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Archive for September, 2009

Something fishy going on at dinner.

After joining the fantastic lunch at Ellie’s with the beautiful grilled snappers, my craving for fish had ignited. How many times a week would you cook (not just eat, ‘cook’) fish at home? I don’t think I do that as much as chicken, pork and beef. Maybe some shellfish sometimes.

To redeem my days of being sick with flu, I called up my friends on Saturday morning and suggested a dinner with fish. Then shortly after I was at the fish market searching for a good red snapper and tuna.

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Red snapper was scored, salt & papper-ed and grilled in the oven. Then scorching hot olive oil with chopped garlic was poured over the snapper and sliced green onions. Sizzzzzzzzzzzle!!

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Very simply seasoned, yet the saltiness of sea salt and garlic infused oil were just enough to complete this juicy dish. nom nom nom.

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I found decent sashimi grade tuna cuts at the fish market, but unfortunately there wasn’t the particular shaped cuts I was looking for. Nice rectangle shaped tuna cuts for Tataki. Lesson learned here is “get there early!” cuz I was told that those perfect shaped ones would be usually gone by noon time.

What’s with my face in the picture, you may ask. Well, because…

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When I tried to sear the tuna on the hot flying pan,

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SIZZLING HOT OIL SPLAAAASHHH! Oh did you smell like pork being cooked? That must have been my hands.

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Unlike beef, I found it very hard to sear tuna – a flying pan must be very hot so it sears quickly without cooking too much. I’ve got to confess, it didn’t turn out as good as I had hoped it to be. ;p Another hard thing was slicing it without destroying! I should have put the tuna in the fridge or a bowl of water with ice cubes to tighten it up a bit…

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Tuna Tataki salad with deep fried garlic slices and grated white radish.

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And Tuna Tataki. Traditionally served with grated ginger and white radish.

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And two Paellas brought by Lily. These were yummy! and these food were also served with Mayuri’s amazing crab clear soup – full of deep flavour!

One dinner redeemed. *check*

Behind the scene at Yas' Meat house.

Another quick post!

I had never ever even imagined myself really looking forward to going to my dentist. Yes, to extract wisdom tooth – you know how it’d go afterwards. I’m more than happy to pull them out myself without anaesthetic at this point… Call me crazy, but I can’t wait for Monday. No more throbbing pain by wisdom tooth!! (oh wait, another wisdom teeth is scheduled 2 wks after that.)

SO. My plan is to eat and enjoy as much as I can before next Monday. Unfortunately things are pretty hectic, and 4 out of 6 occasions had to be missed out. So the last weekend was fully spent to catch up my friends and redeem my social life (if that ever exists ;p ) And here’s how it went on the last Sunday evening.

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Can you tell what’s under the moisten kitchen paper?

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Yes! Another home made Gyoza!

Well, I didn’t make them late at night this time, thank you very much. But my room sure looked like 2am alright. (All the celling lights have burnt out all at once and I can’t replace them myself!) My friends, Mayuri, Hisae and Lily were on their way to my place, but they were about one hour late. I went ahead and made 30 of them before they arrived. And shortly after they finally arrived, my kitchen turned into this.

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Gyoza factory. It sure made us feel like we were only making 2 cents per dumpling at a sweatshop. ;p Well, this must be pretty much how it would look when I do my late night cooking though. Sad.

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Carrot and orange salad with mustard & caramelised balsamic dressing.

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A bit of break while the factory owner is away. Come back everyone, he’s coming back!!

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We made 90 Gyoza – and we ate most of them. *burp*

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Thai flavoured frid rice by Hisae, Buta Shabu Goma salad (Pork belly shabu shabu with sesame dressing.) and, well, didn’t quite turned out as great as Ellie’s, but rockmelon sago pudding for dessert.

Another week has started. I’m only hoping to get by fine until Monday with Nurofen plus. ughhhhhhh.

(Thanks Lily for missing pictures!)

Announcement
Horraaaaay!! Eat Show and Tell has been nominated for the best food blog by Nuffnang Regional Blog Award 2009! Congratulations!! Please have a moment to visit the voting page and cast your vote for them!

Today's special: Buta no Kakuni

Ugh. I’m stressed, with pretty much everything that’s happening right now. And I just want to ask why the hell my wisdom tooth needed to decide to hurt all of a sudden. These tooth will be take out in 2 weeks. So please excuse me for slow in response to your comments left here + less updates.

