Sashimi plate

We started off the year with something simple but incredibly fresh and tasty. I know sashimi isn’t everyone’s thing, yet others can’t get enough of it.

We went to the seafood markets and picked up fresh tuna and scallop sashimi. These sashimi grade scallops are pretty much the only ones i buy nowadays. I’d noticed that some scallops i’ve bought in the past have been cut in half, (lengthways), and placed on the half shell and sold like that. Greedy bastards.
These babies are $3.50 each, we don’t get them all that often but when we do we know we’re getting the best product available.
I used two, (cut in half), for our sashimi plate and the other 4 were going on shells and lightly grilled with a bit of butter and ponzu sauce.

Colourful as you like.
Colourful as you like.

I store empty scallop shells in the freezer. Saves paying for them every single time. Wash and reuse next time!

scallop shells

A dollop of butter and a drizzle of soy sauce. I used ponzu here. Ponzu is a citrus style of soy sauce.

Scallops with butter and ponzu

I probably had the grill too high, opps! Regardless, when the butter melts and mixes with the soy it’s divine. Oh yeah and the scallops were good too.

scallops

My new sashimi knife was christened. What a beast.

So shiny :)
So shiny ๐Ÿ™‚

I now buy Pure Wasabi. The wasabi on the left is the stuff you see everywhere. Funnily enough though, it’s 30% horseradish and only like 5% wasabi. We get the Pure Wasabi from Harris Farm and originally ordered it from New Zealand. Alternatively you can use the powder. You can fine tune the taste and texture. Ignore that expiry date ;P
Ange never used to like wasabi but now she loves it.

Got wasabi?
Got wasabi?

Stir Fried Tofu

I always wonder what you guys must think when you see me post another tofu recipe? I expect most would just scroll down or navigate elsewhere and in a way i can understand, hehe, i used to be the same way. But lately, tofu’s just doing something for me. Discovering how it’s best used, what it goes with, how to cook it etc.

I chose this recipe on the weekend, it was the last of 3 meals i had picked out to start the week. At times i was like, ‘ahh, i’ll do something else’, but i’ve learnt to stick with the choices you made because in most instances they’ve been pretty amazing. This dish may sound a bit ‘boring’, but believe me it will surprise you, i know it did me ๐Ÿ™‚

Stir fried tofu with bean sprouts and pak choy.

Have you ever removed the roots from a whole bag of bean sprouts? I doubt many will say they have, but now i can. Recipe recommended that you remove the roots. When i first tipped the bag out on to the board i’m like, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’. Anyway, they won’t remove themselves so i got stuck into it. Took about 15 minutes, but i can understand why you’d want them removed, all those stringy bits in your stir fry, how ugly! ๐Ÿ™‚

Rooted ;)
Rooted ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Serves 4

300g firm tofu. I used medium and worked fine.

250g bean sprouts.

100g pak choy.

1 tbs sesame oil.

1 tbs sunflower or vegetable oil.

2 tsp granulated chicken stock.

Salt and pepper.

Coarsely ground white sesame seeds to serve.

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Drain the tofu and then wrap it in kitchen towel to remove excess water. Replace the towel 15 minutes later and then rest for another 15 minutes.

Cut the pak choy between the stem and the leaf, slice the stem length ways into about 2 cm strips. Chop leaves horizontally into pieces. They will wilt a bit during cooking so don’t cut them too small.

Heat the sesame oil in a large frying pan. Break up the tofu by hand and fry for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat, tossing the tofu to coat in sesame oil. Try to toss it, that way you won’t mash it up by using utensils. When it’s really sizzling remove from pan and into a dish.

Add the sunflower oil to the frying pan and heat, add the pak choy and then the bean sprouts. Return tofu to the pan, mix gently with the vegetables and season with the chicken stock powder and salt and pepper.

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Cook for a few more minutes tossing to coat and let stock powder dissolve into the cooking juices. Once pak choy is bright green and crunchy, remove and serve with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

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When i tried the pak choy to see if it was cooked the taste really surprised me, the slight hint of sesame oil with a salty undertone created by the chicken stock. Perfect crunch of the pak choy and bean sprouts along side the silky soft tofu, finished off with nutty sesame sprinkles justified my faith in this dish.

The ingredients for this meal were cheap as chips so for like $10 you’ve got a tasty Japanese meal for 4.

 

 

Oysters with a Ginger and Sesame dressing.

As part of our Sunday seafood banquet we served these fabulously fresh oysters from Sydney’s seafood markets with a tasty Japanese dressing.

