Yakisoba with eringii and abura-age

DSC01350-001DSC01365-001

Today, yakisoba, the Japanese version of Chinese fried noodles. Well, that’s my version of it… well, one of them. See others at the end of this post.

Yakisoba is fast-food normally. It’s often sold cheaply on street stalls, at festivals and the teppanyaki (hot plate) shops propose it too. The basic version is made mostly with :

-chuka soba (fresh Chinese noodles that are sold fresh and cooked, they look like thick spaghetti and if you have none, cooked thick spaghetti can be used)
-oil

That’s why we said it’s fried noodles, no mystery. And low amounts of :

-cabbage (cut in big squares)
-additional veggies (cut in thin slices), few and cheap ones (bean sprouts, onion, carrot, some kind of leeks…)
-a little raw meat (thin slices of pork), or cheap seafood, or ham…
-sauce (specific sauce or thickened Worcester sauce or a mix of Worcester + ketchup…), plus additional ketchup or mayo if you want
-pickled ginger, toppings…

My version uses what I have in my fridge, and it’s usually healthier.

DSC05738-001 - コピー

So, I had abura age (fried tofu) as meat.

DSC07854-001

A few Eringi mushrooms as meat too.


2013-10-031 I had a leftover of green papaya.

2013-10-163

I first toasted the abura-age (fried tofu pockets), set aside. Then with a little garlic and ginger : onion, eringi mushrooms, green papaya, cabbage and shishito green peppers. To the veggies, I’ve added fresh Chinese noodles (chuka soba), sauce (Bulldog).

DSC01341-001

I’ve added the abura-age to the rest. I have about half of veggies, less than one third of noodles. That’s how I like it.

DSC01364-001

On top, a little more sauce, shichimi togarashi (7 spice mix) and cut green negi leeks.

DSC01373-001

casual

mizuna

healthy

shahan (Chinese)

lettuce

buckwheat soba

A moon filled of greens

DSC00107-001DSC00091-001

It’s shaped like a pupusa, but I think normally they are made of corn masa and filled with cheese. So this is a free style re-interpretation, I’ve just taken the shape. It’s very tasty, crispy and filling.

2013-09-301

The filling : miso + sakekasu (sake lees) and a little water to get a cream texture. Then minced onion, garlic and ginger. The greens are stalks of romanesco (diced) and cut kikuna (chrysanthemum greens)
The crust is likely to break a little, so the filling shouldn’t be too liquid.

2013-09-30

The dough is like for tortilla. Today : a mix of white and whole flour, chili flakes, black pepper, a little olive oil, hot water. I didn’t add salt as the filling is very salty already due to the miso. I cooked it in a frying pan without fat.

DSC00103-001

Garnished with sauce for okonomiyaki (a veggie Worcester sauce).

DSC00095-001

The nicest leaves of kikuna as a side salad with black rice vinegar and sesame oil.

DSC00098-001

Then cut and eat while hot.

DSC00110-001

DSC00111-001

I heart skewers

DSC07731-001DSC07725-001

Mini yakitori lunch with skewers of chicken hearts. But let’s start with veggies :

DSC07555-001

Red sweet pepper.

DSC06929-002

Summer kabocha.

DSC07722-001

Chilled cream :
I put in the blender boiled kabocha, a raw red pepper, a few steamed shimeji mushrooms, a little miso and 2 tbs of roast sesame.
Served very cold with freshly ground black pepper on top.
It’s sweet, feeling and refreshing.

DSC07711-001

Chicken hearts and green sweet pepper skewers. To grill in the oven-toaster.

DSC07737-001

I’ve painted a few times the hearts with this so-su ( Worscester-style sauce).

DSC07715-001

Konnyaku noodles and sweet chili sauce.

DSC07729-001

DSC07730-001

Midori negiyaki, always greener

DSC09959-001DSC09985-001

A good lunch : midori negiyaki. Midori means green. Negiyaki is the Osakan hot-plate crepe filled with negi greens, the cousin of okonomiyaki. (Click here for a detailed recipe.)

