Tempura Soba (Prawn & Vegetable Tempura)

Posted January 10th, 2016 in Food | 2 Comments »


A summer staple food in Japan – cold soba noodle with dipping sauce.  Great to eat in a hot day!

There are few different types of noodle you can use for this “cold noodle + dipping sauce” dish.  Soba, udon, somen, and chu-ka noodle.  What are the differences?

Soba is made of buckwheat, and is grey-ish colour.  Somen is very thin white Japanese noodles made of wheat flour, less than 1.3 mm in diameter.  Udon is a type of thick wheat flour noodle.  Chu-ka noodle is egg noodle which is often used for ramen.

At my house in Japan I used to eat udon a lot.  I seldom ate soba while I was in Japan (and now still) – I’m not sure why it is, but I guess it’s because people near Kansai in Japan eat more udon than soba noodle for some reason.


Here in Perth I got some cha-soba noodles from a local Asian shop.  Cha-soba noodles are soba noodles made from buckwheat and wheat flour with the added ingredient of fresh green tea leaves.  You can smell green tea aroma from the noodle and they are really refreshing.


To accompany cha-soba noodles, I made some kakiage (mixed vegetables tempura) with chopped prawn.   If you have tempura flour it’s super easy to make, but even if you don’t, it’s not that difficult.

Here is the recipe for prawn kakiage:

<Recipe> makes about 10 kakiage

  • prawn (no shells & heads) … 1/2 cup
  • chopped vegetables (I used onion, zucchini) … 1/2 cup
  • plain flour … 3 tablespoons
  • corn flour … 1 tablespoon
  • salt … 1/4 teaspoon
  • water … 50ml (or adjust the constancy)


  1. Chop prawns.
  2. Mix flour, salt and water in a mixing bowl. Add the prawns and vegetables and stir.
  3. Heat oil in a shallow frying pan (about 3 – 5cm) to 170℃.
  4. Using two spoons, carefully drop the tempura mixture into the oil.  Fry over medium heat for both sides.
  5. Serve with cooked cold soba noodles.


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).

Yaki Somen (stir-fried somen noodles)

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
  1. Boil water in a deep pan, and cook somen noodle to al dente.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


Basil Meatball Pasta

Posted May 5th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

The basil we sow about few months ago is growing big now!

I had a pack of beef mince in the freezer, so I decided to make meatballs using the basil leaves.

I chopped up the leaves finely and added to the meatballs along with onions.  Although I like meatballs with half pork half beef, this time it’s 100% beef.  It was still good, the delicious sizzling smell hit my nose as soon as I started grilling the meatballs.

Fresh basil is so great for tomato based sauce.

I added about 15 leaves to the mince, but I could add more, actually. I was bit stingy!

<Basil Meatballs>

  • 300g beef mince
  • 15 (or more) basil leaves
  • 1 onion (large)
  • 1/2 celery stalk
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 450g chopped tomato (tin)
  • 3 garlic cloves


  1. Chop up the onion and celery finely.  Place half of the onion into a mixing bowl with beef mince.
  2. Chop up basil leaves.  Add to the bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, and mix well.
  3. Slice garlic thinly.  Heat 1 table spoon of olive oil in a sauce pan, and fry garlic until fragrant.  Add the rest of the onion and the celery to the pan, and saute for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add tomato paste, and fry for few minutes, then add chopped tomatoes.  Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat 1 table spoon of olive oil in a frying pan.  Shape the mince mixture into little balls, and place onto the frying pan.  Grill over medium-high heat until the bottom is coloured, then flip it around.  Turn down the heat and cook further 3 minutes.
  6. Pour the tomato sauce into the frying pan over the meatballs.  Simmer for few minutes.
  7. Enjoy with pasta or bread!  

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 (^-^).

Fried Udon with Bacon, Broccoli and Mushroom (Yaki Udon)

Posted September 6th, 2010 in Food | 2 Comments »

Yaki Udon (fried udon noodle) is normally cooked with thinly sliced pork, onion, carrot and bonito flake (similar to yakisoba), but I wanted to try something different.  The ingredient doesn’t have to be always same, right?