ANYWAYS.

I guess this would be the last dish before this summer, to use my pressure cooker. Lorraine (Not Quite Nigella) asked me in her comment if I’d use the pressure cooker during the summer, which made me wonder what I could use this for. Of course exception of stews/braised dishes that are perfect for winter time. I could use it for mainly preparation process just to speed up cooking time for potato and carrots, but I was unable to come up with anything entirely cooked and finished in it. It’d just be too hot for summer wouldn’t it.. Any suggestions??

Today’s Yas’ special on the blackboard is Buta no Kakuni (豚の角煮) the Japanese braised pork belly. Historically it was introduced to Okinawa Japan from China as 東坡肉, then brought over to Kyushu region. The arranged version became the Kakuni today. I guess they look very similar, just taste differently as Kakuni doesn’t use common Chinese spices like star anises or five-spice powder. It rather tastes like something between a thick ramen soup and Teriyaki.

And yes, I cooked this late at night again, but there’s a rule – “let the kakuni marinated overnight.” Surprised to see me patiently waited?

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FAT LAYERS. What’s not to like about it.

Cut the pork belly into thick rectangles – be sure to cut bigger than you want as they will shrink quite a lot. Place them into a pressure cooker with water and 2 green onions (no need to cut) and a small piece of peeled ginger, and cook for 15 mins.

Then skim the broth, add soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar into the cooker. Cook for another 20 mins. Kakuni came out really nice and tender, again, so soft that they easily cut only with chopsticks! (that means, it was extremely hard for me to put on the plate for the picture..)

It goes really well with a beer – which I’m currently off. I wish I had buns to wrap this in and steam.

If you know any good dishes for summer that pressure cooker can be great for, let me know ;)

Malaysian & Dutch luncheon at Almost Bourdain

OH. MY. GOD.

This must be the only expression as accurate as I could possibly describe that day. I rather call it “feast” than a lunch! Big thanks to Ellie the Almost Bourdain, she kindly organised and invited a group of food bloggers for this incredible Malaysian & Dutch lunch at her place. (and thanks to Richard for including me in the guestlist.)

Arriving at her beautiful house a bit late due to messy traffic through the city, I was greeted with familiar faces – Helen (Grab Your Fork), Lorraine (Not Quite Nigella), Richard (Here Comes the Food), Shez (One Bite More), Simon (The ♥ of food), and Susan (ChocolateSuze). I was pleased to finally meet both Ellie and Steph (Raspberri Cupcakes) for the first time in person! :)

As I arrived a bit late, please excuse me for a few missing pictures and details.

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Friekendel Speciale
Dutch sausage alike with mayo, curry sauce topped with chopped onions. Just like Mr. Almoust Bourdain said, this got be awesome as a plate to relax and watch TV on lazy weekend evenings with! (Again, damn, I’m not allowed to drink for awhile!)

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Spiced Gouda

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Penang “Michael Jackson” Drink
I was excited to see this on her earlier invitation email with planned menu, and I literally gasped finding a pitcher full of this on her kitchen counter! I’m a big soy milk drinker, and I know I’ll be making this during this summer many times. And you know I’d be doing my fat moon walk – a.k.a. “hey, don’t rub off the carpet.”

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Snapper with Sambal sauce grilled on Banana leaves
Mr. Almost Bourdain was busy preparing the barbie outside, and everyone stepped outside to help out – only if you call taking pictures a ‘help’. Shortly after closing the lid of the barbie, the banana leaves started gradually smouldering and surrounded us with oh-so-mouth-watering smell of sambal sauce.

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Shez kindly volunteered to break up the snappers.
The snappers came out so juicy and flavoursome, perfect! Great job, Mr. Almost Bourdain! My fork went back to the plate many times.

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“Kids, come inside and help mummy with lunch.”

While the snappers were being grilled, an array of Malaysian curries was ready to be placed on the dining table back in the house.

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Malaysian Chicken Curry

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Singaporean Chicken Curry

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Beef Rendang

3 different curries were all so moreish that I could’ve kept on eating. I especially loved the beef rendang for toasted coconut. Chicken and Beef were so tender and infused with tasty curry flavours. And these lovely curries were served with

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Nasi Kunyit (turmeric glutinous rice)

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Roti

Accordingly to Ellie, the Nasi Kunyit is usually served during festive seasons, weddings and other celebratory occasions in Malaysia. It reminds me of Japanese Sekihan (Sticky red Azuki rice)

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Gado Gado

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Gahaktbal the massive Dutch meatballs
You have to go visit the link and see the comparison shot on Ellie’s blog. They are huge! Not only the size but they are huge in flavour too. I admit, I had 4 skews.

