Tag Archives: dinner

J’s Nasi Goreng – Indonesian Inspired Fried Rice

J's Nasi Goreng

Red curry paste is a great ingredient to have handy. It lasts practically forever in the fridge and is extremely versatile. I use it in many different recipes, including this one for my version of the famous Indonesian fried rice, Nasi Goreng. There are so many varieties of Nasi Goreng depending where you go and who’s making it.

I love this dish because it’s flavourful, aromatic, spicy, and it’s the perfect way to use up leftover vegetables. Throw in some bacon lardons or sausage, top with a fried egg, and you have yourself a delicious breakfast. So what are we waiting for? Let’s cook Nasi Goreng!

 

For the sauce, you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon of red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon kecap manis (sweet soy sauce, ABC brand is the best)
  • 1 teaspoon (or more to taste) sambal oelek (garlic chili paste)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

 

For the rest:

  • 2 – 3 cups of cold leftover rice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots or red onion
  • some vegetables (julienned carrots, mushrooms, etc)
  • some leftover meat (bacon lardons, sausage, bbq pork, prawns)
  • fresh cilantro or chopped green onion
  • lime wedges
  • a touch of salt

 

In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.

In a hot wok, add a couple tablespoons of oil. When it starts to smoke, add the garlic and shallot and fry for about 30 seconds. Add the rice and continue to cook, breaking up the clumps with your spatula. Cook for a minute or 2, before adding the sauce.

Once you add the sauce, continue to mix everything until the sauce is well distributed. At this point you can add your vegetables and meat (totally optional) and cook until they’re done.

Top with fresh chopped green onion or cilantro and squeeze some fresh lime juice over top just before serving.

Also, dont forget to top your nasi goreng with a sunny side up fried egg. There’s nothing like digging into that first bite with that lovely runny yolk. Enjoy!
What is your favourite rice dish?

Tonkatsudon

Tonkatsudon by The Aimless Cook

Tonkatsudon is another delicious style of Japanese donburi, or rice bowl meal. Very simply, it’s a crispy pork cutlet which is then simmered in a broth of soy, dashi and mirin til it becomes slightly sweet and savoury. Add thinly sliced onions and a beaten egg and you have a meal in a bowl that you can make anytime you’re feeling the craving for something Japanese. Have fun in the kitchen!

You will need:

  • 100ml dashi
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Mirin
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs, beaten (for cooking)
  • 2 pork chops, boneless
  • all purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten (for breading)
  • panko, or rice crispies
  • green onion, or furikake

Start by flattening the pork chops between 2 layers of kitchen wrap by pounding it with a mallet or a rolling pin. Dredge the chops in the flour, followed by a coating of egg, then a coating of panko or rice crispies. Set aside.

Combine the dashi, soy sauce, mirin and sugar in a small bowl or measuring cup and then mix until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat a few inches of oil in a pot to about 350F. You can test the oil by putting in a chopstick. If it starts to bubble from the bottom of the pot, then you’re good to go. Carefully place the pork cutlets into the oil and cook until golden brown on both sides. This should only take a couple minutes since the cutlets are thin. When they’re done, drain on a rack or on some kitchen paper then set aside.

In a 10 inch skillet on medium high heat, add the sliced onions and just enough of the sauce mixture to cover the bottom of the pan. Squeeze in the juice of ½ of the grated ginger and let simmer until the onions are start to turn soft.

Slice the cutlets into bite-sized strips and using a spatula, lay a cutlet carefully onto the simmering sauce and onions. Immediately pour on half a beaten egg and cover, letting simmer for about a minute. Take off the cover and pour on the remaining egg, letting set for about 30 seconds.

Carefully lay the contents of the pan onto a bowl of freshly steamed rice. Top with fresh chopped green onion or furikake. Now grab a pair of chopsticks and enjoy!

Have you ever had to make an ingredient substitution in the kitchen?

Thai Beef and Basil Stirfry – Thai Recipes

beef basil feature

This recipe for Thai Beef and Basil is incredibly quick to prepare and very tasty. The key to this dish is using the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on, so if you can’t find the Thai Holy basil, use your local basil, as it will bring some impressive aroma to your finished meal.

  • 250 g of beef, sliced skirt steak or ground
  • 1 red chili, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large chili sliced
  • 1 handful of green beans
  • canola oil for cooking

Start by pounding up a roughly chopped red chili pepper and 3 cloves of garlic in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of kosher salt til they release their oils and fragrance. The coarse grain of the salt will help season as well as provide some texture while you pound the chile and garlic.

Next, in a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon each of soy sauce, fish sauce and oyster sauce. Mix well and set aside.

In a wok or frying pan heat up 1 tablespoon of oil on high til it starts to smoke, then add the chilli garlic mix. Stir well for about a minute until it starts to smell really fragrant. Add 250g of sliced skirt steak and keep everything moving as you continue cooking for another minute. Next, add the sauce mixture and combine.

