Easy Maze-Gohan with Tinned Salmon

Posted June 17th, 2015 in Food | No Comments »

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the things I used to do on my free-time was standing in the kitchen alone wondering what I can cook, and making whatever came to my mind.  But these days I’m finding it’s hard to spot my “free” time and I can hardly stay in the kitchen alone with two little ones nagging for food or play.  It really stresses me out sometimes, because I want to cook something for them which is nutritious and with variety of ingredients, but on the other hand if preparation takes long then they will start drag me out from the kitchen.

Here is one of my life-saving recipe.  Maze-gohan is seasoned rice with variety of ingredients.  Different from takikomi-gohan, maze-gohan is plain steamed rice mixed with cooked ingredients (where takikomi-gohan is cooked rice with ingredients and seasonings).

Maze-gohan … plain steamed rice + cooked & seasoned ingredients
Takikomi-gohan … uncooked rice + raw ingredients + seasonings cooked together

salmon-cha-han

 

This maze-gohan with salmon is a hit for my 1-year-old too.  The dish is done in 10 minutes. 🙂

<Maze-Gohan with Tinned Salmon>  serves 3~4 kids

  • 95g Tinned Pink Salmon in springwater, drained
  • 1 portion of Frozen Chopped Spinach, defrosted
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 bowls of Steamed Rice
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
  • White Sesame Seeds to sprinkle

 

  1. Heat a frying pan, and spray oil.
  2. Cook salmon and spinach, stirring, for 1~2 minutes.
  3. Beat egg in a small bowl, and pour into the frying pan.  Stir using chopsticks or wooden spatula to scramble.
  4. Drizzle sesame oil, and season with soy sauce.  Sprinkle sesame seeds and turn off the heat.
  5. Mix with steamed rice.

You can add small amount of oyster sauce or more soy sauce if you like.  I use leftover cooked rice from day before; warm up the rice in the microwave before mixing with salmon.  You can cook this salmon first (while your kids are taking nap or watching tv) and keep in the fridge.  When they are hungry, just mix with warm rice and done!

 

 


Spicy Chilli Teriyaki Chicken

Posted May 28th, 2015 in Food | No Comments »

spicy-teriyaki-chicken-2

Since I met my husband, I became a chilli eater.  I like spicy food now and love eating KFC chicken with chili sauce & rice.  It sounds weird, but it’s Indonesian style I think! When it comes to chilli, my husband loves anything including chili sauce, wasabi, chilli powder and Jalapeño.

He started eating chicken karaage with Japanese mayonnaise & Sriracha chili sauce ever since he had one at Mr Samurai restaurant on Barrac street in Perth.  (the restaurant closed few years ago)  I’m not really into this chili sauce and am just happy with Japanese mayonnaise, but this chili sauce is a must when he eats karaage.

chili

One day I was cooking teriyaki chicken and thought of  adding something extra. Something different for a change.  I added Sriracha.

spicy-teriyaki-chicken

I actually liked it.  Ordinal teriyaki sauce with some kick in it.  It went well with Japanese mayonnaise too.

chli teriyaki chicken

Here is the recipe.

Chilli Teriyaki Chicken
Recipe (serves 2)

  • Chicken Thigh Fillet … 2 (appx 350g)  with skin
  • Sugar … 1 tablespoon
  • Sake (cooking wine) … 1 tablespoon
  • Soy Sauce … 1.5 tablespoon
  • Mirin (sweet wine) … 1/2 tablespoon
  • Sriracha Chilli Sauce … 1 teaspoon

 

  1. Mix all ingredients except chicken.
  2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a frying pan, and grill chicken thigh over high heat – skin side first.  When golden coloured, turn the chicken over and cook on low heat.  Add the sauce, and simmer until the sauce thickens.
  3. Serve with steamed rice and Japanese mayonnaise.

