Sesame oil is sometimes mixed into very hot and spicy food to help neutralize the heat.
A dish of korean inspiration! A delicious scallion pancake coloured green with spinach. This is a great way to add an extra portion of vegetables to your meal.
Late-night gyoza at izakaya, is one of the things i miss the most about living in Tokyo. Maybe not one of the healthiest late-night eats, but a DELICIOUS one. These are very unconventional gyoza, black on the outside, and red and orange on the inside.
We made homemade gyoza dough with some friends a few weeks back, it took FOREVER. Devine had the amazing idea of using our pasta maker to do it. We still needed to do a bit of kneading, to get it through the machine the first time. After that, it's easy and sweat-free!
We didn't have any round cookie cutters, the last time we tried i was using upside down glasses. Didn't work well because the rims aren't sharp. Again, Devine had a stroke of genius. Cans! I had an empty chickpea pan lying around, it was about the size of a gyoza wrapper so we used that to poke holes through the dough.
I know not everyone has a pasta maker, you don't need one to make wrappers. You can just use a rolling pin.
The fillings was another experiment, since i like to cook with colours in mind, i wanted something that would contrast the black. Beet and carrots seemed like an obvious choice. Unconventional, as far as traditional japanese gyozas go, but very delicious and very beautiful.
We had a lot of fun making these gyoza, it's best made and eaten with friends!
Gyoza wrapper techniques and ratios were based on the recipe from Just one cookbook. She explains it really well too on her blog it's worth taking a look. I learned a lot from her even if our techniques differ slightly. While I preferred not to knead by hand, or with a rolling pin, i did do it her way the first time.
Japanese konbini always have a ton of fun flavours for crackers and chips. Anything shiso, or ume flavoured are insta-buys for me. I remember chips with a wasabi and ume flavour <3. Stuff like that isn't as available in Montreal, but at least you can find other things like shichimi togarashi! If you like spicy savoury snacks, this is for you!
Ume and shiso aren't anything like shichimi togarashi. Originally, i wanted to make senbei but since i recently purchased a bag of chickpea flour, i wanted to have a recipe using that. Senbei is typically made with rice flour and/or rice left-overs. I don't have rice left-overs on hand, we usually just eat it all on the same day. I never make extras.
When i decided i was going to make this, i didn't have any shichimi togarashi left, so I made my own! if you have a well-stocked spice rack, you can easily make it yourself. 'Shichimi togarashi' means '7-flavour chili pepper'. If you have some already at home just use that, but if you don't all you need is to grind these spices together -
2 tbsp chili flakes but if you don't all you need is to grind these together - 2 tbsp chili flakes 1 tbsp sanshou (sichuan peppercorns) 1 tbsp roasted orange peel 1 tbsp black sesame seeds 1 tbsp white sesame seeds 2 tsp ground ginger and 2 tbsp nori (or aonori).
Some people substitute sichuan peppercorns for black peppercorns, i don't reccommend doing that. They're not interchangeable, sichuan peppercorns is what makes it taste awesome. It's a numbing pepper, with a really distinctive taste and aroma. If you eat one peppercorn, you'll notice right away that it numbs your tongue and alters your sense of taste.
Simple black burger buns with white sesame seeds, ready in under 1 hour! Made with bamboo charcoal powder.
There are days when I don't want to wait 3h for my bread to be ready, which was the case yesterday when I decided to make burger buns. Devine's sister was coming over for supper, and I had a lot of work to do that morning. Didn't want to spend the entire day running between my computer, and the kitchen. Making bread doesn't require a lot of active time, but i'd still need to check often. Sometimes, that's just enough to take all of my focus away.
To minimize that, I made a quick savoury bread! The same one I made on Valentine's day that had a smoked paprika heart in the center (yes i know so cute. Paprika love.) That recipe was based off culinaire amoula's Cumin and paprika savoury bread. I simplified the recipe, removing the spices, and divided it into 5 buns instead of two large loaves. I recommend trying out her recipe as well, it's so good. You can have the bread alone with green tea :).
I don't have a lot of experience with quick breads, i'm experimenting a lot though, to see what i can make in less time. Culinaire amoula's recipe helped me a lot, didn't think i could get bread that tasted this good, so quickly. It makes great burger buns! The bottom stays flat, so in the end you're not stuck with this weird 'ball bread.' My last burger was like that, and it made it hard to have it sit upright on a plate. No one wants to eat spherical burgers.