Crispy bacon and the garlicky sauce add unique flavor to the udon noodle.  Why not try making it tonight?

<Yaki Udon> serves 2

  • 200g udon noodle
  • 2 rashes of bacon
  • 1/2 onion, small
  • 4 florets broccoli
  • 100g oyster mushroom
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbs water
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • bonito flake (optional)
  1. Boil a pan of water and cook udon noodle.  Drain, and set aside.
  2. Slice onion and garlic.  Cut broccoli into small pieces.  Cut the stem from the mushroom and separate.  Trim bacon, and chop up.
  3. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a frying pan.  Fry bacon for 2 minutes.
  4. Add onion, garlic and mushroom.  Saute over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  5. Add broccoli, then water to the pan.  Turn up the heat to high.  Loosen up the udon noodle under running water, drain, and add to the pan.
  6. Add soy sauce and oyster sauce.  Stir-fry until combined.
  7. Mix through the bonito flake, or garnish on top.
* Udon noodle sticks to the pan easily, so any liquid in the pan helps.

Somen Noodle Salad with Tangy Dressing (Hiyashi Chuka)

Posted August 27th, 2010 in Food | 7 Comments »

When I was talking to my family on skype the other day, my mum said she was making hiyashi chuka at home.  Since then I had a craving for it….  so I bought some ingredients from a supermarket and cooked it last night.

Hiyashi chuka is a Japanese summer dish consisting of chilled ramen noodles with various toppings.  Normal toppings are shredded ham, shredded cucumber, shredded omelet and chopped tomato.  It has many colours.  The noodle is thin egg noodle, and the sauce (dressing) is tangy (vinegary)  Some people add more vegetables such as corn and bean shoots, and drizzle mayonnaise on top.

I used somen noodle this time – the key is to cook the somen noodle al dente, so that it has some texture.

Somen noodle also goes well with the tangy sauce.

I used shredded chicken breast instead of ham, as I’m not really supposed to eat ham at the moment.

Pour the sauce (dressing) over the noodle, or dip the noodle into the sauce and eat ♪

<Hiyashi Chuka Somen> Serves 2

  • 200g somen noodle (dry)
  • 100g chicken breast
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 tomato
  • 10cm celery
  • 50ml soy sauce
  • 60ml white vinegar
  • 70ml water
  • 20g sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • roasted white sesame seeds to sprinkle
  1. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan, and heat until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from the heat and chill in the fridge.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook somen noodle.  It takes just few minutes, and try not to overcook.  Drain, and cool under running water.  Drain, and chill.
  3. Cut chicken for faster cooking.  Poach the chicken in the boiling water until cooked, or sprinkle 1 tbs of sake and cook in the microwave (covered).  Drain, and let it cool.  Shred the chicken.
  4. Peel the cucumber (partially) and deseed.  Shred thin.  Slice celery thin.  Chop tomato.
  5. Divide the somen noodle into two serving bowl.  Top with cucumber, celery, tomato and chicken.  Pour the sauce over and serve immediately.

Simple Udon Noodle Soup (Su-Udon)

Posted August 25th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

I got up very early today.  4 am!  I didn’t have any work to do this morning, but couldn’t go back to sleep after waking up for the toilet :p  I normally have no problem going back to sleep even if I wake up during the night, but this morning I felt so hungry and couldn’t sleep!

What did I eat last night…?  Roasted veggies and chicken.  I thought I ate a lot, but I guess my digestion system works too good.  I got up the bed and started preparing early breakfast.

I had some left over in the fridge, but I decided to cook udon noodle soup.  My favorite is to add egg to the soup (tamago-toji udon), but this time I just made a simple one.

With wakame seaweed, sprig onion (and naruto – fish cake).  There are many kinds of udon soup in Japan, and I guess I can call this “su-udon 素うどん” = which means “simple udon”.  Su-udon normally indicates udon noodle with nothing but soup and spring onion (or sometimes just soup).