I’d been craving oysters for weeks and had been patiently waiting for an opportunity to head down to the seafood markets. I just love walking around there looking at all the fresh seafood they have. I still have those moments where i am like, ‘look at that!’.

Being a Japanese themed menu i wanted a dressing to match for these oysters and this one was absolutely amazing. Even Angela commented on how much she loved it, (she prefers her oysters naked).

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24 fresh oysters, chilled.

1-1/2 tbs rice vinegar.

1-1/2 tbs cooking sake.

1tbs Japanese soy sauce.

1cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated.

1 tsp caster sugar.

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Toasted sesame seeds to sprinkle on serving.

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Combine ingredients in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30mins.

Spoon mix over oysters and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

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Nice refreshing afternoon snack.
Nice refreshing afternoon snack.

Half a dozen just wasn’t enough ๐Ÿ™

Green Tea Soba Noodles with Ponzu and Sashimi

It’s funny; i remember making this dish just after MeJulesOK launched on Facebook back in August last year, i couldn’t wait to post it up, it was sooooo good. Click click.ย  I never remembered where i got the recipe. If i had looked at the Facebook post i would of noticed that it was from Feast magazine and the particular issue, anyway.

I grabbed a random magazine for the trip to Bathurst last weekend, just something to read in the car or sitting around at Ange’s Mum’s place. Flicking the pages i see this recipe, wow, big smile i am like, ‘we’re having this tomorrow when we get home’. As with my evolution as a cook so is my evolving love and appreciation for Japanese food and its ingredients.

Oodles of noodles.
Oodles of noodles.

Handy to have noodles in the pantry, theyย are divided into servings so easy to separate. I bought those green tea noodles over a year ago, so they do keep if stored correctly. Now you have a noodle for every occasion.

Japanese essentials.
Japanese essentials.

I love this dish because of the ingredients; sesame seeds, bonito flakes, nori, wasabi, ginger, ponzu, spring onion, pickled ginger, sashimi, sesame oil. You get the ย point.

I ordered some ‘pure wasabi’ from New Zealand, including shipping cost me about $20 for delivery. Other wasabi’s have additives including horseradish but this wasabi is 100%. Angela doesn’t like wasabi, but when i started serving her this stuff she loved it, there you go. You can order online, just search Pure Wasabi.

Toast your sesame seeds beforehand and have them ready in little containers, will save you time.

I get my ponzu from the Pyrmont markets, lovely little stall there called Kei’s Kitchen, wonderful condiments.

Along with bontio flakes, pickled ginger, fresh ginger, the tuna and salmon sashimi, it’s just a refreshing dish with plenty of goodness, taste, heat and texture.

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Serves 4.

300g dried green tea soba noodles, or other soba noodles.

1tsp sesame oil.

1.5tbs ย toasted sesame seeds, black or white or a mixture of both.

1 nori sheet, cut into strips.

2tbs bonito flakes.

3 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal.

Ginger, peeled and finely shredded.

300g tuna & salmon sashimi

pickled ginger, ponzu and wasabi to serve.

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Cook noodles in a large saucepan of boiling water for about 6 minutes. ย Drain and rinse under cold water. Place in a bowl with sesame oil and sesame seeds, toss to combine.

Place noodles on a plate and top with nori strips and bonito flakes, add your spring onion, ginger slices, sashimi, pickled ginger and wasabi. Finish with a splash on ponzu on the side and enjoy all those delicious Japanese flavours and textures. Brilliant ๐Ÿ™‚

I want this again..ugh..
I want this again..ugh..

Think i need to enhance my Japanese style serving skills. I don’t mind though, it’s all about the taste in the end right?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Japanese fried Chicken burger.

We were in Bathurst last weekend and i hadn’t eaten anything all day while travelling there, i was deliriously hungry. We arrived at Ange’s Mum’s place about 12:30pm, got ready and headed out for some lunch. We sat in this cafe, i looked at the menu, of course wanting everything i was so hungry and i noticed ‘JFC – Japanese Fried Chicken’, how good does that sound! The description was fabulous and it comes with chips! Sweet. I order a Carona to have whilst i am waiting for my meal, a few minutes later my meal is in front of me, what the heck? Chips are cold, ewww. We laughed because it said on the menu, ‘comes with chips’, i guess it never said, ‘hot chips’, hehe. The burger was shocking, all the coating on the chicken was soggy and falling apart, i am just shaking my head in disappointment at what could of been.

