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Posts tagged “japanese

冷やし中華 Hiyashi Chuka

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冷やし中華 Hiyashi Chuka literally meaning “chilled Chinese” is a popular Japanese noodle dish which is normally enjoyed during the summer months. Well, we don’t have distinct seasons in Singapore so all the more better as that meant we get to enjoy it all year round!
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Rice Imports from Fukushima – A Cause for Concern?

I usually do not blog about anything else here apart from my travels and my food ventures, be it those I’d tried to eat or those I’d tried to cook. However, something in the recent news made me shiver in my bones, as it concerns two countries which I’m very closely related to, i.e Singapore where I am born, bred and call home, and Japan which I’d been to couple of times and increasingly growing fond of and attached to. Singapore will be importing rice from Fukushima, Japan very soon, following a complete lift of import restrictions on Japanese food items to the small island state since the Fukushima catastrophe in 2011. It didn’t occur to me that we are going to be getting rice from Fukushima until recent news dating just two days back in our local newspapers. Should this be of any concern, especially when many Singaporeans like me, are particularly fond of Japanese cuisine?

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日向夏柑の寒天ゼリー Hyuganatsu Kanten Jelly

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“Summer” is here again and for a tropical country like Singapore who knows no seasons, it is usually marked by unbearable heat waves, and hopefully late afternoon thunderstorms which help to dispel the heat for more tolerable nights, only to wake up to repeat this “daily cycle” all over again. While I loathe the heat, I love “summer” for several reasons and one of which is the coming of seasonal fruits we get only during this time of the year. Stone fruits take centre stage but not forgetting our lovely tropical mangoes and soon-to-come durians as well. One of my favorites is 日向夏柑 Hyuganatsu, a citrus from Miyazaki, Japan much loved for its refreshing sweet and sourish flavour combination. Amongst all the varieties of Japanese citrus available throughout the year from an assortment of different cultivars of Mikan to Yuzu, Kiyomi, Dekopon, Satsuma etc… Hyuganatsu is one which is particularly enjoyed to “welcome” the hot season, as the name of this citrus 夏 “natsu” literally means “summer” in Japanese. The Japanese love it and often present boxes of hyuganatsu as omiyage or gifts to friends, family and business associates whenever the fruits are in season. Though good to be eaten on its own, Hyuganatsu can also be used to make a variety of desserts, including the popular 日向夏柑の寒天ゼリー Hyuganatsu Kanten Jelly, which is so easy to make but incredibly enjoyable.

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Itadakimasu! – 揚げ出し豆腐 Agedashi Tofu

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My first walk-in dining experience for Japanese food was probably about 15 years ago. I was in national service then and there is “food court” located a stone’s throw away from my army camp. During the days when I had to stay up late in camp, my colleagues and I would drop by the food court for dinner. There was a small Japanese food deli within the food court and it was there, that I had my first donburi. Katsudon, oyakodon and gyudon are the usual culprits, and occasionally unadon when I was in the mood for something better. It was a time when sushi on conveyor belts had just landed in Singapore and the concept of Japanese food then was very new to most of us. The slurry-like half-cooked egg that robed the donburis, the melange of both sweet and savory flavours in teriyaki sauce were all very alien to me.  And then I encountered agedashi tofu. Tofu we eat a lot since young but to have it deep fried and then drenched with a broth, the textures were pretty interesting to start with!
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Itadakimasu! – 大根のそぼろに Daikon no Soboroni

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大根のそぼろに Daikon no Soboroni, like 肉じゃが Nikujaga , is another signature dish in Japanese home-styled cooking. Ironically like many such dishes, Daikon no soboroni is unfamiliar to many who are accustomed to relating Japanese cuisine to the dishes which are available in Japanese restaurants and delis, not places where one would readily find dishes of the Japanese home, especially in Singapore. But I love these dishes for their simplicity in technique, yet so full of おふくろの味 “flavours of the home”, just what one needs to warm the stomach and the heart after being so tired of eating out. It is extremely easy to prepare and takes very little time to do so.
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Itadakimasu! – 肉じゃが Nikujaga

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肉じゃが Nikujaga is a Japanese dish which I got to know only around 2 years back, during our trip to Kansai. Compared to many other popular dishes like agedashi tofu, ebi tempura and tori karaage, nikujaga came really late. I remembered that it was part of the 鰻丼定食 “unadon teishoku” which I’d ordered in a small family restaurant in downtown Kyoto. The original intentions then was to visit an old unadon restaurant which was reputably very good. We had some trouble locating the unadon speciality shop actually and when we finally gotten round to it, the prices for a decent meal there was prohibitive to say the least. Luckily, there was another family restaurant located just diagonally on the other side of the street which also served unadon. Prices for a set meal was only a fraction of what we would have paid at the other shop but we were famished, tired and in dire need to be fueled and watered. The Japanese restaurants we’d had so far have yet to disappoint us. Even the least motivating place we’d dined in was at least decent. So it was a family operated restaurant and that alone told us that it would be disappointing.
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Itadakimasu! – 桜餅の関東風 Kanto Style Sakuramochi

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I love 桜餅 sakuramochi and eat them whenever I could find them or find time to make them. And it has mostly been the Kansai version where 道明寺粉 domyoji-ko is used.  I love love love glutinous rice and enjoy practically everything that comes with it. So I always have a stash of domyoji-ko and pickled sakura leaves at home so that I can make them whenever a craving sets in. Oddly, I’d not made the Kanto version before despite enjoying them several times in Japan. So I guess its a good time to try!
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