RECIPE: Sake Kasu and Miso Sable Fish

IMG_2137 (1)

We love Sable fish!!

A simple marinade recipe for sable fish (black cod); sake kasu is the “lees” that remain after the fermented rice mash has been processed during the sake making process. It is a natural flavor enhancer for meats, fish and soups, available at Japanese food stores (see sources below).

Ingredients (enough for 4 servings (almost two pounds) of black cod (each fillet 1 inch in thickness) : 1/2 cup of sake kasu (sake lees – you can find it available at Japanese food store in the refrigerated section*), 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup mirin, 1 to 2 Tablespoons coconut brown sugar (my preference), 2 Table organic white miso paste, sea salt for seasoning

Preparation:

  • Using paper towel, pat the fish dry completely.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine sake kasu, miso, water, mirin and sugar, slowly whisk and blend until the mixture is smooth.
  • Fill a large zip lock bag with the marinade, carefully place the fish and make sure they are completely covered with marinade. Put the bag and lay it flat on a prep tray (I used stainless prep trays, available at Japanese stores).  Seal and refrigerate for 1 (minimum) to 2 days.

When you are ready to cook the fish:

  • Preheat the broiler.
  • Remove sable fish from marinade, using paper towel, carefully wipe the fillets dry without breaking them.  Do not rinse with water!
  • Lined a rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil
  • Place the fish skin side down, lightly season with sea salt
  • Broil until the surface is nicely browned and fish begins to flake, about 5 minutes.  Keep an eye closely and make sure you don’t burn the fish!
  • Turn the fish gently to brown the skin, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • To test if the fish is done, I used Japanese metal chopsticks (thin skewers will do) to poke the fish gently. If it slides in smoothly, it’s done.
  • Remove the bones before serving.

***Instead of broiling, I baked the sable fish (parchment paper lined rimmed baking tray) at 400 degrees,  it took 10- 12 minutes to cook through. Sear the fish first if you want the “browning” effect.

FYI:   I served the cod with a shiitake and shimeji mushroom dashi “jus” with sea asparagus and Shanghai bok choy, seaweed flakes and green onion (recipe will be posted at later date).

Resources:

*Osake Artisan Sake Maker sake kasu, available directly from their store in Granville Island (Vancouver) or online, It is also available at Fujiya (912 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC)

IMG_2140
Sake Kasu – Umami!

http://www.artisansakemaker.com

For sea salt: I met the wonderful team from Vancouver Island Salt Company a couple of months ago through Dinner Party YVR; my personal favourite is their smoked sea salt.  Their products are available at finer food stores, check out their website, eat and shop local!

http://www.visaltco.com

For sable fish: My go to place in Granville Island, Seafood City; owner Brian and his crew will take good care of you!  They carry condiments also which go well with seafood; I got a bottle of Jonny Hetherington’s Habanero pineapple hot sauce which I used for my spicy sweet and sour sauce, something very tasty to try and “think outside of the box”.

     http://www.seafoodcitygi.com

 

 

 

RECIPE: Vegetarian Soba Salad with Lemon Miso Vinaigrette

 

IMG_0849

I have been following Ms. Sonoko Sakai the last while on Instagram since I came across photos of her soba making workshops; it is on my “bucket list” to make it to LA one day to attend her classes and learn how to make soba  You can imagine how ecstatic I was when I read Francis Lam’s article “Sonoko Dreams of Soba” in March edition of Saveur; there is was..a beautiful photo of her soba salad with lemon-miso vinaigrette, and it has all the flavors which we love: lemon, miso and ginger! Since I don’t know how to make the noodles, I used packaged organic soba;  it is still a little chilly here in Vancouver, at this time I prefer to have a warm salad so I lightly sautéed some of the vegetables, and added different ingredients to our liking and dietary needs. Ms. Sakai, thank you very much for the inspiration; I just have to fly to LA to take your soba workshop sometime soon.

