Vermicular | Journal | Washoku and the Musui–Kamado

Washoku and the Musui–Kamado

The Essence of Washoku

Washoku—literally meaning ‘Japanese cuisine’—embodies a harmonious fusion of colors, aromas, and flavors utilizing locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage, washoku is a culinary art form emphasizing fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared to preserve and enhance their natural qualities. Its core principles—reverence for ingredients, the art of crafting balanced meals, and keen attention to presentation—have remained unchanged for centuries, reflecting its significance in Japanese culinary tradition.

Washoku Principles in the Musui–Kamado

Washoku centers on the philosophy of subtraction, with great emphasis on simplicity. Rooted in this timeless concept, the Musui–Kamado was meticulously designed and crafted to distill the purest, most intense flavors from each ingredient by combining the tradition of cast iron with modern heating technology. Here are two cooking techniques unique to Vermicular that embody the essence of washoku and can be effortlessly achieved with the Musui–Kamado.

Musui Cooking

Musui cooking, or “waterless” cooking, is made possible by the precision seal of the Musui pot. The contact area between the pot and lid is precisely machined to fit within 0.01 mm of variance. As the ingredients are heated within the Musui–Kamado, their natural juices are drawn out and retained by the Musui’s precision seal, amplifying and intensifying flavors. The result: a delightful broth with complex flavor profiles. By savoring the pure flavors of each ingredient, minimal seasoning is required, offering more health benefits—a powerful and healthy cooking technique unique to Vermicular.

Minestrone Soup


100 g pancetta, cut into ¼" dices
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tomatoes (300 g total), cut into ¼" pieces
2 onions (500 g total), cut into ¼" pieces
2 stalks celery (120 g), cut into ¼" pieces
1 medium zucchini (120 g), cut into ¼" pieces
1 large carrot (120 g), cut into ¼" pieces
50 g green beans, cut into 4 pieces
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
3 Swiss chard leaves, ribs and stems removed and sliced ¼" wide

½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf

120 g cannellini beans, drained
50 g elbow macaroni or small pasta shells, al dente
Basil pesto, optional


  1. Sauté garlic and bacon with olive oil over [LOW] heat for about 3 minutes.
  2. Once fragrant, transfer Vegetables in the pot in the order listed and sprinkle in salt and pepper. Place thyme and bay leaf on top, cover and simmer over [LOW] heat for 60 minutes.
  3. Uncover and add cannellini beans and pasta. Lightly stir and serve. You can stir in basil pesto with the pot off of the heat just before serving if desired.


  • The ingredients can be substituted with seasonal vegetables and greens you have on hand.
  • Watch the recipe video.


Also unique to Vermicular, steam-roasting is a cooking technique that effortlessly combines steaming and roasting in a single, seamless step. The Musui’s precision seal and the Kamado’s uniform heat distribution facilitate steam convection from the ingredients’ own moisture while the cast iron imparts a beautiful caramelization. This method delivers a tender, succulent interior and a perfectly crisp exterior, amplifying and intensifying the ingredients’ true flavors to new heights.

Japanese Sweet Potatoes


3 Japanese sweet potatoes, unpeeled
Unsalted butter, optional


  1. Add 1 tablespoon of water and space out sweet potatoes in the pot without touching each other.
  2. Cover and steam-roast over [LOW] heat for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  3. Peel and serve as is or top with butter and serve.


  • Adjust cooking time depending on the size of sweet potatoes. If large sweet potatoes are used, increase cooking time by 10-15 minutes.

Miso Maple-Glazed Brussles Sprouts


14–15 brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Glaze Mixture
2 teaspoons miso
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
¼ teaspoon soy sauce


  1. Add vegetable oil into the pot while the pot is still cold and space out brussels sprouts evenly, cut-side down. Cover and steam-roast over [LOW] heat for 20 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix ingredients for Glaze Mixture. Set aside.
  3. Add Glaze Mixture into the pot and stir to coat the brussels sprouts.


  • For Step 1, try not to open the lid while cooking. If the lid is opened, steam will escape and the brussels sprouts may not cook properly.
  • Steam-roasted brussels sprouts will achieve soft and tender on-the-inside and caramelized textures on-the-outside. Adjust the amount of sauce depending on the size of brussels sprouts.
  • Credit: Chef Tetsu Yahagi. Watch the recipe video.

Preserving Tradition

What sets the Musui–Kamado apart is more than its technical finesse; it is its ability to reverberate the traditional Japanese cooking principles. The Musui–Kamado invokes a deep connection—to the cooking process, the ingredients, and the final dish. It encourages the home cook to slow down, be mindful, and appreciate the intricate process of creating a meal. This contemporary tribute to the Japanese kamado, a traditional wood-burning stove where culinary wonders unfold, is a nod to timeless culinary traditions. As the Japanese say, 'Itadakimasu'—a humble acknowledgment of the dedication and creativity poured into creating this meal.