Nimono – Konnyaku & Beans

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



You must have at least one dish that you love and miss to eat once in awhile.  In my case, it ought to be nimono.

Nimono is simple Japanese simmered dish, and the ingredients vary.  You can make nimono with many things but the main ingredients are usually vegetables.  Meat, seafood or tofu are often added, and it forms a great side dish to the table.

Sukiyaki, niku-jaga are popular nimono and you might have heard of them.  I love simple ones such as, nimono with eggplant & tuna (tinned), Chinese cabbage & chicken pieces, and daikon radish, root vegetables & squid.

After moved to North of the River, I often go to Coventry Village to buy some Japanese groceries, and when I do, I always but ingredients for oden.  I will write an easy recipe for oden (iconic Japanese winter dish) here on Umeboss some another time, but I had 1 pack of konnyaku left in the fridge and I decided to make nimono last night to accompany juicy karaage!



<Nimono with Konnyaku & Beans>  serves 3~4

  • 1 pack Konnyaku (grey or white is available in Perth)
  • 1 cup Frozen green beans, cut
  • 90g Tinned salmon
  • 1 teaspoon Dashi powder
  • 2 tablespoons Sake
  • 1 tablespoon Mirin
  • 1 tablespoon Soy sauce


  1. Cut konnyaku into pieces.  I cut into small triangle.  Score konnyaku with sharp knife eso the flavour goes into the konnyaku.
  2. Place konnyaku in a colander, and pour boiling water (to remove the smell).
  3. Place drained konnyaku, beans and drained salmon in a pan with 1 cup of water and the rest of the ingredients.  Bring to boil, and simmer for 10~15 minutes.  Serve with steamed rice.


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



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!


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-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.

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!

Oden with Ginger

Posted August 21st, 2012 in Food | 1 Comment »

Here is the real winter warmer – Oden with dipping sauce of ginger.

Oden, a Japanese dish of winter casserole, is usually eaten with karashi (Japanese mustard).  It is the very common and typical condiment for Oden.  Everywhere you go, an izakaya or a convenience store, Oden is served with a dash of karashi on the side.

But one of my friend from Himeji (a city in Hyogo prefecture) introduced me a new condiment – gingered soy sauce!

I’d never tried the combination before, but I immediately knew ginger would go great with oden.  Oden and ginger….  how clever!  It’s the best dish to warm up your body in cold days.

For for Oden, common ingredients are :  Egg, Konnyaku, Daikon, Gyu-suji (beef tendon), Nerimono (basically fishcakes, but many varieties : e.g. chikuwa, hanpen, gobo-maki etc), Atsuage (thick deep-fried tofu), and Potato.  Some people add other things too.

This time I used egg, daikon, konnyaku, tofu, and gobo-maki.  I can’t get good nerimono here in Perth.  Some Asian grocery shops sell “oden set” (mixed nerimono) in freezer section, but I find it quite expensive.


  • Water 6 cups
  • Sake (cooking wine) 1/4 cup
  • Soy Sauce 4 tbs
  • Mirin (sweet cooking wine) 2 tbs
  • Dashi Konbu seaweed 15cm
  • Ingredients (I used 4 Eggs, 4 Potatos, 1 Konnyaku sheet, 4 Gobo-maki, 500g Tofu, & 1 Daikon radish.)
  • Ginger 1 knob + Soy Sauce


  1. Place Dashi Konbu in 6 cups of water in a large pot, and leave for around 2 hours.
  2. Prepare ingredients : boil eggs, peel and cut daikon etc.  I don’t cut potato but you can if you prefer so.
  3. Place daikon & potato in the water with konbu, and turn on the heat.  Bring to gentle simmer – do not boil.  Remove konbu.
  4. Add sake, soy sauce, and mirin.  Add eggs, konnyaku, tofu & gobo-maki.  Simmer for 30minutes +.  ( I simmered few hours)


Once you turn off the heat, leave the oden for around 2 hours (or more), then warm up again before serving.  Ingredients in oden soak up the flavour when they cool down.  Let everything soak up all the flavor.

Serve with grated ginger + soy sauce.

