Friday, August 10, 2012

Latte Art

Personal Experience:

Hello people !!! It’s been a while since my last post since I’ve been so busy with my work and also personal affairs. I don’t even have time to cook my own meals lately… Anyhow since I’m a big fan of coffee and hot drinks I would like to share this beautiful concept called Latte art. Even though it’s called latte art it’s been used on other drinks like hot chocolate. I am always amazed and mesmerized by the skill of the barista in cafes and coffee shops that produce not only wonderful coffee and drinks but also beautifully done latte arts. 

4 Clover Art Hot Chocolate

Latte art is a method of preparing coffee created by pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso and resulting in a pattern or design on the surface of the resulting latte. It can also be created or embellished by simply "drawing" in the top layer of foam. Latte art is particularly difficult to create consistently, due to the demanding conditions required of both the espresso shot and milk.This, in turn, is limited by the experience of the barista and quality of the espresso machine. The pour itself, then, becomes the last challenge for the latte artist.
There are two main types of latte art: free pouring (pattern created during the pour) and etching (using a tool to create a pattern after the pour). Free pouring is far more common in American cafes, and requires little additional time in preparing a drink.


Tulip Art Cappucino
The two most common forms of poured latte art are a heart shape and the "rosetta" or "rosette", also known as "fern" which resembles a type of flower or fern. Of these, hearts are simpler and more common in macchiatos, while rosettes are more complex and more common in lattes.
For free pouring, the cup is either kept level or tilted in one direction. As the milk is poured straight into the cup, the foam begins to surface on one side (due to the tilt). The barista then moves the pitcher from side to side as they level the cup, or simply wiggle the spout back and forth, and finishes by making a quick strike through the previously poured pattern. This "strike" creates the stem portion of the flower design, and bends the poured zig-zag into a flower shape.
A more direct pour and less wiggling yields a heart shape, and minor variation (reduced lobes, larger stem) yields an apple shape.
More complex patterns are possible, some requiring multiple pours.

Sprial Art Mochachino

Etched patterns range from simple geometric shapes to complicated drawings, such as crosshatched patterns, animals, and flowers, and are generally performed with a coffee stirrer of some sort. Etched latte art typically has a shorter lifespan than free poured latte art as the foam dissolves into the latte more quickly.

Related Videos:

Sources and References:

(GNU FreeDocumentation License)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Japanese Menu - Agedashi Tofu

Menu Taste and Personal Experience:

Japanese Menu Agedashi Tofu
Agedasi Tofu
Photo By Nami @
Simple but mesmerizing, that is my first impression on this dish. Why? The preparation is quite simple, but the taste is heavenly. The strong and tasty sauce contrast with the soft and subtle taste of the tofu creates a unique eating experience. Apart from that, this dish is also quite healthy and is suitable if you’re on a diet (use cholesterol free oil when frying and make sure to dry out any excess oil before serving). While this dish is easy to make, you can also find this dish in almost every Japanese restaurants around you.

Menu Description:

Agedashi tofu is a Japanese way deep fried tofu that is served with tentsuyu broth. For the best result, the first step is to remove excess water from the tofu. This can be done by wrapping the tofu with towel and gently press the tofu with weights (eg: plate, cutting board). Agedashi tofu is an old and well-known dish. It was included in a 1782 Japanese all-tofu cookbook entitled Tofu Hyakuchin (literally "One hundred Tofu"). While agedashi tofu is the best-known agedashi dish, some other dishes may be prepared with similar techniques. These include agedashi nasu (eggplant).