Angela was out Wednesday night for school graduation, a different type of burger had been circling my mind then it suddenly changed to recreating a Japanese style chicken burger. All day at work i was thinking this, pondering that, looking on the web for ideas on how to put something together. DING! By the end of the day it was all organized. To the shops and home and i wasn’t going to let myself down like that cafe did. Tonight we dine in JFC heaven.

Raid the Japanese section of the pantry and fridge.
Raid the Japanese section of the pantry and fridge.

I hadn’t used the wasabi powder before so was curious how it would work. Always excited about using the Japanese 7 spice mix, Shichimi Togarashi and i adore the furikake seasoning.

First i’m making my teriyaki sauce. I’d used this on a different burger once before and it was sensational.

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Roughly 3 servings.

1/4 Japanese soy sauce.

1/4 cup mirin.

1tbs caster sugar.

2.5cm piece of ginger, sliced.

1 clove of garlic, sliced.

1.5 tsp cornflour.

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Combine soy sauce, mirin, sugar, ginger and garlic in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes, ย then remove 1 tbs of the mixture and combine with the cornflour in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Return cornflour mixture to saucepan and cook for 5 minutes more or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and cool, then strain through a fine sieve.

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Next step is to get the chicken coated. Get your breast fillets, slice them in half and place them between 2 pieces of glad wrap on a chopping board. Bang them until they are about an inch thick. In 3 bowls place your flour, eggs and panko breadcrumbs.

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Will coat approx 4 burger sized fillets once bashed.

1 cup flour.

2 eggs, whisked.

1 cup of panko breadcrumbs, then a second cup for the second coating.

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Now the messy part :)
Now the messy part ๐Ÿ™‚

Coat your chicken first in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the panko, lightly pressing the crumbs into the chicken.

Place on a plate for 15-20minutes so the coating dries slightly and sticks. Then repeat the process for the second crumbing.

Double coated and ready to fry.
Double coated and ready to fry.

In the time your chicken is waiting for its second coating get the wasabi mayonnaise and slaw ready. For the mayonnaise.

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4 servings.

1tsp wasabi powder mixed with 1tsp water. (use tubed wasabi if you don’t have powdered). Adjust taste to your liking as i prefer mine with a few tears.

1/2 cup mayonnaise.

1tsp fresh lemon juice.

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Slaw

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4 servings.

4 cups shredded red cabbage.

1 medium size carrot, grated.

1 shallot, sliced.

1 tbs chopped coriander.

1.5 tbs rice vinegar.

1 tsp caster sugar.

salt and pepper.

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In a large bowl mix the cabbage and carrot then mix in the coriander and shallot, add the vinegar and sugar and mix to combine, season with salt and pepper and let stand for 20minutes to soften and sugar to dissolve. Cover and refrigerate if necessary. I had some home grown Mitsubaย which i wanted to use to add that extraย Japanese touch.

Adding colour to the burger.
Adding colour to the burger.

Make your chips however you like, fried or baked. Mix 1 tsp of Japanese 7 spice mix with 1tsp furikake seasoning. When serving, toss through the chips and serve in a warm bowl.

Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a casserole dish, or large saucepan, (you can even deep fry), test the oil to make sure it’s hot enough and shallow fry the chicken, around 4-5minutes each side or until golden.

Under the grill place your halved burger buns and toast until brown.

Slather the teriyaki sauce on the bottom half of your bun and place fried chicken on top then add your slaw, finally coat the top half generously with the wasabi mayo. Keep your chips close and dig in and hear yourself moan for 15minutes.

This is the joy i wanted to feel after the Bathurst JFC burger, in a way i am glad they served a crappy burger otherwise i would not of felt the urge to make this beast.

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You shouldn’t be reading this, just look at that burger! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Mission accomplished ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Green tea beef yakitori

Some times i don’t have time to organize an evening meal before i leave for work in the morning and as you’ve probably seen taste.com.au is my go to site to pick up something quick and delicious. Being able to search by ingredient, cuisine etc is awesome, i can narrow down fast what tickles my fancy.

On this occasion it was Japanese. Just skipping through, nope, nope nope, nope, then *bang*, this one widened my eyes.

ย I had all of the ingredients for the marinade. Soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, lemongrass, chilli oil, loose leaf green tea, ginger and coriander. With some eye fillet, this all marinated during the day, (i did it in the morning).

Marinate for as long as possible for best flavour.
Marinate for as long as possible for best flavour.

