Archive for April, 2013

Mushroom spaghettini


Looks lovely, eh?

This was one of Yusuke’s weekend pasta creations.

The pasta of choice was spaghettini, imported from Italy, acquired from an Italian grocery. He cooked it to a perfect al dente.

To prepare the veggies, Yusuke started with TONS of garlic, to which he added four or so sliced portobello mushrooms and diced cherry tomatoes. Mid-way through the saute procedure, he sprinkled a tablespoon of sesame seeds into the mix.

At the end, he added the cooked pasta and tossed everything together. Last, raw green onions were added to the top!

He speculated that perhaps Italians wouldn’t recognize this as an Italian dish; instead, it’s definitely wafuu pasta—that is, Japanese style!

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Koyadoufu scramble


I wrote about koyadofu (or koyadoufu or こうやどうふ) a while back—it’s dried tofu that can be re-hydrated.

We recently found some koyadofu at an Asian market and snatched it up.

To use this miraculous food, first soak the blocks in water for about 10-20 seconds, then gently squeeze out the water.

Here, Yusuke again combined it, cubed, with eggs.

He also included a leafy Chinese green in the scramble. I’m not 100% sure of the species, but I believe it is tsoi (or choy) sim (or sum). We frequently see it in grocery markets here, and it’s often one of the cheapest greens. The taste is similar to boy choy, but a bit heartier, like spinach. [Ergo, I tagged this post with both, because either could be substituted.]

Yusuke cooked the greens, koyadofu, and eggs in a frying pan, and then added tsuyu (soba sauce). (You can make your own tsuyu with soy sauce, mirin, and dashi.)

Typical Japanese!

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Shown with my hand for comparison

Shown with my hand for comparison

I occasionally see the term aubergine here in Australia, but usually “eggplants” are eggfruits in grocery stores.

The other day, we came across a magnificent variegated globe (?) eggfruit in an Italian-owned grocery store. We were wary that it might prove to be full of seeds, but hurray! it was nearly seedless, smooth, and soft. Perhaps it was genetically modified…but it did indeed turn out to be tasty.

Yusuke prepared two dishes out of the large fruit.


For the first dish, shown above and below, he steamed large horizontal cross-section slices in olive oil and cooking sake. He added the liquid and then covered the pan with a lid to let the steaming magic happen.

He served the slices topped with chopped raw tomatoes and green onions. I also added raw baby spinach to mine. Delectable.


For the second dish, Yusuke cubed the eggfruit and made a spicy dish, sauteeing it with

  • sesame oil
  • dashi powder
  • sea salt
  • shichimi togarashi (Japanese mixed chili powder)

Absolutely fantastic texture, very delicious.


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Sweet potato soba


Our fridge was nearly bare, but Yusuke pulled together a very tasty dinner nonetheless.

The main preparatory work involved making sweet potato tempura. He peeled the potato, cubed it, and coated it in katakuriko (Japanese potato starch), and then fried the pieces in canola oil.

Meanwhile, he hard boiled a couple of eggs and chopped up green onions.

The last step was to quickly cook soba noodles and then arrange the goodies on top.

We had a bottle of tsuyu (soba sauce) ready to go, so along with ginger, the dish was complete.

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Bean sprouts + fish sauce

Yusuke cooked this one. Hurray!

He began by sauteing ginger (lots) and garlic. To this, he added pork [boo, but I let him enjoy it sometimes] which was further sauteed with sesame oil.

After the meat was cooked, he added green onions. Bean sprouts were tossed in at the last moment so that they stayed crunchy.

For seasoning:

  • black pepper
  • a bit less than 1 tbsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce–yum!)
  • splash of lemon juice
  • chopped basil

The melange came out kinda spicy and tangy. “Ethnic style”, said Yusuke, using the Japanese description for South or Southeast Asian food.


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Birthday dinner at Sakura

Oops, posting this belatedly.

I debated long and hard to decide where to have dinner on my birthday. I wanted to try something new, but when I considered what I actually wanted to eat, all that came to mind was the marvelous creation that is スタミナやっこ (“stamina” tofu).

I first had this a while back at a Japanese restaurant near us called, perhaps uncreatively, Izakaya Sakura. It’s definitely not on the cheap end of the spectrum, but it’s not bad in the larger universe of Perth restos. We would highly recommended it, in fact, for an authenticate and tasty Japanese fix. It also seems popular among Japanese businessmen in the area. The restaurant faces a quieter side street and park, so it’s quite nice to sit on the patio. Although my old hometown can get warm in March (if it’s not snowing), I think that’s the first time I ever had my birthday dinner outside on a terrace.

Anyway, back to the birthday meal. This wonder of wonders is cool silken tofu topped with slippery chopped okra, gooey natto, spicy kimchi, and bonito flakes. The latter (latt-est?) was a bit much for me, so most of the rest went on to Yusuke’s plate.

But all in all, it was fantastic.

Happy Birthday to me.

Stamina tofu...

Stamina tofu…

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