Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chicken Teriyaki Don (照り焼き丼) - (AFF - Japan #4)

I have special love over Chicken Teriyaki. Especially when I'm visiting Yoshinoya (吉野家) for a quick donburi when I'm hungry, I will definitely order Chicken Teriyaki-Don(照り焼き丼), and Gyūdon (牛丼) was my second choice. 

This recipe is absolutely fast, delicious and sexy looking kinda meal that you won't wanna miss!    

Don (丼) literally means "bowl", while Donburi means Japanese rice bowl dish, usually a bowl filled with rice, and topped with fish, or meat, or vegetables or other ingredients.

Donburi started to appear in the Edo era (江戸時代 Edo jidai - 1603-1867). The first donburi dish was Unadon (鰻丼) . Since the meal was very easy to prepare and taste good, it becomes very popular in such a short time. Dishes such as Oyakodon (親子丼), Tendon (天丼) and Gyūdon (牛丼) was later introduced and becomes popular donburi dishes after Meiji era (明治時代 Meiji-jidai - 1868-1912) in Japan.

If you've heard Yoshinoya's history before, in 1899, Eikichi Matsuda (松田栄吉) opened his 1st Yoshinoya (吉野家restaurant, featuring wholesome and delicious meals with the convenience of modern-day fast food. It was a new concept in Japanese culture back then and they serves their original Gyūdon, and it was an instant hit. 

Marinated chicken tights are broiled or grilled in the oven, then it is brushed with Teriyaki sauce, grill it again, and brush it with Teriyaki sauce again to give it a finishing. This cooking technique means yaki (焼き). The shine or luster sauce means teri (照り). And that's what Teriyaki (照り焼き).

Alan cooked Gyūdon for AFF. Do hop over to his blog to look at his awesome recipe. I wanted to cook Gyūdon initially, because that's Max request. But I have no luck in getting any good marbled beef slices. And so, I decided to cook Chicken Teriyaki-Don then.

Ingredients (Serves 2)
(Source : No Recipes with modification)
  • 230 grams Japanese Rice, preferably Koshihikari, cook it accordingly
  • 2 boneless chicken tights, skin on. Preferably fresh chicken. 
  • some par-boiled vegetables of your choice (Carrots, Brocolli, Cabbages, it's up to you)
  • some toasted sesame seeds for garnishing
Brine for marinating
  • 60ml Water
  • 1½ tbsp Japanese Soy Sauce
  • 1½ tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1½ tbsp Mirin (味醂
Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1½ tbsp Honey, preferably mild flavored (or Maltose)
  • 1½ tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1½ tbsp Mirin (味醂)
  • 1½ tbsp Sake (日本清酒)
  • 1½ tsp Ginger Juice or ½ tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1 tsp Corn Flour + 2 tbsp Water, to thicken the sauce (Optional)  
  1. Combine all brine ingredients into a ziploc bag. Add in the chicken tights. Press out the air and seal the bag. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours or more. 
  2. To make Teriyaki sauce - In a small saucepan, add all Teriyaki sauce ingredients and boil over medium heat until the sauce is glossy and slightly viscous. The sauce won't get thick, unless you thicken it with corn flour + water. It should take on a caramelized taste, but don't to burn it.
  3. When chicken is ready to grill, turn the broiler on and move the oven rack up to the upper position. Put a wire rack on a baking sheet or foil paper. Put the chicken tights skin side down onto the rack (so as to keep the meat elevated off the pan).
  4. Grill the chicken tight until brown, then flip to the skin side face up. Baste the skin side with Teriyaki sauce and continue to broil until the skin is golden brown.
  5. Take the chicken out of the oven, baste another layer of Teriyaki sauce, grill it again, until you see a few charred spots.
  6. Give the chicken one final baste with Teriyaki sauce, let the chicken rest for 3 to 5mins. Chop them into 4 pieces. 
  7. To serve - with an over-sized bowl, add a portion of japanese rice, a portion of Chicken Teriyaki, a portion of par-boiled vegetables. Drizzle with some extra Teriyaki sauce, topped with some toasted sesame seed and serve.

For those who doesn't know me in person, I'm actually allergic to Broccoli. Yes! You hear me! It's Broccoli! It may sounds like I'm just joking, but no. Broccoli  is a poisonous food. I love Broccoli, but hell! I can't eat em'. When my friend saw this photo, she asked "Ehh!! You eat BROCCOLI?! "....... Hahaha! Nope! I didn't! Those green freak are for Max only. 

