Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I am quite hyped with the noodle experience last week, so I tried some of my own recipe.   And it turned out quite good.  Here is my photo journal of my SHOYU RAMEN.

 Almost all the Japanese RAMEN were sold as "package" deal, and could not find the fresh RAMEN all by itself.  I exchanged it with Fresh egg noodles (think cut).  This is usually the noodle you find in the wonton noodle soup.  But this would do, I thought.    Bring 6 cups of water to boil.  Add 1 TB of Bonita granules, 1/2 tsp of kosher salt, 1/4 tsp of WAKAME (dehydrated seaweed), 1 tsp of soy sauce.  Add various Japanese fish cakes, if you would like.  In my case, in the picture of the pot above, you see a "CHIKUWA" being cooked in the RAMEN soup base that I am making.
In a separate pot, bring water to boil.  I am improvising a deep fryer basket to hold my noodle during cooking.
Hard boil an egg for 12 min over medium high heat.  Stir the eggs around often.  Dump the hot water out and chill it under cold running water.  This will help in separating the egg shell easier.

Spread out the noodle carefully, artfully, and divide them into four.
Roll up the noodle and save the unused portions in a zip-lock bag and freeze them.
Add the noodle to the basket, and boil for 3 minutes.
Add the soup to a large serving bowl.
Bring up the noodle basket and allow to drain.
Transfer the cooked noodle into the serving bowl.
Garnish and serve with Japanese pickles or shredded dry seaweed or Japanese seven flavor chili powder - "SHICHIMI TOGARASHI."

SF Restaurant Adventure - DOJIMAYA Udon

DOJIMAYA Udon was right down the block from the Hilton SF Union Square on O'Farrell.  I was attracted by it because of the display.  There is something about the little beckoning kitty cat and all those realistic plastic dishes in the display case.  Just bring back the memories of our Sunday trip to ISETAN in Japan.  Anyways, there was a long line there as well.  Many Japanese were dining in there.  It must be good, right? 

I quickly noticed the bar counter, and I managed to get a seat quickly for myself.  I ordered the TERIYAKI Salmon and Tempura (not very creative and not my real favorite).  The guy next to me had a large bowl of NABE Udon.  It looked so good.  That's what I should have ordered.  But here is my dinner.  I was surprised by the tasty jumbo shrimps.  They were really jumbo.  Salmon tasted fresh, I enjoyed the meal.  But when they brought a bowl of rice, I thought, wow, they must be really busy.  I know this is a UDON ya-san, but it's a "Japanese" restaurant.  They are familiar with 'rice' and how to cook it.   I ate the rice reluctantly.  It was like the mushy rice that they scooped from the end of the bottom of the rice pot.  The next evening, it was a down pour in SF.  I was coming out the of the class very late, and don't know where to go for dinner so late, so, I decided to go back to DOJIMAYA  and ordered the same thing.  When they brought out the bowl of steamed rice, I knew then that they don't care.   That was disappointing.
Better rice next time.

SF Restaurant Adventure - KATANAYA Ramen

So, my friend wanted to try this KATANAYA Ramen.  We followed along, but it was so crowded and seating were tight that I decided to allow the four some to go that evening.  I visited it later on for lunch hour.  Luckily, the seating for one person is easy, anywhere.  Just go straight to the bar counter and have a seat.  So, that's what I did.  I was not sure what to order.  And luckily the young lady seating next to me was having a large bowl of noodle.  It almost looked like a NABE (pot) noodle.  So, I decided to have what she got - Spicy Beef Stew Ramen.  I am so amazed with the unison taste of the soup.  It was very well balanced and spiciness did not overtake the flavor but complimented it.  I really love it.  I have never eaten any other Ramen before, except the normal SHOYU ramen.  I was a happy camper.

SF Restaurant Adventure -Washington Bakery & Restaurant - Wonton MIEN

There is a bakery right above the Portsmouth Square parking garage.  Inside it is a restaurant.  It is one of mine and my father's favorite Wonton Mien joint.  http://www.washingtonbakerysf.com/en/index.htm   I had a chance to revisit it again.  Since it was getting closer to the Chinese New Year, a few places were selling the New Year Cake, too.
But as far as the true New Year celebration gala goes, I think I had more fun in Cholon, South Viet-Nam.  Red carpet fire crackers, acrobatic dancing lions everywhere dancing to the music of cymbals and drum beats, people greeting, and red money packets were everywhere as you turn to give New Year wish wells. Many many street vendors, selling their specialty snacks - yes, wonton noodle and street food are considered snacks or like dim-sum, unless you had your rice, my father use to say.   And all these went on with the war going on around them.  The coexistence of peace and war - that's a different story for a different blog.   However,  I enjoyed every bit of the wonton noodle and soup at this Washington Bakery & Restaurant.  733 Washington St, San Francisco, CA 94108.  You all must have your own favorite place, but this is it for me.
 Chinese New Year cake.  Wait till I try my hands on it!  (I did, and they turned out great.  I will post it a bit later.)

