Simple Kitsune Udon

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Kitsune Udon is one of the Osakan people’s soul foods. We eat Udon when we are sick, before we go for a trip, after we come back from a trip, when we feel a little bit hungry, when we have upset stomach, when we are hungover…well, in short, any time.

The most important is the combination of the Udon Soup and Sweet Kitsune Topping (Aguraage – Deep Fried Tofu Pouch). After biting the sweet and juicy Aburaage, you have to have a sip of Udon Soup straight away. Then have some Udon noodles while the flavour of the Dashi is still in your month…. So yum….  This is my comfort food. Hopefully you enjoy my home town food. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients (for 2 people)

Udon Noodles

100g Bread Flour

75cc Water

½ Teaspoon of Salt

Soup

400cc Kelp and Bonito Stock Dashi Stock

2 Tablespoons of Mirin

2 Tablespoons of Sake

1 Tablespoon of Light Colour Soy Sauce

2 pinches of Sea Salt

Kitsune Topping

2 Aburaage (deep fried tofu pouch)

160cc Kelp and Bonito Dashi Stock

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake

½ Tablespoon of Mirin

½ Tablespoon of Sugar

 

1 Spring Onion – finely chopped

 

Method

  1. Make Udon Noodles. Mix water and salt. Make sure that the salt is dissolved completely. Place bread flour in a bowl. Pour the salted water over the bread flour bit by bit, while you are combining them by hand. Bring the dough together and knead it until it becomes elastic and smooth. Shape it like a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for 15-30 minutes. Keep repeating this process 3 times.
  2. Make Soup. Put all ingredients in a pot and bring it to boil. Turn off and set aside.
  3. Make Kitsune Topping. Pour boiled water (not included in the ingredient list above) over aburaage. This is to remove the excess oil from the aburaage. Cut them into 2. Place stock, soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar in a small sauce pan and bring it to the boil. Place the aburaage into the pan. Reduce the heat to medium/low. Put otoshibuta (drop lid) on and cook it for about 5 minutes. Let it cool down.
  4. Now come back to the udon noodles. Dust the dough with flour. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 5mm thick. Fold the dough into 3. Cut the folded dough into thin strips. Dust the noodles with flour, and pick and unfold the noodles one by one. Cook the noodles in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain and wash them with cold water.
  5. Place the udon noodles in a serving bowl. Pour the soup over the noodle and top with Kitsune and chopped spring onions.

 

 

 

Penne with Celery Sauce – How to use up a big bunch of Celery

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We buy celery very often. It is reasonable and often on sale. It can be eaten raw and is good in any cooking. It is just, especially with 2 of us in the household, sometimes it is difficult to use up a big bunch of celery while it is still fresh.

The other day, I was looking in the fridge and thinking what I can do with this “better to eat now” celery. A new idea came to me when our manager took us for lunch. One entrée we were sharing was “chilli octopus with CELERY PUREE”. I thought this is it!

While the sauce features celery’s flavour,  garlic + chilli + parmesan cheese bring richness and funkiness to the sauce. I add bacon because I think the smokiness makes a good contrast to the celery’s freshness, however if you are after vegetarian option, it can be removed.

Ingredients: Serving for 2-3 people

For Celery Sauce

3 Celery Stalks including leaves – roughly chopped

3 cloves of Garlic

300ml Water

A good pinch of Salt

A pinch of Black Pepper

50g Parmesan Cheese

For Pasta

250g Penne

3 slices of Bacon – roughly chopped

½ Onion – finely chopped

1 clove of Garlic – finely chopped

1 Red Chilli – finely chopped

Method:

  1. Firstly make celery sauce. Place celery stalks, garlic and water in a pan and cook them until the celery stalks become soft. This will take about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Once the celery stalks are soft, remove the pan from the heat. Blend and mash them with a hand blender or food processor until it becomes smooth. Once it becomes smooth, add parmesan cheese and combine with it. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Put aside.
  3. Start cooking pasta as per instructions on the package.
  4. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a frying pan over medium/high heat until it becomes crispy. Add onion, garlic and chilli. Cook them for 2-3 minutes. Add the celery sauce into the frying pan. Add a ladle of the pasta cooking liquid (from Method 3), if the sauce becomes too thick.
  5. Add the cooked pasta into the sauce and toss to combine. Serve hot.

 

Chestnut Rice – Autumn has come

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One thing that I really like in Japanese culture is that we can feel the season through food. Now it is autumn. In Japan, we say “Shokuyoku no Aki”, which means “autumn brings a good appetite”. This is because autumn is the season when a lot of fresh produce is in season, such as rice, ginger, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, mushrooms, salmon, saury pike, apple, persimmon, grape etc… yummmm….

I do not feel much of this “enjoy the season through food” concept here in Australia, however if you try, we can still see some differences in the supermarket in each season. Did you realise that apples are much tastier these days and persimmons are in the shops now? And…, do not forget my favourite, Chestnuts.

