Cajun Chicken Citrus Salad

Posted December 20th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

It’s hot ~ …..  I’m very weak against the heat.   I can just eat watermelon everyday for 3 meals! … if I’m not carrying this cauliflower-sized bub in my belly.  

Now, salad is a perfect dish to cool my body down and it also gives me great nutrition.  This is one of my favorite salad – grilled spicy cajun chicken with citrus and creamy avocado. 

You can also add pitted olives, cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, capsicum etc etc for extra texture and color.

 

<Cajun Chicken Citrus Salad> serves 2

  • 200g chicken breast, skinned
  • 1 tbs cajun spice
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 orange
  • 1/8 red onion
  • 2 handful of green leaves
  • 1 tbs olive oil + 1 ~2 pinch of salt
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  1. Slice chicken.  In a mixing bowl, marinate chicken with 1 tbs olive oil and cajun spice for 5 minutes.  (adjust the amount of cajun spice to your liking)
  2. Meanwhile, slice onion very thinly.  Segment the orange (take out the flesh from the skin).  Reserve the juice.  Wash lettuce and drain. 
  3. Place the lettuce, onion and orange segments in a clean mixing bowl.
  4. Heat a frying pan over high heat, and grill chicken until cooked.  Transfer the chicken to the mixing bowl, and pour orange juice and 1 tbs olive oil.  Sprinkle salt, and toss gently.
  5. Immediately arrange on the serving plate.  Top with sliced avocado.
  6. Serve immediately!
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* You can use your favorite salad dressing instead.  
* Prawn or squid can be replaced with chicken 
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Tomato Chicken Rice with Omelet (Omu-Rice)

Posted December 18th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Besides the traditional Japanese food, there’re Western style food created by Japanese chefs in Japan.  This cuisine is called “yo-shoku” (Japanese Style Western Food) and I had more chances to eat these yo-shoku dishes than traditional Japanese food when I was little.

This dish “omu-rice” (omelet rice) is one of the popular yo-shoku dish in Japan, especially among kids.  The rice is stir-fried with frozen mix vegetables and chicken pieces, usually flavored with tomato based sauce.  Normally the rice is wrapped with omelet completely (like you wrap something with plastic wrap), but placing omelet over the rice is much easier when making multiple omu-rice, and it tastes just as good as the wrapped one.

In some restaurants chefs make omu-rice this way – make soft omelet over high heat, and place on top of prepared rice.  Then, they insert a knife to the omelet and the omelet opens and cover the rice.  I love when the egg is soft and fluffy!  (I’m sure you’ve tasted one of these if you had been to an omu-rice restaurant)

<Omu-Rice> serves 4

  • 200g chicken thigh, diced
  • 1 onion, medium, chopped
  • 50cc white wine
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 400g cooked rice, cold
  • 3 tbs tomato sauce
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tbs milk
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  1. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a frying pan over high heat.  Grill chicken thigh pieces.  
  2. Turn down the heat, and add onion.  Saute until the onion is almost transparent.
  3. Turn up the heat again, and pour white wine.  Simmer to reduce the liquid.
  4. Add cold rice. Using a wooden spatula, break the rice as you stir-fry.  Add frozen vegetables, then mix through.
  5. Once the rice is all broken down and heated through, add tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix through, and season with salt and pepper.  Turn off the heat.  Set aside.
  6. Break eggs into a medium bowl, and mix with milk and salt.
  7. Heat 1 tbs in another frying pan (clean).  Once the oil is hot but not smoking, pour the egg mixture and stir with spatula or chopsticks to make soft scrambled eggs. 
To serve:
Divide the tomato rice into 4 serving plates, and top with scrambled eggs.
Enjoy with extra tomato sauce ♪

Oyako Donburi

Posted November 23rd, 2010 in Food | 4 Comments »

Today’s recipe is oyako-donburi. (^0^)  This dish has been one of my favorite food since I was a baby!  I just love the sweet sauce and soft egg….

