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Sweet (almost) midnight time.

Friday, April 30, 2010 - 1:22 am     English  |  日本語

Just tell me why I always get impulsive craving for food around midnight? I feel like I’m Cinderella trying to gobble up food before turning back to a fat pig at midnight.

The other day on my way home from work, I was thinking of heading to NorthBridge and get some Japanese grocery at Tokyo Mart. The plan was immediately dismissed as the traffic into the area had turned out to be nothing but nightmare. So instead, I went down to Artarmon and visited Anegawa grocery shop. (1 Wilkes Ave, Artarmon)

Anegawa is a relatively smaller Japanese grocery shop compared to other major ones, but they are favoured by many many Japanese for certain reasons. They often have rare stuff that other places usually don’t carry. For instance, fresh Yuzu citrus, Shiso leaves, Japanese white radish (sweeter and thicker) etc. And on this visit, I had to gasp and stop as I found a boxful of Satsuma potato. Of course I grabbed three of big ones.

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Satsuma potato is basically a Japanese sweet potato. What’s so Japanese about it is that the kind is much sweeter than ordinary ones we would find at supermarkets and less watery after cooking. Satsuma potato has a texture like a cooked regular potato wheres others tend to become like a cooked carrot if you know what I mean. (i.e. those kinds that are also called yam or orange coloured ones.)

Some say Satsuma Potato is best to steam and eat as is – which I tend to agree, but this time I was crazily keen to make what’s called “Sweet Potato.” I know, it’s weird to say “making sweet potato using sweet potato.”, right? If you say “Sweet potato”, or rather ‘SU EEETO POTETOH’, it means a sweet made of satsuma potato in Japanese. I have absolutely no idea why I got this sudden urge and craving for it late at night, but my brain dictated me to go on. There was nothing that I could do about it ;p

I’ll show you what it looks like and its basic recipe. Or you can see images of the sweet potato on google.

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Cut satsuma potato into pieces and boil or steam (up to you) until cooked. Then throw them in a bowl along with some butter and mush until it becomes smooth textured. Look at the yellow colour of the potato. It’s got the higher sugar content than other kind of potato that the potato looks translucent.

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It is already sweet enough, but I can’t resist adding another flavour of sweetness. Instead of adding heavy cream and sugar, I chose to substitute with condensed milk. Everybody loves that, am I right?

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Oh yeah. But not too much. I had to tell myself that I can drizzle it over later, not now.

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Put the mixture on an oven tray with a baking sheet and shape it like a mini satsuma potato.

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Now apply eggwash with a cookig brush. You wouldn’t want to add any liquid to the egg york, it’s pure egg york. Make sure to apply thickly and plenty of it because it’s not only for a glossy look but I want to make a ‘skin’ for the sweet potato. Place the try into 180C oven and bake until you get a golden brown skin on each one.

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Ta-da. Straight out of the oven. It’s best to eat at room temperature, so let them cool for awhile.
At this point, the clock had stricken 1am and I decided to leave it till the morning.

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And here’s the finished look. The skin actually holds the moisture inside, so the texture should be smooth and moist with yummy satsuma flavour.

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It tastes pretty good as is, but I also love pouring melted butter over it.

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I also know that, as you might have guessed me doing it, it’s great with some whipped cream. It’s definitely a perfect sweet to enjoy with a nice cup of tea. Highly recommended!

nom nom.


Quick update: a (soy) saucy night.

Sunday, April 25, 2010 - 7:08 pm     English  |  日本語

Man, it’s been more than a month already since the last one?! Why the hell time has gone so quickly?!

You know one of those times when you just have to focus on important things and sacrifice something fun & easy, right? I’m very much right in the middle of it, and I’ve been missing out alot of opportunities to have fun. But, you gotta do what you gotta do. So bear with me for not socializing much lately + slow blogging. (And again, I’m at least reading many of food bloggers’ posts!)

Anyways. Just a quick update.

Leaving work at 7:30pm, it was already around 8:30pm when I had finally arrived at Coles to do some late grocery shopping. Grabbed some veggies, herbs, picking up a pack of chicken wings, and my phone went *ding*

“what are you cooking tonight?” – SMS from Jose my neighbourhood friend. What a timing! And I replied, “Are you stalking me or something?” and continued to shop.

*ding* “Don’t forget to grab some chips.” and I was standing right in the middle of snack & soda aisle.














