Cold Udon Salad with Poached Chicken

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

The other day I arranged dinner at friend’s house.  My friend (Japanese) is renting a room in my another friend (Chinese)’s house which she (Chinese) recently purchased with her fiance.  I’ve been to the house once before and I fell in love with the design and interior.  Stylish furniture, cute kitchenware, clean and tidy environment…  Living with the friends in the house sounds really fun, we can have girls’ night everyday  🙂

It was still 5 pm so we started with a glass of wine and some otsumami.  We were going to make dinner soon but ended up talking about stuff until 9 pm.  Friend’s fiance came home and we finally moved our body from sofa to the kitchen.

Because of the wine and otsumami I wasn’t actually hungry, but everyone else was.  I brought some vegetables, so we made udon salad dish with steamed chicken and Japanese sesame dressing.  I love sesame dressing (goma dressing).  It’s nutty, rich and creamy.  You can purchase from any Asian grocery shops.  I like Mizkan brand 🙂

<Chicken Udon with Sesame Dressing> for one

  • 1 portion udon noodle
  • 50g chicken breast
  • some salad – lettuce, cucumber, tomato
  • sesame dressing (also called “goma dressing”, “goma dare”)
  1. Boil water in two sauce pans.  Cook udon noodle in one sauce pan, and chicken breast in another pan.
  2. Drain udon noodle and set aside.
  3. Remove chicken breast from water and shred the meat.  Be careful not to burn your hand!
  4. * you can chill the chicken and udon in the fridge if you want to serve it cold.
  5. Slice cucumber and tomato.  Rip lettuce with hand.
  6. On a serving plate, arrange udon noodle topped with salad and shredded chicken.  Drizzle dressing and serve immediately.

Tofu and Chicken Meatballs

Posted January 8th, 2010 in Food | 2 Comments »

Adding tofu to a meatball gives soft, fluffy texture.  If you have leftover tofu in your fridge and want to use it up, try this recipe ♪


<Tofu & Chicken Meatballs>

  • 400g chicken mince
  • 300 tofu
  • 1tbs miso paste
  • 1tsp grated ginger
  • 1tsp sake (cooking wine)
  • 1tsp corn flour
<extra sauce>
  • 1tbs miso
  • 1tss mirin
  • 1tsp soy sauce
  • 2tbs water 
  1.  Drain liquid from tofu : Place tofu on a microwave-proof plate.  Microwave for 1 minutes.  Sandwich with kitchen paper to absorb any water from tofu.
  2. Place tofu in a bowl.  Break with hand or wooden spoon briefly, and add all the ingredients.  Mix well, slightly beating the mince, until the mixture comes together.
  3. Shape the mixture into balls.  Flatten the centre.  Dust with extra corn flour.
  4. Heat 1 tbs olive oil, and grill meat balls both side, until browned and cooked through.  remove from the pan, and set aside.
  5. Mix all the ingredients from <extra sauce>.  Simmer the sauce in another pan.  Place the meat balls into the sauce and coat through, turn off the heat.
You can also make this with pork mince.  Add to soup, udon, steam board, miso soup etc…  enjoy your way 🙂

Quick Risotto

Posted December 21st, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Risotto was a dish that my host family made for me on the first night I came to Perth.  It was a tomato risotto, and she cooked it in the oven.  I was amazed to find how easy it is to make risotto, just place risotto rice and chicken stock in an oven dish with other ingredients and bake in the oven.  It turned out delicious.  

The other day I felt like risotto, so I made chicken, mushroom and spinach risotto –  a very typical flavor.  

Personally I prefer not to use too much cream, (even though it tastes nice, I worry about its high calories) so I add cheese right after cooking and mix it through.  It gives richer flavor.

<Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Risotto> for two

  •  1/2 Chicken breast
  • 4~5 mushroom
  • 1/2 cup risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • spinach leaves
  • 1 garlic, chopped
  • 1/8 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs white wine
  • 1 tbs grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 50 ml cream (optional)
  • olive oil
  1. Slice chicken breast and mushroom.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan, and saute onion and garlic.  Add chicken, and cook briefly both sides.  Add mushroom.  Stir in white wine.
  3. Add risotto rice and stir.  Pour 1/2 of chicken stock, and simmer over low heat, stir constantly.  Add the rest of chicken stock once all the liquid evaporates.  Stir in spinach leaves.  Simmer until rice is just cooked (al dente).  Season.  Add more water if needed.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in grated cheese.  If you are adding cream, pour over cream and simmer, then turn off the heat.
  5. Serve with additional Parmesan and cracked black pepper.

