Saturday, March 31, 2012

Potato Korokke (Croquette)

At this point, some of you must be wondering why I am constantly cooking Japanese food. Well, Japanese recipes are often simple and span only half a page of a cookbook, which makes it less daunting especially when they usually come with a list of less than ten ingredients. Compare that to Malaysian cooking which may use spices and sauces from A-Z, with plenty of chopping, pounding, crushing, toasting, frying, simmering and keeping a constant watch while cooking. I hardly have half a day to spend doing all that especially now that I'm back at work, and it's impossible to keep the children out of mischief. Just today, while I was preparing pork chops for dinner, my little toddler managed to empty almost an entire bottle of shampoo all over the floor in the shower.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Teriyaki Chicken

I made this for dinner last week, and I asked Hilary if she liked it. She said "Yes" and I asked her why. She looked up from her plate of rice and teriyaki chicken and said to me with conviction, "Because...I love the chicken so much!". And indeed, she loved it so much that she had second and third helpings of the chicken (and didn't finish her rice!). This is my second post on teriyaki chicken this month. The first one was a Teriyaki Chicken and Egg rice bowl, where I baked and grilled the chicken in the oven with a sweet teriyaki sauce. This second version I'm posting today is based on Nami's recipe, from Just One Cookbook. I decided to try her version which uses onion and ginger in the marinade.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Nanban-Chicken (Vinaigrette Chicken)

As I was flipping through the pages of the cookbook "Essentially Japanese" by Hideo Dekura, I stopped at page 191 which featured a recipe for Vinaigrette Chicken (or Nanban-Chicken as commonly known in Japan). The words vinaigrette got my tastebuds tingling and my mouth watering as I could imagine eating succulent pieces of deep-fried chicken soaked in the sweet, tangy and spicy dressing (or sauce). I had never had this dish before, although once I ate it, it tasted very familiar, like something that would have been served as a side dish in one of those bento boxes.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dak Bulgogi (Korean Bbq Chicken)

I seem to be cooking a lot of chicken dishes lately, probably because I find that chicken is such a versatile ingredient that can be prepared in so many ways and rather quickly too. Also, I don't tend to get tired of eating chicken as much as I do other meats like beef, lamb or pork. In today's post, I am sharing with you a recipe for Dak Bulgogi by Hyosun of Eating and Living fame. I'm sure many of you are familiar with her blog and the mouth-watering photos and recipes of delicious Korean food. I was captivated by photos of her Dak Bulgogi and couldn't wait to try making it too. So I went out to buy some Ssamjang, which is like a spicy soybean paste type of chilli sauce (or paste) that you will usually find at Korean bbqs where you add it to your grilled meats before wrapping them in lettuce leaves. It tastes so good with the chicken bulgogi!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Braised Chicken with Caramel, Ginger and Sesame Oil

When Zach told me that he wanted to eat "chicken with the brown rice", I wasn't too sure what he was talking about. Initially, I thought he meant claypot chicken rice, but that wasn't it. After a few guessing games, I found out that he was really referring to this simple chicken dish cooked with sesame oil and ginger with a soy-caramel sauce. I used to cook it quite often until recently when I was in my "Japanese rice bowl" phase. The reference he made to "brown rice" is purely a result of mixing the dark sauce through the rice before I serve it to them. As the sauce has been reduced until slightly thick and sweet, only a few spoonfuls of it is enough to flavour a bowl of rice. This is my absolute go-to dish especially when I need to get dinner on the table quickly and without too much hassle and clean-up.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Teriyaki Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl

If I could, I would use chicken fillets with skin-on for all my dishes. However, the chicken fillets sold here usually come skinless, and I think it's a shame that they discard the skin. The skin provides texture, flavour, some fat as well as protect the meat from drying out. It's also fantastic when it's caramelized properly which not only gives it a lovely chewiness, and sometimes crunchiness, but it also helps it to absorb the sauce better (if sauce is used in the dish). Well, that's my opinion anyway.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sunomono with Cucumber and Wakame

If food blogging never existed, I'm sure I'd be cooking soy-braised pork belly and chicken, carrot and potato soup for dinner everyday. Those were the few dishes I used to cook back when I was sharing an apartment with friends during college days, when it didn't make sense to stock up the pantry with so many ingredients if I was only cooking for myself (we never shared cooking because our class timetables were quite different, plus I wasn't too confident about my cooking at the time, and neither were they!). I even remember the first cookbook I bought, something along the lines of Step by Step Chinese Cooking. I tried cooking pork rashers with black bean sauce once (before I moved in with my friends) and forgot to open the windows. When my landlady came home to an apartment smelling heavily of garlic and pork, she dashed across the room, opened the balcony doors, ran out and and let out a scream ten floors down the building, gasping for air as though the room was filled with toxic gas. She was also vegetarian, so perhaps that partly explains the dramatic outburst. After that incident, I never cooked pork rashers with black bean sauce again. Not even after moving out six months later.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chicken Wings and Potatoes Braised in Ginger and Soy

My kids are quite picky when it comes to food. If we eat out, they would choose to eat either KFC, McDonald's or fish and chips. If I asked them what they would like me to cook for dinner, Zach would always opt for rice with chicken and broccoli, which I would usually cook with some potatoes and hard-boiled eggs in a sweet and sticky soy-based sauce. I saw a recipe for something quite similar in a Japanese cookbook, the name of which is "Tebasaki To Sato-Imo", meaning Chicken Wings and Potatoes Braised in Ginger and Soy. Instead of using thick caramel often used in Chinese cooking, tamari is used to provide colour to the dish. Sake is also used in place of Chinese cooking wine

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Scrambled Eggs with Spicy Salsa

I often find breakfast served at cafes in Sydney to be overpriced, especially when it's just toast with bacon and eggs, or even just jam and butter. I could buy a whole loaf of bread with the amount they charge and have breakfast everyday for the whole week. Having said that, we do treat ourselves to breakfast at the local cafes once in a while. The kids would have their little babycinos while G and I would sip on our lattes and watch the world go by. Okay, not exactly. Most of the time, we would take turns trying to keep our little toddler "entertained" by letting him play games on the phone or bringing him out for a walk when he starts getting restless.