Su-Udon (image from wiki)

Su-Udon (image from wiki)

Making the soup by yourself is very easy!  Besides, you won’t need to prepare many things when making su-udon.

<Udon Soup> serves 1

  • 1.5cup water
  • 1 handful bonito flakes (about 10g)
  • 1 tbs mirin
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  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.
Pour the soup over cooked udon noodle.  Enjoy with your favorite condiments!
By the way, the bonito flakes you used to make the soup: normally you just throw away, but you can make Tsukudani (wiki) with it.   Mix with sake, sugar and soy sauce (1 tsp each) and stir-fry until the liquid is gone!

Tomato Curry with Somen Noodle

Posted July 20th, 2010 in Food | 4 Comments »

Somen Noodle + curry??  It sounds a little mismatch, but spicy tomato curry does go with simple somen noodle.  Enjoy with lots of mushroom ♪


<Somen Tomato Curry with Chicken and Mushroom> serves 4


  • 1 chicken breast fillet
  • 2 baby eggplants
  • 1 pack shimeji mushroom
  • 2~3 button mushrooms
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbs curry powder
  • 100ml sake (cooking wine)
  • 400g tomato tin, peeled
  • 100~150ml chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt, sugar and pepper to taste
  • 200g somen noodle
  1. Bring the large pot of water to the boil, and cook somen noodle.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Peel a part of the skin on baby eggplants.  Halve lengthwise, then cut each halves into 1 cm. Leave them in a bowl of cold water.
  3. Cut chicken into pieces.  Chop onion and garlic.  Slice cup mushrooms. Separate shimeji into small pieces.
  4. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tbs of olive oil and grill the chicken.  When it’s coloured, add garlic, ginger and onion and saute.
  5. Add mushrooms, and saute for few minutes.  Add curry powder, and cook for another few minutes.
  6. Drain the egg plants and add to the pan.  Pour sake, chicken stock and tomato into the pan, and bring to the gentle boil.  Reduce the heat, add a bay leaf and place the lid.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Season to taste.
  7. Divide the somen noodle into the serving bowls, and pour the curry over.  Serve while hot.

Camem-burg Pasta

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

Meatball pasta!!  Everyone’s favorite 🙂  Add Mozzarella cheese to the big size meatballs and enjoy the mild, melty texture on delicious juicy hamburg.


<Camem-burg Pasta> serves 4

  • 300g beef mince
  • 200g pork mince
  • 10g breadcrumb
  • 50g onion, chopped
  • 800g tomato tin, peeled
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 50g onion
  • 50g celery
  • 50g carrot
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 100g mushrooms
  • 1tbs margarin
  • 60g Camembert cheese


  1. Mix the mince, onion, breadcrumb and a pinch of salt in a bowl until well combined.  Divide into 8 and shape them into balls.  Stand-by in the fridge.
  2. Chop onion, celery and carrot.  Slice mushrooms.
  3. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a medium sauce pan, and saute onion, celery, carrot and garlic until fragrant.  Add tomato paste and saute, then add tomato tin. Bring to the gentle boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Place margarin in a frying pan, and heat over medium-high heat.  As the butter start to sizzle, add mushrooms and saute.  Sprinkle a pinch of salt, and remove from the heat.  Add the mushroom into the tomato sauce.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and cook pasta.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the same pan with 1 tbs of oil.  Flatten the centre of the meatballs, and sear one side.  Flip the meatball around, reduce the heat, and place a lid.  Grill until cooked through.
  7. Slice Camembert cheese into 8.  Remove the lid, and place the Camembert slices on each meatball.  Place back the lid, and turn off the heat.  leave it for 1~2 minutes.
  8. Arrange pasta in each serving plate.  Pour tomato sauce, and top with 2 pieces of hamburgs.