Ingredients (serves 4):

For the salad: Small Radicchio leaves (about 6 to 8 pieces), 3 to 4 stalks of kale rabe*, 16 small variety of cherry tomatoes (roasted)*, 2 small carrot (peeled), 1 medium English cucumber (thinly sliced crosswise), 50 g (about 1/4 package) of sugar snap peas, green onion (1 stalk, finely chopped), a package of organic buckwheat noodle (200g, you can use less noodle), drizzle of olive oil

For the dressing: 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 1/2 Tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 1/2 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon white miso paste, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil*, 1-2 teaspoon maple syrup*, juice of one inch piece ginger (peeled), kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*these are my substitutions and additions: kale raab is actually very delicious and sweet

Here’s the link for the original recipe:

http://www.saveur.com/cold-soba-salad-miso-vinaigrette-recipe

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Wash the vegetables, strain and dry thoroughly
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves, toss lightly in drizzle of olive oil on shallow baking dish.  Spread them out into one layer and season lightly with kosher salt. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tomatoes are soft.  Set aside.
  • Tear the radicchio leaves and chop the kale rabe into medium bite size pieces; set aside
  • Using a simple vegetable peeler and cut the carrot into ribbons (they will be curly); slice the cucumber thinly; set aside
  • In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath. Remove and discard the stem end and string from each sugar snap pea pod.  Place them in boiling water for approximately 2 minutes,  transfer them into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Drain the peas thoroughly, toss together with cucumber and carrot ribbons. 
  • Using a microplane set over a fine sieve (or tea leaf strainer) set in a bowl, grate the ginger into the sieve, then using a small spoon, press on the ginger solids to drain as much as juice as possible.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with lemon juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, miso paste, sesame oil and maple syrup.  Pour 1 teaspoon of ginger juice (I used more actually) and mix well with the dressing.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, whisk until emulsified.
  • In large pot of boiling water, cook the soba noodles according to package instructions; treat it like pasta and cook until they are al dente.  This step requires your full attention as soba noodles can be overcooked easily.  When they are done, rinse under cold water (until water is no longer murky), toss and drain the noodles thoroughly, set aside.
  • In large saute pan, heat a teaspoon of the dressing over medium high heat; add the kale raab, cook for 2 to 3 minutes (until it is wilted), add radicchio and cook for another minute; use a pair of tongs to toss the vegetables together.  Keep in mind you would like to keep the vegetables “cooked” yet crunchy.
  • Using a large bowl, mix the vegetables and soba noodle; assemble the salad onto a large platter or divide into 4 serving plates with dressing on the side.  Garnish with chopped green onions and roasted cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!
IMG_0699
I made the dish and served family style at my father-in-law’s birthday party.

Note: If you like soba noodle salad, go to my blog archives and check out my Mushroom Soba Salad with Yuzu Ponzu dressing, published in February 2014. Store leftover dressing in a mason jar (I just love them!), should be good for 1 to 2 days.  I used it the next day with sauteed kale rabe and granny smith apple bits, it was absolutely delicious.

February 17 Radio Show: Stay “Warm” with Noodles and Stay “Cool” with Icecream

IMG_0396
Happy CNY! Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner at home: Broiled Threadfin Bream from Seafood City, Japanese style braised mushrooms on pea sprouts, eight grain rice with cauliflower and garlic stems, Crispy Siu Yuk (Roast Pork), Soy Sauce Free Range Chicken and Duck

Happy CNY! How’s your 2016 so far?

On February 17th I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on Fairchild Radio 1470 at 10:30am sharp!  Here’s an outline for the program (subject to change and not in particular order): Stay warm with “noodles” and stay cool with “ice-cream”.

The most talked about vegetarian ramen on instagram, it’s really delicious: Ramen Man  841 Bidwell Street, Vancouver, BC

IMG_0343

Aosa “sea Lettuce” Ramen and it’s all about chicken broth: On the same street at a different block: Marutama Ramen 780 Bidwell Street, Vancouver, BC

http://www.japanesenoodle.com

IMG_0307

Is it worth the wait? Tsukemen at Sanpoutei Ramen: 160-4328 No. 3 Road (the newest building next to Parker Place)

http://www.sanpoutei.ca

IMG_0273

East Meets West = West Coast Cool  at Tangram Creamery (check my blog review), 2729 Arbutus Street, Vancouver, BC

IMG_0435

Old time favourite: Xiao Long Bao  and Tan Tan Noodles at Top Shanghai Cuisine 120-5880 Ackroyd Road, Richmond, BC

IMG_0428

…Coming in March and April:

http://www.centre.nikkeiplace.org/sushi

http://www.dinnerpartyyvr.com

 

 

 

 

RECIPE: WAFU Tomato Orzo Soup


DSC00868

 

Post holiday season “cleanse” at home with lots of soup and vegetables….I have used this tomato soup base for different dishes (seafood pot, hot-pot base, just to name a couple); today I add orzo and kale, it turns into a healthy wholesome meal… Enjoy (OO)!

