New! Shepard’s Pie with a Japanese Twist

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We were receiving a few guests the other day. Some of them had never eaten my food before, however, rumor was apparently around that I was a good cook.

With a little bit of pressure and no knowledge of what they can/cannot eat, I decided to cook this dish. It looks like a normal standard Shepard’s Pie (which I believe everybody likes), but the inside represents my specialty – Japanese Cooking.

The original idea of this dish is from a Japanese Meat and Potato Stew called “Nikujaga”. I realised the ingredients for Nikujaga are very similar to Shepard’s Pie. Why can’t I combine them all together, I thought.

This new Shepard’s Pie with a Japanese Twist was well received by our guests and the dinner party was very much successful. If you would like to make something different for your dinner party, I certainly recommend this recipe.

Ingredients (Serving for 4, using 24cm round baking tray): 

For Mince Filling

150g of your favorite Mince (lamb, beef, turkey kangaroo etc…)

1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg

3 Teaspoons of Brown Sugar

3 Teaspoons of Cooking Sake

6 Teaspoons of Soy Sauce

2 Onions – chopped

2 Carrots – chopped

1 Red Capsicum – chopped

1 Zucchini – chopped

For Mash Potato

500g Potato – peel and cut in chunks

1/2 Tablespoon of Sugar

10g Unsalted Butter

2 Tablespoons of Milk

For Toppings

60g Parmesan Cheese

15g Breadcumbs

 

Method:

For Mine Filling

  1. Heat a small amount of oil (not included in the above ingredients) in a medium saucepan on medium/high heat. Once the saucepan gets hot, cook your choice of mince and nutmeg together, while breaking up the mince with a spatula or wooden spoon. In order to bring the best flavour out, please cook it very well. When the mince starts becoming brown, oil from the mince will come out. Even though the mince has become brown and looks cooked, please keep cooking until the oil has disappeared.
  2. Add brown sugar, cooking sake and soy sauce into the saucepan and then fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add onion, carrot, capsicum and zucchini. Reduce the heat to low. Put a lid on and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables become soft and are well-cooked in the sauce.

For Mash Potato

  1. Boil potatoes from cold water for 10-15 minutes or until they become tender. Drain the hot water. Return the cooked potatoes into the same pot. Add sugar onto the potatoes and heat it over medium heat. Put a lid on and burn off the excess water from the potatoes while tossing the pot.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat. Mash with butter and milk.

Meanwhile, heat the over to 220 °C.

Construction and Baking

  1. Place the mince filling into a baking tray, and the  spread the mash potato over it. Top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
  2. Bake it for about 20 minutes or until the surface is coloured and the filling in the bottom is bubbling.

Serve while hot.

 

 

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Big Salad – Larb Gai – Thai Chicken Larb Salad

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It is getting cold here in Australia. However, I still sometimes feel like eating salad…. Big Salad. Is there anyone feeling the same as me????

I would like to introduce my Thai Larb Salad recipe today for my friends who feel the same as me – feel like big salad during this cold weather. This Larb Salad is warm. Chili in the salad makes you warm too. Super simple to make as well. Healthy  – no oil involved.

Convinced? Try it. Hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients (serving 3-4):

 

For Salad

1 Carrot – grated

3-4 Spring Onions – chopped

1 Onion – thinly sliced

3 stalks of Celery – finely chopped

100g of Mushrooms (about 4 mushrooms) – sliced

300g of Cabbage (about 1/4) – thinly sliced

1/2 Cucumber – sliced

1 bunch of Coriander  – chopped

For Chicken

150- 160g of Chicken Mince

50ml of Water

50ml of Cooking Sake (or any cooking wine)

 

For Dressing

4 Tablespoons of Lime Juice

3 Tablespoons of Fish sauce

2 Teaspoons of Brown Sugar

1 clove of Garlic – finely chopped

1 red eyed Chili (or any of your preferred chili) – finely chopped

Method:

  1. For Salad, place carrot, spring onions, onion, celery and mushrooms in a large bowl. Arrange sliced cabbage and cucumber nicely on a serving plate.
  2. For Dressing, mix all of the ingredients very well. Put it aside.
  3. For Chicken, boil water and cooking sake in a frying pan. Add chicken mince into it. Cook it while breaking it up with a spatula, until the chicken is cooked and the liquid has almost evaporated.
  4. Add the cooked chicken with the remaining liquid (from Method 3) into the salad bowl (Method 1). Add the dressing (Method 2) into it and mix all together.
  5. Place the chicken mince mixture on the arranged cabbage. Add coriander on top. Serve it while the chicken is warm.

