Chinese Turnip Cake (Lor Bak Go)

Chinese New Years may have passed but that doesn’t mean we still can’t celebrate with Chinese Turnip Cake! I love ordering these at the restaurants and with our never ending obsession with buying daikon to make pickled daikon or Japanese dishes, it seemed to make sense to make turnip cake with any extra daikon that we can’t finish.

However, as some of you may know, finding Chinese recipes on the internet isn’t exactly the easiest thing and even when I do find one, I’m skeptical as to how credible the source is how ‘authentic’ the recipe is. Lucky for us, we’ve stumbled across the blog WoksOfLife and tried a few of their recipes and found them to be quite authentic and delicious. And thus, they became our default go to site for any Chinese recipes. When we decided to make Chinese Turnip Cake, lo and behold, we checked their site first and luckily, they had it (yay!)

The ingredients aren’t too hard to find – in fact, we would say most of them are staples in a Chinese household.

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Roasted Sweet Summer Corn recipe

As mentioned in our previous blog post, we recently purchased the Momofuku cookbook by David Chang. As part of our Valentine’s day dinner, I tried a few of his recipes and decided to blog about my experience and how the dishes turned out. Spoiler alert – it turned out surprisingly well!

One of the dishes that I was compelled to was the Roasted Sweet Summer Corn recipe. I was compelled for several reasons:

  • I already had all the ingredients on hand though I did make a substitution for one of the ingredients
  • It had miso butter – the two things we love!
  • BACON (need I say more?)
  • Roasted Onions. MM sweet and savoury 🙂

I didn’t have fresh corn on hand but frozen corn did the trick. I personally found this dish to be quite rich on its own so I tend to pair it with some carbs to cut the richness such as rice. I presume it would also taste great with potatoes (whether baked, mashed, or roasted).  This dish was a great accompaniment to the steamed pork buns that I made, along with the cherry tomato salad and compost cookie for dessert.

Find out how to make this dish using the recipe below, adapted from the Momofuku cookbook. I substituted ramen broth with dashi simply because I don’t have the time or resource to make it and I felt it turned out just as well.

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Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) – Updated Recipe

If you follow us on Instagram, you’ll know that chicken and duck went on sale for us last week and we stocked up quite a bit…

With all this poultry that is enough to last us a a couple of months, we had think of different recipes to make with it. One easy one we could think of was Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken). It just required a simple marinade and a light dusting of potato starch before deep frying.

We made this a while back using a different recipe which you can read about here and although J could barely taste a difference, I personally prefer this recipe more as I felt that the chicken had more flavour than the other recipe.

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Miso Clam Soup

We had some friends over for dinner this weekend and considering we are trying to refine our Japanese cooking skills, we decided to have a Japanese themed dinner.

We started off our morning gathering all of our ingredients. One of the dishes we wanted to make was Miso Clam Soup so naturally, we had to get some fresh clams.

Diana’s seafood was our go to fish market for this – it’s pretty far from where we live but we can always count on them for having the largest variety of the freshest fish.

We picked up a few items from there but we can post about those later 🙂 We picked up two types of clams for our soup since we wanted to mix it up a bit: Littleneck and savoury clams.

Savoury (left) and Littleneck (right) clams

People often store their clams by throwing the closed bag in the fridge or soaking them in water until they’re ready to use. This is not the best way to store your clams as you are at risk of killing them. Clams need to breathe so the first thing you should do when you are home is to open up the bag. Although it is perfectly normal to soak the clams for an hour or so to help them purge the sand they were sucking in from the ocean floor, they should not be soaking in water for any longer than that as clams are not used to living in fresh water.

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Caprese Salad

Caprese salad is my guilty pleasure. Perhaps it’s because I really don’t know what else I can do with all the fresh basil we’ve been growing in our garden other than making pasta sauce but this dish is pretty solid. I’ve been making it so much that I’ve been told to cut back on it because eating that much cheese on a daily basis can’t be good for you.

All you really need to make this dish is 3 main ingredients – some form of mozzarella cheese (we used Burrata), fresh basil, and tomatoes.

Usually whenever we make this dish, we use good quality extra virgin olive oil and a generous amount of freshly ground salt and pepper to season. However, since the quality of these tomatoes and cheese was so good, we were able to cut back on the seasoning quite significantly (which is better for our health!). I could eat this up for DAYS. I’m not typically a salad person but I could have this on the regular that’s for sure 🙂

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

Ingredients

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Burrata Cheese (Bocconcini or Fior Di Latte will work too)
  • Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper
  • Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Cut your cherry tomatoes in halves or quarters (personal preference).
  2. You can roughly cut up your cheese to get that rough textured look and sprinkle it all over your plate for that spontaneous look and feel.
  3. Finely chop up some basil or rip them up into tiny pieces. Sprinkle generously across your salad.
  4. Drizzle with generous amount of extra virgin olive oil and season with freshly ground salt and pepper.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/06/20/caprese-salad/

 

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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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/

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.

Chinese Wintermelon Soup Recipe

If there’s one thing we missed about living at home, it’s the soup that our parents used to make us. We generally prefer drinking Chinese soup opposed to western soup as it tends to be more light. I don’t think you’ll ever see heavy cream being used in a Chinese soup recipe lol. Surprisingly enough, Chinese soup is pretty easy to make but getting the right ingredients can be tricky.

Before I moved out, I asked my dad to give me his Chinese wintermelon soup recipe. It’s quite common for Chinese people to not follow a recipe and just wing it so he did his best to give me his guestimations when it came to how much of each ingredient to put in. We made this several times now and let’s just say the Chinese dried mushrooms made a huge difference in terms of adding flavour!

Wintermelon Soup

It’s best to let this soup sit overnight to help the flavours really develop. You can still drink this right away and it’ll taste good but it’ll taste even better tomorrow so try to make this a day in advance 🙂

Here’s how we made the soup:

First, gather your ingredients. As you can see, there aren’t that many.

Soup ingredients

There are a few key things to note:

  • Presoak your dried Chinese shiitake mushrooms and dried dates (found in your local chinese supermarket – likely dried soup mix section) in warm water for at least an hour
  • Do NOT throw away the water which it was soaking in. These ingredients released a lot of flavour so do not waste them. Save them for the soup later.
  • Try to have a mixture of pork and chicken bones to make the stock. This will enhance the flavour of the soup

Once you have all those items ready, it’s time to parbroil your chicken and pork bones to get rid of all the impurities. Do this for 5 minutes and then rinse it under cold water. Make sure to give them a good rub to really get rid of all the dirty.

Rinse

After parbroiling the bones, put it back into a large stock pot along with the rest of the ingredients (and the water which the mushrooms and dates were soaking in!) and fill the pot up until all the ingredients are covered. Bring it up to a boil and once boiling, turn it down to a gentle simmer for at least 1 hour.

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