Thursday, June 17, 2010

Homemade Bagel Sandwich

Finally tried and made bagels at home.    Of course, I can buy my favorite jalapeno bagels from the local bagel shop, but when you love to cook, you want to try to make everything 'sometimes' just to find out.  I think it's pretty good to know how to make all these breads yourself once.  You know exactly what is in it, and you can even modify it to make something new! eventually.

Chili Eggplants with Basil and Shrimp

Something about this eggplants have been challenging me one time after the other.  It seems to be a very simple vegetable to fix, but yet I keep trying to see how to cut down on the amount of oil I have been using to stir fry it.  I tried this dish again because eggplant is delicious, and I love it.  This recipe got my approval.  I only used 3 Tablespoon of vegetable oil. 
(double click on photos to view larger image or other comments)

1 large bulb eggplants
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp ginger, chopped finely
1 Cup large raw shrimps with tail or without - washed with salt and rinsed and strained.
4 fresh basil stalks = 1/2 C fresh basil leaves
1/3 C Cilantro, washed and chopped coarsely   *Save about 5 leaf clusters for topping
1 tsp Srichara hot chili sauce

For seasonings:
3 Tb low sodium soy sauce
Pinch of white pepper
3 Tb rice vinegar
1 Tb water
1 Tb sugar
1 Tb cornstarch

Slice the eggplants into halves, then another halves and then to quarters.
Then cut each spears diagonally about 3 inch long.  Cut the spears by moving the knife alternately left and right, left and right diagonally until all eggplant spears are cut.

In a medium to large stock pot with lid, fill with enough water and bring to boil.
Get a large stainless steel mixing bowl with cold water to get ready for blanching.
Dunk all cut eggplants into the hot boiling water.
Cover with lid to bring the water to boiling again
Uncover, Stir around to make sure that each eggplant got their share of the hot bath.
Turn off heat.  Quickly, use a straining ladle to transfer eggplants into the mixing bowl with cold water. Stir to make sure they are all cooled.  Strain as much water as possible.  5-10 min.  Set aside.

Stir Fry:   *cornstarch ready by mixing it with 1Tbsp of water.
Over Medium high heat (I have gas stove) - pre-heat the wok.  Add 2 Tbsp of oil into a pre-heated wok or pre-heated stainless steel frying pan or skillet.
        *Make sure the frying pan is pre-heated before adding cooking oil.  
Then, heat the oil for 30 sec.
       * Drop a single piece of garlic and see if it would sizzle in the oil.  Then, the oil is ready for cooking.
Add strained shrimps (somewhat dried, just make sure they are not dripping with water before adding to hot  wok with hot oil).  Add 1 tsp of chopped garlic.  Stir fry for 40 sec or till the shrimps change color 90% from translucent to solid.  Transfer the shrimp to a plate and set aside, but try to keep as much of the oil in the wok.
Return the wok over medium high heat. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil.
Add egg plants.  Stir to coat eggplants with oil.
Cover with lid and cook for 3 min.
Remove the lid and let the steam droplets drip back into the wok.
Check and see if the eggplants shows some 'browning'.
Flip each eggplant over to brown the other side.  Cover.  and cook for 3 min  *but do not go far and listen to the sound in the wok.
Uncover to check.  Add shrimps and all seasoning, except cornstarch slur.
Toss to mix all well.  Cook 1-1/2 min. to bring liquid to boil.
Add the cornstarch slur.   Toss lightly and frequently.  You will notice the sauce starts to bubble around the edges of the wok first.  Cook 1 more minute to make sure the sauce has thicken all around.
Remove from heat and transfer to a dish.
Serve hot with GENJIMAI (new specialty brown rice)
Serves 4

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Traditionally in summer, instead of UDON (hot style Japanese noodle soup), we enjoy HIYASHI SOBA, the cold noodle.  I sometimes use SOBA, sometimes SOMEN, and sometimes, Angel Hair PASTA.

Serves 4
1 package of SOMEN or SOBA (3 rolls)
2 eggs
1 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
1 Tb water
1/2 Tb vegetable oil
1 large cucumber or English cucumber
1/4 lb Ham

3 Tb Soysauce (Low sodium)
6 Tb Rice Vinegar
2 tsp+ Sugar to taste
2 Tb Sesame Oil

Prepare the SOMEN or SOBA as directed.   Rinse with \cool water.  Set Aside.
Beat 2 eggs with sugar and salt and water.   Visually divide the beaten eggs into 2 or 3 egg 'pancake' - 8" to 10" round (frying pan size).
Over medium low heat, fry the beaten egg to make thin egg 'pancake'.  If you have rectanglur frying pan, that is okay, too.  Flip the whole egg sheet over to brown the other side.
Transfer to a plate to cool completely.  Repeat with the rest of the beaten eggs.
Julian cut all cucumbers and ham.
Cut egg sheets into thin strips.

The sauce is suppose to taste sweet and tart salad dressing like.  Mix all sauce ingredients together, except sesame oil.  Add more or less sugar to taste. 
Arrange noodle in a plate.  Top cucumbers, ham strips, and egg strips.
Drizzle with Sesame Oil - no more than 1 to 1-1/2 tsp per plate (or it will taste bitter and greasy - what we want is the 'aroma' of sesame oil.)
Spoon the sauce over the noodle.  Enjoy.

Variation:  Slice bell peppers, add blanced bean sprouts, if you like.
I like to eat mine 60% cucumbers 35% noodle, 2.5% ham, 2.5% egg strips.  I also like to add a bit of NANAMITOGARASHI - Japanese ground 7 (seven) flavor Chili Pepper with the sauce.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


6/16/2010 Update - Status of the YAKI DANGO after 24 hours made with "glutinous rice flour" --"Bot Nep."  At 8th hours on 6/15, it still felt soft, but with a sign of rigid center. Tonight, 6/16, it is showing the solid rubber ball firmness all around.  To revive its freshness, reheat the YAKI DANGO in the microwave with loose microwaveable cover for 20 seconds & wait for 5 minutes to cool down.  At this point, you should refrigerate or just enjoy it.    *Never bite into glutinous rice cake or ball when it is steaming or hot to the touch.

So, the MITARASHI YAKI DANGO #2 had a very good result.  Now, it's the question of whether other "glutinous rice flour" could do the same.  Since I've purchase a several different brands and types of rice flour.  I thought I will give it a try.  As it is explained in other food blog websites, how the rice flour is processed and made make the difference.  As I do not have information on how this particular brand's glutinous rice flour is manufactured, the result would be unpredictable.  But, it has a picture of wonderful looking delicious Chinese pastry - "YUAN", equivalent to Japanese DANGO, why not give it a try. 
The same recipe from MITARASHI YAKI DANGO #2 from my food blog is used.
250 g + 60 g = Total 310 g of glutinous rice flour
250 ml of hot water
(Click on each image to view other Notations.)

I can already see the difference of this glutinous rice flour and SHIRATAMAKO.  While DANGO#2 recipe for flour to water ratio formed a firm rice ball, this one is rather soft.  So, I added 20 g more of rice flour at a time.  Total of 60 g more of glutinous rice flour. 
Knead, cut and roll into ropes and cut into 24 g pieces per DANGO ball or any other size that you prefer.  For children, I would cut it into smaller size.  24 g size is really quite large, but very satisfying size.
Because I boil them all at once in the same medium size pot with boiling water -- cook 5 minutes longer after they all float.  Stirring occasionally. (Remember to stir to release them off the bottom of the pot the first time you put them into the pot.)  The DANGO should be about time and half size larger than the original.

I sacrificed one of them and cut it open to make sure that it is cooked all the way through - translucent. 
Transfer them into a large bowl with water.
Stir a few times.  Strain.  Set them aside on a non-sticking baking pan.  Separate each one from each other.  Strand them on skewers.
Heat non-stick frying pan over medium low heat on 'small' burner head.
Place the skewered DANGO on the pan to cause browning.
In the previous blog, I pointed out roasting the DANGO over the open heat or using one of the handy Japanese over the stove BBQ grill like gadget, but non-stick pan would work just as well.  The down side is, you need to be careful not to use high heat with non-stick pan. 