Menu Ingredients:

·         Blocks of soft tofu (buy enough for 4 servings)
·         Potato/Corn starch
·         Vegetable oil for frying.
·         1 Tbsp soy sauce
·         1 Tbsp mirin
·         1 cup dashi stock
·         Grated ginger
·         Grated daikon (radish)
·         Sliced Scallion/Spring Onions

Agedashi Tofu
Menu Directions:

  • Wrap the tofu with paper towels and place it on a flat tray. Put a flat weight (eg: plate or cutting board or book) on top the tofu and let it sit for about 10 -15 minutes to remove excess water.
  • While waiting, mix soy sauce, mirin, and dashi in a pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat
  • Remove used towels from the tofu, grab a new paper towel and dry the tofu
  • Cut tofu into cubes (around 6x4x3cm)
  • Heat oil in in a deep pan/fryer
  • Lightly dust the tofu cubes with potato/corn starch
  • Deep-fry tofu until they turn lightly brown. Remove excess oil on paper towels.
  • Place each fried tofu in a small bowl and pour the mixed sauce over it.
  • Top with grated ginger, grated daikon and sliced scallions.

Menu Related Videos:

Agedashi Tofu by Yukari

How to make agedashi tofu

Menu Sources and References:

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    Japanese Menu - Oden

    Menu Taste and Personal Experience:

    It’s been awhile since my last post. I was so busy with renovating my new house :D.
    Anyway, let’s talk about oden. It is similar to shabu shabu where people usually eat it during winter period. I guess the main difference between oden and shabu shabu is on the ingredients used.

    The hot and delicious soup makes it a perfect choice to make you warm in a chilly weather. It is best enjoyed together with families or friends because we all will be sharing the same pot. This of course will create a closer and relaxing atmosphere while enjoying this beautiful and delightful dish.

    Menu Description:

    Oden is a Japanese stewed dish which usually consists of several ingredients such as boiled eggs, daikon radish, konnyaku, and processed fish cakes. The soup base a soy flavoured dashi (bonito) broth. Ingredients and broth/stocks used may vary according to region and between each household.

    Oden is often sold from food carts, and most Japanese convenience stores have simmering oden pots in winter. Many different kinds of oden are sold, with single-ingredient varieties as cheap as 100 yen.

    Varieties of oden ingredients

    Oden Ingredients
    Varieties of Oden Ingredients
    • Assorted fishcake products
    • Various surimi/grounded meat products, eg: meatball
    • Beef tendons
    • Octopus
    • Boiled eggs
    • Chikuwabu - gluten tubes.
    • Ito konnyaku
    • Konnyaku
    • Tofu
    • Ganmodoki – fried tofu fritter with vegetables fillings
    • Atsuage – deep fried tofu
    • Kinchaku/fukuro – fried tofu pouch/bag with fillings (usually mochi or egg)
    • Daikon - Radish
    • Konbu – seaweed/kelp
    • Carrot
    • Shiitake Mushroom
    • Kabocha - Japanese winter pumpkin/squash
    • Cabbage roll
    • Potato

    Menu Ingredients:


    • 1/2 daikon radish, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
    • 4 shiitake mushrooms
    • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped roughly
      Dashi Stock
      Dashi Stock
    • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into halves
    • 4 boiled eggs, peeled
    • 1 konnyaku, cut into large triangles
    • 2 atsuage, cut into large triangles
    • 4 ganmodoki
    • 6-10 assorted fishcakes as desired
    • 4-6 surimi products as desired
    Soup base

    ·         3 - 4 Tbsp of soy sauce
    ·         2 Tbsp of mirin or sake
    ·         1 tsp of sugar
    ·         1 tsp of salt
    ·         4 cups dashi soup stock (or 2 dashi pouches and 6 cups of water)
    ·         6-inch konbu,

    Menu Directions:


    • Put 4 cups of dashi soup stock in a large pot.
    • Add konbu, bring to boil and turn down the heat to low.
    • Take out the konbu, cut into 1 inch wide strips and make a knot. Put the knotted konbu back to the soup.
    • Place the main ingredients into the pot
    • Add soy sauce, sake/mirin, salt, and sugar and simmer for 1 hour. You can add more of the soup base ingredients to achieve the desired soup taste.
    • Serve

    Menu Related Videos:


    How to make oden

    Oden Feast

    Menu Sources and References:

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Japanese Menu - Yakisoba Pan

    Menu Taste and Personal Experience:


    I was surfing the internet, looking at various stuff until my eyes caught on something that greatly interest me. It was yakisoba pan!! I thought that it is a really unique kind of food. It’s kinda disappointing that I did not find any stall that sell yakisoba pan while I am holidaying at Japan couple years ago. I went to one of the New Year’s Eve festival but all I could find was yakisoba vendor. So I decided to research about it a bit. I tried cooking it myself several weeks ago. The hardest part was finding the required ingredients, especially the packaged chuka noodle, couldn’t find it anywhere except one store. Anyway making yakisoba pan is really fun, just scroll down to find the ingredients and directions on how to make it.

    If we are talking about the taste, the yakisoba itself is sweet, savoury, a wee bit sour and salty. I can just enjoy the yakisoba itself since it taste so good. Now how about the yakisoba pan?? So when I put it inside the hotdog roll, top it with seaweed, katsuobushi and mayonnaise, I give it a bite and my brain was like…. OMG!!! Soo goodddd… really rich in flavour and I can’t even describe it!!! All I can say… YOU GOTTA TRY IT YOURSELF!!! So what are you waiting for, start making it and enjoy :D

    Menu Description

    Yakisoba, literally "fried noodles", is a dish often sold at festivals in Japan, but originates in China. The dish was derived by the Chinese from the traditional chow mein, but has been more heavily integrated into Japanese cuisine like ramen. Even though soba (noodles made from buckwheat) is part of the word, yakisoba noodles are not made from buckwheat, but are similar to ramen noodles and made from wheat flour.

    Yakisoba usually refers to sōsu yakisoba, flavored with yakisoba sauce, a sweetened, thickened variant of Worcestershire sauce.

    Yakisoba is most familiarly served on a plate either as a main dish or a side dish. Another popular way to prepare and serve yakisoba in Japan is to pile the noodles into a bun sliced down the middle in the style of a hot dog, and garnish the top with mayonnaise and shreds of pickled ginger. Called yakisoba-pan, pan meaning bread, it is commonly available at local matsuri (Japanese festivals) or konbini (convenience stores).
    Sometimes, Japanese white Udon is used as a replacement of Chinese style Soba and called Yakiudon. This variation was started in Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture.

    In Okinawa, Yakisoba is popular with Okinawans and U.S. servicemembers stationed on the island alike. Mess halls and other on-base eateries often serve yakisoba. Ham is a popular addition to yakisoba made in Okinawa, in addition to other meats such as chicken, beef, or pork.

    Menu Ingredients:

    (makes 2-3 servings)

    • Steamed chuka noodles packaged (~300gr)
    • 3 Tbsp water
    • 200gr pork meat, thinly sliced (chicken or beef or prawn meat can be used)
    • 1 Tbsp mirin
    • 1/2 Tbsp vegetable/olive oil
    • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/4 brown onion, thinly sliced
    • Cabbage, chopped
    • 4-6 Tbsp yakisoba sauce or tonkatsu sauce or worcestershire sauce
    • Beni-shoga (pickled red ginger) thinly sliced
    • Japanese Mayonnaise 
    • Dried seaweed thinly sliced
    • Katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
    • Boiled egg, cut in half (optional)
    • 2-3 Hotdog Roll

    Menu Directions:


    1. Loosen packaged noodle and set aside
    2. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat
    3. Stir-fry meat until half cooked
    4. Add salt and pepper to taste
    5. Add onion and stir fry until golden brown
    6. Add cabbage and stir fry for around 1 minute
    7. Stir in noodle, add water and fry for around 2 minute until the noodle are properly loosen and mixed
    8. Add in sauce, sugar and mirin; stir fry until the noodles are evenly coated
    9. Turn off heat and set aside.
    10. Take hotdog bun, open and fill in with yakisoba.
    11. Spread mayonnaise on top of yakisoba, sprinkle with seaweed, katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and benishoga (pickled red ginger). You can also add boiled egg if you like.
    12. Serve

