My mum’s Recipe : Anko – Japanese Sweet Red Bean Paste

My memory of Japanese sweets is my mum’s homemade Anko (Japanese Sweet Red Bean Paste).  Well…, it is not exactly the anko itself…. It is more like my mum and my sister.

They love anko. They sometimes had this sudden craving for anko (and I do not know why, but this happened always at night), and the next day, my mum would make it. When they ate it, they looked super happy… The homemade anko must have had some sort of magical power to make these 2 powerful Osaka ladies (especially if you know them…, you know what I mean) calm and speechless…

On the other hand, I have never been a big fan of Anko…. Somehow, I felt it was too sweet….That’s why I had never made it before. However, as I became older, I started missing the sweet anko – age does funny thing to humans!

So here it is! I recreated my mum’s happy Anko. As always, she gave me the instructions and tips  (well, of course she does not know the measurement…). I think it is quite good.

Anko Red Bean Paste 1 a little bit of soy

I made Dorayaki (Red Bean Pancake) by using this anko this time. You can use if for anything else – such as Zensai (Sweet Red Bean Soup), Daifuku (mochi rice cake filled with anko), or even western style sweets (cupcakes and pound cakes will be good!).

It takes time to make, but it is easy. Try it when you have time!

Ingredients:

220g Azuki Red Beans

1200ml of Water

140g of Caster Sugar

1/4 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

Method: 

  1. Soak Azuki red beans overnight (15 – 20 hours).
  2. Rinse the azuki red beans.
  3. Place the azuki red beans and 1200ml water into a big pot. Bring it to the boil. Once it is boiled, turn the heat to low. Skim the scum off the top.  Keep cooking over low heat for about 1 hour or until the azuki red beans become soft and tender.
  4. Add caster sugar and sea salt into the pot. Keep simmering until the liquid is evaporated. This will take about 1 – 1.5 hours.
  5. Once the liquid is evaporated, mix and mash the azuki red beans to the consistency of your liking. Cool it down to use. You can wrap and freeze the anko if you are not planing to use it straight away.

This is Dorataki (Japanese Red Bean Pancake Sandwich). I used this recipe.

http://www.ntv.co.jp/3min/recipe/20100923.html

Dorayaki_Anko_A little bit of soy

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Gluten Free! Lupin Chicken Katsu

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This is my first Japanese recipe using my new super food – Lupin Flakes!

I use Australian sweet Lupin Flakes as the crumb in a well-known Japanese dish – Chicken Katsu  (Did you know that Katsu is from the English ‘Cutlet’ or the French ‘ Cotelette’?).

In this recipe, the Lupin crumbs are as crispy as Panko, and for a bonus, this Chicken Katsu is now gluten free as well as suitable for low carb diet.

As Lupin Flakes are slightly sweet (as it is a legume), I do not think that you need to make a separate sauce to go with this Chicken Katsu.

Try this recipe if you are on a gluten free or low carb diet, or just want try something new in a traditional Japanese cooking. Hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients (Serving for 2):

1 free range Chicken Breast

1 teaspoon of Dark Sugar

2 pinch of Sea Salt

Sea Salt and Black Pepper for seasoning

1 tablespoon of Corn flour (or your choice of gluten free flour)

1 Egg

1/2 cup of Lupin Flakes

Oil for Shallow-Frying

Method:

Preparation for Chicken Breast

  1. Firstly make chicken breast thinner and flatter. Lay the chicken breast flat . Slice lengthways down the middle to halfway through. From the bottom of the cut, slice out towards the side and fold out the flaps you have created, like a book, door or butterfly (whatever you want to call it). Cut it into half to make 2 even pieces.
  2. Rub dark sugar and 2 pinches of sea salt into the chicken breasts. Cover them with a plastic wrap and leave them for about 20 minutes (This method is to neutrilise of the smell of chicken, as well as to make the chicken breast moist).
  3. Pat-dry the chicken breasts with kitchen paper towels and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Crumbing

  1. Tip corn flour (or your choice of flour) onto a plate, beat an egg in a shallow bowl and tip lupin flakes onto a plate.
  2. Firstly coat the chicken breasts with the flour and shake the excess flour off. Secondly dip the chicken into the beaten egg. And then, press the chicken into the lupin flakes.

