Oden (Mini)

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Serving: 4

Ingredients:

6 slice of Daikon (Chinese radish) – cut 3 cm thick rounds and the peel the skin deeply.

4 Boiled Egg

1 Konnyaku (Konjac)

Negi Kinchaku (Spring Onion Bag)

2 Abura age (Deep-fried bean curd)

6 Spring Onions – chopped

1 small amount of Ginger – minced

Soup

1000cc Water

15cm x 7cm of Dried Kelp

10g Bonito Flakes – put the Bonito Flakes in empty tea bags.

A pinch of Sea Salt

2 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake

3 Tablespoon of Mirin

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

Method

  1. Preparation of Daikon. Trim the cut edges (This helps to keep the nice shape of Daikon even after simmering.). On one side of the Daikon, cut a cross shape incision (This helps to penetrate seasoning and flavour into Daikon.). Put the Daikon in a pot and pour in just enough water to cover. Make it to boil. Once it is boiled, reduce the heat to low to medium and simmer for about 1- 1.5 hours or until the Daikon is cooked.
  1. Preparation of Konnyaku. Boil water in a small pot. On one side of Konnyaku, make a grid shape incision. To do so, make small lengthwise cuts (2-3mm between each cut) and then make cross cuts. Put the Konnyaku into the boiled water and cook it for about 30 seconds (This helps to remove the smell of Konnyaku.), and then remove. Cut Konnyaku into 6 of triangles. To do so, cut it into 3 of rectangle first, and then cut each rectangle on the cross.
  1. Preparation of Negi Kinchaku. Mix Spring Onions and minced Ginger. Halve the Abura age and open the middle like a pouch. Stuff the Spring Onion mixture into the pouch. Close the pouch with a toothpick. Make 4 of them.
  1. Preparation of Soup. Put 1000cc of Water and Dried Kelp in a big pot. Leave it for about 20 minutes. After that, bring it to boil. Once the water is boiled, remove the Dried Kelp and put nags of Bonito Flakes. Reduce the heat to low and cook it for 3 minutes. Remove the Bonito Flakes. Add a pinch (or two) of Sea Salt. Taste it here to see if you need more Salt. If so add a little bit more. Add Cooking Sake, Mirin and Soy Sauce.
  1. Place 1, 2, 3 and Eggs into the Soup. Simmered for 1.5 hours with low heat, and then turn the heat off. Leave it and cool it down with a lid on. Before serving, warm it up with medium heat to serve. 2015-08-30_21.40.42[1]
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Japanese Grilled Eggplant – Yaki Nasu

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Serving: 2

Ingredients

½ Eggplant – halved lengthwise (or 2 if you use Lebanese/Japanese Eggplant), remove the hull

A small amount of Bonito Flake for topping

A little bit of Soy Sauce

Method

  1. Prepare a piece of alfoil. Place the Eggplant on the foil with the white part (non-skin side) down.
  1. Place the Eggplant in grill. Grill the Eggplant on high heat. Grill until the skin gets burnt completely.
  1. Remove the eggplant from the frill. While the Eggplant is still hot, peel the skin off. The skin should come off very easily, like when you peel banana. You will need to remove all skins quickly while it is hot, otherwise the skill will be difficult to be removed and the purple colour will be transferred to the white part.
  1. Halve the Eggplant lengthwise. Make 2 cut lengthwise in each piece with leaving hull side uncut. This helps to cut Eggplant by chopsticks when you eat.
  1. Place the Eggplant in a fridge. It is best eaten chilled. When you serve, put a small amount of Bonito Flakes and a little bit of Soy Sauce on top.

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Chicken in a Bag – Tori no Tsutsumi-Yaki Miso Sauce

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Serving: 2

Ingredients

1 Chicken Breast – thinly sliced withy angle (diagonal cut surface is made)

A handful Cabbage – sliced into thin strips

1 Flat Mushroom – sliced

¼ Onion – sliced

¼ Red Capsicum – sliced into 0.5cm lengthwise (4 slices per bag)

Miso Sauce

1.5 Tablespoon of Miso

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Mirin

1 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake

1 clove of Garlic – minced

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients for Miso Sauce in a bowl. Put Chicken Breast in it and marinade for 15 minutes.
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degree.
  1. Prepare the 2 pieces of baking paper. On each baking paper, place Cabbage first, and then Onion and Mushrooms. Place the marinade Chicken Breast on top of the vegetables evenly. Arrange Red Capsicum on top.
  1. Wrap it with the baking paper. Fold the longer edge into the middle and twist the short edge like a candy wrap.