Serves 2-4

Ingredients: 8 medium tomatoes (vine tomatoes for this recipe), 1 clove of garlic (peeled and finely minced), 1 large onion (thinly sliced), 2 Tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil, 4 cups of katsuobushi dashi, 1/2 cup of orzo (or pasta of your choice), 1-2 Tablespoon white miso, 2 Tablespoons of kaeshi (see recipe under “Vegetable Curry Udon), kosher salt (to season tomatoes for roasting), kale (handful, stalks removed and  finely chopped), savoury seaweed flakes (for garnish).

Preparation:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare the tomatoes: wash, core and cut them into halves, toss in 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, lightly seasoned with kosher salt, lay them evenly on baking tray, roast them for 25 to 35 minutes, or until caramelized.  Remove from oven, set aside and let them cool.
  • Prepare the onions (thinly sliced) and garlic (peeled and finely minced).
  • Prepare katsuobushi dashi broth (can be done 1 to 2 days ahead, reheat refrigerated broth and keep it warm for later use, use kombu broth only to make it entirely vegetarian).
  • In large pot, using medium high heat, heat remaining Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, saute onions, stirring constantly, until onions become soft and turn translucent. Add the 1 Tablespoon of miso to the onions, continue to cook, stirring constantly and mix well, do not burn the miso.
  • Add the roasted tomatoes to mixture, stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add warm dashi broth and 2 Tablespoons of kaeshi to the pot, scrape the bottom, cook for 2 to 3 minutes and bring to a boil.  Skim off any fat or scum from the mixture, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 25 – 30 minutes.
  • Prepare the kale for garnish.
  • When soup is almost ready, boil water in a different pot to cook the pasta (usually 100 grams of pasta to 1 litre of water), add kosher salt to boiling water,  then add the orzo and cook according to instructions.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning of the soup (if necessary), put orzo pasta into bowl, ladle the soup, garnish with chopped kale and seaweed flakes, now ready to serve and enjoy!

Note:

I have used the Rustichella d’Abruzzo’s orzo pasta for my recipe (available at Gourmet Warehouse on East Hastings, Vancouver, BC), the savory seaweed flakes is from Cornish Sea Salt Co (also available at Gourmet Warehouse).

See “Vegetable curry udon” for kaeshi recipe – I have used the kaeshi (instead of just soy sauce and mirin) which I made for the curry udon as seasoning; you can even add a dash of sake when cooking the onions and tomatoes, add red chili pepper flakes to make it spicy, be creative!

Katsuobushi dashi broth – made with kelp and dried bonito flakes

I added leftover cauliflower to the soup and use less orzo, it is always a great idea to have more vegetables.

http://www.gourmetwarehouse.ca

http://www.rustichella.it

 

 

 

RECIPE: Vegetable Curry Udon

DSC00843

A bowl of savory and mouth-watering curry noodle soup on a cold Vancouver winter day!

My recipe is loosely based and adapted from Japanese Soul Cooking (By Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat), one of my great recent cookbook finds!  They use soba broth (it’s called kake soba broth) to enhance the flavor of curry;  I added turmeric (when sautéed the onions and vegetables), diced apple and fukujinzuke, commonly used to serve with Japanese curry rice, are used as garnish (in addition to green onion) to a hint of sweetness and add “crunch” to the dish, the end result is much more flavorful.  Leftover curry taste even better the next day, add more vegetables or meat then serve with rice as a donburi (you can always add crispy fried pork cutlet (tonkatsu),  or simply freeze it ready for use anytime for quick ready-to-go weeknight dinner; Enjoy (OO).