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It was my neibourhood friends Kim & Jose again. They were inside Coles at the same time, spotted me shopping. Well, *clear my throat*, do not F with me, I’m Japanese and I’ve got Ninja blood in me. I quickly sneaked behind and gave them a smack. I bet Jose wet his pants ;p

We didn’t get to see each other for about a month so we ended up having a dinner at my place. That’s one of good things about having friends in walking distance neighbourhood, being able to see how things go back home and catch up if we feel like doing so.
Our dinner needed to be something quick and easy to prepare so we could get more time sitting on the sofa with a beer or two to catch up.

Pirikara (tiny bit spicy in Japanese) Honey Soy chicken wings and roasted veggies with Butter Shoyu (Butter Soy sauce)
These are gasping easy to prepare yet tastes great with beers! Oh and not to mention, it costs so little too.

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10 Chicken wings
4 table spoons Honey
6 table spoons Soy Sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 table spoon minced ginger
1 table spoon rice vinegar (any kind of vinegar will do.)
Sprinkles of sesame oil
Sprinkles of red chilli powder
1 table spoon Chilli oil

Chuck everything in a zip-lock bag, rub and marinate well for about half hour. You can marinate longer, but adding vinegar to the mixture helps infusing all the flavour quicker into the chicken wings. In the meantime, preheat the oven at 190F.

Now onto the roasted veggies. There’s no recipe required for this. Potato, Onions, Pumpkins, Garlic cloves, whatever you like. Cut up the veggies, coat them with a bit of olive oil – no seasoning yet.

Place the chicken wings on the try with baking sheet, and roast both sides until cooked throughly. And on a separate tray, do the same for the veggies.

For the roasted veggies, sprinkle chopped parsley and top with a spoonful of pure butter. Drizzle soy sauce over the butter and dig in! Those never have tried soy sauce & butter combination, you’ve got to try! It’s very Hokkaido way to enjoy roasted potato :) (We call it Jaga-bata)

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Yummy gooey supper with beers and friends. – A good thing.
Sticky PS3 controllers – not a good thing.


Late night cooking returned with Tori Ham

Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 10:24 pm     English  |  日本語

Yes, my late night cooking habit hasn’t changed, even when I didn’t blog for awhile. And this time the recipe I chose to do was Tori ham.

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Tori ham (鳥はむ) is literally translated into English as “Poultry Ham” (usually chicken breast) although it’s not really a traditionally made ham. The original recipe was posted by someone on the biggest Japanese underground BBS, and rapidly turned into a huge buzz. Now Tori Ham has been quite well-known as the recipe to turn chicken breast into a moist & tender flavoursome dish.

So what’s all the hype about Tori ham? Although some sites featured Tori Ham as “The recipe born on the internet”, its cooking method is nothing new. It’s sort of Sous-vide a.k.a. vacuumed packed pouch cooking. (but again, not exactly.)

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Fillet two large chicken breast (preferably cut in half and open), and tenderise with the back of knife. Place them into a bowl, and marinate with honey. Rub salt & cracked black pepper into the fillets (quite large amount of salt needed compared to ordinary seasoning amount), and place them into a ziplock bag. Let them marinated in the fridge for 1-2 days.

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Remove the fillets from the bag, wash with water, and then soak in a tub of water for 30-60 mins to remove saltiness. Roll up the fillet tightly using a cling wrap, use cooking string to shape it if needed. Wrap the rolled fillets with cooking foil. Place the rolls into a pot of boiling water for about a minute, and immediately turn off the heat. Remove the pot from the gas top, and leave it for 4-5 hours with a lid on. Yup, leave the rolls in the pot with hot water and cook them with residual heat.

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After 4-5 hours, remove the rolls from the pot. Juice from the chicken should be trapped inside the cling wrap. When you remove the cling wrap, make sure you keep the juice because you can use that to make a sauce later on! Let the rolls cool in the fridge before slicing.

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Slice as you like, garnish and serve! This one was garnished with ground black sesame seeds, chopped spring onion. For the sauce, reduce the saved chicken juice in a sauce pan, and add a mixture of one table spoon water & potato starch to thicken. Hmm hmm, just right amount of saltiness in the meat, and the sauce is just soo good!

