Cookbooks: Butterscotch Apples and Bananas


Bata sukaachi banana

Butterscotch banana


Bata sukaachi aapuru

Butterscotch apples

アップル is the only time in the recipe that the word apple is written in katakana, everywhere else it is written in hiragana.


材料 (各 1-2人分)

Zairyou (kaku 1-2 nin bun)

Materials (serves 1-2 people each)


Ringo (beni tama) 1-co mata wa banana 1 pon

1 apple (deep red ball) or 1 banana

バター 5g

Bata 5g

Butter 5g

A生クリーム 大さじ1

Nama kurimu osaji 1

1 Tbsp Fresh cream

ブラウンシュガー (または黒糖) 大さじ1

Buraunshuga (mata wa kokuto) osaji 1

1 Tbsp brown sugar (or brown sugar)

The kanji vs katakana here, I could not tell if it was just another way of saying brown sugar or a different type of brown sugar.


メープルシロップ 大さじ1

Me-puru shiropu osaji 1

1 Tbsp maple syrup

I did not have maple syrup, but I did have sugar free syrup. I am sure this substitute affected the taste slightly.



Ramu sake (mata wa burande)

1 Tbsp Rum (or brandy)


Suraisu a-mondo (karairishitamono)

Sliced almonds (skin removed?)

The last part of this I could not figure out fully and guessed it was trying to say remove the skin (which I did not do anyway). I also cut the almonds myself, so they do not look sliced, but instead more like destroyed.

Illustration for article titled Translating Japanese Cookbooks: Butterscotch Apples and Bananas


RIngo wa kawa o mukazu ni 8 tobunshi, shin o nozoku. Banana wa kawa o muku.

Cut the apple into 8 equal parts, remove the core. Peel the banana.

I do not mean to brag, but I am quite good at cutting apples from the years of experience cutting apples for the children I work with. I did double the amount of apples in the recipe, that way my husband and I could have some with ice cream later on.



Furaipan ni bata o netsushi, ringo wa shinnari suru made 2-3 bun, bananawa yakiiro gatsuku made 1 bun hodo chubi de yaku.


Heat butter in a frying pan, cook apples for 2-3 minutes until soft, cook bananas on medium heat until grilled brown color for about 1 minute.

Illustration for article titled Translating Japanese Cookbooks: Butterscotch Apples and Bananas

After melting the butter in the pan I tossed the apples in and started cooking them. I will have y’all know that the smell of apples cooking in butter made me salivate. The banana needed 1 minute on each side to get a golden color on a medium heat. The recipe could have meant this, but from what I got, it only wanted a minute total. I found it quite interesting that the word frying pan was in katakana. Is this because of common phrasing used in Japan or is there no word for frying pan in Japanese? If anyone has an answer, let me know please.


A o yoku maze, 2 ni kuwaeru. Ringo wa 1 bu hodo nitsume, banana wa karamare ba OK. Banana wa konomi de a-mondo o chirasu.


Mix A well and add to step 2. Boil apples for about 1 minute and drain banana. Sprinkle banana with almonds to taste.

Illustration for article titled Translating Japanese Cookbooks: Butterscotch Apples and Bananas

I poured the sauce in and after a couple seconds I took out the banana and sprinkled my crumbled almonds on top. At first I cooked the apples the amount of time the recipe says, but they did not taste very butterscotch like. So, I turned the heat back on and cooked them till the sauce caramelized and would actually stick to and coat the apple slices. This made the butterscotch flavor stand out more, but it was still a mild flavor. Also, the apples were a little more soft this way.

When I first translated this recipe I was hesitant to cook with bananas. I have cooked with plantains plenty of times, but they are not as soft as bananas. The cook time for the banana was perfect. It was soft, but not mushy. I am not a fan of mushy textures, so I was happy with the outcome. Personally, I think the cook time for the apples was not enough and cooking them a little longer than suggested did wonders. I know the name of the cookbook is 10 minute sweets and all the recipes should take about 10 minutes to make, but was not the case with these apples.


The recipe was not bad and went great with some ice cream, though the best part by far was the sauce. I will be making the sauce again for sure. The cookbook shows the apples and banana by themselves, but I highly suggest trying these with ice cream.

This time, once I got to the directions I sat and tried to break apart the sentence the best I could. I whipped open my Japanese textbook to help me remember some of the different particles. While translating I remember how sentences worked in Japanese a little more and this made me so excited. I still have my Japanese homework book, so I am going to sit down and start studying more. Besides all the new kanji, I would love to be able to read a recipe without much help.


Thank you to all of my readers. I appreciate that y’all are still with me on my adventure. I hope you guys will stop by and see what I am making for next week. *Hint* it looks very interesting and I am not certain I am going to do well making it. 

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