Thursday, 29 October 2009

Wafu Dressing

I don't like store-bought dressings so i make my own. although i like balsamic vinaigrette, i find it a waste buying a big bottle of balsamic vinegar and not finishing it so here's sharing a simple asian (japanese) salad dressing using items we should all have at home (other than mirin unless you cook jap food often):

2:2:2:1 of

soy sauce: mirin: rice vinegar: sesame oil

plus some sesame seeds

mix well and drizzle over your favourite greens.


[from left: soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar]

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Stir-fried Beef


here's a simple dish.

kobe beef karubi chips (1 pack) karubi means "short rib" because it's (USA) kobe beef it's quite expensive... about $12+ per 100g. i bought about 150g so it was almost $20. if it's from japan, it will cost even more k =P
yakiniku sauce (erm... about 4 tbspn... i just swirled it around =P so this is an agaration LOL)
sake (2 tbspn)
water (1-2 tbspn)
onion (1, halved then cut into semi-circular rings)
sesame seeds to garnish

fry onion until caramelised. add beef. stir fry until almost "un-pink" then add sake to pssssss for a while. add sauce, fry fry, add water, a few more tosses. garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately with rice.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Nourishing Soups: Ginko Nut and Conpoy with Chicken


Chinese love soups and will try to incorporate a soup into every dinner. When i say soup, i mean the clear slow-boiled types, not the ang mo cream of everything (asparagus, mushroom, chicken...) kind >.<

when i boil soups, i use either pork ribs or chicken pieces (usually 1/2 a chicken, skinned and fat removed) and i always run the meat through boiling water before putting it into the pot to boil. i have a "nourishing soup" recipe book with quite a number of easy-to-cook soups that boast of goodness for every organ in the body as well as preserving youth and beauty. only thing is it's in chinese so i have to try to read... if unsure, ask chris. if chris doesn't know, ask mother-in-law LOL but thankfully it's in full colour. each soup comes with a description of benefits too.


here's an easy dinner soup for two:

chicken - half (skinned, fat removed)
ginko nuts - 50g (about 10-12 depending on whether u r tired LOL)
conpoy - 50g (about 6-8 depending on size)
salt to taste
water - 3 to 4 cups depending on whether you want a light soup or more flavourful broth (chris n i prefer a more flavourful broth so i use slightly more than 3)

for ginko nuts, you can get the ready-peeled ones from supermarkets but i prefer the fresh ones still in the shells. so i will "kok" open the shells then slowly peel the layer off the flesh. peeling ginko nuts is quite a pain i must admit. but i don't like the peeled ones because they add preservatives and there's some funny smell... and for conpoy, japanese conpoy is nicer.

so, you rinse conpoy and pour boiling water over them til submerged and let sit for about 20 mins to soften. in the meantime, "kok" open and peel the ginko nuts. run the chicken pieces through boiling water for a while then place the chicken pieces together with ginko nuts and conpoy (drain away the water the conpoy were sitting in) into 3-4 cups of water. bring to boil then simmer for an hour.

you don't need to put a lot of salt because of the conpoy. taste it first. if you find that it tastes ok, then there's no need to add salt so it's healthier.

benefits: nourish the respiratory tract and increase immunity against flu-like diseases. also good for those suffering from insomnia or who are depressed.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Grilled Salmon Rice

Here's an easy one-dish meal you can prepare for bento lunch ^^ courtesy of fancl newsletter but i made some slight modifications.

ingredients:
short grain rice (i use meidiya koshihikari rice) - 1 cup
salmon fillets (bones removed) - 1 or 2 depending on whether you want lots of salmon. actually one per cup is enough but when i bought them they came in packs of two so i cooked both =P
edamame beans - handful (pop the beans out from the pod) fresh will be good but if can't find, frozen ones can be used.


sake - 1 tbsp
i use sake quite a lot in cooking such as sautee-ing veggies, making teriyaki sauce etc. so i usually buy one big carton


yakinori (roasted seaweed) - strips
white sesame - about 1 tbsp
spring onion - chopped

rub salt all over salmon, leave in fridge for half an hour and grill for about 3 mins per side. it doesn't have to be thoroughly cooked. i use a non stick pan so i don't put any oil.

put rice in rice cooker, add water to mark, add sake and stir around a bit. you may add some salt if you want but i don't, since the salmon already has salt. place the cooked salmon fillet (with skin and bones removed) on rice then sprinkle in the edamame. let rice cook. when the button "pops", let it "keep warm" for 15 mins more to steam.

