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.


<Chicken Nanban with Somen Noodle> serves 4


  • 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
  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.
* you can use steamed vegetables instead of capsicum.

Ao-nori Pasta with Smoked Salmon

Posted April 22nd, 2010 in Food | 5 Comments »

Very simple pasta with smoked salmon and ao-nori.  Ao-nori, also known as green laver, is dried and powdered green seaweed and it has distinctive flavor.  You should have seen it as a topping on Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki and other Japanese dishes.  This goes well with smokey salmon and mild Parmesan.


<Ao-nori Pasta with Smoked Salmon> serves 2

  • 2 portion pasta
  • 100 g smoked salmon
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbs (1g)  Ao-nori
  • 1 tbs margarin 
  • 1tbs olive oil
  1. Bring a large pot of water (salted) to the boil.  Cook pasta to al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, chop onion and garlic.
  3. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, and sautee garlic and onion until fragrant.  
  4. Add margarin, then smoked salmon, drained pasta and ao-nori.  Mix through gently, and season.  Turn off the heat.
  5. Serve on the plate and top with shaved Parmesan.

Italian Udon

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

I am a person who eats anything.  … well, not ANYTHING, but I’m ok eating almost any food that is served in front of me.

My family is little different.  When they make Japanese curry rice, they always use the standard ingredients: meat, onion, carrot and potatoes.  One day, I was making curry with some reft over food in the fridge.  I put eggplant, spinach, tofu, konnyaku, boiled egg, cabbage etc.  I thought it was ok and sounded delish, as curry doesn’t always have to be made with just those 4 ingredients.  But, my family was like “you put what!?!”.  Since then, my family call my cooking “Ume’s food”.

I made this Udon Pasta just because I had some udon noodle and tomatoes at home.  It’s simply delicious and easy to make.  You can also use minced meat instead of chicken fillet to make “bolognese”.  🙂

Serves 2

  • 1 chicken breast fillet, sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato tin, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 stalk of Parsley, chop the leave part
  • 2 portions udon noodle
  1. Heat 1/2 tbs of olive oil in a pan, and grill the chicken.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add 1/2 tbs olive oil and saute the onion and garlic.  Add chicken, tomatoes, oyster sauce and Parsley stalk.  Bring to boil and then turn down the heat to simmer.   Cook for 5~10 minutes.  Season.
  3. Cook udon noodle.  Drain.
  4. Serve the sauce over udon noodle, and garnish with chopped Parsley.

Spicy Fish Yakisoba

Posted January 19th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Yakisoba (stir-fried noodle) with chili and pepper fried fish.  Add more chili if you like it spicier 😉

<Spicy Fish Yakisoba>

  • 1 white fish fillet 
  • 1 tbs corn flour
  • 2 potion yakisoba noodle ( or Singapore noodle)
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/4 large carrot
  • 1/8 large onion
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 2 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sake (cooking wine)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcester sauce
  • chili, salt, pepper, coriander leaves

  1. Chop garlic and chili.  Slice carrot into Julienne.  Slice onion.  Combine all the sauce.  Place noodle in a colander and briefly loosen up under running water.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Slice fish fillet.  Dust lightly with corn flour, and shallow-fry both side until crispy and golden.  Remove from the pan and drain oil.  Set aside.
  3. In another pan, heat 1 tbs oil and saute garlic and chili until fragrant.  Add onion and carrot and stir-fry.
  4. Add noodle and bean sprouts, stir-fry, then add the sauce mixture.  Season well.
  5. Arrange on a serving plate, top with fish, extra cut chili and coriander leaves.  Crack black pepper on the fish and serve immediately.

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.

Chilled Udon with Bean Curd and Salad

Posted December 11th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Summer food!  This cold udon noodle chills you out…  Enjoy with lots of ice cubes 🙂

<Chilled Salad Udon>

  • 1 pack udon noodle
  • 5 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • 1 tbs dashi powder (fish stock)
  • 1~2 inari sushi skin
  • salad (lettuce, tomatoes etc)
  • Shredded nori (kizami nori)
  1. Prepare tsuyu sauce – Bring 400cc water, soy sauce, mirin and dashi powder to boil in a sauce pan.  Stir, and simmer for 1,2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool down.  You can keep this sauce in the fridge until needed.
  2. <Frozen udon> Boil frozen udon in a sauce pan.  Drain into a bowl of cold water.  Drain the noodle.  <Dry udon> Boil water in a sauce pan.  Drop dry udon noodle into the water, and cook until the noodle is done.  Stir consistently. Drain into a bowl of cold water. Drain the noodle.
  3. Prepare salad – Shred lettuce, slice tomatoes ..   Shred inari skin.
  4. In a serving bowl, arrange drained noodle, salad and inari skin. Drop few ice cubes and top with shredded nori.  You can pour tsuyu sauce over, or serve separately as a dipping sauce.