Crispy Chicken in Sweet and Tangy Sauce (Chicken Nanban)

Posted June 28th, 2010 in Food | 2 Comments »

The dish Chicken Nanban was originally created in Kyushu island in Japan about 50 years ago.  Since then, this item has became very popular across Japan, and now you can find the dish in family restaurants, convenience stores, fast food chains and even pizza shops.

The original Chicken Nanban was a deep-fried chicken immersed in sweet/sour sauce.  Nowadays Chichen Nanban is served with tartar sauce poured over the chicken, and it is still one of the popular menu for any age group.

This is again another easy dish to cook, and it goes with both rice and noodle.


<Chicken Nanban with Somen Noodle> serves 4


  • 2 chicken breast fillets (about 400g)
  • 1 egg
  • plain flour to coat
  • 4 tbs soy sauce
  • 6 tbs sugar
  • 5 tbs vinegar (preferably rice vinegar)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 200g somen noodle
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1 capsicum
  • roasted white sesame seeds
  1. Bring the large pot of water to the boil, and cook somen noodle.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Halve each chicken fillets into even size.  You should have 4 slices.  Flatten the chicken meat by using the back of the knife.
  3. Place soy sauce, sugar and vinegar in a sauce pan, and bring to the gentle boil to dissolve the sugar.  Transfer the sauce to the wide plate or pan. (or you can use wide pan to boil the sauce).  Set aside.
  4. Coat the chicken with flour, and shake off any excess flour.  Beat the egg, and place in a shallow plate.
  5. Heat oil in a deep frying pan.  Dip the chicken fillets in the egg wash, and deep-fry both sides until golden.
  6. As soon as it’s removed from the oil, shake off any excess oil and immerse in the sauce.  Leave it for 30 seconds ~ few minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, heat sesame oil and garlic slices in a frying pan.  When it’s fragrant, add somen noodle and stir-fry.  Sprinkle sesame seeds, and arrange on serving plates (divide into four potions).
  8. In the same pan, stir-fry sliced capsicum. Remove from the heat and arrange on each bed of somen noodle on the serving plates.
  9. Remove the chicken from the sauce, and slice.  Place on top of the noodle + capsicum.  Drizzle over the sauce, and sprinkle sesame seeds.  Repeat with other fillets.
* you can use steamed vegetables instead of capsicum.

Ao-nori Pasta with Smoked Salmon

Posted April 22nd, 2010 in Food | 5 Comments »

Very simple pasta with smoked salmon and ao-nori.  Ao-nori, also known as green laver, is dried and powdered green seaweed and it has distinctive flavor.  You should have seen it as a topping on Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki and other Japanese dishes.  This goes well with smokey salmon and mild Parmesan.


<Ao-nori Pasta with Smoked Salmon> serves 2

  • 2 portion pasta
  • 100 g smoked salmon
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbs (1g)  Ao-nori
  • 1 tbs margarin 
  • 1tbs olive oil
  1. Bring a large pot of water (salted) to the boil.  Cook pasta to al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, chop onion and garlic.
  3. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, and sautee garlic and onion until fragrant.  
  4. Add margarin, then smoked salmon, drained pasta and ao-nori.  Mix through gently, and season.  Turn off the heat.
  5. Serve on the plate and top with shaved Parmesan.

Italian Udon

Posted March 11th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

I am a person who eats anything.  … well, not ANYTHING, but I’m ok eating almost any food that is served in front of me.

My family is little different.  When they make Japanese curry rice, they always use the standard ingredients: meat, onion, carrot and potatoes.  One day, I was making curry with some reft over food in the fridge.  I put eggplant, spinach, tofu, konnyaku, boiled egg, cabbage etc.  I thought it was ok and sounded delish, as curry doesn’t always have to be made with just those 4 ingredients.  But, my family was like “you put what!?!”.  Since then, my family call my cooking “Ume’s food”.