Cauliflower Karaage

Posted August 12th, 2011 in Food | 4 Comments »

There are many winter vegetables available in the supermarkets – and cauliflower is one of them!  Foods in season are very cheap to buy, and also are flavourful and nutritious.  (Seasonal Food Guide)

When you have cauliflower in the fridge, what do you want to cook with it?  Cauliflower cheese? Cauliflower soup?  Or add to usual stir-fry dish?  Ummmm  all of them sound so yummy….  but how about making karaage with it?  It sounds very different – because karaage usually use chicken thigh.  But, this dish is really flavoursome and rally easy to make.

The batter is seasoned so you may not need any sauce to eat with it, but you can also enjoy it with ponzu or Japanese mayonnaise.

Eat while hot and crunchy!

<Cauliflower Karaage>

  • 1/4 cauliflower
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs  soy sauce
  • 2 tsp oyster sause
  • 3 tbs corn flour


  1. Cut cauliflower into small florets.
  2. Beat the egg in a mixing bowl.  Add sauces and flour, then mix together.
  3. Heat oil in a deep pan.
  4. Coat cauliflower florets in the batter, then deep-fry until golden.


White Chicken Soup with Cheesy Bagel Toast

Posted April 25th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

It’s been a little warm again the last few days, but yesterday was raining and the air was nicely cool.  This Easter holiday has been a nice and quiet one for me, as all in-laws are overseas and D and I don’t have any plan.  It’s good, I like days like this 🙂

I made some white soup with chicken and leftover vegetables.  I love eating soup all year around.  It’s hearty, and you can eat many kinds of vegetables at once.

<White Chicken Soup>

  • 300g chicken breast
  • 1 onion (large)
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk

* You can add/replace with any kinds of vegetables!


  1. Slice chicken into bite pieces.  Dice onion, zucchini and potatoes.
  2. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a deep pan, and cook chicken and onion until the onion is almost transparent.  Add zucchini, and pour chicken stock to the pan.  Add potatoes and bring to the gentle boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for few minutes.
  3. Add the mixed vegetables and milk to the pan.  Season.  Simmer further few minutes.


Cold Chicken Salad

Posted April 4th, 2011 in Food | 1 Comment »

I love eating salad all year round.  They are healthy, nutritious, and refreshing!  When I’m busy, a simple cut-and-mix salad is a real time saver.  As the weather is still not cooled down yet, I made this cold chicken salad with lots of cucumbers and carrots.  It refreshed my body – as I’ve been eating lots of carb and sweets lately (toast, hot cross buns, scones… the food that are easy to snack on), I really needed something healthy.

Noodle (e.g. somen noodle, rice vermicelli) can be added and make it a cold noodle salad.  The leftover of the salad can be also used to make fresh spring rolls – simply roll the mixed salad in rice paper, and serve with Hoisin sauce.

<Cold Chicken Salad>  serves 2~4

  • 150g chicken breast
  • 1 continental cucumber
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 2~3 leaves lettuce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs unsalted peanuts
  • 5~6 mint leaves
  • 2 tbs sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbs lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • few drops fish sauce
  1. Steam or poach the chicken.  Shred the meat.
  2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat.  Slightly bash the garlic cloves with side of knife and crush a little (no need to peel the skin).  Place the garlic and the peanuts on the frying pan, and toast until the peanuts are coloured.  Set aside.
  3. Halve the cucumber, and remove the seeds.  Slice thinly in angle, then cut lengthwise to make thin matchsticks shape.  Slice the carrot into the same size as cucumber.
  4. Finely chop up mint leaves.
  5. Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and toss gently.  Serve immediately.


Kinpira Gobo

Posted January 28th, 2011 in Food | 6 Comments »

Kinpira gobo, sweet soy glazed burdock root, is one of my favorite Japanese home-style food.  Kinpira is a  Japanese cooking style of “sauté and simmer”. It is commonly used to cook roots vegetables such as burdock roots, carrots, lotus roots and bamboo shoots.

The common ingredients for kinpira gobo are shredded burdock roots, carrots, and meat (usually thinly sliced pork or beef).  The seasonings are typical 4 Japanese ingredients.  If you have these 4 ingredients in your kitchen pantry, you can make kinpira at any time.

This time I used frozen shredded Japanese burdock roots.  There are also frozen shredded burdock roots from China at grocery shops and are much cheaper, but Japanese one tastes much better.  Even after thawed, the each burdock root still remains its crunchy texture.  It’s bit hard to get fresh burdock roots in Perth, so I always buy a frozen packet from Asian grocery shop and keep in the freezer.