Shallow-Frying

  1. Heat oil to 180 °C in a large frying pan. Place the crumbed chicken breasts into the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are cooked and become golden and crispy.
  2. Remove them from the oil and drain excess oil on a wire rack or kitchen paper towels.

Plating

Slice the chicken katsu into stripes and serve while hot.

 

New! Shepard’s Pie with a Japanese Twist

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We were receiving a few guests the other day. Some of them had never eaten my food before, however, rumor was apparently around that I was a good cook.

With a little bit of pressure and no knowledge of what they can/cannot eat, I decided to cook this dish. It looks like a normal standard Shepard’s Pie (which I believe everybody likes), but the inside represents my specialty – Japanese Cooking.

The original idea of this dish is from a Japanese Meat and Potato Stew called “Nikujaga”. I realised the ingredients for Nikujaga are very similar to Shepard’s Pie. Why can’t I combine them all together, I thought.

This new Shepard’s Pie with a Japanese Twist was well received by our guests and the dinner party was very much successful. If you would like to make something different for your dinner party, I certainly recommend this recipe.

Ingredients (Serving for 4, using 24cm round baking tray): 

For Mince Filling

150g of your favorite Mince (lamb, beef, turkey kangaroo etc…)

1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg

3 Teaspoons of Brown Sugar

3 Teaspoons of Cooking Sake

6 Teaspoons of Soy Sauce

2 Onions – chopped

2 Carrots – chopped

1 Red Capsicum – chopped

1 Zucchini – chopped

For Mash Potato

500g Potato – peel and cut in chunks

1/2 Tablespoon of Sugar

10g Unsalted Butter

2 Tablespoons of Milk

For Toppings

60g Parmesan Cheese

15g Breadcumbs

 

Method:

For Mine Filling

  1. Heat a small amount of oil (not included in the above ingredients) in a medium saucepan on medium/high heat. Once the saucepan gets hot, cook your choice of mince and nutmeg together, while breaking up the mince with a spatula or wooden spoon. In order to bring the best flavour out, please cook it very well. When the mince starts becoming brown, oil from the mince will come out. Even though the mince has become brown and looks cooked, please keep cooking until the oil has disappeared.
  2. Add brown sugar, cooking sake and soy sauce into the saucepan and then fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add onion, carrot, capsicum and zucchini. Reduce the heat to low. Put a lid on and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables become soft and are well-cooked in the sauce.

For Mash Potato

  1. Boil potatoes from cold water for 10-15 minutes or until they become tender. Drain the hot water. Return the cooked potatoes into the same pot. Add sugar onto the potatoes and heat it over medium heat. Put a lid on and burn off the excess water from the potatoes while tossing the pot.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat. Mash with butter and milk.

Meanwhile, heat the over to 220 °C.

Construction and Baking

  1. Place the mince filling into a baking tray, and the  spread the mash potato over it. Top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
  2. Bake it for about 20 minutes or until the surface is coloured and the filling in the bottom is bubbling.

Serve while hot.

 

 

Gari – Pickled Ginger

Today, I would like to share with you my mother’s Gari recipe.