I made this Udon Pasta just because I had some udon noodle and tomatoes at home.  It’s simply delicious and easy to make.  You can also use minced meat instead of chicken fillet to make “bolognese”.  🙂

Serves 2

  • 1 chicken breast fillet, sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato tin, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 stalk of Parsley, chop the leave part
  • 2 portions udon noodle
  1. Heat 1/2 tbs of olive oil in a pan, and grill the chicken.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add 1/2 tbs olive oil and saute the onion and garlic.  Add chicken, tomatoes, oyster sauce and Parsley stalk.  Bring to boil and then turn down the heat to simmer.   Cook for 5~10 minutes.  Season.
  3. Cook udon noodle.  Drain.
  4. Serve the sauce over udon noodle, and garnish with chopped Parsley.

Spicy Fish Yakisoba

Posted January 19th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Yakisoba (stir-fried noodle) with chili and pepper fried fish.  Add more chili if you like it spicier 😉

<Spicy Fish Yakisoba>

  • 1 white fish fillet 
  • 1 tbs corn flour
  • 2 potion yakisoba noodle ( or Singapore noodle)
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/4 large carrot
  • 1/8 large onion
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 2 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sake (cooking wine)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcester sauce
  • chili, salt, pepper, coriander leaves

  1. Chop garlic and chili.  Slice carrot into Julienne.  Slice onion.  Combine all the sauce.  Place noodle in a colander and briefly loosen up under running water.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Slice fish fillet.  Dust lightly with corn flour, and shallow-fry both side until crispy and golden.  Remove from the pan and drain oil.  Set aside.
  3. In another pan, heat 1 tbs oil and saute garlic and chili until fragrant.  Add onion and carrot and stir-fry.
  4. Add noodle and bean sprouts, stir-fry, then add the sauce mixture.  Season well.
  5. Arrange on a serving plate, top with fish, extra cut chili and coriander leaves.  Crack black pepper on the fish and serve immediately.

Cold Udon Salad with Poached Chicken

Posted January 11th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

The other day I arranged dinner at friend’s house.  My friend (Japanese) is renting a room in my another friend (Chinese)’s house which she (Chinese) recently purchased with her fiance.  I’ve been to the house once before and I fell in love with the design and interior.  Stylish furniture, cute kitchenware, clean and tidy environment…  Living with the friends in the house sounds really fun, we can have girls’ night everyday  🙂

It was still 5 pm so we started with a glass of wine and some otsumami.  We were going to make dinner soon but ended up talking about stuff until 9 pm.  Friend’s fiance came home and we finally moved our body from sofa to the kitchen.

Because of the wine and otsumami I wasn’t actually hungry, but everyone else was.  I brought some vegetables, so we made udon salad dish with steamed chicken and Japanese sesame dressing.  I love sesame dressing (goma dressing).  It’s nutty, rich and creamy.  You can purchase from any Asian grocery shops.  I like Mizkan brand 🙂

<Chicken Udon with Sesame Dressing> for one

  • 1 portion udon noodle
  • 50g chicken breast
  • some salad – lettuce, cucumber, tomato
  • sesame dressing (also called “goma dressing”, “goma dare”)
  1. Boil water in two sauce pans.  Cook udon noodle in one sauce pan, and chicken breast in another pan.
  2. Drain udon noodle and set aside.
  3. Remove chicken breast from water and shred the meat.  Be careful not to burn your hand!
  4. * you can chill the chicken and udon in the fridge if you want to serve it cold.
  5. Slice cucumber and tomato.  Rip lettuce with hand.
  6. On a serving plate, arrange udon noodle topped with salad and shredded chicken.  Drizzle dressing and serve immediately.