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Malaysian Butter Prawn
Oh what a good dish. Richard and I were constantly picking up one after another getting busy with peeling the shell. Don’t you love getting your finger greasy with food like this? I do!

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Kuih Bakar Kudos to Shez for beautifully slicing and plating in traditional way.

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Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie

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Rockmelon Sago Pudding

Just as I thought that I couldn’t possibly eat more, it was dessert time. And these wonderful sweets certainly proved that there’s no such thing as “no room for dessert” in my book – and I’m sure that applied to everyone at the table. I had never had Kuih bakar or I should say anything with pandan before, and I really liked it. The chocolate cheesecake brownie was mildly sweetened – which I like better than ordinary brownie s that are usually too sweet to eat without strong coffee or tea. I grabbed a few Kuih bakar and the brownies to take home with. The rockmelon sago pudding was definitely my favourite – sweetness of rockmelon puree with coconut milk. That’s two of my favourite ingredients in one!

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And I use any excuse to get my hands on the Portuguese custard tarts from Sweet Belem. I brought 20 tarts for us.

Simon brought us interesting stuff to try – 4 kinds of Dulce de leche made with different brand and type. This experiment actually made me want to try making my own (I’ve already done!), and I’d like to blog about that separately later along with the picture of Simon’s.

Thanks again for lovely Ellie and her family for hosting such an awesome lunch with alot of great food to stuff myself with!

Braised beef to da max.

I’m trying to blog new things once or twice per week, but it has gotten quite hard to keep up! How do other bloggers manage to do that while they also write replies to comments!? So this is from 3 weeks ago. Feels like it was just a week ago…

A few days after the previous lamb shank soup in my love shack, I had to make another braised dish as my tongue was asking for it. This time with beef.

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I think I have developed a new love for braised beef after this. It came out pretty good, and it only took for about an hour. Yes, I used my pressure cooker again.

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Very tender indeeeeeeed! I made a pressure cooker full of this, but by the following day pretty much all gone. I wonder who ate it all… And what’s left in the pan was broken pieces of beef and veggies – just like a Bolognese sauce. You know I had to cook up a pasta dish with this.

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Unfortunately I found no spaghetti or linguine left in my pantry. Only thing I found in my freezer was leftover frozen lasagna sheets – they weren’t just enough left to make a lasagna. So this is sort of a *deconstructed* (literally ;p ) version of lasanga with leftover braised beef sauce, with béchamel sauce of course. Hmmm-hmmm tasted very good! This tuned out to be such a great unplanned yumminess.

Tasting dinner @ Japaz with food bloggers.

Emmilou, Bodega, El Bulli (not that El bulli!), Delicado foods, etc. Is it only me often coming across and hearing about Tapas restaurant these days? I love the concept of Tapas, I think it represents so well how food brings us together. Also as a Japanese, Tapas is something I feel familiar with and related to – like a fun dinning at Izakaya back home.

My friends Hiro and his wife Maori – the owner & chef of Japaz – kindly offered me an opportunity to come in and try their new dishes with food bloggers. I have a personal attachment to this restaurant as having been seeing their passions and hard work from the start-up as a friend, and it’s always great to witness their business being developing for better.

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The tasting dinner at Japaz was accompanied with lovely food bloggers. Howard from Eat Show & Tell, Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella, Richard from Here Comes The Food, Shez from One Bite More, Simon from The Heart of Food, and Susan from ChocolateSuze. (alphabetic order.)

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Oyster with Wakame Dressing
Fresh juicy Tasmanian oyster. I’ve got to start with my apology on this, because I’m yet to be recovered from a previous food poisoning experience with oysters and the flavour of them that I used to love hasn’t quite back to me yet. However, I gobbled it down with the help of wakame dressing. ;p

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Razor Clams & Rocket Salad with preserved lemon jus
I’ve seen them on Food shows on TV, food magazines, and fish market, but I had never eaten razor clams before! As expecting some familiar texture and flavour of shellfish, I was totally caught off guard so to speak. Its texture was similar to the consistency and meatiness of squid, and somewhat tricked my brain to think that I was eating meat. Interesting!

