Tempura Soba (Prawn & Vegetable Tempura)

Posted January 10th, 2016 in Food | 2 Comments »

tempura-soba

A summer staple food in Japan – cold soba noodle with dipping sauce.  Great to eat in a hot day!

There are few different types of noodle you can use for this “cold noodle + dipping sauce” dish.  Soba, udon, somen, and chu-ka noodle.  What are the differences?

Soba is made of buckwheat, and is grey-ish colour.  Somen is very thin white Japanese noodles made of wheat flour, less than 1.3 mm in diameter.  Udon is a type of thick wheat flour noodle.  Chu-ka noodle is egg noodle which is often used for ramen.

At my house in Japan I used to eat udon a lot.  I seldom ate soba while I was in Japan (and now still) – I’m not sure why it is, but I guess it’s because people near Kansai in Japan eat more udon than soba noodle for some reason.

soba

Here in Perth I got some cha-soba noodles from a local Asian shop.  Cha-soba noodles are soba noodles made from buckwheat and wheat flour with the added ingredient of fresh green tea leaves.  You can smell green tea aroma from the noodle and they are really refreshing.

tempura

To accompany cha-soba noodles, I made some kakiage (mixed vegetables tempura) with chopped prawn.   If you have tempura flour it’s super easy to make, but even if you don’t, it’s not that difficult.

Here is the recipe for prawn kakiage:

<Recipe> makes about 10 kakiage

  • prawn (no shells & heads) … 1/2 cup
  • chopped vegetables (I used onion, zucchini) … 1/2 cup
  • plain flour … 3 tablespoons
  • corn flour … 1 tablespoon
  • salt … 1/4 teaspoon
  • water … 50ml (or adjust the constancy)

 

  1. Chop prawns.
  2. Mix flour, salt and water in a mixing bowl. Add the prawns and vegetables and stir.
  3. Heat oil in a shallow frying pan (about 3 – 5cm) to 170℃.
  4. Using two spoons, carefully drop the tempura mixture into the oil.  Fry over medium heat for both sides.
  5. Serve with cooked cold soba noodles.

 


Kinpira Udon

Posted September 23rd, 2013 in Food | No Comments »

“Kinpira” … braised burdock roots & carrots

I love udon noodle.  I love it in hot broth, with cold dipping sauce, or stir-fried.  I love the chewiness that other noodles don’t have. Udon is a great item to finish steamboat dish as well ; after enjoying the steamboat, add some udon noodle to the broth and enjoy it as end of the meal.

Today I combined “kinpira” and udon noodle.  It’s kind of a not-so-soupy version of nikomi-udon. First, I cooked burdock roots and carrot as I normally make “kinpira”.  Combined with broth, then udon noodle.  Easy.  This nice, hearty dish is great to have in this time of the year.  The key point is to soak the udon noodle in the broth so it absorbs the flavour.

I use frozen udon noodle as they are much chewier than dried udon noodle.

<Recipe>  makes 2 serves

  • 1 cup frozen shredded Burdock Roots (available from Asian grocery shop)
  • 1 Carrot
  • 50g Chicken Thigh
  • 1 tbs Sesame Oil
  • 1 ~ 2 tbs Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbs Mirin
  • 1 tbs sake
  • 1 tsp Dashi stock powder + 3 cups hot water
  • 2 portion Udon Noodle
  • 1 tbs dried Wakame seaweed
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbs chopped spring onions

  1. Cut carrot into stick shape.  Cut chicken into small pieces.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a deep sauce pan.  Stir-fry chicken, carrot and burdock roots for few minutes.
  3. Add mirin & soy sauce.  Cook for another few minutes while stirring.
  4. Turn up the heat.  Add sake, then pour the dashi stock.  Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Taste the soup, and add more soy sauce/sake if needed.  Remember, the wakame will add more flavour to the soup later.
  5. Add frozen udon noodle into the soup.  If you are using dried noodle, cook the noodle first then drain well before adding to the soup.  Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  6. Beat egg in a small bowl.  Turn up the heat, and pour the egg to the soup while stirring.  Turn off the heat.  Add wakame to the soup, and place a lid on the sauce pan.  Leave it for 5mins or more.
  7. When serving, arrange the udon on a dish then top with chopped spring onion (sesame seeds if preferred).

