Archives for Asian cooking 911 category

Japanese cooking: ShokuPan (Japanese White bread)

As you already know, I like baking. I love to bake bread.

The smell of freshly baked bread is out of world and, I enjoy all kinds of bread.

I came to the states in summer, 2002 and I have still be searching for the white bread that I like, preferably close to Japanese white bread; it is light, fluffy, soft but not the kind of bread that stick to the top of your mouth from too much sugar in the bread, and springy its texture is kind of like between French bread and dinner roll and no egg is used although we use milk instead of water in the dough.

The crust is soft but not shiny soft like dinner roll crust.

Shokupan is Japanese traditional sandwich bread (white bread).

Shokupan has its unique smell to it not just by texture and, I tend to eat white bread toast in Japan when I visit my family once in a while because those are kind of things that are hard to find here in the states and if we did, it is triple expensive.

Because of that, I started trying various recipes trying to find the perfect shokupan I like and can make myself here in USA when I miss those Japanese bread.

This recipe you find below is one of the good recipes for Shokupan. It will be one of repeater recipe at our house.

I would still need to remind myself to rub some oil on plastic wrap to cover over proofing bread dough so it would not stick to it to make the hole in the dough but,if I keep it in mind, taste wise, it is one of the good ones.

This bread disappeared very fast at our house.Try make your own and see if you like them.

Shokupan..

Japanese white bread; Shokupan

Ingredients for shokupan:

1.5 tsp dry yeast
8g milk
155ml water
20g sugar
230g bread flour
4g active dry yeast
20g butter
4g salt
Extra virgin olive oil

0. Preheat the oven at 200F and when it reached to 200F,turn the oven off

1. In the bowl, add 230g bread flour, 20g white sugar, 4g salt, 8g milk, 4g dried yeast, 155 ml water and mix well

2. When dough came together,sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter to begin kneading the dough until the dough is smooth,elastic dough about 6-8 minutes

** Using silpat mat is easy to work with

** You can test your dough to see if you knead it more. Do the Windowpane test.

What is windowpane test??

Windowpane test is the test the gluten development in the dough.

What you do is to cut off small piece of dough,and gently stretch out/pulling to see if it will hold a paper-thin membrane.If it tore apart,you would knead a bit more and do the test again.

3. When dough becomes supple,smooth,elastic dough, add in 20g butter inn the dough and knead till butter mixed well and then, drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil onto empty bowl and smear it around side and inside bottom to make easy for you to take the dough out later

4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place the dough in the oven,set the timer for 90 minutes

5. 90 minutes later, dough will be larger size in volume (should be doubled)

6. Once the dough gets nearly double in volume, punch the dough,and ,take the dough out from the bowl onto the silpat mat/slightly floured surface

7. Divide the dough into 3, and form the dough into disc/round shape.Then, cover the dough with plastic wrap (greased will be better) let them rest for 10-15 minutes

8. Roll each disc into rectangle and bring top side toward you to fold over to the center and then bring the bottom side up to fold to the center so you have another smaller rectangle shape (long side is your side)

9. Turn the smaller folded over rectangle shaped dough to the direction so you have short length side on your front and roll the  dough up and pinch the edge with your side of palm and put the first rolled one into greased bread pan 9″ x 5″ with smoother side looking towards the shorter length of bread pan (you have the shorter length side closer to you when you put the rolled dough) and , and put the second rolled one to the right next so it would touch the side.

Then, place the last rolled dough to the right next. All the rolled dough should be touching each other but not touching to the short side of the bread pan.

10. Let it proof about 40 minutes to 60 minutes until the dough gets proofed by 80% or so. If you found air pocket,poke it with toothpicjs to collapse.

11. Bake them for about 20-30 minutes or so at 375F until golden

Enjoy! Butter is good with this but my husband loves cinnamon butter with this bread.

Apr 17, 2017 | 0 | Asian cooking 911

Japanese/Chinese cooking: Ebi Buta man (Steamed shrimp pork bun)

Now and then, I crave for steamed buns. You can buy those at Asian store, but Asian store we go to is 2 hours drive away. So, I tend to make from scratch and have fun with it.

 I have introduced Buta man (Steamed pork bun) before here, and this entry’s recipe will be with mixture of shrimp and pork.

I like both.

As you might have noticed by looking through Japanese cuisine recipes on our blog,  some of the dishes in Japan has Chinese food influences, but it is adapted to Japanese culture and made with a little different ingredients or called different. Just like “Sushi” is adapted to American culture and you find sushi made with something more appealing to people here in the states.

 In Japan, you would find “karee man” (steamed bun filled with curry flavored meat with vegetable,dough is yellow color), “Niku man ” (steamed bun filled with meat usually ground pork filling), “An man” (steamed bun filled with sweet Azuki beans paste). You can usually find them being sold hot at convenience stores after September through winter in Japan.

When we went back to Japan last October, my father had Kalbi steamed bun from convenience store once and he said it was good.

Other seasons, you can buy those at frozen section and all you need to do is to steam them for about 15 minutes or so on stove top.

In our local area’s Asian restaurant who serves Chinese, Japanese, and Thai food, they had steamed pork bun as special menu for one month. It was good but it was so expensive! One bun cost us $6…

It was okay bun, and over priced bun.

 If you have about 3 hours to spare, you can make your own from scratch.

Most of the time out of the 3 hours is down time; waiting for dough to proof so, not much cooking involved.

If you have kids, they can participate the bun making and have fun with it. You can be creative for the fillings. I am sure that kids will be experts on this creative department.

 

Steamed Pork and shrimp bun…

When you cut into half…..

This is what you see.