    Menu Related Videos:


    Making Yakisoba:

    Making Yakisoba Pan:

    Menu Sources and References:

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Japanese Menu - Ramen

    Menu Taste and Personal Experience:


    Chashu Ramen
    The first thing that comes to my mind when talking about ramen is …. OISHIII!!! It’s bloody delicious and one of my top picks for Japanese food. Since I like spicy food, I always add some chilli flakes or chilli pepper to “enhance” the taste. I’ve tried it at different countries like Australia, Indonesia and Japan itself. All of them taste superb (varies in taste and toppings) but the best one I’ve tasted is the one at Japan (but of course), at Shinjuku area. My friend took me to one of the ramen-ya and I ate the tonkotsu soup ramen with chashu (and yes I had secondsJ).

    If we’re talking about cup ramen (instant ramen) then my favorite would be the Korean made cup ramen “Shin Ramyun Hot & Spicy”. I ate it quite often for breakfast or even for dinner when I am too lazy to prepare my meal.

    I’ve never actually made ramen myself and would be interested to make it in the near future.

    Menu Description:


    Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat- or fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork ,dried seaweed, kamaboko, green onions, and occasionally corn. Almost every locality in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen of Kyushu to the miso ramen of Hokkaido.

    Ramen is of Chinese origin, however it is unclear when ramen was introduced to Japan. Even the etymology of the word ramen is a topic of debate. One theory is that ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese (la mian), meaning "hand-pulled noodles." A second theory proposes (laomian, "old noodles") as the original form, while another states that ramen was initially (lǔmiàn), noodles cooked in a thick, starchy sauce. A fourth theory is that the word derives from (lāomiàn, "lo mein"), which in Cantonese means to "stir", and the name refers to the method of preparation by stirring the noodles with a sauce.

    Until the 1950s, ramen was called shina soba (literally "Chinese buckwheat noodle") but today chūka soba (also meaning "Chinese buckwheat noodle") or just Ramen are more common, as the word (shina, meaning "China") is considered offensive by many.

    By 1900, restaurants serving Chinese cuisine from Canton and Shanghai offered a simple ramen dish of noodles (cut rather than hand pulled), a few toppings, and a broth flavored with salt and pork bones. Many Chinese also pulled portable food stalls, selling ramen and gyōza dumplings to workers. By the mid 1900s, these stalls used a type of a musical horn called a charumera (from the Portuguese charamela) to advertise their presence, a practice some vendors still retain via a loudspeaker and a looped recording. By the early Shōwa period, ramen had become a popular dish when eating out.

    After World War II, cheap flour imported from the U.S. swept the Japanese market. At the same time, millions of Japanese troops had returned from China and continental East Asia. Many of these returnees had become familiar with Chinese cuisine and subsequently set up Chinese restaurants across Japan. Eating ramen, while popular, was still a special occasion that required going out.

    Korean Shin Ramyun Cup
    In 1958, instant noodles were invented by Momofuku Ando, the Taiwanese-Japanese founder and chairman of Nissin Foods, now run by his son Koki Ando. Named the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century in a Japanese poll, instant ramen allowed anyone to make this dish simply by adding boiling water.

    Beginning in the 1980s, ramen became a Japanese cultural icon and was studied around the world from many perspectives. At the same time, local varieties of ramen were hitting the national market and could even be ordered by their regional names. A ramen museum opened in Yokohama in 1994.

    A wide variety of ramen exists in Japan, with geographical and vendor-specific differences even in varieties that share the same name. Ramen can be broadly categorized by its two main ingredients: noodles and broth.