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Another one with ground black pepper, sprouts and dijon mustard sauce. Tori ham is such an awesome bite with chilled beer for sure! Each step wouldn’t take longer than 5 mins, very easy and no fail – the only draw back is that it takes awhile until it’s ready to eat (1-2 days in the fridge + 4-5 hours to cook.) What was I doing in the mean time you might ask?

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enough shown? (Brownie Semifreddo rolled in a crepe.) *sigh*


Tofu madness in my own macrobiotic way.

Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 11:11 pm     English  |  日本語

Ohhhh Mahhhhhh GWWAAAAD. I can’t believe it. It’s been more than a month past since the last post?! I’ve got to admit, there were many things happening and I simply couldn’t be bothered to put my effort into my blog at all. Lack of motivation is one thing, but there wasn’t much of blog worth food related stuff in my absence. *sigh* Man, I’ve got to so much to catch up, especially visiting my favourite blogs!

Aaaanyways. Back to blogging.

Ever since I attended to the macrobiotic cooking class previously, I’ve been quite actively adapting its method. The good thing about it is that, unlike some sudden diet to loose weight quickly, no strict rule is required. It helps me being more conscious about food choice I make – yes, I still love fatty oily deep fried food, but now I frequently compensate for it with healthier options on other days.

The main ingredient of my dinner for this day was tofu. I love tofu. And I call it “macrobiotic style” because it’s not necessarily pure macrobiotic, and ingredient choices were made based on what I think it’s fairly close enough to call it a macrobiotic cooking. (If you are interested in finding out more about macrobiotic diet, I recommend a monthly cooking class held at Soramame)

Today’s dishes are: Mapo Tofu with minced tofu (double tofu!) and Tofu panna cotta. These turned out to be quite good, especially the tofu panna cotta! I was pleasantly surprised how it turned out.

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Ingredients: Firm Tofu (must be firm one!), chopped spring onions, chilli paste, grated ginger and garlic, arrowroot powder (you can substitute this with agar agar or potato/corn starch), and soy sauce based Tsuyu (Dashi + Soy sauce + Mirin). The dashi (soup stock) is from Konbu (Kelp) but you can substitute with Katsuo Dashi (Bonito soup stock)

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First thing first. Main essential components of Mapo Tofu are 1) minced pork or beef and 2) Tofu – Duh. Today I’m not using any meat at all. So the tofu needs to take a role in both, as minced meat and tofu. Cut the firm tofu into half, reserve one for the use as is, and another for mince. Cut one half of tofu into cubes and set aside for now. Be sure to drain water from the other one for mince – wrap it with kitchen paper and suck up water. Place the tofu into a microwave safe bowl, and mash it until pieces are desired size like minced meat.

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Put the bowl in microwave and heat for 2-3 minutes – just to quickly vaporise water from the tofu. This process makes the texture alot like cooked minced meat! Alternatively, you can of course ‘roast’ the pieces on frying pan, but you know I wouldn’t bother doing that, and take the easy way ;p

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In a frying pan, sautee the grated ginger and garlic with a bit of cooking oil until their aroma developed, and then panfry the tofu and chopped spring onions until brown.

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Add the chili paste and continue to panfry. This step makes the tofu look like minced meat with the red colour from the chili paste.

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Now add the rest of the tofu cubes and soy sauce based Tsuyu into the pan. When the tofu is seasoned with the Tsuyu evenly, add mixture of arrowroot powder and water – make sure not to put arrowroot alone into the pan, you’ve got to dissolve the powder in water first. Otherwise you’d end up with lumps. (Please see the product direction for the ratio of water to use.) In my case, 1 table spoon of arrow root dissolved in an ordinary drink glass full of water was used. As you mix the solution in the pan, quite instantly it thicken and becomes Mapo tofu sauce.

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Voila! What do you think? It looks like an ordinary Mapo tofu with real minced meat, doesn’t it? Of course flavour wise, I can easily tell that it’s not a real meat – I know it’s the fattiness that’s missing from it. But texture wise you’d be amazed to find out that’s made of tofu, and even a meat lover like myself can totally live with that.

Now what’s for dessert you say? The main was a chinese dish, but the dessert is not. Too extreme choice? Oh you know me, I’d even drink coffee with sushi anyway.

Put 4 table spoons of water, 1 table spoons of brown sugar and 2 table spoons of maple syrup into a sauce pan and heat until dissolved and thicken/caramelised as you like. Pour into mould.

Put silken tofu (smooth tofu) into a blender along with maple syrup, vanilla extract and mix well. Bring water & soy milk to boil in a sauce pan and add powder agar. (200ml water + 4g powder agar) *edited: not 40g! Thanks to yygal for mentioning the mistake!* Combine the tofu mixture and pour into moulds. And let it cool in the fridge to set.

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well, it’s more like a pudding, really. But man, I never knew maple syrup and tofu would work really well! You’ve got to try this! Nom nom nom.

I think I’ve compensated enough for finishing a whole 1 litter of ice cream at one go. You’d agree, right? right?

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Note
Some people asked me for detailed recipes (measurements etc). I hardly ever measure how much stuff I use – always go with the flow. Dishes like above would be so easy to add/reduce ingredients as you go; I’ll just leave as is so you can make the taste as you like.

For the tofu panna cotta/flan/pudding (whatever that falls into ;p ), it totally depends on how soft/smooth the tofu you use. Be sure to use silken tofu, and see if the texture is smooth enough. The one I used became yogurt like smoothness & density after beating in a blender. If needed, you might want to pass it through the strainer. Also, for soy milk, I recommend Vitasoy or other products that don’t curdle.


Potato Mochi & Agarrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!

Friday, February 12, 2010 - 12:54 am     English  |  日本語

I’m not screaming out in frustration, but talking about Agar here. And with agar it is so much easier to make yummy jellies than gelatine, and so great especially during this hot and humid summer that I’m hating like a SOB. ;p

It all started when I had taken the macrobiotic cooking class. Agar jelly is nothing unusual thing in Asian cuisine, but I was shockingly surprised that it sets solid really quick. It’s so quick that you don’t even need to put it in the fridge!

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Crushed orange jelly again.

It may vary depending on which product to use, normally 4g of powder agar turns 500ml of liquid into jelly. I find 4g + 500ml to be really reliable measurement, but if you prefer, adding another 100ml of liquid makes the softer gelatine jelly like result. Agar poweder solution requires boiling in order to get its solidifying agent to work, so don’t be afraid to bring the liquid to boil. When it cooled down to lukewarm temperature, it starts setting. <-- I find it fascinating to see something still warm becomes solid!

So this time, I tried to make double layered agar jelly with two of my favourites – Mango & condensed milk! I wanted the jelly to have intense Mango flavour complimented by lovely sweetness of condensed milk, so I used mango nectar instead of mango juice. 500ml of mango nectar + 4g agar powder & 200ml of condensed milk + 300ml of milk + 4g agar.

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Man, it went really AWESOME together. I strongly recommend to try this combination! What else goes well with mango? Coconut milk. I put these yummy bouncy cubes into a glass filled with coconut milk. WIN!

And here’s the day after – mango & condensed milk jelly with yogurt sauce. (hmm, I wish I had something to garnish with.)

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I’m totally addicted to agar now.

… and now I realised that I was planning to write about the potato mochi first. ;p Oh well.

So. Potato mochi. Have you had this before? It’s one of well-known dishes originated in Hokkaido Japan, and it has been a popular Izakaya food. It’s exactly what the name claims – mochi made of potato. How straightforward is that.

Last time I was eating at Mizuya, they had this on their food menu and of course we ordered it. And it actually brought me back some memories of my grandma who passed away last year. She used to make the potato mochi often and serve it with mitarashi sauce (thick sweet soy sauce) as a snack. Simple, quick, no fuss recipe, but it tastes quite good.

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Slice 4 medium size potato, and cook until soft in a boiling water. Drain the water and let it vaporise. Put them into a bowl and mash as desired – I like having bit of chunkiness left. Add three table spoons of potato starch and mix well. Once combined well, the mixture becomes smoother and easier to shape – it happens quite quickly. Shape it like a log and roll up with cling wrap. Let it rest in the fridge for about half hour. Slice it as you like, and panfry until brown. To make Mitarashi sauce, heat 4 table spoons of sugar and 2 table spoons of Mirin until the sugar turns into light golden color. Add 2 table spoon of soy sauce, and heat further until thicken.

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How’s that looking? Instead of mitarashi sauce, you could bury a cube of cheese in each slice and panfry them. It tastes sort of like a hash brown, but with softer and chewier texture. Try this so-easy-to-make dish, because it really goes well with a cold beer or two! (And you can store the mixture in the freezer!)

nom nom nom.