Of course, a negiyaki is always green. Today, it’s greener, and garnished with an egg. It’s Spring !

DSC06312-001

2013-04-111

How can it be greener ?
I have added to the batter, the grounds of juicing . Pasted spinach can do the trick too.

DSC09577-001

Also, I had a few stalks of spinach that served to volume up the negi. Normally, only the green part of negi is used, but I have kept some of the white and some onion that I stir-fried to decorate the bottom (and flavor it).

2013-04-11

Cooking, adding the egg, covering, flipping…

DSC09945-001

Funny how the egg yolk popped up.

DSC09949-001

I garnished with Bulldog sauce (Japanese “Worcester”), fish flakes and dry chili.

DSC09970-001

First side-dish : hearts of romaine salad with black vinegar dressing.

DSC09967-001

Second side-dish : tofu. Yes, there is a dessert (more about it here).

DSC09954-001

DSC09977-001

Osaka’s famous takoyaki. Part 2 : At home (tutorial)

Let’s make the takoyaki presented in previous post.
(click here)

That’s a street-stall food, but some people have lots of fun making takoyaki parties at home, especially with the kids. If you can find the “iron plate”, try it.

Raw octopus.
Tako =octopus. It’s a compulsory ingredient. If you skip it, you don’t get takoyaki. Find another name…

I’m giving you the classic recipe. Feel free to substitute any ingredient you want. We’ve seen everything in those parties…

The tako has to be beaten and boiled. You can buy it boiled. You don’t need much. 1 to 3 bits per ball.

I bought these. The tenkasu (tempura crumbs) are easy to make if you fry tempura. You pour the leftover of batter in drops in the oil at the end, and you get tenkasu. We can get them in all supermarkets, very cheap, it’s convenient. You could replace with some crumbed shrimp flavored chips. Beni-shoga is vinegar pickled ginger.

Batter recipe :
For 18 big takoyaki

1 egg (M size)
70 g cake flour
1 teaspoon soy sauce
300 ml dashi stock*
1/2 tsp sugar + 1/4 spoon salt (you can skip both)

*you can make dashi (recipe here), use instant, or mix powder dry fish to water (that’s what I do).
Combine everything, beat well, let 2 our 3 hours. If you want to use it without waiting, mix in a blender. That should be like crepe batter.

The piano… The pros have “takoyaki stoves” powered by gas under cast-iron plates. At home, you can use electric specific machines in teflon. Or put a cast-iron plate on any stove. I have a mini 6-hole, on my induction stove.

This mold is not exclusive to Japan. It’s used in different Asian countries. And also in Denmark to make ebelskiver pancakes. So European and American readers have high chances to find it on line or in local Chinatowns.

The picks are an essential tool. It’d better if they are longer (I have some, but they don’t look good).

My DIY oil brush. The pro use cotton thread oils. But they are tricky to clean.
If you have a modern electric non-stick takoyaki machine, it’s easy, just heat it and pass a little oil.
If you have old style, to avoid sticking prepare it this way :
1. Oil the whole plate holes and around. Heat it maximum, till it smokes. Cut. Re-oil.
2. Put again on low heat, pass oil and start…

1. fill the holes with batter,
2. add in the other ingredients. Don’t worry with a little overflow.

Then you need to train.
3. After 1 minute or more, start “cleaning” with the pick by pushing the over-flow into the holes.
4. When, you become able to move the half-balls, turn them vertically.
5. Add a little batter.
6.Then clean and turn again… They start very irregular but as you turn you can get perfect balls.

Courage ! 5 yr old Japanese kids can do it, if that can humiliat… I mean cheer you up. I’m joking, as I said before :

That’s insanely fun to roll them with your pick ! Make a bucket of batter, and you’ll find you can’t stop rolling some… and you’ll continue when even your dog will no longer eat some more.

For serving, sauces and toppings, see here (click).

