Temaki Sushi

Posted May 31st, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

The other day I invited friends to enjoy temaki-sushi (hand-rolled sushi). Temaki sushi is popular to eat at home because of its easy preparation. You prepare the materials, and just let people make/eat it themselves.

What type of food to prepare is really up to you. You can add any vegetables you like, or try on sushi.

In my case, I cut carrots and cucumber into jullienne, and arranged lettuce, snowpea sprouts, avocado on a plate. For meat, I cooked chicken thigh (teriyaki style) and sliced. I also prepared tuna (mix tinned tuna with Japanese mayonnaise, drops of soy sauce and wasabi paste). Sliced Unagi (roasted eel) and fresh tuna too.

Cook short grain rice, and season with Sushi Su (sushi vinegar) while the rice is hot. Try not to mix the rice too much, we don’t want the rice to be very sticky and like paste. Let it cool.

Cut Nori Sheet (seaweed sheet) into 1/4, arrange on a plate.

Now, you arrange all the plates on a dining table, and let the party begin.

Fragrant Ginger Rice with Pan-fried Chicken

Posted May 28th, 2009 in Food | 2 Comments »

Asian flavored chicken with fragrant rice recipe.

The scent of ginger really whets an appetite.  Enjoy with an extra sweet chili sauce on the side.

  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 5g fresh ginger
  • 300g chicken breast (skin on)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • bok choy or Chinese cabbage, spring onion
  • sweet chili sauce, if required
(for two)
  1. Heat oil in a frying pan.  Saute crushed garlic briefly, and place chicken in the pan, skin side down.  Grill it until the skin is golden.  Turn it over and cook through over low heat.  (you may place a lid)
  2. Wash rice and put in a rice cooker.  Pour chicken stock and sliced ginger.  Level the surface, and cook.
  3. Mix sake, soy sauce and sesame oil together.
  4. Steam bok choy or Chinese cabbage.  Chop spring onion.
  5. Place sliced chicken on a plate and pour the sauce 3.  Serve with bok choy / cabbage and top with spring onion.  Enjoy with sweet chili sauce if you like.

Deep-fried Tofu in Dashi Soup (Agedashi Tofu)

Posted May 27th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

In Perth it’s getting really cold, especially at night time.  I need a heater and blanket every night…

Why not warm up with this Japanese tofu dish?  Enjoy while tofu is hot and crispy ♪

<Agedashi Tofu>

  • Tofu
  • corn flour
  • 1/2 tsp dashi powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbs sake (or white wine)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp grated ginger
  1. Heat up water and add dashi powder.  Turn down the heat, and add sake and soy sauce.  Keep warm.
  2. Cut tofu into about 5cm cubes.  Coat with corn flour and shake off any excess flour.  Deep fry until nicely crispy.
  3. Immerse the tofu into the sauce and eat immediately.

Bagel with Poached egg and Crispy Bacon

Posted May 26th, 2009 in Food | 10 Comments »

Toasted bagel is chewy and crusty.  It’s just how I like it ♪

<Bagel with Egg + Bacon>

  • 1 bagel
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1 strip bacon
  • 1/2 tsp pesto
  • 1/2 tsp mayonnaise
  1. Cook bacon over medium-low heat till crispy. (no oil in the pan!)
  2. Fill up a small sauce pan with water, and heat up until small bubbles come out from the bottom of the pan.  Add 1 tsp of vinegar or lemon juice.  Carefully break the egg into the water.  (you can break egg into a small bowl or plate first, and then slide it into the water)  Over low heat, simmer until the white is cooked yet the yolk is still soft.  (as you like it)
  3. Slice bagel and toast.  Mix pesto and mayonnaise, and spread onto the bagel.
  4. Drain egg and arrange on the bagel, top with crispy bacon and freshly cracked black pepper.

Birthday Cake

Posted May 25th, 2009 in Food | 4 Comments »

I like making cakes.  At my house in Japan we didn’t have proper oven, but I was using rice cooker to bake sponge every time.  Japanese rice cooker sure is a multi-skilled machine!

One of my favorite cake is strawberry short cake.  This cake is very standard yet popular in Japan.  That is why, when my friend asked me last week to make a cake for his daughter’s birthday party, I straightaway decided to make a cake similar to the strawberry short cake. 🙂 

Unfortunately strawberries are out of season and very expensive, so I just used one packet and add other fruits.  Because there’re going to be about 25 kids in the party, I made the cake pretty big.  Lightly baked vanilla sponge cake layered with fresh cream and fruits inside.  I decorated the top with cream and fruits, and “happy birthday” message.  The letters on message doesn’t look nice, I think I made the hole little too big for the piping bag with dark chocolate,  that’s why it was bit difficult to squeeze into letters when I was piping. :p

 Anyway, they were happy with this cake, so I’m glad.

Fried Noodle Wrapped in Omelet (Omu-soba)

Posted May 24th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Similar to omu-rice, omu-soba is a dish which yakisoba (stir-fried noodle) is wrapped in thinly cooked omelet.  This is not really yo-shoku (Japanese Style Western Food) nor Japanese food.  Someone made up this dish like “hey, if you can wrap up rice with omelet, why don’t we do that for yakisoba too?”

Yaki-soba is Japanese style stir-fried egg noodle (thin).  It’s usually cooked with thinly sliced pork, onion, carrot and cabbage, and topped with ao-nori and bonito flake, then served with red pickled ginger.  We use yakisoba sauce which you can easily buy from supermarket in Japan.  The sauce is quite exensive in Asian grocery shops in Perth, so I normally season the noodle by myself.

