K’s Kitchen – Bean sprouts in spicy shrimp oil

While I was living in Indonesia, I ate a lot of spicy food. Everyone at work added a lot of sambal to their lunch, and everything was very spicy! After I came back to Japan, I realized that I have developed a taste of spicy food!

This is another one of the side dishes that I make ahead of time to eat during the week.  And yes, it is slightly spicy!
Ingredients:
200g bean sprouts
1 cucumber
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (something which has little flavor, like corn or canola)
1/4 onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ginger clove, minced
2 tablespoons sakura ebi (dried small shrimp)
2 tablespoons sesame
1/2 teaspoon doubanjiang 
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
Instructions:
1. Blanch the bean sprouts and squeeze out the excess water. Cut the cucumbers into matchsticks.
2. Heat the oil, and add the onion, garlic, ginger, and stir fry. Add the sakura ebi.
3. Add the doubanjiang, sesame, soy sauce, and mirin, and bring to a boil.
4. Turn off the heat. Squeeze out the excess water from the vegetables, and put in a tupperware. Pour the spicy oil over the vegetables and mix well.
Hope you enjoyed this recipe!
xoxo, K
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K’s Kitchen – Kinpira Gobo

Continuing on my “things Japanese girls are supposed to be able to cook”, I also made Kinpura Gobo recently.

Gobo is the Japanese name for burdock root, which has a rich, earthy taste.  When I lived in the US in the 90s, gobo was not easy to find, even in Japanese supermarkets. My mother made this dish with celery instead.

Ingredients:
1 stalk gobo (around 150g)
1/3 of a carrot
40ml cooking wine
1 tablespoon sugar
1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons mirin (or sugar mixed with cooking wine)
sesame oil
whole dried chili (optional)

Instructions:
1. Wash the gobo thoroughly (it usually comes covered in dirt), and peel it as shown in this video. You can use a spoon if it is easier for you.

2. Cut it into matchsticks. This is easiest done if you slice it diagonally first.  Keep the cut gobo submerged in water to prevent discoloration. Peel and cut the carrot in the same way.

3. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan and stir fry the gobo and carrot until slightly tender. If you prefer the kinpira to be slightly spicy, heat the dried chili together with the oil before adding the vegetables.

4. Add the cooking wine, sugar, soy sauce, and mirin, and continue cooking until the liquid is reduced.

OK, so I cheated on this one… I used a mandoline to cut the vegetables. It made this dish SUPER easy and quick!

Hope you enjoyed this recipe!

xoxo, K

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K’s Kitchen – Chicken pockets

You may be familiar with a kind of sushi in Japan called Inari. It consists of rice stuffed into aburaage (fried tofu pouches) that was flavored with a sweet soy sauce stock.  In this recipe, I made a similar dish, stuffing the aburaage with ground chicken and vegetables.

Ingredients: makes 6
200g ground chicken
3 pieces aburaage
1/3 carrot
1/4 onion
2 shiitake mushrooms
1 egg
1 teaspoon sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste

Stock
300 ml water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cooking sake
1 tablespoon mirin (or 1 tablespoon cooking sake with 1 teaspoon sugar)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 pinches salt

Instructions
1. Mince the carrot, shiitake mushrooms, and onion.
2. Boil water, pour it over the aburaage, and gently squeeze out the water. This is a normal step in preparing aburaage necessary to remove additional oil.
3. Cut the aburaage in half crosswise, and gently open to form a pouch. This is easiest done with your fingers.  Do it slowly to avoid creating any holes!
4. In a bowl, mix the ground chicken, vegetables, egg, sesame oil, and salt/pepper.
5. Divide the mixture into 6 equal parts, and stuff into the aburaage. Close the seam with a toothpick.
6. Put the stock into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Put the stuffed aburaage into the saucepan, cover with an otoshibuta, and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.

This dish is yummy either hot or at room temperature.  Hope you enjoy this recipe!

xoxo, K

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K’s Kitchen – Eggplant with Ginger

As mentioned before, I am always on the lookout for some side dishes that I can make in advance and eat throughout the week. I found this dish on Cookpad, a very popular Japanese website for recipes.

This dish was named simply “eggplant side dish” in the original website. Due to the ginger, vinegar and sesame oil in the recipe, it tastes slightly Chinese-ish to many Japanese people. It is SUPER easy, and is tastier after a few days.
Ingredients:
2 eggplants
1 inch piece of ginger
1/2 stalk of green onion
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Instructions:
1. Peel the skin of the eggplants, and cut in half lengthwise. The original recipe suggested to peel the entire skin, but I like peeling only part of it to retain the color and the texture, as in the picture below.  I also found that cutting the eggplants in half crosswise, and then cutting it into quarters lengthwise, made the eggplants easier to eat later.
2. Cover the eggplants with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes.  Do this quickly after cutting the eggplants to avoid discoloration.
3. Mince the green onion and ginger.
4. Mix all of ingredients together, and put it in a container so that the eggplants are partially submerged in the liquid. Let sit 1-2 hours before serving.
Notes:
– Since I can’t use up all the green onion and ginger that I buy, I like to mince them and keep them frozen in plastic bags.
– This is an eggplant side dish, but the minced green onion and ginger is also pretty yummy.  
– This keeps for around 5 days in the fridge, but I usually eat it up before then!
Hope you enjoy this recipe!
xoxo, K
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K’s Kitchen – Tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette) from Cooking with Dog

In Japan, there are certain dishes that people are “supposed” to be able to cook if they know anything about cooking.  One of those is tamagoyaki (卵焼き Japanese omelette), which is often served for breakfast, in bento boxes for lunch, and also in izakayas.  Although I know how to cook an omelette, I never mastered the “rolling” of the tamagoyaki.

My first attempt.  It went rather well!

I got the recipe from Cooking with Dog, a Youtube channel.  This channel is a very authentic Japanese cooking show.  For example, all ingredients are premeasured into small dishes.  On the other hand, American cooking shows typically show the chef measuring the ingredients.

Ingredients:
3 eggs
3 tablespoons dashi stock
1 1/3 tablespoons sugar (see note below)
1 tsp soy sauce
20 g mitsuba, green onion, etc
vegetable oil

Notes:
– As mentioned before, this is a typical homemade dish in Japan. This means that everyone has their little preferences that they grew up with.
– One of these preferences is the “sweet vs savory” debate. Some people like sweet tamagoyaki, some people like savory (ie, not sweet) tamagoyaki
– I always add a teaspoon of corn starch.  I find that this makes the tamagoyaki stick together better

Instructions:
(watch the Youtube video – it is explained much better than I could ever do!)

This is really a yummy dish, and it is very versatile.  Hope you enjoyed this recipe!

xoxo, K

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