Posts tagged ‘japanese’

Happy Mother’s Day…


…and it happens to be my birthday too (happens like every other year). So we are having a big dinner with my family and I make the cake (all organic ingredients). It’s a Japanese style strawberry shortcake, meaning it’s a sponge cake base with whipped cream and strawberries.

Japanese style shortcake

sponge cake:

  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp melted butter (or oil, walnut or almond)

cream chantilly (to be fancy):

  • 1 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  • strawberry or raspberry preserve
  • 1 qt fresh strawberries
  • parchment paper

cmixer1 eggs and sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Beat eggs and sugar till very pale yellow and is 3-4 times the original volume using a mixer. Cut parchment paper into circles to fit two 8in round cake pans (fold the paper in halves till you can’t anymore and snip the ends to fit). Oil pan with the parchment thoroughly otherwise it’d be hard to get the bottom out of the pan. Sift in flour and baking powder, fold with large metal spoon and add the vanilla while folding. Fold in melted butter last after the batter comes together. When fully incorporated pour into pans and bake for 25mins.


Beat cream and sugar till it forms soft peaks, add vanilla and beat a little more. Put away till cake is completely cooled.

Take half the strawberries (the least pretty ones) and slice into 4ths. De-stem the rest for the top.

When cakes are cooled peel off the parchment paper, spread on a thin layer of preserve, top evenly with the sliced strawberries then spread the whipped cream over. Put on the next cake layer, and thin coat of preserve. Frost cake with the remaining cream. I saved some and piped it on with just a snipped sandwich baggie (I never got the hang of using decorating tips). Top with strawberries how you see fit.

-L lina-sm


May 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm 5 comments


I’ve been craving omurice since the other night when I was talking to a friend about it. Living in Houston, I haven’t found any places that serve omurice. It makes me sad, so if any Houstonites know where I can find some, please let me know. Anyways, I figured this would be a yummy Sunday morning breakfast!

What is omurice anyways? Basically it’s a sweeter fried rice topped with a not fully cooked egg omelette. A demi-glaze sauce is what usually tops the omurice, but I’ve seen many recipes just use ketchup. The sweetness of the fried rice is due to the use of ketchup rather than soy sauce, and it’s cooked in butter rather than oil. I also overcooked the egg because I was concentrating on flipping it over and making it look pretty. Most recipes I found called for chicken and mushrooms in the fried rice, but I only had chinese sausage. heh. And, I’ve come to the realization that I suck at making pretty omelettes. =(

Fried Rice:

  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 of an onion diced as mini as possible
  • 1/2 stick of chinese sausage (diced in cubes)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. ketchup (or enough to add color to the rice)


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp. butter

Add about 2 tbsp. of water into the rice and using your hands, separate the rice. Place to the side. Place butter in pan on med-high heat and allow it to melt. Add the garlic and onions and sautee. Add in chinese sausage and let it cook. Add rice and sautee. Add the ketchup and mix well until all the rice is colored a light red/brown tint. Plate rice once cooked.

For the omelette, whisk the 2 eggs, salt, and pepper in a bowl. In the same pan you used for your fried rice, add the other tbsp. of butter and let it melt. Add in your whisked eggs and let cook. As it cooks, fold over the bottom half of the omelette and then the top half of the omelette, so it kind of looks like a burrito. Once outside layer looks cooked, remove from pan and flip the egg upside down on top of your plated rice.Top with ketchup or hot sauce or whatever you like on your eggs!

You’ll know your egg is perfect if you cut a line right down the middle of your egg and it kind of spreads out over your rice. Mine was overcooked, but it was still delicious. I am going to perfect this one of these days. It’s such a quick and simple dish too.


November 2, 2008 at 4:10 pm 2 comments


Japanese curry is another recent trend around town. I don’t have any strong feelings for or against Japanese curry. I’ve only really tried it once or twice at Jas-mart (haven’t tried Go Go Curry) but I’m reading the manga ‘Addicted to Curry’ (they have recipes too). Guess I just like Indian curries more.

One reason I wanted to try Curry-ya (214 East 10th St. New York, NY 10003) is because it was opened by one of the co-owners of Soba-ya (my favorite restaurant).