<Kinpira Gobo>

  • 100g burdock roots, shredded
  • 1 carrot
  • 50g pork meat (any part), sliced
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs roasted white sesame seeds
  1. Peel the carrot and shred into the same size as burdock roots.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a frying pan, and saute burdock roots and carrot for 2~3 minutes.
  3. Add sake, mirin and soy sauce to the pan.  Stir and cook until the liquid is almost gone.
  4. Turn off the heat and mix through the sesame seeds.

Simmered Pumpkin

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

Pumpkin….  It’s a vegetable with full of nutrition!  It is used to make both savoury and sweet dishes, and the variety of the recipes are endless.

While I was little, I used to eat steamed rice mixed with this simmered pumpkin.  I call it “pumpkin rice” (カボチャご飯) and it was one of my favourite snack back then.  I remember bringing it to my friend’s house and eating, just like chocolate or lollies.

Making this dish is so simple – just place all the ingredient in a sauce pan, and simmer.  

<Simmered Pumpkin>

  • 500g Japanese pumpkin
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sake
  • 2 tbs sugar
  1. Cut pumpkin into 4~5cm cubes.  Leave the skin on. (you can peel the skin if you like) 
  2. Arrange the pumpkins in a layer in a medium sauce pan –  the bottom of the pan should be covered with pumpkins.  Pour the water to the pan to come halfway up to the height of the pumpkin.
  3. Add sake and sugar to the pan.  Turn on the heat, and bring to the gentle boil.  
  4. Meanwhile, cut baking sheet or aluminium foil into a circle of the size of the pan.  Turn down the heat, add soy sauce, and cover the pumpkin with the sheet (foil).  Place a lid, and simmer for 10~15 minutes.

Green Beans in Sesame Dressing (Ingen Goma Ae)

Posted October 23rd, 2010 in Food | 5 Comments »

One of my favorite side dish.  The aroma of roasted sesame seeds are so tempting.  

If you have a suribachi (a Japanese grinding-bowl) it’s best to grind the sesame seeds.  I used normal mortar and pestle.  Or, you can simply use a blender to do the job 🙂

Mix with other sauce together.  The oil from the sesame seeds has the distinctive nutty smell.

When you blanch the beans, make sure you don’t overcook them.  Leave the crunchy texture to the beans and you can enjoy the juicy crisp beans in sesame dressing.

<Ingen Goma Ae> serves 4 as an entree


  • 200g green beans
  • 30g white sesame seeds
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1/2 tsp sake (cooking wine)
  1. Heat a clean dry frying pan over medium heat.  Add sesame seeds and shake the pan so that they spread to form a even layer.
  2. Cook until they become light brown color and produce the nutty smell.  Shake the pan or stir with a wooden spoon to avoid them from burning as you cook.  Remove from the heat, and place the seeds in a mortar.
  3. While the seeds are hot, grind to form a paste.  You don’t need to grind finely if you want to enjoy the texture of the seeds.
  4. Add miso, sugar, soy sauce and sake, and mix together.
  5. Boil a medium pan of water to a boil.  Blanch beans for 30 seconds, or until just cooked but still crunchy.
  6. Drain, and add to the sesame sauce.  Combine together.

You can also use other vegetables such as spinach, asparagus and broccoli.


Broccoli Aemono (Dressed Side Dish)

Posted October 20th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

When you want something to add to your main meal when you are having Japanese food, this broccoli aemono is an option. Aemono simply means “mixed with seasoning”, and it is usually served as a side dish.

This is simply dressed with bonito flakes and soy sauce.  You can of course use other vegetables, such as spinach, green beans, bean shoots, and okura.

<Broccoli Aemono> serves 4 as a side

  • 8~10 florets broccoli
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 5g katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
  • 1 tbs roasted white sesame seeds
  1. Trim stems from the broccoli.  Cut the florets into small uniform pieces.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.  Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice and water.
  3. Blanch the broccoli florets for 30 seconds, or until just tender but still crunchy.  Quickly transfer to the ice water to refresh.  Once they are cooled, remove from the water and drain well.
  4. Place broccoli in a bowl and add soy sauce, bonito flakes and sesame seeds.  Mix through.
  5. Evenly divide the dressed broccoli into 4 small plates.