Serves 2-4:

Ingredients:  4 bricks of fresh-frozen sanuki udon, 1 large onion (thinly sliced), 1 small head of cauliflower (florets roughly chopped), 1 medium zucchini (diced), 4 small bunched carrots (peeled and chopped), 3 Tablespoons of ground turmeric, 1 Tablespoon of mirin, 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 package (110g) Japanese curry roux (I used Glico Medium Premium),  6 cups of katsuobushi dashi, green scallions (white part only, thinly sliced on an angle), kosher salt (light seasoning when cooking vegetables).

Note:

To make the dish completely vegetarian, simply substitute the katsuobushi dashi with kombu dashi broth

For Meat Lovers: Thinly sliced pork or minced pork goes very well with the curry,  I used the a bit of ground ginger and apple, turmeric powder and kaeshi to marinade the pork (minced or thinly sliced) night before if I am adding protein to the curry.

You can use curry powder and potato starch instead of the instant curry roux.

Check out Ms. Namiko Chen’s  Just One Cookbook, she has a great pork curry udon recipe.

Here’s a picture of the fukujinzuke!

IMG_0252

*Recipe for kaeshi (makes 2 1/2 cups) – from Japanese Soul Cooking

Prepare 2 to 3 days in advance this recipe : Add 2 cups Japanese soy sauce (I used only 1 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup katsuobushi dashi to make it less salty), 1/2 cup mirin, 3 Tablespoons sugar (I used coconut nectar instead, adjust the sweetness accordingly) – Add all ingredients into saucepan and bring to boil over high heat.  Turn off the heat and allow mixture to cool off to room temperature.  Refrigerate for 2-3 days to allow the flavors time to mingle, store in glass bottle and refrigerate up to a month.

**In Japanese Soul Cooking – they prepare the kake soba broth (combining the kaeshi and dashi and a lot of mirin) ahead of time, I did not combine the katsuobushi dashi broth and kaeshi, I add them separately into the curry and use a lot less mirin.  Check out their book, it’s filled with wonderful recipes, thank you very much for your inspiration.

Preparation:

  • 2 to 3 days before – prepare kaeshi (see recipe above, refrigerate in glass container ready for use)
  • Prepare dashi broth (can be done 1 to 2 days ahead, refrigerate in glass container ready for use)
  • Prep all the vegetables
  • In a large saucepan, reheat the dashi broth (if you did not make from scratch the same day) and keep it warm
  • In a different large heavy pot, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil using medium high heat, add cauliflower and cook for 2 minutes, then add carrot (cook for another 2 minutes) and zucchini, lightly seasoned with kosher salt and 1 Tablespoon ground turmeric, saute in total 5 to 6 minutes then remove from pot, set aside.
  • In the same pot, heat another 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil (medium high heat), add sliced onion and 1 Tablespoon of mirin and saute, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, until onion becomes soft and turn translucent (I let it caramelize a little).  Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons ground turmeric and cook, stirring constantly and mix well, be careful not to burn the turmeric!
  • Add the warm dashi broth and 1/2 cup of kaeshi to the pot , scrape the bottom of the pot,  cook for 2-3 minutes and bring to a boil.  Skim off any scum and fat from the broth.  Reduce heat then let the flavors mix and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, add the curry roux, using a strainer or chopsticks, melt the roux and blend nicely with broth mixture.
  • Turn on the heat to medium high, heat the curry, stir occasionally, making sure it will not stick and burnt on the bottom.  Using small fine mesh strainer, remove any scum.
  • Add cauliflower, carrot and zucchini mixture to curry, using medium low heat, let it simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes, gently stir occasionally to prevent sticking and don’t break the vegetables.  Keep it warm using low heat (and it will not burn), taste the curry and add seasoning (using kaeshi) if necessary.
  • Prepare garnish – diced apples (squeeze a bit of lemon juice to prevent it from turning “brown”) and scallions
  • Meanwhile using a separate pot, boil water to cook the sanuki udon (according to instructions approximately 1 to 2 minutes) – I prepare each serving individually
  • Turn off the heat, put udon into bowl, ladle the curry over noodles, garnish with diced apples, scallions and fukujinzuke, now ready to serve and enjoy!
  • If you are adding ground or sliced pork to this dish, lightly saute the pork in the beginning and set it aside, add the meat last when vegetables are cooked, bring curry to boil and turn off heat immediately, the meat will cook through and remain juicy!