 


Cabbage-Yaki

Posted February 24th, 2015 in Food | No Comments »

cabbage

 

I had a cabbage.  A cabbage sitting in the fridge.  And I was thinking again “what to cook tonight…”

Since I had another baby, cooking time for dinner has been a stressful time for me.  Especially a 8-month-old doesn’t stay still and I literally can’t take my eyes off him.  He eats sandals, picks a thin tiny hair from the floor and put in his mouth, and tries to stand up but ends up unsuccessful and bump on his head…  A nearly-4-year-old, on the other hand, keeps telling me “I’m hungry~ I’m hungry~.”  I tell him “I’m cooking dinner, wait for a bit” but he insists to have some snack while waiting.  Snack would spoil his appetite, but most of the time I just give him something so I can prepare dinner.  It seems that I don’t have proper time to cook decent food these days.  I can’t stay in the kitchen for too long while 2 boys are in the house.

I’m trying to figure out what would be the best solution for this.  What other mums do?  I hear some only cook once a week, and heat up the dinner each day.  Would that be a great idea?  I’m finding hard to find a time to do grocery shopping as well.  I think I need to think about the routine and schedule ahead the menu of the week .

Anyway, one day I had a cabbage in the fridge and I thought I should cook this before it goes bad.  It’s taking a big space out of fridge too.  I decided to make something, maybe okonomiyaki – all these events in the city are making me feel like munching on some Japanese street food.  But on that day I even thought making okonomiyaki dough with flour would be too much trouble.  I was very lazy.  So I did skip that part and made this …. cabbage-yaki!

cabbage-yaki

Messy photo – sorry I had already started eating this.

Looks like okonomiyaki.  It tastes like one too!  But I basically used just cabbage, prawn, red ginger (which is a key ingredient to resemble okonomiyaki) and egg.  I skipped the flour.  Adding the sauce and Japanese mayonnaise gave it the similar taste to okonomiyaki, and it was super quick to make.  It’s basically an omelet with sauce!

 

cabbage-yaki2

Cabbage-yaki  (makes 1)

  • cabbage, shredded or chopped ..  1 cup
  • prawn, peeled and tailed .. 2~3
  • grated/minced ginger .. 1/2 teaspoon
  • red ginger .. 1 teaspoon
  • egg .. 1
  • tomato sauce .. 2 tablespoons
  • oyster sauce .. 2 tablespoons
  • Japanese mayonnaise  to dress

 

  1. Heat a frying pan and spray oil on to the pan.  Cook prawn and ginger until the prawn turns pink.  Add cabbage, and sauté until it becomes soft.
  2. Add ginger, stir.  Beat an egg in a bowl, and pour over the pan evenly.  Once the bottom is set, flip over and cook another side.
  3. Serve on a plate.  Mix tomato sauce & oyster sauce, and cover the omelet. Dress with Japanese mayonnaise.  Serve immediately.

 

A super quick snack/supper is served.


Nikomi Hamburg Steak

Posted January 15th, 2015 in Food | No Comments »

hamburg3

One of my son’s book shows typical Japanese food for kids such as curry & rice, omu-rice and spaghetti Napolitan, and it made me want to eat hamburg steak tonight!  Hamburg is one of typical kids meal in Japan.  Most family restaurants in Japan have hamburg steaks on their menu, and there are restaurants specialising hamburg steak (e.g. Bikkuri Donki) too.  There are few different types of hamburg steak, like melted cheese hamburg steak, curry hamburg steak, wafu (Japanese style) hamburg steak, etc.  Yummo!

hamburg5

I decided to make nikomi hamburg steak with fried egg.  Nikomi means “stew” or “simmered”, but the cooking method is more like “braised”.  The hamburg steak is first seared, then cooked in the sauce.

hamburg6

Hamburg steak covered in thick shiny sauce… I recommend to serve this with steamed rice but it also goes well with your choice of bread. 🙂

Here is the recipe:

hamburg2

 

serves 4

  • Pork mince .. 360g
  • Onion .. 1
  • Egg .. 1
  • Breadcrumb .. 1/4 cup
  • Milk .. 1/4 cup
  • Tomato sauce … 4 tablespoons
  • Sugar … 4 tablespoons
  • Soy Sauce … 1 tablespoon
  • Vegetable stock cube*  .. 2
  • Water .. 500ml
  • Cornflour .. 3 teaspoons + Water 2 tablespoons

