Nikujaga and Blog’s Name

My husband and I met in Kamata in 2004. If you know Tokyo, you might think that it is too “Shibui” for young people, especially for “Foreigners”. There was a pub called “Beer Factory” under Kamata station where one of our common friends held his birthday party. The greatest thing was the pub had “All you can drink “system. Yeah, you can imagine how we lived the place, hey.

We started dating mad one day I was visiting his apartment. I cannot recall why I did so, but, I decided to bring Lunch (or Dinner?) for him. I guess I liked him so I wanted to impress him. I thought that something Japanese would be good as we were in Japan, so I made a traditional Japanese dish Nikujaga (Japanese Beef and Potato Stew). And the result was…

Tah-dah” YEY! Yes he LOVED Nikujaga! YES he was IMPRESSED.

He asked me what was in it. I answered him “Sugar, Mirin and a little bit of Soy Sauce”. Again he was impressed that only 3 ingredients could bring this flavour. Maybe he might have just been impressed by the fact that I could actually cook, but this was how my husband met my food.

Time passed to Brisbane. WE started living together there. As I do not mid cooking at all, it was me who mostly cooked dinner. I loved (still love) cooking for him since he tried everything without hesitation. I mainly cooked Japanese dished during the first year. I guess I would just like to introduce where I was from. He loved my Japanese dished and occasionally asked me what the ingredients were. I answered him with what was into.

Time went by. Maybe it took only 3-4 months for him to realise my secret…. One day, as he normally did, he asked me the same question and I answered him. And he said,

Him: So everything has a little bit of Soy….

Me: …. So-yade… (That’s true in Osaka Accent).

Since then he has stopped being impressed with my food…. I guess that you show less interest in some something once you know its secret. It must be a natural human behaviour that I cannot complain about?

Anyway, this is where my blog name is from, and this is my Nikujaga Recipe. It is delicious. There are not any complicated secrets to cook delicious Japanese dishes.

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Pianlu Style Hot Pot – Chinese Style Nabe with my adaptation

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Serving: 4

Ingredients:

Broth

30g of Dried Shiitake Mushroom

500cc of warm Water to reconstitute Dried Shiitake Mushroom

15cm x 10cm of Dried Kelp

1000cc Water

1 clove of Garlic – minced

2cm square cube of Ginger – minced

2 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake

4 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil

Meat

300g of Chicken Breast – cut into 2cm cubes

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake

A Pinch of Salt

6 slices of short cut Bacon – Each Bacon to be trimmed and cut into 4

Vegetables and Tofu

1 leak – chop the hard green part off and the rest to be sliced into 1cm thick with angle

3 branches of Bok Choy – divide into a green leaf part and a harder white part

200g Pumpkin – sliced into 1cm thick

150g Bean Sprout

1 Carrot – sliced into 0.5cm thick with angle

1 Onion – sliced into 0.5cm thick

150g of Silken Tofu – cut into 16 pieces

Sauce

1 clove of Garlic – minced

2cm square cube of Ginger – minced

½ Teaspoon of Salt

2 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce

Topping

2 Spring Onions – finely chopped

Method:

  1. Preparation for Broth. Put 1000cc of water in a Nabe Pot (or clay pot, or deep casserole pot). Place Dried Kelp in the water and soak it for about 30 minutes. At the same time, reconstitute Dried Shiitake Mushrooms in 500cc warm water by soaking for about 10 minutes, or until they become soft. Once Shiitake Mushrooms are soft, remove the stems and slice them in half. Keep the soaking liquid.
  1. Add the Shiitake’s Soaking Liquid, Garlic, Ginger, Cooking Sake and the hard green part of Leak in the pot and bring it to boil. Once the water is boiled, remove the Kelp and Leak. Reduce the heat to medium.
  1. Marinade Chicken Breast with Soy Sauce, Cooking Sake and Salt. Rest the Chicken in the fridge until it is used.
  1. Once the broth is ready, add Shiitake, Leak, a hard part of Bok Choy, Onion and 2 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil. Put a lid on and add continue cooking until the Bok Choy becomes soft.
  1. Add Pumpkin, Carrot, Chicken (with the marinade liquid) and Tofu. Put a lid on and continue cooking until Pumpkin becomes soft.
  1. Put Bean Sprout and the Bok Choy leaves on top and add 2 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil. Put a lid back on and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  1. While it is cooking, make Sauce by mixing all ingredients of Sauce.
  1. When you eat, put a small amount of Sauce in your serving bowl first and add the Nabe’s ingredients and soup in it. I would recommend 1/3 teaspoon of Sauce to 1.5 ladle of Soup, but it is totally up to you. Start from a small amount of sauce and add more if you like. Put some chopped Spring Onions on top when you eat.