How to Cook Soba Noodle

Posted November 4th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

I often cook cold soba noodle for dinner during summer.  It’s very easy, and refreshing to eat in a hot day.

Here is a proper way to cook soba noodle:


  1. Boil sufficient amount of water in a pot.
  2. Place soba noodle (dry) into the boiling water.  Stir often with chopsticks until the water start to boil again.  (Do not leave the pot at this point)
  3. Once the water start to raise and reach the top of the pot, pour 1/2 cups of cold water into it.  Water will then go back to steady.
  4. Keep stirling, and once the water start to reach the top of the pan again, turn off the heat.
  5. Drain soba in a colander, and rinse under running cold water.  Drain well.
  6. Serve with your favorite condiments.
Tempura, fresh seaweed, and sansai are great to be eaten with cold soba noodle.  Ummm writing this post makes me feel hungry…

Udon with Sesame Dressing and Squid Tempura

Posted September 4th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Crispy squid tempura with udon noodle. As you can just buy the sauce from Asian grocery shops, it’s very easy to make.

What you need is ….

  • udon noodle
  • goma-shabu sauce / goma-shabu dressing
  • squid tubes
  • tempura flour
  • red ginger (beni shouga)
  • spring onion and black sesame for garnish
Goma-dare is available at Asian grocery shop (in Japanese food section).  It’s light brown color thick sauce in bottles.  “Goma-dare” “Goma-shabu” … they all taste similar.

For udon noodles, you can buy either dried or frozen.   I don’t recommend to buy vacuumed fresh udon noodles though… they taste quite bad :p

<Udon Noodle>

Boil plenty amount of water in a wide sauce pan.  Drop udon into water, and cook until it’s al dente.  If you are using frozen udon you don’t need to cook in hot water for long.

Drain, set aside.

<Squid Tempura>

If you don’t have tempura flour, or you want to make it from scratch, here is the recipe :

  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup plain flour
Don’t mix the batter too much!  Place all ingredients in a bowl, and move a pair of chopsticks around just to combine lightly.
Dip squid tubes (cut into the size you want) into the batter, and deep-fry in oil 165~170℃.
To serve:
Arrange udon noodle on a plate.  Top with crispy squid tempura, red ginger and chopped spring onion, and sprinkle black sesame.
You can either serve goma-dare sauce separately in an another small bowl as a dipping sauce, or can drizzle goma-dare sauce over the udon noodles.  It’s up to you.
Udon noodles and sauce can be served cold or room temperature.  (except for the squid tempura: tempura should be hot and crispy!)

Yaki Udon

Posted June 17th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »
In Japan there are two main noodles people eat : soba, and udon.  Soba is mainly eaten around Eastern side of Japan = Kantou (eg: Tokyo, Chiba, Kanazawa etc) and udon is mainly eaten around Western side = Kansai (eg: Kyoto, Osaka, Nara etc).  I don’t know why these two regions separate things, but this is true.  Yes, people in Kansai also eat soba, of course, but they eat udon more than soba.  You can find lots of udon restaurants in Kansai area, but I’ve never seen any restaurants which specialize in soba noodle.
I’m from Kansai (Western Japan), so I eat udon a lot.  Actually udon is one of my favorite food.  My friend who is from Eastern Japan says “udon is too heavy” “no taste” “bold” “too chunky” , but I like this food.  In my opinion, soba is just thin buckwheat noodle, and nothing special.  Well I don’t mind eating them but if there’s a choice between udon and soba, I’d go for udon always.
… Anyway, I like udon and usually eat in soup, such as Kitsune udon, Tamago-toji udon, An-kake udon, Zaru udon, Curry udon etc.  Even though I prefer soup udon, I sometimes feel like Yaki udon (stir-fried udon) for a change.  Yaki udon is just stir-fried udon noodle with some vegetables and meat/seafood.  I like the texture; it’s kind of chewy.
I had squid in my freezer, so I cooked Ika (squid) yaki udon.
<Ika Yaki Udon>

  • 1 portion udon noodle
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1/2 tsp dashi powder
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbs spring onion – chopped
  • 1/8 onion – sliced
  • 1/8 carrot – jullienne
  • few pieces squid – defrosted
  1. If you are using dry udon noodle, you need to cook the noodle in boiling water first.  If you are using frozen udon, briefly defrost in hot water.  If you are using fresh udon, simply pour boiling water over and loosen it up.  Drain.
  2. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a frying pan, and stir-fry sliced onion, carrot and spring onion.  Add squid and ginger together, fry over high heat until well-cooked.
  3. Add udon.  Udon noodle really stick to the pan, so I recommend to add little amount of water into the pan once after adding udon noodle.  Briefly stir-fry (don’t stir too much otherwise udon noodle break and become mushy)
  4. Add sauces and mix through.
  5. Garnish with chopped spring onion, bonito flakes and red ginger.

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.