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Posts Tagged ‘japanese’

Tuna Poke

Tuna Poke

Every few months or so, I’ll discover a restaurant that quickly becomes my new favourite. It always plays out the same way, I’ll go back several times in a month and think how handy it would be to have a “standing reservation” every week. My husband prefers to try different restaurants so by the third or fourth time, he is pleading we try something new. A restaurant that made it to the favourite list and one we visited more than the usual was a restaurant serving Japanese pub food in Surry Hills called Izakaya Fujiyama.

They are famous for their charcoal grilled fish head which is limited in availability. They manager mentioned that it’s only available usually once a week. Naturally, when we found out that there was a tuna head was available, we had to order it. We asked the waitress for it and she put in our order. A few minutes later she came back with bad news. “Chef says that you cannot order it. It’s too big.” She told us. Given that we had already ordered four other dishes, she tried to persuade us that there would be too much food. We said we didn’t mind and we really wanted to order it so she went back to the chef to place our order. Forty minutes later this monster of a fish head arrived in our table. The head was so large that all our other dishes had to be cleared because the wooden serving plate covered the whole of the table. Of course there was no way we could finish the dish. In fact, we shared it with the table beside us and still had half to take home!

We rolled out of the restaurant thinking we would need to take at least four or five people to join us next time. Later on my husband told me that when the waitress went back to tell the chef we were insisting on ordering the dish, he saw the chef laugh and shake his head.

Equally as impressive, this tuna dish is definitely more manageable. Tuna Poke made with sashimi grade tuna marinated in soy, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil, over a bed of seaweed and topped with crispy wonton strips.

Tuna Poke

serves 2 as a started

  • 250 grams sashimi quality tuna
  • 100 grams seaweed
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Dash of shichimi togarashi
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame
  • strips of fried wonton wrappers
  1. Diced the tuna into 1 cm pieces. Set aside.
  2. Mix the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, shichimi and toasted sesame in a bowl and spoon over the tuna.
  3. Lay the seaweed salad on a serving plate, top with the marinated tuna and finally the wonton wrappers.

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Trissalicious then

When I was growing up, my idea of beauty was to have long healthy hair. It must have been a case of wanting what I didn’t have because for as long as I can remember, I grew up with short hair. When I asked my Mom if I could grow out my hair, she said that it would look messy and be hard to manage. I still remember one day, (I still had short hair at this time), out of nowhere I found ONE strand of shoulder length hair out of my boyish hairstyle. I had no idea where it came from but I recall just stroking that one strand of hair for the whole day. “If only the rest of my hair would catch up!”, I thought. You can’t imagine my disappointment when at the end of the day, that one strand finally fell (maybe from over touching?)

In any case, when I was old enough to decide that my Mom couldn’t stop me from growing my hair, I vowed never to cut it. Through the years, I would break that vow and each and every time, I would regret it. I always felt that I looked too much like a boy and my roundish face wasn’t suited for short hair.

So what changed? A few years ago I read somewhere about a program to donate hair so that wigs could be created for cancer patients. You see, when I was six, my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. She was given six months to live. One of the first things that entered her mind was that if she died, she hoped that my Dad would marry one of her unmarried sisters so that he would someone to take care of him. That’s the kind of person she has always been – thinking about others before herself. My Mom was also refused to let cancer beat her. She was so tough that she would even drive herself to chemo sessions! One time I asked her, what was the hardest part of cancer. She said it wasn’t the chemo, nor was it that she had a mastectomy. She said it was losing all her hair. Many years later, my Mom is thankfully still alive and kicking… oops, make that, alive and dancing!

I also remember my mother in law who unfortunately passed away from cancer a year ago. She was also another generous person who when I asked how she was doing she would always say to please take care of her son (my husband). She had battled with the disease for a few years and over time we noticed that less and less she felt like going out and socializing. I think part of it was because she had also lost her hair and was self conscious of this.

For a girl, losing one’s hair can be a confronting experience. It can make you lose your self esteem.

As much as I loved having long hair, I wanted more to be able to do one little act to tell everyone who may be suffering from cancer and losing their hair that there are people who care. I care. It’s also my small way of acknowledging and supporting people like my Mom and Mom in law who have had cancer. I’ll be the first to admit, there were times, in particular when I saw the hairdresser’s scissors, that I wanted to chicken out. But, I hope by my writing about this, there are others who are inspired to show they care and donate their hair.

Pantene have a program called Beautiful Lengths that provide free real hair wigs to women who have lost their hair through cancer treatment. At a minimum hair must be 20 cm long and cannot be dyed, bleached or chemically treated. More information can be found on their website.

So this is me today, and I’m simply loving my new look. This is one time I’ve had no regrets about having short hair.

Trissalicious now

Trissalicious now

Short recipe for this post. My husband and I have been experimenting on a spicy scallop recipe on the back of a new recipe book I purchased a few weeks ago called Hashi. The original recipe requires you to make your own mayonnaise and serve the spicy scallops atop a bed of rice. I’ve adapted the recipe for a much more simple, yet delicious approach.

Easy Spicy Scallops

Easy Spicy Scallops

Easy Spicy Scallops

Serves 6

  • 150 grams fresh scallop meat
  • 100 grams Japanese mayonnaise (kewpie)
  • 15 grams chili sauce (i.e. lee kum kee garlic chili sauce or ling ham)
  • 1/2 nori sheet, cut into little pieces
  • 2 tablespoons flying fish roe
  1. Spray the scallop shells with a little cooking oil. Cut the scallop meat into 1 cm sized pieces (usually quartering them will be enough) and lay them on top of the scallop shells.
  2. Mix the Japanese mayonnaise and chili sauce together and set aside. Top the scallops with a few nori pieces and some of the flying fish roe.
  3. Spread some of the Japanese mayo mixture over the scallops and either grill the scallops in the oven or blow torch the scallops until the mayonnaise turns golden brown.
Easy Spicy Scallops

Easy Spicy Scallops

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72 Hour Sous Vide Beef Ribs

72 Hour Sous Vide Beef Ribs

I must have mentioned this several times, that I am normally not a very patient person.  I think however, over time I have managed to hide this pretty well from most people.  Years ago though, concealing my temper wasn’t something I did very well.  On my recent holiday, we passed by California for the weekend to see my cousins and friends whom I hadn’t seen in over 10 years.  As long lost friends always do, we spent a good chunk of time reminiscing over “the good old days”.

One of the stories I couldn’t live down was the time my ex-boyfriend had broken up with me.  I spent months (okay, maybe it was more like a year… and a bit…) agonizing and crying over one of my best friend’s shoulders.  We would always chat long into the night and the funny thing is, I don’t think the essence of our conversations ever changed – it was either me asking him what had I done wrong, what I could have done different and him constantly reassuring me that “it was his loss”.  Other times, I asked him to “analyze” for me  the latest “ex-encounter” and whether his actions “meant anything”… reincarnations of these two topics came up over and over again… for a year… and a bit.

During the trip, as we looked back on our University years, we laughed at how trivial everything seemed to us now, but at that time, I don’t know how I would have survived without his support.  He always knew what to say when things were bleak, how to make me feel better, and how to make me laugh despite everything.

So when a year or so after he and his own girlfriend broke up, of course I was there for him.  I knew it was my turn to console him and do all the nice and altruistic things he had done for me.  I lavished him with praises and told him that he was a sure ten and she was most likely a four (at best), I told him that for sure “he could do better”.  The consoling continued well into the nights, just as he had done for me.

That is, until one day, I had enough.  I was frankly tired of iterations of similar conversations and so when he called me one night to tell me about her (again), I cracked it.  I told him that I was tired of hearing about their break-up and “NO!” they were probably not going to get back together and “NO!” just because she said “Hi!” it didn’t mean that she liked him all over again.  I said that he should forget about her and move on.  I mean, seriously, enough was enough!

My outburst was met with silence.

“Hello?”  I asked.  “Are you still on the phone?”

“Trissa,” he said.  “For ONE YEAR, I was there for you when your relationship ended.  I listened to you talk about your ex, I was there to give you advice, be there for you, keep you company and just be a really good friend!”  he declared.

“And you can’t even give me two weeks?!?” he asked.

I must have also mentioned many times that my impatience does NOT extend to food.  With food I am willing to wait.  Take these beef ribs I cooked using the latest addition to my kitchen gadgets, a sous vide machine.  I cooked them for three straight days.  I would come home after each day and take a sneak peak at the ribs bathing in the machine, smiling at myself knowing that there was something amazing waiting for me at the end.  Sous vide is a technique wherein food is first vacuum sealed and then submerged into a water bath and cooked over a low, precise temperature.  The machine, made popular by the likes of Heston Blumenthal,  is hands down one of the best kitchen investments I have made.  I have tried cooking rack of lamb, chicken, slow poached eggs and most recently, these 72 hour beef ribs which was inspired by a meal I had at Izakaya Fujiyama.  I tried asking Chef Kenji for the beef ribs recipe but he said it was a secret but I think my recipe comes dangerously close to it.   The beef is so tender but still beautifully pink in the middle.  It is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.  Restaurant quality food at home, and anyone can make it.  Unbelievable!

And whatever happened to my confidant, I am truly lucky that despite my being so horribly impatient and a lousy friend, he still remains one of my best friends today.  He will, however, never, even up to this day, let me forget the time I told him “to get over it!”

Teriyaki Glazed 72 Hour Sous Vide Beef Ribs

  • 1.5 kilos of beef ribs, portioned into 500 grams each
  • half a cup of salt
  • half a cup of sugar
  1. Prepare the brine by dissolving the salt and sugar in 3 liters of water. Add the beef ribs and leave for one to two hours. Remove and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Prepare the water bath, fill it with water and bring the temperature to 56c.
  3. Place each portion into the sous vide bag and vacuum seal.
  4. Place the beef ribs in the water bath and cook for 72 hours.
  5. When done, remove the beef ribs. If not using immediately, place the beef ribs in a container filled with 50% ice and 50% water. Cool the ribs then store in the refrigerator until required (if using from the refrigerator, heat at 56c for 15 minutes before using.
  6. Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan until almost smoking (the pan should be very hot), quickly sear the beef on all sides, around 30 seconds to 1 minute each side until golden brown.
  7. Coat the beef in the teriyaki glaze (recipe follows). Slice and serve with green onions (optional).
72 Hour Sous Vide Beef Ribs

72 Hour Sous Vide Beef Ribs

Teriyaki Glaze

adapted from Practical Japanese Cooking by Shizuo Tsuji and Koichiro Hata

  • 240 ml (1 cup) mirin
  • 160 ml (2/3 cup) sake
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp grated ginger
  • 4 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 green chili, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. Mix the mirin, sake and dark soy sauce in a sauce pan. Bring the ingredients to a boil and then turn down to a simmer until the sauce thickens, around 10 minutes.
  2. In another sauce pan, combine the ginger, garlic, and chili and oil and cook over a low heat until fragrant.
  3. Use the glaze over the beef ribs and spoon over the ginger garlic oil before serving (optional)

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