Quick tips:  You can pre-cook risotto rice!  Cook rice with chicken stock first.  Saute onion, garlic, chicken and mushroom and stir in white wine.  Add cooked rice and pour chicken stock (water).  Simmer, then season.  Stir in cheese and cream.

Skewered and Grilled Chicken Mince (Tsukune)

Posted November 28th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Tsukune is a Japanese chicken meat balls most often cooked yakitori style (skewered).  Sometimes tsukune can be fried, and served without skewers.  You can also add it to steam board as well.

This can be eaten with rice or noodle, or just to accompany beer.  Add chili powder if you like it spicy!

<Chicken Tsukune> 4 skewers

  • 200 g chicken mince
  • 1 cup chopped spring onion
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs sake
  • 1.5 tbs sugar
  • 1.5 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs mirin
  • 1 tsp garlic -minced
  1. Mix chopped spring onion and chicken mince in a bowl. Lightly season with a sprinkle of salt.
  2. Cover bamboo skewers with meat mixture.
  3. In another small sauce pan, bring all the ingredients from (a) and turn off the heat.
  4. Heat up sesame oil in another grilling pan. Sear skewered chicken both side.
  5. Brush the sauce from (3) on skewered chicken. Grill over low heat until it has glossy looking.

Chicken & Tomato Curry

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

Is it only Japanese culture to eat hot food in summer?  In hot days we cook steaming udon noodle soup, hot and spicy curry, and grill yakitoki (skewered chicken dish) etc.  We, of course, eat cold food too such as cold soba noodle, so-men noodle, and cold pasta dishes, but you get to see tv ad of curry a lot during summer in Japan, and it’s one of the thing that tells you “hey, summer is just around the corner”.

Therefore I like eating curry in summer.  I add lots of summer vegetables and make it as “summer curry”.  In winter, I would add some winter vegetables such as lotus roots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. 

Try this refreshing tomato curry at home!  It’s not that heavy thanks to this red summer fruit.

<Chicken & Tomato Curry>

  • 400g chicken mince
  • 1 medium onion
  • 400g tomato tin – chopped
  • 100g Japanese curry roux
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 bunch spinach
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Wash spinach well, and drain. Chop roughly. Slice onion thinly.
  2. Season chicken mince with curry powder. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan and stir-fry mince.
  3. Add sliced onion. Cook over medium heat until onion is transparent.
  4. Pour chopped tomato into the pan. Fill up 1/2 the tin with water, and add to the pan. Add bay leaf. Turn up the heat to high to bring to boil.
  5. Once it starts to boil, turn down the heat to low and add curry roux. Stir through until the roux melts.
  6. Simmer for 5~10 minutes. Stir in spinach and turn off the heat.
  7. Serve with steamed rice.

Thai Style Grilled Chicken

Posted November 11th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »
The aroma of tangy lime and sweet chili really whips the appetite!  Enjoy with steamed rice and some vegetables.
  • 2 fillets chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • chopped coriander leaves
  1. Slice chicken.  Combine all the sauce.
  2. Heat oil in a frying-pan, and place chicken fillets.  Grill over low to medium-low heat.  
  3. Once the bottom of the meat got nice color, turn it around and cook another side.  Meanwhile, Pour some of the sauce on the chicken and spread with wooden spoon.  Repeat with another side of meat.
  4. Grill until it’s shinny and little sticky.
  5. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Spicy & Juicy Deep-fried Chicken (Kara-Age)

Posted October 26th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

I made kara-age with chicken breast the other day, and it turned out beautiful.  Normally Japanese use chicken thigh meat for kara-age.  Not only for Kara-age, actually;  Japanese eat thigh meat very often.  Yakitoki (grilled chicken on skewers), stir-fry, steam board, yakiniku etc.. thigh meat is mainly used for all of them.  On the other hand people prefer breast meat in Australia.  My in-laws don’t even eat chicken thigh, they only eat breast meat.

The reason why Japanese prefer thigh is that it’s juicier and tastier.  When you cook same dish with thigh and breast, the one with breast has less taste and is more dry.  Although thigh meat contains higher calorie and cholesterol,  Japanese still prefer it.

So, when I cook something for in-laws I have to use breast meat.  (otherwise they can’t eat)   With this recipe, the meat stays juicy and is very tasty.  The key is to marinade just 30 mins ~ 1 hour before cooking.