Soak some bamboo skewers in cold water for over 30mins and then thread the beef onto them.

Beef skewers don't come better or fresher than this :)
Beef skewers don’t come better or fresher than this ๐Ÿ™‚

I was so excited when i found this pickled ginger in the DJ’s food hall in the City. Sure, the pickled ginger you can buy from supermarkets is fine but seeing this, geez,ย stoked! Tipped out my old ginger and used the jar for this stuff. I cannot describe to you how good this is. We’ll just leave it at that.

Now this is what i call pickled ginger!
Now this is what i call pickled ginger!

On the left is the Furikaki seasoning. It’s primarily for rice i believe and there are many different types. I couldn’t read what they were though hehe. Taste good eaten out of the palm of your hand and gives your rice that extra taste and texture ๐Ÿ™‚

Should be on the BBQ i know!
Should be on the BBQ i know!

Ideally you’d cook these on the BBQ for that extra flavour it would give. Fry pan worked well though, i could of used the skillet but was afraid the marinade would burn. BBQ next time for sure!

FEAST TIME! Although not much of a feast in terms of quantity :)
FEAST TIME! Although not much of a feast in terms of quantity ๐Ÿ™‚

Served with some shredded mitsuba from the garden. Best tasting kebabs/yakitori i’ve ever had ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s the recipe from the taste.com.au website. Highly recommend.

Green Tea Beef Yakitori with seasoned rice.

Ahh, now time to watch some Boardwalk Empire ๐Ÿ™‚

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Green tea cake

Nice, wet and grey in Sydney today so good excuse to bake. Umm, i was going to bake anyway, so yeah ๐Ÿ™‚ย 
Had this one in my sights for a while. Just had to track down the green tea powder. Very moreish.

Bottom was a bit burnt surprisingly but it was light and fluffy in the centre, it was hard not to cut off another slice. Well, more than twice ๐Ÿ™‚

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The recipe if you get the urge to try it :)
The recipe if you get the urge to try it ๐Ÿ™‚

You can find the green tea and green tea powder in Asian supermarkets. You need the ‘cook with’ green tea powder. About $10 for both.

I have a lot of green tea to drink ;)
I have a lot of green tea to drink ๐Ÿ˜‰

Grilled fish with carrot salad and soy dressing

Ange and I couldn’t decide who was going to cook Friday night. First it was me, then her, me again, you get the drift. In the end i put my hand up and i searched for a fish recipe with some Japanese flavours.

As always Japanese style dishes look easy enough on paper but it’s the preparation which always catches you. In this case slicing the carrots and cucumbers with a vegetable peeler and then thinly slicing them. Monotonous but it has to be done ๐Ÿ™‚ Also added some thinly sliced nori and ginger for that extra texture and taste, and shallots also sliced thinly length ways.

I figure every piece of carrot sliced is one less in the pile so don't stop :)
I figure every piece of carrot sliced is one less in the pile so don’t stop ๐Ÿ™‚

I toasted up some sesame seeds for that extra crunch and presence ย  along with the essential dressing.

If you’re a sauce/dressing junkie like me you’ll appreciate this.

2tbs mirin, 1tbs soy sauce, 1tbs sesame oil, (use less if the dominance is too much for you, i did 1/2 and added more to taste, as they say, ‘can add but can’t take out’), 1tbs peanut oil, crushed garlic clove. Put all the ingredients into a screw cap jar and shake to combine.

I also prepared some rice and stirred through some Furikake seasoning.

I cooked the blue eye trevalla in a cast iron grill against my wisdom so it stuck to the pan! I should of used the non-stick fry pan, oh well, too late now. I tried to be as careful as possible to turn the fish over. It was so delicate and fell to pieces, eeeek! Anyway, it still tasted succulent and amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

I love pickled ginger so also served some of that on the side. Love my condiments ๐Ÿ˜‰

Friday servingProbably not how the Japanese would serve it but what do you expect from a primitive cook? ๐Ÿ™‚

I spooned the rice into little bowls to mold them, fish and carrot salad side by side, sprinkled the toasted sesame seeds, shook and served the dressing and also pickled ginger on the side. I don’t usually go back for seconds but i sure did on this one. Not only that but i was drinking the dressing out of the jar once we had finished, just need a longer tongue ;(

Looks good hey? :)
Looks good hey? ๐Ÿ™‚

Off to the Pyrmont markets today. Wonder what we’ll pick up this time. Enjoy your Saturday! ๐Ÿ™‚