Place them onto a baking tray and bale them for 20 minutes

My Hot Cocoa Fate

Hot Cocoa is definitely my winter drink. I am not talking about Hot Chocolate, which contains shaved chocolate. What I am talking about is a drink made from only Pure Cocoa, Milk and Sugar.

When I was a kid, I always studies at night. The reason was because, apart from I was a night person, I was enjoying a lot of secret thinks happening at night, such as my favorite musicians on radio, pocket bell messages from friends and secret phone conversation between my sister and her boyfriend (!!). One thing, however, that I lived the most was my mother’s treats, which she brought to cheer me up (for study, of course…).  It was different every night. It was sometimes seasonal fruits, sometimes sweet biscuits, sometimes a cup of corn soap, and sometimes a cup of Hot Cocoa. Hot Cocoa was the best especially in winter. This dark, rich and smooth drink made me so warm and so happy.

I remember one day when she made a cup of Hot Cocoa for me and my sister for afternoon tea. We were so ready to feel its indulgence, as usual. When we smelled it and sipped it, we both went “???”. We both tasted something very different. To be honest, it was completely wrong. That Hot Cocoa tasted nothing like the Hot Cocoa that we knew. It tasted of nothing.

Yes, my mother apparently used Cocoa Power from some other brand because it was on sale. Maybe she wanted to test us to see if we could taste the difference. Maybe she thought it would be lucky if we did not realise it because that one was cheaper. Sorry mum! You trained us, it is your fault!

This is the brand that we always had at home. This can be purchased at any supermarket in Japan. It is not a special or gourmet brand, just a normal confectionery company with more than 100 years history who supplies the decent things. And… do you think that it would not be just a coincidence that my graduate job was with this company? I actually think that it was fate.

Cocoa[1]

Unfortunately I have not found this Cocoa Powder in Australia yet, so I currently use the 100% Belgium Pure Cocoa Powder which I got from a small gourmet deli called Susan’s Fine Food. This is my Hot Cocoa recipe. It might be less sweet as I like it this way. Please feel free to add more sugar if you prefer it sweeter, but please do not compromise with the quality of Cocoa Powder.

Four Colour Donburi – Yonshoku Don

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Serving: 4

Ingredients

2 cups of Japanese Rice or Sushi Rice or Short Grain Rice (Please use rice cooker’s cup)

Topping 1 – Tri Soboro (Chicken Crumbles)

250g Chicken Mince

5 Spring Onions –chopped

1 Tablespoon of Sugar

2 Tablespoon of Mirin

3 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

Topping 2 – Scrambled Egg

3 Eggs

1.5 Teaspoon of Sugar

1.5 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce

A pinch of Salt

Topping 3 – Kale no Oshitashi (Boiled and Seasoned Kale)

4-5 Branches of Kale – leaves to be chopped in a bite size and stalks to be cut into 4cm long

4 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce

1 Teaspoon of Karashi (Japanese Mustard)

Topping 4 – Ninjin no Kinpira (Sautéed & Braised Carrots)