Sweet & Sour! Teriyaki Chicken and Roasted Vegetables Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing

This is my new “BIG” Salad Recipe.

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I try to cook salad for dinner more often these days, since we are trying to eat less carbs than before. This is just simply due to our age. We just cannot eat the same amount of food as we did before. However I would still like to feel satisfied after each meal.

So I made this salad. It contains both meat and vegetables, therefore it is quite filling while being healthy.

This Teriyaki Chicken Salad technically has 2 dressings (1 sauce and 1 dressing if I wold like to be specific) – Teriyaki sauce and Dijon Vinaigrette. The sweetness of teriyaki sauce and the sourness of vinaigrette dressing totally balance each other. The roasted vegetables suck these 2 dressings in! The soft boiled egg topping (which is optional, but!) gives the salad richness. YUM YUM YUM.

BTW, please note that you do not need to buy “Teriyaki”sauce from the shop 🙂 Hope you like it.

 

Ingredients (serve for about 3)

For Chicken

300g Chicken Breast (boneless, skinless)

Salt and Black pepper for seasoning

1/2 teaspoon of Plain Flour

For Vegetables

6 big florets of Cauliflower

1 Red Capsicum

3/4 Butternut Pumpkin (or your favorite pumpkin)

1.5 tablespoons of Olive Oil for roasting

150g of Leafy Mix

Teriyaki Sauce

1.5 tablespoons of Brown Sugar

1.5 tablespoons of Soy Sauce (Japanese one)

0.5 tablespoon of Cooking Sake

Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing

2 Limes – juiced (you can replace it with 3/4 lemon)

5 teaspoons of White Vinegar

2 teaspoons of Dijon Mustard

5 teaspoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Soft boiled egg for topping (optional)

3 Eggs

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C.
  2. Cut chicken breast and all vegetables into bite size pieces.
  3. Place the chicken into a small bowl and season with salt and black pepper. Put it aside.
  4. Place the cauliflower and the pumpkin into a roasting tray, and the red capsicum into a different tray. Coat them with olive oil. Roast the cauliflower and the pumpkin for 30 minutes until they are cooked and caramelised. For capsicum, place the tray into the oven 10 minutes after the cauliflower/pumpkin tray. Roast it for 20 minutes.
  5. In the mean time, make teriyaki sauce and Dijon Vinaigrette dressing by mixing all ingredients. Put them aside.
  6. Make soft boiled eggs for topping. Boil water in a small pot. Place eggs into the boiling water gently. Please use cold eggs from the fridge. Cook them for 6 minutes. Remove from the pot and cool them down in cold water. Put them aside.
  7. Now make teriyaki chicken. Heat a small amount of oil (which is not included in the ingredients’list above). Sprinkle plain flour over the chicken breast and mix them well.  Place the chicken into the frying pan. Pan-fry both sides of the chicken until lightly browned. Turn up the heat to high. Add the teriyaki sauce into the pan. Keep cooking it for about 30 minutes or until the sauce becomes silky and shiny, while applying the sauce over the chicken with a spoon.
  8. Now assemble the salad. Place 1/3 leafy mix on each serving place. Arrange the roasted vegetables and the teriyaki chicken on the leafy mix nicely. Pour the remaining teriyaki sauce over the salad. Place the soft boiled egg on top. Serve it warm with the Dijon vinaigrette dressing.

 

Gluten Free -Brown Rice Shiitake Risotto

 

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This risotto is one of our regular menus but the recipe has never been written down before.

Spring came to Australia. I was researching about seasonal food in spring. At the time, I learnt that Shiitake was actually in season twice a year – spring and autumn. I did not know that! I always thought it was only in autumn! So I just thought it was about time for me to write this down, just because it is spring.

The key is using dried Shiitake’s soaking liquid and Japanese Awase Dashi Stock as broth. These 2 key ingredients make the risotto unique- a combination of Japanese and Italian cuisine. Depth of Shiitake flavour and delicate Japanese stock go well in the traditional Italian dish. If you do not have time to make your own dashi stock, of course you can use one from shops.