    Most noodles are made from four basic ingredients: wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui, which is essentially a type of alkaline mineral water, containing sodium carbonate and usually potassium carbonate, as well as sometimes a small amount of phosphoric acid. Originally, kansui was named after the water from Inner Mongolia's Lake Kan which contained large amounts of these minerals and was said to be perfect for making these noodles. Making noodles with kansui lends them a yellowish hue as well as a firm texture. For a brief time after World War II, low-quality tainted kansui was sold, though kansui is now manufactured according to JAS standards. Eggs may also be substituted for kansui. Some noodles are made with neither eggs nor kansui and should only be used for yakisoba.

    Ramen noodles come in various shapes and lengths. They may be fat, thin, or even ribbon-like, as well as straight or wrinkled.

    Ramen soup is generally made from stock based on chicken or pork, combined with a variety of ingredients such as kombu (kelp), katsuobushi (skipjack tuna flakes), niboshi (dried baby sardines), beef bones, shiitake, and onions, and then flavored with salt, miso, or soy sauce. Other styles that have emerged later on include curry ramen and other flavors.

    The resulting combination is generally divided into four categories (although new and original variations often make this categorisation less clear-cut):

    1. Shio ("salt") ramen is probably the oldest of the four and is a pale, clear, yellowish broth made with plenty of salt and any combination of chicken, vegetables, fish, and seaweed. Occasionally pork bones are also used, but they are not boiled as long as they are for tonkotsu ramen, so the soup remains light and clear. Chāshū is sometimes swapped for lean chicken meatballs, and pickled plums and kamaboko are popular toppings as well. Noodle texture and thickness varies among shio ramen, but they are usually straight rather than curly.
    1. Tonkotsu ("pork bone"; not to be confused with tonkatsu) ramen usually has a cloudy white colored broth. It is similar to the Chinese baitang and has a thick broth made from boiling pork bones, fat, and collagen over high heat for many hours, which suffuses the broth with a hearty pork flavor and a creamy consistency that rivals milk or melted butter or gravy (depending on the shop). Most shops, but not all, blend this pork broth with a small amount of chicken and vegetable stock and/or soy sauce. The noodles are thin and straight, and it is often served with beni shoga (pickled ginger). Currently the latest trend in tonkotsu toppings is māyu, a blackish, aromatic oil made from either charred crushed garlic or Sesame seeds. It is a specialty of Kyūshū, particularly Hakata-ku, Fukuoka (hence sometimes called "Hakata ramen").
    1. Shōyu ("soy sauce") ramen typically has a brown and clear color broth, based on a chicken and vegetable (or sometimes fish or beef) stock with plenty of soy sauce added resulting in a soup that’s tangy, salty, and savory yet still fairly light on the palate. Shōyu ramen usually has curly noodles rather than straight ones, but this is not always the case. It is often adorned with marinated bamboo shoots or menma, green onions, kamaboko (fish cakes), nori (seaweed), boiled eggs, bean sprouts and/or black pepper; occasionally the soup will also contain chili oil or Chinese spices, and some shops serve sliced beef instead of the usual chāshū.
      Karaage Miso Ramen
    1. Miso ramen is a relative newcomer, having reached national prominence around 1965. This uniquely Japanese ramen, which was developed in Hokkaido, features a broth that combines copious amounts of miso and is blended with oily chicken or fish broth – and sometimes with tonkotsu or lard – to create a thick, nutty, slightly sweet and very hearty soup. Miso ramen broth tends to have a robust, tangy flavor, so it stands up to a variety of flavorful toppings: spicy bean paste or tōbanjan, butter and corn, leeks, onions, bean sprouts, ground pork, cabbage, sesame seeds, white pepper, and chopped garlic are common. The noodles are typically thick, curly, and slightly chewy.
    Seasonings commonly added to ramen are black pepper, butter, chili pepper, sesame seeds, and crushed garlic. Soup recipes and methods of preparation tend to be closely guarded secrets.

    Some restaurants also offer a system known as kae-dama, where customers who have finished their noodles can request a "refill" (for a few hundred yen more) to be put into their remaining soup.