Ebi Buta man (steamed buns with pork and shrimp meat fillings)

Ingredients for Steamed bun dough:

1.5 tsp of dry yeast

2 tbs of table white sugar

3/4 C milk

84 grams (1/2 C) unbleached bread flour

260 grams (2 C) unbleached all purpose flour

1/8 tsp table salt

1 tbs baking powder

2 tbs vegetable oil

Ingredients for filling:

1 stalk green onion chopped

1/4 sweet onion chopped

1/4C bamboo shoot chopped

 3 dehydrated shiitake mushroom hydrated and chopped

0.4 oz cellophane noodle dry, hydrated, chopped

thumb nail size ginger grated

4 oz shrimp peeled divined

 10 oz ground pork

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp table sugar

2 tsp oyster sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tbs soy sauce

2 tsp sake

1.5 tsp corn starch

<Steamed bun dough;8 buns>

1. Preheat the oven at 200F

2. To 3/4C of warm milk 110F temperature, add 1.5 tsp of dry yeast and 2 tbs of table white sugar and stir and wait til you see some bubbles coming up on top (let it stand about 5 minutes to 10 minutes)

** Take the water temperature to make sure the water is not too hot or too cold for yeast to be activated. Too hot temperature would kill the yeast and it would not proof as much as you wish it would be.

3. To other bowl, add 1/2C of unbleached bread flour, 2 C of unbleached all purpose flour, 1/8 tsp of table salt, 1 tbs baking powder, 1 tbs water and mix well.

4. When you see the bubbles on yeast-water-milk-sugar mixture after about letting it stand about 5-10 minutes, pour the mixture into flour mixture and add 2 tbs of vegetable oil and knead till surface becomes smooth (about 8-10 minutes kneading)

5. When the dough surface becomes smooth and elastic, roll the dough to ball and drizzle extra virgin olive oil in the bowl grease the inner side of the bowl and coat the rolled dough with extra virgin olive oil lightly and put the rolled dough back into the bowl and seal it with saran

6. Turn off the oven and place the sealed bowl with rolled ball of dough  in the oven and set the kitchen timer 80 minutes

7. While you are waiting on the dough to proof.. move onto filling making.

<Pork and shrimp meat filling>

8. Chop 1 stalk of green onion, 1/4C bamboo shoot  3 dehydrated shiitake mushroom hydrate them in water and set it aside

9. Chop 1/4 sweet onion and cooked to translucent in sesame oil let it cool

10. To 10 grams cellophane noodle, add boiling water enough to cover and let it soak for 15 minutes and drain the noodle and chop

11.  Put 3 oz shrimp peeled divined into food processor and make paste, and another 1 oz shrimp peeled devined for rough chopped to about 1/4″ size

12. To one bowl, add 10 oz ground pork, 4 oz shrimp (some that were made into paste and some were chopped), 1/4 C bamboo shoot, 1 stalk green onion chopped, 1/4 sweet onion chopped, 3 shiitake mushroom hydrated and chopped, hydrated and chopped cellophane noodle, thumb nail size ginger grated, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tsp white table sugar, 2 tsp oyster sauce, 2 tsp sesame oil, 2 tbs soy sauce, 2 tsp sake, and mix till it gets sticky and then add 1.5 tsp corn starch and mix well

13. Cover the filling bowl with saran, keep in the fridge till the time you need to use

14. After 80 minutes, the dough in the oven should be proofed. Divide the dough to 8 portion and roll to balls and place onto non stick foil sprinkle with all purpose flour in the cooking sheet.Then cover with saran and put it back to oven to proof again. Set the kitchen timer 15 minutes.

15. While waiting on the second proof, take out the parchment paper and cut to 3″x3″ square. You need 8 of them.

16. When you hear the beeping of kitchen timer on 15 minutes proofing, now you will fill the dough with filling. Take the filling out from fridge.

17. Take one ball out and roll out to about 4″-4.5″ diameter circle and press the 1/2″ inner side all around

** Make sure not to roll out too thin because if the dough was too thin, dough can break during the steaming process

18.  Divide filling to 8 portion and roll one portion and press some and make like mini burger pattie

19. Place the mini pattie onto the rolled circle dough, and pinch the dough together.

** To pinch the dough, take far side edge dough and nearest edge of dough, and press. Then take both (left and right) side of edge of dough and press to seal. Then, twist on top. It is helpful if you had small bowl of water to dip your finger in and help the dough to seal well.

** Make sure the twisted top is sealed well. Otherwise, during the steaming process, twisted top can open and meat juice would come out.

20. After filling the dough, place the filled dough onto cut-out parchment paper you have prepared. and put the bun with parchment paper on cookie sheet and cover it with saran again and put it back to oven and set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes to proof again

21. While you are waiting on the filled dough to proof.. set the steamer to steam the buns, and let it come to boil, and once boiled, turn down the heat to medium and set the steamer and steam for 15-20 minutes.

** One way you can steam stuff without bamboo steamer using wok, but you can steam stuff other way

 The way my mother and I steam stuff is to use big wide mouth deep pan. We out bit of water enough to touch the steamer when you place the steamer in it and then, set the vegetable steamer and put proofed bun on the steamer with parchment paper still on the bottom,and place the kitchen towel on top of pan mouth and put the lid on and fold the edge of the towel up so it won’t touch the fire (if your stove is gas) Then steam  for 15-20 minutes on medium heat.

** Kitchen towel helps suck up the steam and it prevents steam going back down to the buns. If there were no towels used, steam drops to buns and you will get soggy buns.

** With bamboo steamer, you do not need towel to prevent steam dropping to the buns because bamboo suck the steam

22.After 15 minutes of steaming, voila! you get steamed buns!

Enjoy!

Jan 17, 2017 | 0 | Asian cooking 911

Japanese/Chinese cooking; Shumai dumpling

When you go to restaurant, often times, you can find Gyoza dumpling (pot stickers) in appetizer section.