Chilled Udon with Bean Curd and Salad

Posted December 11th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Summer food!  This cold udon noodle chills you out…  Enjoy with lots of ice cubes 🙂

<Chilled Salad Udon>

  • 1 pack udon noodle
  • 5 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • 1 tbs dashi powder (fish stock)
  • 1~2 inari sushi skin
  • salad (lettuce, tomatoes etc)
  • Shredded nori (kizami nori)
  1. Prepare tsuyu sauce – Bring 400cc water, soy sauce, mirin and dashi powder to boil in a sauce pan.  Stir, and simmer for 1,2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool down.  You can keep this sauce in the fridge until needed.
  2. <Frozen udon> Boil frozen udon in a sauce pan.  Drain into a bowl of cold water.  Drain the noodle.  <Dry udon> Boil water in a sauce pan.  Drop dry udon noodle into the water, and cook until the noodle is done.  Stir consistently. Drain into a bowl of cold water. Drain the noodle.
  3. Prepare salad – Shred lettuce, slice tomatoes ..   Shred inari skin.
  4. In a serving bowl, arrange drained noodle, salad and inari skin. Drop few ice cubes and top with shredded nori.  You can pour tsuyu sauce over, or serve separately as a dipping sauce.

How to Cook Soba Noodle

Posted November 4th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

I often cook cold soba noodle for dinner during summer.  It’s very easy, and refreshing to eat in a hot day.

Here is a proper way to cook soba noodle:


  1. Boil sufficient amount of water in a pot.
  2. Place soba noodle (dry) into the boiling water.  Stir often with chopsticks until the water start to boil again.  (Do not leave the pot at this point)
  3. Once the water start to raise and reach the top of the pot, pour 1/2 cups of cold water into it.  Water will then go back to steady.
  4. Keep stirling, and once the water start to reach the top of the pan again, turn off the heat.
  5. Drain soba in a colander, and rinse under running cold water.  Drain well.
  6. Serve with your favorite condiments.
Tempura, fresh seaweed, and sansai are great to be eaten with cold soba noodle.  Ummm writing this post makes me feel hungry…

Udon with Sesame Dressing and Squid Tempura

Posted September 4th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Crispy squid tempura with udon noodle. As you can just buy the sauce from Asian grocery shops, it’s very easy to make.

What you need is ….

  • udon noodle
  • goma-shabu sauce / goma-shabu dressing
  • squid tubes
  • tempura flour
  • red ginger (beni shouga)
  • spring onion and black sesame for garnish
Goma-dare is available at Asian grocery shop (in Japanese food section).  It’s light brown color thick sauce in bottles.  “Goma-dare” “Goma-shabu” … they all taste similar.

For udon noodles, you can buy either dried or frozen.   I don’t recommend to buy vacuumed fresh udon noodles though… they taste quite bad :p

<Udon Noodle>

Boil plenty amount of water in a wide sauce pan.  Drop udon into water, and cook until it’s al dente.  If you are using frozen udon you don’t need to cook in hot water for long.

Drain, set aside.

<Squid Tempura>

If you don’t have tempura flour, or you want to make it from scratch, here is the recipe :

  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup plain flour
Don’t mix the batter too much!  Place all ingredients in a bowl, and move a pair of chopsticks around just to combine lightly.
Dip squid tubes (cut into the size you want) into the batter, and deep-fry in oil 165~170℃.
To serve:
Arrange udon noodle on a plate.  Top with crispy squid tempura, red ginger and chopped spring onion, and sprinkle black sesame.
You can either serve goma-dare sauce separately in an another small bowl as a dipping sauce, or can drizzle goma-dare sauce over the udon noodles.  It’s up to you.
Udon noodles and sauce can be served cold or room temperature.  (except for the squid tempura: tempura should be hot and crispy!)

Yaki Udon

Posted June 17th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »
In Japan there are two main noodles people eat : soba, and udon.  Soba is mainly eaten around Eastern side of Japan = Kantou (eg: Tokyo, Chiba, Kanazawa etc) and udon is mainly eaten around Western side = Kansai (eg: Kyoto, Osaka, Nara etc).  I don’t know why these two regions separate things, but this is true.  Yes, people in Kansai also eat soba, of course, but they eat udon more than soba.  You can find lots of udon restaurants in Kansai area, but I’ve never seen any restaurants which specialize in soba noodle.
I’m from Kansai (Western Japan), so I eat udon a lot.  Actually udon is one of my favorite food.  My friend who is from Eastern Japan says “udon is too heavy” “no taste” “bold” “too chunky” , but I like this food.  In my opinion, soba is just thin buckwheat noodle, and nothing special.  Well I don’t mind eating them but if there’s a choice between udon and soba, I’d go for udon always.
… Anyway, I like udon and usually eat in soup, such as Kitsune udon, Tamago-toji udon, An-kake udon, Zaru udon, Curry udon etc.  Even though I prefer soup udon, I sometimes feel like Yaki udon (stir-fried udon) for a change.  Yaki udon is just stir-fried udon noodle with some vegetables and meat/seafood.  I like the texture; it’s kind of chewy.
I had squid in my freezer, so I cooked Ika (squid) yaki udon.
<Ika Yaki Udon>

