Monday, October 8, 2012

Anchovy Potatoes

Anchovy Potatoes are very popular dish at Japanese pubs (izakayas), although the way of cooking varies from boiling to mashing to frying, roasting etc.  No matter which way they are cooked, they are served as a side dish or a part of Japanese-style tapas.

My recipe for anchovy potatoes is for oven cooked anchovy flavoured wedges.  It looks like a very simple dish, but in fact I had to keep trying different methods to create this recipe - the anchovy flavour can disappear if you over cook it.

Ingredients for 2 people
1 pound (after peeling) white or red potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
10 anchovy fillets chopped finely
2 teaspoons preserved oil from the anchovy jar
salt and black pepper to taste  
chopped parsley

Peel the potatoes and cut into wedges 1/3 inch thick. Wash the potato wedges under running water to remove the starch, and leave to drain.

Place the potato wedges in a microwavable dish.  Cover and cook in a microwave until almost soft but not yet 100% cooked and still keeping their shape. Cool slightly until you can just handle with your fingers.

Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the finely chopped anchovies and the preserved oil, and cook until the anchovy is incorporated into the butter (about 1 minute).

Pat dry the half cooked potato wedges and place them in a mixing bowl.  Add the anchovy butter and gently mix with a large spoon to coat the butter all over the potato wedges.

Line a parchment paper on a cookie sheet and transfer the potato wedges onto the paper in a single layer.  Cook in an preheated oven at 450~475F for about 10 minutes, take the cookie sheet out and turn the potato wedges, then return it to the oven for further 8 - 10 minutes - they should be slightly crispy.

Season with salt & black pepper and sprinkle with the parsley.  Serve hot.

Bon appetit!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Roasted Tomatoes & Avocado Salad with Framboise Dreesing

Sadly, lots of vegetables we buy at the supermarket nowadays have lost their flavour.  Tomatoes are one of them.  I love tomatoes, so feel very disappointed if they have no flavour at all.

I often roast tomatoes before adding them to salads.  We can extract the tomato's own sweet flavour by roasting.

The tomatoes used for this salad are also roasted, and the dressing is made with the oil used for cooking the tomatoes.  Fruity raspberry vinegar and sweet Japanese mayonnaise emphasise the tomatoes' flavour even more.

Ingredients for 2 - 3 people
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Roma tomatoes each cut into 6 wedges
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon QP mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Pommery mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 ripe avocado
3 - 4 handfuls green salad of your choice

Place the tomatoes in an oven proof dish and drizzle the olive oil all over.  Season with salt and vigorous black pepper.  Roast the tomatoes in an preheated oven at 400F for about 20 minutes.  Carefully turn over the tomatoes once halfway through.

Remove the tomatoes to a plate and leave to cool completely.  Reserve the oil in the dish.

Add the vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard and sugar to the reserved oil and mix well.  Season with extra salt and black pepper if neccessary.

Halve the avocado, then stone and peel.  Cut it into 1/2 inch cubes.

Dish up the green salad to a large plate and arrange the roasted tomatoes and avocado.  Drizzle the Framboise (raspberry) dressing all over.

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Double Avocado Mexican Style Salad

My husband loves my guacamole and I think it is really good too.  I have never tasted a better guacamole than mine even in a Mexican restaurant.

Making a modification to my guacamole recipe, I have made a beautiful salad using two avocados.  One is a part of the salad ingredients and the other is used for dressing.

Fresh cilantro makes you feel refreshed and gives a hint of Mexican flavour.  Avocado lovers will die for this salad!

Ingredients for 4 people
1 avocado
2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 teaspoon lime zest (about 1/2 to 1 lime)
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin powder
a dash of Tabasco
salt and black pepper to taste
MSG to taste (optional)

3 tomatoes skinned, seeded and cut into half inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, seeded, removed the membrane and cut into half inch squares
2-3 green onions, chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1 avocado

Cayenne pepper or chilli power to garnish

To make the dressing, halve the avocado, then remove the stone and peel.  Put the flesh into a small bowl and immediately pour the lime juice all over to help stop it discoloring.

Using a spoon, scrape off the remaining green flesh from the skins and add to the bowl.  Mash the avocado well with an avocado masher (or potato masher or even a fork) until it becomes smooth.

Add the other ingredients of dressing to the bowl and mix well.  Set aside.