Look at this chicken tights. It looked pretty good eh? Always remember to line foil paper at the bottom. It will makes your washing easier :)

I'm only cooking for two. So, it's pretty easy work. Japanese donburi usually served in over-sized rice bowl. For my case, I did the same. Guarantee gives 100% satisfaction with just one bowl of rice. Easy meal :)

Oh! My best Chicken Teriyaki Don recipe!!! Haha... I hope you like it. Do give it a try!

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 Oct 2013 : Japan, hosted by Alan from travelling-foodies 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sakuramochi (桜餅の関西風) - (AFF - Japan #3)

My 3rd Japanese dish post for Asian Food Fest.

When I saw Alan's Sakuramochi, I knew I really wanna make this. He brought me some pickled Sakura leaves and pickled Sakura blossoms from Japan earlier this year and I finally have the opportunity to use it.

Sakuramochi is one of the well known variety of Wagashi. This sweet pink mochi, filled with sweet red bean paste, and then wrapped with pickled sakura leaf and pickled sakura blossom.

The ingredients looked simple. But living in Singapore, I don't think it's easy to get. So, here's the shopping list for your reference :
  • For dōmyōji-ko, I get it from Meidi-Ya.
  • For sweet red bean paste, I conveniently used canned Hokkaido red bean paste, available at Meidi-Ya, or Isetan Scotts or Yamazaki convenient store at The Central. However, if you want to cook your own red bean paste, you can. Do refer to Alan's blog.
  • Pickled Sakura Leaves, I don't see any of them in Singapore. Alan got it for me from Japan.
  • Pickled Sakura Blossoms, Alan got it for me from Japan too. But I saw it at Ichiban Boshi Great World City outlet a week ago.  

This Sakuramochi is Kansai style, that uses dōmyōji-ko (道明寺粉) literally glutinous rice flour/grain in Japanese for this mochi. I got it from Meidi-Ya, and it's really expensive. I got this pack of dōmyōji-ko from Meidi-Ya, and it's really expensive. For a small pack of 150g, it cost S$7 odd. Fwoh!!! 

The pickled sakura leaves and pickled sakura blossoms from Japan.

This recipe makes 12 mochi's, but I make it 10 instead. Simply because the pack of pickled sakura leaves that Alan gave me, only contain 10 leaves. So... it's up to you. You want to make it 10 or make it 12? Up to you :) 

(Source : Alan's Sakuramochi)
  • 150g dōmyōji-ko (道明寺粉)
  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • 250g anko red bean paste (tsubushi’an or koshi’an)
  • 150g Warm water
  • Pink food coloring (I used Wilton pink)
  • 10 Pickled sakura leaves
  • 10 Pickled sakura blossoms
  1. Rinse dōmyōji-ko with water.
  2. To a shallow metal dish, add dōmyōji-ko  caster sugar and warm water. Stir well with a fork to dissolve sugar.The dōmyōji-ko should begin to reconstitute and start to get sticky and clumpy.
  3. Add a pinch of pink food coloring and mix thoroughly. You just need teeny weeny amount is required. Better to use less from the start and adjust subsequently than to make it all gaudy to a point beyond resuscitation.
  4. Spread out the dōmyōji-ko over metal dish and steam it at high heat for about 10 min or until the grains have completely soften, stirring the mixture periodically with a fork. Never use a spoon over hot and soft rice as it would invariably compress the grains, causing them to lose their structure.
  5. Let the cooked dōmyōji-ko cool down completely.

To assemble
  1. Soak the pickled sakura leaves and blossoms separately to remove excess brine and salt respectively. Pat dry with kitchen towel. Retain the soaking water for the pickled sakura leaves.
  2. When the dōmyōji-ko has cooled down, divide into 10 equal portions and roll into balls. Likewise, divide red bean paste into 10 equal portions and roll into balls
  3. Using the sakura leaves soaking water, moisten palms and fingers. Flatten a portion of dōmyōji-ko with either fingers of heel of the palm.
  4. Carefully place a ball of red bean paste in the centre of the flattened glutinous rice disc and work the side to seal it up carefully.
  5. Place the glutinous rice ball over the broader end of the sakura leaves and cover by pulling over the narrower pointed end.
  6. Embellish with pickled sakura blossoms.
  7. Repeat process until all the ingredients are used up. Remember to wet fingers and palms with soaking liquid as required.
  8. Serve immediately with Japanese tea.