I don’t use shop-bought dashi powder anymore to make dashi stock.  It may contain MSG and other things, and I thought it tastes better when I make my own dashi.  I just need bonito flakes and it’s so easy to make.  You can also use dashi-konbu (seaweed) or dried shiitake mushroom to make dashi, but I like the bonito-based dashi the best.

As you may know, “oyako” literally means “parent and child”.  Oyako-donburi is a dish which a parent and a child are in a same bowl.  So, chicken + egg is oyako, and salmon and salmon caviar can be oyako too.

Normally, chicken thigh is used for oyako-donburi in Japan.  You can use chicken breast if you can’t eat chicken thigh or prefer lighter taste.  (although I recommend using chicken thigh)

First, we make dashi stock.  Although the recipe for oyako-donburi below is for 1 portion, it’s easier to make dashi stock in bigger portion.  You can keep the reft over of dashi stock in the fridge for 1 week, and it can be used to make udon or soba later.  If you are making oyako-donburi for 4~5 people, the amount of dashi stock may be just about right.

dashi

  • 3 cups (750ml) water
  • 5g bonito flakes
  1. Place water and bonito flakes in the sauce pan, and bring to the gentle simmer.  Turn off the heat, and leave for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain the bonito flakes and keep the liquid.  You can discard the bonito flakes, or cook with soy sauce and mirin and eat with rice later!
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<Oyako-Donburi> serves 1
  • 50g chicken thigh (or breast)
  • 40g onion (1 x tiny onion)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml dashi stock
  • 10ml soy sauce
  • 5ml mirin
  • 5ml sake (cooking wine)
  • 5g sugar
  • 150g steamed rice
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  1. Cut chicken into pieces.  Slice onion.
  2. Place dashi stock, soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, chicken pieces and onion in a small sauce pan or frying pan.  Bring to the gentle boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Lightly beat eggs in a bowl – just one or two whisking is enough.  Turn up the heat of the simmering chicken, and pour the eggs slowly into the pan.  Turn down the heat and place a lid.  When the eggs are cooked half-way through but still remains raw part, turn off the heat and leave for 15 seconds.
  4. Pour the egg sauce over steamed rice, and enjoy!
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Chicken Karaage

Posted November 5th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

I’m eating fried food too often these days….

Sometimes I feel like eating “meat”, and last night was the day!  I had some Japanese mayonnaise left in the fridge, so I made karaage with buffalo wings.  Meat with bone and skin on is much tastier and I often find cheaper.

You can put all ingredients in a plastig bag and marinate, which leaves your hands and chopping board clean.  Toss the ingredients around inside the bag so that all the flavour goes to the meat evenly.

I served it with steamed rice, Japanese mayonnaise, and lots n lots of lettuce (or shredded cabbage)!

<Chicken Karaage (buffalo wings)>

  • 500g buffalo wings
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs sake
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 2 tbs corn flour to coat
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  1. Place wings in a plastic bag, and add the sauces, garlic and ginger.  Marinate for 5 minutes.
  2. Add corn flour to the plastic bag, and coat the meat evenly.  The flour becomes paste-like.
  3. Heat oil in a deep pan to 160~170℃.  Fry the wings until golden.

* You can, of course, use chicken meat without skin/bones.  Also try octopus, squid, fish and seafood!


Tomato Curry with Somen Noodle

Posted July 20th, 2010 in Food | 4 Comments »

Somen Noodle + curry??  It sounds a little mismatch, but spicy tomato curry does go with simple somen noodle.  Enjoy with lots of mushroom ♪

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<Somen Tomato Curry with Chicken and Mushroom> serves 4