You can enjoy a full amount of umami in this risotto. Hope you enjoy it.

 

Ingredients (Serving 4)

320ml Brown Rice

25g Dried Shiitake Mishrooms

400ml Water for Shiitake

½ Tablespoon of Olive Oil

2 cloves of Garlic – finely chopped

1 Onion – chopped

130g Button Mushrooms – sliced

100g Broccoli – cut into small florets

600ml Awase Dashi Stock

½ Teaspoon of Sea Salt

80g Parmesan Cheese

 

Method:

  1. Rinse brown rice and soak it in water. Put it aside.
  2. Preparation for dried shiitake mushrooms. Rinse and soak them in 400ml of water for about 20 minutes or until they become soft. If you are in a furry, use warm water to make them soft quicker. Keep the soaking liquid. Once they become soft, give a gentle squeeze to expel excess water. Remove the stem and slice them.
  3. Heat awase dashi stock in a sauce pan. Do not make it to boil, but make it stay hot all the time while cooking risotto.
  4. Heal olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Place garlic into the pan. Once the garlic is fragrant, add onion and button mushrooms, and sauté them for 2-3 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent.
  5. Add brown rice to the pan. Stir them until the rice is coated with the oil. This will take about 1 minute. Please do not make the rice burn.
  6. Add the shiitake mushrooms and the soaking liquid (from Method 2) into the pan. Cook it with a lid on, stirring with a wooden spoon occasionally.
  7. Once the liquid is almost absorbed, add 400ml of the dashi stock and sea salt to the pan. Cook it with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
  8. Once the liquid is almost absorbed, add 100ml of the dashi stock. Keep cooking it with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
  9. When the liquid is almost absorbed, add broccoli and remaining of dashi stock to the pan. Keep cooking with the lid on, stirring more constantly to prevent the rice from burning.
  10. When the liquid is almost absorbed, the brown rice should be cooked perfectly as al dente. However if the rice is still hard, you can add hot water to keep cooking until the rice is done.
  11. Once the brown rice is cooked as al dente, turn the heat off and let it sit for 5 minutes with the lid on.
  12. Stir Parmesan cheese in the risotto and serve while hot.

 

Mapo Tofu “ish” – Quick and Easy

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Mapo Tofu is one of the popular Chinese dishes in Japan. The dish contains Tofu and meat (normally beef or pork mince) quickly simmered in a spicy sauce. It originated from Sichuan province, from which you can easily imagine that the dish is very hot and spicy! Although the Japanese version is much milder, it still has some kick and we love eating it with rice.

It is very easy and quick to cook, well…, if you already have the 2 important ingredients in your kitchen – Doubanjang (fermented broad been and chilli paste) and Dou-chi (fermented black bean paste), which make this dish “Mapo”.

Yes…, I know some Asian stores sell them…, however if you are like me and do not cook much Siuchuan food, these 2 jars will be sitting and doing nothing in the kitchen cabinet for a next 3 months… So I asked myself “Can I replace them with something that I already have to make Mapo Tofu- ish dish??”.

The Answer is YES. In this recipe, I use very common Japanese ingredients – Miso, Soy Sauce, Cooking and Chilli, which gives a depth and spiciness to the dish. I also add a lot of vegetables, so that this will be a complete dish especially when you serve it on rice (like me serving it on brown rice in the picture).

For meat, I like using Kangaroo mince as I love its leanness and sustainability in Australia, but you can use any meat you like. Beef or pork mince will be lovely. Same with vegetables. Although I recommend Daikon Radish (or normal while radish) as the freshness and crunchiness works in this dish well.

If you need something quick, easy, and something different, please try this recipe. Hope you like it.