Osaka’s famous takoyaki. Part 1 : eating…


That’s crazy I could run a blog called “gourmande in Osaka” during so long without mentioning them. And not get arrested…
So, yes, this is the specialty of this huge city of foodies. Ugly small balls.

Try them 3 times. The first, that’s weird, too unexpected. The second, taste is still uneasy. Third time, you’re getting addicted…

We don’t eat that for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Only for other meals. Like… when you walk in the street. It’s the biggest sign of vulgarity and dirty manners to eat in the street in Japan. Except for takoyaki you get from yatai street stands. They are also proposed at all the festivals in Japan, yearlong, but particularly in Summer.

They are invariably containing bits of tako (octopus), hence the name. The ginger and negi leek are classic too. The bits are small, not overwhelming. Don’t let that deter you. So if you roughly like seafood, you’ll like them.

They are cooked in those iron plates with half-sphere holes. See the recipe soon here (from tomorrow).

You buy them by 6, 10, 12… depending on the shop. They put them in a box and make them totally un-dietetic at your taste.

1-they paint them with shoyu (thickened soy sauce) or soosu (thickened Worcester sauce).
2-they add aonori seaweed, katsuobushi fish flakes.
3-then mayonnaise

You can skip all these… if you are able to explain that in Japanese or in sign language. Not too hard.
In Summer, they also propose ponzu sauce (soy sauce with citrus flavor). Some shops have many variations.

These on the photo are mines, the shoyu is not thickened (same for the taste, but you can’t see it), I used thicker fish flakes I had at home. And I replaced the mayo by home-made white salad sauce (soy milk + mustard), you hardly see it.

A toothpick to eat them hot, standing in the street. You can’t go far. They are not good cooled down, not good re-heated.

This one is how I like it. Most Japanese would find it overcooked. That’s how I like them. I always go to buy those that been cooking for a while on the stand and when they propose to make fresh ones, I refuse.

Veggie and recycling : okara hamburg’

A “burger”, that the Japanese call hamburg’ or hanbaagu to differenciate them from the meat patties from the infamous fast-food chain.
It’s vegan and it’s “recycling” stuff. Yes, okara is a by-product of making tofu and it would only be discarded usually. That’s too bad as it’s full of healthy fibers, and I find it delicious.

The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax & Lis and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties!

Read more.

I used 3 ingredients very common in Japan that may look a bit mysterious for European, American, African and South Pole readers of this blog. So look :

Okara

Soy bean fibers. How I make okara from dry soy beans

Konnyaku

It’s a root veggie that we buy cooked into blocks of different shaped, blocks or noodles. It has a firm jelly texture but it takes mostly the taste of the sauce. The good points : it’s nearly zero calorie per serving and it favors digestion. That’s really interesting here as it gives textures to very soft patties.

Hijiki

It’s a seaweed that you can buy fresh or dried.

I also used one dry shiitake mushroom, carrot, onion, flour (or starch).
Condiments : mirin (a syrup rice vinegar), soy sauce, salt.

Quantities : you will see and as you like.
Well, I mix about the same volume of veggies and okara and I count about 1/10th volume of flour per volume of okara. Then add enough liquid to get a paste you can form as patties.


Recipe :

-in a bowl, put water, the dry mushroom, the seaweeds (if they are dry). Let about 20 minutes. Keep the liquid, it will serve as a broth.
-grate the carrot, the onion. Cut the konnyaku in small cubes. Also cut the rehydrated mushroom.
-in a frying pan with a little oil, stir-fry the onion. Add in the other veggies. After 2 or 3 minutes add the okara and the broth. Add little mirin, soy sauce, salt to season lightly. Stir well. You get something quite dry. Take away from the stove.
-mix 1/4 flour and 3/4 water in a bowl, add to the previous mix.

-form patties in wet hands, sprinkle flour over them as you put them in a frying pan with hot oil. Cook both sides a few minutes.

To serve :
-brush the patties with Ikari Sauce (a cousin of the Worcester sauce), garnish with daikon radish (grated in paste) and sprouts of daikon radish.

And why not, a few leaves of crunchy ice plant ?