  • 1 portion udon noodle
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1/2 tsp dashi powder
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbs spring onion – chopped
  • 1/8 onion – sliced
  • 1/8 carrot – jullienne
  • few pieces squid – defrosted
  1. If you are using dry udon noodle, you need to cook the noodle in boiling water first.  If you are using frozen udon, briefly defrost in hot water.  If you are using fresh udon, simply pour boiling water over and loosen it up.  Drain.
  2. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a frying pan, and stir-fry sliced onion, carrot and spring onion.  Add squid and ginger together, fry over high heat until well-cooked.
  3. Add udon.  Udon noodle really stick to the pan, so I recommend to add little amount of water into the pan once after adding udon noodle.  Briefly stir-fry (don’t stir too much otherwise udon noodle break and become mushy)
  4. Add sauces and mix through.
  5. Garnish with chopped spring onion, bonito flakes and red ginger.

Fried Noodle Wrapped in Omelet (Omu-soba)

Posted May 24th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Similar to omu-rice, omu-soba is a dish which yakisoba (stir-fried noodle) is wrapped in thinly cooked omelet.  This is not really yo-shoku (Japanese Style Western Food) nor Japanese food.  Someone made up this dish like “hey, if you can wrap up rice with omelet, why don’t we do that for yakisoba too?”

Yaki-soba is Japanese style stir-fried egg noodle (thin).  It’s usually cooked with thinly sliced pork, onion, carrot and cabbage, and topped with ao-nori and bonito flake, then served with red pickled ginger.  We use yakisoba sauce which you can easily buy from supermarket in Japan.  The sauce is quite exensive in Asian grocery shops in Perth, so I normally season the noodle by myself.

< Yaki-soba > for one

  • 1 portion of yakisoba noodle (or any thin egg noodle)
  • onion, carrot, cabbage, beanshoots, some meat or seafood (up to you)
  • 2 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • tomato sauce + Japanese mayonnaise + ao-nori to garnish

  1. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a frying pan.  If you are using thinly sliced pork, cook the meat first.  If you are using some other meat/seafood, saute sliced onion and carrot, then add meat/seafood.  Season with salt&pepper.
  2. Add roughly chopped cabbage.  Stir-fry for about 1 min, and add yakisoba noodle.  Try to loosen up the noodle with chopsticks, and drop 1~2 tsp water.  Stir, turn down the heat and cover with lid.
  3. Once the water is absorbed into noodle, take off the lid and turn the heat to medium.  Pour the sauce and stir-fry.  Season if required, and set aside.
  4. In another frying pan, cook thin omelet.  Turn off the heat.
  5. Place yakisoba noodle onto the omelet.  Place a plate on the top of frying pan (the serving side down), and flip it around.
  6. Curl the edge of omelet in and completely wrap up yakisoba.  Drizzle mayo, tomato sauce and sprinkle ao-nori.

Spicy Seafood Japanese Curry

Posted February 2nd, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

It was another hot day…  Onece I stepped outside, I could feel that my body was getting cooked in this heat.  Japanese people tand to eat hot/spicy food in summer to overcome the heat, and today was the day for me.  I cooked spicy Japanese curry with seafood.  I chose Udon noodle to accompany the curry instead of steamed rice as I wasn’t in a mood for rice.  I prefer noodle to rice in such hot days.