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Sugar Butter Sweet Potatoes

Satsumaimo_Amani_1[1]

Serving: 2-4

Serving: 2-4
Ingredients
Purple Skinned Sweet Potatoes – 8 slices of 1cm thick
240cc of Water
2.5 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon of Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon of Butter

Method:
1. Place the sliced Sweet Potatoes, Water and Sugar in a small pot and bring it to boil.

2. Once it is boiled, turn the heat to medium and put a lid on. Keep cooking until water is almost gone. This will take about 30 minutes.

3. Add Soy Sauce and Butter, and then turn the heat off. Leave it until the heat of food (aranetsu) is gone. Serve it while it is warm.

Ingredients

Purple Skinned Sweet Potatoes – 8 slices of 1cm thick

240cc of Water

2.5 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar

1 tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Butter

Method:

  1. Place the sliced Sweet Potatoes, Water and Sugar in a small pot and bring it to boil.
  1. Once it is boiled, turn the heat to medium and put a lid on. Keep cooking until water is almost gone. This will take about 30 minutes.
  1. Add Soy Sauce and Butter, and then turn the heat off. Leave it until the heat of food (aranetsu) is gone. Serve it while it is warm.

Chicken Meatball Hot Pot – Tori Dango Nabe

Nabe_Toridango_1[1] Nabe_Toridango_2[1]

Serving: 4

Ingredients

Broth

1500cc of Water

10cm x 3cm of Dried Kelp

A small piece of Ginger – minced

3 Tablespoon of Chicken Stock

1 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake

2 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Mirin

Chicken Meatballs

200g Chicken Mince

2 Flat Mushrooms – minced

1 Lear part of Celery – finely chopped

1 Egg

1 Glove of Garlic – minced

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

½ Tablespoon of Shio Koji

3 Tablespoon of Flour

Vegetables for Hop Pot

½ Cabbage or Chinese cabbage – cut into 6 cm long

2 Carrots – sliced with angle

2 Onions – sliced

½ Leeks

150g of Tofu – cut into 3cm cubes

More Options for Vegetables – you can put anything you want, such as…

Zucchini – sliced, Celeries – sliced with angle, Pumpkins – sliced into 0.5-1 cm thick, Spring Onions – sliced with angle, Kale – cut into a bite size

Method:

  1. Put water in Nabe Pot (clay pot or deep casserole pot). Place Dried Kelp in the water and soak it for about 30 minutes. Heat the pot and bring it to boil. Once the water is boiled, remove the Kelp. Reduce the heat to medium and add Chicken Stock, Soy Sauce, Cooking Sake and Mirin.
  1. Prepare Chicken Meatballs. Add all ingredients for meatballs in a bowl and mix them well by hand. Put it aside until the broth is ready.
  1. Once the broth is ready, put the Chicken Meatballs in the broth. Use 2 Tablespoons to make a small ball and drop it into the broth one by one. The meatballs will come up to surface once they are cooked.
  1. Once the meatballs are cooked, add Vegetables in the pot. Add Vegetables which take longer to cook first, such as a hard part of Cabbages, Carrots, Leeks and Celeries. Once these vegetables are cooked, add Tofu and softer Vegetables, Such as Onions, Zucchinis, leaf part of Cabbages.
  1. Simmer until all are cooked.