Yaki Somen (stir-fried somen noodles)

Posted October 23rd, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

Somen noodles are usually eaten cold with dipping sauce, or warm in soy sauce based soup.  Cold somen with dipping sauce and condiments is a popular dish in summer, and nagashi somen (I wrote about it here) is one of popular activity at summer festivals.

The first time I ate stir-fried somen was in Okinawa, when I stayed there for one week to get scuba diving licence.  I was 17 years old.  Okinawa has unique foods and drinks compared to other parts of Japan (I wrote about it here) due to its history.  Stir-fried somen is called “somen champul (= stir-fried somen)” in Okinawan language.  I ate it at an izakaya along with other unique Okinawan dishes, and they were all delicious!!

I made this with seafoods, but you can use meat such as pork, beef and chicken instead.  This recipe is not like the one I ate in Okinawa (they use pork), and it doesn’t taste like typical Japanese food.  I guess it’s because of oyster sauce and fish sauce I added.

The key to make this dish is to wash the somen noodles very well then drain before adding to the frying pan.

<Yaki Somen>  serves 2

  • 50g dry somen noodles
  • 6 prawns
  • 3 squids, small
  • 1 crab stick
  • 2~3 leaves cabbage
  • 1 carrot, small
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbs chopped spring onion
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  1. Boil water in a deep pan, and cook somen noodle to al dente.
  2. meanwhile, cut the ingredients: cut cabbage into 3cm cubes, cut carrot into 4cm-long thin batons.  Chop garlic. Slice prawns into half.  Slice crab sticks and squids.
  3. Once the somen noodles are cooked, place into a strainer to drain.  Wash the noodle by rubbing them with hands under running cold water until the slimy gluten is gone.  Drain well.
  4. Place garlic and 1 tbs of oil in a frying pan, and turn on the heat.  Once aromatic, add ginger, prawn and squid. Stir-fry for 1 minutes.  Then, add carrot, cabbage and crab stick.  Stir-fry for 1 minutes, and pour soy sauce, sake and oyster sauce.
  5. Add somen noodle to the pan, and stir quickly.  Drizzle sesame oil and fish sauce over, and scatter spring onions.  Turn off the heat.  Serve immediately.

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Basil Meatball Pasta

Posted May 5th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

The basil we sow about few months ago is growing big now!

I had a pack of beef mince in the freezer, so I decided to make meatballs using the basil leaves.

I chopped up the leaves finely and added to the meatballs along with onions.  Although I like meatballs with half pork half beef, this time it’s 100% beef.  It was still good, the delicious sizzling smell hit my nose as soon as I started grilling the meatballs.

Fresh basil is so great for tomato based sauce.

I added about 15 leaves to the mince, but I could add more, actually. I was bit stingy!

<Basil Meatballs>

  • 300g beef mince
  • 15 (or more) basil leaves
  • 1 onion (large)
  • 1/2 celery stalk
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 450g chopped tomato (tin)
  • 3 garlic cloves

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  1. Chop up the onion and celery finely.  Place half of the onion into a mixing bowl with beef mince.
  2. Chop up basil leaves.  Add to the bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, and mix well.
  3. Slice garlic thinly.  Heat 1 table spoon of olive oil in a sauce pan, and fry garlic until fragrant.  Add the rest of the onion and the celery to the pan, and saute for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add tomato paste, and fry for few minutes, then add chopped tomatoes.  Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat 1 table spoon of olive oil in a frying pan.  Shape the mince mixture into little balls, and place onto the frying pan.  Grill over medium-high heat until the bottom is coloured, then flip it around.  Turn down the heat and cook further 3 minutes.
  6. Pour the tomato sauce into the frying pan over the meatballs.  Simmer for few minutes.
  7. Enjoy with pasta or bread!  

Tempura Soba

Posted September 25th, 2010 in Food | 7 Comments »

I sometimes get a craving for tempura soba.  The combination of crispy tempura and freshly boiled soba noodle in warm, sweet, soysauce-based dark soup.

