Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Japan- Crepes


Crepes, of course, weren't invented in Japan but they've been a popular street food there since the 1970s. I decided to include them in my Japanese foods because it'd be nice to get Leigh and Erin eating a blog food for a change and they'd love these.

Ingredients:

I forgot to take a picture of the fillings we'd picked to go in our crepes. Plus I used store bought ready made crepes. Which we warmed up on our pancake maker.


Here's a link to a great description of all the toppings commonly used for Japanese crepes. We just went with sweet options this time for a quick dessert.


Here's one I made with strawberries, strawberry ice cream and sprinkles.


 Next one with peanut butter, brownie chunks, whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.


Erin made one with whipped cream, mini brownie and chocolate sprinkles.


Japanese Crepes are sold from street stalls folded up like this with coloured paper wrapped around them. We all really enjoyed the crepes. We tried some new fillings that we previously wouldn't have thought of such as custard and brownie chunks. It'll certainly up our Pancake Day game come next year. I really enjoyed different flavour ice creams and fresh fruit in crepes. Delicious!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Japan - Miso Soup



Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup made using Dashi stock and Miso Paste. The beauty of the recipe is that it's really versatile. You can add different vegetables depending on what you like (or have). Also seasonal vegetables are often used as well as contrasting colours and textures. I like that thoughtfulness about food ^_^

I decided to use potato, carrot and wakame (dried seaweed bought from Amazon). It gives a contrast in colours as well as a contrast between the potato/carrots and seaweed because root vegetables sink and seaweed floats. I also added pork to my miso soup which makes it Tonjiru (pork soup).




Ingredients:

500ml dashi stock
2 tablespoons miso paste
2 potatoes
2 carrots
1/2 pack wakame
1/2 block tofu
1 pork chop
spring onions


Slice the pork as thinly as you can (I used scissors) and saute it in a tablespoon of oil until cooked through.


Peel and slice the carrots and potatoes into small pieces. Add them to the pan and saute until partly cooked.


Make up the dashi stock and add it to the pan.


Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Then add the diced tofu, wakame, chopped spring onions and miso paste. Stir the miso paste well so it dissolves and blends with the stock. Simmer for a further 2 minutes but don't let the soup boil.


Spoon into bowls and enjoy!


Wakame is crazy, it's tiny pieces of dried seaweed that expand a lot in the soup. Use it sparingly! Haha. It's nice though, like green cabbage. I enjoyed the flavour of the soup, it's very warming and comforting somehow. I'm not sure I'll ever warm to tofu. It's a texture thing, it's too spongy. JD and I enjoyed the miso soup (JD more than me) but it's not something I'd want regularly.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Japan - Mitarashi Dango

Time for a Japanese dessert. These mochi balls are covered in a sauce made from soy sauce. Sounds unusual but we're willing to give it a try!

Ingredients:

For the Mochi Balls:

240g tofu
240g mochiko (rice flour)

For the Sauce:

2 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup water


Put the tofu and rice flour together in a bowl.


Mix it together with your hands until it forms a dough. I had to add a tiny bit of water to get it to come together properly.


Make the Mochi Balls up by taking small spoonfulls of the dough and rolling it between your palms to make small balls.


To cook the balls, boil them in a pan of water. They will rise to the surface after a few minutes, when they do cook for 2-3 minutes more and then drain them on kitchen paper.



To make the sauce, add all the sauce ingredients to a small pan.


Bring to the boil until it thickens and turns glossy. Set aside for later. Heat up a frying pan and spray with oil. Thread two Moshi balls onto small bamboo skewers (or cocktail sticks like me if you're improvising) and place them in the hot pan.


When the balls are slightly browned remove to a plate and pour over some of the warm sauce. We had ours with some vanilla ice cream too.


This was very strange to eat. The Mochi Balls were soft with a firm bite but had almost no taste on their own. The sauce had been very strong smelling while it cooked and I was kind of dreading eating it. But it was delicious, it was almost like a salted caramel flavour. My sauce turned out a little thicker than it was meant to be but I enjoyed it. It's different from Western desserts in that it's only subtly sweet. I'm glad we tried it.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Japan - Yakitori

Yakitori is a skewered chicken dish sold in bars or on the street in Japan. It's popular alongside beer. We're not big drinkers so we'll be having it without alcohol today.


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 cup Sake 
  • 1/4 cup Mirin 
  • 1 lb chicken
  • 5-6 spring onions 


I bought this Sake from Amazon. It's pretty expensive but I found this small half size bottle to cook with.


Put the sugar, soy sauce, mirin and Sake in a pan. Boil for 8-10 minutes until it starts to thicken. This sauce is called Tare and is served with the Yakitori.


Cut the chicken and spring onions into inch sized pieces. Thread the chicken and spring onion alternately on skewers for the Yakitori with Tare. Thread just chicken onto skewers for Shio which is a Yakitori seasoned only with salt. Sprinkle salt on these ones. Place them all on an oven tray and grill until cooked and slightly browned.


 Serve with the Tare sauce for dipping.


This was a really easy recipe which was very flavourful. The sauce is very strong but goes well with the simple taste of the grilled chicken. The chicken ended up being a bit dry after grilling so I preferred the Yakitori dipped in the sauce rather than the salted Shio. It'd be better grilled on a barbecue than in the oven as it'd cook quicker drying out less. 
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