Pickled Ginger Gari 2

Gari is Japanese Pickled Ginger, you might know it as the free side you get with sushi. It is perfect for refreshing and cleansing your palate. To make this pickle, it has to be young Ginger. Young Ginger has paler skin and pink tips. The flavour is much milder and juicier than the normal ginger. It is only around from late summer to early autumn. The season is short, so if you see young Ginger in the store, make the most of it! (if you are in Australia, it is now 🙂

Here is my mum’s recipe. The ginger will be quite spicy as she likes that way. If you would like to make it less spicy, you can boil ginger before pickling (see the method below).  Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

800g – 1kg of Young Ginger

30g of Sea Salt

1 liter of White Vinegar

200ml of Caster Sugar

5g of Dried Kelp (if it is too difficult to find, you do not need to use it)

Method:

  1. Wash young ginger. Using a spoon scrape off the brown hard skin part from the ginger.
  2. Slice the ginger VERY thinly. Soak the sliced ginger in water while you are working. ( if you prefer less spicy, boil the ginger for 1 minutes here)
  3. Remove the sliced ginger from the water. Sprinkle sea salt over the ginger and put it aside for 30 minutes.
  4. In the mean time, put white vinegar, caster sugar and dried kelp in a small pot. Heat it over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Put it aside until it is cooled down.
  5. Squeeze the excess water from the sliced ginger and place it into a clean jar. Pour the vinegar mixture (method 4) over it. Store the jar in the fridge for 4-5 days, and then it will be ready to eat.

 

This is before

Pickled Ginger Gari 1

This is after – PINK!

Pickled Ginger Gari 3

Cucumber Tataki – Smashed Cucumber Salad

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It is summer in Australia!! I know that many countries are enjoying the beautiful winter season, but we are having a good time on our beautiful beaches here in the southern hemisphere. I am, today, posting one of my favourite summer recipes  – Cucumber Tataki.

 

Tataki is one of the well known Japanese cooking methods, which is that a piece of protein is seared and the inside is almost raw- such as Beef Tataki or Tuna Tataki.

However “Tataki” has its original meaning; “beat” or “slap” in Japanese. As I have introduced a different Tataki previously (see Salmon Namerou), today, I would like to introduce another “Tataki” which is made from cucumber.

Well…, this is one of the dishes I made on the reality TV show called Chef’s Line last year, which got me kicked out (with the reason being that I made too many dishes!)… In my opinion, it is one of the perfect salads in summer. Maybe you can try it out to see if you like as much as the judges?!

 

Ingredients:

2 Lebanese Cucumbers

2 Teaspoons of White sugar

1 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoons of White vinegar

1/2 Teaspoon of Sesame oil

1 red chili – finely sliced

1/2 Teaspoon of Sesame seeds

 

Method: 

1. Bash Cucumbers with a wooden rolling pin. Tear them into bite size pieces by hand

2. Mix all other ingredients. Add the cucumbers into the mixture. Marinade it in the fridge at least for 30 minutes before serving.

Happy New Year – 2018

Happy New Year! May your 2018 be peaceful and fun with a touch of excitement.

I cannot believe that it’s already 2018…. It still sounds like the future to me….

This is this year’s Osechi –  a set of several dishes prepared for New Year’s Celebration. (Please see my previous post about the Japanese tradition of New Year).

Osechi 2_a little bit of soy

Menu is:

Nishime (simmered vegetables – Konjac, Carrot, Daikon Radish, Okra, Shiitake)

Kohaku Namasu (pickled daikon and carrot)

Gomame/Tazukuri (dried sardines caramelised with sugar and soy sauce)

Kurikinton (chestnuts and sweet potatoes paste)

Kuromame (Simmered black beans)

Konbu Maki (rolled kelp)

Koya-dofu (simmered dried tofu)

Ebino Umani (prawns cooked in soy sauce, sake and mirin)

Chicken Terini (Chicken simmered in teriyaki sauce)

Hokkaido Scallops Sashimi

Ozoni (soup with mochi/rice cake)

As this was the 4th year for me to prepare Osechi, I have to say that I was pretty organised and it did not take that long. I am quite satisfied the outcome too. Tasty!!! YEYYY!!! I have presented Osechi this year on  a set of beautiful plates which were given to us by my husband’s auntie and uncle. The white plates are so classy and Osechi looks good on them.

Osechi 1_a little bit of soy

Well, I think I made a good start . I am determined to keep it up throughout 2018.

 

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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