The dōmyōji-ko is not easy to handle. If you are making this, you need to ensure that you are not adding excess water. Because the more water you add into the dōmyōji-ko, the softer your mochi would become. And so, it would be more difficult to handle. I won't wanna elaborate further on this. Do hop over to Alan's blog for more reference ok? :)


Max waiting patiently at the living room while I'm preparing Sakuramochi. He even asked me twice "Are you done yet?" After I finished making, I serve him the Sakuramochi, his face looked EXACTLY the same as this kitty!!!

(Photo Credit : Bits of Rock)

And he says "I don't like it wo" :(


Oh well, Max is getting old. He probably prefer some traditional food. Such traditional Japanese Wagashi is pretty new to him. I'm not surprised. But all in all, it is a good experience making this Sakuramochi. Thanks to Alan for the guidance :)

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 Oct 2013 : Japan, hosted by Alan from travelling-foodies 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Taiyaki (鯛焼き) - (AFF - Japan #2)

I'm having crazy schedule this month. But despite such, I very much wanted to support AFF, especially Alan is hosting the 1st AFF, which is Japan month.

I can't afford to come up with any complicated Japanese dishes for now, and my heart for cooking and baking is not deteriorating. Please don't worry.

I come up with this Japanese fish-shaped cake called Taiyaki  (鯛焼き), one of the Japanese favorite street snack, traditionally filled with red bean paste made with sweetened azuki beans. Of course there are other types of fillings sold commercially in modern days, that includes custard, chocolate, cheese, sweet potatoes, or even sausage fillings. However, I'd prefer the common filling for it's originality.

Taiyaki is made using regular pancake or waffle batter. I love using Morinaga pancake mix during normal days. But for AFF Japan, I tried doing it from scratch this time, following this recipe.

(Source : Eugenie Kitchen, with modification)

  • 120g Cake Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 large Egg
  • 55g Granulated Sugar
  • 180ml Fresh Milk, but I'd seriously think 100ml is enough
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 can of Sweetened whole red bean paste, or anko (餡子), that's about 200g
  • Vegetable oil for cooking

Note : With 180ml Milk, the batter is really too watery. I'd highly recommend to reduce into 100ml. In my opinion, this 180ml ratio is not right. And silly me... I follow it blindly :(


  1. Sift cake flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder, set aside. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, crack eggs, granulated sugar and milk. Whisk until combined. 
  3. Preheat the taiyaki pan under low low heat. Really really low heat. 
  4. Pour flour mixture into wet mixture and fold until homogeneously mixed. I rest the batter for 30mins before using it. I think this helps the batter to give better result in texture.  
  5. Brush the taiyaki pan with vegetable oil. 
  6. Fill the mold half full with batter. Spoon 1 tablespoon of sweet red bean paste, and then pour the batter in the mold until it is full. Close the pan and turn it over. 
  7. Cook for 1 minute, turn the pan over, cook for another minute. 
  8. Turn the pan over again, cook for another 2 minutes, and then another 2 minutes on the other side. That's total of 3 minutes for each side. But be careful, your fire control might be different from mine. Do check the fish, so as not to burnt it. As long as the fish is cooked on both sides until golden brown, it is fine.  

It's pretty easy. Just batter, and a can of sweetened red bean. You could cook your own red bean paste of course, but for me, I won't want to do that, since I'm only making a few pieces of fish :)

Fill the mold half full with batter. Spoon 1 tablespoon of sweet red bean paste, and then pour the batter in the mold until it is full.

I got the Taiyaki pan from Meidi-Ya a year ago. But they don't have stock all the time. It's seasonal. You could call them to check if they have stock or not before you make a trip there. My friend told me, sometimes Giant do bring in stock too. But again, it's seasonal stuff :)

Look at my Taiyaki. I'm pretty generous with the filling.

Because the batter is too runny, the result of the fish skin looked really thin, which I'd prefer it to be thicker (just like the time when I use Morinaga pancake mix), so as the fish shape could look better in overall.

As you could see, the fish stomach is will deflate due to the runny batter that couldn't hold it's shape well.

It takes abit of practice to get the tactic and the fire control right. Your first Taiyaki might not achieve even color. However, once you manage the fire control (really low fire), it would be fine.

