My mum’s Recipe : Anko – Japanese Sweet Red Bean Paste

My memory of Japanese sweets is my mum’s homemade Anko (Japanese Sweet Red Bean Paste).  Well…, it is not exactly the anko itself…. It is more like my mum and my sister.

They love anko. They sometimes had this sudden craving for anko (and I do not know why, but this happened always at night), and the next day, my mum would make it. When they ate it, they looked super happy… The homemade anko must have had some sort of magical power to make these 2 powerful Osaka ladies (especially if you know them…, you know what I mean) calm and speechless…

On the other hand, I have never been a big fan of Anko…. Somehow, I felt it was too sweet….That’s why I had never made it before. However, as I became older, I started missing the sweet anko – age does funny thing to humans!

So here it is! I recreated my mum’s happy Anko. As always, she gave me the instructions and tips  (well, of course she does not know the measurement…). I think it is quite good.

Anko Red Bean Paste 1 a little bit of soy

I made Dorayaki (Red Bean Pancake) by using this anko this time. You can use if for anything else – such as Zensai (Sweet Red Bean Soup), Daifuku (mochi rice cake filled with anko), or even western style sweets (cupcakes and pound cakes will be good!).

It takes time to make, but it is easy. Try it when you have time!

Ingredients:

220g Azuki Red Beans

1200ml of Water

140g of Caster Sugar

1/4 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

Method: 

  1. Soak Azuki red beans overnight (15 – 20 hours).
  2. Rinse the azuki red beans.
  3. Place the azuki red beans and 1200ml water into a big pot. Bring it to the boil. Once it is boiled, turn the heat to low. Skim the scum off the top.  Keep cooking over low heat for about 1 hour or until the azuki red beans become soft and tender.
  4. Add caster sugar and sea salt into the pot. Keep simmering until the liquid is evaporated. This will take about 1 – 1.5 hours.
  5. Once the liquid is evaporated, mix and mash the azuki red beans to the consistency of your liking. Cool it down to use. You can wrap and freeze the anko if you are not planing to use it straight away.

This is Dorataki (Japanese Red Bean Pancake Sandwich). I used this recipe.

http://www.ntv.co.jp/3min/recipe/20100923.html

Dorayaki_Anko_A little bit of soy

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Healthy! Super Moist Boiled Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Boiling is a super healthy way to cook chicken breast, but how long do you boil the chicken?

Of course you can boil it until the chicken is dead. However, in my opinion, it is super dry to eat…. well still edible, I guess….

Today, I would like to introduce my way of boiling chicken. I boil it only for 2 minutes and then just leave it for for 1 hour. Technically the chicken will be cooked in the residual heat. I found this way makes the chicken super moist!

Boiled Chicken a little bit of soy
Healthy! Super Moist Boiled Chicken with Peanut Sauce

I would also like to introduce my peanut butter sauce to go with my super moist boiled chicken. I created it, just because I had a leftover peanut butter in the kitchen…( Well, I believe I am not the only one who has it after trying to make satay chicken?). However, it came out great!

This boiled chicken is super versatile. You can use it for salad, sandwich or you can enjoy it with a lot of different sauces. Furthermore, it is super healthy!

Hope you like it and add it onto your regular menu…. 🙂

Ingredients:

1 Chicken Breast – skinless and boneless

2 pinches of Sea Salt for Chicken Breast

800 ml of Water

2/3 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 Teaspoon of White Wine or Cooking Sake

For Peanut Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Peanut Butter – no added sugar

1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice

1/2 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Teaspoon of Dark Sugar

1 Teaspoon of Sesame Oil

1 Tablespoon of Chicken Broth left over after boiling chicken

Coriander  – chopped for topping

Method: 

  1. Sprinkle 2 pinches of sea salt over chicken breast. Wrap the chicken with paper towels.  Leave it for about 20 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Bring water to a boil and add sea salt and white wine. Place the chicken breast into the boiling water and reduce the heat to medium. Keep cooking for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off.  Put a lid on. Leave it for minimum 1 hour.
  3. Making peanut sauce. Place peanut butter, lemon juice, soy sauce, dark sugar and sesame oil in a bowl. Mix all together. Pour the remaining chicken broth from the boiled chicken to make the sauce to the consistency of your liking.
  4. Slice the boiled chicken and arrange it on the serving plate. Serve it with the peanut sauce and chopped coriander on top.

The remaining chicken broth is full of flavor, so do not throw it away! I normally use it to make soup!

The Easiest Ever Japanese – Nasu Dengaku (Miso Glazed Eggplant)

I would like to introduce my 2nd Easiest Ever Japanese recipe – Nasu Dengaku, which is known as Miso Glazed Eggplant.

Nasu Dengaku a little bit of soy
Juicy! Nasu Dengaku.

Again there is nothing difficult involved in this recipe, basically all you have to do is make miso sauce (by just mixing) and bake eggplant. Ingredients are common Japanese ones which you might already have in your pantry, otherwise can be obtained easily from the shop.