Where to shop for ingredients in Vancouver: Fujiya (Japanese groceries, fukujinzuke is available – 912 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC), Nikuya (11220 Voyageur Way, Richmond, BC – for sliced pork), T and T Supermarket (Various locations – for Sakura Farms ground pork), Japanese Soul Cooking (Available at Indigo, Amazon, I purchased mine from Crate and Barrel at Oakridge Centre).

RECIPE: Japanese Bonito Stock (Dashi)

IMG_3690

 

Hi everyone, here’s the recipe which I’ve been using for a long time to make Japanese bonito stock, adapted from Practical Japanese Cooking by Shizuo Tsuji and Koichiro Hata.  The recipe yields approximately 6.5 cups of stock.

Ingredients: 2 litres of cold water, 3 cups loose dried bonito flakes, Dried kelp (kombu) – 40 g (approximately 2 pieces 4″ x 5 )

Preparation:

1. Gently clean the surface of the kelp with a clean damp cloth.  Do not wash the kelp as flavor will be lost in the process.

2. Fill 5.5 quart stock pot with cold water, add kelp in stock pot and slowly bring to a boil over medium low to medium heat.  Skim the surface occasionally.

3. When fine bubbles begin to appear at the edges of the pot, remove the kelp from pot and press your thumbnail into the thickest part. If it enters easily, then the flavor has been properly released.  If kelp is still tough, return to pot for 1 to 2 minutes maximum.  Do not allow water to BOIL at all when kelp is in the pot.

4.Once kelp is removed and the water boils, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cold water, then add bonito flakes to the pot.

5. When stock returns to a boil, remove it from the heat and skim the surface.

6. When the bonito flakes sink to the bottom (takes 30 to a minute), use a strainer or sieve , strain the stock through a fine cheesecloth to clarify.  Do not wring the flakes.

7. The finished stock should be clear and free of any bonito flakes.

8. Let the stock cool before refrigerate.  Store in glass container (I use one of those large glass mason jars) for up to 7 days in refrigerator or you can freeze the stock (as cubes in ice tray or ziplock bags) in freezer up to 3 weeks.

 

Notes:

Here’s a good reference!

http://www.justonecookbook.com/recipes/how-to-make-dashi/

 

RECIPE: Korean Japchae (Vegetarian Version)

IMG_2943

Cooking requires tremendous focus and patience; some dishes require more patience than others to prepare and japchae is definitely one of them. The most time-consuming part is the food preparation and final assembly.

Preparing this dish certainly presents a perfect opportunity to work on your own knife skills; all ingredients must be cut finely, cook and seasoned separately, and in the end mix together by hand.

Yes you heard it right, it is by hand and this is exactly what I’ve learnt at the Korean cooking school in Seoul back in 2007. The final assembly requires the cook to mix, taste and adjust seasoning at the same time. The dish is not supposed to be oily, too sweet or heavily “doused” with sesame oil.

Most of the traditional recipes consist of shiitake mushrooms, onions, carrots (cut into matchstick strips), cucumber peel (skin only finely sliced), egg, scallions and sometimes beef, garnish with sesame seeds and slivers of chilli. Seasonal vegetables are added and the colours are chosen very carefully to make the dish pleasing to the eye.

My vegetarian version uses less noodles, three different kinds of mushrooms, red pepper, green pepper (Thanks Sofei for your own organic produce), yellow onion and green scallions.

So what is your combination then?  (OO)

Ingredients: (Serves 2 to 4)

4 ounces of korean sweet potato noodle (dangmyeon), 1 large Portobello mushroom (gills removed, thinly sliced), 1 package of white shimeji mushrooms (ends cut off, separate each stem), 10 dried shiitake mushrooms (rehydrated, thinly sliced), 2 garlic cloves (finely minced), 1/2 red bell pepper (cut into thin strips), 1/2 green bell pepper (cut into thin strips), 1 small yellow onion (thinly sliced), 1 egg (egg yolk only), 1 to 2 green onions (cut crosswise into 1 inch long pieces), grapeseed oil, roasted white sesame seeds, organic Japanese (or Korean) soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, maple syrup, fresh ground black pepper for season to taste.

