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. 🙂