< Yaki-soba > for one

  • 1 portion of yakisoba noodle (or any thin egg noodle)
  • onion, carrot, cabbage, beanshoots, some meat or seafood (up to you)
  • 2 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • tomato sauce + Japanese mayonnaise + ao-nori to garnish

  1. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a frying pan.  If you are using thinly sliced pork, cook the meat first.  If you are using some other meat/seafood, saute sliced onion and carrot, then add meat/seafood.  Season with salt&pepper.
  2. Add roughly chopped cabbage.  Stir-fry for about 1 min, and add yakisoba noodle.  Try to loosen up the noodle with chopsticks, and drop 1~2 tsp water.  Stir, turn down the heat and cover with lid.
  3. Once the water is absorbed into noodle, take off the lid and turn the heat to medium.  Pour the sauce and stir-fry.  Season if required, and set aside.
  4. In another frying pan, cook thin omelet.  Turn off the heat.
  5. Place yakisoba noodle onto the omelet.  Place a plate on the top of frying pan (the serving side down), and flip it around.
  6. Curl the edge of omelet in and completely wrap up yakisoba.  Drizzle mayo, tomato sauce and sprinkle ao-nori.

Fox Wedding

Posted May 22nd, 2009 in Japan, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

It’s been raining last couple of days…  Rainy season has came :p

In winter in Perth it rains almost everyday…  We don’t get any snow, but cold weather + rain.  I don’t mind raining days, but I really hate huge snails moving around my house! (><)  Not only my house but everywhere…  I can’t go outside for walking because I know I will definitely step on huge snails on the road…

This morning was raining, but the sun was out.  In Japan we call this weather (sunny and raining at the same time) “Fox Wedding”.  The origin for this, I think, is because of a Japanese old tale.  In Japan, foxes and raccoons are depicted as the epitome of deception, able to transform into any shape or form it strategically desires.  There are many tales about foxes/raccoons tricking people in Japan.  So, if it rain while sun is out, it’s obviously strange and people thought “ah, foxes are trying to trick us again!”.

By the way, the weather “snowing and raining at the same time” is called “raccoon’s wedding”.

Fox Wedding Tale (by Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford)

Another fox related tales…

The Grateful Foxes

How a Man Was Bewitched and Had His Head Shaved by the foxes

(by Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford)

The Fox and the Tanuki

(by Lafcadio Hearn)

Read more Japanese stories


Posted May 21st, 2009 in Eat out in Perth | 2 Comments »

Although I said that dinner wan’t so nice at Banboo restaurant in Willetton, I still liked their salt & chili pepper squid.  It was nicely crispy, and I enjoyed it with pickled chili and vegetables.  In some restaurants (not only Chinese restaurants) texture of squid is like rubber.  I really hate when someone serve such dish at restaurants.  I think they are using frozen cheap squid, and they don’t cook properly.  I know one Chinese restaurant on South Street that sells rubbery seafood clay-pot dish.  I don’t only hate the fact that seafood is like rubber, but also the taste!  I can tell they use MSG…  I really didn’t wanna pay for the dish 🙁

Talking about seafood, I really loved Honey Prawn at Yu (Burswood Entertainment complex).  The prawn was reasonably big, and juicy.


Posted May 20th, 2009 in Japan, Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

In Japan you get to see lots of people wearing masks everywhere, such as in a train, supermarkets and on the street.  My friend who visited Japan last spring told me that he was kind of scared when he saw many people crossing the road with white masks…  To imagine the scene, yes it’s scary actually :p  

The big reason for that is because many people in Japan have hay fever and try to avoid the pollen as much as they can by wearing masks.  For other, they just have cold or want to avoid inhaling some dust…

Now, swine flu is getting serious around Osaka area, and some of the schools around Kansai are closed.  I’m from Shiga, and I was telling my family “don’t go to Osaka, Kyoto area!” but seems that there’s one person who is suffering from swine flu in Shiga (Otsu) already!  

Now, because of the flu, masks are selling like hot cakes.  Lots of shops are out of stock…  even amazon.jp sold out masks!  Mask has the biggest demand in Japan right now!

I don’t usually wear mask even in Japan (because I don’t have hay fever), but if I go back to Japan right now I’ll be wearing mask everyday everywhere!

Cheesy Toast with Condensed Milk

Posted May 18th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

The combination of condensed milk and cheese was actually little shocking to me at first.  To me, toasted bread with cheese is supposed to be savory, not sweet.  I was told this recipe from my hubby.  He said this dish is very common in Indonesia…  I tried it anyway, and it tasted actually good!  Nice snack when you feel like some sweet stuff.

To make this is very easy…

<peanut butter version>

  1. Toast 2 slices of bread
  2. Spread peanut butter on one slice, and sandwich.
  3. Top with grated tasty cheese, and drizzle condensed milk over.  Melt the cheese in oven toaster or microwave.
<banana version>
  1. Toast 1 slice of bread.
  2. Top with grated tasty cheese.  Melt the cheese in oven toaster or  microwave.
  3. Arrange sliced banana on the top, and drizzle condensed milk over.
 Enjoy while it’s hot.
In Indonesia there’s a food called “Martabak“.  This Martabak can be both sweet and savory.  I love “Cheese and Condensed Milk Martabak”, and “Chocolate Martabak”.  At Martabak stalls in Indonesia we can see how they make Martabak, and I know how much butter is used in there….  So I can’t eat lots of them even though they taste really nice!