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.
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The Easiest Ever Japanese – Agedashi Tofu (No Dashi Stock Required)

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A super easy Agedashi Tofu Recipe. This Agedashi Tofu can be made without Japanese Dashi Stock. When you are in a hurry but you would like to impress someone, it is a good recipe. I think it is a good introduction to Japanese cooking. Hope you like it.

Ingredients (Serve for 4 people)

500g Momen or Classic Tofu

200ml Water

50ml Soy Sauce

50ml Mirin

20ml Cooking Sake

5g Dried Bonito Flakes

2 Tablespoons of Corn Flour (or Plain Flour if you do not have Corn Flour)

Oil for shallow frying

Topping Options

4 pinches of Dried Bonito Flakes

Shredded Daikon Radish

Spring Onions – finely chopped

Method:

  1. Cut tofu half to make it 1.5 – 2 cm thick. Then cut each piece into 8 (Total 16 pieces of tofu).
  2. On a flat plate or a chopping board, place 3-4 layers of paper towels and lay the tofu on it. Place another 3-4 layers of paper towel on top of the tofu, and then place a flat plate or a light chopping board on top of it. Leave it for 15 minutes. This process is to remove excess water from the tofu. Please do not leave it too long, otherwise the tofu will be too dry.
  3. Now we make the sauce. Place water, soy sauce, mirin and sake into a sauce pan and bring it to the boil. Once it is boiled, turn the heat to medium and add bonito flakes to the pan. Keep simmering for a minute. Turn off the hat and put it aside.
  4. Now we shallow-fry the tofu. Heat oil to 180 ◦C. Remove the tofu from the paper towels. Coat the tofu with corn flour. Shallow-fry the tofu until the tofu becomes crispy and lightly browned (about 2 minutes each side).
  5. Remove the tofu from the oil and drain excess oil on a wire rack or paper towels.
  6. Now come back to the sauce. Strain the sauce to separate the sauce and the bonito flakes. Keep the bonito flakes.
  7. Pour ¼ of sauce on a serving plate. Place 4 pieces of the tofu in the sauce. Top with the cooked bonito flakes from Method 6, along with your choice of toppings.

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Lotus Root Kimpira – Renkon no Kinpira

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I was so excited to find fresh Lotus Roots in a shot the other day. In Japan, Lotus Roots are very common and can be purchased throughout the seasons. Since they are so common over there, to be honest, I did not know when Lotus Roots were in season before…, whoops….

Why am I so exited? It is because not only they are rare to find here in Australia, but they are also my father’s favourite vegetable. Especially this recipe, Lotus Roots Kimpira, was his favourite veggie dish. When I cooked it for him, I remember him praising me saying “Yours is better than your mum’s”. which was the best praise you could get from him.

In the shop, I put a small fresh Lotus Root in my basket without hesitation, just to make this dish. I went to the cashier and realised that the small lady cost me $9.00…. Well…, there was no option for me not to buy it, but I felt just little nostalgic….

Here is my father’s favourite recipe. Really hope you enjoy it.

 

Ingredients (Serving 4 as a side dish)

300g Lotus Root (Renkon) – peeled and sliced into thin rounds. Soak the slices in water for 5 minutes. This is to avoid them discolouring.

15ml Dashi stock

2 Tablespoons of Cooking Sake

½ Tablespoon of Sugar

½ Tablespoon of Mirin

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

½ Teaspoon of Sesame Seeds

 

Method:

  1. Drain and dry the Lotus slices with paper towels. Heat a small amount of oil (not included in the ingredients’ lost above) in a fry pan on medium heat. Stir-fry the Lotus for a couple of minutes or until translucent.
  2. Add Dashi Stock, Cooking Sake, Sugar and Mirin. Cooking them for 2-3 minutes or until the liquid is half gone.
  3. Add Soy Sauce and cook them for 2-3 minutes or until the liquid is almost gone.
  4. Turn heat off and sprinkle Sesame Seeds over the lotus. It can be served both warm and cold.

 

 

Hot and Sour Soup with Salmon

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My version of Chinese Hot and Sour Soup. It might be an old remedy, but, I somehow believe in Ginger and Garlic to beat a cold. I like cooking this soup when my family is not feeling 100% in the cold winter.

While I use Salmon in this recipe, you can use a different protein instead (I reckon Chicken works very well). You can also use any vegetables in your fridge too.

One thing I recommend not to remove is Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, since Shiitake stock adds the rich flavour into the soup. Hope you enjoy the recipe.

 

Ingredients (Serve for 3-4 people)

For Broth

500ml Chicken Stock

500ml Soaking Liquid of Dried Shiitake Mushrooms – see “For other ingredients” and Method 1 below

1.5 Tablespoons of Light Soy Sauce

A pinch of Sea Salt

2 Tablespoons of White Vinegar

3 Teaspoons of Corn Starch

½ Teaspoon of Sesame Oil

For Salmon

180 – 200g Salmon Fillet – skin removed, chopped into small bite size pieces

1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce

1 Teaspoon of Cooking Sake

For Other Ingredients

25g Dried Shiitake Mushrooms + 500ml of Water to reconstitute them – keep the soaking liquid

1 Onion –sliced

1 Carrot – cut into long sticks

1/6 Chinese cabbage – cut into small bite size pieces

1 Green Capsicum – sliced

1 or 2 bird eye red Chili (depends on your liking) – finely chopped

2 cloves of Garlic – finely chopped

10g Ginger – finely sliced

80g Dried Potato Noodles (“Malony” in Japanese, you can use Glass Noodles instead)

10 Green Beans – ends trimmed and cut to the same length as the sliced green capsicum

5 florets of Broccoli – separate into smaller florets

1 Egg

 

Method:

  1. Preparation of Dried Shiitake Mushrooms. Rinse the Shiitake. Soak them in 500ml of water to reconstitute. This will table about 10-15 minutes. If you are in a hurry, use warm water instead of cold water. Once they are reconstituted, slice them finely. Keep the soaking liquid.
  2. Preparation of Salmon. Cut and place the Salmon into a small bowl. Marinade the Salmon with Soy Sauce and Cooking Sake. Put it aside.
  3. In a large pot, put Shiitake, Onion, Carrot, Chinese cabbage, green Capsicum, Red Chili, Garlic and Ginger with Chicken Stock and the Shiitake Soaking Liquid. Bring it to a boil. Turn heat to low/medium and simmer it for 15 minutes with a lid on.
  4. Add Light Soy Sauce and a pinch of Salt. Simmer it for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  5. Add Dried Potato Noodles, Green Beans, Broccoli and the Salmon including the marinade to the pot. Put the lid back on and keep simmering for 10 minutes.
  6. Add White Vinegar and stir gently.
  7. Take 2 ladles of the broth out from the pot to a bowl. Add Corn starch to the bowl and whisk it until the Corn Starch is completely dissolved. Add the mixture to the pot and mix it into the soup gently. Add Sesame Oil.
  8. Beat an egg and pour it over the surface of the soup. Turn a heat off. Put the lid on and let it sit for 10 seconds. Serve while it is hot.

 

Is Lupin a New Super Food? Lupin Hummus Recipe

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Since I came back from the Middle East last year, I have been really into Middle Eastern food. I have not cooked Middle Eastern food much at home, because chickpeas involves a long cooking process (soak overnight, cook long time, mush it etc… you know it!).

And then, one night in a café in Wembley, I was introduced to Lupin. The café is owned by a friend of ours and she showed it to us as her new product.

Lupin is a legume grain and is commonly used as livestock feed. Apparently, Western Australia produces a lot of Lupin. Due to its high nutritional value, it has been now introduced to us human beings.

Her café sells a 400g of Lupin flakes for $8 ish. She told me that it tastes like chickpeas, and can be used as its alternative. One big difference is how easy it is to deal with. It is already flaked so it involves none of the time consuming chickpea process.

So, this is my first Lupin recipe – Lupin Hummus. It is very easy and good if you need to bring things to a party.

Ingredients:

160ml Lupin Flakes

2 small cloves of Garlic –chopped

2.5 Tablespoons of Tahini

2 Tablespoons of White Vinegar

1.5 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice

2 pinches of Sea Salt

Olive Oil to drizzle

1 pinch of dried Oregano for garnish

Method:

  1. Put lupin flakes into a small saucepan filled with cold water (not included in the above ingredients)  and bring to boil. Simmer for a further 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 garlic, tahina, white vinegar, lemon juice and sea salt into the lupin. Mix together with a hand mixer (or a food processor) until it becomes smooth.
  3. Plate the Lupin Hummus. Drizzle olive oil over the hummus and garnish with oregano.

Roasted Vegetable Salad – Balsamic and Soy Dressing

Imagine the richness of balsamic vinegar and the umami of soy sauce absorbed into hot sweet roasted vegetables with the freshness of raw vegetables in your month…. This salad tastes exactly like that!

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Ingredients:

For Roasted Vegetables

3 Potatoes – peeled and cut into 3cm chunks

1 Purple Skinned Sweet Potato – cut into 3cm chunks (keep the skin on)

3 Carrots – peeled and cut into 6cm long matchsticks

1 Red Capsicum – cut into strips

2 Flat Mushrooms – cut into 8 pieces

3 + 1 Tablespoons of Olive Oil to drizzle

2 of ½ Teaspoon of Rosemary Leaves

For Non-Roasted Vegetables

1 Tomato – finely chopped

1 Onion – thinly sliced

100g of Spinach Leaves

Dressing

1 clove of Garlic – finely chopped

6 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

1 Lemon

3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

A pinch of Salt

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 ◦C.
  2. Place potato and sweet potato in a small pot and cover with cold water. Boil them for about 3 minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked (but still hard). Drain the potatoes.
  3. Place the potato, sweet potato and carrot into a large baking tray in single layer. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle ½ teaspoon of rosemary leaves over them. Roast them for 20 minutes.
  4. Place red capsicum and mushroom into a medium sized baking tray in single layer. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and spring ½ teaspoon of rosemary leaves over them.
  5. After 20 minutes roasting (Method 3), turn the potatoes and carrot. Place the capsicum and mushroom tray into the oven and roast the vegetables on both trays for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make dressing. Mix all ingredients of the dressing. Put aside.
  7. Place tomato, onion and spinach leaves in a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the bowl and dress them with the dressing. Serve it while it is warm.

 

My Thai Salad

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A light and fresh salad with a little bit of kick! Thai flavor can be easily made from the ingredients available in your pantry.

Ingredients:

For Dressing

1 Red Chili – finely chopped (remove the seeds if you prefer the salad mild)

2 cloves of Garlic – finely chopped

1cm cube of Ginger – finely chopped

1 Coriander Root – finely chopped

1 lemon – juice

5 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce

4 Tablespoons of White Vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil

1 tablespoon of Olive Oil

For Salad

100g Rocket Leaves

2 Carrots – grated

80g of Bean Sprouts

½ Onion – sliced

2 Tomatoes – roughly chopped

½ Red Capsicum – roughly chopped

1 large brunch of Coriander – roughly chopped including the stem

Option

Very Moist Chicken or sliced Beef Steak

Method:

For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.

For the salad, place each ingredient beautifully in layers in a salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing just before serving. As an option of a decent sized meal, top with Very Moist Chicken or sliced beef steak.