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  • 1 chicken breast fillet
  • 2 baby eggplants
  • 1 pack shimeji mushroom
  • 2~3 button mushrooms
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbs curry powder
  • 100ml sake (cooking wine)
  • 400g tomato tin, peeled
  • 100~150ml chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt, sugar and pepper to taste
  • 200g somen noodle
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  1. Bring the large pot of water to the boil, and cook somen noodle.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Peel a part of the skin on baby eggplants.  Halve lengthwise, then cut each halves into 1 cm. Leave them in a bowl of cold water.
  3. Cut chicken into pieces.  Chop onion and garlic.  Slice cup mushrooms. Separate shimeji into small pieces.
  4. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tbs of olive oil and grill the chicken.  When it’s coloured, add garlic, ginger and onion and saute.
  5. Add mushrooms, and saute for few minutes.  Add curry powder, and cook for another few minutes.
  6. Drain the egg plants and add to the pan.  Pour sake, chicken stock and tomato into the pan, and bring to the gentle boil.  Reduce the heat, add a bay leaf and place the lid.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Season to taste.
  7. Divide the somen noodle into the serving bowls, and pour the curry over.  Serve while hot.
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Crispy Chicken in Sweet and Tangy Sauce (Chicken Nanban)

Posted June 28th, 2010 in Food | 2 Comments »

The dish Chicken Nanban was originally created in Kyushu island in Japan about 50 years ago.  Since then, this item has became very popular across Japan, and now you can find the dish in family restaurants, convenience stores, fast food chains and even pizza shops.

The original Chicken Nanban was a deep-fried chicken immersed in sweet/sour sauce.  Nowadays Chichen Nanban is served with tartar sauce poured over the chicken, and it is still one of the popular menu for any age group.

This is again another easy dish to cook, and it goes with both rice and noodle.

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<Chicken Nanban with Somen Noodle> serves 4

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  • 2 chicken breast fillets (about 400g)
  • 1 egg
  • plain flour to coat
  • 4 tbs soy sauce
  • 6 tbs sugar
  • 5 tbs vinegar (preferably rice vinegar)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 200g somen noodle
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1 capsicum
  • roasted white sesame seeds
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  1. Bring the large pot of water to the boil, and cook somen noodle.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Halve each chicken fillets into even size.  You should have 4 slices.  Flatten the chicken meat by using the back of the knife.
  3. Place soy sauce, sugar and vinegar in a sauce pan, and bring to the gentle boil to dissolve the sugar.  Transfer the sauce to the wide plate or pan. (or you can use wide pan to boil the sauce).  Set aside.
  4. Coat the chicken with flour, and shake off any excess flour.  Beat the egg, and place in a shallow plate.
  5. Heat oil in a deep frying pan.  Dip the chicken fillets in the egg wash, and deep-fry both sides until golden.
  6. As soon as it’s removed from the oil, shake off any excess oil and immerse in the sauce.  Leave it for 30 seconds ~ few minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, heat sesame oil and garlic slices in a frying pan.  When it’s fragrant, add somen noodle and stir-fry.  Sprinkle sesame seeds, and arrange on serving plates (divide into four potions).
  8. In the same pan, stir-fry sliced capsicum. Remove from the heat and arrange on each bed of somen noodle on the serving plates.
  9. Remove the chicken from the sauce, and slice.  Place on top of the noodle + capsicum.  Drizzle over the sauce, and sprinkle sesame seeds.  Repeat with other fillets.
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* you can use steamed vegetables instead of capsicum.
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Marinated Deep-fried Chicken (Tazta Age)

Posted June 26th, 2010 in Food | 4 Comments »

Tazta-age (tatsuta-age) is a kind of Kara-age.  Kara-age is a deep-fried chicken (usually chicken thigh) coated with katakuriko (a starch originally processed from the corm of katakuri) and plain flour after being marinated with garlic and some spices.  On the other hand, tazta-age is a deep-fried chicken (usually chicken thigh) coated with only katakuriko after being marinated with soy sauce and sweet mirin.  You can use corn starch (corn flour) instead of katakuriko.

The key to make juicy kara-age with crispy texture is the twice-deep-frying.  You deep-fry the meat in low-temperatured oil first, then deep-fry again in very hot oil to shake off any excess fat and to make it crispy.