 

Ingredients (Serving for 4):

350g Kangaroo mince (or any meat you like, such as beef or pork mince)

1 clove of Garlic – minced

1cm cubes of Ginger – minced

1 Red eye Chili (or as many as you like) – minced

1 Onion – diced

1 Zucchini – diced

½ Red Capsicum – diced

200g Daikon Radish – about 10cm long – diced

200g Silken Tofu – cut into about 2cm cubes

1 Teaspoon of Corn Starch or Potato Starch

½ Teaspoon of Sesame Oil

2 Spring Onions – finely chopped

 

Sauce A – combined all together

1 Tablespoon of Miso

½ Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

½ Tablespoon of Sugar

½ Teaspoon of Chili Powder

 

Sauce B – combined all together

150ml Water

1.5 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake

1 Tablespoon of Miso

 

Method:

  1. In a frying pan, heat a small amount of oil (not included in the ingredients’ list above) on medium/high heat. Stir- fry kangaroo mince, garlic, ginger and red eye chilli, while breaking up the mince with a spatula or wooden spoon. In order to bring the kangaroo’s best flavour, please stir fry it very well. When the mince starts becoming brown, oil from the mince will come out. Even though the mince has become brown and looks cooked, please keep cooking until the oil has disappeared.
  2. Add Sauce A and cook all together for about 1 minute or until the mince is well coated by the sauce. If the sauce starts burning in the frying pan, add s splash of water to it (not included in the ingredients’ list above).
  3. Add onion, zucchini, capsicum and daikon radish to the frying pan. Stir fry them for about 2 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent.
  4. Add Sauce B to the frying and and bring it to the boil.
  5. Place the tofu into the frying pan. Stir and cook the tofu gently in the sauce. Please work gently not to break down the tofu. Simmer it for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
  6. Take 3 tablespoons of the sauce out from the frying pan to a small bowl. Add corn starch to the bowl and whisk it until the corn starch has completely dissolved. Add the mixture back to the frying pan and mix it into the sauce gently. Cook it for another 1-2 minutes until the sauce becomes thickened. Turn the heat off and add sesame oil.
  7. Top with spring onions and serve while hot. You can serve it on your choice of rice.

 

The Easiest Ever Japanese – Agedashi Tofu (No Dashi Stock Required)

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A super easy Agedashi Tofu Recipe. This Agedashi Tofu can be made without Japanese Dashi Stock. When you are in a hurry but you would like to impress someone, it is a good recipe. I think it is a good introduction to Japanese cooking. Hope you like it.

Ingredients (Serve for 4 people)

500g Momen or Classic Tofu

200ml Water

50ml Soy Sauce

50ml Mirin

20ml Cooking Sake

5g Dried Bonito Flakes

2 Tablespoons of Corn Flour (or Plain Flour if you do not have Corn Flour)

Oil for shallow frying

Topping Options

4 pinches of Dried Bonito Flakes

Shredded Daikon Radish

Spring Onions – finely chopped

Method:

  1. Cut tofu half to make it 1.5 – 2 cm thick. Then cut each piece into 8 (Total 16 pieces of tofu).
  2. On a flat plate or a chopping board, place 3-4 layers of paper towels and lay the tofu on it. Place another 3-4 layers of paper towel on top of the tofu, and then place a flat plate or a light chopping board on top of it. Leave it for 15 minutes. This process is to remove excess water from the tofu. Please do not leave it too long, otherwise the tofu will be too dry.
  3. Now we make the sauce. Place water, soy sauce, mirin and sake into a sauce pan and bring it to the boil. Once it is boiled, turn the heat to medium and add bonito flakes to the pan. Keep simmering for a minute. Turn off the hat and put it aside.
  4. Now we shallow-fry the tofu. Heat oil to 180 ◦C. Remove the tofu from the paper towels. Coat the tofu with corn flour. Shallow-fry the tofu until the tofu becomes crispy and lightly browned (about 2 minutes each side).
  5. Remove the tofu from the oil and drain excess oil on a wire rack or paper towels.
  6. Now come back to the sauce. Strain the sauce to separate the sauce and the bonito flakes. Keep the bonito flakes.
  7. Pour ¼ of sauce on a serving plate. Place 4 pieces of the tofu in the sauce. Top with the cooked bonito flakes from Method 6, along with your choice of toppings.

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Gluten Free Vegetarian Lasagna

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I am very excited to introduce this recipe – my first Gluten Free + Vegetarian recipe.

While I’m very fortunate not to require any special diet, I always love eating vegetables, and recently I realised that my body functions better after eating a lot of veggies. On the other hand, my husband seems to like eating less carbs these days. I think that we both started realising changes in our bodies (aka aging!).  To meet our body requirements, and furthermore, to feel better in ourselves, I have been trying to change my cooking tendency as well (cool less & serve less by my husband…. As Japanese, this is very difficult to do….).