<Spicy & Juicy Kara-Age>

  • 300 g (1 fillet) chicken breast
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 1/2 tsp cajun spice
  • plain flour to dust
  1. Slice chicken breast into the size you like.
  2. Place chicken meat in a bowl or plastic bag with all the other ingredients, then marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Heat oil in a pan to 165 degree (low).
  4. Coat chicken pieces with flour, and deep-fry for 3 minutes.  Turn them around, and fry another side for 3 more minutes.
  5. Remove chicken pieces from the oil.  Turn up the heat to 180 degree (high).
  6. Again, drop the chicken pieces into the hot oil.  Cook until it;s colored and crispy.
  7. Drain oil and serve with Japanese mayonnaise 🙂
The process of “twice deep-frying” gives kara-age crispy and juicy texture.  You can also use corn flour instead of plain flour.

White Stew with Chicken (Cream Stew)

Posted July 15th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Who doesn’t like hearty creamy soup in winter?  This is my favorite winter food in Japan: white cream stew.  The name says “cream” but there is no cream as ingredient.  We can make this dish with a ready-to-make packet which you can buy from oriental grocery shops.

You can add any vegetables, but basic ingredients are:

  • chicken pieces
  • potatoes
  • onion
  • carrot
  • cream stew packet (usually House brand or S&B brand)
The instruction is shown on the back of the packet, but it’s basically ..
  1. Slice ingredients.
  2. Place all ingredients in a pan with water.
  3. Bring to boil, and turn down the heat and simmer for 10~20 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat.  Add “cream stew mix”, and stir until the mix roux (or powder) melts into the water.
  5. Turn on the heat again and simmer over low heat for 10~15 minuets.
You can also enjoy the following cooking as well, with simmiler ingredients.
– Japanese Style Beef Stew (mostly with beef)
– Japanese Style Curry (Seafood, Meat, Tofu, just vegetables…up to you!)
– Japanese Hayashi Rice (mostly with beef)
Just get the packet of mix, and now you have a lot of variety for nice winter meal 🙂

Grilled Chicken on Rice (Chicken Donburi)

Posted July 1st, 2009 in Food | 4 Comments »

This is not really teriyaki, but taste similar.  The chicken is actually like yakitori, just without skewers.

I just dropped a soft poached yolk on the top so that it breaks once you mix with chopsticks and it actually become a kind of “sauce” to this donburi.  Japanese chili powder (ichimi, Shichimi) goes well with this.

  • 1 fillet chicken thigh wih skin
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 1/4 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 small onion
  • spring onion (white part)
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Cut chicken into cubes.  Mix soy sauce, sake and ginger.  Marinate chicken in the sauce overnight.
  2. Slice onion, and cut spring onion into 5cm length.
  3. Heat little amount of oil in a pan, and grill spring onion.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, grill chicken pieces over medium high heat.  When the bottom of the meat starts to get colored, turn it over and add onion in the pan.
  5. Once meat is cooked through remove from the pan.  (onions still stay in the pan)
  6. Add 1 tbs of water into the pan, and simmer for few minutes.
  7. Arrange chicken and spring onion on steamed rice.  Pour onion and sauce over.  Top with poached egg yolk.

You can arrange it as Oyako Donburi ↓↓↓

At stage 5, leave chicken in the pan and add 2 tbs of water.  Simmer.  Break 1 egg into a small bowl and beat.  Pour egg mixture into simmering water.

Marinated Pan-fried Chicken

Posted June 6th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Just marinate and cook.  Very easy to make, and this chicken can be used for lots of things like sushi, salad and sandwiches.


  • 1 fillet chicken thigh with skin
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • soy sauce
  • sake
  1. Crash garlic, and slice ginger.
  2. In a clean plastic bag, put everything together with sauce.  Close the bag tightly and rub the chicken with sauce over the bag.  Leave in the fridge overnight to marinate.
  3. Remove chicken from the bag.  Using a tip of knife make little cut on chicken.  
  4. Heat up frying pan over medium-high heat, and place chicken -skin side down- and grill until skin is colored and crispy.  Turn the chicken over, and grill over medium-low heat until meat is cooked.  Placing a lid helps chicken get cooked faster and juicier.
  5. Let it stand for 10~ minutes before slicing.
As you can see, this recipe contains soy sauce so it’ll taste like Japanese/Asian.  You can shred the meat when it’s cool and mix with carrot + cucumber jullienne, then arrange on lettuce leaf cups.  Or, slice up chicken and enjoy in Temaki Sushi.  Of course you can enjoy it with just a bowl of steamed rice and some salad 🙂