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 šŸ™‚

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 šŸ™‚

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 sauceĀ 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/

 

 

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 recipeĀ and I knew it would be theĀ 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/

Chaliapin Steak Don – Super Tender Steak

Recently we started watching another food anime called Shokugeki no Soma. It’s similar to Master Chef Junior which for those of you who don’t watch that show, is about really young cooking professionals between the ages of 8 to 13 who are put in unpredictable cooking challenges to test their skills and competencies in the kitchen. The only difference is that this anime is way more sexual in my opinion… and much more intense and exaggerated as you can expect in any anime.

We noticed a few bloggers who tried to recreate the recipes they’ve done in the anime which were reportedly created by chefs in real life to ensure that the show was as realistic as possible. We decided to take a stab at it ourselves and this was our end result.

Chaliapin Don

The cool thing behind this recipe is the science behind it. Supposedly the onion juice contains enzymes that helps break down the protein in the meat, helping it tenderize it further. It also helps marinate the meat as well.

There’s an interesting story behind this dish as well. The Chaliapin Steak is a Japanese Steak that was originally created for Russian Opera singerĀ Feodor Chaliapin when he visited Japan as he requested a tender steak due to a toothache. As a result, this steak was created.

This dish is easy to make and doesn’t require too many ingredients. Best of all, the steak is full of flavour šŸ™‚

To begin, make criss cross cuts along your steak to help it absorb the onion juices better. Season it well with salt and pepper.

steak

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Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

The bf had his usual craving for Japanese food this past weekend and in order to cook up a dish that minimizes the need for us to leave the houseĀ to purchase the necessary ingredients, we decided to make Karaage, commonly known as Japanese fried chicken.

karaage

The first time I had good Karaage was in Tokyo, Japan and it was kinda by accident as well. We were supposed to go to the TsukijiĀ fish market right when it opened to get good sushi for breakfast but unfortunately due to Golden Week, the market was closed. Hungry, tired, and extremely disappointed, we stumbled across this 24 hour noodle restaurant where I ordered Udon with Karaage.

Though we were nowhere close to replicating the same taste and texture that we experienced while we were in Japan, I say we made a pretty good effort!

First, we cut the 4 boneless chicken thighs (with skin) into small pieces and marinated it for an hour in the fridge. We would’ve marinated it a bit longer (overnight preferably) but since this dish was a last minute decision and I was getting pretty hungry, we settled for only an hour.

Marinade

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Creative Rice Bowl – Japanese Curry

As part of my ongoing challenge to make as many creative dishes as possible whether its baked or cooked, my next challenge was to create a creative rice bowl with Japanese curry. I got this idea after seeing it on Pinterest and thought it would be fun to recreate it with the bf. However, he didn’t take his challenge too seriously so his picture didn’t make the cut in this blog -_-

curry rice dude Continue reading

Miso Soup Recipe

Every time I go to a Japanese restaurant, one of dishes that I always order to start my meal is Miso soup. Not wanting to wait until my next sushi meal until I can have Miso soup again, we decided to make our own at home. It’s actually quite simple and once you have the dashi stock down, it’s as simple as adding the miso paste!

Miso Soup Continue reading

Takoyaki Recipe

2 years ago, we went to Japan for 18 days with a 3 day stopover in Osaka where takoyaki was popularized. Throughout Dontombori street, we saw numerous takoyaki vendors selling freshly made takoyaki on demand and they were absolutely delicious! What were we to do but buy a takoyaki maker when we got back to Canada so we can make our own? Takoyaki

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