It is one of my favorite dish to enjoy since childhood in Japan.

Similar to Gyoza dumpling, there is a dish called shumai dumpling.

I do not see them much under the appetizer section at American restaurants’ menu, but we find Shumai dumpling (type of dim sum) under appetizer section at Asian restaurants menu now and then.

I love shumai dumpling. Have you had them?

If you lobe Gyoza dumpling, you would love shumai.

It is pork dumplings,  and ginger pork fillings are wrapped in wrapper and one piece of green peas on top and they are steamed.

My mother has deep fried the shumai dumplings when I was a kid and put it in my bento box to bring to school.

Deep fried one was also delicious one.

Shumai dumpling is very popular dish in Japan.

 You may think that making the shumai dumpling is difficult but,it is not so. It just that a little time consuming to make it.

How to make them are not so complicated.

You can find frozen shumai dumpling at grocery store but I am surprised to find how much the store charge you for one package. It is almost tripe priced compared to the price I remember I was paying for in Japan.

Save your money and make your own.

The recipe that i share here is basic one. You can tweak the filling as you wish.

 shumai dumpling

Shumai dumpling..

**( I know wrapper can be made just warm water and flour, but I have not tried making it on my own, and I would update wrapper recipe if I could make wrapper nicely myself here)

Ingredients for filling;

200g Ground pork
1/4tsp table salt
1/4 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp sake
1/2 Egg white
1/8 sweet onion chopped fine

(or you can use about 50g of bamboo shoot)

1 tbs corn starch

(traditionally, we use katakuriko which is made from potato)

About 11 wrapper

1tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
5/8tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Ingredients for dipping sauce;

1 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs rice vinegar

dash of sesame oil

pinch of mustard (optional)

<Sumai dumpling>

1. To a bowl, add in 200g ground pork , 1/2tsp table salt, 1/2 tsp white sugar, 1/2 tsp sake, 1/2 Egg white, 1/8 sweet onion chopped fine,1 tbs corn starch, 1tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp soy sauce, 5/8tsp grated ginger, 1 tsp ground black pepper and mix until you feel sticky (but do not over mix the filling)

2. To a piece of wrapper, put about 1 tsp-2 tsp worth of filling and wrap them, and place one piece of green pea on top at the center

Here is the youtube video to show you ow to wrap the filling for shumai dumpling

How to wrap the shumai dumpling filling

3. Pour some water in the wide mouth pan and place vegetable steamer on top and place parchment paper or cabbage leaves so shumai dumpling won’t stick to the steamer

Make sure that water depth is just enough to touch the vegetable steamer and you should not feel the water puddle above the vegetable steamer. If the water was too deep than it should, your dumplings would get soggy bottom.

4. Place shumai dumping on the parchment paper lined steamer and place clean big kitchen washcloth/towel and put the lid on and put the edge fold back up on top of the lid (all 4 corners)

This will prevent the water dripping onto the dumplings and steam the dumpling very well.

5. Steam the dumpling at high heat about 6-10 minutes or juice running clear when you poke the dumpling with a toothpick

6. Make dipping sauce by combining everything in the small container; 1 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs rice vinegar, dash of sesame oil, pinch of mustard (optional)

7. Enjoy!

Makes about 11 dumplings

You can freeze them if you made too many to eat at one sitting.

Jul 27, 2016 | 0 | Asian cooking 911

Japanese cooking; Katsu Don (Pork cutlet bowl)

 If you ask me what Japanese dishes that I like, Katsu Don (Pork cutlet bowl) will be one of the top 10 list.

Pork cutlet bowl (Katsu Don) is basically, deep-fried pork cutlet and sliced onion are cooked with beaten egg in the soy – mirin-dashi sauce and then place it over the hot steamy white rice in the bowel.

Katsu is “deep-fried pork cutlet” in Japanese. If you did not have pork in your freezer/fridge, you can use veal cutlet or maybe cubed beef steak pounded to thin and deep fry them or maybe you could pound the chicken breast into thin and bread it and deep fry them.

These days, I do not deep fry things as much as I used to. Recently, I thought of Kstsu Don and thought that I could cook it up and actually our little son Liam could eat them as well.

Therefore, I decided to make one for all of us for lunch. It was a tasty quick meal and best thing of all, Liam loved this dish as well and, I can make it again whenever I thought of making it again for all of us:-)

In this entry, I would like to share the quick easy Japanese dish;Katsu don (Pork cutlet bowl) recipe.

Katsu don Jan 29 2016

Katsu Don (Pork cutlet bowl) …..

Ingredients for Katsu (Deep fried Pork cutlet);

Ingredients;

Pork tenderloin sliced into 1/4″ thick medallion,12 medallions for 4 servings
Morton’s Natures seasons
flour
1 egg lightly beaten
Japanese panko bread crumbs
vegetable oil

Ingredients for sauce;

Ingredients;

Konbu (dried kelp about 2″x3″-4″)
6 tbs soy sauce
6tbs mirin
3/4 Sweet onion sliced
1 whole egg lightly beaten per serving
1 tbs or so frozen green peas

<Rice>

1.First,you want to start cooking rice. Rice takes longer to be done.

Rice used for Japanese cooking, my personal choice brand, is called “Kokuho Rose Rice”. You can find them at local grocery store such as Wegman’s, Walmart at international aisle or if you have ASian market, they would probably have one too. If you could not find it still, actually amazon carry it too. Cook them accordingly to the direction on its back of the package.

<Sauce>

1. Place a sauce pan over stove top, and pour 14 oz of water (400 ml water), 5cm x 8 cm size (about.. 2 inch x 3 or 4 inch size) konbu (Dried kelp).

