Cucumber Tataki – Smashed Cucumber Salad

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It is summer in Australia!! I know that many countries are enjoying the beautiful winter season, but we are having a good time on our beautiful beaches here in the southern hemisphere. I am, today, posting one of my favourite summer recipes  – Cucumber Tataki.

 

Tataki is one of the well known Japanese cooking methods, which is that a piece of protein is seared and the inside is almost raw- such as Beef Tataki or Tuna Tataki.

However “Tataki” has its original meaning; “beat” or “slap” in Japanese. As I have introduced a different Tataki previously (see Salmon Namerou), today, I would like to introduce another “Tataki” which is made from cucumber.

Well…, this is one of the dishes I made on the reality TV show called Chef’s Line last year, which got me kicked out (with the reason being that I made too many dishes!)… In my opinion, it is one of the perfect salads in summer. Maybe you can try it out to see if you like as much as the judges?!

 

Ingredients:

2 Lebanese Cucumbers

2 Teaspoons of White sugar

1 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoons of White vinegar

1/2 Teaspoon of Sesame oil

1 red chili – finely sliced

1/2 Teaspoon of Sesame seeds

 

Method: 

1. Bash Cucumbers with a wooden rolling pin. Tear them into bite size pieces by hand

2. Mix all other ingredients. Add the cucumbers into the mixture. Marinade it in the fridge at least for 30 minutes before serving.

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Lupin Tabbouleh – Gluten Free

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This is another “replace” recipe of Lupin. Bulgur Wheat, which is normally used in Tabbouleh, is not really common in Australia. So I just thought why can’t we use our Western Australian produce – Lupin instead.

If you are already familiar with Lupin and have made my Lupin Banana Bread   or Lupin Bechamel Sauce, there should be some Lupin flakes left in the kitchen cabinet that you would like to finish off??

Or, if you are new to Lupin, maybe you can make this tabbouleh along with my Lupin Hummus, and then you can have a Middle Eastern style dinner! Lupin is so versatile so I like it. Gluten free is certainly a bonus as well.

Hope you like it.

Ingredients: 

80ml Lupin Flakes

300ml finely chopped Flat-leaf Parsley Leaves

50ml finely chopped Mint Leaves

2 Tomatoes – chopped

1 Lebanese Cucumber – chopped

1 Onion – chopped

150ml Lemon Juice (about 2 lemons)

3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce (for gluten free option, please use gluten free soy sauce)

Sea Salt and Black Pepper to season

 

Method: 

  1. Prepare Lupin. 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. Put it aside.
  2. Put all of herbs and vegetables into a large bowl. Add the lupin, lemon juice, olive oil and soy sauce to the bowl as well. Mix thoroughly and season it with sea salt and black pepper. Serve it cold. It will be better the next day when the flavour has settled.

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.

 

Simmered Taro Roots (Satoimo no Nikkorogashi)

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For the last decade, I had been wondering if this vegetable called Taro roots in Asian veggie shops was actually the same as “Satoimo”. “Satoimo” is a common vegetable in Japan. It is a small round vegetable with brown and hairy skin. Once the skin is peeled, the inside is white. The texture is very similar to potato, but the difference is that it is slimy.

We sometimes call “Satoimo” as “Taroimo”. OK, the name is similar. Their looks are quite similar too, but the “Taro Roots” that I had seen before was quite big compared to “Satoimo”. So I had never had the courage to try “Taro Roots” as I was not quite sure.

Then the other day, I saw this “Small taro Roots” in an Asian veggie shop in Subiaco, which looked exactly the same as “Satoimo”. I took a photo of it and sent it to my mother to see what she thought. She confirmed that it WAS “Satoimo”. Great!!!

The only dish that I can think of with this “Small Taro Roots” is Simmered Taro called “Satoimo no Nikkorogashi” – one of my favourites among my mother’s simmered dishes. I have to admit that Satoimo might not be for everyone – especially for people with a Western background, as I believe that slimy food might not be as common as in Asia. However, I would really recommend if you would like to try something different or are interested in traditional Japanese food. Of course, the flavour is guaranteed.

When you prepare it, please be careful with your knife as it is slimy – quite slippery. Please also wash your hands carefully after dealing with it. Your hand might feel itchy if the sliminess is left on your skin. Hope you enjoy.

 

Ingredients:

400g of Small Taro Roots (Satoimo)

2 Tablespoons of Salt

200ml of Dashi Stock

50ml of Cooking Sake

1 Tablespoon of Sugar

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Mirin

 

Method:

  1. Preparation for Taro Roots. Slice a little bit of the top and bottom of the taro off, and then peel the skin. It will be easier and look better if you peel it from top to bottom. If the taro roots are big, cut them into about 3 cm cubes. Place them into a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Wash and rinse them by hand. This is to remove the unnecessary sliminess, and to make the taro absorb flavour easily.
  2. Place the taro roots, dashi stock and sake in a saucepan. Heat it over medium/high heat. Once it is boiled, reduce the heat to low/medium and add sugar. Simmer it for 10 minutes with a drip lid.
  3. Add soy sauce to the saucepan and simmer it for another 10 minutes with the drip lid on, or until the taro roots are cooked.
  4. Remove the drop lid and turn the heat to medium/high. Add mirin to it and simmer it for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the sauce becomes shiny.
  5. Turn the heat off and let the taro cook down in the sauce. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

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.