Canapes with Miso Jam (Torimiso)

Posted October 14th, 2010 in Food | 2 Comments »

Grilled vegetables, boiled eggs, and fresh silken tofu topped with miso jam with chicken mince.

It is a great party item or as a accompaniment to any alcohol!  It also goes with hot steamed rice. 😀

Today I used zucchini, boiled eggs and tofu, but you can basically use any vegetables, such as broccoli, daikon radish, or even Chinese cabbage leaves.  Anything goes with this tori-miso jam.

<Torimiso with Vegetables and Tofu> serves 2~4

  • 100g chicken mince
  • 50g red miso paste
  • 30g sugar
  • 1.5 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pack silken tofu (around 300~500g)
  • sesame seeds and spring onion to garnish
  1. Place chicken mince and sake in a small sauce pan, and turn on the heat.  Over low heat, cook chicken while stirling with silicon spatula.  Add sugar and miso paste, and stir until the miso mixture starts to look shiny and smooth.  Be careful, miso easily gets burned.   Turn off the heat and set aside.
  2. Make boiled eggs.  Slice into half, or quoter.
  3. Slice zucchini, and grill until just cooked through.
  4. Cut tofu into bite size.
  5. Arrange zucchini, eggs and tofu on a serving plate.  Top with miso mixture, and garnish with chopped spring onion or sesame seeds.

Daikon and Carrot Pickles (Namasu)

Posted September 29th, 2010 in Food | 1 Comment »

This dish is one of the Japanese new year food, but it is so easy to make and can be eaten as side dish and a bento item as well.  A great hashiyasume (“chopstick rester”).

With very simple ingredients, you can make this marinade in less than 5 minutes.  Namasu can be made with any ingredients –  uncooked (“nama”) vegetables and/or seafood.  I also like cucumber namasu, but this daikon and carrot namasu is the very standard namasu eaten in Japan.

<Daikon and Carrot Namasu>  makes a bowlful

  • 1/3 daikon radish (around 300g)
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1 tsp lemon rind, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs vinegar
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp roasted white sesame seeds
  1. Slice carrot and daikon very thinly.  You can use the slicer if you have.
  2. Place daikon, carrot and lemon rinds in a bowl, and sprinkle with salt.  Let it stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Mix vinegar and sugar in another bowl.
  4. Squeeze out the liquid from daikon mixture, and marinate in the vinegar mixture.  Sprinkle sesame seeds.
* You can eat them straight away, but it tastes better if you marinate little longer in the fridge.

Tempura Soba

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 –
  1. 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.
  2. 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 (^-^).

Japanese Curry with Winter Vegetables

Posted August 4th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Just to keep up this winter, I’ve been trying to focus on the balanced diet.  Eat fruits, vegetables, and drink lots of water.  Otherwise I will be eating same thing over and over again!  I would just sit down on the sofa after work and boil a pot of water to cook instant noodle or something.

I know that using a ready-made seasoning may not be a healthy option, but last night I felt like Japanese curry and made it with packet roux.  I added lots of vegetables including lotus roots and cauliflower.  I always add crushed tomato (tin) to Japanese curry to give a fruity taste, extra nutrition and to dilute the roux (animal fat).

Japanese curry can be made with any vegetables/meat/seafood, but I love pork meat (thinly sliced pork belly, or pork cushion) the best.

<Japanese Curry with Pork and Winter Vegetables>

  • 200g pork meat
  • 1 potato
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 5~6 slices lotus root
  • 2~3 bunch spinach
  • 50g cauliflower florets
  • 200g tomato in tin
  • 100g Japanese curry roux
  1. Cut vegetables into bite size.  Slice meat if you are using a chunk pork meat.
  2. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a deep sauce pan.  Saute onion over low heat until transparent.
  3. Add meat, and cook until the colour starts to change.  Add carrot, lotus root, cauliflower and about 500ml of water (just to cover all the vegetables).  Add tomato and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring often.  Scam needed.
  4. Turn off the heat or down to very low.  Add curry roux, and mix until dissolve.  Turn up the heat and simmer, stirring often, for another 10 minutes.  Add spinach 3 minutes before turning off the heat.