    Regional variations

    • Tokyo-style ramen 
    • Kitakata ramen 
    • Hakata ramen with tonkotsu soup 
    • Tsukemen dipping ramen 
    • Aburasoba oiled noodles 
    • Takayama ramen 
    • Hiyashi (chilled) ramen 
    • Butter corn ramen, a Hokkaido speciality 
    • Zaru ramen 
    Restaurants in Japan

    Varieties of restaurants like izakaya drinking establishments, karaoke halls, and amusement parks offer ramen - but the best quality ramen is usually only available in ramen-ya restaurants. These restaurants generally boast of 10 to 20 seats at a bar and three or four tables.

    The menus in ramen-ya restaurants offer mainly ramen dishes, so they lack much variety. Besides ramen, some of the dishes generally available in a ramen-ya restaurant include fried rice (called Chahan or Yakimeshi), Gyōza (Chinese dumplings), and beer.

    Ramen vending machine

    Ramen Xpress Vending Machine
    The "Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum" is a unique museum about ramen. In a gallery on the first floor, the museum presents the history of ramen in Japan, including the big success of instant ramen. It displays the variety of noodles, soups, toppings and bowls used across Japan, and shows how the noodles are made. On the two basement floors, visitors can explore a 1:1 replica of some streets and houses of Shitamachi, the old town of Tokyo, circa 1958, when the popularity of ramen was rapidly increasing. Nine ramen restaurants can be found there, each featuring a ramen dish from a different region of Japan. For visitors who wish to try multiple ramen dishes, the restaurants offer "mini ramen" small portions. Tickets for the meals are purchased at vending machines in front of each restaurant before entering.

    Canned version

    In Akihabara, vending machines distribute warm ramen in an aluminum can, known as ramen can. It is produced by a popular ramen restaurant and contains noodles, soup, menma, and pork. It is intended as a quick snack, and includes a small folded plastic fork. There are few kinds of flavor such as tonkotsu and curry.

    Miso Ramen with Chashu


    Menu Ingredients:

     (Makes 1 servings )


    • ½  tbsp vegetable oil
    • ½  tbsp minced garlic
    • ½  tbsp minced ginger
    • 1 tbsp chicken stock powder
    • ½  tbsp sugar
    • ½ tbsp pepper
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp miso paste
    • 2 cups water
    • ½ tbsp sesame oil
    • 2 - 4 chashu (braised pork) (sliced) – see below recipe on how to cook chashu
    • 1 sliced narutomaki
    • Dried seaweed/kelp
    • Scallions/spring onion (sliced) as desired
    • Bamboo shoots as desired
    • Bean sprouts as desired
    • Cabbaged (chopped) as desired
    • Carrot (strips) as desired
    • ½ boiled egg
    • Dried/Powdered chilli to taste
    • 1 package of chukamen/ramen noodles

      Menu Directions:


      1. Heat skillet/pan and put the oil in.
      2. Add minced garlic and ginger until the golden brown
      3. Add water into the skillet.
      4. Add chicken powder, sugar, pepper and soy sauce
      5. After the soup is boiling, add miso paste and stir well.
      6. After everything is mixed well, stop the heat.
      7. In another pot, bring some water to boil.
      8. Put the noodles into the boiling water and cook following the directions on the package (until the noodle attained the desired texture)
      9. Drain the noodles and serve into noodle bowls.
      10. Pour soup over the noodles.
      11. Arrange toppings as desired and serve.

        Japanese Chashu 


        Menu Ingredients:

        • 300 gr pork belly
        • 3/4 C water
        • 1 Tbs sugar
        • 1 Tbs miso
        • 2 Tbs soy sauce
        • 2 Tbs mirin
        • 2 Tbs sake
        • 1 piece of ginger sliced
        • 2 cloves garlic smashed
        • 12 white pepper corns

          Menu Directions:


          1. Roll the pork belly (outer part is the fat/skin) and tie with cotton threads if needed
          2. In a pot, combine all ingredients and stir well
          3. Put the rolled pork belly into the skillet
          4. Close the lid and let the pork belly simmer under low heat for 1 hour or more. The longer you let it simmer, the tastier it will get. Pierce the pork with fork/knife to check the tenderness.
          5. After simmering, take out the pork belly. Let it cool down for sometime.
          6. After cooled down, cut the threads if you’re using them and slice the pork into thin slices and serve

          Menu Related Videos:

          Shibuya Ramen:

          4.9kg Ramen Contest:

          Ramen Robot:

          Menu Sources and References:

          Wednesday, June 29, 2011

          Japanese Menu - Mochi

          Menu Taste and Personal Experience:


          Japanese Menu Red Bean Mochi
          Red Bean Mochi
          Bought it, tasted it and have tried making it myself. Two words for this menu, delicious and sticky!! In my opinion, the taste of the mochi really depends on the fillings that are used and the one that I really like is the red bean filling. There are lots of other fillings that can be used like coconut, fruits, green bean, ground nut, ice cream, chicken floss, etc.
          If you want to try making this menu I really suggest that you pay attention to the stickiness of the dough. Never forget to use either oil or flour to prevent the dough sticking to your finger or kitchenware. Once it sticks, it's like a glue and it's quite hard to wash it. Nevertheless, this menu is one of my favourite Japanese dessert menu.

          Menu Description:

          Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice (not to be confused with gluten) pounded into paste and molded into shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time.

          Japanese Menu Mochitsuki
          Traditionally, mochi was made from whole rice, in a labor-intensive process. The traditional mochi-pounding ceremony in Japan is called Mochitsuki:

          1. Polished glutinous rice is soaked overnight and cooked.
          2. The cooked rice is pounded with wooden mallets (kine) in a traditional mortar (usu). Two people will alternate the work, one pounding and the other turning and wetting the mochi. They must keep a steady rhythm or they may accidentally injure one another with the heavy kine.
          3. The sticky mass is then formed into various shapes (usually a sphere or cube).
          Mochi can also be prepared from a flour of sweet rice (mochiko). The flour is mixed with water to a sticky opaque white mass that is cooked on the stovetop or in the microwave. until it becomes elastic and slightly transparent.

          Other popular uses for mochi:

          1. Ice cream mochi
          Small balls of ice cream are wrapped inside a mochi covering to make mochi ice cream.

          1. Toppings for frozen yoghurt
          Frozen yogurt chains (such as Red Mango, J.CO Donuts) also offer mochi as standard topping on their yoghurts.

          1. Moffles
          A waffle made from a toasted mochi. It is made in a specialized machine as well as a traditional waffle iron.

          1. Dango
          A japanese dumpling made from mochiko (rice flour).

          1. New Year specialties
            Japanese Menu Kinako Mochi
            Kinako Mochi
            • Kagami mochi is a New Year decoration, which is traditionally broken and eaten in a ritual called Kagami biraki (mirror opening).
            • Zōni soup is a soup containing rice cakes. Zoni is also eaten on New Year's Day. In addition to mochi, zoni contains vegetables like taro, carrot, honeywort and red and white colored kamaboko.
            • Kinako mochi is a mochi dish that is traditionally made on New Year's Day for luck. This style of mochi preparation includes roasting the mochi over a fire or stove, and then dipping it into water, and before finally briefly coating it in kinako (soy flour) with sugar.
          1. Soup
            • Oshiruko or ozenzai is a sweet azuki bean soup with pieces of mochi. In winter, Japanese people often eat it to warm themselves.
            • Chikara udon (meaning "power udon") is a dish consisting of udon noodles in soup topped with toasted mochi.
            • Zōni soup. See New Year specialties.

          Menu Ingredients:

          300g Mochiko (glutinous rice flour/sweet rice flour)
          60g Rice Flour
          ½ cup coconut milk (Optional)
          200ml hot water
          3 tbsp sugar (Optional)
          160ml evaporated milk (Optional, if not using add more water to mixture)
          240ml fruit nectar/juice (Optional, depends on the taste you want to make)
          Fillings as desired (eg: red bean paste, ice cream)
          Butter/Oil to grease

          Note: Traditionally it was made from cooked glutinous rice pounded intensively while adding a bit of water between each pound.