* I use MASSEL salt reduced Bouillon stock cubes

 

  1. Chop up onion finely.  Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, and sauté the onion until it becomes transparent.  Transfer the onion to a plate or tray to cool.
  2. Mix breadcrumbs and milk.  Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, mix mince, onion, breadcrumbs+milk, egg, salt and pepper very well until the mixture becomes sticky.
  4. Divide the mixture into 4.  Shape them into flat ovals.
  5. Heat 1 table spoon of oil in a deep pan (wide enough to place all 4 patties), and sear the patties both side.  Absorb any extra oil with kitchen paper if required.
  6. Add water, sugar, and stock cubes.  Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to medium to simmer.
  7. Add tomato sauce and soy sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Mix cornflour + water.  Turn up the heat, and pour the conrflour mixture into the sauce. Stir lightly, then simmer for another 2 minutes.

 

Fried eggs, baked potatoes and vegetables are optional.  Serve with steamed rice or your choice of bread.

 

 

 

 


Miso-Marinated Pork

Posted September 13th, 2014 in Food | No Comments »

buta-misozuke

 

Meat is not my most favorite food, but I do get a craving for yakiniku (Japanese version of BBQ- it literary means “grilled meat”) sometimes.  Usually I go for thinly sliced beef if having yakiniku at home here in Perth, but marinated chicken thigh or pork fillets are actually great alternatives.

Marinating in miso based marinade gives meat tender and full of flavour.  I bet you’ll love it with freshly cooked steamed rice and some shredded cabbage!  Yummmm…  So does other marinated meat, this one gets burned easily when cooking so make sure you keep an eye on it while grilling.  Searing the meat in a hot pan gives great flavour of caramelised sweet miso paste to the meat.    You can cook this in a yakiniku plate and eat as you cook in the table, or cook in a pan and serve with shredded cabbage and hot steamed rice.  You can also make it in a donburi style by arranging the meat and cabbage on a bed of steamed rice in a serving bowl.

This pork is also great to have with somen noodle in summer.  Chilled somen noodle with dipping sauce sometimes doesn’t satisfy your hunger, but serving that with this freshly grilled pork and some summer salad makes a great treat for a hot day!

<Miso-Marinated Pork> serves 2~3 people

  • Pork fillet 300g (I used pork loin fillet)
  • Miso paste 3 tablespoon (I used red miso paste)
  • Mirin (sweet cooking wine) 1 tablespoon
  • Sake (cooking wine) 1 tablespoon
  • Honey 1 tablespoon
  • Soy sauce 1 teaspoon
  • Sesame oil 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic & ginger, grated, around 1 teaspoon each

 

  1. Mix all the ingredients except pork.
  2. Place pork fillets in a ziplock bag with the mixed sauce.  Marinate half-day or overnight.
  3. Remove pork from the marinade.  Cut into 1~2cm width.
  4. Heat a frying pan and spray oil.  When the pan is really really hot, add the meat and quickly move around the pan to sear the meat.  Be cautious not to burn the meat.
  5. Serve with rice while hot.

a


Takikomi Tomato Rice

Posted August 14th, 2014 in Food | 1 Comment »

takikomi

Tomato rice, often used for omelet-rice (omu-rice), is usually made with cooked rice, chicken pieces, some vegetables and tomato sauce in a frying-pan, just like stir-fried rice.  We call the rice “chicken rice”, and I love it even without a thin omelet wrapper.  The problem with cooking this rice is that sometimes the rice becomes bit mashy while stir-frying, and you have to have cooked rice to make this.  so, when you feel like omelet-rice, you first need to cook rice then stir-fry with other ingredients.

I hate mashy rice.  Especially with Japanese rice (medium to short grain rice).  It’s soggy, soft and has no texture that I love about rice.

So these days I often make this “chicken rice” in a rice cooker.  You don’t need to stir-fry in a pan as a rice cooker will do all the work.  It’s easy, time saving, and less washing to do!

The basic ingredients are medium (or short) grain rice, chicken thigh pieces, onion, carrot and sauces, but this time I made it with prawn & chopped bacon instead of chicken.  Yum!!

takikomi2

I added spinach in this recipe.  You can modify this with any vegetables at least you add the correct amount of rice and sauces.

