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
- Boil water in a deep pan, and cook somen noodle to al dente.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
- 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
- Chop up the onion and celery finely. Place half of the onion into a mixing bowl with beef mince.
- Chop up basil leaves. Add to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well.
- 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.
- Add tomato paste, and fry for few minutes, then add chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- 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.
- Pour the tomato sauce into the frying pan over the meatballs. Simmer for few minutes.
- Enjoy with pasta or bread!
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.
- 1.5cup water
- 1 handful bonito flakes (about 10g)
- 1 tbs mirin
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- how to make -
- 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.
- 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 (^-^).
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)
- Boil a pan of water and cook udon noodle. Drain, and set aside.
- Slice onion and garlic. Cut broccoli into small pieces. Cut the stem from the mushroom and separate. Trim bacon, and chop up.
- Heat 1 tbs of oil in a frying pan. Fry bacon for 2 minutes.
- Add onion, garlic and mushroom. Saute over medium heat for 2 minutes.
- 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.
- Add soy sauce and oyster sauce. Stir-fry until combined.
- Mix through the bonito flake, or garnish on top.
＊ Udon noodle sticks to the pan easily, so any liquid in the pan helps.
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
- 50ml soy sauce
- 60ml white vinegar
- 70ml water
- 20g sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- roasted white sesame seeds to sprinkle
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan, and heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and chill in the fridge.
- 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.
- 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.
- Peel the cucumber (partially) and deseed. Shred thin. Slice celery thin. Chop tomato.
- Divide the somen noodle into two serving bowl. Top with cucumber, celery, tomato and chicken. Pour the sauce over and serve immediately.