Nabe_Toridango_3[1]

Creamy Chicken Stew

Cream_Stew_1[1]

Serving: 4

Ingredients

1 Chicken Breast – cut into 2cm cubes

2 Onions – sliced

4 sticks of Celerie- cut into 1cm pieces

2 Carrots – cut into 1cm pieces

4 Potatoes – cut into 2cm pieces

1 Zucchinis – cut into 1cm pieces

320cc Chicken Stock

2 of 160 cc of Milk

4 tablespoon of Flour

1 small bunch of Sage

A handful of Parmesan Cheese

A pinch of Salt

A pinch of Black Pepper

A Bay Leaf

Method:

Method:

  1. Sprinkle Salt over Chicken Breast and rest it until it is used.
  1. Put a small amount of oil in a pot and heat it with medium heat. Add Onions and Celeries in the pot. After cooking them for a few seconds, add Sage and put a lid on and make them pot-roast for 5 minutes. Pot-roasting helps to bring sweetness from vegetables.
  1. Dry Chicken Breast with paper towel. Add Chicken, Carrots, and Potatoes in the pot. Put the lid back on and make them pot-roast for another 5 minutes.
  1. Remove Sage.
  1. Add Flour and cook all together. Cook them until all ingredients are coated by flour.
  1. Add 160cc of Milk and mix all very well until the flour is dissolved and the milk is thickened.
  1. Add Chicken stock and a Bay Leaf. Put the lid on and simmer it for 20-30 minutes.
  1. Add another 160 cc of Milk and cook it for 5 minutes without a lid. Please do not make it boil. Taste the stew and season it accordingly. Turn the heat off.
  1. Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese and Black Pepper on top, and then serve.

Cream_Stew_2[1]

Simmered Dried Radish – Kiriboshi Daikon no Nimono

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Serving 3-4

ingredients:

50g Kiriboshi Daikon (Dried Radish Strip)

1/2 Carrots – sliced into thin rectangles

1/2 Usuage (thin deep fried tofu curd) – sliced into thin strips

5 bunches of Broccoli

400cc Soaking Liquid

2 Teaspoon of Dashi Powder

2 Teaspoon of Sugar

1 Tablespoon of Mirin

2 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

Method:

1. Prep of Kiriboshi Daikon. Rinse Kiriboshi Daikon lightly to remove any dirt. Soak the Daikon in water for about 20-30 minutes. Do not soak it too long to avoid the taste of Daikon to run into the water. Save the soaking liquid. After that squeeze the Daikon lightly to excess.

2. In a small pot, heat 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat. Add Daikon and fry it for a minute. Add Carrots and Usuage, and fry them for another minute.

3. Add the saves soaking liquid and bring it to boil. Once it is boiled, add Dashi Powder. Turn it down to low-medium heat.

4. Add Sugar and Mirin. Put a lid on and simmer it for about 20 minutes.

5. Add Soy Sauce and Broccoli, and simmer it for about 5 minutes. Then turn the heat off.

6. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. While the dish cools down, the ingredients absorb the flavour.

Sengiri_1[1]

Snow Soup with Tofu – Tofu no Mizore Jiru

Snow_Soup_2[1]

Serving : 2

ingredients:

10-12cm of Daikon (Chinese Radish) – grated

150g Silken Tofu – cut into 4

A small amount of Broccoli – cut into small size

400cc of Water

1&1/3 Teaspoon of Dashi Powdwe

1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce

Katsuo Bushi/Hana Gatsuo (Bonito Flake) + a small amount for decoration

Method:

1. Boil Water in a small pot. Reduce to low heat and add Dashi Powder and Soy Sauce.

2. Add Broccoli. Once it is cooked, add Tofu.

3. Once Tofu is warmed up, add Daikon and Bonito Flakes and stir them gently. Tofu does not need to be cooked too long as Tofu is already edible and it looses silkiness.

4. It is ready to serve when the soup is warmed up. It a small amount of Bonito Flakes on top for decoration.

Snow_Soup[1]