This website is a small "cookbook" if you like where I scramble together the random recipes which I like to cook regularly. The structure is rather loose and a single entry might not be a dish you want to eat alone but rather combine with other recipes.1
I got to add a tag system or similar to allow for easy flavor combinations.
This chapter contains a few basics recipes from which you yourself can build a tasty dish from or which you need in other recipes.
A base dough for many savoury dishes.
What you'll need are mostly cupboard staples:
- 600g Flour (either get dedicated pizza flour, but you may also use most all-purpose flours1)
- 400ml Water
- 6g Yeast (dry or active)
- 12g Salt
- Measure 400ml of just below room temperature water and mix in the yeast.
- Mix 200g of flour and all the salt in a bowl.
- Pour water to the mix until everything is well homogenous, the mixture should resemble more of pancake batter now.
⏰ Let it rest for around 10 min.
- Add a handful of flour and mix until it's all one liquid again.
Repeat this step until the structure of the dough becomes really soft, deform with minimal pressure, not sticky on the outside, but as soon as you're using more force on it's surface.
⏰ Let it rest again for around one hour.
- Get the dough out of the bowl, and knead with your hands until the dough get's a bit warmer.
- Cut the dough into a desired piece size. And proof them again for atleast 30mins in the fridge. After that they are ready to use.
🧊 You can use the dough for about 2 days when you store it in the fridge.
When using all-purpose flour (Wheat type 550, Spelt type 630) you can use cornmeal or semolina to give some texture to the dough.
Basic sauce made from essential japanese base ingredients.
- 2 tbsp Sake
- 2 tbsp Mirin
- 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- Put all your ingredients in a sauce pan.
- Simmer the sauce until it's thickening and continue until you reach your desired consistency.
Be careful not to burn the sauce in this step, heat slowly as this can happen very quickly.
🧊 You can store the sauce if you made more then you need for atleast a week in the fridge.
Light Aburaage Kimchi Salad
This side dish is easy to make and offers a nice tangy fresh additive with some proteins for more hearty dishes. The salad is a mix of fermented and fresh salad which gives it a very savoury and fresh taste.
For me this dish is perfect for meal preparation as it can be made in large quantities quickly and keeps okay for up to 3 days.
- 350g Aburaage (Deep Fried Tofu)1
- Half a head of cabbage
- 60g Kimchi
- Give your tofu a quick fry (see 1 if not using Aburaage)
- Slice the cabbage into thin slice and give it a quick stir-fry until it is about half to be cooked.
- Add 1 tbsp of Sake and 1 tbsp of Mirin and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Add 1 tbsp of Light Soy Sauce.
- Mix the tofu, cabbage and Kimchi in a bowl. Done.
🧊 Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If not available you can also simply pan fry tofy slices yourself, but it takes a bit more work. Sometimes you can also get fried whole tofu blocks, they work also just fine but probably need a quick pan fry too.
Okonomiyaki - お好み焼き
In my opinion one of the best japanese street foods, pancakes with stuff. This dish is well-fitted for using up ingredients you may have left.
Also this is one of the recipes I just throw together, so the amounts given are only a rough orientation.
- 250g Flour
- 1 egg (if not usable, see 1)
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 150g Cabbage (thinly sliced)
- ~5 Shiitake (If using dried keep the soaking liquid!)
- 20g Pickled Ginger (fresh ginger is also nice, if your ginger is older slice really thin)
- 20g Pickled Vegs (Corn, Cucumber, Radish, Cabbage, ...)
- 1 sheet of Nori (finely chopped flakes)
- Mayonnaise (Kewpie or Umami-Acidy-Vegan-Reproduction2)
- Okonomiyaki Sauce (Important, can also be reproduced )
- 375ml Thin Shiitake Stock (half stock, half water) (if not using shiitake simply use water here)
- 2 spring onions
This ingredient list is also not set in stone switch out for whatever you have on hand. The only semi-essential part for me is the cabbage and shiitake for flavour.
Other ingredients you can add:
- Fried Tofu
- Radish (Also really good when just throwing in pickled)
- Yakisoba (Fried Noodles)
- Again whatever you have in your storage
- Sieve the flour and mix with egg, baking powder and the Thin Stock together until there are no clumps. The result should be liquid but rather thick batter.
- Preheat a large pan on medium heat.
- Mix in the vegetable ingredients. Start with the largest amount and continue with the next smallest.
You can also add meats like pork in the mix. I personally just use vegetables.
- To season the ready batter add 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp sichuan or japanese pepper (optional), 1 tbsp of sesame seeds, and any other flavours you feel like.
You can pick whichever flavours you want, chili flakes, seaweed, and so on. Really, go whereever you like this is your dish.
- Pour a thick layer of batter in an oil panned.3
- Wait until the top of the pancake starts becoming slightly firm, then flip. The easiest is just a quick toss as they have enough weight to be relatively stable mid-air but a skilled usage of a spatula also does the trick if your risk avoiding.
- Wait for 1-2 mins for the other side to brown to an equal level. Then remove from the pan to the final plate.
- Drizzle over first the mayonnaise in zig-zag pattern for extra fancy points. Rotate 90 degrees and do the same with the okonimiyaki sauce. Sprinkle on some Nori flakes for taste and some sesame seeds for looks.
