Yuzu Sorbet

Nothing is more refreshing and cleansing than having sorbet as dessert. The great thing about sorbet is that it’s perfect for those that are lactose intolerant, and it typically enhances the flavour of whatever fruit sorbet is being made.

Continuing with our posts for #JapanWeek, we are making Yuzu sorbet today.

I’ll start off by saying that there aren’t that many yuzu sorbet recipes out there… And when there are, they all require the use of fresh yuzu fruits (which are extremely hard to find here…. and when found, are crazy expensive). I’m sure this would’ve tasted a lot better if I used real fruit and yuzu zest but even with bottled yuzu juice, it still turned out really good. I was pretty impressed with myself when I made it the first time.

Mind you… this sorbet could be better had I improved the texture. I think the next time I make this, I will use corn syrup as I read that will make it less grainy and more scoopable. I’ll be sure to post an updated version when I make this again.

Yuzu Sorbet

Yuzu Sorbet

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1.2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup yuzu juice

Instructions

  1. In a sauce pot over medium high heat, bring water and sugar to a boil to make simple syrup.
  2. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
  3. Then, stir in yuzu juice. Taste it and adjust sugar as required.
  4. In an ice cream maker, add the sorbet mixture and mix until it's in a scoopable texture. If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can do what we did and just put it in a glass container in the freezer, and stir it around every hour to hour and a half to help it slush up.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/05/27/yuzu-sorbet/

Ochazuke recipe

I love Ochazuke… Maybe it’s because I’m always cold regardless of the season but I love how this dish always warms me up. It’s such a simple dish but it tastes so good. This post is part of the #JapanWeek series.

I’ve always wondered how people make this – what goes into the tea or broth? How is it so flavourful?  Is it really just green tea over rice because when I drink green tea by itself, it sure doesn’t taste as good as this.

I took a pretty big risk when I decided to make it for the very first time the night of our anniversary dinner as I have no idea how it would turn out. Surprisingly, it turned out better than expected! We even made some slight modifications to the original recipe to try and enhance the flavour of the ‘soup’. The sour taste of the picked plum along with the salty nori, green tea broth, and rice, was a really nice combination. It’s also a good way to use up leftover Japanese rice!

This was the green tea I used for my Ochazuke:
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Chirashi bowl

Chirashi bowls have become a thing in our household now. Whenever we want to make Japanese food, our default answer is to make Chirashi.

I guess the reason we tend to default to this is because:

a) We’ve found a pretty good sushi rice recipe

b) We can make numerous Chirashi bowls with a single cut of fish.

Although the cut of fish isn’t cheap, if you consider how many portions you can make out of it, it’s pretty worth it as it’s much cheaper than what we’d be paying in the restaurant.

As part of the #JapanWeek series, I decided to ball a little bit since it was for a special occasion. I chose Blue Fin Tuna (please don’t go extinct – you’re one of my favourite fishes for sushi), Uni from British Columbia, and Scallops from Hokkaido, Japan. I learned that the best way to make this bowl even more visually stunning is to include fish with different colors, top it with a generous amount of pickled ginger to cleanse the palette, and finally garnish it with a dollop of fresh wasabi.

If you want to make a simple dish that would impress your friends and family, this is it. It’s really not that hard to make but the presentation is just stunning. I would say the hardest part was slicing the fish evenly ^_^”

 

Nobu’s Miso Black Cod Recipe

I love miso black cod. Everytime I go to a Japanese restaurant, this is the default dish that I order. When it came to me brainstorming what I should make for our anniversary dinner this weekend, this dish immediately came to mind as it’s one that I think we’d both enjoy. Besides, I wanted to learn how to make it so that I don’t have to wait until I go out to a restaurant to have it. This post will be part of an ongoing series called #JapanWeek

While searching for a recipe online, Nobu’s recipe was clearly the most popular one. As always, I cross referenced this recipe with several others to see if there was a significant difference in terms of proportion of ingredients and method of preparation but it was pretty unanimous. All recipes required me to marinate this fish 2-3 days in advance to get the most flavour out of it.

And boy was it worth it. The fish was so flavourful… and after searing it in a hot pan and baking it the oven afterwards, it left this nice golden crust which was soooo goood.

I’d make this more often but the fish itself was pretty pricy –  I paid $20 for 2 pieces of fish… mind you it was a very generous cut of fish but still…

To view the recipe, keep reading

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Agedashi Tofu Recipe

This weekend marks Team J’s 7th anniversary. In order to celebrate, I decided to make a Japanese dinner since J loves all things Japanese. I will be featuring all the dishes that I made on the blog as part of the #JapanWeek series.

I’ve been prepping for this meal all week – looking up various recipes and blogs to get inspired as to what to make. I finally came up with the final menu and I got super excited because I knew he would love the dishes that I will be making. One of the dishes I stumbled across was this Agedashi Tofu recipe and I knew it would be the perfect appetizer dish because it was light and simple.

Agedashi Tofu

I adapted this recipe from JustOneCookbook and slightly altered the sauce recipe from a Japanese cookbook that we owned. Although I’ve never made this dish before, it turned out really well!

For this Agedashi Tofu recipe, see below:

Agedashi Tofu Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a medium-firm tofu block
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
    Sauce
  • 1 1/3 cup dashi stock
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
    Toppings
  • Bonito flakes
  • Grated ginger
  • Grated daikon
  • Thinly sliced green onions

Instructions

  1. First, prepare the sauce. Add light soy sauce, mirin, and dashi stock into a stock pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring the heat down to low to keep warm until ready to use.
  2. Cut the medium-firm tofu into small blocks and dry them all in a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
  3. Meanwhile, prep the vegetable oil in a small sauce pot or deep fryer until oil is 350F.
  4. Once the oil has reached 350F, lightly dredge the tofu in potato starch and deep fry the tofu until they turn golden brown. When done, remove them from the oil and place them on a wire rack lined with paper towel to remove excess oil.
  5. Place fried tofu into a shallow dish and pour the hot sauce on the side of the bowl (not directly on top of the tofu). Garnish with grated ginger, grated daikon, thinly sliced green onions, and bonito flakes. Serve immediately.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/05/20/agedashi-tofu-recipe/

Chinese beef brisket with daikon recipe

There aren’t that many traditional Chinese dishes that we know how to make but this one is one that we are proud of.

Growing up, my dad made me beef brisket all the time, usually in really large batches so that we could freeze them and eat it whenever we want. It wasn’t until I moved out that I realized how much I missed it but at the same time, I also realized how difficult it was to find good, authentic Chinese recipes online. Truth is, most chinese people don’t follow a cookbook and they kind of just make it up along the way, not keeping track of the portions of each ingredients needed to cook the dish. Luckily, my dad is pretty good at giving rough measurements of the ingredients needed to make this dish so he emailed it to me and we’ve been tweaking it ever since. We served it to our friends and family recently and they all loved it 🙂

Chinese beef brisket

This dish does require a bit of prep time… in fact, we recommend you make it a day in advance from when you want to serve it. The dish needs time to braise in its own juices so that the flavour can really develop.

To make the dish, you will need 2-3 lbs of beef brisket, cut into cubes.

beef brisket cubed

Meanwhile, prep the spices and the sauces.

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Turtle Bread – Melon pan recipe

I remember the first time I saw melon pan on cookingwithdog (a japanese cooking channel on youtube), I thought this bread was melon flavoured. Surprisingly, it did not contain any melon at all. I believe it got its name based on the way it looks, similar to how chinese pineapple buns got its name.

I’ve always been curious to try them but was too lazy to make it. I got to try it when I went J-town (Japan town) but instead, I had the matcha version of it in the form of a turtle bread. I thought it looked so adorable that I wanted to try making it myself. A few years later, after a few online tutorials, I finally got around to making this turtle bread.

Turtle Bread

Melon Pan

I actually had to make this recipe twice because I messed up the first time round. I also realized things I could’ve done better.

The first time I made this, I followed the instructions from cookingwithdog to a T. The problem was they used instant yeast in that recipe whereas I had active yeast. I soon learned that you have to activate the active yeast in water first before I could use it whereas with instant yeast, you could just mix it in with your dry ingredients right away. I also failed to dissolve the dry milk powder in warm liquid leaving my dough with a strange grainy texture.

When I made this the second time round, I activated the yeast in warm water. I also dissolved the dry milk powder in there as well to get rid of that grainy texture. The dough was much better the second time round.

