It is cheap and versatile. These are the reasons why a bag of carrots is always in my fridge. I probably cook carrot every day. I put it in soup, simmer it in stew, stir-fry it with Asian sauce and just cut it as a veggie stick… For me, it is a kind of vegetable which is always there, therefore I do not pay much attention to.
However, today, I would like to introduce a salad featuring carrot, my French Grated Carrot Salad – Carrot Rapee.
In this salad, carrot beautifully plays a leading role. The orange colour look really vibrant on a table. The well balanced dressing is so right with the carrot’s earthy flavour. A secret is definitely cumin powder, which gives a bit of excitement to the salad.
If you would like to make it a little bit fancier, add some walnuts, cranberries or Italian parsley (all of them or some of them – as you like!).
This grated carrot salad is really easy to make, looks great and is tasty to eat. Hope this colourful salad makes your table brighter…
1 Teaspoon of Honey
1 Teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
50ml of Lemon Juice
100ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 Teaspoon of Cumin Powder
2 handfuls of Walnuts
A handful of Dried Cranberries
A handful of fresh Italian Parsley - chopped
1. Grate carrots.
2. Make dressing. Combine all of the ingredients until it is homogenised.
3. Pour the dressing over the carrots and combine. If you would like to make the salad fancier, add your choice of the optional.
When I was still a high school student, there was this shop that specialised in Japanese Candied Sweet Potato Chips on the street in Namba (one of the city centres in Osaka). Although there was always a long queue, I did not mind waiting as I loved watching the sweet potatoes cooked in a big frying-pan with super hot oil and coated in sticky candy. The sugar-coated sweet potato chips were golden and shiny. The outside was crunchy, and the inside was soft and flaky. Off course, they were SWEET! They were a perfect street snack for us – young high school girls.
Japanese Candied Sweet Potato is called Daigaku Imo in Japan, whose direct translation is “University Potato”. This is one of my most missed Japanese snacks.
First, I wanted to replicate the Namba shop’s, but soon I realised it was too hard to do so with our week electric stove. In addition, I always feel guilty using that much oil…
Another thing that I found it difficult to achieve was to make the candy crispy. I know some people like it soft (that’s also nice), but in my memory, the Namba shop’s chips were super crunchy, and that was why I loved theirs so much.
After some research and several trials (which included eating so much sugary sweet potato ships, OMG!), I finally found the way.
In this recipe, you can just pan-fry sweet potato with a small amount of oil, instead of deep-frying. To achieve the crunchiness of the candy, I use “Icy Cold Water” to harden the candy.
The ingredients are so simple, but there are some keys to make this recipe a success.
Use purple skin sweet potato, which is firmer than the orange one.
Pat-dry sweet potato very well.
Lie the chips in single layer in a frying-pan.
Do not touch the chips while pan-frying (touch only once when flipping the chips).
Candy mixture – Wait until the caramel becomes golden brown.
It is not difficult to make this. In fact, you can make this anytime you feel like it. Just remember the key notes to receive the best result of this recipe.
I have to say, this is a really dangerous snack… Once you start, you cannot stop. Sweet, Crunchy, Flaky… Well…, at least sweet potatoes are a vegetable, aren’t they?!
250g of Purple Skinned Sweet Potatoes
1 Tablespoon of Oil
2.5 Tablespoons of Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Water
1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce
2 Teaspoon of Sesame Seeds
<What to be read>
Cold Water with some Ice Cubes in a bowl
1. Preparation for sweet potato. Cut sweet potato into 1cm thick/width of finger-sized chips, leaving the skin on. Soak them in water (not included in the ingredients' list above) for about 15 minutes. This method is to remove the harsh taste of sweet potato. Pat-dry the sweet potato chips very well with paper towels.
2. Place the sweet potato chips in a frying-pan and toss with oil. Lie the chips flat in single layer. If you are using a small frying-pan and cannot lie all of the chips in a single layer, I would recommend using 2 frying-pans. Place the frying-pan over a medium-high heat. Once the oil gets hot and starts making some "cooking" sounds, turn the heat to low-medium. Keep cooking for about 5 minutes each side, or until both sides become nicely browned. Do not touch often! Just flip over the chips once while cooking. Once they are cooked, transfer them to a plate.
3. Now we make the candy mixture. Wipe the remaining oil from the frying-pan with paper towels. Place sugar and water. Heat it over a medium heat. When the mixture has become golden and started to caramelised (it will take about 5 minutes), add soy sauce gently from the edge of the frying-pan, and then add the sweet potato chips. Toss the chips to coat in the candy.
4. Make icy cold water with some ice cubes ready in a bowl. Pick up the candy-coated chip one by one with either a tong or chopsticks and dip it into the cold water for 3 seconds. Shake the excess water off from the chip and transfer it to a plate. Continue the process. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the chips to serve.
I recommend serving them straight away while the caramel is crispy.
At this moment, I do not have access to my pots, pans or to my pantry as we are currently in temporary accommodation. What I have is only some essential things such as soy sauce (of course!!), dashi powder, cooking sake and sugar, which I think allows me to cook decent things.
And…, my boss (the kind one) gave me a packet of Shio Koji.
As I have written about it in my blog previously, Shio Koji is one of my “super foods” – which is not only for its nutrition but also for its versatility (please see here for more detail).
That made me cook something different from the usual suspects, and even allowed me to come up with this new salad idea!
This strawberry dressing is a little bit sweet as well as a little bit savoury – as the result of a touch of Shio Koji. It is a perfect salad for hot summer days!
Since Shio Koji can be purchased in the Japanese shops in Perth, I assume that it can be found in other cities. If you have a chance to find it, I recommend you to get and try it 🙂
Ingredient: For Salad 200g Salad Leaves 210g Traditional Bocconcini- cut into 4 1 Lebanese Cucumber -diced 1/2 Onion - finely chopped
For Strawberry Dressing 250g Strawberries - washed and hulled 1/2 tablespoon of Shio Koji 1/2 tablespoon of Sugar 1/2 tablespoon of Lemon
Method : For Strawberry Dressing 1. Place all of the ingredients for dressing in a small pot. Heat the pot over medium heat with the lid on. Once it is boiled, reduce the heat to low.
2. Keep cooking for about 15 minutes or until the strawberries become very soft, while stirring and mashing the strawberries occasionally.
3. Remove it from the heat. Place the dressing in a clean container and cool it down in the fridge.
For Salad In a salad bowl or plate, place salad leaves, bocconcini, cucumber and onions nicely. Just before serving, pour the strawberry dressing over the salad.
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.