- Eat while hot! I like to just eat one and occassionally go back to stove to flip and remove as the process is rather streamlined at this point.
For a vegan alternative you can also replace this with nagaimo (grate to a slimy mass) or use flax seeds and soak them with water.
There are some things you can do here, the easiest is: Take vegan ready-made mayonnaise, add some rice vinegar, salt, and most importantly a pinch (1ml4) of MSG. You can also use a pinch of Kala Namak (Sulphur Salt), to emulate some of the eggyness of japanese mayonnaise, but keep in mind that it is much creamier and mouth coating than most of the vegan mayonnaise basis you can readily buy. If you have any idea how to reproduce that in a better way without using eggs write me an email!
Yes this is not a liquid, but its a volume so. Get some of these measuring spoons.
If you have some troubles with your stove to cook the cabbage through add a lid about a minute before flipping.
This section is under-construction.
Something I saw recently which I want to try making myself. The basic idea is to use the asparagus as the skewer on which to fry itself, so just batter one part of the asparagus and tip with the other side in.
This is again one of those recipes I've seen on some random show but looked intriguing.
Miso Coriander Dipping/Topping Sauce
This is a small sauce I made randomly one evening with some left over fresh coriander, but it turned out really nice. So here is the documentation for it, for future me and you.
- 7-8 sprigs of Coriander (around 80 grams)
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp MSG
- 1/4 tsp Sichuan/Japanese Pepper
- 50ml Neutral Oil (Sunflower, Rice, Peanut)
- 1 tbsp Miso
Instructions (Easy requires Food Processor)
- Put all your ingredients except for the oil in the Food Processor and blend until most pieces are reduced to a pulp.
- Drizzle in the oil to mix everything together.
- Chop the coriander very finely on a chopping board.
- Mix the Miso and the Oil with the seasoning until one homogeneous mass.
- Mix with the coriander. Done.
A sauce similar to Teriyaki which has a sweeter taste due to more sugar.
- 2 tbsp Sake
- 2 tbsp Mirin
- 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- In a saucpan, mix everything together and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
This is a really tasty eel replacement dish which is perfect for a 45 minute dish in the evening. The texture aims to get as close as possible to a crispy skin with a slight fishy taste.
- 2 eggplants 1
- 1 sheet of nori
- 40 ml of Kabayaki sauce
- potato starch
- Steam the eggplant until almost done (6-7 minutes). In the meantime shred the nori into piece 1cm x 2cm.
- Cut the eggplant open in the middle and carve until it can be laid flat on the board.
- Coat the eggplant in potato starch on both sides and flash fry in a pan so that the "skin" gets criped up.
- While frying use a baking brush to apply the Kabayaki sauce to let the skin turn dark in color.
- Cover your rice with the nori sheets and lay the "Unagi" on top of it. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for color.
traditionally long slim japanese ones; but I also used more thick european ones they simply require a different cutting technique and might end up more on the mushy side, but with exercises this can be minimized.
This chapter contains some notes which can always be used and act more as a random assortment of notes related to cooking and everything kitchen related.
You can very roughly summarize the foundation for a well seasoned dish into 3 parts.
Keeping them in balance is vital to get this wholesome roundness and deliciousness feeling when taking the first bite of a dish.
While these are not the only components of the meal you can orient your seasoning in these categories and get a rough estimation of what you should add to make you dishes more tasty. For example, when trying to get more umaminess into your food you may add miso, but take care that the saltiness of whatever you are cooking is still at an acceptable level.
This section is under-construction but already contains useful information.
I've been pretty disappointed with most of the pans I've used over the years, which also came with not knowing how these are properly used. Here is quick summary of that.
Some of the pans I've used have next to the casual teflon layer which you are probably familiar with some other materials called often something with "Permanent" or "Perm" in their name. They are okay but work in my experiences only for really really low heat stuff, good for warming vegetables but really pan frying takes a toll on their coating so i tried to avoid that. They are great though if you wanna crisp up stuff like rice because the heat required is not that great but it comes off without effort.
Probably my favorite way to cook, quick to heat up, takes high temperatures well. But it has to be used correctly. other wise you will spend more time cleaning and abandon your loved ones. I'm not an expert, you can find on youtube actual chefs recommending the optimal usage look up their videos if you want more in-depth. Most importantly for me; get the hot, then add oil swirl around so everything is coated, if the temperature is right you can see some convection in the oil as it heats up. You can also test this with a drop of water the drop should be able to freely float around on top of a steam bubble beneath it. It's quite fun to play around with this when you first get a stainless steel pan so definitely try it out to get familiar with it.
But no matter how well you cook you probably will have some bits stuck to the pan, for vegetables and such I like to add a tbsp of Sake at the end for nice flavour and cleaning of the pan as acidic liquids allow you to get rid of all bits from the pan surface. You can also make an amazing sauce from these bits, best for example in french cuisine with a bit of wine and then reduce in thepan. When your not in the mood for this, just pour in a good amount of water and let it simmer until all the flakes from the pan have been loosened.
Probably the best tip I can give for occassional cleaning of some burned in bits or discoloration after it has been cleaned is to make a classical italian tomato sauce in it. Short: Fry Sofrito, add some red wine, add a can or two of finely chopped tomatoes, reduce.