K’s Kitchen – Carrot Cake

One of the things I looked forward to doing after coming back to Japan is baking. I’m not sure why I didn’t bake when I lived abroad… but I didn’t. I like baking using American recipes I find online, but I usually reduce the sugar and oil to make it fit my preferences. This recipe has 20% less sugar and oil than in the original recipe.

Ingredients: (I use a small loaf pan. If you use a 9 inch square pan, double the ingredients)
1 egg
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
70g sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
62g flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1-2 grated carrots
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius.  Grease and flour pan. (I line my pans with parchment because washing a greased, floured pan is a pain for me)
2. In a large bowl, beat together egg, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Stir in carrots. Pour into prepared pan.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Carrot cake is usually accompanied with cream cheese frosting. I didn’t make any because I planned to freeze this cake after slicing it, but I’m sure it would taste great!

Hope you enjoyed this recipe!

xoxo, K

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K’s Kitchen – Harumi Kurihara’s Shredded Carrot salad

Although my commute has gotten much shorter since moving back to Japan, I still cannot get home before 7 PM. This means that by the time I get home, I am so hungry that I want to cook the minimum amount of food necessary to get full. To make sure that I eat vegetables, I try to have a few side dishes in my fridge that I prepare on the weekend and eat during the week. This shredded carrot salad is one of them.

This recipe is created by Harumi Kurihara, a celebrity homemaker.  According to Wikipedia, she is called the Martha Stewart of Japan. It is extremely easy to make, and has become a staple in my fridge!
Prep time: Less than 30 min

Ingredients:

1 carrot
1/4 onion
1 can of tuna
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
soy salt, salt, and pepper to taste
Instructions:
1. Julienne the carrot. I use a mandoline, making this process super easy. Mince the onion.
2. Mix the carrot, onion, garlic, and oil, and microwave it for 1 minute.
3. Drain the tuna, and mix it with the microwaved carrot. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Let sit for 30 minutes before serving. 
Hope you enjoyed this recipe!
xoxo, K
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K’s Kitchen – Mabo Harusame (麻婆春雨)

Mabo sauce… what a strange name. In Chinese/Japanese characters, it is written as 麻婆, and is sometimes translated to “Pockmarked Old Lady”. It is originally a Szechuan dish, but a less spicy version is extremely popular in Japan as well, often cooked with tofu, eggplants, or vermicelli.

(I am not sure where I got this recipe… I am sure it is adapted from somewhere.)

Ingredients:
100g dried vermicelli
100g minced pork
1/4 stalk scallion
1 teaspoon doubanjiang sauce (a spicy chili paste made with soybeans)

Doubanjiang sauce

sauce
600 ml water
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese chicken stock
1/2 tablespoon mirin
sesame seed oil

Instructions:
1. Mince the scallion. Cut the vermicelli to manageable lengths
2. Stir fry the minced pork. Add the minced scallion. Use a paper towel to absorb some of the oil.

3. Add the doubanjiang and all of the ingredients of the sauce, excluding the water and sesame oil. You can make this part ahead of time.

4. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the dried vermicelli and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced. Add the sesame oil and serve.

Next time I make this, I would add some chopped mushrooms and reduce the meat. This is a great dish to make in both hot and cold weather!

xoxo, K

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K’s Kitchen – Cabbage slaw with sweet pork miso

How do you make sure that you are getting enough vegetables? It is easier for me to eat cooked vegetables, but I still want to have some crunch in my mouth. Blanching vegetables is an easy way to prepare vegetables that also ensures that I still eat enough. By mixing them with different toppings, I also avoid getting bored with eating the same vegetables often.

Yield: One person
Prep time: minimal
Ingredients:
200g minced pork
2 tablespoons red miso 
2 tablespoons cooking sake (any light tasting cooking wine will do)
2 tablespoons sugar
1.5 tablespoons mirin (or increase the sake and sugar)
2 tablespoons ground ginger
Blanched cabbage
Instructions:
1. Stir fry the pork, removing fat as necessary.  Add all of the other ingredients (except the cabbage). 
2. Continue to reduce until glossy
3. Cut the cabbage into bite sized pieces, and squeeze to remove excess moisture. Mix with the pork miso
This is an embarrassingly easy side dish, especially if you make some pork miso in advance!  
xoxo, K
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K’s Kitchen – Eggplant and Chicken with Ginger Sauce

Where do you find new recipes? I have a few English language cooking blogs that I follow, but I need a source for Japanese recipes. Cookpad is a good source for Japanese language recipes, especially the ones with lots of reviews. I adapted this recipe off of Cookpad as well, but reduced the soy sauce and sugar significantly.

Yield: Serves 1-2 people
Prep time: Around 30 minutes
Ingredients:
2 Eggplants
300g chicken thigh meat, cut into bite sized pieces
20g minced ginger
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin (or 1 tablespoon cooking wine with a little sugar mixed in)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon potato starch
Instructions:
1. Remove the stem from the eggplants and slice in half lengthwise. Make shallow cuts lengthwise along the skin, around 1/4 inch apart. Then slice the eggplant crosswise in 1/2 inch pieces.  This ensures a better mouth feel.
2. Submerge the eggplant in a bowl of cold water to avoid discoloration
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and stir fry the eggplant over medium high heat until golden brown. Remove the eggplant from the frying pan.
4. Stir fry the chicken and ginger and add salt and pepper. Add 50ml of water into the frying pan, put on the lid, and let it steam.
5. Mix the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and starch together.  When the water is almost completely reduced, add the sauce to the frying pan.  Toss to coat, and serve once the sauce thickens.
This was a quick and easy dish, perfect for a weekday meal! 
xoxo, K
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