**Note: quantity of oil used is provided below, keep in mind it’s not supposed to be greasy!  As for the sweetener,  as I do not use refined sugar at home, maple syrup is my preference.  As it has a different flavour, please use sparingly or you can substitute with brown sugar.  You can always adjust the quantity of vegetables used according to your own preference.

Preparation:

– In large bowl filled with hot boiling water, completely submerge sweet potato noodles, cover and soak until they soften; stir a little to keep them from sticking together, drain thoroughly. This process takes less than 10 minutes, do not over soaked the noodles as they must remain firm and chewy. The noodles are quite long; using scissors cut them a few times, set aside.

– In small frying pan, add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, swirl it around and wipe off the excess with paper towel (not over the stove!) so you can see a very thin layer of oil on the pan.  Return pan to heat, add beaten egg yolk mixture into the pan.  Tilt it around so it spreads thinly, let it cook using residual heat in the pan for 1 minutes, then flip it over and cook for another minute.  Let it cook and slice into thin strips.

– Using a skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil over medium high heat, add onions and scallions and pinch of kosher salt. Saute until onions become translucent, it takes approximately 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

– Using the same skillet, heat another teaspoon of grapeseed oil, add red pepper strips and saute for 30 seconds, then add green pepper strips, mix well and saute for another minute, remove from skillet and set aside.  The pepper strips should remain crunchy.

– Using medium high heat, heat the same skillet with another 1 to 2 teaspoons (mushrooms absorb oil) grapeseed oil, add Portobello, shiitake and shimeji mushroom mixture, add minced garlic, saute for a few minutes until the mushrooms are softened and lightly browned (You will also hear a squeaky sound when cooking the mushroom). Remove from skillet and set aside.

– In a big mixing bowl, prepare the seasoning mix: add 1 to 2 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and fresh ground pepper (a couple of grinds). Add all the ingredients to bowl and mix together by hand (please wear disposable gloves). Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

– Add the egg strips and toasted sesame seeds, mix all ingredients thoroughly; garnish with more scallions if desired.  Transfer to plate and serve.

 

 

RECIPE: Wafu Whole Tomato Rice

IMG_2879
Wafu Whole Tomato Rice with Fried Egg

 

As soon as I saw Hong Kong food blogger “Foods Sensei”‘s  (also on Facebook) Wafu Tomato rice posting, I wanted to make it immediately! Apparently the original Japanese Whole Tomato Rice recipe by “Ochikeron” is a huge internet sensation on YouTube (her page also on Facebook).  

It is nutritious and easy to make: using only the rice cooker, this is the Japanese version of rice pilaf. There’s only one catch: you must account for the water content from the tomato and reduce the quantity of cooking liquid (whether you are using water or dashi) by approximately 20% (it all depends on what type of rice or tomato variety you use, there are no set rules).  I have used even less liquid because I added an onion.

My version is a combination of both recipes; I have used a white+brown rice mix and added the onion; my garnishes are green scallions and seaweed. I had the rice for lunch with a sunny side up fried egg, the egg yolk oozed and blended so well with the rice, it was a very satisfying and delicious meal.

Thank you very much to Foods Sensei and Ochikeron for your wonderful original recipes! (OO)

Ingredients: (serves 2)

1 large tomato, 1/2 small yellow onion, 1/2 cup long grain jasmine rice, 1/2 cup long grain brown rice, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 cup Japanese dashi broth, 2 teaspoons organic soy sauce, 2 teaspoons Japanese mirin, 1 fried egg (optional), nori and chopped green scallions for garnish.

*As usual I used my own homemade dashi, you can get dashi powder at Japanese food stores.

Preparation:

– Wash the jasmine rice grains and brown rice grains thoroughly

– Using the pot from your rice cooker, measure the dashi up to the mixed rice setting level (in this case it’s for 1 cup mixed rice); I then poured the dashi broth into a measuring cup and remove approximately 25% (or up to 30%) of the liquid; then pour the rest back into the rice pot.

– Add the rice grains, stir in olive oil, soy sauce, mirin and black pepper, mix very well.

– Wash the tomato and remove the stem; peel and slice the onion, then place them into the pot

IMG_2776
Place the ingredients!

 

 

– Put the pot back into the rice cooker, you must choose the right setting (mixed rice) and start to cook

– When rice is ready, using the rice paddle, “slice” through the tomato and onions, toss and mix the ingredients with the rice lightly.

