Nimono – Konnyaku & Beans

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

konnyku-nimono

 

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!

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<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.

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!

 

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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.

<Oden>

  • 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

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  1. Cut cauliflower into small florets.
  2. Bead 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.

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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!

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  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.

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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.

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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
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  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.
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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)
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  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.

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