Spiced Carrot and Coconut Soup

Carrots, Onions and Potatoes are probably the most common vegetables to have in your kitchen. This Carrot Soup recipe can turn these “normal” veggies into a bit of a fun and exciting dish. I think that it is good to have this kind of dish in your repertoire.

It is getting cold here in Australia. This soup hopefully help you and your loved ones to warm up.

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Ingredients: (Serving 4-5)  

5 Carrots – roughly chopped

1 Onion – roughly chopped

1 Potato – roughly chopped

1 clove of Garlic

1 Bay Leaf – bend in half

700ml of Vegetable Stock

¼ Teaspoon of Cumin Powder

¼ Teaspoon of Turmeric Powder

¼ Teaspoon of Nutmeg

140mlof Coconut Cream

A pinch of Sea Salt

1 bunch of Coriander – roughly chopped

 

Method:

  1. Place carrot, onion, potato, garlic, bay leaf and vegetable stock in a pot. Heat it over medium heat and bring it to the boil. Once it is boiled, reduce the heat to low/medium and simmer it for about 30 minutes, or until the carrot becomes very soft and is breakable with a fork.
  2. Remove it from the heat and puree it with a hand mixer.
  3. Reheat it over a low heat. Stir cumin, turmeric and nutmeg into the puree. Add coconut cream. Season with sea salt. If the soup is too thick, add a little bit of water to make the soup your desired consistency.
  4. Top with coriander and serve while warm.
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Gari – Pickled Ginger

Today, I would like to share with you my mother’s Gari recipe.

Pickled Ginger Gari 2

Gari is Japanese Pickled Ginger, you might know it as the free side you get with sushi. It is perfect for refreshing and cleansing your palate. To make this pickle, it has to be young Ginger. Young Ginger has paler skin and pink tips. The flavour is much milder and juicier than the normal ginger. It is only around from late summer to early autumn. The season is short, so if you see young Ginger in the store, make the most of it! (if you are in Australia, it is now 🙂

Here is my mum’s recipe. The ginger will be quite spicy as she likes that way. If you would like to make it less spicy, you can boil ginger before pickling (see the method below).  Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

800g – 1kg of Young Ginger

30g of Sea Salt

1 liter of White Vinegar

200ml of Caster Sugar

5g of Dried Kelp (if it is too difficult to find, you do not need to use it)

Method:

  1. Wash young ginger. Using a spoon scrape off the brown hard skin part from the ginger.
  2. Slice the ginger VERY thinly. Soak the sliced ginger in water while you are working. ( if you prefer less spicy, boil the ginger for 1 minutes here)
  3. Remove the sliced ginger from the water. Sprinkle sea salt over the ginger and put it aside for 30 minutes.
  4. In the mean time, put white vinegar, caster sugar and dried kelp in a small pot. Heat it over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Put it aside until it is cooled down.
  5. Squeeze the excess water from the sliced ginger and place it into a clean jar. Pour the vinegar mixture (method 4) over it. Store the jar in the fridge for 4-5 days, and then it will be ready to eat.

 

This is before

Pickled Ginger Gari 1

This is after – PINK!

Pickled Ginger Gari 3

Peach & Blue Cheese Salad

Peach and Blue Cheese Salad_a little bit of soy

In our fridge, there are still some goodies left  from the festivities. This block of gorgonzola siting in the corner of the fridge is super good. As it is super good, we have been eating it a little by little, and then it has never been finished.

But, I thought that it was time to eat it up. This idea came to me- how about combining with my favourite summer fruit – Peach! I have a perfect dressing for it – Balsamic + Soy Sauce + Honey = Sweet and Saltiness! Perfect.

This salad is very rich and quite filling. It is super easy but looks amazing. Perfect for a summer party if you are required to bring something. Hope you like it.

 

Ingredients (serving for 2-3)

For Salad

handful of Walnuts

2 Peaches – washed, seeded, cut into 8 pieces

1/2 teaspoon of oil for pan-frying

100g of Mixed Salad Leaves

about 100g of Gorgonzola (or as much as you want)

For Dressing

1 tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar

1 tablespoon of Light Japanese Soy Sauce

1 tablespoon of Honey

1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

Method:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing. Put it aside.
  2. Roast walnuts in a frying pan. Put them aside.
  3. Heat oil in the same frying pan over a high heat. Pan-fry peach until it is caramelised.
  4. On a serving plate, arrange salad leaves, walnuts and peach, topped with gorgonzola torn into small pieces. Serve it with the dressing.

 

 

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.

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.