** You can find it in International aisle of local grocery store but amazon carry it as well.My favorite brand is Shirakiku brand.

2. You could make dashi first and then can add soy-mirin. But I tend to make sauce while making Dashi.

3. Add 6 tbs soy sauce (I love kikkoman brand bottle imported from Japan), 6 tbs Mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine.I love Mirin imported from Japan) and slice about 3/4 of  sweet onion and put those onion into mixture of water,konbu, soy sauce,mirin and cook

** Once it boiled, turn down the heat to simmer and keep cooking with lid on

<Katsu (Deep fried Pork cutlet) and assembling>

1. While sauce is cooking, prepare to make Katsu (Pork cutlet)

** I usually use Pork tenderloin. Slice it into about 1/4″ thick medallion and pound them thin with meat mallet or back of the knife and sprinkle Morton’s Nature seasoning, and flour them,dip them into beaten egg and roll them onto Panko bread crumb. Then, set it aside on the plate.

** I like to use shallow frying method which makes your pork cutlet cook through faster and healthier than cooking in the deep frying.

** When 1 egg to dip into is gone, you do not need to add in more egg.You can add in water a little bit and stir and use that after dredging the cutlet onto flour.

2. Pour about 1/8″ or half the depth of oil in the big non stick skillet when placing panko crusted pork cutlet in the oil to fry.

3. When oil gets heat up, place the panko crusted pork cutlet in the skillet gently and fry them to deep golden and when it is done, prepare the plate with paper towel on and let the cutlet rest on the paper towel so it would drain extra oil off in the cutlet

4.When everything is done, place 1 qt sauce pan on the stove top and scoop up some of cooked onion in konbu-soy-mirin-water mixture from other sauce pan and pour about 1 ladle worth of sauce in the 1 qt sauce pan

5. Slice the cutlet into about 1/2″ width strip and when the sauce got bubbly, turn the heat to low simmer and put the cutlets to soy sauce mixture in the 1 qt  sauce pan,and  pour the 1 beaten egg slowly into the pan (aim at outside edge of pork cutlet in the sauce) clock wise motion and let it cook through

6. When the egg is almost set, sprinkle frozen green peas about 1 tbs per serving or so and let it heat through the green peas

7. Put rice on the bowl, put cutlet with egg and Onion onto rice by sliding it out

** My husband does not like to eat egg cooked in the sauce and what I usually do is as following

His meal: put rice,top it with Katsu,scoop some onion, and pour some soy sauce mixture without egg.He likes it that way

If you had leftover Katsu,make Katsu sandwich. Bread,cutlet, mixture of ketchup+Worcester sauce,sliced tomato,lettuce and you have big sandwich for yourself to enjoy!

If you like to make Katsu for Party scene,you can make Kushi Katsu. Kushi means toothpicks.Basically, skewed little pork cutlet with onion. I know my husband loves this but it is so time consuming and I tend to make Katsu more than Kushi Katsu. Here is how you make it.

1.  Cut boneless pork chop to strips and sprinkle Morton’s nature’s seasoning, slice onion

2.Take a toothpicks,skew them in order of Pork chop strip,onion,pork chop strip,onion and flour them,dip them into beaten egg, and roll onto Panko bread crumbs.

3.Then,deep fry them.

4.You now made Kushi Katsu.Sauce I make is usually mixture of Worcester sauce+Ketchup.

When you hear Japanese cooking, it has impression of all complicated cooking but it actually is not so.

If you have got basic of our flavor:Soy sauce,Sake,Mirin,Rice vinegar, you probably can make thousands of different kind of Japanese dishes.

Enjoy!


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Feb 02, 2016 | 1 | Asian cooking 911

Japanese cooking; Japanese style strawberry shortcake

When I came to the states, one of the things that gave me culture shock was a strawberry shortcake.

It was in FL state where my parents in law took everyone to FL.

At one street vendor place, my mother in law or my father in law asked me if I would like a strawberry shortcake.

I love strawberry shortcake back home so, I said “Yes” with no hesitation.

Well…. what I got and what I imagined in my head was very different.

Back home, strawberry shortcake is staple birthday cake  and this is also popular at Christmas time (On Christmas day, we eat special meal and finish the great dinner with strawberry shortcake) and it consists of sponge cake layered with whipping cream and fruits (strawberry) and decorated with whipping cream and strawberries.

Both sponge and whipping cream are not heavily sweetened like typical American cakes.

These strawberry shortcakes are very simple, but tasty and they are fluffy light cake.

Over here, apparently, strawberry shortcake is very different from ours and it consists of crumbly biscuits layered with whipping cream,  macerated strawberries and top it off with another layer of biscuit.

If you ask me one thing that I miss from Japan is Japanese style cake. They use a lot of fruits for color,flavor and cakes tend to be light and not so sweet.

I miss them and every time I go back to Japan, Japanese cakes are in my to do list,lol.

Anyway, recently, my husband had birthday,and I have made “Japanese style strawberry shortcake” with twists.

If I could use liquor in it, I would have because I love baking/making dessert with liquor.

However, because of our little prince, I did not use any liquor. If you use liquor, you could mix Marsala (sweet) wine mixed with sugar and soak the sliced strawberry and use that to decorate the cake/use it as filling.

Or, you could add bit of Lemon cello in sponge along with fresh lemon zest.

Or, you could add in brandy/whiskey in whipping cream. 

I like to use liquor like that.

This time, I made strawberry peach shortcake Japanese style. Peach is good for color and taste. I really liked it and so did my husband and our little prince.

Because I knew that prince Liam would eat the cake as well, the cake and whipping cream got lower sugar amount but it was good enough to enjoy.Not too sweet, not too bland.I liked how it came out actually.

I now bake with weight of the ingredients for consistent result. Therefore, you would not see as much measuring cup amount for each ingredients.