Seasoned Bamboo Shoots (Takenoko Katsuo)

Posted August 3rd, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Bamboo is one of my favorite root vegetable.  … Well, I like all the vegetables, but bamboo is the one I used to eat often in winter in Japan.  We make flavored rice, soup, pasta, etc etc with bamboo and they are all delicious.  I love the texture.

I don’t know if you have seen the real bamboo roots.  When I was little, my classmates and I used to go to mountains as a school event, and dig out bamboo roots from the ground.  It is very hard to dig, but we could take home the fresh bamboo roots to eat afterwards 🙂

Bamboo roots are covered with dark, thick skin.  Remove the skin, and the inside is pale yellow/white bamboo meat!  If the roots doesn’t get harvested, it will grow to bamboo trees.

Simply cooked with bonito flakes, and enjoy with steamed rice and a bowl of soup.  It is simple and delicious. 😀

<Takenoko Katsuo>  serves 4

  • 400g~450g Bamboo Shoot in Brine, boiled
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 3 tbs mirin
  • 10g bonito flakes
  1. Cut bamboo into bite sizes.  Place in a pot with 1/2 cup water and bonito flakes.  Bring to the boil.
  2. Turn down the heat, and add mirin.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add soy sauce.  Simmer until the liquid is almost gone.  Turn off the heat.


Pork Soboro with Root Vegetables

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

I love root vegetables!!  The crunchy texture is a great accent on the dish.  They are winter vegetables, so you can find fresh root vegetables at grocery shops now.  (I saw fresh lotus roots at VHT in Northbridge, and Local Fresh in Carousel shopping centre)  Otherwise you can always get frozen root vegetables at Asian grocery shops.

The seasoning is simple, but this dish is very tasty; all the flavours from pork and root vegetables come together and is agreat accompaniment for steamed rice.

Garnish with crispy lotus root slices 😉

<Pork Soboro with Root Vegetables> served 4

  • 200g pork mince
  • 100g lotus roots
  • 100g bamboo shoots (in can in brine)
  • 1/2 carrot, small
  • 1/2 onion, medium
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1tsp minced garlic
  • 1tbs sesame oil
  • 1/4cup oyster sauce
  • 1tbs soy sauce
  • steamed rice to serve
  1. Chop up onion and carrot.  Dice lotus roots and bamboo shoots. (if you are using fresh lotus roots, leave in a bowl of cold water with dash of vinegar for 20~30 minutes.)
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan and saute onion, carrot, garlic and ginger.  Add pork, drop soy sauce onto the meat, and cook until the colour starts to turn. Stir well.
  3. Add lotus roots and bamboo shoots, stir.  Add oyster sauce, and cook over medium-high heat until the liquid is almost gone.
To make lotus root chips:
  1. Slice lotus roots very thin.  Deep-fry in hot oil until crispy.
You can also enjoy as a condiment for porridge.

Small Wafu Plate

Posted April 1st, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Sometimes I suddenly feel like eating these food.  They are some of the ordinal Japanese food that can be seen at normal Japanese houses.  We eat roots vegetables quite often.  They are high in fiber and very healthy.

Clockwise: Spinach ohitashi, kinpira-gobo, simmered egg in a pocket of abura-age (fried bean curd), and chikuzennni (simmered roots vegetables).

I personally like light-seasoned food with no much sauce nor oil. (Especially people from Kyoto side in Japan prefer light-seasoned food.)

Eating these food makes me feel that I am a Japanese. 😀

<Spinach Ohitashi> serves 2~3

  • 1 spinach
  • 3 tbs hot water
  • 1/2 soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dashi powder
  • 1.5 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • bonito flake (katsuo-bushi)
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Branch spinach for about 1 minutes. Remove from the water and immerse in a bowl of iced water. Drain water and squeeze out any excess liquid.
  2. Cut the spinach into 3~5cm. Pour 1/2 tbs of soy sauce, and squeeze out the liquid well. Discard the liquid.
  3. Place dashi powder into water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and add soy sauce and mirin. Let it cool slightly.
  4. Immerse spinach in the liquid and leave it for 20~30 minutes. You can refrigerate.
  5. Arrange on a plate and garnish with bonito flake.

<Kinpira Gobo>

  • 1.5 cup gobo (burdock root) – frozen
  • 1 carrot – Julienne
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  1.  Heat the oil in a frying pan, and saute gobo and carrot for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add sauce and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid is evaporated.
  3. Garnish with roasted white sesame seeds.