          Menu Directions:


          Japanese Menu Mochi Again

          1. Mix glutinous rice flour, rice flour and sugar into a big mixing bowl.
          2. Dissolve sugar in 200ml hot water. Add in the evaporated milk. Pour this into the flour mixture and mix till smooth and well blended. Stir in the fruit nectar. Strain if mixture is lumpy.
          3. Pour batter into a greased tray/bowl and steam on high heat for 30 minutes.
          4. Remove from steamer and stir the cooked dough with a plastic knife till smooth. Leave aside to cool.
          5. Dust your hand with flour, take a small piece of cooked dough and flatten it into a round disc. Wrap in the fillings as desired. Seal the edges tightly and shape them into round balls.
          6. Serve.

          Menu Related Videos:


          Traditional mochi making:

          How to make colorful mochi:

          Mochi maker machine:

          Menu Sources and References:

          Friday, May 27, 2011

          Japanese Menu - Oyakodon

          Menu Taste and Personal Experience:

          Japanese Menu Oyakodon
          Oyakodon Set Menu
          Oyakodon was actually my very first Japanese menu that I tried so this menu really has a special meaning for me. This menu makes me fall in love with Japanese food. Making it was actually quite simple but the taste and smell is really delicious. Even though the actual taste itself is delicious enough, if I ordered this menu in a restaurant, I would always add chili powder on top of the toppings since I really like my food to be spicy. Also do not forget to have miso soup as a side, they really complement well with each other. I can say without doubt that this is my favourite donburi :).

          Menu Description:

          Japanese Menu OyakodonOyakodon is actually a donburi (Japanese rice bowl dish), in which chicken, onions, eggs and other ingredients are all simmered together in donburi sauce and then served on top of a bowl of rice. The name of the dish, parent and child donburi, is a poetic reflection of the fact that both chicken and egg are used in the dish. In Japan, oyakodon is often served in soba restaurants and other traditional Japanese restaurants.
          The donburi simmering sauce varies according to season, ingredient, region, and taste. A typical sauce might consist of dashi flavored with shoyu (soy sauce) and mirin. Proportions vary, but usually there is three to four times as much dashi as shoyu and mirin. For oyakodon, Tsuji (1980) recommends dashi flavored with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar.

          Menu Ingredients:
          (Makes 4 small bowls of oyakodon)
          • Cooked rice as needed
          • 400 grams og chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
          • 1 onion, thinly sliced
          • 1 3/4 cups dashi soup stock (can also be replaced with powdered dashi/katsuobushi boiled in water)
          • 4 eggs
          • 4 tbsp mirin (japanese sweet rice wine, usually used for cooking)
          • 3 tbsp sugar
          • 7 tbsp soy sauce
          • nori dried seaweed *optional

          Menu Directions:

            Japanese Menu Oyakodon
          1. Pour dashi soup stock in a pan or skillet and put on medium heat.
          2. Add mirin, sugar, and soy sauce into the soup.Stir to blend.
          3. In different pan, fry chicken until half cooked. 
          4. Add onion into the pan and stir fry until the chicken are almost cooked.
          5. Pour the soup from the other pan/skillet into the chicken and onion. Simmer on low heat for a few minutes.
          6. Meanwhile, lightly beat eggs in a bowl. Add pepper to taste (optional)
          7. Bring the soup to a boil, and pour the eggs over the mixture.
          8. Turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid.
          9. After one minute, turn off the heat.
          10. Put cooked rice into deep serving bowls, then serve the cooked toppings on top. Sprinkle strips of dried seaweed on top (optional).

          Menu Related Videos:

          How to make oyakodon: 

          A Chef cooking oyakodon: 

          Another style to cook oyakodon: 

          Menu Sources and References: