Tag Archives: japanese

Matcha Pudding

matcha-pudding-Melissa-Iwai-2017

Recently, we received lovely birthday cards from my friend, Tomoko, who lives in Japan. I met her at the Prefectural Offices of Iwate where I used to work when I was in the JET Program from 1989-1991!

Since 1987, the JET Program has sent over 60,000 people from different countries to work in Japan (mainly as teachers). I’m so happy for and proud of my nephew, Nick, who recently was accepted into the program and will be teaching English in Kyoto starting this fall! I made so many lifelong friends during my experience there, as I’m sure he will! For more information on JET, click here.

In her card, Tomoko mentioned that she hadn’t seen me for awhile here, and she was worried! (I’m sorry, Tomoko!) As some of you may know, I’ve been dealing with an arm injury from last fall. I’m almost back to normal, but I’m so behind in work, I’m just trying to catch up and keep afloat! I recently wrote a long post on my website about how I tore my elbow tendons and what I’m doing to heal…

Long story short, for months, I couldn’t do much with my right hand, including work. But it was difficult to do basic things like open doors, and type, and use my phone. The camera I use for this cooking blog is a large Canon with a flash, and I wasn’t able to use it without stressing my arm. (The last post I did, I used photos taken with my phone, but they aren’t that great…!) Thus, the extended hiatus…

My son is now on summer break, and one of our at-home projects is for him to learn the Japanese syllabary (hiragana and katakana) and some Kanji by the time he starts his first Japanese class in the fall. Right now, we are just working on recognition and pronunciation. Later we’ll focus on writing. I’m also teaching him some simple Japanese using Japanese children’s books (they are so great because they are written in all hiragana, using simple vocabulary!) And we are enjoying this cool series on Netflix, called Japanese Style Originator, which we love!! It’s all about food, culture, and craftsmanship in Japan. Recently we saw a dessert in an episode about sushi that inspired him to request that we make Matcha Pudding together.

I found a great recipe for a gelatin based one at washoku.guide which will, unfortunately be taken down on the 29th! I was so sad to discover this site right as it’s about to disappear forever. There are so many wonderful Japanese recipes there! Go visit if you can before the 29th!

To make this easy pudding, all you do is dissolve 5 g of unflavored gelatin in water. Heat the milk in the microwave. Then add matcha powder and sugar and the gelatin and stir until dissolved.  Pour into dishes and chill.

The next time we make this, I will instead dissolve the sifted matcha powder in a bit of hot milk first. Then when it is completely dissolved, I will mix it with the rest of the milk. We were in such a hurry this time, we dumped everything in all at once, and it was a bit clumpy.

This is what it looks like after chilling:

matcha-in-ramekin-Melissa-Iwai2017

I traced the edges with a sharp knife and then set the ramekin of pudding in a bowl of steaming hot water for about 15 seconds. Then I covered it with a dish and turned over to remove and invert the jiggly mass of goodness.

matcha-pudding-2

Our pudding doesn’t have a smooth jade-like top because we didn’t mix the matcha well enough. But it was still soooooo good! I used Jade Leaf Matcha, and the flavor was exquisite. If you love matcha as we do, you will love this easy pudding!

Matcha Pudding (From washoku.guide with some alterations):

5 g unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons water

300 ml milk

1-2 tablespoon matcha powder

50g sugar

 

  1. Dissolve gelatin in a small dish with the water.
  2. Heat the milk in the microwave for about two minutes.
  3. Sift the matcha into another small dish. Add about a tablespoon of the hot milk into the matcha, whisking continuously until completely dissolved. Then add this mixture to the rest of the milk.
  4. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  5. Transfer mixture to three small ramekins. Chill overnight until firm.
  6. To serve, run a sharp knife around edge of pudding to loosen. Set ramekin in a larger bowl of very hot water for about 15 seconds. Then cover with a serving dish and invert pudding on top of it.

Makes three servings.

emptymatcha

After inverting…. 

 

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Chicken Katsu

chicken katsu

My mom is here visiting again!  When she arrived from a day of traveling, I served Chicken Katsu for dinner (with rice, miso soup, and miso green beans – not a low sodium meal!).  It was comfort food Japanese style.  When I lived in Japan, this was a favorite dish to order at a mom and pop type of restaurant –the equivalent of a nice, hot diner meal here in the U.S.

Basically Chicken Katsu is breaded chicken served with a Japanese savory sauce made up of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.

I like to trim the chicken breasts to make them thinner using kitchen shears.  Then I pound them to an even thickness in a Ziploc bag.

cooked

 

To bread, I simply coat in flour, then egg, then panko (Japanese bread crumbs).

breaded

Then, I fry them up in a skillet and keep warm in the oven while I continue to cook all the chicken pieces.

chicken katsu

Slice the chicken into strips at a diagonal and serve with sauce and hot rice!  Perfect comfort food. 🙂

Chicken Katsu

 

4 chicken breasts

kosher salt

½ cup flour

2 eggs or 1 egg + 1 white, beaten

1 ½ cups panko

about 1/3 cup canola oil for frying

 

¼ cup ketchup

1 ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

 

  1. Trim tenderloin from chicken breasts. Place breasts and tenderloin pieces in a large Ziploc bag and lightly pound until each piece of chicken is uniform thickness, about 1/4 –inch.
  2. Measure flour and place in shallow dish. Beat eggs in another shallow dish. Measure panko and place in third shallow dish.
  3. Pat chicken dry, place on plate and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt.
  4. Dredge a piece of chicken in flour. Coat in egg. Coat in panko. Set on clean plate. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
  5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
  6. Heat a large skillet with about 1/3 cup canola oil. Test with a few crumbs of panko. When it sizzles, the oil is ready.
  7. Place a few pieces of the coated chicken in the oil being careful not to crowd the pan. Saute on each side until golden, about 1-2 minutes per side. Drain on rack set over a baking sheet. Place chicken in warmed oven and continue to cook remaining chicken in skillet.
  8. To make sauce, stir ketchup and Worcestershire sauce together until fully combined. Serve with chicken.

 

Yield: 4 servings

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Chicken Karaage

karaage chicken 2

Chicken Karaage (pronounced approximately: kada ahgE) is basically Fried Chicken, Japanese style. It’s often found in dinner “sets” in restaurants along with miso and salad, and in bento lunches in Hawaii and Japan.

I had never made Chicken Karaage until last week when my mom was in town celebrating her 83rd birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

We had planned to grill chicken our favorite way — and make Huli Huli Chicken. But alas, Mother Nature wasn’t be cooperative. I had already marinated 5 pounds of chicken thighs and I wasn’t about to not cook it for my mom’s celebration.  I remembered that the nice guy, Eric, who had given me the Huli Huli Chicken recipe, had told me he cooks it by dredging in corn starch or flour and frying it.  So I decided to give it a try.  I skinned the marinated chicken and cut into 1-inch pieces.  I tossed it in flour because I was out of corn starch.  The traditional way is to use potato starch if you have it.  I then fried it in a skillet in about 1/2-inch to 1-inch of oil.  You could also easily deep fry it.

The chicken was superb!  You would think that marinating for 24 hours would be overkill, but it is perfect.  The lightly fried chicken was tasty and had a thin delicate crust.  I served  it with hot white rice and Miso Green Beans.  My mom loves when I cook for her rather than going out, so I was happy to be able to pull it together even though it wasn’t exactly what we had planned.

Have you ever had Chicken Karaage in a Japanese restaurant?  Try it out — or better yet — make it yourself! 🙂

karaage chicken 3

Chicken Karaage

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sake

10 slices ginger

5 large garlic cloves, smashed

1 tablespoon sesame oil

4-5 lbs. chicken thighs, de-boned, skin on

About 1 cup of flour, corn starch, or potato flour

1.  Mix soy, sugar, vinegar, sake, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil together until sugar dissolves.   Marinate chicken in mixture for 24 hours in refrigerator, turning once or twice.

2.  When ready to cook, skin chicken thighs and chop into 1-inch pieces.  Toss in flour until completely coated.

3.  Heat about 1 inch oil in skillet (or more if deep frying).  Fry chicken on each side for about 2 minutes each or until golden brown.  Drain on a rack over a baking sheet.  Serve immediately.

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