<Recipe>

  • Rice 450g
  • Tomato Sauce  4 table spoons
  • Oyster Sauce 1 teaspoon
  • Stock Cube 1 (vegetable or chicken) or 1 teaspoon
  • Frozen Chopped Spinach 1 portion
  • Chopped Carrot 1/4 cup
  • Chopped Onion 1/4 cup
  • Chopped Bacon 1/4 cup
  • some prawns, no shell, heads and tails

 

  1. Wash rice.  Level the rice in a rice cooker.  Add sauces and stock cube.  Add water to the level marked “3”, or you point your finger down inside the rice cooker, add water to the first line of your finger.
  2. Add other ingredients.  Level the surface.
  3. Turn on the cooker.

 

You should leave the lid of rice cooker closed for at least 10 minutes after the rice is cooked.  Mix the rice through within 30minutes after cooking to let the excess steam escape.

Serve with or without thin omelet, and enjoy!


Dinosaur Themed Birthday Cake

Posted March 20th, 2014 in Food | 2 Comments »

Dinosaurs on cake

As my son is currently crazy about dinosaurs, it was no surprise he requested a dinosaur birthday cake for his 3rd birthday.

I’m sure a dinosaur shaped cake covered with colourful sweet icing will excite him, but I still feel uncomfortable with these Western too-sweet-treat :{ I love Japanese cake and I’ve been baking Japanese style cake for his birthdays, so I decided to make one again for his 3rd birthday.

To make it more appealing to him, I put some dinosaurs and dinosaur eggs (Easter eggs, actually lol) on top of the cake.  The cake consists layers of sponge cake, whipped cream, and lots of fresh fruits as usual.

Chocolate dinosaurs

 

I started making dinosaurs few weeks ago.  It’s made of chocolate and it can be kept in the fridge for a long time once it’s made, so at least one thing is done in early stage it gives me lots of relief.

If you love drawing, you will love the process.  Of course you can create anything rather than dinosaurs!

It’s pretty easy and you’ll just need chocolate (dark and white) and some colouring.

Here is how I made these dinosaurs… ↓↓

Firstly, print out an image of what you want to draw.  An image with simple lines and not too many colours is a better choice.  You can draw the image from scratch if you’d like.  Remember, the image will be reversed once the chocolate is set – so if you are writing any letter it has to be reversed to a mirror image.

Once you have a clear image on nice clean paper, place a piece of baking sheet on top.  Staple the paper so it won’t move.

Chocolate dinosaur making 1

Secondly, melt dark (or milk) chocolate on a plate or small cup over hot water bath.  Using a skewer, just like a pen draw the line according to the image.

Let the chocolate set in the fridge.

Chocolate dinosaur making 2

Thirdly, make coloured chocolate.  Melt white chocolate in a place or small cup.

If you decide to make green colour, I found Matcha green tea powder works the best when mixing with white chocolate.  For other colours like red or yellow, if you happen to have some colouring powder (e.g. jelly powder) I think it’s easier than mixing with liquid colouring as chocolate and liquid don’t really get mixed well.  Too much liquid colouring will curdle the chocolate.  So, if you are working with liquid colouring make sure you start with a super tiny bit of drop.  Mix with melted white chocolate, and add some more until it reaches desired colour.

Make few colours according to your image.  I made green, yellow and red (pink).

Carefully, spread the coloured chocolate over the image.  Be careful not to move the chocolate line you drew.  (I do sometimes…)

Let the chocolate set in the fridge.

Chocolate dinosaur making 3

Lastly, melt white chocolate in another plate or small cup.  Spread to cover the thin area or all over the image.  Let the chocolate set in the fridge.

Once the chocolate is set, carefully remove from the sheet and flip it over.  Now you have a cute image to decorate your cake 🙂

Chocolate dinosaurs

 

TA-DA!!!

The green dinosaurs’s dots look like they’re bit melted when spreading green chocolate :p  But still look good aren’t they?

birthday-cake

I made this Japanese anime character “Anpanman” for my son’s 2’nd birthday.

IMG_6004

Another dinosaur for my friend.

truck

A truck for a 3-year-old boy.

a

 


American Dog

Posted September 27th, 2013 in Food | 4 Comments »

American Dog – …. I’m not talking about a dog here, it’s actually a name of delicious snack.  I think why people call it “Dog” is because it is quite similar to the style of “hotdog”.  It’s got sausage, it’s got bread (kind of), and is a handy snack to fill up empty stomach between the meal.

Here is the American Dog ↓↓↓

Yummmmm

It’s a children’s favourite!  You can find them at the counter in convenience stores in Japan along with niku-man (steamed pork buns) , karaage (fried chicken), and chips.  It often comes with tomato sauce and/or mustard, just like hotdog.

American Dog is a savoury donut , and there is sausage inside!  Sausages are coated in batter then get deep-fried in oil.  Usually American Dog is big (containing 1 whole Frankfurt sausage) and a chopstick or wooden stick is used as a handle, but I use dry pasta for edible handle and I make them smaller so kids can easily munch on.

<Recipe>  makes about 8 mini American Dog

  • 2 long Frankfurt sausages
  • some Plain Flour to dust the sausages
  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 30g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg (at room temperature)
  • 20g Unsalted Butter
  • 50cc Milk
  • 1 or 2 Dried spaghetti

  1. Melt butter in microwave.  Leave to cool.
  2. Cut the sausage into 4 pieces each, so there’re 8 pieces.  Dust the sausages with plain flour in a plastic bag or a bowl.  Shake off excess flour.
  3. In a mixing bowl, place melted butter, sugar, egg and milk, and mix well. Shift in the flour + baking powder, and mix with spatula.  
  4. Break the spaghetti and stick to the sausages.  
  5. Heat oil in a deep sauce pan to 160℃.  Using 2 spoons, coat the sausages with batter then drop into oil.  Turn the donut around until it becomes golden colour.  Remove from oil to the rack. Repeat with remaining.
  6. Enjoy with tomato sauce, or any sauce you like 🙂

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).

Roasted Sesame Dressing

Posted July 8th, 2013 in Food | No Comments »

This may be too thick to be called “dressing”, but you can adjust the consistency by adding more mayonnaise.  I love roasted sesame dressing because it contains all the goodness of sesame seeds, and most of all, is very tasty!

You should use plain white sesame seeds and roast by yourself rather than using store-bought roasted sesame seeds.  It gives you more good “sesame oil” when using freshly roasted seeds.

This recipe makes a small amount and is perfect for making for a small family.

<Roasted Sesame Dressing>

  • white sesame 3 tablespoon
  • white vinegar 1 teaspoon
  • soy sauce 1 teaspoon
  • tomato sauce 1 teaspoon
  • Japanese mayonnaise 4 tablespoon (or more/less)
  • sugar to taste

 

  1. Roast the sesame seeds well in a frying pan.
  2. Place the seeds in a mortar, and grind using a pestle until the seeds break and some oil come out.
  3.  Add other ingredients, and mix through.  Add sugar to taste if needed.

I made a big batch, and keeping it in the fridge.  I made some green bean salad with this dressing the other day – yum!!  And also, I made gobo salad using frozen burdock roots. (It’s really hard to find fresh one here in Perth)  It turned out great too.  Here is the recipe;

<Gobo salad with sesame dressing>

  • frozen gobo, shredded 150g
  • 1/2 carrot
  • soy sauce 1.5 tablespoon
  • mirin 2 tablespoon
  • sake 2 table spoon
  • sugar 1 tablespoon
  • sesame oil 1 tablespoon
  • Roasted Sesame Dressing 1 ~ 2 tablespoon
  1. Cut the carrot into matchsticks.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a frying pan, and stir-fry the gobo and carrot for 2 minutes.  Pour sake, and cook further 2 minutes.
  3. Add soy sauce, sugar, and mirin.  Cook until the liquid is almost evaporated.  Turn off the heat.
  4. When cool, add the dressing.  Mix well.

It really goes well with steamed rice and miso soup 🙂

I think it will go well as a condiment for yakiniku too.  I should try that next time!