I especially love chestnut desserts; Mont Blanc Cake, Chestnut Tart, Chestnut Pound cake (see my recipe!), Chestnut Manju (Japanese sweet bun stuffed with sweet bean paste) and Chestnut Yokan (Sweet red bean past bar)…, yummmm….

However, to satisfy my nostalgia, I would like to introduce this Chestnut Rice recipe today. When my mother cooks it, our family realise that the summer has ended and that autumn is here now. This recipe reminds of my family and of Japanese autumn.

 

Ingredients (serving 4 people)

200g Chestnuts with shell – about 13-15 chestnuts

2 cups of Rice – Japanese Rice, Sushi Rice or Short Grain Rice (Please use Rice Cooker’s cup). If you wish, replace ½ cup of the rice to Sticky Rice (Mochigome), which can be purchased at some Asian food stores.

½ Teaspoon of good quality Sea Salt

2g of Dried Kelp – wiped with a wet cloth

How to prepare chestnuts

  1. Soak chestnuts in water over night. This is to make the shell soft so that it will be easier to peel it off.
  2. Using a knife, slice a little bit of the bottom of the chestnut off.
  3. Using your fingers, peel the hard shell off from the cut end. You can peel it off quite easily.
  4. Then, using a knife, peel the inner skin completely. Place the chestnut into a bowl of water as soon as it is peeled. Please be careful with your fingers when you peel the inner skin, as it is time consuming and slippery to peel small chestnuts.

Method:

  1. Put rice in a rice cooker’s removable bowl and rinse the rice. Rest the washed rice in the bowl for about 20 minutes (if your rice cooker includes this time into the cooking time, it is not necessary to do so).
  2.  Add water up to the line of 2 as marked inside the removable bowl (not included in the ingredients list above).
  3. Add sea salt and dried kelp to the rice.
  4. Place the prepared chestnuts on the rice.
  5. Set the rice cooker and cook it as per the rice cooker’s instructions.
  6. Once the rice cooker has completed cooking, let it sit for about 30 minutes (if your rice cooker includes this time into the cooking time, it is not necessary to do so). Remove the dried kelp. Fold over the rice with a rice paddle and serve it in a rice bowl while it is hot.

 

Ginger Rice

I made this recipe when main dish was grilled king fish. I wanted to serve something refreshing with it; something to cut through the oiliness.

A small amount of ginger gives a light aroma to rice and a hint of spiciness refreshes your mouth. It is a good combination with oily fish. Try it while ginger is in season.

Servings: 4 people

Ingredients:

2 cup of Rice – Japanese Rice, Sushi Rice or Short Grain Rice (please use Rice Cooker’s cup)

7g of Ginger – peeled and grated

5g of Dried Kelp – wipe the surface with a wet clean cloth

1 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake

1 Tablespoon of Light Soy Sauce

1 Spring Onion – finely chopped

2.5g Bonito Flake

 

Method:

  1. Put rice in a rice cooker’s removable bowl and rinse the rice. Rest the washed rice in the bowl for about 20 minutes (if your rice cooker includes this time into the cooking time, it is not necessary to do so).
  2. Add cooking sake and soy sauce to the rice. Add water up to the line of 2 as marked inside the removable bowl (not included in the ingredients list above). Add ginger to the rice. Place dried kelp on it.
  3. Set the rice cooker and cook it as per the rice cooker’s instructions.
  4. Once the rice cooker has completed cooking, let it sit for about 30 minutes (if your rice cooker includes this time into the cooking time, it is not necessary to do so). Remove the dried kelp. Add spring onion and bonito flakes, and fold them into the rice. Serve it while it is hot.

Sushi Christmas Cake – Quirky Christmas @ Secret Cake Club Perth

It is not so long ago that I started baking. I reckon it was 3 years ago. I made a New Year’s Resolution to be able to bake. I have been trying since then.

So, I was so excited when I found “Secret Cake Club Perth”. This club is all about food. People who love cooking, baking and eating bring their own dishes in line with the event theme. On the day of the event, all what we do is eat! And then if there are any left-overs, we can take them home. We can share recipes and ides too. To be honest, I still feel nervous to go to the event and show my baking to the members, however, I really enjoy working on new ideas and expanding my repertoire.

At the most recent event, the theme was “Quirky Christmas”. This was the 3rd event o attended to.  I have not brought any cakes yet ( I does not need to be a cake, buy you know, the club’s name is…). This had to be something strange, unique and funny. I knew what to make straight away.

Sushi Christmas Cake – This is the first cake I brought to the Secret Cake Club. I know this is not baking involved, but, it is Quirky enough isn’t it? Sushi itself is the adaptation from my original Chirashi Sushi recipe so the taste is guaranteed. It looks gorgeous and original. It is also quiet easy to construct.

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Here is the recipe.

Ingredients for 15 cm round cake tin

2 cups of Sushi Rice (see the Chirashi Sushi recipe)

4 slices of Smoked Salmon – roughly chopped

3 slices of Smokes Salmon – for decoration

½ Avocado – sliced, drizzle with lemon juice

Simmered Dried Shiitake Mushroom – roughly chopped

A handful of Rocket Leaves

Scrambled Egg (3 Eggs, 1.5 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce, 1.5 Teaspoon of Sugar, 3 Teaspoon of Milk, A pinch of Salt)

 

Method

Once the Sushi Rice has cooled down and all of the other ingredients are ready, we can start contracting the cake.

  1. Place plastic wrap over the cake tin. Make sure the wrap is much bigger than the tin.
  2. 1st layer – Scrambled Egg. Place Scrambled Egg over the bottom of the tin.
  3. 2nd layer – Sushi Rice. Spread 1/3 of the Sushi Rice over the Egg. Put a little bit of water on your hands when you place he rice, so that the rice does not stick to your hands. Push the rice gently.
  4. 3rd layer – Shiitake Mushroom. Spread the chopped Shiitake over the rice.
  5. 4th layer – Sushi Rice. Spread 1/3 of the Sushi Rice over the Shiitake. Push the rice gently.
  6. 5th layer – Smokes Salmon and Avocado. Place them on the rice nicely.
  7. 6th layer – Sushi Rice. Spread the rest of the Sushi Rice over the Shiitake. Push the rice gently.
  8. Wrap over the surface with plastic wrap and rest it for 1 hour in the fridge.
  9. Take it out from the fringe. Remove the Sushi Cake from the tin by turning it upside down (just like a cake). Remove the wrap.
  10. Make a rose from Smoked Salmon. Cut a slice of Smoked Salmon lengthwise into 3. Roll the smallest slice and then loop others around. Make 3 roses.
  11. Place the roses on top of the Sushi Cake and sprinkle some Rocket Leaves round.2015-11-23_16.19.20

Chirashi Sushi with Smoke Salmon

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Serving : 4

Ingredients

For Sushi Rice

2 Cups of Japanese Rice or Sushi Rice or Short Grain Rice (Please use Rice Cooker’s Cup)

15cm x 5cm of Dried Kelp

7 Tablespoon of Rice Vinegar or White Vinegar

2 Tablespoon of Sugar

A pinch of Salt

For Toppings

Simmered Dried Shiitake Mushroom ( Hoshi Shiitake no Nimono)

2 Handful of Rocket

Smoke Salmon – as much as you like

Scrambled Eggs – 2 Eggs, 1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce, 1 Teaspoon of Sugar, A pinch of Salt)

Method

1. Firstly, cook Rice. Put Rice in the Rice Cooker’s removable bowl. Wash the Rice well. Rest the washed Rice in the bowl for about 20 minutes. Add Water slightly below the line of 2 as marked inside of the bowl. Put Kelp on top of the Rice and cook it as you cook Rice normally. After the Rice cooker completes cooking, let it sit for about 30 minutes to steam.

2. Mix Vinegar, Sugar and Salt.

3. Transfer the cooked Rice in a large bowl. Add the Vinegar mixture and mix it whilst the Rice is still hot by using a Rice Paddle. When you mix, try not to squash each grain of Rice. Mix it like you slice it by using the side me the Rice Paddle.

4. Cover it with a kitchen town and cool it down to the temperature that you can handle it easily.

5.  Prepare Toppings, while the Rice Is cooling down.

– Crack Eggs and mix them with Soy Sauce, Sugar and Salt. Make Scrambled Eggs.

– Cut Shiitake into small pieces.

– Cut Smoke Salmon into a bit-size.

– Wash Rocket leaves.

6. It is ready to assemble once the Sushi Rice is cooled down. Spread the Rice on a plate. On top of the Rice, spread Shiitake first then Eggs, Rocket Leaves and Smoke Salmon nicely.

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Japanese Pilaf – Takikomi Gohan

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Serving : 4

ingredients

*2 Cups of Japanese Rice or Sushi Rice or Short Grain Rice ( Please use Rice Cooker’s Cop)

1/2 Carrots – grated

3 Mushrooms (size of about 4-5cm in diameter) – sliced

1/2 Usuage (thin deep-fried tofu curd) – sliced into 4cm long

3 Teaspoon of Dashi Powder ( Fish Stock)

1.5 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1/2 Tablespoon of Mirin

Method

1. Put Rice in the Rice Cooker ‘s removable bowl. Wash the Rice.

2. Rest the washed Rice in the bowl for about 20 minutes. **

3. Add Dashi Powder, Soy Sauce and Mirin into the Rice.

4. Add Water up to the line of 2 as marked inside of the bowl. Mix it gently.

5. Add Carrots, Mushrooms and Usuage on top of the Rice.

6. Set the Rice Cooker and cook it as you cook Rice normally.

7. After the Rice Cooker completes cooking, let it sit for about 30 minutes to steam. **

Note

* It is the best to use Japanese Rice if it is available. If not, use Short Grain Rice or Sushi Rice.

** Method 2& 7 will help the Rice to get moist and lovely texture. If you have a Japanese Rice Cooker, this time might have been already included in the cooking time. Please refer to the instruction of your Rice Cooker.

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