Yakisoba

October 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

Yakisoba

One of my kids favourite Japanese dishes is yakisoba and when they found out that I had learned how to make it they were ecstatic. When I came back from  Japan, it was the first dish that I made. It is so easy and basically just requires the right sauce. My friends helped me pick the healthier organic one that I brought home in my suitcase. It is something that you can easily find in a Japanese grocery store. The only trick is to figure out the right proportions of the yakisoba sauce and soy. The noodles were very delicious though because I did not make it on a skillet, it did not have a smokey flavour or crispy bits. If you have a skillet you can use it instead of a saucepan. I used the veggies that were in my fridge but you can add anything that you like.

Cooking time 20 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 package soba noodles cooked to directions
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot thinly sliced
1 handful broccoli cut into small pieces
1 handful thinly cut baby carrots
2 tbsp Bulldog yakisoba sauce
2 tbsp Bragg liquid aminos or natural soy saucue

Directions:
1. Bring a medium saucepan to medium heat and add the oil. When warm add the shallots. Cook until soft and then add the veggies. Cook until soft about 5 mins or so.
2. Add the sauces and mix together and cook another couple minutes. Toss in the noodle, cook another 1-2 minutes stir and serve.

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Fusilli Pasta Salad

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Tokyo, Japan

One my last night in Tokyo, my friend Saya and I cooked a delicious feast while her husband Sunny played bartender. He requested that I make a cold pasta dish, so I made a pasta salad.

I had fun being in the kitchen as I knew it was my last night to enjoy being in Japan with my good friends. It was a fun challenge to create recipes that I am used to using different ingredients and adding a Japanese flare on it.

I used fusilli pasta with fresh vegetables that were available at the market with parmesan in a sweet balsamic dressing. I used the beautiful purple cabbage sprouts as a garnish. Sunny was very happy and thought the dish was beautiful as well as having harmony in the flavours.

Cooking time 30 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 package cooked fusilli pasta
1 handful snow peas
1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
corn niblets
shavings of parmesan (optional)
1/2 handful green olives
handful of baby greens
finely sliced green onions
chopped fresh basil
purple cabbage sprouts.

Dressing:
olive oil
balsamic vingegar
raw sugar
sliced dried hot pepper
fresh ground pepper

Directions;
1. Place the veggies in a bowl and marinate with the dressing for 1/2 hour.
2. Toss with the pasta, parmesan and 2/3 of fresh basil. Garnish with fresh basil and purple cabbage sprouts.

cold pasta salad

Yakatabune – Japanese House Boat Party & Dinner Cruise

September 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

yakatabone

My friends took me to one of their colleagues birthday party on a Japanese house boat or yakatabune. There was about 50 people there who had to remove their shoes and sit in groups of fours on the floor at grill top tables. The party started within 10 minutes of arriving and set sail in Tokyo’s harbour. Spring rolls and dumplings were the first thing to arrive at the table and of course Japanese beer. The Japanese love their beer and even have created a zero calorie one!

monjayaki

Next a bowl was placed at the table with cabbage, sprouts, cheese and eel in it. The man beside me Haru started to cook. He poured oil on the grill and placed the cheese down first. On my first night in Tokyo I ate monjayaki and was attentively watching the waiter cook the dish. Instinctively, I took the utensils from Haru and took over. I added the cabbage and cooked the eel separate. Yes, I cooked meat!

okonomiyaki

Once the veggies are semi cooked, you make a well and add a broth to the centre which makes the pancake gooey. You eat it bite by bite from the grill and add sauce to it as you like.

monjayaki

The next dish that I made was okonomiyaki which is chewier and drier than the monjayaki. The technique is the same. Add oil to the grill and saute veggies using metal utensils in both hands. I really got into it and everyone was surprised that I knew what I was doing. Once again I made the well and added the broth. I let that cook and took a short beer break.

During the party we played rock paper scissors or as they call it jan ken pon . We played for partying gifts and one of the winners received a lingerie set and the happy Japanese man put it on over his jeans and dress shirt and pranced around for a bit.

okonomiyaki

I got back to my okonomiyaki and to my surprise it tasted like a pros. Everyone was so impressed that they had me make the last dish, yakisoba. It is actually really simple to make and basically requires the yakisoba and soy sauce for flavouring. All you do is saute the veggies first, add the noodles and add the sauce. It was delicious. My kids love it and I can now make it at home.

no.1 vip

The game of jan ken pon continued and more and more party gifts were being handed out. By now I was a bit tipsy from all the beer that I drank, trying to keep up with everyone else. The Japanese drink fast. Near the end of the night, the box of party gifts was being handed out and I got a ribbon that said in Japanese No.1 VIP!

Japanese beer gifts

Everyone had a big laugh. People gave me their items as souvenirs of Japan. I got a watch, a beer mug with Japanese writing that says beer party.  You put the mug in the freezer and outside layer turns to ice. I also got a beer pump that pumps beer out of beer cans and the weirdest items that I received were key chains with Japanese vegetables and panty hose.

me

I have to say the Japanese seem quite quiet and reserved but when they party, boy do they let loose. It was a super fun experience and one of the highlights of my trip.

Seaweed Potato Chips

September 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

seaweed potato chips

Theses potato chips come from the Mount Fuji area in Japan called Chizoka. They are made using all local ingredients including organic potatoes. The seaweed comes from the Suruga Bay and the ancient salt comes from deep from the bay’s floor.

The chips are very finely sliced and the oil is fresh and moist. The taste of the salt and seaweed is very light and delicate on the palate.

These chips are made by Matsuura Food Company and can be purchased direct from them in Chizoka. Otherwise you can find them on Amazon.

Japanese tea time

September 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

French bakery in Tokyo

The Japanese love french bakeries and in Tokyo they are in a category of it’s own. Tokyo, Japan is a sister city to Paris which might explain why every neighbourhood is littered with exquisite french pastries. I never thought that I would need to be mindful of my waistline when coming to Japan. I neglected to pack my running shoes thinking that I would not need them. Boy was I wrong. I now wish that I had them as I am enjoying all of the delicious cuisine that Tokyo has to offer.

Today, we picked up some pastries at one of the many authentic French boulangeries in the neighbourhood. They carry everything from macadamia demi loafs to sweet chocolate and cheese pastries. The signs are in Japanese and french and being from Canada, I was able to understand what each item was. As each day goes by, I increase my navigation skills and who would have thought that french would have come in handy in Japan.

I picked a cheese bun and a caramel apple pastry. Saya’s favourite is the cinnamon roll and her husband picked the classic pain au chocolate.  When we sat down to tea and pastries we all agreed that the cheese bun was the hit. My caramel pastry was delicious, heaven in each bite. I must say that I am getting very used to being in Japan and do not know how I will survive back home. I had the thought today that I could move here just to enjoy the delicious food.

Okayu – Japanese Risotto

September 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

Okayu

This dish uses the left over nabemono and gives it a facelift. Basically all you do is add cooked rice to the left over nabeone and cook it until the rice is soft and the flavours are incorporated. You add ponzu sauce in your bowl and scoop in the okayu and stir.

Ingredients:
Nabemone recipe
rice
ponzu sauce
nori
sesame seeds

Directions:
1. Heat up nabemone in a pot and add rice and cook until the flavours are incorporated and the rice is soft.
2. Scoop into a bowl and add ponzu sauce.
3. Top with nori and sesame seeds

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