Quick Beef Bowl

Posted April 17th, 2011 in Food | 3 Comments »

Beef donburi, gyu-don, is one of Japanese popular donburi dish.  I’m sure you sometimes order this  at Japanese restaurants (if you like beef).

Normally, gyu-don is simmered beef and onion dish in sweet soy sauce flavoured dashi broth. This recipe, however, doesn’t require dashi broth and simmering process. It’s more like a stir-fried dish (with plenty of sauce/broth/juice from the beef and onions).  It’s a quick meal, and taste great 🙂

<Quick Beef Bowl>  serves 4~8

  • 500g beef, thinly sliced
  • 2 onions (medium size)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • 2 tbs soy sauce


  1. Slice the onions and garlic thinly.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a sauce pan.  Add garlic and onion, and stir-fry until the onions are almost transparent.
  3. Add beef, and cook for 2~3 minutes.  Add sugar, sake, mirin and soy sauce.
  4. Turn down the heat to low, and cook further 5 minutes.


Enjoy with steamed rice and some vegetables!

Japanese Seasoned Steamed Rice (Takikomi Gohan)

Posted February 15th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

This is what we call Takikomi Gohan, meaning that the rice is cooked in dashi broth and soy sauce along with other ingredients such as mushroom, chicken and root vegetables.  The variety is endless, and you can add any ingredients you like – seafood, beans, sweet potato, shellfish, etc.

The very standard ingredients for takikomi gohan are chicken thigh, carrot, shiiitake mushroom, konnyaku and abura-age (fried bean-curd).  I like adding roots vegetables such as burdock roots for the texture.

When cooking takikomi gohan, you will get dark-colored rice left in the bottom of the rice cooker.  This part is called “okoge” meaning “burned rice”, and is considered to be the best part to eat!

<Takikomi Gohan> serves 5~8

  • 3 cups rice (short or medium grain)
  • 100g chicken
  • 1 tsp dashi powder
  • 3~4 shiitake mushrooms (5~6 if using frozen shiitake mushrooms)
  • 100g burdock roots, shredded (frozen)
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 sticks of chikuwa fish cake (optional)
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 3 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 3 cm ginger
  1. Cut chicken into small pieces.  Peel and slice the carrot.  Slice chikuwa into 5mm thick.  Slice shiitake into 2 mm thick.
  2. Place 2 cups of water, dashi powder, soy sauce, sake, chicken, carrot and burdock roots in a sauce pan.  Bring to the boil, and add chikuwa.  Place a lid, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Cool slightly.
  3. Wash rice until the running water is almost clear.
  4. Place the rice in the rice cooker along with 1.5~2 cups of dashi soup from the sauce pan (#1 above).  Add extra 3.5 cups of water.  Level the surface of rice, and spread the chicken ingredients on top.  Level the surface.
  5. Slice ginger, and place on top of the rice ingredients in the rice cooker.  Turn on the cooker.
  6. Once cooked, enjoy with fresh made miso soup !
I can just eat it every day!  I miss my grand-ma’s simple takikomi-gohan with just shiitake and carrots.

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
  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.


  • 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!
<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
  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!

One Plate Breakfast (Wafu)

Posted November 18th, 2010 in Food | 2 Comments »

It may be because of the weather, or it’s just that I’m tired…  I’ve been feeling sick lately.  No fever yet, but you know you can feel when your body is getting sick by having some symptoms such as running nose, sneezing, muscle aches, and headache.

I had these symptoms yesterday, and I knew I would have fever if I didn’t do anything.  So, what I thought of doing were….

① Eat well, ② Take hot shower (bath would be much better…), ③ Sleep well.

As I mentioned before I’ve been eating Indonesian and Chinese food over the last couples of weeks, and my body can’t take any more oily food!  And, my body needs more vegetables.  I don’t feel good if I don’t eat vegetables.  It’s not that I feel guilty, my body really feels weak –  get tired easily, and I have to rush to the toilet many times.

So, when I’m feeling weak, the food I eat is always Japanese food!

* Spinach and Silver Fish Rice (あっさり☆ほうれん草と雑魚の混ぜご飯)

* Onion Soup (ネギ汁)

* Natto (納豆)

Maze-gohan (mixed rice) is such an easy dish to make, as you just need to mix the ingredients with steamed rice.  (Spring) onion is one of miracle food that ease inflammation of sore throat – that’s what we say in Japan.  There is an old saying that if you catch a cold, tie a spring onion around your neck overnight.  Next morning your fever and symptoms of the cold/flu are gone.  There is something to do with Allyl sulfide, apparently.

Before I proceed to the recipe, I just want to say that I felt much better this morning!  I ate this one plate last night too, and I don’t have muscle aches and headache anymore.  Thanks to the hot onion soup… and hot shower and a good sleep.  This was my breakfast today as well.


