Posted August 18th, 2012 in Food, Japan | No Comments »
Obon has finished….! Obon is one of holiday season in Japan where people go back to their hometown and pray for ancestors. During Obon you are not supposed to kill any living creature (including a fly) because it may be your ancestor visiting you in a form of the creature. I feel so bad now because I forgot about Obon and killed a small spider 2 days ago. It’s hard to remember these things while living in Perth. :|
Above photo is marinated octopus, cucumber and wakame seaweed in vinegar sauce. I call it tako-to-kyuri-to-wakame-no-sunomono, but I think you can just call it tako-su. It’s typical summer salad (or should I say side dish) in Japan.
It is hard to find octopus legs in Perth, but in Japan we eat it very often. If you go to kaiten sushi bar you’ll see octopus sushi, which is a nigiri sushi with a slice of cooked octopus leg. Octopus leg is always available at supermarket too. It is usually sold cooked though. I don’t get to see raw octopus legs much over there unless I go to a fish market.
I think octopus legs are kind of gross food here? That’s why I can’t buy it from any grocery shops? Most Asian grocery shops don’t sell it too. I usually buy it from seafood shops.
- Octopus Leg (cooked) 100g
- Cucumber 1
- Wakame seaweed (dry) 1 tbs
- White Wine Vinegar 2 tbs
- Sugar 1 tbs
- Soy Sauce 1 tsp
- Ginger 1 slice
- Soak wakame in water until soften, and drain well.
- Slice cucumber thinly. (or thick if you prefer crunchy texture) Slice cooked octopus leg. Slice ginger into long matchsticks.
- Mix vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and ginger.
- Marinate octopus, cucumber and wakame in the dressing in the fridge for 1 hour or more before serving.
Posted July 1st, 2012 in Food | 2 Comments »
This is a very classic Japanese dish; hijiki-no-nimono (stewed hijiki with vegetables and fried bean-curd) which is often used to fill bento box as well. Hijiki is a type of seaweed and is good for skin and hair – very healthy! Unfortunately hijiki is not available at stores in Perth because of Australian import laws, so you will have to bring it from Japan by yourself (import non-commercially is currently allowed). If you have a friend who is flying to Japan then you can ask him/her
Hijiki-no-nimono can have any ingredients – but I usually cook with carrot, konnyaku, aburaage (fried bean-curd), chicken thigh and chikuwa (fish-cake). You can also add soy beans or/and snake beans. Since I didn’t have chikuwa in my fridge, I cooked without it.
You can find abura-age and chikuwa in freezer section at Asian grocery shop. Konnyaku is usually in the fridge, or sometimes sold at room temperature on the shelves.
It’s a great accompaniment to steamed rice
Here is the recipe :
- Dried Hijiki 17g
- Chicken Thigh 50g (no bone. with or without skin)
- Carrot 1 (medium)
- Konnyaku (black) about 90g (I used 1/2 of normal packet)
- Aburage 1/2 sheet
- Soy Sauce 1 tbs
- Sake (cooking wine) 1 tbs
- Mirin (sweet cooking wine) 1 tbs
- Dashi Powder 1 pinch
- Soak dried hijiki in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Drain.
- Cut chicken into small pieces. Slice carrot, konnyaku and abura-age.
- Place all the ingredients in a pot. Turn on the fire and bring to gentle boil. Turn down the heat and simmer with lid on for about 10 minutes.
- Serve with steamed rice
Posted March 16th, 2012 in Food | 2 Comments »
While I was in Japan, my dad bought iwashi (sardine) from a local seafood shop. Iwashi is miracle fish – it can be eaten in many ways. Grilled, deep-fried, poached, simmered in sauce, and even raw as sashimi. I love young sardine (shirasu/jako) too. I often ate young sardine in Japan by just sprinkling on steamed rice. I just love it!
You may find it not easy to eat iwashi due to its small bones. But actually you can eat the bones too if you cook the fish very well. The iwashi my dad bought had been trimmed already (gutted and head had been chopped off), so I didn’t need to do anything but placing into simmering sauce to make nitsuke. (a dish used simmering technique)
Almost any fish can be cooked as nitsuke. I think the common fish used for nitsuke are saba (Mackerel), sardine and salmon. Sauce for nitsuke is usually soy sauce-based, but miso-based one is also often used. For both sauces, ginger and sake (cooking wine) are used to kill the smell of fish.
The iwashi I used for this iwashi-no-nitsuke was pretty small and got lots of bones, but I could just eat them. Serve with steamed rice, miso soup and pickles, and now you have a set of beautiful Japanese food.
<Iwashi-no-Nitsuke> serves 3~4
- 10 iwashi (sardine), gutted and head removed
- 1 cup sake (cooking wine)
- 1 tbs sugar
- 2 tbs mirin
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 clove ginger (about 3cm)
- recipe -
- Wash iwashi in cold water, and pat to dry with kitchen paper. Set aside.
- Slice ginger.
- In a wide sauce pan, place sake. Bring to the gentle simmer to burn off the alcohol.
- Add sugar, soy sauce, and mirin. Arrange iwashi into the pan, level (flat), and scatter sliced ginger around. Turn the heat to low.
- Cut baking paper or aluminium foil into about same size as the pan. Crumple the paper, and place on top of iwashi to cover. Place a lid, and simmer until the liquid is almost gone and becomes sticky.
- Turn off the heat, and let the iwashi cool down slightly. The flavour will be absorbed during the cooling process.
- Serve with steamed rice.
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 October 6th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »
It’s not quite a salad, actually. It has thick salty miso taste, and it made me want to eat this dish with steamed rice.
Very cheap, easy, and fast to make. What you need are plastic wrap and microwave. I made up this dish because I didn’t have any meat in the fridge, and have been trying to save on grocery bills (post) so just wanted to create a dish with cheap ingredients. Since I started to record my expenses on groceries I’ve been more careful what to buy and able to save some money! Now our grocery expense (for 3 of us, sometimes includes diapers and toilet paper) is less than $400.00 a month.
The salty miso goes with steamed rice! I was actually thinking to make this with thinly sliced pork (I think it would taste much better) but tuna was also ok. You can simply substitute chicken too! If you use port or chicken instead of tuna, make sure you cook through the meat.
<Steamed Tuna Salad> serves 2
- 1 cup cabbage, roughly chopped
- 100g tined tuna
- 2 tbs miso paste
- 1/2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbs sake (cooking wine)
- 1 tbs sugar (I use raw sugar)
- 1 tbs water
- 1 tbs spring onion, chopped
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Mix miso, sake, soy sauce, water, sugar and spring onion. Drain tuna well.
- On a microwave-safe plate, arrange cabbage then top with tuna. Spread miso mixture on top.
- Wrap the plate with plastic wrap, and microwave for about 2 minutes.
- Drizzle sesame oil over. Serve with steamed rice.