After the dough has completed its first proof, I put on the turtle backs. I simply added some matcha powder to the cookie dough recipe to help give its signature green color. Though the original recipe said that I should keep it in the fridge so that it’s easier to handle, I found it easier for them to be a bit warm so that it’s more malleable.

cookie dough

I wrapped the cookie dough around the proofed dough and dipped the turtle shell in sugar.

Wrapping the dough

After coating it with sugar, I scored the turtle shell with its signature diamond pattern using a pastry cutter.

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Cream Puff Recipe

I wasn’t always a fan of cream puffs. However, over the last couple of months, we’ve been frequently some of our favourite local cafe and bakery in our neighborhood and one of the pastries that has always seem to attract my attention were the ones made with a Pâte à Choux base. Whether it be cream puffs or eclairs, these desserts have inspired me to attempt to make them myself so that we can stop spending all our disposable income on these desserts XD

Thanks to my trusty Ladurée cook book that I bought last year, I had a point of reference to make my pastry cream. Being unsatisfied with their Pâte à Choux recipe, I decided to try another which turned out a lot better (the choux just had more flavour overall).

Cream Puffs

This dessert is actually not very hard to make though it can be time consuming as you have to dry the Pâte à Choux out in the oven, and then wait for your pastry cream to cool before you can actually use it. But once you have this base recipe down, you can actually adjust the pastry cream flavour to your liking. I went ahead and made a matcha variation of it that turned out quite well!

Matcha cream puff

To view the full recipe, see below.

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Chicken noodle soup

Whenever I’m craving soup, I often default to chicken noodle soup because it seems to be the easiest to make. I also feel that it has enough substance in it that it could double as a meal opposed to some other soups that I make. It’s not too rich and it’s not too light – just right 🙂 Whenever I’m too lazy to make dinner or lunch, I will just heat this up in the microwave and boom – meal is done.

DSC_1522

This soup can be made in just 30 mins. I prefer to use homemade chicken stock opposed to the ones bought in store as I can control the amount of sodium that goes into it. However, any chicken stock will do.

Chicken noodle soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp oilve oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 10 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 lbs leftover cooked chicken pieces, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked noodle of your choice (I used rotini)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil.
  2. Add in the onion, celery, and carrots and cook for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  3. Add in the chicken stock and dried oregano. Bring to a boil for a few minutes and then down to a gentler simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. At the 25 minute mark, add in your cooked chicken pieces and fresh basil. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Season to taste.
  6. Add in the cooked pasta when you're ready to eat. If you leave the pasta in the soup for too long, it will expand and soak up all your soup.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/08/23/chicken-noodle-soup/

Super delicious chicken stock recipe

We, Team J, are a frugal bunch. Whenever we go grocery shopping, we often gravitate towards purchasing whichever meat is on sale and then plan our meals around it accordingly. We often find whole chicken to go on sale quite frequently and we like them because they’re extremely versatile. We can debone it and use the other chicken parts for separate dishes. We could then use the chicken carcass to make chicken stock. Over time, we’ve frozen a lot of chicken bones and once we have enough, we make stock and save it for other dishes as well – it never ends!

Chicken stock

This chicken stock was used to make Chicken Noodle Soup and Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Bacon (a winning combination!). I found it to be very flavourful and I think the key to that was letting the stock boil without the lid on to really help the flavours concentrate as the excess water boiled off.

This recipe was adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s chicken stock recipe. For instructions on how to make it, see below:

Super delicious chicken stock recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken carcass + any excess chicken wing and thigh bones you have lying around
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • A handful of parsley, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • Kosher salt - season to taste. I used 1-2 tbsp (approx)
  • Cold water

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients into a stock pot or a 5 1/2 quart dutch oven. Fill the pot with water just enough to cover the chicken carcass and ingredients.
  2. Bring to a boil for a few minutes with the lid off, skimming off the foam regularly.
  3. Bring the stock down to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hour with the lid off. If the water level is getting too low, add a little bit more water.
  4. Strain the stock. Taste and adjust for seasoning
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/08/21/chicken-stock-recipe/

You can keep the stock in the fridge if you plan on using it within a week or two. Otherwise, you can easily freeze this and use it later.