Place all the ingredients of salad excepting the avocado into a larger mixing bowl.

Now, halve the second avocado for the salad, then remove the stone and peel.  Cut it into half inch cubes and add to the other salad ingredients.  Like you did for the first avocado, scrape off the remaining green flesh from the skin and add to the dressing bowl, then mix.

Add the dressing to the salad bowl and mix well. 

Serve with sprinkles of cayenne pepper or chilli power.

If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pork in Miso Soup

Miso soup is an inevitable side dish for Japanese cuisine.  Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning and all-rounder.  It is used not only to make soups but also give UMAMI to cooking.  You may think it strange, but I sometimes add miso when I am making Frensh bechamel sauce to make it milder.

Miso soup made with this all-round seasoning can therefore harmonise with almost any ingredients we add; vegetables, meat, fish, tofu, noodles, etc.,etc.  We have hundreds of different types of miso soups in Japan.

Among those various miso soups, one cooked with pork is speciallly called Buta Jiru or Ton Jiru (Buta/Ton both mean pork in Japanese, and Jiru is a voiced consonant form of Shiru which means soup).  This Western broth-alike soup is very delicious and one of everyone's favourite winter dishes.

Buta Jiru can be served as a side dish, but also became a beautiful main dish if you serve in a larger soup bowl together with a bowl of warm rice.

Ingredients for 4 people as side/2 people as main dish
Salad oil to fry
1 clove garlic peeled and finely chopped
1 knob fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
5oz thin sliced belly pork cut into 1.5 inch width (bacon is not suitable for this dish!)
3 cups fish stock*
1 small potato peeled, cut into 1/10 inch thick slices, soaked in water for a few minutes and drained
4 oz daikon (about 1 inch long of large daikon) peeled and cut into 1/10 inch thick slices
2 oz carrot (3 inches of medium sized carrot) peeled and cut into 1/10 inch thick circles
5 oz firm tofu (1/3 of a block of tofu) cut into a half inch cubes
3 oz miso (brown)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
MSG to taste (optional)
1 bunch (3.5 oz) of enoki mushroom
4 tablespoons chopped green onion
Shichimi to taste (optional)

*fish stock: Add about 4 cups of water in a pan and bring to a boil.  Add one handful (about 1oz) of fish flakes to the pan.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat.  Stand for a few minutes until the flakes sink.  Sieve using a good quality kitchen paper.  Fish flakes are available at Japanese food stores.

Alternatively, you can use granulated fish stock which is also available at Japanese food stores.  Make 3 cups of stock following the directions on the package.

If, however, you can not get either fish flakes or granulated stock, simply use 3 cups of water.  Do not attempt to use Western fish broth which should not be substituted for this dish.

Heat salad oil in a deep pan and cook the garlic and ginger for 1 minute until they become fragrant.   Then, add the pork and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the meat is no longer red.

Pour the fish stock into the pan and bring to a boil.

Add the potato, daikon and carrot.  Cover the lid and simmer for 7-8 minutes until the vegetables are soft (but not crushed!).

Add the tofu and cook (covered) for further 3 minutes.

Add the miso to the pan.  If you have a miso strainer or equally small strainer, add the miso in it and whisk with chopsticks or a spoon until it is dissolved.  Otherwise, put miso in a cup and add a ladle or two of liquid from the pan, whisk and dissolve, then add to the pan.

Add the enoki mushrooms and bring to a boil.  Season with the soy sauce and MSG (if you are using), then immediately remove from the heat.  Remember do not cook for too long after you add the miso, or it loses its flavour.

Serve hot in miso soup cups (if serving as a side dish, or use soup bowls if serving as the main course). Garnish with some green onion and sprinkle Shichimi pepper if you like.  Shichimi pepper is nowadays often found at Oriental food corner of your local supermarkets.

Bon appetit!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Ultimate Plain Scones

I am often asked by my friends how to make the perfect scones. None of my friends seems to be happy with the results of their homemade scones.  What are they expecting of scones, and what type of scones do they call perfect?

In their standards, the perfect scones should be fluffy and moist as if they are sponge cakes.  Unfortunately, they are fundamentally misunderstanding what real British scones are like!

Scones are not supposed to be fluffy and moist cakes, but flaky quick breads originated in Scotland.

Having said that, however, I also dreamt of having a cream tea with a fluffy and moist cake-alike scone or two, with lots of clotted cream and jam on top, and in fact, like my friends I have been secretly experimenting to improve my scone recipe for many years.

After multiple trials, eventually I have created a recipe that I think can answer my friends' questions! 

I have tested my newly improved scone recipe several times before disclosing it in my blogs, and every trial I have had satisfactory results.  Thus, I am now fully confident in sharing the recipe with my friends and the readers of my blogs.

I can't think of any other ways to make better cake-alike scones.  That's why I call it - ultimate plain scones!

Ingredients for 11 - 12 scones
160g bread flour
160g Japanese wheat flour (Hakuriki Ko Violet Nisshin)*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
60g salted butter, chilled and cubed (half inch)
150ml milk (plus some for glazing)
1 egg

* You can buy Hakuriki Ko Violet Nisshin or other Japanese brand Hakuriki Ko at Japanese food stores.  If there is no Japanese food store in your area, you may replace the bread flour and Hakurikiko with 320g of self-rising flour.  In that case, you do not need to add baking powder.

Preheat the oven to 420F and when the oven is preheated place a non-stick cookie sheet in it.

Sieve the flours, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.

Add the butter to the bowl and, using a pastry blender or your fingertips, rub it into the flour until the mixture becomes crumbly.

Combine the milk and egg in a half litre measuring cup and beat lightly. Add the mixture into the flour.

With a palette, mix the flour until almost fully incorporated, then using your hand, knead to a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board or silicon mat and press it out with you palm to about one inch thick. Using 2 inch cookie cutter, cut out the scones.  Repeat until you can cut out as many scones as you can.

Take out the cookie sheet from the oven, then quickly place the scones on it.  Glaze the top of each scone with milk and bake in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes or until they rise well and become golden brown.

Let the scones cool down a bit on a wire rack and serve them warm with butter, whipped cream and jam (ah, and of course, don't forget to make a cup of tea!)

If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE.

Bon appeti!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jalapeno Salmon Burger

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were invited to a house warming BBQ by one of his colleagues.

Among the guests, there was one semi-vegetarian (fish OK!) guest and she was grilling a jalapeno salmon patty that she bought at Whole Foods Market and brought with her.

It looked so delicious and I was sooooo... curious about the taste, so I asked her what it tasted like.

The following day, rather than rushing down to the nearest Whole Foods Market branch, I bought a fillet of Sockeye salmon at a local store and made some similar patties based on her description.  They were so delicious!

Last week, this time we organised a BBQ lunch and invited some of my husband's colleagues including this semi-vegetarian lady.  I made some salmon patties of my recipe and served her one to hear her opinion.

She was amazed and really loved it.  Moreover, she asked me to disclose the recipe in this blog.

So, here's the recipe of my hot (spicy) and delicious salmon patties.

Ingredients for 4 patties
12oz fillet of Sockeye salmon
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tbs finely chopped pickled jalapeno
1 tbs finely chopped parsley
2/3 cup Panko (Japanese style breadcrumbs)
1 egg
1oz cream cheese
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste
vigorous amount of black pepper
MSG to taste (optional)

(Tartar sauce)
2/3 cup real mayonnaise
2 tbs grated onion
1.5 tbs finely chopped garkins
1 tbs finely chopped capers
1/2 lemon juice
dash Tabasco
MSG to taste (opitional)

Olive oil to fry if you are using a frying pan
4 burger buns

Skin and remove all bones from the salmon, then chop finely.  (I do not recommend to use a food processor as the small chunks of salmon make the taste of the patty even better!)

In a large mixing bowl, add the chopped salmon and other ingredients and mix well by hand.

Form the salmon mixture into 4 patties, place on parchment paper, cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes or so to set the patties.

In the meantime, to make the tartar sauce, add all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix well.  Set aside.

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and fry both sides of salmon patties until they become golden brown. Alternatively, cook on the BBQ grill.

Serve the patties with the warm buns and tartar sauce.

If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE.

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Teba Gyoza - Stuffed Chicken Wing

When I visited the nearest Whole Foods the other day, I found a pack of full chicken wings and they were very good quality. I was looking for something like this to make this dish for a long time!

I think Teba Gyoza could be one of the most popular dishes on Izakaya (Japanese pub) menus.

I have cooked this dish for some Western people before and they all loved it, and even asked me the recipe in English.

Here's the English recipe I have provided to them including how to remove 2 bones from the chicken wings in detail.

Ingredients for 10 wings
10 chicken wings
1 teaspoon soy sauce (for the wings)
1 teaspoon Sake (for the wings)
5oz ground chicken breast
1 teaspoon soy sauce (for the stuffing)
1 teaspoon Sake (for the stuffing)
2 - 3 cabbage leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme (leaves only)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon granulated chicken stock combined with 2 teaspoonful water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
salt & white pepper to taste
MSG to taste (optional)
Canola oil for frying

Using your hands, break the joint between the wing and drumette (the part that comes directly off the breast), then cut off the drumette with a heavy duty knife or scissors.  Store the drumettes in the fridge or freezer and use them for some other cooking.

Using scissors, separate the 2 bones in the chicken wings. Starting from the smaller bone, separate it from the flesh. When separated, twist it to break the join and pull it out. Do the same for the larger bone. Repeat for the rest of wings.

When the bones are removed, prick the skin 3 or 4 times with a skewer or fork. Place the chicken wings in a bowl and season with soy sauce and Sake. Cover well using your hands and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

Place the ground chicken breast in another mixing bowl, season with the second measures of soy sauce and Sake. Mix well with your hands and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

Blanch the whole leaves of cabbage in boiling water for a minute or two (depends on how thick or old the cabbage is). Empty them into a colander and rinse under cold running water, then squeeze them firmly to drain water completely. Finely chop.

Stir in the chopped cabbage, thyme leaves, lemon zest & juice to the ground chicken breast. Add the stock mixture and cornstarch. Season with salt & pepper and MSG (if you are using), then mix with your hands until evenly combined.

Reverse the chicken wing pockets and lightly flour the inside, then reverse them back.

Stuff the ground chicken breast mixture into the wing pockets. Close the pockets with toothpicks.  Repeat for the rest of wings.

Heat the oil (should be about half an inch deep) and cook the stuffed wings until golden brown all over.

Serve with citrus soy sauce (Ponzu) and citrus paste (Yuzukosho).

If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE.

Bon appetit! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Japanese Style Curry "Curry Rice"

I was asked by my husband to post the recipe for Japanese style curry called "Curry Rice", because he loves Curry Rice and would like to introduce it to his American colleagues.

It is called curry but the taste is unlike Indian curry.  Curry Rice is more fruity and even small kids can happily eat it.

Curry Rice is everyone's favourite in Japan including Seattle Mariner's Ichiro, who loves his wife's Curry Rice!

Ingredients for 5 - 6 people
(Bouquet Garni)
2 - 3 sprigs of parsley
2 - 3 springs of thyme
1 stalk of celery (about 6” length)
1 large bay leaf (use 2 leaves if small)

Olive or canola oil if necessary
1 lb braising beef - trim off extra fat and tendons, and cut into half inch cubes
2 tablespoons butter
1 large clove garlic chopped
1 red chile seeded and chopped
1 large onion slice
1 large carrot peeled skin and cut into half inch cubes
4 - 5 cups water
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 granny smith peeled, cored and grated
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 medium potato peeled and cut into one inch cubes
2/3 - 3/4 of 8 oz box of curry sauce mix break into pieces

If you are using prepared "suji" and homemade beef stock, skip the first 2 steps and start by cooking garlic and chile.  Click HERE to learn how to prepare suji and make homemade beef stock. 

Heat a non-stick deep pan and brown the beef without oil (or with a little amount of oil if you do not have a non-stick pan large enough), until the beef is browned all over and any excess water has come out of the beef (4 - 5 minutes).

Remove the beef from the pan and place on kitchen paper to drain.  Discard the “mysterious” water from the pan.
Clean the pan with kitchen paper and heat the butter. Add the garlic and chile and cook for 1 minute. Add the onion and cook for 3 - 4 minutes until it becomes soft.  Add the carrot and cook for further 3 - 4 minutes.

Return the beef (or add the prepared suji) to the pan, then add the water (or homemade beef stock), tomato, apple and tomato paste and bring to the boil.  I

Place the bouquet garni on the top of meat and vegetable, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 90 minutes.

Add the potato to the pan and cook for further 20 - 30 minutes until it becomes soft.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the curry sauce mix to the pan.  Mix well.

Return to the low heat and cook for 10 minutes or so until the curry thickens.  Serve with some hot cooked rice.

As a serving suggestion, you can add some Japanese pickles such as Fukujinzuke and Rakkyo (both available at Japanese food stores).  Also, you add a Schnitzel style pork or chicken cutlet to make "Katsu Curry Rice" shown in the picture above.

Bon appetit!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Feta & Chick Pea Mediterranean Style Salad

I tasted a sampler salad at Whole Foods the other day.  It was just so delicious!

Unfortunately, as I had already made a dinner plan for that night so I didn't buy it, but I just couldn't forget its beautiful taste.  Anyway, rather than going back to Whole Foods to buy it I made something very similar at home, remembering the taste of the original salad.

I think my replica salad is as delicious as the Whole Foods one, or maybe even better!

Ingredients for 3 - 4 people
1 can Chick Peas washed thoroughly in running water, then drained
1 large shallot chopped finely
1 clove garlic chopped finely
4oz crumbled feta cheese
about 10 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 tablespoon parsley chopped finely
1 teaspoon fresh oregano chopped finely

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon sugar to taste
salt and black pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients of salad into a large mixing bowl and mix. Simple!

To make the dressing, whisk (or shake, if you put it in a bottle) the oil, vinegar, lemon juice and sugar together.  Season to taste with the salt and black pepper.

Add the dressing to the bowl and mix well.

If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE.

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tarragon Salmon on Caesar Salad

My husband and I love to go to Fall City Roadhouse and Inn for dinner.  Perhaps a lot of you may know this restaurant, as it was once used as the set of an 90s American hit TV drama - Twin Peaks.

The food is generally very good - but among the many excellent dishes, our favourite dish is Blackened Salmon on Caesar Salad.  This dish is amazing!  Good quality salmon just perfectly cooked!  It is one of the best dishes that I have had since I moved to America in 2010.  I really mean it!!!

Whenever I prepared a Caesar salad, I used to top it with grilled chicken, but after we tasted the beautiful salmon Caesar salad at Roadhouse, I always top it with a cooked salmon fillet trying to mimic their No1 delicious dish!

This time, the way I cooked is differently from Roadhouse, but it was as delicious as the Roadhouse one.  I marinated salmon fillets in some lemon juice with salt and plenty of black pepper for 30 minutes or so, then blackened them.  At the end of the cooking,  I added the marinated lemon juice to the pan and added some chopped tarragon.

I promise that my recipe of salmon salad will  refresh you at dinner after a long hot summer day!

Ingredients for 2 people
2 pieces salmon - each about half pound
salt and black pepper
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1.5 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves

1 egg, lightly beaten
4 anchovy fillets, patted dry with paper and chopped finely
2 garlic clove, chopped finely
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste

Romain lettuce, croutons, shredded Parmesan cheese, and your choices of vegetables... tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers (paprika) etc., etc.

Starting from the thick side of the salmon fillet, remove the skin with you hand using the back of chopping knife to press down the fillets.

Season the both sides of the salmon fillets with some salt and vigorously with black pepper.  Add the lemon juice and marinate it for 30 minutes or so.

To make the dressing, whisk the egg with the chopped anchovy fillets, garlic and lemon juice until it combines and becomes smooth.

Combine the 2 oils and then start whisking the egg mixture, adding the oil in a thin stream until the dressing becomes thicker and creamy.

Dish up the lettuce, croutons, shredded Parmesan cheese and your choices of vegetables on a serving plate and drizzle over some of the dressing.

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and fry the skinned side of the fillet until it is blackened. 
Flip over the salmon and fry the other side.

When the salmon is cooked, add the seasoned lemon juice that you marinated the salmon in and sprinkle the chopped tarragon to the salmon.  Cook until the liquid has almost entirely evaporated.

Place the cooked salmon on top of the salad.  Serve with the rest of the dressing.

If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE.

Bon appetit!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pressed Dungeness Crab Sushi

Lots of foreign people believe incorrectly that all Japanese housewives are expert in making Sushi and serve home-made Sushi to their families and guests regularly.

In fact, making Sushi is very difficult for Japanese housewives too!

Nigirizushi are almost impossible for us to make at home.  They require special skills, such as how to slice fish, the amount of Sushi rice to use and the right pressure to form oblong mounds.  They are only really tasty when made by well trained Sushi chefs.

Makizushi (rolled Sushi) are more popular at home but, even so, lots of Japanese housewives are struggling to wrap the Sushi rice and filling neatly with seaweed (Nori).  I often prepare them for my family but have never felt 100% satisfaction at my rolling skills. :-(

Here, I am introducing another style of Sushi - pressed Sushi (called Oshizushi in Japanese).  This method is far easier than Nigirizushi and Makizushi, and almost anyone can make tasty and gorgeous looking Sushi without fail!

Ingredients for 2 pressed sushi 
(Sushi rice)
1 cup Sushi rice
1 cup water
1 teaspoon Sake

(Sweet Vinegar)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Mirin

7oz Dungeness crab meat
1/3 cucumber very thinly sliced (using a mandolin is easiest)
2 tablespoons pickled ginger finely chopped

(Sushi Dressing)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Salmon roe to garnish

Wash and rinse the rice 8-10 times, then drain completely.  Place the rice in a rice cooker with the water and Sake and cook following the manufacturer's instructions.  Alternatively, place the rice, water and Sake in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer while covered until cooked. Take off the heat and leave covered (this helps ensure all the water is incorporated into the rice)

In a small mixing bowl, mix the ingredients for the sweet vinegar and stir well until the sugar has dissolved.  Add the Dungeness crab and marinate for half an hour or so.

Soak the cucumber in salted water for 15 minutes and then squeeze quite firmly to drain.

To make the Sushi dressing, add all ingredients in a cup and stir well until the sugar and salt have dissolved.

Transfer the cooked rice (which should still be fairly hot) to a large mixing bowl.  Add the Sushi dressing and mix the rice with a thin spoon or spatula using a slicing action to distribute the dressing thoroughly. If you mix too much the gluten in the rice makes it too sticky.

Add the cucumber and pickled ginger into the Sushi rice and mix well, once again using a slicing action to distribute evenly.

Line a wooden Sushi presser or about 3 x 7 inch small loaf tin with cling film, leaving it hanging over the sides of the presser or tin.  Layer evenly half of lightly squeezed Dungeness crab over the bottom of the presser or tin.  Now spread evenly the half of Sushi rice over the crab.

Fold the cling film over the top of the rice to enclose the Sushi.  Press down the Sushi with the presser's lid or something flat such as the bottom of a glass.

Turn the mold on to a chopping board.  Repeat for the rest of the rice mixture.  Leave the Sushi for 10 - 15 minutes at room temperature to set.

Cut the Sushi through the cling film into 6 - 8 equal peaces, pull the cling film gently off and transfer to a serving plate.  Garnish each peace with some of the salmon roe.

If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE.

Bon appetit!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Prawn Cocktail

It has been a loooong time since I published my last blog.

Soon after we moved to our new home we invited my parents to come over from Japan.  They are very old; my father is 89 and my mother is 84 and neither of them understands English.

They have traveled overseas several times before including the US, but Seattle was a brand new place for them and they knew nothing about it at all.  I was therefore very busy every day acting as their interpreter, taking them to tourist attractions etc., etc.

Last night, we invited my husband's work colleague for dinner and I cooked some of my specialities including this Prawn Cocktail.

He really enjoyed the cocktail sauce and requested the recipe in English.  This is why I am updating my blog after a long break.

Ingredients for 5~6 people
30 raw prawns

(Cocktail sauce)
1 cup real mayonnaise (Japanese mayonnaise is not suitable for this dish!)
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1.5-2 teaspoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1-2 teaspoons squeezed lemon juice
few drops Tabasco
AJINOMOTO (MSG) to taste (optional)

Paprika to garnish (optional)
Sliced baguettes

Pull out the vein from the prawns using a toothpick and then peel leaving the tails intact.

Thread each prawn on to a toothpick to give them a nice shape.

Cook the prawns in boiling water for a few minutes, then wash under cold running water and drain well.  Pull out the toothpicks from the prawns and keep them refrigerated until serving.

To make the cocktail sauce, add all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.  Keep it refrigerated until serving.

Just before serving, lay enough ice to cover the bottom of the serving plate, then arrange the prawns on top.  Serve the prawns with the cocktail sauce garnished with some paprika, together with baguette slices.

If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE.

Bon appetit!