Then, I met Lupin Flakes – my new Super Food. Once I learnt how to use Lupin, while I understand Lupin is good to “Add” to normal meals, I thought that we can “Replace” too, just like I did for Lupin Hummus. Then, this idea came up to me, “how about Lupin Béchamel Sauce”. Lupin Béchamel still has the creaminess. I also used smoked paprika to add a bit of funkiness to the sauce.

For other ingredients, I use Zucchini to replace Lasagne sheets. Zucchini has to be cooked on a very high heat to make Zucchini smoky and funky. Mushrooms give a similar texture to beef mince to Bolognese sauce.

This Lasagna is quite light and does not make your stomach heavy, and yet it is quite satisfying. Hope you like it too.

Ingredients (serving for 4 people. I use 24cm round baking dish.):

For Mushroom Bolognese Sauce

1 Onion – finely chopped

1 Carrot – finely chopped

5-6 Flat Mushrooms – roughly chopped

1 clove of Garlic – finely chopped

1 tablespoon of Olive Oil

1 tin of Tomato

2 pinches of Salt

For Zucchini Lasagne Sheet

2 Zucchinis

4 pinches of Salt

1 teaspoon of Olive Oil

For Lupin Béchamel Sauce

100ml of Lupin Flakes

100ml of Milk

40g of Parmesan Cheese – grated

¼ teaspoon of Smoked Paprika

A pinch of Black Pepper

For Topping

20g of Parmesan Cheese – grated

 

Method:

For Mushroom Bolognese Sauce

  1. Heat olive oil and garlic on medium/high heat in a medium size pot. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, add onion, carrot and mushrooms to the pot and keep cooking for 1 minute or until the onion becomes translucent. Reduce heat to medium – low and put a lid on. Keep steaming the vegetables for 2-3 minutes while stirring them occasionally. This method helps to bring the sweetness of vegetables out.
  2. Add a tin of tomato and salt to the pot. Put the lid back on and simmer it for 30 minutes or until the sauce is well reduced and the liquid has almost evaporated. While cooking, please stir the sauce occasionally.

For Zucchini Lasagne Sheet

  1. In the meantime, we prepare Zucchini Lasagne Sheet. Slice zucchini lengthwise into 4. Sprinkle 2 pinches of salt on each side of the zucchini slices. Lay them on 3-4 layers of paper towels, and then place another 3-4 layers of paper towels on top of the slices. Leave them for 10 minutes. This is to remove some moisture from the zucchini, to avoid them becoming soggy when they are cooked.
  2. Pan-fry the zucchini. Heat olive oil to high in a frying pan. Once the frying pan gets really hot, lay the zucchini slices into it. Cook them for 1 minute on each side or until the zucchinis’ surface is nicely coloured. Transfer them to a place and put them aside.

For Lupin Béchamel Sauce

  1. Place Lupin Flakes in cold water and bring to boil. Boil it for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse the lupin a few times, and then drain off the water from the lupin very well. Place it into a bowl or a food processor if you have one.
  2. Add milk to the lupin. With a hand mixer (or a food processor), make the lupin a little bit smoother. It does not need to be super smooth. It is fine even if a few of the grains are still left.
  3. Put the mixture into a small sauce pan. Heat the pan to medium/low and warm the mixture up slowly. When the milk is just before boiling (please do not allow it to boil), turn the heat off. Add parmesan cheese, smoked paprika and black pepper. Stir to make the cheese melt and put it aside.

For Construction and Baking

  1. Preheat oven to 220◦C.
  2. In a baking dish, spread 1/3 f the Mushroom Bolognese Sauce first. Arrange 4 slices of the Zucchini over the sauce. Spread another 1/3 of the Mushroom Bolognese Sauce and then spread ½ of the Lupin Béchamel Sauce over it. Again arrange another 4 slices of the Zucchini and spread what’s left of the Mushroom Bolognese sauce. Spread all of the Lupin Béchamel Sauce over. Sprinkle 20g of Parmesan cheese over it, as a topping.
  3. Bake it for 20-30 minutes or until the surface becomes golden. Once it is done. Remove it from the over and serve it while hot.