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.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
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.

Nutella Crepe Cake

It finally feels as though spring has arrived. For the first time in god knows how long, the sun is out! The day is also longer so that means there will be more opportunities for me to take food photos 😀

I’ve always loved nutella but for some reason I never got around to buying it. I took the plunge last week and decided to see how many dishes I can make with it as it feels like the possibilities are endless. To start, I decided to make Nutella Crepe with mixed berries. But I thought why stop there? Why not make a Nutella Crepe Cake! And hence the idea was born.

Nutella Crepe Cake

Guys, this tastes as good as it looks. Imagine layers upon layers of Nutella! This gives you the satisfaction of eating multiple crepes (because we all know you won’t be satisfied with just one) in a few slices.

Layers

Indulge yourself and make this super easy to make crepe cake!

Nutella Crepe Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup nutella
  • Fresh raspberries

Instructions

  1. Beat eggs, milk, butter and vanilla extract together. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.
  2. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and combine with a whisk. Do this in several batches to ensure all dry ingredients are evenly incorporated
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add a ladle full of the crepe batter into the centre and quickly swirl it around the pan to ensure even distribution. Once the sides start curling up and you see some air pockets forming, flip it to the other side to cook for a couple of minutes. Do this for all the crepes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat up the nutella for about 45 seconds or until it has a very smooth consistency. This will help it spread easier.
  5. Once all the crepes are done, start assembling the cake. Take one crepe and spread nutella on top. Then add another crepe on top. Repeat until you're down to your last crepe.
  6. Top with some fresh raspberries and you're done!
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/04/16/nutella-crepe-cake/

The best brownie recipe!

Hello everyone!

Hope you all had a great weekend. I spent all of Sunday cooped up in the apartment with not much to do. After doing as much cleaning as I could tolerate, I decided to do some baking. Originally I wanted to create some Domo brownies but those didn’t turn out as well as I planned 🙁

I’ll include a picture of it anyways just for laughs but needless to say, I probably won’t be using buttercream frosting next time to make the mouth

-_-

Domo

I found this brownie recipe online a while back and fell in love with it ever since. Unlike the other brownie recipes I’ve had in the past, this one actually tastes like real chocolate and not like the ones you make out of cocoa powder. It’s also not overly sweet which is good for people who are watching their sugar consumption. Needless to say, I’ve made modifications to this recipe over time 🙂

Brownies

These brownies are cakey, chewy, and fudgey all at the same time! Best of all, they’re not super dense which is the way I like it. I didn’t make a frosting for this as I feel that would be overkill on the sweetness. In my opinion, this is the best brownie recipe I’ve found so far to date.

I brought this into the office the next day and they were a total hit! So if you want to be a hit among your family and friends, you have to try this.

The best brownie recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder into a small bowl. Set aside. Meanwhile, spray an 8 inch baking pan with some cooking spray.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler, stirring constantly to prevent the chocolate from burning. Once completely melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar and vanilla. Allow to cool for a few minutes until chocolate is no longer super hot.
  4. Whisk in eggs once at a time, fully incorporating each one before adding the next. Continue to whisk until the mixture is completely smooth and glossy.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients 1/3 at a time and whisk until it's all incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out with wet crumbs. If it comes out completely clean, you've overcooked it! This will take approximately 25-30 mins depending on your oven. Always check before your anticipated cooking time to prevent over baking.
  7. Cool brownies over a wire rack for at least 3 hours to allow the brownie to set. Cut into squares when ready to serve.
  8. Be sure to wrap these up in saran wrap or put them in an airtight container or else they will dry up.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/02/09/fudgey-cakey-brownies/

Japanese Condensed Milk Bread

Thanks to the power of reddit, we discovered a Japanese Condensed Milk Bread recipe. Being the baker in the relationship, I took a look at the ingredients and it looked fairly simple so I decided to give it a go since I already have everything (minus the almonds which I can do without). The overall process was quite simple though as with all bread recipes, it’s time consuming. However, the time it took for the dough to proof allowed me to make other things like my fudgey, cakey brownies 🙂 More on that later.

Japanese condensed milk bread

This bread was soft and had a nice sweetness to it from the condensed milk.

Fluffy Bread

Best of all, the presentation looked great! The original recipe asked for this to be baked in an angel cake pan but seeing as I didn’t have one, I improvised with a loaf pan instead.

Want to know how it’s made? Here’s how:

Prepare your bread dough. Knead it into a smooth ball and allow it to rise for 30 mins or until it doubles in size.

Proofed Dough

While the dough is proofing, prepare your condensed milk filling. This is just a simple combination of softened butter and condensed milk. Mix together until it forms a paste.

Condensed Milk Filling

Continue reading

We’re Back from Japan! Here’s a Highlight of our Food Adventures

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the radio silence, we went on a 2 week vacation to Japan and got back not too long ago 🙂 We had a really great time having visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Miyajima Island, Nara, and Nagano. Each city was very unique and they all had their own local specialities as well! For example, Miyajima Island was famous for their oysters and anago (sea eel). Nagano was famous for their Buckwheat Noodles.

We think the great thing about Japan aside from their unique culture is that no matter where you go eat, it’s very rare to stumble across food that won’t taste good. We think their standards when it comes to quality of food is generally just a lot higher, especially in Tokyo since it is one of the food capitals in the world.

As major foodies (and the fact that this is a cooking blog dedicated to food), we had to document all of our food adventures but if we were to post all of our photos, you would be scrolling for days! So we just picked some of our favourites to share with you 🙂

Shofu

The photo above is one of the many decadent dishes we had in Shoraian, a restaurant hidden in the forests of Arashiyama, the outskirts of Kyoto. They specialize in tofu dishes but aside from that, you can see that they take great attention to detail even in their plating presentation.

cute food

Even the food they presented us there were super cute. Check out this frog (made from what seems like an Edamame bean) sitting on a rock which they placed on a leaf lily pad. Adorable!

Continue reading