If you're in the mood for black burger buns, and need it done quickly, then try out this recipe!
Even if I don't live in Tokyo anymore, I try and keep up with what's happening over there. I still follow the news, and try to translate some simple texts to see how many kanji i've forgotten. My favourite kanji, is the one for bone '骨' (pronounced 'ho-ne'). I also love the kanji combination for jellyfish or '水母' (pronounced 'ku-ra-ge'), which beautifully translates to 'water mother'. These two words come together to create this expression '水母の' or 'jellyfish bones'. It is used when talking about something that you would not expect to exist, like bones in a jellyfish. I could go on, but seeing as how this has nothing to with food, here goes. The recipe i'm sharing with you today is japanese inspired, and is also currently part of a craze over there. I made some onigirazu, a sort of hybrid, japanese rice ball sandwich.
The word onigiri (or nigiru) means to press into shape using your hands, while "razu" means the opposite. Free form onigiri! This is perfect for people who have a hard time making rice balls, as is the case for me. Onigirazu has the same great taste, without the fear of imperfection. All the shame is hidden away under a blanket of nori, and fillings.
The concept of this rice sandwich, is perfect when you don't have the right type of rice available for onigiri. You can use just about any type, i tested it out with some Minute Rice and it worked perfectly. I was given some coupons to try out their products, i'm all for experimentation so i picked up a box of whole grain brown Minute Rice. It was my fist time trying it, I generally purchase rice in bulk. Bulk is cheaper, and has a lot less packaging. After cooking with it though, i do see the appeal. The rice is 'parboiled', which means that you wont have to wait very long for your meal to be ready. Your rice will be cooked in 1/4 of the time it takes for traditional brown rice. As you all know sticky rice takes a long time to cook, I don't mind having to wait after my rice, but I know that not everyone has that luxury. It's a good thing that this option exists, it means it's even easier to cook great meals, rapidly at home.
The rice was seasoned with miso for added flavour, and was filled with carrot kinpira. Kinpira means "sauteed" (sually with a mixture of mirin soy sauce and chili peppers.) It's a sweet, and spicy dish that is often served in bentos. I knew I wanted this as a filling for my onigirazu, to satisfy my sudden craving for japanese food. This would have been amazing with gobo, but finding the root here in Montreal is no easy task.
You should try and make your own version of onigirazu at home! As i said, it's no-fail and with some parboiled rice it can ready in under 20 minutes (you can also parboil your own rice). I may not live near a 24h kombini, with readily available onigiri anymore, but i know i can make some at home easily, and quickly.
While Devine & I were still in British Columbia, i remember one morning waking up to the sound of someone knocking at our boat: it was our neighbours, coming to offer some homemade pan-fried corn pone. I'd never had corn pone before, nor did i ever think of making any sort of flat cake using corn as a base. After that I started to make it myself and would serve it with chili - lazy cornbread, as I like to call it. While sitting in the Niue yatch club, i found an old vegetarian cookbook; I must have spent an hour reading through it, the recipes were fantastic. The title read: "The Farm vegetarian cookbook". It was sitting there, amongst a panoply of writting, including a Polish Murakami book (how I wish it had been written in english.) The cookbook had an entire section dedicated to cooking with corn; it's in here, that I found a recipe for masa dumplings.
Masa is corn that is simmered and ground into a paste. It's the base for many recipes, you can make Mexican-style tortillas with it! Or, you can use it to make dumplings! I don't have access to fresh corn, nor do i have the space or the time to make my own masa; but I used polenta (corn semolina) instead and it worked! The only difference is that you need to add boiling water so you you can roll the mixture into balls. If you were to use masa, you wouldn't need added moisture. The texture of the dumplings is fun and chewy, the outside it soft but the inside is like that of dense cornbread. Corn dumplings, I imagine, could be used to make fake 'meatballs', Devine & I enjoy eating it with tomato sauce or with a spicy apricot sauce.
Instead of apricot jam, you can add apricot juice to the mix (orange will taste wonderful too.) I added jam because i don't have any juice on the boat currently, and besides, it works well in this recipe. Enjoy!