<Egg in Bean Curd> serves 2

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 abura-age – frozen
  1. You can cook this in chikuzenni (recipe below) broth to save time.  Just place in the broth and cook together with these root vegetables.
  2. To serve, remove from the broth and cut in half.  Garnish with black sesame seeds.  

<Chikuzenni> serves 2~3

  • 1/2 wafu yasai mix – frozen
  • 1 tsp dashi powder
  • 1.5 cup water
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 1 tbs mirin
  1. Place water, dashi and yasai mix in a sauce pan, and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add sauce, and simmer for another 8-10 minutes.

** Those frozen vegetables can be found at Asian grocery shops.

Crispy Bacon & Green Salad

Posted November 19th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Branched greens and crispy bacon salad.

  • 2 rushes bacon
  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 tbs corn
  • fresh lemon juice or orange juice
  1. Boil water in a large sauce pan.(you can add salt to the water when you put the pan on the stove) While waiting for the water to boil, cut broccoli and asparagus into 2~3cm long.
  2. Branch broccoli in the boiling water, then scoop out and drop into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain. Repeat with asparagus. Never leave broccoli and asparagus in the cold water.
  3. Slice bacon into 1cm wide. Place bacon on a frying pan (no oil) and turn on the heat. Cook over low to medium low until bacon is golden and crispy.
  4. Turn off the heat. Wipe off any excess fat, and turn on the heat again, to high. Add broccoli, asparagus and corn, then stir through.
  5. Turn off the heat. Squeeze lemon juice (or orange juice) over, and season well with salt and black pepper.
  6. Serve immediately.

Sweet Pumpkin Doughnuts

Posted August 29th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »
This morning I woke up early and was wondering around the kitchen.  I like having coffee in the morning so I made a cup of black coffee, and opened the fridge if there’s anything to munch on.  I was kind of half asleep, and sipping hot coffee and walking around thinking whether I should turn on tv or just enjoy this quite moment … if someone sees me in the morning I must look weird, but that’s me :p
When I was looking inside of the fridge I found a small piece of pumpkin.  It’s just a leftover from roasted pumpkin I made the other night.  Then I thought ” hey maybe I make some doughnuts using the pumpkin.”
I used to make many kinds of doughnuts when I was back in Japan, such as sweet potato doughnuts, carrot doughnuts,  kinako (soy bean powder) coated doughnuts, doughnuts with vanilla ice cream and azuki an (chunky azuki paste), etc.  I love doughnuts with carrot, sweet potato or pumpkin as they are not too sweet and high in nutrition.  Good for kids 🙂
Here is the recipe :
<Pumpkin Doughnuts>
  • 100 g pumpkin
  • 150 g plain flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • vanilla essence
  1. Cut pumpkin and peel the skin off.  Steam or microwave until it’s soft.  Drain well, an  mash up until smooth.
  2. In a bowl, place mashed pumpkin, egg yolk, sugar and few drops of vanilla essence.  Mix with a wooden spoon or a spatula.
  3. Shift in flour and baking powder and mix well.  (* at this point add 1 tbs of water into the dough if the mixture is too tough.  If the dough is already soft, there is no need to add water.)
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and rest for 20 mins in the fridge.
  5. Heat up oil to 160~170 ℃.  Using two table spoons, slowly drop half table spoon of dough into oil, one at a time, and deep-fry until it’s golden.
  6. Drain, and serve on a plate.  Dust with icing sugar.
As I mentioned earlier this doughnut is not too sweet, so if you want to add more sweetness you can either:
drop into a tray of cinnamon sugar while it’s hot.
you can dip into melted chocolate,
enjoy with some icing.  🙂
You can also make them in different shapes such as rings and sticks.
Ring : cut baking paper into appx 10cm square, and pipe out the mixture into ring shape onto the baking paper.  Slowly drop the paper (with the mixture on) into 160~170 ℃ oil, facing the doughnuts side down, and deep-fry.  The paper will come off itself.
Stick : Drop a tiny amount of oil on your hands, and shape the dough into a stick, then quickly drop into heated oil.  Be careful not to burn yourself!
Now, if you excuse me I need to go back to the kitchen and finish up my doughnut while it’s hot. 🙂