The baked eggplant will be super tender and melting in your month with the sweet and salty miso glaze. It is delicious!

This is another good recipe if you are not familiar with cooking Japanese.  Hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients (serving 2)

1 big Eggplant – about 500g

2 teaspoon of Sesame Oil

Sesame Seeds for topping

For Dengaku Sauce

1 tablespoon of Miso

1 tablespoon of Sugar

1/2 tablespoon of Cooking Sake

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
  2. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Score the flesh (almost to the skin) around the inner edge of the skin about 5mm in, and then score the same diagonally inside in small squares (see photo).
    Nasu Dengaku step by step
    Nasu Dengaku How to score eggplant flash
  3. Put sesame oil on the surfaces of the eggplant. Place the eggplant facing up on a baking tray. Bake it for about 30 minutes or until the eggplant is cooked and juicy.
  4. In the mean time, mix all ingredients for dengaku sauce
  5. Take out the eggplant from the oven.  Glaze the eggplant with the dengaku sauce. Turn the oven to 220 °C. Bake the eggplant for another 8-10 minutes.
  6. Take it out from the oven. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve while hot.

 

Healthy! Wasabi Prawn Cocktail – NO MAYO

This is a super easy and super yummy recipe – A Classic British with a Japanese Twist – Wasabi Prawn Cocktail (This may be called “Modern Australian cuisine”? I guess?).

Wasabi Prawn Cocktail No Mayonnaise_a little bit of soy

 

A hit of spiciness from wasabi matches with the rich and creamy avocado which makes this dish interesting! A slight sourness from lemon and saltiness from soy sauce harmonise the flavours. I have to say that this is QUITE yummy….

I use plain yogurt instead of mayonnaise. If you are like me who does not have a jar of mayonnaise in your pantry, this is a perfect recipe for you.

You can serve this as an appetizer or party nibbles. Hope you like it as much as I do 🙂

Ingredients:

8 King Prawns – boiled, peeled, deveined and then medium diced

2 Avocados – medium diced

2 Tablespoons of good quality Plain Yogurt

1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon of Wasabi Paste

1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce

Method:

  1. Put plain yogurt, lemon juice, wasabi and soy sauce in a bowl and combine well together.
  2. Add prawns and avocados into the bowl and mix them together. Wasabi Prawn Cocktail No Mayo_a little bit of soy

My Low Carb Recipe – Miso Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini (Vegetarian)

Today, I would like to introduce my second low carb recipe – a well-known Ottoman dish with my Japanese Twist – Miso Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini.

Lupin Miso Mushrrom Stuffed Zucchini_alittlebitofsoy

The rich miso stuffing definitely matches with fresh and light zucchini. I also like the crunchiness and juiciness of zucchini, which makes you satisfied without eating rice or bread.

Instead of flour, I use Lupin Flakes to prevent the stuffing from being runny (As you may have already known, Lupin is a low carb and gluten free legume full of protein and fibre).

I actually think that this is the first time for me to use Lupin as a supporting role…. It does not interrupt the main flavour, is super easy to use and works perfectly! Definitely it is still my favorite super food!

As with my other low carb recipe, this dish can accommodate most dietary requirements  -Vegetarian, Vegan and can be Gluten Free as well.

Hope you enjoy my Japanese twist in this dish 🙂

Ingredients (serving 4): 

2 Zucchini – large

4 pinches of Sea Salt

1 clove of Garlic – finely chopped

200g Mushrooms (about 4 large mushrooms) – roughly chopped

1/2 Onion – chopped

1/4 Red Capsicum  – chopped

1/2 Tablespoon of Miso

1/2 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake (or white wine)

1/2 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

2.5 Tablespoon of Lupin Flakes

Sea Salt for seasoning

Method:

For Zucchini

  1. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and flesh with a spoon. Chop the seeds and flesh roughly and put them aside (we will use them later).
  2. Sprinkle 4 pinches of sea salt over the zucchini. Wrap the zucchini with some kitchen paper towels and leave it for about 15 minutes. This is to remove the excess water from the zucchini.

For Lupin Miso Mushroom Miso Stuffing

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil (not included in the ingredients list above) and garlic in a medium sauce pan on medium heat. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, add mushrooms, onion, red capsicum and the chopped zucchini seeds and flesh. Stir them with a wooden spoon for a minute or until the vegetables are evenly coated with the oil. turn the heat to low-medium and put a lid on. Keep cooking it for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add miso, cooking sake and soy sauce. Turn the heat to medium and simmer for about 2 minutes. Add lupin flakes and stir all together. season with sea salt as necessary. Turn the heat off and cool it down.

Construction and Baking

  1. Preheat oven to 220° C.
  2. Wipe excess water from the zucchini. Stuff the zucchini with the Lupin Miso Mushroom stuffing and place them on a baking tray. Bake them for 20 – 25 minutes or until the zucchini is cooked. Serve while hot.

