Japanese Miso Soba

Japanese Shinshu Shiro Miso paste

I was torn in between choosing the Japanese or the Korean miso paste. The latter deemed to be more economical. The Korean miso comes in a tube of 400g vs. the Japanese miso, in plastic packet with 250g.  Paying the same price, it will be no brainer to opt for the Korean miso. Being the only stock left on shelf and with shorter expiry date, I ended up buying the Japanese Shinshu Shiro Miso

Honestly, I did not have high expectation with Shinshu Shiro Miso as I felt I had paid a premium price for it. That is the typical thought of a consumer. The Shinshu Shiro Miso did not disappoint me at all as it is indeed higher in quality and definitely worth the value. The paste are compact and fine, with very pleasant fermented bean paste aroma. It dissolve easily and form a great miso taste to the soup which comparable to Japanese restaurants standard.
Hikari Miso

Sharing in the post is the miso soba I made with Shinshu Shiro Miso paste.

Ingredients
Soba noodles
1 tbsp miso paste
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 chicken cube
400ml water
sesame seed
seaweed
soft-boiled egg
scallion (chopped)

Directions
Soba
1. Cook the soba in boiling water, follow the time prescribed on the noodle package.
2. Drained the soba and transfer them into cold water.
3. Using your hand to wash off the excess starch and set the soba aside for later use.

Miso Soup
4. Heat up 400ml water in a pot and add in 1/2 of the chicken cube.
(Alternatively, you can use homemade chicken broth or dashi stock)
5. Using a strainer and a spoon, slowly dissolve the miso paste in the chicken soup.
6. Mix sesame oil, sugar and soy sauce in the serving bowl and pour in the miso soup
7. Add in the soba noodles and soft-boiled egg
8. Garnish the miso soba noodles with seaweed, chopped scallions and sesame seeds.

The miso soba tasted insanely good with all the garnishing ingredients. It is definitely a MUST to have all them in. Not to forget the magical sesame oil too as it really does a wonder to the soup with merely a few drops.

I love the creamy egg yolk of my soft-boiled egg. What a satisfying meal in the rainy and cold boxing day.


Paleis Het Loo Cafe

Het Loo Palace, The Netherlands

The weather was quite pleasant in the morning when I toured around the garden in Appledon palace. It started to drizzle in the afternoon and I decided to stop by the cafe for a cup of hot chocolate while waiting for the rain the stop. 
Het Loo Palace, The Netherlands

The Renaissance style surrounding of the cafe induced me to stay a bit longer as it was way too pleasant, plus I have gotten a window seat! 
Het Loo Palace, The Netherlands

Cakes and sandwiches sold in the cafe looked extra appealing here. Perhaps I was in good mood and was totally not being impacted with the weather. I ordered a slice of apple tart, an open sandwich with shrimps and cream fresh.
Paleis Het Loo Restaurants

I was blown away by the apple tart. The crust and filling was super delicious. The apple chucks were well baked with crust at the outer layer, moist and soft inside. The cinnamon taste is just right, not over powering the freshness of the apple chucks. It was indeed a thumb up for me as it suited my taste bud perfectly as it was not overly sweet.
Het Loo Palace Restaurant (Paleis Het Loo)

Despite the great look, the savory shrimps open-face sandwich did not wow me. The bread turned a bit soggy which I suspected it was in the shelf for quite sometimes and the moisture from the shrimps and creams has soaked up into the bread. Perhaps I should have requested the counter to heat up the bread in the oven for a few minutes before serving.
Paleis Het Loo (Het Loo Palace Restaurant)

The hot chocolate and apple tart did make my day. The rain started to stop and I have almost done with my afternoon tea. I did a quick tour around the garden in front of the cafe. The surrounding was breathtaking with flowers and fruit trees blossom in full. After a few photo snapped, I then walked to the nearer bus stop and headed back home. 
Paleis Het Loo, The Netherlands (Het Loo Palace Restaurant)

Paleis Het Loo, The Netherlands


Loco Moco - Juicy Hamburger Steak

Juicy hamburger steak served with steaming white rice and flavorful brown gravy is a popular dish in Japanese fusion restaurants. It is known as "Loco Moco". Because it is a rice dish, many may mistaken it as a Japanese cuisine, in fact LM is actually originated from Hawaii.

Yeah, today I am making a Hawaii dish - Loco Moco!!I have a pack of minced pork seated in the fridge. Since I've ran out of the ready-made gyoza wrap, and I am going to attempt on the homemade LM.

No fancy ingredients required and majority of the ingredients used (dry and wet) are those commonly found in the pantry. Roll your sleeves up and let's get started.