In the area around my house (Shiga), we don’t eat soba much.  We eat udon more often.  In Japan, the type of food people eat is different depends on where you live.  For example, Western people (eg Kyoto) use white miso for miso soup, but Eastern people (eg Nagoya) use red miso.  Western people eat udon, but Eastern people eat soba.  It’s not always black and white, some Western people eat red miso and soba noodle too, of course, but it’s what we say in Japan.  In fact, my mum never cooked soba at home.  It was always udon.

But, in the New Year’s Eve, I sometimes felt like eating soba.  As we eat toshikoshi-soba (people in Japan eat soba noodle at midnight between New Years Eve and New Years Day), I sometimes asked my mum to prepare instant soba noodle.

I love this cup noodle soup…   It’s so shame that Australia doesn’t allow these noodle to be imported.  I just have to eat it in Japan.

Anyway, I made tempura soba the other day and it was really nice.

You can follow the recipe for crispy tempura here.

I made kakiage – tempura of mixed shredded vegetables.  It’s so easy to make!

Thinly slice onion and carrot (and chopped spring onion or shredded burdock roots if you want).  Coat with tempura batter, and drop into hot oil using two spoon to make a round shape.  Make it flat, so that the tempura get cooked through and crispy.

To see how to cook soba noodle, refer here.

<Soup>

  • 1.5cup water
  • 1 handful bonito flakes (about 10g)
  • 1 tbs mirin
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
– how to make –
  1. Place water and bonito flakes in a small sauce pan.  Bring to the gentle simmer, and turn down the heat to low.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  2. Drain the bonito flake and keep the soup.  Return the soup to the pan, and add mirin and soy sauce.  Bring to the gentle simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
The oil from the crispy tempura gives the nice flavor to the soup (^-^).

Fried Udon with Bacon, Broccoli and Mushroom (Yaki Udon)

Posted September 6th, 2010 in Food | 2 Comments »

Yaki Udon (fried udon noodle) is normally cooked with thinly sliced pork, onion, carrot and bonito flake (similar to yakisoba), but I wanted to try something different.  The ingredient doesn’t have to be always same, right?

Crispy bacon and the garlicky sauce add unique flavor to the udon noodle.  Why not try making it tonight?

<Yaki Udon> serves 2

  • 200g udon noodle
  • 2 rashes of bacon
  • 1/2 onion, small
  • 4 florets broccoli
  • 100g oyster mushroom
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbs water
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • bonito flake (optional)
  1. Boil a pan of water and cook udon noodle.  Drain, and set aside.
  2. Slice onion and garlic.  Cut broccoli into small pieces.  Cut the stem from the mushroom and separate.  Trim bacon, and chop up.
  3. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a frying pan.  Fry bacon for 2 minutes.
  4. Add onion, garlic and mushroom.  Saute over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  5. Add broccoli, then water to the pan.  Turn up the heat to high.  Loosen up the udon noodle under running water, drain, and add to the pan.
  6. Add soy sauce and oyster sauce.  Stir-fry until combined.
  7. Mix through the bonito flake, or garnish on top.
* Udon noodle sticks to the pan easily, so any liquid in the pan helps.
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Somen Noodle Salad with Tangy Dressing (Hiyashi Chuka)

Posted August 27th, 2010 in Food | 7 Comments »

When I was talking to my family on skype the other day, my mum said she was making hiyashi chuka at home.  Since then I had a craving for it….  so I bought some ingredients from a supermarket and cooked it last night.

Hiyashi chuka is a Japanese summer dish consisting of chilled ramen noodles with various toppings.  Normal toppings are shredded ham, shredded cucumber, shredded omelet and chopped tomato.  It has many colours.  The noodle is thin egg noodle, and the sauce (dressing) is tangy (vinegary)  Some people add more vegetables such as corn and bean shoots, and drizzle mayonnaise on top.

I used somen noodle this time – the key is to cook the somen noodle al dente, so that it has some texture.

Somen noodle also goes well with the tangy sauce.

I used shredded chicken breast instead of ham, as I’m not really supposed to eat ham at the moment.