I do feels irritated when I made my first batch last time, because it is either the filling kept sticking out of the fish or I'm too greedy with the batter. But slowly, I master it. This batch of Taiyaki is not the perfect batch. Compared to the usual one's that I made (using Morinaga), I don't feel impressed with the result. Although the recipe doesn't 'wow-ed' me, still, I think it is good to blog about it, so as to share with fellow readers the difference in batter ratio as part of the learning and sharing of experience :)

Now that I've tried, experienced the Taiyaki making from scratch using the said online recipe above. My conclusion is that, it is a good experience. But I'd still personally prefer Morinaga pancake mix. It gives the closest texture to the shop-bought Taiyaki that I had in Japan back then. Even Wikipedia mentioned that Taiyaki is made using regular pancake or waffle batter. Hence, a lazy person like me, would prefer pancake premix for better result and hassle-free job :)

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 Oct 2013 : Japan, hosted by Alan from travelling-foodies 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Kurigohan / Japanese Chestnut Rice (栗ご飯) - (AFF - Japan #1)

Malaysian Food Fest (MFF) has ended last month, and Asian Food Fest (AFF) kicked in this month. If time allows, I will definitely give my full support to Asian Food Fest.

In October, fresh chestnuts appear in Japanese market, and Kurigohan (栗ご飯) is one of the way to enjoy Chestnuts. It's autumn now, and this steaming hot bowlful of kurigohan is perfect autumn flavors that made my kitchen smells really great! :)

Kuri means Chestnuts in Japanese. Today I'm gonna introduce you this popular Japanese autumn dish. Autumn is Kuri's season. And this probably explains why this dish is so popular in Japan. It is simple home cooking, basically a flavored steamed rice with chestnuts. Japanese home cooked food is all about cooking with what's in season, and it can be cooked in a variety ways.

I had been wanting to cook this for the longest time. But I have always no luck in getting Japanese Kuri at Japanese store because Japanese kuri only appears somewhere autumn. Disappointing. So, one fine day (that's few months ago), I saw some nice chestnuts from the wet market. Having fresh chestnuts selling at the wet market is not common here. I can't help but to buy first, and think later. No Japanese chestnuts, normal chestnuts also good la :)

(Recipe Source :, with slight modification)
  • 420g or 2 cups Japanese Rice. Preferably Koshihikari
  • 52g or 1/4 cups Glutinous Rice
  • 20pcs Small Chestnuts / Kuri
  • 1 pc Dried Konbu
  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Mirin
  • 1 tbsp Sake
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 583ml or 2 2/3 cup Water
Garnishing option
  • Some black sesame seeds
  • Some spring onions
  1. Soak kuri in hot water for about 30 minutes. Crack open the chestnuts and discard the shells. Soak peeled chestnuts in hot water for another 10 minutes. Drain the chestnut in a colander.
  2. Wash and soak dried konbu for 10mins or until the konbu is soft. 
  3. Wash rice till water turns clear and soak the rice in room temperature water for 30 minutes and then drain it in a colander. The preparation is just like how you usually cook Japanese rice. Not difficult.
  4. Put rice, water, soy sauce, mirin, soft konbu, sugar and sake in a rice cooker. Lightly mix them. Place chestnuts on top and start cooking. 
  5. When rice is cooked, keep the rice warm in the rice cooker for about 10 minutes before opening the lid. Garnish and serve.
If you have all the ingredients ready, it's really easy to make Kurigohan at home.

The rice is cooked with chestnut, sake, mirin, soya sauce, konbu and abit of sugar. I used my mighty Zojirushi rice cooker to do the work. It cooks up perfectly! This is total life-saver for me. If you don't have one, go get it. Immediately!

As the rice is cooking, you'll start to smell a heavenly nutty aroma. At that moment, I start to understand why this dish is such a popular dish during chestnut season in Japan.

The existence of konbu and soy sauce makes the rice really umami. A pinch of sugar is to add a touch to bring out the flavor of the chestnuts and to contrast the salty soy flavor. Yumms~!!!

Chewing the soft and bouncy rice grain texture, taking that bite of soft and nutty chestnut is an incredibly satisfying and comforting moment. Look at the nice color. Isn't it beautiful?

I definitely will cook this again. I love it! :)

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 Oct 2013 : Japan, hosted by Alan from travelling-foodies