Next, stir in a handful of green beans (or long beans) and a sliced chili pepper. Finish off with adding 1 cup of fresh basil leaves. Mix to combine, then give a final taste. You shouldn’t need salt since you have fish sauce, but if it’s a little too spicy, balance it out with a touch of palm or brown sugar. When it’s tasting perfect, plate up on a fresh bed of steamed rice and top with a crisp fried egg if you have them.

IMG_2857

The skirt steak is much like the flank, but with a coarser fibre. When you slice it thinly across the grain, you will get a really tender stirfry meat that cooks very quickly. As for the basil, the purists will insist on using Holy basil which is a Thai variety. Since I live in Canada and there are so many great places here that make some incredibly fresh and fragrant basil, I’m using it. With simple dishes, the freshness of the ingredients is crucial. Go out to your local Farmers Market or community garden and make good use of the bounty that’s available for you. It’s simply a waste if you don’t. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

So my question of the day for you is: What are your favourite fresh herbs to cook with?

Easter Bunny Stew

This year, we made a tender and delicious Easter Bunny Stew. Using the tried and true method of slow braising, we made a succulent and delicious rabbit that I’m sure you are going to love. This Hasenpfeffer inspired recipe features the notes of red wine, fresh herbs and currant jelly to create this unforgettable Spring holiday meal.

You will need:

  • 3-4 pounds rabbit meat
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • Salt to season
  • ½ pound bacon
  • 2 shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 parsnips
  • 6-8 baby potatoes
  • 8-10 peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp currant jelly
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¾ tbsp rosemary
  • ¾ tbsp thyme
  • 300 ml dry red wine
  • 1-1.5L chicken stock
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar

For the gravy:

  •  3-4 tbsp all purpose flour
  •  3-4 tbsp butter
  •  ½ tbsp thyme
  •  Juice of half a lemon
  •  A few ladles of braising liquid

Take apart the rabbit, setting aside the legs and shoulder, which we’ll be using in the stew. Take the loin out as you can just sear that off with a little salt, pepper, lemon, and herb and that will be awesome by itself.

The meat might smell a little gamey, but if you brine it overnight (or at least a few hours) it’ll be alright. We brined ours in 4 litres of water, ½ cup salt, 10 peppercorns and a couple bay leaves.

When the brining is done, take it out and dry with kitchen towels. Take rabbit and lightly dredge in flour.

Heat a large pot or dutch oven on medium high heat and fry up ½ lb of chopped bacon to render out the fat. Remove the bacon, keeping the fat, and brown the rabbit pieces on both sides. When they’re browned, remove and set aside.

In that same pot, sautee 2 diced shallots, 3 cloves of minced garlic, a chopped medium onion, and a ¼ lb of bacon. When the onions are looking translucent, deglaze with 2 cups of dry red wine, then add 1.5 litres of chicken stock and a splash of cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, stir in 1 tablespoon of currant jelly, 10 whole peppercorns and ¾ of a tablespoon each of fresh thyme and rosemary. Submerge the rabbit in the liquid and add 2 or 3 chopped parsnips.

Cover and let simmer on medium heat for 1.5 – 2 hours or until rabbit is tender, almost falling off the bone. In the last half hour, add 6-8 baby potatoes, cover and continue to cook until they are fork tender. Remove rabbit and root veg for plating.

When the stew is done, make a roux by whisking a tablespoon of butter over medium high heat with some flour to make a paste. Cook that paste for a minute or two to give it a little colour, then add in some of the liquid from the stew. Combine with more thyme, season with salt and pepper and there’s your gravy.

Easter Bunny Stew

Plate the vegetables and put the rabbit on top. Spoon over some of that rich gravy and a dollop of sour cream. Serve and enjoy!

Oyakodon

Oyakodon is a great dish that is very easy to put together when you are craving some authentic Japanese food. Oyako means “mother and child” or in this case, the chicken and egg. I have had this dish before working in the restaurant, but it was always made in a large volume for a group of people. I prefer to prepare this dish in single servings. It turns out much better as you have much more control over the timing of the eggs. Let’s get started.

For the base, you will need:

  • 300 ml dashi
  • 150 ml mirin
  • 100 ml soy sauce
  • a dash of sake (optional)

With this base, you can adjust sweetness with a little sugar. If you have leftover, you can store in the fridge for a couple days.

You will also need:

  • 2 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Start with a small skillet (about 10 inches) and heat on med high. Add the chicken and onion, then ladle some of the base into the mixture. When it starts to boil, turn the heat down to med and cover. What you want to do is poach the meat, which won’t take long since its cut so small. After a couple minutes, take the cover off and pour half the egg over the chicken. Put the cover back on and cook for another minute. Now get yourself a bowl of steamed rice ready. After the minute is up, take off the lid and pour the remaining egg on the chicken. Remove from the heat and place on the bowl of rice finishing with some finely chopped green onion. Traditionally oyakodon is served in a lidded lacquered bowl. Once you serve, the lid is put immediately on the bowl and brought to the diner. The remaining egg cooks in the bowl through the residual heat. What you get is a fluffy and custard-like finish with the poached chicken which is just awesome. Enjoy this recipe and have fun in the kitchen!