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Hand-sliced Jamon Serrano
Don’t we just love Jamon Serrano? I simply wished that I was allowed to drink with this. Damn. (currently off alcohol… :( )

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Fried Eggplant with Honey & Balsamic
I can’t help myself going “Wooo!” for every deep fried food comes across. And this was topped with “Hmm-hmm!” Sweetness of the honey and balsamic added excellent flavour to the eggplant inside of this crispy crumb.

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Soy marinated chicken with pesto mayonnaise, and Patatas Bravas
It carries what we know as Japanese ‘Karaage’, but these tender nuggets of chicken tasted even better with the pesto mayo! I’d like a plateful of them all to myself please. Patatas Bravas (Baked potato in spicy tomato sauce) arrived on our table along with the chicken. Each potato got nice oven baked crust on its edge. The potato was unfortunately a bit under seasoned, and I dipped my potato in the pesto mayo ;p

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Ajillo Shiitake, Enoki, Woodear Mushrooms & Chick Pea
When you hear the word “Tapas”, Ajillo must be one of the well-known dishes that comes to your mind. You know the garlic prawns (Gambas al ajillo) or mushrooms. Here we have 3 kinds of Japanese mushrooms – Shiitake, Enoki and Kikurage (Wood ear mushroom) along with chick pea.

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Spring cabbage with minced beef, mushroom and carrot
As this dish arrived, it instantly reminded me of Japanese braised rolled cabbage (ロールキャベツ) – one of the popular home cook Japanese meals. Dense flavour packed meat inside.

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Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Salsa
Small bite size meatballs served in a pool of winter vegetables. It was a nice hearty dish, and I even used the sauce left on my plate for the potato from previous dish lol I remember we were told the sauce also got coriander in it, but I was unable to identify that in the sauce. Did I mishear?

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From today’s pinchos – Cucumber with seafood paste, yuzu kosho and miso
I instantly thought “Ah! MoroKyu!” looking at it. MoroKyu is a chilled cucumber served with a kind of miso called Moromi (fermented soy – but not like natto at all) and it’s a pretty popular cold dish to go with a glass of chilled beer. Here we have a paste of seafood and yuzu kosho mixed with miso. From the sound of it, I was expecting strong saltiness and dense texture, but it was quite smooth textured and rather lightly seasoned. As the seafood paste is fermented, I guess this dish might not be for everyone.

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Crumbed portobello mushroom
Yes! Another deep fried dish. I find crumbed dishes at Japaz are awesome – so crispy on the outside which makes nice crisp sound for every bite, and juicy and tender on the inside.

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Grilled quail with quail jus served on tortilla Japaz
This is usually served with crispy savoy cabbage as listed on their menu, but Hiro thoughtfully served it on tortilla Japaz instead as we had previously had a dish with cabbage. We all agreed that was a great substitution! I found that the tender and flavorful quail would be definitely better served on tortilla Japaz as the flavour of the tortilla (especially the onions) really complimenting the quail well. My favourite dish of the night!

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Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek & Almond Sauce
This was a response to Richard’s request. If you have previously read reviews on Japaz, you must have heard about this dish too. Definitely the signature dish at Japaz and from the opening of the restaurant, it has been the most consistent dish of all. This tender wagyu beef cheek literally falls apart with the touch of a fork! The only that made me think “Hmm almost!” was that it was a bit underseasoned. The meat is amazingly tender already, a bit more seasoning would definitely make this to perfection!

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Strawberry with lime infused coconut cream, Vodka infused Crema Catalana, and Peach sorbet & apple cider jelly with vanilla infused olive oil
“I taste something bitter” – was my first reaction. I mistakenly thought we had been told the vodka infused one was the sorbet. Idiot ;p The peach sorbet was my favourite among the three, very smooth sweetness topped with vanilla infused olive oil & apple cider jelly. The crema catalana was different from the traditional one that I know of – sharpness of vodka and sago. All three were completely different but worked well together.

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Fantastic team of Japaz (with Shez’s elbow.)
Ben was very friendly and attentive throughout the dinner and definitely made our evening with Hiro’s dishes even more enjoyable. Thank you very much :)

Since the opening of the restaurant, I have seen changes in the menu quite frequently. The dishes we had on the night were new ones I had for the first time (except Wagyu Beef cheek). I certainly admire Hiro’s continuous effort to explore and experiment with new possibility. And that continues us to look forward to what would come next. (For those interested in what Japaz previously had on their menu, see my old posts: Pre-opening night and from the photo shoot for their web site.)

Hiro san, you have to bring back the oven baked eggplants and white chicken stew!! Pleeeeassssseeee!!

hungry.digital.elf. dined courtesy of Japaz. Big thanks to Hiro and Maori for hosting the dinner, and everyone attended for the great company :)

Japaz – contemporary Tapas restaurant
165 Wycombe Road, Neutral Bay NSW 2089
02 9904 0688
http://www.japaz.com.au/


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quick post: creeping my way up from flu hell.

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Oh poor me. I me

When I’m down being sick, I can’t help feeling like I’m the most pitiful person on the earth – and I want all the sympathies I can get. ;p Look at me, I’m sick, sympathise me!! Well I had to miss out on two dinner occasions – SeLah and Spice Temple, I reckon I deserve to publicly grumble, don’t I?

Slowly recovering, but I’m still feeling sick from flu. Honestly, at this point I don’t mind having a fever and massive headache, but I want my sense of taste back!! I can’t smell or taste anything… Food lover’s hell I’ve fallen into.

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Thanks to Kim and Jose the awesome friends in neighbourhood. They brought me a bagful of oranges and strawberries to boost my immune system with vitamin C. (well, although they initially texted me expecting me to cook up something.) I purely survived past two days on fruits and vitamin C tablets. And Icecream. With my first Dulce de Leche. (another post coming up, of course.) I can’t taste it, but I certainly don’t mind spicing it up. ;p

Have an awesome weekend, everyone. Don’t catch flu!!

Late night cooking: Prawn Pancake

Oh hai, welcome to Yas’ kitchen. You don’t have a reservation? No problem.

I seem to be coming down with a cold feeling sick and tired. Leaving work on time on Monday, I instantly fell asleep on my sofa once I got home. Finding myself waking up at 1am AND hungry, it seemed rather logical to me to get up and start another late night cooking. ;p

Has anyone been to Universal restaurant? They are one of my favourite places in Sydney, and I have attended chef Christine Manfield’s cooking class before with my friend Amanda (Spread my butter), Isabel and Justine. One of the recipes we learned was Lobster pancake which used to be on the menu (with crab) at Universal. I absolutely loved it, and I was pretty amazed that we had managed to put together a dish that tasted like the one at the restaurant.

It was already past 1am, you’d surprise if I had a fresh lobster, wouldn’t you? Of course I didn’t. But something close I did – Prawns. (I was going to make Japanese prawn cream croquettes!) Tonight’s Yas’ late night special has been adapted from the lobster pancake recipe – Prawn pancake.

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Peel their shells and butterfly them. I wanted them to be like lobster in my mouth. I also scored them lightly so they’d fluff up a bit. Who said ghetto lobster that is?

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Poach them in boiled water like Shabu Shabu not to cook too much and end up too firm. By this time, I started questioning myself with “why am I doing this” but let’s just not talk about that now. This prawn pancake is so much less work involved than the gyoza anyway…

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Don’t ask me why the hell I had all these ingredients handy. No I don’t have a family to feed, and I live alone ;p

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This is the sauce & dressing. Fish stock, coconut cream, minced lemon grass, ginger, chopped chill, shaved palm sugar, chilli jam, fish sauce, sesame oil, finely cut kaffir leaves, lime zest – combine them in a pan and bring to boil. Strain the sauce and add lime juice. Put aside to cool the sweet and spicy coconut chilli sauce. (oh my god, I love this sauce!)

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And here’s the filling for the pancake. Boiled prawns, sliced deseeded cucumber, chopped chilli, finely sliced shallots, chopped coriander and basil, shredded coconut, all mixed in a bowl and combined with half of the cooled sauce. Hmm, the sauce itself is so yummy that I could just eat as is like a salad.

I totally forgot to take pictures of pancakes… It’s very hard to record the process of cooking! Flour + rice flour and egg mixed with fish stock, and make thin pancakes. Fold the pancake with filling.

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Garnish with left over coriander, chilli and fried shallots. Drizzle the sauce over to server. OH YEAH.

With lots of greens and prawns in my mouth, I thought “Hey this is pretty healthy.” But it didn’t take too long to realise that the sauce got heavy coconut cream in it. Whole can of, that is. *blank stare*

Thanks for dining at Yas’. Come again.