<Spinach and Silver Fish Rice> serves 1

  • 100g steamed rice, hot
  • 15g blanched spinach
  • 5g silver fish
  • 1/4 tsp roasted white sesame seeds
  • a drop of soy sauce
  1. Spread silver fish in a frying pan (no oil).  Roast over medium heat until crunchy.  Set aside.
  2. Chop spinach finely.  Sprinkle a drop of soy sauce, and leave it for 5 minutes.  Gently squeeze out excess liquid.
  3. In a bowl: mix silver fish, spinach and sesame seeds with steamed rice.  Be careful not to break the rice.
<Onion Soup> serves 2 ~ 4
  • 2 small onions (100g)
  • 1/2 cup chopped spring onions
  • 2 tsp dried cut wakame seaweed
  • 3 cups water
  • 35g miso paste
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1g ginger, minced
  1. Slice onion thinly.
  2. Place water, onion and spring onion in a sauce pan, and turn on the heat.  When it comes to the gentle boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat to very low, and add wakame, miso paste, mirin and ginger.  Turn off the heat.  Leave it for further 5 minutes.

Korean Style Nori Maki

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

I wanted to use up the brown rice that I had in the pantry, so I made Korean style rice rolls with nori sheet.  Korean cuisine is very similar to Japanese cuisine, but Korean nori maki doesn’t use vinegared rice – just normal steamed rice.  You can of course use white rice instead of brown rice.

What makes it Korean is also the ingredients – beef mince is a typical ingredient for Korean nori maki.  So are takuwan (yellow radish pickles), egg omelet, and burdock roots (gobo).  Normally, Korean seaweed (seasoned with salt) is used to roll the rice, but I used just normal Japanese nori sheet this time.

I seasoned the brown rice with sesame oil and salt, but you don’t need to do it if you prefer.

<Korean Nori Maki> makes 2 rolls

  • 2 nori sheet
  • 2 cups steamed rice
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50g beef mince
  • 1/2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • white pepper to taste
  • 1/4 takuwan (yellow radish pickles (cut in lengthwise)
  • 1/4 cucumber (cut in lengthwise)
  • 2 tbs shredded carrot
  1. Heat a frying pan and cook beef mince without oil.  Season with soy sauce and sugar.  Cool down.  Set aside.
  2. Mix sesame oil and salt with the rice.
  3. Cut takuwan half in lengthwise.  Cut cucumber half in lengthwise.
  4. Spread 1 cup of rice into a nori sheet.  Arrange beef mince, takuwan, cucumber and shredded carrot.  Roll up.  Repeat.
  5. Cut, and serve immediately.
You can also add egg omelet, namul, kimche (Chinese cabbage), cheese etc etc as ingredients.  Create your own!
I like it spicy, so I dip it with gochujang 🙂

Bibimbap with Broccoli and Daikon

Posted September 12th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

My Korean friend gave me some  hund-made kimuche!  It tastes so fresh and delicious☆  I asked her for the recipe, and it sounds very simple.  Just need more ingredients than Japanese pickles.  I may try making different kinds of kimche at home sometime. 🙂

I made bibimbap with her kimche.

“Bibim” means “mix” in Korean, and as this name indicates this dish is eaten by mixing up all the ingredients.

There are basic ingredients to make bibimbap, but you can actually use any food.  I had broccoli and daikon in my fridge, so I added them to the bibimbap.  If you have some vegetables that have been sitting in the fridge and you want to use up, you can make bibimbap!

Adding bean shoots (as a standard ingredient) to bibimbap is my favorite, but I didn’t have bean shoot in the fridge.  If you are using bean shoot, refer my bean shoot, carrot and spring onion Namul recipe.

I used the leftover of hamburg , and made it chunky for the texture.  You can jut use minced beef for the recipe.  You can also use bulkogi for the topping of bibimbap.

<Bibimbap with broccoli and daikon> serves 2


  • around 200g beef mince
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • around 4 florets broccoli
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 pinch salt
  • around 10cm daikon radish
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • around 6 tbs kimche
  • 2 eggs
  • 400g steamed rice
  • gochujang (around 2 ~ 5 tbs)
  1. Beef: Heat sesame oil in a frying pan, and cook beef with garlic.  Season with sugar and soy sauce.  Set aside.
  2. Broccoli: Blanch broccoli and drop in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process.  Drain well, and mix with garlic and salt.  Set aside.
  3. Daikon: Slice daikon 0.5 mm, then cut into 0.5 mm matchstick shape.  Heat sesame oil in a frying pan, and stir-fry daikon. Season with soy sauce.  Set aside.
  4. Fry egg to your liking.
  5. To serve: Divide rice into two serving bowls.  Top with beef, broccoli, daikon, kimche and fried egg.  Enjoy with gochujang!
More ingredients you add, tastier it becomes.  Spring onion and seaweed are great condiments for bibimbap too.