Tacky Karaoke night at Mizuya

Saturday, February 6, 2010 - 10:25 pm     English  |  日本語

Oh, I can’t believe it’s been more than 2 weeks past since the last post! Geez, time is literally flying away these days. I’ve got quite alot of stuff happening, but I’ve got to say I didn’t have much of blog-worth occasions. It wouldn’t be interesting to blog about my usual places like Mamak, Chat Thai, Busshari etc, right?

So. Here it is, something new.

Do you like Karaoke? Yes? So do I!
Do you enjoy quick, fast, Izakaya style dinner with that touch panel order system at Wagaya? Yes? Excellent.

Then this place is definitely for you. A new Izakaya style restaurant Mizuya (Oh gwad, baaad bad website!) has recently opened on George street. They have two entrances- one on the Krispy Kreme side which leads to dinning only area, and the other on the Metro side which directly leads to private karaoke area. Man, this place is huge!

OK. My first impression entering from dinning side – more private, wooden cubicle style dinning area than that of Wagaya seemed good. Then I was guided into Karaoke area that we previously called and booked.

Walking through dark, violet light with LED wall lighting effect.

I couldn’t believe how TACKY IT WAS. WHAT THE HELL IS THIS PLACE. If I didn’t hear ear-hurting Karaoke singing voices from karaoke rooms in the hall way, I would have thought this was a private sex club or some sort ;p SERIOUSLY.

But the tackiness didn’t end there. The floor stuff stopped at the door 18, saying this is where my friends had already got in. (I was late due to heavy rain.) My friends’ already started eating wasn’t the only shocking thing I found. The interior.

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*faint*

Uhm… wow… that was my reaction – I didn’t quite know what else to express my surprised feeling. It was almost hurting my eyes. ;p

OK, enough about the tackiness. Beside the fact their interior is so greek dance club conversion ready, Karaoke system is great. They have JoySound system – a major Karaoke system in Japan that supports literally millions of songs and gets updated with newly released songs very quickly. No more “this place has more Chinese and Korean songs.” OHH YES. And I also noticed a familiar touch panel ordering system on the wall. Just like at Wagaya, your food order goes through with touch of a button.

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Unagi rolls

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Takana Fried Rice

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Deep fried Shrimps

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Yakisoba

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Fried Lotus root chips

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Karaage

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and my girly drink.

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And we were eating all these in a private room with tacky interior. What they have on the menu is pretty much exactly the same as Wagaya. (same management, of course.)

Now I see a box of tissue in the picture, I feel, well, rather dirty. *giggles*

So we ate and sang away.

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But I’ve got to say, apart from the tackiness, this is so Japanese – when I was in high school, I used to hit karaoke places with my friends and order food (what we call “karaoke food”) and sing. And here in Sydney, Karaoke night out usually starts with dinner somewhere and then off to a Karaoke place. Why not do that all at once? As you can see, each private room is pretty huge compared to other karaoke places in Sydney.

So, when is next Karaoke & Izakaya dinner gathering?
(and you know who I’m asking this)

Tacky Mizuya
614 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
02-9266-0866
(Booking is a must for private karaoke rooms.)


Macrobiotic cooking

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - 10:00 pm     English  |  日本語

How much have you gained over the holiday break?

Woo… I hear many gasps and fainting sounds everywhere. I know many people trying to get back to where they were before the Christmas season. Oh, me? Dude, I’ve given up long time ago, yo. I’ve reached the point where I simply accept the fact my stomach’s been fatter and fatter without no sign of thinning.

Yup, I like any meat, oily deep-fried stuff, with chocolaty dessert afterwards. But I equally like my greens, grains and beans too. Because I like anything that tastes good. So I had no problem trying out a new eating philosophy / method called Macrobiotic diet that’s been quietly increasing its popularity all over the world.

So what’s macrobiotic diet? You should go ask professor Wiki for its definition and explanation in details. But to me, it seems alot like a traditional Japanese regimen or I could roughly paraphrase as “stuff my grand parents used to eat.” Alot of veggies in seasons along with grains and beans cooked in Konbu dashi.