Strawberry Peach short cake Jan 17 2016

Strawberry peach shortcake..

Ingredients for fruits layer;

1 whole strawberry uncut except stem off (This single strawberry goes in the center on top layer)

145gram (5 oz) sliced strawberries
75 gram (2.5 oz) canned peach chopped (this is for middle layer)

30gram ( 1 oz) canned peach thinly sliced (this is for top layer)

Ingredients for  whipping cream;

400ml heavy cream
2tbs white sugar

** You would have extra whipped cream. You can use the leftover whipped cream in strawberry shortcake sandwich that I make here and there when I got extra whipped cream.

  1. On the white bread, smear the whipped cream and top it off with chopped fresh berries and fold into half and eat

Ingredients for Sponge cake;

120 gram (4.25 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
120 gram (4.25 oz) white sugar
20 gram (0.7 oz) butter melted
4 eggs

<Whipped cream>

1. In the bowl,pour 400ml heavy cream,2 tbs white sugar and whisk till stiff peak

**Best to prepare right before the decoration

<Sponge cake>

STrawberry Peach Short cake base Jan 17 2016

1. Line 2 count of 9″ round cake pan with foil or non stick spray

2. preheat the oven at 355F

3. Over a bowl, place kitchen sieve and pour 120 gram (4.25 oz) unbleached all purpose flour,and shift through and set it aside

4. Melt the 20 gram(0.7 oz) butter and set it aside

5.  In another bowl, place the kitchen sieve and shift through 120 gram (4.25 oz) white sugar, and to that, add 1 egg and start beating the egg and sugar and add 1 egg at a time (totaling 4 whole eggs) at a time

6. When the mixture gets whiten in color (about 7 min on med speed) continue mixing 3 more minutes or so until the mixture is fluffy,and drip down to the bowl like ribbon and the dropped ribbon prints stay when you stop the mixer and lift it up.

7. It is time to add the shifted flour. Add flour to the egg-sugar mixture with small amount at a time and stir gently with wooden spoon

** As a kid, when my mother and I were making sponge, she taught me to move the wooden spoon as if you will draw the number “11” and then, move the wooden spoon gently as if you will draw circle from closest to you, about a few times or till added flour gets evenly mixed well

8. Scoop up one ladle worth of egg-sugar-flour mixture into small bowl and add in butter and mix well. Then, pour it back into the egg-sugar-flour mixture and mix gently as much less stir as possible.

** If you overmix the batter,it would not puff up well.

9. Pour the half batter into one pan and another half batter into other pan, and place kitchen towel on top of the counter and gently toss the pan from about 4″-5″ height about 10 times to get the air bubbles in the batter gets out

10. Bake about 25 minutes or until toothpicks inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean

11. When baked, remove it from the pan when it got cool down a little

Makes: 2 count of 9″round sponge

<How to assemble>

1. Place one round cake on the plate, and smear it with whipped cream and decorate it with sliced strawberries (stem cut side out,tip side inner) around the edge and then more in the center 

2. Sprinkle chopped canned peach over strawberries

3. On other plate, place one layer of cake and smear the whipped cream and put the whipped cream side over the fruits top

4. smear the whipped cream on top layer and smear the edges with whipped cream

5. When all covered with whipped cream, decorate the very top layer with strawberry and peach. I like to decorate it with sliced strawberries on outer edge this time stem cut side in tip side out alternating with sliced canned peach and then decorate the center part with more sliced strawberries this time tip side out, stem cut side in and place the whole uncut strawberry right in the center

6. Serve

Strawberry Peach Shortcake slice Jan 17 2016

Makes; 1 cakes ( ” round cake)

** If you had more time to spend in the kitchen, and you had more strawberries you need to use up, you can make strawberry jam.

You can cut stem off and chop to about 1/2″ and heat it with bit of sugar and cook it down til thicken.

I like to enjoy strawberry jam toast once in a while.

Enjoy!

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Jan 24, 2016 | 0 | Asian cooking 911

Japanese Cooking; Chicken salad with Skinny Sesame Ginger dressing

I am originally from Japan and, one of my favorite salad dressing manufacturer from there is called “Pietro“.

They make such a wonderful salad dressing with various flavors such as Ginger dressing, Balsamic soy sauce dressing, plum perilla dressing, sesame dressing,onion sesame soy dressing etc..

My husband is not a fan of cucumber but when my mother put this dressing over cucumber and other salad ingredients (we eats salad everyday with meal back there at least 2 times a day.Morning is usually either rice or toast base main meal plus a couple of side dishes,salad and fruits.Dinner is usually rice base and you get side dishes, and they are accompanied by salad too. ), he could eat it.

The company website says that kids who hates vegetables would eat the vegetable willingly with their magical dressing but I think it true:-) I always think that, cooking method, type/variety of source and really really good sauce can change the kids’ reaction to the offended food ingredients.

I am a good example for that. I used to hate fish very very much but with my mother’s patience and so many trials with cooking method, sauce, type of fish etc.. I could eat fish and you would not believe that I would prefer the fish over steak now if I were offered choice to pick the dinner plate from. Her patience paid off really good.

Anyway, pietro dressing is really good and great for salad, great for pasta sauce, great for sauce for grilled meat such as chicken or fish and when I make my own version of their dressing, I can use it in my fried rice dish because I do not use a lot of oil in my dressing.

When you eat salad, you feel good about eating lots of greens and vegetables with or without protein source such as grilled chicken but, it is not healthy to drench the salad with dressing.

The commercially made dressing is basically seasoned oil if you will, and if you read the label on its back of the dressing bottles, you can see so many companies use sugar or corn syrup or any other sweetener in top 3 ingredients in the list.

