The Easiest Ever – Simplified Easy Ponzu Dressing

If you have ever been to a Japanese restaurant, I am sure that you have heard of this sauce called “Ponzu”.

Easy Ponzu Dressing _ a little bit of soy

Ponzu, which is a citrus based sauce, is commonly used in Japan as a condiment. How common? It is REALLY common.

Ponzu is tangy, fresh and yet quit round. In my opinion, it goes well with everything! AS a condiment, you can use it on a light flavoured dish (e.g. Salad, Tofu, Nabe Hot Pot) to give a bit of excitement, or you can use it for fatty proteins (e.g. fatty salmon, beef steak) to give a bit of refreshment.

The Standard recipe of Ponzu sauce is combine Soy Sauce and your favourite citrus (Yuzu and Sudachi Citrus are common in Japan), and then soak a piece of dried kelp and bonito flakes in the juice to make the sauce softer and sweeter. It is ready to use after resting it in the fridge from overnight to a week.

Today, I would like to introduce my super easy version of it.

Here we are in Australia in the busy environment. If you are like me, do you feel that you cannot be bothered searching for some special Japanese ingredients and waiting for another day to taste it?

In this Ponzu recipe, I made it as Ponzu “dressing” rather than “sauce”, therefore, it is still good to use on the day it’s made. Of course you can make a big volume and store it in the fridge too, just like a normal Ponzu recipe.

I use Lime here, but if you wish, you can mix with lemons and/or oranges and make your own citrus flavour!

If you would like to use up your citrus from your garden and/or try something different on your salad, please try this ponzu dressing. Hope you like it.

Ingredients:

150ml Lime Juice
50ml Soy Sauce
2.5g Dried Bonito Flakes (Japanese Katsuo bushi)
Method: 

Mix all ingredients
You can use it straight away or it can be stored in the fridge for a week to make it rounder. 
My easy Ponzu on Salad – a little bit of soy
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Low-carb! Cauliflower Cheese with Tofu Miso Creamy Sauce

I occasionally crave gratin. I love the combination of bechamel sauce and cheese melting all together. I love the look in the oven – the bubbling sauce and golden surface…. Yum Yum Yum.

However…, gratin is not certainly suitable when you are on a diet…, I know…, but I still feel like it.

So! I made this recipe.

Cauliflower Cheese with Tofu Miso Creamy Sauce

In this recipe, I made white sauce out of Silken Tofu. The key is to remove the tofu’s unique smell (see the method below) and mix the tofu until it becomes super smooth. I added Miso, which gives a richness and depth to the delicate tofu.

This was actually one of my experimental recipes, but it came out really good on the first trial. This is a keeper, definitely!

This Tofu Miso Creamy Sauce is suitable for a gluten free diet as well.

When you are on a diet and sick of salad and soup, try this low-carb cauliflower cheese!
Hope you like it.

Ingredients (Serving 3-4)
600g of Cauliflower - cut into medium-sized florets
1 Onion - sliced
3 teaspoons of Olive Oil
A pinch of Sea Salt
60g of Parmesan Cheese - shredded

For Tofu Miso Creamy Sauce
300g of Silken Tofu
2 tablespoons of Milk
1 1/2 teaspoons of Miso (I use Shinshu Miso)
1/2 teaspoon of Soy Sauce
A pinch of Sea Salt for seasoning
Method: 
1. Preheat oven to 200 C.

2. Firstly we make Tofu Miso Cream. Wrap tofu with 2-3 layers of paper towels and microwave it for 2 minutes.
Remove it from the microwave and place a flat plate or a light chopping board on top of the tofu. Do not unwrap the paper towels.
Leave it for about 5 minutes. This is a good method to remove the excess water from tofu, which contains tofu's unique smell.

3. Place all the ingredients of Tofu Miso Cream (except sea salt), and combine well well until it becomes homogenised and smooth. You can use a electric mixer if you wish.

4. Taste the tofu miso creamy sauce and add a pinch of sea salt as necessary. Put it aside

5. Place cauliflower and onion in a baking tray. Coat them with olive oil and sea salt evenly.

6. Pour the Tofu Miso Cream over the cauliflower and put Parmesan cheese on top.

7. Bake it for about 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is cooked and the cheese becomes golden. Serve while hot.

Bocconcini Salad with Strawberry Dressing

At this moment, I do not have access to my pots, pans or to my pantry as we are currently in temporary accommodation. What I have is only some essential things such as soy sauce (of course!!), dashi powder, cooking sake and sugar, which I think allows me to cook decent things.

And…, my boss (the kind one) gave me a packet of Shio Koji.

As I have written about it in my blog previously, Shio Koji is one of my “super foods” – which is not only for its nutrition but also for its versatility (please see here for more detail).

That made me cook something different from the usual suspects, and even allowed me to come up with this new salad idea!

This strawberry dressing is a little bit sweet as well as a little bit savoury – as the result of a touch of Shio Koji. It is a perfect salad for hot summer days!

Since Shio Koji can be purchased in the Japanese shops in Perth, I assume that it can be found in other cities. If you have a chance to find it, I recommend you to get and try it 🙂

Ingredient: 
For Salad
200g Salad Leaves
210g Traditional Bocconcini- cut into 4
1 Lebanese Cucumber -diced
1/2 Onion - finely chopped

For Strawberry Dressing
250g Strawberries - washed and hulled
1/2 tablespoon of Shio Koji
1/2 tablespoon of Sugar
1/2 tablespoon of Lemon

Method :
For Strawberry Dressing
1. Place all of the ingredients for dressing in a small pot. Heat the pot over medium heat with the lid on. Once it is boiled, reduce the heat to low.

2. Keep cooking for about 15 minutes or until the strawberries become very soft, while stirring and mashing the strawberries occasionally.

3. Remove it from the heat. Place the dressing in a clean container and cool it down in the fridge.

For Salad
In a salad bowl or plate, place salad leaves, bocconcini, cucumber and onions nicely. Just before serving, pour the strawberry dressing over the salad.

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

Marinaded Vegetable and Bean Salad

This is a super easy and super humble recipe!

2018-07-23_20.11.43

In this season, we often get a lot of lemons from our friends who have lemon trees in their garden. In addition to my usual Honey Lemon Ginger, this is another good way of using up lemons.

I made this marinade liquid tangier than normal salad dressing so that the salad keeps a bit of kick after leaving over night.

If you make a big batch, it can be stored in the fridge for about 3-4 days.

If you have a lot of lemons in your kitchen or your garden, try this recipe. Hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients

1 Carrot – diced

3 stalks of Celery – diced

1 Onion – diced

1 tin (400g including liquid) of Borlotti Beans (or your favorite beans)

For Marinade Liquid

100ml of Lemon Juice (about 1.5 lemons)

100ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce

Good quality Sea Salt and Black Pepper for seasoning

Method

  1. Combine all of the ingredients for dressing.
  2. Marinade all chopped vegetables and beans in the dressing over night.