I knew it was going to be tiny place with only a counter and the kitchen right behind it, but it was really a squeeze. Be careful, you don’t want to sit right in front of the burners, you’ll be cooking too (maybe in winter it might not be an issue).

The menu has 9 curries, 6 salads, and 3 extra toppings (I just noticed the play on 3s).  The lunch special is a great deal. But after 4pm we went with curry ‘nice set’ that gives you the same things for $6 more; the ‘chef’s daily assortment’ three small dishes plus choice of dessert or (non alcoholic) drink. The desserts are the better value, we chose the lychee lassi (really good) which was listed as a dessert but is also a drink (of yogurt, sugar, lemon, lychee and ice from what I saw). The grapefruit jelly also looked good but we were surprisingly too stuffed for dessert.

Grilled seafood curry

To rewind; we started off with the 3 small dishes of squash, cabbage slaw, and seaweed salad (very tasty, I just inhaled it and forgot about photos). I got the grilled seafood curry, and the hubby had the seasonal vegetable curry. Though I don’t think my seafood qualifies as ‘grilled’, it was perfectly cooked despite my fears about how long it was cooking. It was partially cooked in the oven then simmered in mini pot of curry sauce. I didn’t specify hot or mild, but it had a nice small kick to it. It came with toppings of dehydrated onions flakes, pickled turnip, pickled shallots, and raisins. I put the onions on mine and ate the pickles but I wasn’t really interested in the raisins. The hubby wasn’t impressed with the vegetable curry, but did express interest in getting it plain with two orders of natto.

The pots of curry didn’t look that large and the mounds of rice didn’t seem overwhelming (but I knew it to be equivalent to two bowls). Afterwards we were really really full, maybe the lassi also pushed us a bit over our limit. I think we’d eat there again eventually, when we are in the area and really hungry.

Seasonal vegetable curry

We saw all the Japanese customers there eating curry with spoons only, while the non-Japanese customers used forks. For meat eaters, the New York Times recommends the Berkshire pork cutlet curry.


August 6, 2008 at 6:00 am 5 comments

Egg (nori) roll

I was inspired by Japanese ‘big rolls’, which are usually large (1 + 1/2 sheets of nori to wrap around) with an omelet center and other stuffing. This is a smaller, quicker, lazier version with all the fillings cooked together as one. Making nori rolls gets easier with practice and bamboo rolling mats. Also remember to use plastic wrap on the bamboo mat to help keep it clean.

Nori Egg Roll (3 rolls)

  • 2 cups cooked sushi rice (1 cup raw)
  • 3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (if unseasoned, add 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt)
  • 3 sheets of nori
  • 3 eggs
  • oil for pan
  • 1 1/2 cup raw baby spinach
  • 4 shitake mushrooms
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  1. Mix rice vinegar into warm (cooked) rice, set aside. Beat the eggs with half the salt in a bowl, set aside.
  2. Cut mushrooms into thin strips and roughly chop up the spinach if the leaves are large.
  3. Heat up a small pan (cast iron or nonstick 6-8in) medium high, add oil (2 tsp), then mushrooms, spinach, mirin and salt; cook until spinach is wilted.
  4. Pour spinach mixture into bowl of beaten eggs and mix to combine.
  5. Heat pan up again medium high, add more oil to coat pan. Pour eggs into pan, spread out the spinach and mushrooms.
  6. When edges set after a minute or so, fold 2 opposite sides towards the center, ending with something rectangular in shape.
  7. Turn heat low and finish cooking till it’s no longer runny in the center. You can try to flip it over or just put a lid on it for a minute or so. Cut egg into 3 equal long strips.
  8. Spread 1/3 of the rice on 3/4 of the nori sheet.
  9. Put a strip of egg on the part of the sheet with no rice.
  10. Roll it up starting from the egg end, using the bamboo mat to roll and press.
  11. Cut roll up into 6 or 8 pieces, and sprinkle on sesame seeds.
I don’t think you need any soy sauce, everything is already seasoned.

July 10, 2008 at 10:18 am 7 comments

Rice porridge for what ails you


Right now, I fear I will catch what the hubby has (fever, aches, and coughs). He never gets this sick usually. I’m keeping him hydrated, and made rice porridge (not the one pictured, that was from weeks ago). By the time he’s better, my immune system will probably give in. And this will be his instructions. I don’t expect him to be able to make anything more than just the rice porridge part.