Prepare the MITARE syrup per MITARASHI DANGO #2.  I decided to call it syrup because this is more like snack / pastry category... not like teriyaki sauce for meat group.... anyways.
Use a large spoon and pour, dip, roll the MITARE syrup over the beautifully browned YAKI DANGO.
How's the taste of this glutinous rice flour compared to the Japanese SHIRATAMAKO?  it's bit acidy.  I am not sure what it is, but glutinous rice flour from other brands from different parts of Asia seem to smell and taste acidy to me.  It's not a strong taste, but I know it's there.  Overall, if you cannot get hold of SHIRATAMAKO, I say go for it with this glutinous rice flour.  I ate 3 sticks before writing this blog.  :-)
Total yield:  23 balls - 3 DANGO in each stick; Total 7 MITARE YAKI DANGO; 24 g each DANGO;
2 extras for tester.
Still soft?  Yep!  It's been 3 hours since I made it.  & if it behaves the same as DANGO made with SHIRATAMAKO, it should remain soft even the next day.  Wrap individually in plastic wrap to store.
Visit this blog on YAKI DANGO #2 for the better retention and taste.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I used the other half of the SHIRATAMAKO (glutinous rice flour) left from making DAIFUKU MOCHI to make my favorite childhood treat - MITARASHI DANGO  I found this recipe at

Since I only had 1 Cup of SHIRATAMAKO left, it weighed 129 grams.  But I noticed the quantity of water is the same as the flour's, so I added 129 ml of hot water as well.

Serves 4
Tools:  1 small saucepan; 1 medium saucepan; measuring cups and scale. Large spoon; ladle;

a Bowl with water (room temp); plastic wrap; 4 short bamboo skewers, if you have any; Whisk; special Japanese style over the stove burner to brown the DANGO.

SHIRATAMKO 250 g   ("glutinous rice flour", but use Japanese "SHIRATAMAKO")
Hot water 250 ml

MITARE (sweet sauce for the DANGO)
Sugar 100 g
Soy sauce 50 ml
MIRIN   30 ml   (Japanese cooking wine)
Water 180 ml
Potato starch 20 g

You will be Kneading the dough, so make sure the water is not heated too hot to handle.

Heat water to medium hot.  Mix SHIRATAMAKO together with hot water (Not too hot)
Mix thoroughly.  (Double click on photos to read some particular notations.)
Transfer the dough mixture to a work surface.  Very sticky at the beginning, but keep mixing.  As the temperature cools and well mixed, it forms into a smooth ball.  
Roll into 1" diam rope.  Cut the rope into equal pieces.  For 1 Cup of SHIRATAMAKO, depending on the size of the rounds, it should yield 15, 1 inch rounds.
Roll the dough between your palms and form into balls.  In the meantime, boil a pot of water in a medium saucepan.  When ready, put rice balls in to cook - 2 to 3 min. 
Stir once to release the balls from the bottom of the pan. 
Then rice balls would float to the top.
Cook one more minute.
Transfer to bowl of water or right on top of sheet pan covered with KATAKURIKO - potato starch.  Or just let it cool in a bowl of water.
The ball should look translucent all around and in center.

Prepare the MITARE.
In a small saucepan, Mix sugar, soy sauce, MIRIN, water, potato starch together.
Cook over medium heat.  In the beginning the mixture would look pasty, but soon as it heats up, it starts to thicken and look translucent.  Continue to stir to keep from burning the sauce at the bottom.  Cook for one more minute.  It should look very sticky.
Remove from heat.
Arrange the DANGO balls on a short skewer stick.  Roll it in the MITARE to coat or spoon the MITARE over and around the DANGO, if the sauce has cooled and thickened.  


You can BBQ the DANGO on stick over open gas stove or over the special cooking rack to brown the DANGO.  Be aware that DANGO would seem to start to expand as it heats up.  Do not let it "Puff out".  Keep the stick rolling just to get a bit of browning.  Then, dip the MITARE SAUCE on and serve.

After the DANGO on sticks are cooled, wrap in plastic wrap to store.