Japanese Rice Soup with Salmon (Salmon Zosui)

Posted September 9th, 2010 in Food | 4 Comments »

It’s stormy lately in Perth.  Very strong wind and cold rain.  Warm up your body with this Japanese rice soup with grilled salty salmon 🙂

Zosui is a Japanese rice soup made from pre-cooked rice and water.  There is a similar dish called okayu, but okayu is cooked from uncooked rice and to more watery consistency.

Grill the salmon first with seasonings.  The salmon looks so delicious at this point, but it will be added to the simmering rice soup.  Pre-cooked rice is simmered in dashi water with mushroom, then dried wakame, blanched spinach and chopped spring onion will be added.  Mushroom and wakame gives the flavor to the soup too.

<Salmon Zosui> serves 2


  • 200g salmon fillet (skinned and boned)
  • 1 tbs mirin and 1 pinch salt for seasoning salmon
  • 500ml (2 cups) water
  • 5 cm konbu (dried seaweed sheet)
  • 2 dried shiitake mushroom
other ingredients:
  • 200g cooked rice, cold (I used brown rice)
  • 100g oyster mushroom
  • 2 bunches spinach
  • 1 tbs dried cut wakame
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs sake
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 ~ 1 tsp salt
  • chopped spring onion to garnish
  1. Sprinkle salmon with salt.  Line aluminium foil in a frying pan, and spray oil.  Heat the pan, and sear the salmon.  Brush with mirin both side while turning the salmon.
  2. Meanwhile, place water, konbu and shiitake in a heat-proof bowl, and microwave for 2 minutes.  Leave it for 1 minute.
  3. Remove the konbu and shiitake from dashi water.  Discard konbu.  Slice up shiitake mushroom.
  4. Place the dashi water in a cooking pot along with shiitake mushroom, oyster mushroom (stemmed, and roughly separated), sake and soy sauce.  Place on the stove and bring to the gentle boil.
  5. Add rice, and simmer for 3 minutes.
  6. Wash spinach and cut into 3 cm width.  Beat eggs in a bowl.  Roughly break the salmon meat.
  7. Add spinach, cut wakame, and salmon to the rice.  Season with salt.  Pour the egg mixture into the simmering rice soup.  Stir, and turn off the heat.
  8. Sprinkle chopped spring onion and serve with chilli powder (optional).

Rice Balls with Roasted Eels (Unagi Balls)

Posted August 30th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

I made this to eat at home, but it’s also a great item for picnic.  It’s such easy to make and looks cute, like temari-sushi (small and ball-shaped sushi). You can add more colors such as red (red ginger), green (green veggie or green pickles), orange (tobikko) …

The good thing is, you don’t even need to make your hands dirty – shape it by using pieces of plastic wrap.

I used normal steamed rice (not vinegared rice) so this is not sushi.  You can use vinegared rice if you like.

Makes 8~10
  • 100g unagi (roasted eel)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • about 3 small bowl-full of steamed rice (short or medium grain)
  1. If you are using a frozen unagi, defrost and warm up in a boiling water.  Cut into pieces.
  2. Beat egg with 1 pinch of sugar.  Heat a frying pan and lightly grease the pan.  Pour the egg and cook as if you are making very fine scrambled egg.  Try not to color the egg.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Cut plastic wrap about 15cm x 15cm.  Place a piece of the plastic wrap in a small bowl. (this makes easy to shape)  Arrange a piece of unagi in the centre, and spoon scrambled egg around it.  Drop 1.5 tbs of rice on top and close the plastic wrap.  Shape into a round ball.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Colourful Rice Balls (onigiri)

Posted July 26th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

As I mentioned before, steamed rice is an essential item for Japanese cuisine.  We sometimes eat just rice and tea as a meal.  A rice ball (onigiri) is a very common snack food which can be purchased at convenience stores, super markets and kiosks at train stations.  (Normally in triangle shape)

When we make bento, we sometimes shape the rice into balls or triangles to enjoy the looks.  This colorful rice balls look cute and I sure want to use it as a bento item if I’m making one 🙂   You can also arrange the ingredients and make your own color of onigiri.

When making onigiri, the rice has to be hot.  Normally we shape the rice with bare hands, with a bowl of salted water to dip the hands before handling hot rice.  You can also shape onigiri using a plastic wrap film if you don’t want to use your hands.

<Colourful Rice Balls>  makes 1 set

Ume (pickled plum):

  • 50g steamed rice
  • 1 ume
  1. Deseed the ume if it contains seed.  Mash the ume in a small bowl, and mix with hot steamed rice.
  • 50g steamed rice
  • 1 tbs bonito flakes
  • few drops soy sauce
  1. Mix everything in a small bowl.
  • 50g steamed rice
  • 1tbs aonori powder
  • 1/2 tsp roasted sesame seeds (white and black each)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  1. Mix everything in a small bowl.