2 Carrots – cut into 4cm long and 2mm width

1 Tablespoon of Sugar

1 Tablespoon of Mirin

2 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoon of Sesame

A little bit of Sesame Oil

Method

  1. Cook Rice as per instruction of your rice cooker.
  1. Topping 1 – Tori Soboro (Chicken Crumble). Put a small amount of oil in a frying pan and heat it with high heat. Once the pan becomes hot, put Chicken Mince in the pan and stir fry it on medium heat*. Add Sugar, Mirin and Soy Sauce. Stir fry until no liquid remains. Add Spring Onions and mix it. Place the Soboro in a plate and put aside.
  1. Topping 2 – Scrambled Egg. Crack Eggs in a small bowl. Add Sugar, Soy Sauce and a pinch of Salt n the Egg. Mix them lightly. Heat a frying pan with high heat. Once the pan becomes really hot,. Put the Egg mixture in the pan and make Scrambled Egg. Place the Egg in a plate and put aside.
  1. Topping 3 – Kale no Oshitashi. Boil water in a pot. Add stalks of Kales and cook them for 3 minutes. Add leaves of Kales and boil all together for 5 minutes or until the stalks become soft. Remove it from heat and drain water. Cool the Kales down with running water to sop cooking. Squeeze water out from Kale. Place the Kale in a bowl. Season the Kale with Soy Sauce and Karashi. Mix it well and put aside.
  1. Topping 4 – Ninjin no Kinpira. Put a small amount of oil in a frying pan and heat it with high heat. Once the pan becomes hot, put Carrot in the pan and stir fry it on medium heat. When the Carrot is just cooked, add Sugar, Mirin and Soy Sauce. Stir fry it until no liquid remains. Turn the heat off, add Sesame and Sesame Oil. Place the Carrot in a plate and put aside.
  1. Assemble Donburi. In a serving plate or bowl, place Rice in the bottom, and them place all toppings nice on top of the rice.

Note:

*Cook mince very well to remove unpleasant smell of chicken. When the mince starts browned, oil from the mince will come out. Even though it is already browned at the stage, keep cooking until the oil disappears. This helps to keep only lovely chicken flavor.

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Japanese Fried Chicken (Salt Version) – Shio Karaage

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Serving: 2

Ingredients

1 Chicken Breast – cut into 4-8 cm pieces

1 clove of Garlic – minced

1cm of Ginger –minced

2 Teaspoon of Chicken Stock Powder

½ Teaspoon of Salt

3 Teaspoon of Cooking Sake

1 Teaspoon of Sesame Oil

Oil for Deep Fry

Method

  1. Place the Chicken into a bowl. Add all other ingredients (except oil from deep fry) and combine them well. Cover it with plastic wrap and marinade it in a fridge for at least an hour.
  1. Now we deep fry the Chicken. Bring the oil to 180 degree. To check the oil temperature, drop a piece if batter (or piece of minced Garlic in this case) in the oil. When it goes down to the middle of the oil and quickly comes up, it is the right temperature.
  1. While the oil is heating up, put flour in a bowl and add the chicken in it. Toss and coat the Chicken with flour evenly.
  1. Deep fry Chicken. When you deep fry it, it is important to keep oil temperature as 180 degree. Do not put too many pieces of Chicken at once as oil temperature will come down rapidly, and the Chicken will get oily and not be crispy.
  1. Once the Chicken is cooked and the surface is turned to light brown, transfer the Chicken onto a wire rack of kitchen paper towel to drain oil/
  1. Serve Karaage while it is hot.

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Snow Soup (Mizore Jiru) – dedicated to John

Winter is coming….

What would you like to eat on a freezing cold night after coming home from work? For me, it is Daikon (Chinese radish). It might not be a commonly used vegetable here in Australia, considering that I am still facing the question of its name at the cashier in the supermarket. It is versatile as it can be eaten raw, cooked or pickled. The great news for me is that I found it much cheaper in Perth than in Brisbane. Sorry Brisbane people!

Daikon gets sweeter and juicer in winter, while in summer, Daikon contains more sharpness and spiciness. Although I like Daikon in summer as well, I just love the sweet and juicy version. I hope I can introduce as many Daikon Recipes as I can during the winter.

My first Daikon dish in the blog is Mizore Jiru (Snow Soup). Mizore is meteorological phenomenon of mixture of snow and rain in Japanese. We think that grated Daikon on/in hot ingredients looks like Mizore so we name dishes from that. It is so appropriate in winter! I call it snow in English just for convenience. I also thought that “Snow” sounds more dramatic than “meteorological phenomenon of mixture of snow and rain”….

What would you think of from “snow”? For me, especially recently, it is John (Hope a few ladies agree with me!). AS the world seems to be, my husband and I are also into GoT. The show is really addictive and we cannot stop looking forward to it. Although there are so many attractive characters, John Snow has been in charge of my visual department. It has been awhile since Season 5 finished, but I still cannot accept the fact that he is dead. All we talk about GoT is, “Do you think that he’s really gone for good?”.

So here are our speculations based on my hope.

  1. He is dead and all gone. Mo more John Show.
  2. The Red Woman will revive him.
  3. He will be back as a white walker and become leader of the while walkers.

What do you think? Or what would you like to think? I guess we have to wait for a while to find out. Until then, let’s enjoy the soup and think about him.