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.
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!
220g Azuki Red Beans
1200ml of Water
140g of Caster Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
Soak Azuki red beans overnight (15 – 20 hours).
Rinse the azuki red beans.
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.
Add caster sugar and sea salt into the pot. Keep simmering until the liquid is evaporated. This will take about 1 – 1.5 hours.
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.
I would like to introduce my 2nd Easiest Ever Japanese recipe – Nasu Dengaku, which is known as Miso Glazed Eggplant.
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
Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
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).
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.
In the mean time, mix all ingredients for dengaku sauce
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.
Take it out from the oven. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve while hot.
Today, I would like to introduce my second low carb recipe – a well-known Ottoman dish with my Japanese Twist – Miso Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini.
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
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).
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
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.
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
Preheat oven to 220° C.
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.
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)
1/2 cup of Lupin Flakes
Oil for Shallow-Frying
Preparation for Chicken Breast
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.
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).
Pat-dry the chicken breasts with kitchen paper towels and season with sea salt and black pepper.
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.
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.
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.
Remove them from the oil and drain excess oil on a wire rack or kitchen paper towels.
Slice the chicken katsu into stripes and serve while hot.
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
60g Parmesan Cheese
For Mine Filling
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.
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
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.
Remove the pot from the heat. Mash with butter and milk.
Meanwhile, heat the over to 220 °C.
Construction and Baking
Place the mince filling into a baking tray, and the spread the mash potato over it. Top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
Bake it for about 20 minutes or until the surface is coloured and the filling in the bottom is bubbling.
Today, I would like to share with you my mother’s Gari recipe.
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!
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)
Wash young ginger. Using a spoon scrape off the brown hard skin part from the ginger.
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)
Remove the sliced ginger from the water. Sprinkle sea salt over the ginger and put it aside for 30 minutes.
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.
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.
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?!
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
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.