open lid, mix it around, breaking the fish into flakes. add sesame and mix around some more. garnish with roasted seaweed strips and chopped spring onion and serve ^^

if i want to cook this in the morning for obento, i will grill the salmon the night before and keep it in the fridge. and wash the edamame, chop the spring onions. then in the morning i just measure the rice, add in sake and all and let it cook while i do my make-up. when done, just add sesame, stir, scoop into lunchbox, garnish with spring onion (i keep the seaweed in a small container and garnish only before eating otherwise it will become soggy)! very convenient, healthy and delicious!


oh if you want to make modifications, do try it out first before that big event... my colleague tried cooking this to propose to girlfriend and he added mushrooms... and the mushrooms released more moisture so it turned out soggy. but thank God his girlfriend still agreed to marry him la LOL

i added chopped beni shoga (the red japanese ginger) and it tastes great! =))

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Muahahahah!

haha! we've booked our hotels, ryokans (traditional inn), minshuku (home-run inns) and gassho zukuri farmhouse in japan! for ryokans, this time we have chosen ryotei koyo in biwako (kyoto) and oishiya in ise =)

ryotei koyo has a nice outdoor hotspring bath with a view of biwako (Lake Biwa) but it's for men only =((( the ladies' outdoor hotspring bath is not that nice... hope they switch over =D usually ryokans will switch over so that guests get to try different views =) oishiya is very near meoto iwa (wedding rocks), a very famous natural landscape in japan and MIKOMOTO pearl island!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ah!!!!!!!!!!!!! it's cheaper there neh. that time i bought the pearl earrings in tokyo, singapore think $600+ but i paid $400+ =D this time i will get a matching necklace =DDD

and ise's gourmet includes ABALONE (the live one neh...)!!! =DDDDD *saliva drip down* and lobsters! =PPPPPPPPPPPPPP

so exciting so exciting!!!! my heart is beating so fast!!!!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Happy Mid-Autumn! ^^


[i-phone image]

in our family, it's a tradition to eat 月餅 mooncakes on Mid-Autumn festival 中秋節, 燙圓 glutinous rice balls on 冬至 winter solstice and 元宵 15th day of lunar new year and 種子 rice dumplings on 端午節 dragon boat festival. for baked mooncakes, i love those with white lotus paste and EGGYOLKS!!!! double yolk is ideal. single is too little, quad is too much ^^ for 冰皮 snowskin mooncakes, i love the champagne truffle ones from raffles hotel.

i also love the ones pictured above from minamoto kitchoan in takashimaya. v v cute bunnies-shaped exterior enveloping a very light bean paste with a tinge of yuzu (japanese citrus fruit). these are not traditional mooncakes per se but sell like hot cakes during this season because of the cute shape. not cheap k. a box of 10 for $24 (that's $2.40 per piece!) one piece is the size of a 50c coin hor! chris just plop! put one into his mouth and munch munch munch... LOL

served with a cup of sencha... and butterfly lovers' concerto in the background... wa... nice. i'm in a very good mood. nice tea puts me in a v good mood =) (but just now chris wanted to play his DOTA -.- so we had it in the study and the background music was "ultra-kill!", "our ally town needs help!", kpish kpish! piang piang piang! "let darkness guide me!", "intriguing!", "the dead shall serve!", "the restless dead awaits!" -.-||| very salah background sound hor...?)

while enjoying the bunny wagashi (japanese confectionery) and green tea...

chris: eh dear, eat mooncakes and drink tea must 吟詩 recite poetry...
me: >.> ha?... er... ok...
chris: 一二三四五六七!(1234567!)
me: erm... 七六五四三二一?? (7654321?)
chris: -________-|||

my mother-in-law sent me an SMS:
中秋之際,我送你一個月餅,裡面有幸福,關心,还有愛心 ^______^ 中秋節快樂!
(On Mid-Autumn festival, i give you a mooncake. in the mooncake is happiness, my concern and my love ^____^ Happy Mid-Autumn! )

中秋節快樂!Happy Mid-Autumn!