Not only that, if you pick up *fat free” dressing, yes, it has less calories than its regular version of the dressing, but it is not great for you.

As I wrote in the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part XX; Fat free products and DIY Ricotta cheese” you can compared them and see fat free sounds good to your ears but not really good for your body.

Here is an ingredients list for particular brand’s fat free ranch dressing.

Water, Corn Syrup, Vinegar, Sugar, Whey (from Milk), Modified Food Starch , Contains Less than 2% of Salt, Soybean Oil (Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat), Dried Garlic, Xanthan Gum (lab made binder), Artificial Color, Phosphoric Acid, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Dried Onions, Spice, Natural Flavor, Potassium Sorbate and Calcium Disodium EDTA (to Protect Flavor), Caramel Color.

If you take the original ranch dressing from the same company, ingredients are as followings.

Soybean Oil, Water, Vinegar, Buttermilk, Sugar, Egg Yolks, Salt, Contains Less than 2% of Modified Food Starch, Whey, Xanthan Gum, Garlic (Dried), Phosphoric Acid, Parsley (Dried), Natural Flavor, Onions (Dried), Spice, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Sorbic Acid and Calcium Disodium EDTA (to Protect Flavor).

As you see, later ingredients list has more recognizable real food ingredients in the list and list is a little shorter than “Fat free” version of the dressing. Also, if you pick regular one, since company does not have to add in anything to the products to look/taste/ similar texture or consistency of the products, you will get more recognizable ingredients in the list even though you would still see chemicals in it because products has to have shelf life for stores to sell the products to the customers..

If you make the ranch dressing on your own, basic ingredients you would need are sour cream,mayonnaise,garlic powder,onion powder,herbs, and salt and pepper. No need to add coloring agent or preservatives or starch or anything to mimic the real thing.

Therefore, I would like to encourage you to make your own salad dressing without filler with much simpler ingredients list. Making the dressing is not difficult. It is 5 minutes job.

We do not have store bought dressing in our fridge all the time. When we have salad, I make dressing for it 99% of the time. Now and then, when we go to Asian store, we get one bottle of pietro dressing but that is about it.

It is also fun to create the various flavors as salad dressing too. Not only that, you have the total control on amount of sugar, amount of oil and it is much more healthy for you.

The other day, I made grilled chicken salad, and our dressing was skinny sesame ginger dressing.

My husband loved them and said that the taste is similar to our favorite Pietro dressing.

I thought I would share the recipe here with you so you can make your own sesame ginger salad dressing.

Chicken SAlad with Ginger sesame dressing

Yassy’s Grilled Chicken salad with skinny sesame ginger dressing..

Ingredients for Yassy’s Grilled Chicken salad;

Ingredients;

1 chicken breast
McCormick steak seasoning
Extra virgin olive oil
handful of shredded raw carrot
handful of  raw baby spinach
a little bit of thinly sliced raw red onion
raw cherry tomato
Romane lettuce
cucumber
Italian bread without crust
Emeril’s essence

Ingredients for Yassy’s Skinny Sesame ginger dressing;

Ingredients;

2 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp white sugar
1/8 tsp sesame oil
ground sesame seed

<Grilled chicken>

1.pound the chicken breast and season it with steak seasoning and cook it in the screaming hot skillet with Extra virgin olive oil and slice them to bite size pieces.

<Vegetables>

1.Chop various vegetables you can find in your fridge for the salad. I have added handful of shredded carrot, handful of  baby spinach, a little bit of thinly sliced red onion, cherry tomato, romane lettuce, cucumber

If you have roasted corn on the cob, you can use the corn for the salad too. You got raw sweet peppers? Use that for the salad.

The tip to make the red onion less zing to your nose is that, you will need to slice the red onion really thin and wash them under the running cold water and keep it in the small container with water enough to cover them.

This way, you would not have too much zing from raw red onions.

<Croutons>

Cut the Italian bread without crust into bite size pieces and put them in the small bowl. Then, drizzle some extra olive oil and season them with Emeril’s essence

Then, bake them to crunch at about 425F oven until edge gets brown

<skinny sesame ginger dressing>

Mix 2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp rice vinegar, 1/4 tsp grated ginger, 1/4 tsp white sugar,1/8 tsp sesame oil and sprinkle ground sesame seed

Drizzle it over your dressing.

You can double or tripe the recipe for the dressing as needed.

Enjoy!


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Oct 27, 2015 | 0 | Asian cooking 911

Skinny sweet sour chicken with vegetables

I love Chinese Japanese dishes such as sweet sour pork or sweet sour meatball or sweet sour chicken.

The dish “su-bu-ta” (Sweet sour pork” ) is traditionally made with pork shoulder,deep fried and they are coated with thicken sweet sour sauce. The dish got onion, pepper, carrot and pineapple.

Besides Subuta, there are variety of sweet sour sauce dishes such as sweet sour meatball (pork meatball is deep fried and coated with sweet sour sauce and cooked with pepper and onion) or Sweet sour chicken (chicken thigh is cut to bite size pieces and breaded and deep fried and coated with sweet sour sauce.Often times, the dish is with pepper and onion).

I like su-bu-ta but I do not like sticky sweet sweet sour sauce you sometime find at American Chinese restaurants across the country and, when I make the dish, I make less sweet sauce and, I enjoy them a lot.

Chinese influenced Japanese dishes like this is a good dish that you can add in whatever vegetables on hand as well to make it extra nutritious.

I like to add in non traditional ingredients from the fridge sometime.

I think, this sauce would go well with white meat fish as well.

These would also be great recipes for kids to eat more vegetables. I find that sometimes, sauce makes the food taste a little different even if you are eating disliked vegetables.