 Ahhh... the street car that I have not yet ventured onto!!!   One of this days....

Buttermilk Fried Chicken - Ad Hoc Style

Following the advice of Chef Thomas Keller in one of his cook book, I tried to make the Buttermilk Fried Chicken, again.  I highly recommend the "Ad Hoc" cookbook.  It contains many good tips and cooking methods that produce wonderful meals.  I wished I had the time to attend the cooking workshop on the very buttermilk fried chicken by Ad Hoc restaurant back in January, but I wasn't able to, so I thought I can do it at home and better this time.  With determination, I invested in good organic whole chicken.  The usual sanitation ritual of the sink and cooking area took place in my kitchen - just for the chicken to be welcomed.  Salted the chicken and trimmed it and washed it.  Prepared the Lemon Salt brine, and brined the chicken accordingly for 12 hours.  In the mean time, I thought about the skillet to fry the chicken in.  I recall the agony of controlling the temperature, and truthfully, if it were mama Murray to fry chicken, she doesn't need  any of the stuff I need to fry the chicken.  All she need is the iron skillet and oil.  But I don't have 'it', so... I decided to use my electric skillet with the temperature controller.  I am glad, I didn't donate this skillet, because it is without the Teflon coating.  It is plain aluminum electric skillet that can handle the frying temperature.  The coating to the chicken was quite simple -
A bowl of buttermilk
A bowl of flour with spices
A bowl of flour
The rest is in the grouping of the dark meat and frying the group according to the recipe.
And to my happiness, the chicken turned out golden brown and done.
The ingredients are the same ones I previously posted a couple of years ago.
6 C AP Flour
1/4 C garlic powder
1/4 C onion powder
1 TB plus 1 tsp paprika
1 TB plus 1 tsp cayenne
1 TB plus 1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Brine good for 10 lb of chicken, so if needed, cut the recipe into halves:
5 lemons, halved
24 bay leaves
1 bunch (4 ounces) flat-leaf parsley - I used half as much
1 bunch (1 ounce) thyme
1/2 C clover honey
1 head garlic, halved through the equator
1/4 C black peppercorns
2 C (10 oz) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
2 gallons water
Bring to boil and Boil them all together for 1 min in a pot that can fit into your refrigerator.  Cool completely and chill before using. 

Wipe dry and or air dry the chicken pieces before dredging.

*Note: Sprinkle the fried chicken with salt and turn skin side up to allow extra oil to drip off.
Frying time:
Thighs - 2 min - move around; fry 11 to 12 min until deep golden brown and cooked through
Drumsticks - the same as thighs

Breasts - 7 min or until golden brown.
Wings - 6 min or until golden brown

Serve the chicken by presenting the chicken at the dining table allowing to rest for 7 to 10 minutes before biting in.

I used my favorite Tupperware marinade container I had for many years.  I didn't have enough lemon, so I recruited Orange peels (without pith).
 The chicken pieces actually have the signs of "cooked" from the acidic brine.
 Mix the spices well with the flour.
 Since this skillet is about 3's deep, I was very careful to give some room for hot oil to balloon up. 
And here they are.  Delicious buttermilk fried chicken.  Moist and tender inside and crispy and tasty outside.
 And, What!! clean up??!!  So it is.  I use coffee filters to help me filter the oil.  I repeat it about two times.

SF Restaurant Adventure - ASHA

ASHA is one of the Thai restaurant that is very close to the SF Museum of Modern Arts in 3rd Street.  I would not have stepped in by myself, but with a group of friends who are restaurant foodies, I didn't mind tagging along.  Wow! the food were presented attractively and in a fair portion size.  Services are great.  I didn't have my Canon camera, so, I did my bests with my iPhone in a dim lit seating area.
What I really enjoyed the most and appreciated was the actual contrast in each dish's taste and ingredients used.  I have been to Thai restaurant where the vegetable ingredients in the fish dish is exactly the same one in the 'vegetarian' dish - how boring is that and a waste of our time.   I would like to visit ASHA again some day.

We were so full, it was difficult to stroll back to the hotel.