It’s always easy to cook Japanese curry: you just need to buy Japanese curry roux which is available from Asian grocery shops or some supermarkets.  Then you can arrange any flavor: pork, beef, chicken, veggies and seafood.

The key for tasty curry is the cooking time.  Longer you simmer, deeper the taste develops.  I used Japanese curry mix “Hot” and added extra chili to make it really spicy!

<Spicy Seafood Curry> for 3~4 ppl

  • 1/2 Japanese curry sauce mix “hot” (about 110g)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 onion
  • squid, prawn about 250g
  1. Slice onion and squid.  Heat a sauce pan and saute onion.
  2. Add squid and prawn into the pan.  Saute until lightly browned.
  3. Add water and bring to boil.  Turn down the heat and add curry sauce mix.  Simmer over low heat for about 20~30 minutes.  Add chili (or chili powder) if you like.
  4. Enjoy with steamed rice, noodle, whatever you like.

The standard Japanese curry uses sliced meat (pork, usually), potatoes, onions and carrots.  They are the ingredients that you can see at the back of the Japanese curry mix package “how to cook Japanese curry”.  The standard curry tastes great, but why not try more varieties??  You can add any vegetables like cabbage, eggplant, capsicums, corn, and broccoli.  Or, add boiled eggs (shells off) into curry and simmer.  The egg absorbs the flavor of curry, and you can enjoy the different texture.

By the way, I also like eating pieces of bread dipped in Japanese curry too.

Cold Soba Noodle + Japanese Chicken Salad

Posted January 29th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

It’s a soba season for Japanese people here.  Eating this buckwheat noodle with refreshing ginger dipping sauce can make you forget the hot air outside.

<Dipping Sauce> for two

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp Dashi powder (Japanese fish stock)
  • 2 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan, and simmer it down till its half the amount.  When eating, add grated ginger into the sauce.  Enjoy with chopped spring onions and Japanese chili powder if you like.
Enjoy with cooked soba noodle 🙂

This is just an easy side dish 🙂

<Japanese Chicken Salad>

  • 50g chicken breast
  • 1 tsp sake (cooking wine)
  • 1/8 cucumber
  • 1 tbs Japanese mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper
  1. Place chicken breast in a microwave proof bowl.  Sprinkle sake, salt and pepper on the breast.  Cover with plastic wrap and steam in the microwave till it’s cooked.  (about 2~3 minutes)
  2. Slice cucumber. 
  3. Shred the chicken meat.  Mix with cucumber, mayonnaise and season.

Chilled Green Tea Noodle (Cha Soba)

Posted November 20th, 2008 in Food | No Comments »


Tonight I had Green Tea Soba Noodle (cha-soba) for dinner.

This green tea soba noodle contains Uji Maccha Tea (Uji = name of an area in Kyoto) and I could smell and taste Maccha Tea really!  Yum 🙂

Usually, when people use tea for cooking, they use Sen-cha (another Japanese tea) to avoid its strong flavor overwhelming other food.  However, Green Tea Noodle consists Maccha because people want this distinct flavor and color to be appeared.

This product is quite expensive but can be purchased at Asian supermarket.  To enjoy its flavor, I’d just eat it with seaweeds and simple dipping sauce.


With Rose wine 🙂

Baked Chicken in Tomato Sauce

Posted September 21st, 2008 in Food | No Comments »

One of the easy food 🙂  If you have lots of veges in the fridge and want to use them up, you can chuck them into the tomato sauce and make pasta bake.

<Tomato Sauce>

Just saute chopped onion, garlic, mushroom etc…  Add tomato tin, and simmer for few minutes.  Season.  You can add herbs for more flavor.

* When you saute the veges, you can use a lid while cooking.  This technique is from a French chef.  “Stir fry with steam”  This takes out the most flavor and juice from the food 🙂

Now, pour over this delicious tomato sauce over the cooked pasta.  Sprinkle cheese (Mozzarella) and bake in the oven!  Easy.

You can add chicken, tuna…  enjoy the variety 🙂