Katsu Curry

There are 2 things I love when it comes to Japanese comfort food. That’s katsu and curry. Luckily for you, I will show you a recipe that includes both. That’s right, today’s recipe is Katsu Curry! Imagine, the crispy panko breaded goodness of a meaty pork cutlet complimented with subtle spiciness of a rich, creamy curry over freshly steamed rice. So get yourself ready to cook because we are about to get our hands sticky.

For this dish, you will need:

  • 2 boneless pork chops
  • 2 eggs
  • all-purpose flour
  • panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • canola oil for deep-frying

For the curry, you will need:

  • 1 block of Japanese curry mix
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 1/2 cups, water

Let’s start with the curry. Start by heating up a little oil in a pot and saute your onions. When your onions are done, put in the carrots and potatoes, some salt and pepper and the water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender.

Now onto the katsu! Prep your chops by cutting them thin. If you can get them cut by your butcher, then that’s great. After that, you’ll want to pound them to tenderize and make even thinner. This will ensure the katsu cook fast. Season the meat with salt and pepper and get ready to dredge!

How’s your curry? If the vegetables are done, break up the block of curry so it dissolves faster and pop it into the pot. Give it a stir to get the curry dissolving. In a couple of minutes, the curry will thicken and smell terrific. Add salt and pepper to taste, then turn the heat down to minimum. Your curry is done.

Back to dredging. Set up 3 plates from left to right with flour, beaten egg and panko. Take the cutlets and dip them in the flour, followed by the egg, then finally the panko. Now that your cutlets are breaded, prepare to deep fry by heating up a pot of canola oil to 350 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the oil by putting in a small piece of bread. If that bread turns golden brown in 60 seconds, you are where you want to be. Gently put the cutlets into the hot oil and cook until golden brown. It should cook fast since the pork is thin.

When your katsu is done, take them out of the oil and drain them on a plate of kitchen paper. Cut the katsu into bite-size strips and plate up next to some freshly steamed rice. Finally, ladle some of that curry onto the rice and katsu and you’re done!

Beef Mechado

There’s something to be said about comfort food that brings you that great feeling inside. You know, the feeling of being loved by your mom or grandmother or whoever cooked that particular dish for you in the first place. There are a few favourite Filipino dishes that were on the regular rotation at my house during my childhood and this is one of them. I’m talking about Beef Mechado.

Mechado is a Filipino beef stew with a tomato base. A touch of soy sauce and a little citrus from a slice of lemon give it a unique Filipino flavour. So, if you’re ready, let’s get cooking!

Ingredients for this dish:

  • 2 lbs of beef, cubed (make sure there’s a little fat marbling)
  • 2-3 Tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 2 or 3 carrots
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500ml beef stock or wine
First of all, heat up a nice big pot with a little oil and saute the garlic and onions ‘til they sweat out a bit. Once the onions are ready, add the beef and turn the heat on high to sear the meat. You want to brown the meat on all sides to seal in the juices. See the bottom of the pot…all those brown bits? That’s fond and it’s delicious. We’re gonna use that in a minute.
When the meat is browned you want to add your beef stock or wine while the pot is hot and scrape the fond off the bottom. This is called deglazing, in case you didn’t know. The fond that you coaxed off the bottom of the pot is pure flavour gold and is now part of your stew base. Now add the can of tomatoes and stir everything together until well blended. If the consistency is too thick, add more liquid. Now once it gets boiling again, turn the heat down to medium and put a cover on the pot. You want to let that simmer away until the meat is tender. Depending on the meat you have, it should take about an hour to an hour and a half.
When the meat is done and tender, add the soy sauce, bay leaves and the lemon slice. Also season with a little salt and pepper. Put in the potatoes and carrots and cover again, simmering until they are tender. Once the root vegetables are done, get yourself a nice plate of steamed rice and plate up because you’re about to get your eat on! Enjoy this great dish with some simple steamed vegetables or a nice salad. 
This recipe is dedicated to Naomi, an regular viewer and avid cook. Thanks, Naomi for watching and commenting and most importantly… keep having fun in the kitchen!

Improv Pasta

The Improv Pasta

This week’s edition of “A Cooking Video ” features my good friend, Miss Hands. She prepares a quick and delicious whole-wheat linguine with scallop tomato sauce and fresh basil. For this dinner, we used:

1 package – fresh Basil
1 yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 vine ripened tomatoes
200g, scallops, shrimp or whatever you have
1 Tbsp. butter
whole wheat linguine

Once you have the onions and garlic ready, the rest is pretty quick to put together. Seafood is great for fast meals since they take hardly any time to cook. So, watch the video, have fun in the kitchen and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thanks!

A Trip to the Sushi Bar

This video is from a recent trip to Sushi Bar Zipang in Calgary. In this edition, we enjoy some of our favorite washoku (Japanese food), including sushi. Why would we go to a sushi bar without having sushi, right? Recipes will return in October with video. Stay tuned!

Tabemono: A Gallery

I wanted to share with you all a gallery I have started on Flickr. It’s called, “Tabemono” which means, “food” in Japanese. Basically, its a photo gallery dedicated to things I have put into my stomach. I hope you take time and enjoy!