My mother tried different cooking method, different type of fish (I did not care for fish as a kid.Now I like fish better than steak), different types of sauce and I now can eat fish. It is all due to my mother’s hard work to help me eat better:-)

This is the recipe you can cook up in 30 minutes and, perfect recipe for busy moms out there.

When I make sweet sour dish, I do not deep fry them. There is a little secret to make the meat tender when cook in the skillet.

Since my version does not deep fry the meat, I just call it “Skinny Sweet sour chicken”.

Traditionally, chicken used for sweet sour chicken is thigh but I used breast.

skinny sweet sour chicken

Skinny sweet sour chicken….

Ingredients for the sauce;

* 4 tbs rice vinegar
* 2.5 tbs white sugar
* 4 tbs Ketchup

* Sake 1 tbs
* 1 tsp soy sauce
* 1/2 tsp corn starch
* 1/8 tsp sesame oil

1. Mix all ingredients in bowl and set it aside.

Ingredients for sweet sour chicken;

10 oz wt chicken breast boneless cut into bite size pieces
Morton Natures Seasons
corn starch
2 capful sake (I like to use Gekkeikan Sake brand)
1/2 red onion rough chopped
1 /2 stick carrot thinly sliced diagonally and par cooked
1/8 Green pepper rough chopped
1/8 Red pepper rough chopped
shanghai bok choy stem thinly sliced

Asparagus chopped

1. Cut the boneless chicken breast to bite size pieces and season them with Morton Natures Seasons

2. Season it with Morton’s Natures Seasons

3. Put the chicken into the small bowl and add handful of corn starch to coat them

4. In the skillet, drizzle sesame oil and bring the skillet to hot

5. When the skillet got screaming hot, add in chicken breast and brown them and once browned,add in 1-2 capful of sake and shake the skillet and cover the skillet for a minutes or so till it gets evaporated fully and take chicken out on the plate

This technique will make the chicken tender

6. Add 1/2 onion rough chopped, par cooked carrot thinly sliced diagonally, shanghai bok choy stem thinly sliced and stir

*** To cook carrot a bit before going into the skillet ***

Carrot takes long time to get cooked and I found that if I cook some in the microwave before finish cooking in the skillet, it saves some  cooking time and much easier to make the dish

To cook some, here is what you need to do

  1. thinly slice carrot diagonally and put it into small bowl and cover them with water
  2. Place plastic wrap directly over the water in the bowl
  3. (make sure it touches the water)
  4. Place another plastic wrap to cover the bowl
  5. Microwave about 1.5 minutes or so
  6. Drain and cook in the skillet

************************************************************

7. When they got cooked to about 80%, add in  1/8 Green pepper rough chopped, 1/8 Red pepper rough chopped, and cut Asparagus and stir

** Season the vegetable with Morton’s Natures Seasons each time you add in new ingredients

8. Add chicken back into the skillet and pour the sauce and stir to thicken

9. Enjoy!

Makes: 2-3 servings

I used vegetables listed above but you can use vegetables you can find in your fridge.


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Sep 29, 2015 | 0 | Asian cooking 911

Thai cooking; Thai Peanut sauce

I am originally from Japan. Many dishes that I have eaten here over the years is something that were new to me. I had never tasted Mexican food, I had never tasted Thai food etc..

Years ago, I was working at the Airport for Japanese Airline and one of our co workers was from Thailand.

One day, she brought Thai coconut chicken soup and Papaya salad and I got to taste test them and I was hooked with Thai food since.

It was very very spicy but it was good.

Since I was interested in learning more of Thai food through her, she even took me to ethnic store where I get to see what she would buy to cook her authentic Thai food.

That is how I could learn basic flavor combination of her country. I started enjoying cooking Thai food at home since then.

One other lady’s husband, who is from Thailand, was working for Thai restaurant, and I got to try variety of Thai food at the restaurant as well.

One of my favorite dish is garden roll or sometimes called “Thai spring roll”; salad ingredients and Thai basil and shrimp or ground chicken are wrapped with rice paper and you are to eat it by dipping the roll with Thai peanut sauce.

I think it is very refreshing hand feeding friendly salad and I love the flavor of Thai basil.

The other day, I made peanut sauce and used it for chicken stir fry, and it came out good.

All you need to do is to cook the chicken, set it aside, cook the vegetables you have in the fridge and then,put the chicken back in the skillet. Then, drizzle peanut sauce to coat the ingredients. Then garnish it with toasted coconut flakes with chopped cilantro and serve it with Jasmine rice.

The leftover sauce can be used as base sauce for Thai pizza or  salad dressing or maybe you can make chicken burger and use the sauce instead of cheese etc.

You can find many ways to use one simple sauce.

I thought I would share the recipe here with you so you can be creative to make your own peanut sauce anything.

I would have sprinkle crushed peanut on top of the sauce but it was out so, I  used cilantro only for the garnish.

You do not want to overdo the crushed peanuts on top of the Thai peanut sauce or on the dish but a little bit of crushed peanut will give you the nice crunch and it is tasty.

Thai Peanut Sauce

Yassy’s Thai peanut sauce..

Ingredients for Yassy’s Thai peanut sauce:

Ingredients;

1/4C plus 2.5tsp Creamy peanut butter
1/8 Chicken broth
4 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbs plus 1/4tsp dark brown sugar (if you can get palm sugar, use that instead
1.5 tsp Soy sauce

1.5 tsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic grated
1/4 Thai chili
sriracha
extra virgin olive oil

1. In the small bowl, add 1/4C plus 2.5tsp Creamy peanut butter
1/8 Chicken broth, 4 tsp rice vinegar,1 tbs plus 1/4tsp dark brown sugar (if you can get palm sugar, use that instead),1.5 tsp Soy sauce

2. Heat the pan and drizzle extra virgin olive oil and add grated 1 garlic clove, 1.5 tsp grated ginger, 1/4 Thai chili and let it become fragrant

3. To that, add peanut butter mix, and adjust the heat with sriracha

4. Cook it till thicken. Garnish it with chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts.

Enjoy!