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Along with two other friends, I attended a macrobiotic cooking class run by Keiko the macrobiotic instructor at Soramame. Something I found particularly interesting and rather easier for all of us to take on daily healthy eating is that the macrobiotic diet doesn’t have much strict dietary restriction like vegetarian and vegan diet. Ingredients and condiments are categorised into yin, yang, and neutral. Then these are to be combined and cooked so the finished dish would be balanced out to be neutral.

The recipes for this class were focused on after-holiday detox. Yup, exactly what I needed. Desperately.

• Detox cleansing drink (soup) – facilitates getting rid of accumulated body fat.
• Macrobiotic style Nanakusa Gayu (Japanese Seven-herb rice porridge)
• Oatmeal & Tofu meat balls with sweet & sour sauce
• Pressed salad
• Orange crushed jelly

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One of the variations of Japanese pickles is called Asazuke, which literally translates to “quickly marinated/pickled.” And this salad was just like that. Sort of like a coleslaw without mayo. Thinly sliced carrot, cabbage and cucumber combined and rubbed to marinate with sea salt and lemon zest. Then press it down with weights or simply water filled bowl on the dish until water gets out.

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Now, this reminded me of the Oroshi Tofu Steak that I’ve recently posted. In this macrobiotic version, we combined firm tofu, oatmeal, grated carrots, sauteed onions and mushroom, soy sauce, sesame oil and sea salt. Unlike my version, there’s no egg nor Hanpen used, but adding oatmeal holds the mixture quite well. How come I never thought of using oatmeal as a substitute of flour/egg before! *slapping forehead*

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Nanakusa gayu (porridge/Congee) macrobiotic style. Instead of white rice, we had brown rice and millets. It’s more watery than ordinary rice porridge/congee, but with alot of other ingredients like white radish, turnip, bok choy, red beans, italian parsley – it’s quite filling I must say.

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We all initially expected this to be served chilled, but it was rather a soup. Grated carrots and white radish (Daikon), water, Nori (seaweed paper), Umeboshi (Japanese pickled sour plum) and soy sauce. This drink helps getting rid of fat accumulated in body, lowering cholesterol level, prevention of kidney stone, solving problems in bones, joints and lung.

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I <3 jellies in summer. In macrobiotic diet, use of gelatine, corn/potato starch is substituted with Agar (Agar agar/Kanten/Japanese isinglass), Kudzu or arrowroot. For this jelly, powdered agar was used. I actually prefer fruits jelly to be made with agar for its firmer texture and ‘crunchiness’. Oh, also I was super surprised how quickly the jelly sets with agar. It wasn’t even in the fridge!

Now the tasting time!

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Tofu & Oatmeal ball (with thicken sweet & sour soy sauce)
“Hmmm yum!” naturally came out of my mouth. Well, I love tofu to begin with, but adding Oatmeal to the mixture actually holds the combined ingredients well together and added another layer of flavour. My favourite of all.

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Nanakusa Gayu
To be honest, I’m not really a big fan of congee. However, I really didn’t mind having this as “once every week” sort of food.

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Detox Drink
Here’s the detox cleansing drink that I was very much intrigued. Lots of grated daikon radish and carrots with nori (seaweed paper) means lots of fibre to eat! And it tasted quite good as a soup, so that’s definitely a good thing when I have to emphasize on “detox” part.

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Pressed salad
Wasn’t really nothing new to me on this one because I already do this sometimes. But surely a refreshing dish on the day of the class!

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Crushed Orange Jelly
I LOVED IT! I wouldn’t usually choose agar to make jelly simply because it’s rather hard to find at supermarkets. Next time I see agars, I’ll definitely get one for sure!

OK, overall after trying out macrobiotics dishes, I was pretty impressed how filling and flavoursome these simple ingredients had turned out. Plus, as I mentioned at the beginning, I do like healthy options to begin with. I wouldn’t say every meal everyday, but I can easily see myself adopting more of macrobiotic methods into my daily diet. To me it was a rather realisation of what’s lacking from my daily intake.

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My favourite carrot salad – the first attempt to adapt marcrobiotic diet.

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Salt & black sesame tofu.

Now the great part of the macrobiotic diet I most certainly appreciate is, unlike other strict diets out there, it doesn’t force you to follow a philosophy you don’t necessarily believe or to eat things you’re not happy with. It’s more of an idea/suggestion to step forward and be “better” from just “fine”. Eating is one of the essential human instincts. Starving yourself or living on something you hate couldn’t be any better for yourself. Although it does have more strict ways to follow, such as for the purpose of diabetic treatment, macrobiotic diet for ordinary people living in this stressful world is supposed to be a little help to live better by eating well. And this class was definitely well-worth attending for me to have another opportunity to lead myself to the better living. And of course more eating.

