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.

What we also learned from this experience was that our fried chicken was dusted too heavily with potato starch, hence it didn’t achieve that deep brown color we were looking for despite double frying this. It also left patches of white on our fried chicken so this is something we will definitely improve for the future.

Overall this recipe was very simple to make. We enhanced the recipe a little bit by adding five spice powder to the potato starch just to give the batter a bit of additional flavouring but this is completely optional. Let us know if you try any other seasoning in your recipe.

Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) – Updated Recipe

Yield: 2-4

Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) – Updated Recipe

Ingredients

    Chicken Marinade
  • 1 lbs chicken thigh, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tbsp ginger, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
    Batter
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp five spice powder (optional)
  • Vegetable oil to deep fry

Instructions

  1. Marinade the chicken thighs with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sake, sesame oil and sugar for at least an hour. The longer, the better.
  2. When ready to deep fry, heat up the oil until 350F.
  3. Lightly dredge the marinated chicken in potato starch mixture and deep fry until golden brown. For extra crispiness, you can deep fry it again a second time.
  4. Have karaage cool over a wire rack covered with paper towel. Serve with a wedge of lemon.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/08/25/karaage-japanese-fried-chicken-updated-recipe/

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.

The best way to store your clams is in a bowl with a damp paper towel placed over it so that it doesn’t lose too much moisture (see picture below on the left). This will keep your clams good for 2-3 days.

Ok – enough about storing clams. Let’s talk about how to make the  miso clam soup.

Now that you have the clams, you need to have miso paste to make the miso soup base. We like to use a combination of red (Aka) and white (Shiro) miso paste. You can typically buy this at Asian grocery stores – we bought ours at a Japanese grocery store. The ratio of red to white miso paste you use is personal preference – we like to do 2:1 of red to white miso paste. We also like to add a bit of Sansho pepper (Japanese pepper) to our miso soup prior to serving as it adds a hint of citrusy flavour. We’re not sure if they sell Sansho pepper here in Canada but we got ours when we were in Japan. However, this is completely optional.

Now that you have all your ingredients, you just need your dashi stock. Bring your dashi stock to a boil. Scoop a ladle of the hot dashi stock into a large bowl and add in your miso paste, whisking vigorously until the paste has completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Add in your clams and diced tofu and simmer until the clams open up. Then, you can add the miso mixture back into the rest of the dashi stock. Serve with optional Sansho pepper.

Miso Clam Soup

Yield: 4

Miso Clam Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp red miso paste
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 3 cups Dashi stock
  • 1/3 cup firm tofu, diced
  • 1/2 lbs clams
  • Dash of Sansho pepper (Optional)
  • Sliced green onions to garnish

Instructions

  1. In a medium stock pot, bring dashi stock to a boil.
  2. In a separate large bowl, add the red and white miso paste. Once the dashi is boiling, add one ladle of hot dashi to the large bowl with the miso paste. Whisk vigorously until miso paste has completely dissolved.
  3. Meanwhile, add in your clams, firm tofu, and simmer for 5 minutes or until the clams open up. Then, add in remaining miso paste mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Serve with a dash of optional Sansho pepper and garnish with green onions.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/08/20/miso-clam-soup/

 

 

Cold Soba Noodles with Dipping Sauce

For those of you who don’t know, one of the main reasons why I decided to start this blog was to keep a running collection of recipes that we’ve tried over the years, capturing the ones we enjoyed the most. Instead of making adjustments to recipes and then not remembering what we did to alter it, it was just so much easier to document it online so that we don’t lose our notes considering how unorganized we are. It also makes looking up a recipe much easier because we tend to make things we like over and over again.

As people who love to cook and bake, we thought this would be a great project for us. Plus, it made sharing recipes with family and friends so much easier. We have decided to try and take this project to the next level with the goal to produce a cookbook within the next year. We aren’t really planning to sell the cookbook, it’s more so something we can see as an accomplishment for ourselves. But who knows, maybe it can one day make it to the bookshelf 🙂

The hardest part was thinking about what the theme of our cookbook would be – considering how much we love Japanese food, it made sense that our first cookbook would be about Japanese cooking. We already have quite a bunch of Japanese recipes on our blog such as Agedashi Tofu, Miso Cod, Ochazuke, and Japanese Strawberry Shortcake just to name a few but it’s time to build on it even more. Stay tuned because you will see lots of Japanese recipes coming up on this blog 🙂

I decided to take the day off today to start working on some recipes and update our blog. The easiest dish that I could think of making was Cold Soba Noodles with Dipping Sauce.

Cold soba noodle is a very popular dish in Japan, especially during the summer months when you want something to cool you down. Typically it is served with Mentsuyu sauce which is a multipurpose sauce used in Japanese cooking. It is often served with noodles and tempura dishes just to name a few. Best of all, this sauce can be made in advance and be stored in the fridge for up to a month. This means the next time you’re hungry for some cold soba noodles, all you need to do is boil the noodles which would take no time at all!

How to eat Cold Soba Noodles

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Hojicha Creme Brulee

If you’ve been following our blog for some time now, you’ll know we are pretty into Japanese food and have experimented quite a bit with Japanese cooking. Matcha has been all the craze for the longest time but recently, a new type of Japanese tea has been rising in popularity – Hojicha!

Hojicha is a roasted variation of green tea. I’ve had it several times in Japan and upon returning to Toronto, I started noticing it more in restaurants. In fact, a fairly new Japanese dessert shop in Toronto (Tsujiri) that typically specializes in matcha desserts came out with Hojicha soft serve ice cream and it was really good. Though I personally felt it left a bit of a bitter aftertaste due to how strong the tea flavour was, I enjoyed it.

This inspired us to make Hojicha creme brulee. The great thing about Creme Brulee is that it’s a very versatile recipe. Once you have the base recipe down, you can essentially make any flavour you want. We are still in the process of experimenting with the ratios but I think the first round went well.

As when we experiment with any new recipe, we always try to make it in small batches first as to not waste it if it all turns sour. I found a recipe on SeriousEats that makes creme brulee just for one — perfect! From there, I just adapted the recipe by steeping 1/2 tbsp of hojicha into the whipping cream and voila! This creme brulee is born.

We plan to continue refining this recipe and adjusting the portions as we go. What I like about our blog is that it’s a place for us to keep track of what we made, and allow us to track refinements as we go along.

Hojicha Creme Brulee

Hojicha Creme Brulee

Ingredients

  • 100 g whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp hojicha leaves
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tsp of sugar (to carmelize for the creme brulee)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F and boil some water for the square 8x8 baking pan which you will use for the bain marie.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the whipping cream over medium high heat until it comes to a gentle simmer. Once it starts to bubble a little bit around the edges, turn off the heat and add the hojicha tea leaves. Cover and let steep for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Once it's done steeping, strain the tea leaves and put the infused whipped cream mixture back into the pot to keep warm.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolk and sugar together. Then, slowly add a bit of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture to temper it while whisking continuously. Then, add the rest of the cream mixture in a bit at a time. This will prevent the eggs from cooking. Finally, add the vanilla extract.
  5. Put the mixture into a ramekin and place the ramekin into the square pan. Fill the pan with boiling water and bake for 40 minutes or until the centre is firm when you shake it.
  6. Allow to cool for 15-20minutes and then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  7. When ready to serve, sprinkle the top of the creme brulee with the remaining sugar and blow torch the top to get that signature carmelized top.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/07/03/hojicha-creme-brulee/

 

 

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/

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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