Lupin Miso Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini _ alittlebitofsoy

My Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Coconut Soup)

Tom Kha Gai_a little bit of soy

When I eat out and find something tasty, I always think how I can recreate it at home using easily accessible ingredients.

Tom Kha Gai was one of the dishes. I always loved this spicy and creamy Thai Chicken Coconut Soup and wanted to make it at home. The problem was galangal and lemongrass, which are not really common here in Australia. I tried a few attempts using common ingredients, which were “Good”, not “Delicious”.

And, a couple weeks ago, I suddenly made the “Delicious” version of Tom Kha! I seriously do not know what happened, but it came out really GREAT!

In this recipe, I use lemon rind and ginger instead of lemongrass and galangal.

This Tom Kha Gai has a lot of veggies, so that a bowl of this soup becomes a complete meal.

Hope you enjoy this super easy Tom Kha Gai.

 

Ingredients (Serving 4):

For Chicken:

1 Chicken Breast – cut into chunks

1 teaspoon of Cooking Sake (or White wine)

2 teaspoons of Fish Sauce

A pinch of Sea Salt

For Broth

900ml Water

50ml Cooking Sake (or White wine)

1 Lemon and the Rind

1 leaf of Kaffir Lime

15g of Ginger – peeled and cut into julienne

2 cloves of Garlic – finely chopped

1 bird’s eye chili-  finely sliced (remove seeds if you prefer not hot)

A pinch of Sea Salt

1 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce

270ml good quality Coconut Cream

5 leaves of Basil – sliced

For Vegetables – any veggies left in the fridge will be fine! These are what I used;

1 Onion – sliced

6 Mushrooms – cut into 4

100g Green Beans

8 Okra – trim the head and cut lengthwise into half

1/2 Red Capsicum – cut into strips

6 Brussel Sprouts – cut into half

250g Beansprouts

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, marinade chicken breast with cooking sake, fish sauce and a pinch of sea salt for about 20 minutes.
  2. In a large pot, place water, cooking sake, lemon rind, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, garlic and chili. Bring it to boil. Reduce the heat once it is boiled and simmer it for 20 minutes to make the broth fragrant.
  3. Add the marinaded chicken (Method 1) including the liquid into the pot. Cook it for 5 minutes.
  4. Add all vegetables (except beansprout) into the pot and a pinch of sea salt. Cook it for about 10 minutes or until the brussel sprouts are cooked.
  5. Remove the lemon rind, kaffir lime leaves. Add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, coconut cream and basil leaves. Squeeze 1/4 of lemon and simmer it for another 5 minutes.
  6. Place 1/4 beansprouts in each serving bowl. Pour the Tom Kha Gai over the the beansprouts. Serve while hot with lemon wedges.

 

 

 

Gluten Free! Lupin Chicken Katsu

2018-08-04_14.59.24

This is my first Japanese recipe using my new super food – Lupin Flakes!

I use Australian sweet Lupin Flakes as the crumb in a well-known Japanese dish – Chicken Katsu  (Did you know that Katsu is from the English ‘Cutlet’ or the French ‘ Cotelette’?).

In this recipe, the Lupin crumbs are as crispy as Panko, and for a bonus, this Chicken Katsu is now gluten free as well as suitable for low carb diet.

As Lupin Flakes are slightly sweet (as it is a legume), I do not think that you need to make a separate sauce to go with this Chicken Katsu.

Try this recipe if you are on a gluten free or low carb diet, or just want try something new in a traditional Japanese cooking. Hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients (Serving for 2):

1 free range Chicken Breast

1 teaspoon of Dark Sugar

2 pinch of Sea Salt

Sea Salt and Black Pepper for seasoning

1 tablespoon of Corn flour (or your choice of gluten free flour)

1 Egg

1/2 cup of Lupin Flakes

Oil for Shallow-Frying

Method:

Preparation for Chicken Breast

  1. Firstly make chicken breast thinner and flatter. Lay the chicken breast flat . Slice lengthways down the middle to halfway through. From the bottom of the cut, slice out towards the side and fold out the flaps you have created, like a book, door or butterfly (whatever you want to call it). Cut it into half to make 2 even pieces.
  2. Rub dark sugar and 2 pinches of sea salt into the chicken breasts. Cover them with a plastic wrap and leave them for about 20 minutes (This method is to neutrilise of the smell of chicken, as well as to make the chicken breast moist).
  3. Pat-dry the chicken breasts with kitchen paper towels and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Crumbing

  1. Tip corn flour (or your choice of flour) onto a plate, beat an egg in a shallow bowl and tip lupin flakes onto a plate.
  2. Firstly coat the chicken breasts with the flour and shake the excess flour off. Secondly dip the chicken into the beaten egg. And then, press the chicken into the lupin flakes.

Shallow-Frying

  1. Heat oil to 180 °C in a large frying pan. Place the crumbed chicken breasts into the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are cooked and become golden and crispy.
  2. Remove them from the oil and drain excess oil on a wire rack or kitchen paper towels.

Plating

Slice the chicken katsu into stripes and serve while hot.