Ingredients
400g ground pork
1 large onion (finely chopped)
6 slices of graham cracker (crushed)
1 egg
1 tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
cooking oil

Sauce (mushroom gravy)
100g button mushrooms (thinly sliced)
300ml chicken stock
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce or ABC sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Corn starch solution (1tbsp corn starch and 1 tbsp water)

Directions
Gravy

1. Heat up cooking oil in the pan and saute the onion until translucent. Dish out half of the onion for later use.
2. Add in the mushrooms to the pan and saute with the onion.
3. Once mushrooms turn soft, add in the chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, pepper and salt.
4. Bring to boil and pour in the corn starch solution to thicken the gravy.

Burger Patties
5. In a bowl, add the minced pork, sauteed onion (set aside earlier), graham cracker crust, egg, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well until everything combine.
6. Shape the mixture into 6 even size patties.
(Tips: Rest the patties in the fridge for 30 min for the shape to set)
7. Pan-fried the patties with some cooking oil over medium heat, for 5 min.
8. Flip over and pan fry another side for 3-5 min till both side turn nicely brown.

Top the burger patties on the steaming white rice. Drizzle generous brown mushroom gravy at the side. Complete the dish with the signature sunny-side-up egg. Voila, there you go the homemade LM! Delish!!

Japanese Inspired Cabbage Pancake

Okonomiyaki

The weather had been less cheering for the past few weeks especially when the cold winter starts. I really long for a bright sunshine weekend. Oh ya, the long waited bright sunny Saturday morning is finally here again. I feel super fresh in the morning and decided to make a hearty breakfast to start the day. And ... I am making myself my all-time-favourite yet healthy cabbage pancake.

It is a simple to make yet filling breakfast and the ingredients are very basic, merely cabbage, egg, plain flour and seasonings.

(serving for 2 person)
Ingredients
100g cabbage (shredded)
2 hotdog (thinly sliced)
cooking oil
scallion (optional)
Siracha chili sauce (optional)

Batter
2 eggs
1 cup of plain flour
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp sugar
pepper to taste
water

Direction

1. Combine all the batter ingredients into a mixing bowl.
2. Add-in the shredded cabbage, hotdog slices and mix everything well.
3. Heat-up some cooking oil in the skillet and pour in the mixture and form a round shape.
4. Pan-fry for 5 minutes over medium high heat.
5. Flip over the pancake, pan-fry for 2-3 min till both sides turned golden brown.

Top the cabbage pancakes with your favorite sauce. For more vibrant color, garnish the pancake with chopped scallion. I top my cabbage pancake with sriracha sauce for extra kick.

You may turn the humble cabbage pancake into Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake) by adding the Okonomiyaki sauce, mayo and bonito flakes on top of the pancake. For a more luxurious version, you may also substitute the hotdog with bacon or seafood.

Japanese savory pancake

Spam Luncheon Meat Fried Rice


We were so lucky to have Rong cooked for us her signature fried rice before she headed back to China for the winter break. The fried rice she made reminded me the taste of typical fried rice I had in China before, spicy, oily and full of flavors. Of course the homemade style is the healthier version where the salt and oil are kept to moderation.

The ingredients used in the fried rice are mostly sourced from China for example hot pepper corn, home-grind 5-spice powder, dried pickle vegetable and more.

I craved for fried rice and decided to make some. Regardless of how much I tried to replicate the chinese style by Rong, I simply do not have the right ingredients for it. So I ended up making the simple to made yet delicious spam fried rice instead.

Ingredients
1 bowl of cooked plain rice
1/2 tin of spam (cut into cubes)
1 tin of sweet corn
2 eggs (beaten)
1 big onion (finely chopped)
2 stalks of scallion (chopped)
2 tbsp of light soy sauce
1 tbsp of ABC sauce
Cooking oil
Sugar
Pepper and salt to taste

Direction
1. In a heated pan, stir fry the spam cubes til lightly brown. Set aside for later used
2. Make scramble egg. Use spatula to break the scramble eggs to smaller pieces. Set aside for later used.
3. In the same pan, heat up some cooking oil and stir fry the finely chopped onion until they turn aroma.
4. Add in the rice, follow by the soy sauce, ABC sauce, sugar, salt and pepper.
5. Stir well till all the rice has been coated with the sauce.
6. Add in the remaining ingredients (sweet corn, spam cubes, chopped scallion and scramble eggs pieces) and stir fry for 1 minutes.

Scallions will turn soft and brown fast in heat. Hence, best to do a quick stir and dish out the fast, so you will get fresh and appealing looking fried rice with vibrant colors.

I might not make the spicy and flavorful fried rice like Rong, but I am very happy with my spam fried rice. Such a comfort food yet easy to prepare.

Tips
Preferable to used over-night rice for the fried rice as they will not easily clump together because of less moisture.

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