IMG_2801
Rice is ready!

 

– When rice is almost done, prepared the sunny side up fried egg **this is optional.

– Serve the rice in dish or bowl, garnish with nori and chopped green scallions.

Notes:

Here are the links to the original recipes; Foods Sensei is a Chinese food blog. Enjoy (OO)

http://foods-sensei.com/2014/11/16/

http://createeathappy.blogspot.ca/

RECIPE: Wafu Kabocha Soup (Japanese Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Seaweed)

IMG_2737 - Version 2

RRRRRR…It’s only mid-November yet it feels like we are already “deep” into the winter season; it might be chilly but I am not complaining as we have enjoyed some fine sunny days, which is quite unusual here in Vancouver…

So out come the Dutch oven and my Blender as Hearty Soup season is in full swing!

We don’t have kabocha very often in our household as it is not Andy’s favorite, I cooked it only once in a while for my own enjoyment, prepared either in Japanese (simmered in dashi and soy) or Chinese way (stewed with pork and soy).

I was so inspired by my friend Haruko’s creation; she made the most delicious and elegant version by keeping things simple, using fresh in-season ingredients (kabocha, onion, homemade chicken stock, milk)  and let them shine; I feel this is always the best way to cook.

I decided to incorporate my favourite “Wafu” style (yes again) into this recipe; the idea of the toasted nori came from Canadian food blogger “The First Mess”; she adapted the kabocha + chestnut soup recipe from Amy Chaplin’s cookbook ” At Home In the Whole Food Kitchen”, this cookbook is on my Christmas wishlist…any takers?? (OO)

Ingredients: (serves 2 – 4)

1 medium size kabocha, seeded, peeled, chopped into small cubes, 1 large yellow onion (thinly sliced), 2 garlic cloves (thinly sliced), 1 Tablespoon sake kasu (optional), 2 Tablespoon olive oil, 3 1/2 cups Japanese dashi broth*, 1 to 1 1/2 cups regular almond milk, 2 teaspoons Japanese mirin, 1-2 Tablespoons organic soy sauce, sea salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning to taste, nori seaweed (**optional, toasted for garnish). 

Preparation:

– Prepare the kabocha squash: sliced it open into two halves. Remove the seeds, then cut into thin wedges; remove the skin then cut them into small even pieces

– Prepare the onion: peel and slice thinly

– In a 4 quart pot reheat the dashi broth, bring to a boil, lower heat and keep it simmering (if you are using pre-packaged dashi powder, prepare the stock according to instructions on package)

– Using a different heavy pot, heat the olive oil using medium high heat.  Add the onions and saute until they become soft and golden (6-8 minutes), add the sliced garlic and saute until it becomes fragrant.

– Add the kabocha to the same pot, add 1 teaspoon mirin and gently mix all ingredients; add reheated dashi broth, 1 Tablespoon of sake kasu and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat (medium low) and simmer until kabocha is tender (you can use a fork to test the texture), approximately 20 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, skim off any scums.

– While soup is simmering, prepare the nori – remove from package, lightly brush them with olive oil/mirin (1:1 ratio) mixture. Using medium low heat, place seaweed on small fry pan and toast them lightly using dry heat. The seaweed should be toasted on both sides, be very careful not to overheat and burn them.  Set aside.

– Using an upright blender, working in small batches, process and puree the soup until smooth (be mindful to fill blender jar less than half way). To prevent the liquid from splattering, remember to allow heat to escape by removing the blender’s lid centre insert (cap), hold a kitchen towel over the top when blending.

– Return puree soup to stock pot, over low heat, stir in the almond milk slowly till mixture is combined, do not let the soup boil.

– Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

–  To serve: ladle soup in bowls and garnish with toasted nori.

*Notes:

Dashi is a fundamental ingredient to many Japanese dishes; it is used in miso soups, noodle soup, stews (oden) and sauces.

For your convenience, you can purchase the instant bonito stock packages which are readily available at Japanese food stores, and follow the instructions.

I choose to make my own awase dashi (basic stock) on a regular basis as I used it quite often as a substitute in many recipes. It is a combination of kombu (kelp) and katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and I have been using the recipe from Practical Japanese Cooking (by Shizuo Tsuji and Koichiro Hata) ; you can also find recipes available online.

You can substitute dashi broth with either vegetable stock or kombu stock (without the bonito flakes) to make the soup a completely vegetarian dish, or use chicken stock.

Sake kasu is optional, it adds lots of flavour to soups and stocks.  In Vancouver you can purchase at Fujiya Japanese Food Store or Artisan Sake Maker (Osake) in Granville Island.  

Always taste and change the ingredients according to your liking and dietary needs.

Here are links to other versions of kabocha soup:

http://www.thefirstmess.com/2014/10/29/vegan-kabocha-squash-chestnut-soup-kale-sesame-leaves-recipe/

http://www.justonecookbook.com/recipes/kabocha-squash-soup/

RECIPE: Triple C Chowder: Cauliflower, Chicken and Corn Chowder

IMG_2893 - Version 2

Late in October I was really thrilled when JJ and TT (many thanks again!) brought me some Hungarian paprika as souvenir from their European trip; I admit this is not the spice I use very often in my cooking, I had to give it some serious thought…

Rewind back to early October when I went for my haircut at Fab’s; my hair colouring session is the time when I catch up on my magazine reading; we are mostly digitized (twitter, Facebook, instagram) these days, so I rarely buy hard copies of any magazines unless it’s some special edition which I would like to keep. I was flipping through the October issue of Canadian Living magazine and came across their wonderful cauliflower corn chowder recipe; I love the idea of using cauliflower or potato in soups to add the texture without the need for whipping cream.  As usual, I took a snapshot and “tuck” it away in my cookery files…

So here you go; here’s my own version – the end result? It’s a lighter and healthier chowder, and certainly makes a hearty weeknight meal.  Please feel free to change things up anyway you like to suit your own taste and dietary needs.

There’s still paprika left in the pantry, so what’s next? Perhaps a Hungarian goulash for my dear friends? (OO)

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6, parts of the recipe adapted from Canadian Living’s Cauliflower Corn Chowder)

2 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 large yellow onion (diced), 4 cloves of garlic finely minced, 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, 1 1/2 Tablespoon smoked sweet paprika, 4 corn cobs (husked, kernels removed, save the cobs), 1 small head cauliflower (cut into bite size), 2 boneless chicken breast (skinned and cut into bite size), 3 cups low sodium chicken broth*, 1 to 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk*, 1 large sweet pepper (seeded and cut to bite size), 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, sea salt for seasoning to taste and sliced green scallions (or chives) for garnish (optional).

*almond milk and using mostly organic produce is my own preference; I’ve used homemade chicken stock as the soup base.  To add some heat – add 1 chili pepper to soup mixture or just use hot sauce in the end when ready to serve.

Preparation:

– In small bowl, prepare marinade for chicken; whisk together 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 Tablespoon paprika and pinch of sea salt.  Add chicken breast cubes to mixture and marinate for at least 20 minutes.

IMG_2791

 In a small pot using medium low heat, add the cobs to the chicken stock, let mixture simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  Turn off heat and set aside.

– In Dutch oven or large heavy pot, using medium high heat, saute the chicken breast until the meat is slightly browned and half-cooked, about 2 to 3  minutes.  Remove chicken meat from pot.

– Using the same pot, heat remaining olive oil, add onion, garlic, chopped fresh thyme and remaining paprika; saute until onion is softened, this takes approximately 3 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 the corn kernels, cauliflower, pre-heated chicken stock, sea salt and 1/2 cup water, bring mixture to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, approximately 10 minutes.

– Using an upright blender, working in small batches, process and puree the soup until smooth (be mindful to fill blender jar less than half way). To prevent the hot liquid from splattering: remember to allow heat to escape by removing the blender’s lid centre insert (cap), hold a kitchen towel over the top when blending.

– Return puree soup to pot, add remaining corn kernels, red pepper and half-cooked chicken breast cubes, bring soup to boil.  Reduce to low heat, stir in almond milk, let it simmer and stir occasionally until red pepper is tender and chicken cubes are cooked through.  Season with sea salt to taste. Turn off heat, stir in lemon juice.

– When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls, add hot sauce (optional) and garnish with chopped green scallions or chives (optional).