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Then the day after. Btw.
I’ve been known as ‘constipation-less’, whatever I take in comes out no problem.
But even for me, all the fibres and grains I had from the food at the class worked super magically to my stomach.
How magical?

It only took 3 seconds.

Soramame
(currently their group classes are held in Japanese.)
For more information, contact Keiko directly.


Yakiniku Dinner @ Kashiwa

Thursday, January 7, 2010 - 11:08 pm     English  |  日本語

New Japanese BBQ on the block!

My usually choices for Korean/Japanese BBQ are Madang, O Bal Tan, Suminoya, Rengaya and recently visited Shinara. These are all Sydney’s mainstream BBQ restaurants aren’t they? So I was quite keen to find out what this new place in Crows Nest is like.

Yakiniku Kashiwa is located on Falcon street, just a block from Waqu, Jurin, and New Orleans cafe. Arriving at their address, I found Thai-riffic used-to-be now newly opened under new management next door. Seems really nice btw.

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Inside of Kashiwa actually reminded me of Ryotei the ramen place just a few blocks down the street – I think the layout of the place is pretty much identical LOL Nicely set up tables and yes, they’re equipped with smoke exhaust pipes hanging down from the celling. No coughing smokey dinner like you would at Suminoya. Each table is pretty long and large, and three of us were seated very comfortably.

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Kashiwa is not another all-you-can-eat BBQ place and they only have al a carte items. Looking at the menu, I say all dishes are reasonably priced – which made us wonder what the quality would be. Let’s find out shall we?

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As we go through the menu, Shichirin arrived on our table, and that only means “I’m ready to eat some meat.” I want one of these Japanese charcoal griller!

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First arrived was Wagyu Beef Ribs ($9.80) Oh yes, as the menu says, highly marbled juicy fat!

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Most people like ribs, but I prefer Harami (Beef skirt) for the tenderer texture. Their wagyu beef skirt was pretty awesome. ($10.80)

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I always envy Chinese, Thai, Malaysian speaking friends at restaurants for being able to read the specials on the wall, but this time it was my turn. We spotted a beef liver sashimi – a.k.a Reba sashi. Yes, it’s raw and served with sesame oil & salt. SO GOOD that I’m glad that I’m not a vegetarian.

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We also tried their special combination – including intestine, tripe and liver in Miso marinade sauce. If you haven’t tried intestine before, try it here – it was pretty good! ($9.80)

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Bibimbap on the other hand was just plain ok. I guess it’s best to leave this to Korean restaurants. Wasn’t bad though.

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Tsukune balls from side dish menu. I liked the chunky texture – I assume it’s home minced chicken ($7.80)

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And you can’t forget Ox tongue. We also ordered some chicken giblet – I had never found this at any other Japanese BBQ places! Love the crunchiness of it! ($8.80)

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Along with a few other side dishes & drinks, the bill came out to be $40 each ($120) I say the price is quite reasonable considering the quality of meat. Although I like the fearless (and bottomless) spirit of all-you-can-eat BBQ, but if that’s going to cost more less $40, I’d prefer coming here for better quality meat. And of course not to mention smokeless open space atmosphere they have. And friendly & attentive waitress.

As we rub our satisfied stomaches, Mayuri mentioned something I was trying to conjure with. “this place is like one in Japan, isn’t it?” Yeahh, that’s what I was trying to say! It’s the flavour and local feel to it – Not Korean BBQ, or Japanese BBQ restaurants in oversea locations, but Yakiniku joint in local Tokyo. It might not be the super awesome experience to you, but at least to me it was something I used to be familiar with. Like the one I used to go to with my friends after a long lecture at college – BBQ, beers and good friends.

Yakinku Kashiwa
7A Falcon Street, Crows Nest NSW 2065
02-9906-7393
Lunch 11:30 – 14:30
Dinner 17:00 -22:00
BYO Only


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Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 2, 2010 - 10:43 am     English  |  日本語

OMFG! It’s already year 2010?! How did that happen so quickly?
Hope everyone had a great new year and getting ready to enjoy the brand new year.