Pour the sauce (dressing) over the noodle, or dip the noodle into the sauce and eat ♪

<Hiyashi Chuka Somen> Serves 2

  • 200g somen noodle (dry)
  • 100g chicken breast
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 tomato
  • 10cm celery
sauce
  • 50ml soy sauce
  • 60ml white vinegar
  • 70ml water
  • 20g sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • roasted white sesame seeds to sprinkle
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  1. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan, and heat until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from the heat and chill in the fridge.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook somen noodle.  It takes just few minutes, and try not to overcook.  Drain, and cool under running water.  Drain, and chill.
  3. Cut chicken for faster cooking.  Poach the chicken in the boiling water until cooked, or sprinkle 1 tbs of sake and cook in the microwave (covered).  Drain, and let it cool.  Shred the chicken.
  4. Peel the cucumber (partially) and deseed.  Shred thin.  Slice celery thin.  Chop tomato.
  5. Divide the somen noodle into two serving bowl.  Top with cucumber, celery, tomato and chicken.  Pour the sauce over and serve immediately.
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Simple Udon Noodle Soup (Su-Udon)

Posted August 25th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

I got up very early today.  4 am!  I didn’t have any work to do this morning, but couldn’t go back to sleep after waking up for the toilet :p  I normally have no problem going back to sleep even if I wake up during the night, but this morning I felt so hungry and couldn’t sleep!

What did I eat last night…?  Roasted veggies and chicken.  I thought I ate a lot, but I guess my digestion system works too good.  I got up the bed and started preparing early breakfast.

I had some left over in the fridge, but I decided to cook udon noodle soup.  My favorite is to add egg to the soup (tamago-toji udon), but this time I just made a simple one.

With wakame seaweed, sprig onion (and naruto – fish cake).  There are many kinds of udon soup in Japan, and I guess I can call this “su-udon 素うどん” = which means “simple udon”.  Su-udon normally indicates udon noodle with nothing but soup and spring onion (or sometimes just soup).

Su-Udon (image from wiki)

Su-Udon (image from wiki)

Making the soup by yourself is very easy!  Besides, you won’t need to prepare many things when making su-udon.

<Udon Soup> serves 1

  • 1.5cup water
  • 1 handful bonito flakes (about 10g)
  • 1 tbs mirin
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
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  1. Place water and bonito flakes in a small sauce pan.  Bring to the gentle simmer, and turn down the heat to low.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  2. Drain the bonito flake and keep the soup.  Return the soup to the pan, and add mirin and soy sauce.  Bring to the gentle simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
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Pour the soup over cooked udon noodle.  Enjoy with your favorite condiments!
By the way, the bonito flakes you used to make the soup: normally you just throw away, but you can make Tsukudani (wiki) with it.   Mix with sake, sugar and soy sauce (1 tsp each) and stir-fry until the liquid is gone!

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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Camem-burg Pasta

Posted July 1st, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Meatball pasta!!  Everyone’s favorite 🙂  Add Mozzarella cheese to the big size meatballs and enjoy the mild, melty texture on delicious juicy hamburg.

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<Camem-burg Pasta> serves 4

  • 300g beef mince
  • 200g pork mince
  • 10g breadcrumb
  • 50g onion, chopped
  • 800g tomato tin, peeled
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 50g onion
  • 50g celery
  • 50g carrot
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 100g mushrooms
  • 1tbs margarin
  • 60g Camembert cheese

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  1. Mix the mince, onion, breadcrumb and a pinch of salt in a bowl until well combined.  Divide into 8 and shape them into balls.  Stand-by in the fridge.
  2. Chop onion, celery and carrot.  Slice mushrooms.
  3. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a medium sauce pan, and saute onion, celery, carrot and garlic until fragrant.  Add tomato paste and saute, then add tomato tin. Bring to the gentle boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Place margarin in a frying pan, and heat over medium-high heat.  As the butter start to sizzle, add mushrooms and saute.  Sprinkle a pinch of salt, and remove from the heat.  Add the mushroom into the tomato sauce.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and cook pasta.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the same pan with 1 tbs of oil.  Flatten the centre of the meatballs, and sear one side.  Flip the meatball around, reduce the heat, and place a lid.  Grill until cooked through.
  7. Slice Camembert cheese into 8.  Remove the lid, and place the Camembert slices on each meatball.  Place back the lid, and turn off the heat.  leave it for 1~2 minutes.
  8. Arrange pasta in each serving plate.  Pour tomato sauce, and top with 2 pieces of hamburgs.
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