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Aug 25, 2015 | 0 | Asian cooking 911

Japanese cooking; Gyudon (Ginger beef bowl)

Over here in the states, Sushi will be the most popular recognizable Japanese dish and many people would think that Japanese dishes are hard to make one at home.

However, many of our dishes are very simple,quick and light and probably budget friendly recipes as well.

One of popular Japanese dishes back home in Japan beside Sushi is Gyudon. *Gyu* means * Beef* and *Don* means  shorten words for *Donburi* meaning Bowl* in Japanese. Therefore, Gyudon is basically a beef bowl dish.

Gingery beef with onion is placed over hot steamy rice and served.

There are many Gyudon specialty stores back home. When I was working in Japan in the past, there was Gyudon store that gets long line outside the store because they were very famous for their Gyudon dish.

For this dish, you need…. rice,ginger,beef,onion,sake, soy sauce, mirin, and honey or white sugar. That is all.

It will take less than 30 minutes to cook it. The dish is great for busy moms like me.

This dish would probably be a big hit for people in the states since teriyaki anything seems to be popular flavor in the restaurant industries.However,I have not seen this dish on the menu yet.

Therefore,I thought I would share the recipe here with you so you can try another popular dish from Japan.

Gyudon

Yassy’s Gyudon..

Ingredients for Yassy’s Gyudon:

Ingredients;

kokuho rose rice cooked
beef thinly sliced about 10 oz wt
1/2 onion sliced
About pinky size ginger chopped
sake 1 capful (recommend Gekkeikan brand) for marinade plus 2 tbs for the sauce
Soy sauce 2 tbs

honey 2 tbs
mirin 2tbs
baking soda 1/4tsp
extra virgin olive oil

1. In the small bowl, add thinly sliced beef and pour 1 capful of sake and 1/4 tsp baking soda and mix and let it marinade

2. Heat the pan and drizzle extra virgin olive oil and add chopped ginger and let it come to fragrant

3. To that, add 1/2 sweet onion sliced and cook a bit

4. To that, add mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sake, honey and let it come to boil I

5. Rinse the beef under the running water and add beef to the pan after the sauce came to boil

6. Turn the heat lower to middle and continue cooking

7. now and then, stir to prevent the beef to stick together

8. cook the beef till the sauce gets reduced to about 3rd

9. place hot steamy white rice and top it with beef onion mixture and sprinkle sesame seed (option) and serve

** You can also serve with chopped green onion or beni shouga (red colored pickled  ginger) on top

Makes: About 2 -3 servings

Enjoy!


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Jul 21, 2015 | 0 | Asian cooking 911

Japanese cooking: Miso Soup

When I go back to Japan to go see my family, many restaurants we go or hotel we stay a day before to catch the flight back to the states serve Miso soup, and my mother makes Miso soup for family as staple soup.

There are many ways to make Miso soup but, big difference for this soup is the important ingredients that changes the whole taste of the soup; Miso.

There are 2 kinds of Miso;one is Aka miso, and the other is Shiro miso. Aka Miso has a little bold,strong , spicy taste and Shro miso is somewhat mild sweeter taste.

You can see the difference from the color of the products.

Aka Miso, Shiro Miso both made from the same ingredients *Soybeans* but how they are produced is a little different.

For the Aka miso,soy beans are steamed and for the Shiro miso, soy beans are boiled.

When soybeans are soaked longer and steamed at high heat for long time, you will get Aka miso.

When soybeans are peeled, soaked short and boiled, you will get shro miso.

Miso and Miso soup have different versions to it depending on region you live in.

I grew up enjoying many cups of Miso soup and, I love the soup.

Miso soup is easy to make it, but you need good Dashi (stock) and good quality Miso to have tasty soup.

Recently,one of our neighbor asked for the recipe for Miso soup and when I made one for our family,I made extra and brought it to them along with the recipe.

Miso soup is very simple easy soup to make one but, I am under the impression that many people do not know how to make one by themselves.

Therefore,I thought I would share the recipe here with you.

At the Asian restaurant, I see Miso soup but I feel the soup is over priced. 1 cup can cost you $2 or more but I do not think it cost that much to make one if you make yourself.

For this, I made very simple version of Miso soup using only Tofuy and green onion. You can add more vegetables of your choice such as daikon horseradish or seaweed etc…

There is a products called*dashi no mo to (dashi granules)*, but when you make dashi from Konbu or bonito flakes, you can have much tastier soup.

Miso soup

Yassy’s miso soup..

Ingredients for Yassy’s Miso soup:

Ingredients;

1.25oz Tofu Firm chopped to dice
1 stalk green onion chopped
2 tbs Shiro Miso
Dashi Konbu 2”x 3” size

1. Pour 200CC water in a pan with Dashi Konbu and let it soak for 90 minutes or longer

2. Heat the pan and bring it to boil and turn the heat down to simmer and cook 10 minutes to make Konbu Dashi

Once Dashi is made, take out the konbu piece. You can cut the konbu into thin slices and season it with Teriyaki sauce and eat with rice if you like.

3. In another pan, pour 200CC water and bring it to boil

4. Once boiled, add tofu and (wakame seaweed if you like to add) cook for about a couple of minutes and turn off the heat and dissolve 2 tbs Shiro Miso in a ladle dip into the soup

5. Turn on the heat and add 200CC Konbu Dashi and Green onion and when it gets just about boiling, turn off the heat and stir and taste to adjust the seasoning

Makes: About 2 servings

Enjoy!


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Jul 08, 2015 | 0 | Asian cooking 911