Rice porridge

  • Dashi:
  • 2 quarts water
  • 5x8inch piece of kombu
  • 1/2 cup bonito flakes
  • 1 1/2 cup white rice (long or short grain)

teadashibag.jpg small cooked piece of kombu, used bonito tea bag, pack of tea bags

Put water, kombu and bonito flakes (in tea bag/dashi bag/or tied up cheese cloth) in pot. Cover, bring to a boil on medium, let simmer for a minute or two, then turn off heat, and remove the kombu and bonito package. Kombu will expand when cooked. For a vegan dashi; use kombu and one dried shitake mushroom. Or simply make it with only water.

Rinse rice with cold water and add to dashi. If using a regular pot on stovetop, bring to boil and let simmer on low for 90mins to 2hrs. When using a rice cooker you can just put it in and let it run on porridge mode, but make sure you know what the maximum capacity for porridge is. If using a pressure cooker (making sure you are well with in the max fill line) secure the lid, and bring to a boil, locking in the lid. On medium low, let it cook for 20-25mins. After turning off the heat and letting the pressure dissipate, take the lid off, stir (add more water if it seems to be too thick) and simmer for another 5-10mins.


Kombu enoki relish

  • Kombu leftover from dashi
  • 1 large package of enoki (about 1 3/4 cup worth when chopped)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3-4 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of mirin

Cut kombu into small 1/2 -3/4 inch pieces. Cut enoki into 3/4 -1 inch long segments. Combine kombu, enoki with water, soy, mirin in small pot and bring to a boil, simmer on medium till the liquid is mostly gone and you are left with a syrupy sauce. Sprinkle on sansho pepper at the end.

Nori sauce

  • 4 sheets of nori, torn into small pieces
  • 2 shitake mushrooms sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 water
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp sake (optional)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Combine nori, mushrooms, soy, mirin, sake, and water in small pot and bring to a boil, simmer on medium till the liquid is mostly gone and you are left with a syrupy sauce. Sprinkle on sesame seeds at the end.

Spinach with sesame

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 2 tsp oil (olive or canola)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Heat skillet on medium high, add oil, garlic and sesame seeds, then add in the spinach. Stir and cook till spinach just wilts, turn off heat, add in salt and sesame oil, toss and mix well.

Addition sides

  • ume (umeboshi)
  • fish (hot smoked mackerel or salmon, fish cake)
  • egg (hard/soft boiled)
  • edamame

Wish spring was here already.lina-sm.gif

March 27, 2008 at 5:41 am 1 comment

Sardines grilled


A stovetop fish grill (or roaster) is pretty cheap, you can get them for $10- $20 (possibly less) at Japanese or Korean markets. I use it often for mackerel fillets and it’s also good for grilling small veggies. It’s important you have good vents or be able to open up some windows; depending on what you are cooking it can get smoky (like with very oily fish).

Here I used some small sardines. The quickest way to prep them is to cut off the heads (optional, head on or off is up to you) and slit them down the middle, removing all the innards. Under running water you should be able to remove all the scales with your fingers alone. Over medium high heat it should cook about 3-4mins each side (maybe longer depending on size). It’s good to go with just some salt, pepper and lemon juice. It would go great with rice and miso soup with the addition of some scallions, (microplane grated) radish and ginger.



March 4, 2008 at 6:31 pm 1 comment

Japanese herbal tea


I’m still in the middle of working this week so I’m not writing out recipes. I found an unopened bag of herbal barley tea (from Japan) that my friend Tamaki gave me a long while back. It’s a mix of grains (seeds?) and herbs (grasses), some I’ve seen in Chinese herbal teas. It has a nice mild flavor and was good for keeping your sinuses clear during high pollen season. Unfortunately the bag had expired, I tasted to make sure. The bag list the company’s email and that led me to the Japanese site. I googled ‘murataen’ and found one English site that sell ‘Ban Noh Cha by Murataen; Japanese Herbal Mix’ but the ordering has to be done thru email or calling, I don’t like non-online ordering. Other Japanese barley teas I’ve tried never taste the same, and Chinese herbal teas have a similar flavor but also not the same.


btbag1.jpg lina-sm.gif

February 26, 2008 at 5:35 pm 2 comments

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