Quite alot of my friends happen to be away from Sydney during the holiday season, I had a quite low key new years eve with the close friends in which we identify each other as “the usual.” Man, after coming back from the hectic trip to Tokyo, I barely had time to prepare much, to be honest. How time flies…

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We simply decided to gather up, eat whatever we feel like eating, and chill. To help clean up my pantry & fridge, I brought a beetroot, sardine, feta cheese and bean sprouts salad, cold cut cucumber with minced garlic, and two sushi platters from Makoto. Again.

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“I just wanted something spicy.” says Hisae, and we also had some Korean side dishes & Samgyeopsal. Yumminess. As usual, I was the one to keep eating even after everyone was relaxing in the living room watching DVD.

We then headed to Westfield in Bondi Junction. For what, you might ask? Did you know that you can watch the fireworks from the balcony deck?

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And at 4am Hisae and I were the only wide-awake ones left – still eating and planning to stay up till we see the first sunrise. Unfortunately we were only to realise that we should have left when outside was still dark. ;p

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Unfortunately the sky was cloudy and the sun had already risen by the time we got to Bronte. We stared at the sky for awhile as waves lapping against the beach. I don’t know if it was the crisp morning wind or the peaceful scenery before my eyes, something surely made me sense that this year is going to be a good one again. With new and old friends. And more food.

Happy new year to you all :)


Christmas Feast 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009 - 12:48 am     English  |  日本語

How was everyone’s christmas? Big family feast, christmas in vacation spot, or working?
I was pretty busy and not prepared at all, especially after coming back to Sydney on the christmas eve. My fridge was (well, still is.) pretty much empty and all I had was a bottle of milk that I brought on my way back from the airport.

Last year, me and my bestest friends in Sydney managed to book a table at Tetsuya’s on the christmas eve, and it was such a fantastic place to enjoy our christmas dinner. And this year? One of the reasons I came back on the 24th instead of spending christmas in Japan was to have a christmas dinner at Golden Century seafood restaurant in Chinatown and party with my Japanese gang! Came to think of it, it’s my first time having a christmas dinner at Chinese restaurant. Feels a bit odd to be honest.

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Highlight of the night was this big chunky fresh abalone. (Market price) How fresh? It was ALIVE. It then gets sliced thinly, and our waiter dipped the slices in a boiling hot soup. Just like shabu shabu. OH MY GOD, it tasted AWESOME. Look at Hisae going “woo” in the picture LOL
All abalone slices were quickly gone, and lettuce that came with the abalone were tossed into the leftover soup. Damn, the soup tastes like heaven. And for some reason, we became addicted to this cold cut cucumber with garlic sauce. ($6)

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San Choy Bow ($9 per 2) and live coral trout. (Market price) Oh man, the coral trout was so tender and went really well with the ginger & shallot sauce!

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Live pipi in XO sauce. (market price) And after the fantastic seafood dinner, we went down to Passionflower for our sugar fix.

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Thanks again for being such great friends throughout the year, guys.

So that was a christmas dinner on the 24th. Following day on the christmas, we also had a food filled christmas get-togehter.

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Oh my god, look how beautiful these sushi rolls are!! No wonder, these were made by Kaori – a sushi roll chef at Busshari! Mayuri’s Karaage and ‘italian sushi roll’ with cream cheese, cucumber, semi-dried tomato and balsamic vinegar sushi rice, and Lily’s Thai prawn salad.

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And now we are talking. Fresh wagyu beef tataki with shisho leaves! My favourite! We were planning on doing BBQ as well, but with unfortunate rainy weather, wagyu beef were cooked in a pan. But that didn’t disappoint me at all, all the fat layer and tender wagyu beef. Hmmmm.

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Hisae the santa girl and I found a red box sitting on the kitchen counter. We initially thought it was a traditional fruit cake or something, but it tuned out to be a muffin looking bread – as big as our heads! “monster muffin, monster muffin” we chanted, and decided to kill it ;p

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There’re many other unpictured food everywhere on the table. Just like other eating gatherings we had in the past, our stomaches were stuffed with all these goodness and booze. I know everyone must be using “but this was a special occasion.” as an excuse.

Hope you guys had a great christmas this year!

Golden Century Seafood Restaurant
393 Sussex Street, Haymarket NSW 2000
02 9212 3901


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