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<Tazta Age> serves 4

  • 400g chicken thigh
  • 20g soy sauce
  • 20g raw sugar
  • 15g sake (white wine)
  • 5g ginger (grated or sliced)
  • katakuriko (corn flour) to dust
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  1. Cut chicken into pieces.  Trim chicken thigh into even thickness.
  2. Marinade in the sauce for 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the chicken.  Heat the oil in a pan to 160°.
  4. Coat the chicken with katakuriko, shake off any excess flour, and deep-fry both side until coloured.  Set aside.
  5. Heat up the oil to 180°.  Deep-fry the chicken pieces again both side until crispy.
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The best way to eat tazta-age is with Japanese mayonnaise!  You can’t stop eating steamed rice with it.
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or you can make Tazta Burger!  I remember MacDonalds’ Tazta Burger…  one of my favorite 😀
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Grilled Skewered Chicken with Spring Onion (Negima)

Posted May 4th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

On your next bbq party, or whenever you feel like eating something on sticks, why not try this negima – Yakitori skewered with negi (spring onion).  It is a very popular way of preparing yakitori and provides a great nutrition balance. 😀  We normally use white part of spring onion for this.  White part of spring onion is sweeter than blue part and contains the flavorsome juice – umami.

You’d better soak bamboo skewers in water overnight to prevent them from burning.  And also, you can prepare the sauce the day before, as it will develop the flavor in the sauce.

<Serves 4>

  • 500g chicken thigh, cut into cubes
  • 2 spring onion, white part (root), cut into 2cm length
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sake (cooking wine)
  • 6 tsp (30g) raw sugar
  • 10 cm spring onion, white part, scored  (for the sauce)
  1. Place soy sauce, sake, sugar and 10cm spring onion in a small sauce pan.  Bring to the gentle simmer.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce slightly thicken.  Leave overnight to develop the flavor, if possible.  (leave the spring onion in the sauce)
  2. Skewer chicken and onion alternately. Tuck the tip of the skewer with meat so it won’t burn.
  3. Heat and lightly grease a BBQ grill or a large grilling pan.  Season the skewers with salt, then sear on the hot grill.  Cook for 1~2 minutes, turning several times.  Brush the meat with the sauce, then continue grilling, turning frequently.  Repeat the process (brush and grill) for about 5 minutes.
  4. Serve while hot with steamed rice, or a glass of beer.
* If available, try grilling on naked flame or with charcoal.   It gives smokey, more delicious taste 🙂

Grilled Chicken with Creamy Semi-dried Tomato

Posted February 11th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

One of my favorite dinner dish.  Full flavor of semi-dried tomato and cream cheese in a pocket of chicken breast fillet.  The key is to season the meat well before grilling.

  • 1 chicken breast fillet
  • 100 g cream cheese
  • 4 semi-dried tomato
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  1. Chop semi-dried tomato, and combine with cream cheese.
  2. Halve the chicken breast in sideway to make two thin fillets.  Cut the centre of each fillet to make a “pocket”.
  3. Season the inside of the pocket with salt, and then spread the cream cheese mixture inside.  Arrange spinach on top and then close the hole by lightly pressing the top side of meat to the bottom.  You can use toothpick if needed.
  4. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil, and grill top side first.  When colored, flip it around and cook the other side over low heat.
  5. Once the meat is cooked through, remove from the pan and rest for a while before cutting.  Garnish with cracked black pepper.

Fresh Tofu and Chicken Salad

Posted January 14th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

The taste of this salad really depends on the freshness of tofu you are using.  I normally buy Japanese silken tofu (or soft and smooth tofu) from Asian grocery shops such as Lion Oriental (Northbridge), Emma’s Seafood (Northbridge), Maruyu (Perth) or Yee Seng (Myaree) if eating fresh.  

I made this salad with sesame dressing (goma dare) that I used the other day at my friend’s house, with some steamed and shredded chicken breast.  I don’t know if I can call it “recipe”, but it is super easy to prepare and this fresh tofu salad is perfect for eating in summer days.

<Fresh Tofu and Chicken Salad> serves 4

  • 300 g silken tofu
  • 200 g chicken breast
  • salad
  • ssesame dressing (goma dare)
  
  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil.  Cook chicken breast.  Remove from the water and drain.  Let it cool.
  2. Shred chicken.  
  3. Tear lettuce leaves and arrange on a serving plate.  Top with shredded chicken and tofu cubes.  Drizzle sesame dressing and serve immediately.