A-Z of My Favourite Jap Food =D

my kor inspired this post =D some of the japanese food i love =D

Amaebi - sweet prawn
Bonito - fish flakes. when i eat takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki, i like a lot of bonito flakes. the flakes will "dance" when you blow on it one ^^
Chutoro - medium fatty tuna (i actually prefer this to otoro "fatty tuna" cos i find otoro too oily)
Dobinmushi - teapot soup
Ebiko - shrimp roe
FUGU!!! - puffer fish =D
Gindara - silver cod and Ginnan - ginko nuts. i love grilled ginko nuts. i always order when i go to a yakitori restaurant.
Hitsumabushi - unagi rice specialty from Nagoya
Ikura - salmon roe. love the way it "pops" in the mouth =) and Ichigo - strawberries
J - haha, can't think of any.
KANI!!! - crab, in particular tarabagani, King Crab =) and KUROBUTA!!!!!! berkshire pork.
Momo - peach ^^ so sweet and juicy!!! AAHH.... the juice will drip down the hands one!! momo also means chicken thigh which we will order when eating yakitori MELON!!! it's those super expensive ones you see in japanese supermarkets. very very sweet =DDDD
Nasu - eggplant. i had a really really nice baked eggplant in Nara. i scraped the thing clean only left the skin (which formed kind of a receptacle)
Okonomiyaki - pancake with cabbage, egg and meats like bacon or seafood. i can't seem to find nice ones in singapore but it's osaka's signature dish =) and Omu Rice - fried rice wrapped in omelet. eh... not easy to do neh. you try la! and Oshiruko - red bean soup with rice cake. i like thos dessert v v much =D
Ponzu - a soy-based dip flavoured with citrus juices. great for dipping anything =D
RAMEN!!! - noodles soup. i especially like kyushu ramen cos it has mentaiko (spicy cod roe). i don't particularly dig mentaiko but somehow it adds a nice flavour to the broth =)
SOBA!!! - buckwheat noodles especially if it's handmade. and Sabashio - salted mackerel (usually grilled).
TARABAGANI - king crab. i don't like sri lankan crab cos i find that it has a smell... and Tempura - batter-fried stuff usually prawn but i prefer crab hehe.
UNI!! - sea urchin and Unagi - eel and Ume - plum. preserved plums with shiso is very nice with plain porridge =D
WAGYU!!!! - premium beef with marbled fat. and Wagashi - japanese confectionery. very pretty and perfect with macha (powdered green tea). the sweetness of the confectionery and the bitterness of the tea is 天下無雙(no equivalent perfect couple on earth). and Wasabi - horseradish. i mean the fresh kind that you have to grate, not the kind you squeeze out from a tube. sheesh, this reminds me i have yet to use my shark skin wasabi grater -.-
Yuzu - Japanese citrus fruit, kinda like a cross between pomelo and orange. v v fragrant. it has the tanginess of a citrus fruit minus the >.< feeling when you taste the juice. yuzu juice is used widely in japanese cooking. i find it great for salad dressing =) it's also what makes ponzu so nice. in singapore, you can't get fresh yuzu, only got bottled yuzu juice.
Zuwai gani - Snow/Queen Crab.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

The A-Z of Japan

So we have decided to go to Japan and the question "which part?" arises. of cos, kyoto is always one of my stopovers. i love kyoto. it's really beautiful ^^ some of my favourite photos were taken in kyoto my favourite hangout is asahido on kiyomizuzaka where they sell the famous kyoto kiyomizu pottery. damn expensive. one teacup can cost a few hundred SGD but see don't buy also feel damn shiok LOL and there got our favourite king crab restaurant ^^

Sometimes we play the A-Z of Japan game... to name the parts of japan we have been hahaha... you can click on the link to view a photo i have taken that represents the place. it could be food haha! some of the other places were visited before i picked up photography so donno where the photos went le =P i have the hard copies though... some others i didn't take photo like lake toya... ah yo when we went the whole place was foggy we couldn't even see the lake! hahaha...

Asahikawa (this place boring la, we used it as a base for Furano and Biei), Arashiyama*, Arima (onsen), Akame (48 waterfalls)
Beppu, Biei (when we went, the sunflowers not yet bloom =()
C - do Chubu (Nagoya international airport) and Chitose (hokkaido international airport) count? hahaha
D - do dotonburi and doguyasuji in Osaka count kekeke
E - nope
Furano, Fukuoka (Hakata is in here la), Fushimi-inari
G - Gion (Kyoto) and Ginza (Tokyo)??? =P
Hakone (this is where you go to visit Mt Fuji lor), Himeji (most beautiful castle in japan)*, Hiroshima, Hakata, Huis Ten Bosch
Ibusuki, Iwakuni*
J - neh
Kyoto*, Kobe, Kagoshima, Kyushu, Kujukushima, Kinugawa (onsen)
**L - Japanese got no L but it could be Lake _____ so Lake Toya can be here
Miyajima
Noboribetsu (onsen), Nagasaki (Huis Ten Bosch is in here lor), Nara, Nikko
Osaka, Otaru
P - neh
Q - Japanese got no Q la
R - neh
Sapporo, Sasebo (access kujukushima from here. kujukushima means "99 islands"), Sannomiya
Tokyo* go tokyo that time too busy shopping no time to take many photos hahaha
U - umeda (osaka) can anot?
**V - Japanese got no V
W - neh
Y - Yunohana (onsen)
Z - neh

hehehe... end of the year can add to this list le =DDD can add to T, S, I, U, B and K =D

*my favourites. definitely worth a visit =)
**to say "i love you" with a japanese accent, you gotta say "i RUB you" LOL