27 October 2009

Atsuyaki Tamago - Sweet Egg Omelet

I've always watched in awe from the sushi bar when the chefs make Atsuyaki Tamago - the sweet egg omelet used in maki sushi rolls and nigiri sushi pieces. So learning how to make this egg omelet (and eating it) was a lot of fun. :)

I research a bit online for a recipe that was easy to follow. One of the recipes I found, calls for 3 tablespoons of sugar, which between 6 eggs seems a bit too much. So I reduced it down to 2 tablespoons. For my tastes, the resulting omelet was definitely sweet enough with 2 tablespoons. Sieving the egg mixture is a step that shouldn't be skipped. It removes the parts of the egg whites that couldn't be broken down making the egg omelet a lot more smoother.

I don't have a proper Tamago pan, but I managed to do this fine with a normal frying pan.

Atsuyaki Tamago - Sweet Egg Omelet
Recipe adapted from kikkoman.com and Grab York Fork

  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of dashi powder dissolved into 1/2 cup of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • pinch of salt
  • oil for the pan
  1. Beat the eggs until they are glossy and smooth without creating too much froth. Strain the eggs through a fine sieve.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the egg and mix well, taking care not to beat any air into the mixture and strain through the sieve again.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled pan and pour in about 1/4 of the mixture. Take care that the heat is moderate so the egg doesn't brown.
  4. When the egg is half set, roll 1/3 of the mixture forward over itself, and flip and roll again until you have a flattened egg omelet. Use a spatula to lift the egg slightly and chopsticks to help roll it over.
  5. Push the roll to the back of the pan and grease lightly again, making sure that oil gets under the egg.
  6. Pour in another quarter of the mixture and continue to roll the egg roll forward.
  7. Repeat until there is no more egg mixture left.
  8. If required, use the sushi mat to press the egg omelet into shape. Cool in the fridge until you are ready to slice and serve on rice or used in sushi

egg_omelet (Large)

26 October 2009

Black Sesame Ice Cream

I had some leftover Black Sesame Soup from the Chinese dessert I made the day before. I was thinking about Black Sesame Ice cream, but I wanted to try making an egg-less ice cream instead. ie. An ice cream that wasn't custard base. So that it wouldn't overpower the taste of black sesame.

This recipe I stumbled across from David Lebovitz's website is a gelato type of ice cream. The recipe does not call for any egg yokes, instead you use cornflour and milk to create the base.

The resulting ice cream was more delicate and really brought out the nutty flavors of the Black Sesame.

Black Sesame Gelato
Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz's Pistachio Gelato

Makes about 3 cups (3/4 liter)
  • 2 cups whole full cream milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 200ml black sesame soup paste (see recipe for black sesame soup dessert)
  • few drops of lemon juice
  1. Make a slurry by mixing the 1/4 cup of the milk with the cornflour, mixing until the starch is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
  2. Heat the rest of the milk in a medium-sized saucepan with the sugar.
  3. When it almost starts to boil, stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook at gentle simmer for 3 minutes, stirring and whisking constantly. Make sure there are no lumps left over from the cornflour
  4. Remove from heat, scrape into a bowl, and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.
  5. Once chilled, blend in the black sesame paste and just a few drops of lemon juice until smooth.
  6. Freeze the gelato in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Churn Snowy Churn.. !! :p

  • Optional Extra: Try serving with a teaspoon of Japanese sweet red bean paste on the top of the icecream. With the icecream resting on a layer of cornflakes below.

25 October 2009

Creamy Mushroom Risotto Balls

Risotto balls or Arancini balls make great starters or finger food type snacks. Once you have the base risotto made up, the process to make them into risotto balls is really quick and easy. All you really need is some flour, beaten up eggs and breadcrumbs. As a little extra, I prefer to add a small cube of cheese into the risotto ball. The deep frying process melts the cheese and crisps the breadcrumb layer. So that each little ball is crispy on the outside with its own molten cheesy center. Now how can anyone resist that ??! :P

Creamy Mushroom Risotto Balls
Adapted from Fratelli Fresh's recipe on Arancini Balls in Vogue Magazine

For the Risotto:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion (chopped finely)
  • 1 leek (white and light green part only, finely sliced)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 250g mushrooms (sliced)
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 250ml white wine
  • 4 pieces of dried porcini mushroom
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 2 tablespoons chives (finely sliced)
  • 100g Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Bring the broth with the dried porcini mushrooms to a simmer
  2. Heat a large pot over a medium-high flame. Add in the olive oil and butter.
  3. As the butter melts, saute the onion and leek for 1 minute until it softens but doesn't brown.
  4. Add in the bay leaf, sliced mushrooms and chopped garlic and cook for another minute
  5. Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt
  6. Add the rice and saute for another minute, until it turns translucent.
  7. Pour in the wine and cook until the alcohol has evapourated and the rice as absorbed all the liquid.
  8. Begin to add the broth. One ladle at a time. Add the next ladle only when the previous liquid has been aborbed. Stir occasionally.
  9. Finely slice up the soaked porcini mushrooms (that was in the broth) and add these into the risotto rice
  10. Stop adding the broth when the rice has cooked to the equivalent of al dente for pasta.
  11. Add in the fresh herbs - in this case some parsley, sage & chives.
  12. Stir in the grated Parmesan Cheese then the butter.
  13. Cover the pot and let rest for about 3 minutes. This is the part that helps the risotto turn really creamy. Remove the lid, taste and add salt or more seasoning if required.
  14. Spread the rice out into a tray and allow the rice to cool to room temperature
For the Risotto Balls:
  • Risotto (cold) - See recipe above
  • Plain flour for dusting
  • Beaten eggs (one or two, depending on amount of risotto)
  • Meltable cheese - anything from mozzarella to cheddar (sliced into 1cm cubes)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  1. With dampened hands, take a spoonful of risotto and flatten it out a bit in your hand
  2. Place the cheese cube in the middle then shape cold risotto into 4cm or so balls.
  3. Roll balls in flour. Shake off any excess flour.
  4. Roll balls in the beaten eggs
  5. Transfer and roll balls in breadcrumbs. Shake off any excess.
  6. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep saucepan until its hot enough for frying
  7. Deep fry the balls until golden brown.
  8. Remove the balls and let rest on a plate covered with paper towels
  9. Season with some flaky sea salt and serve immediately with a sauce of your choice.


  • To turn these up a notch, you can drizzle in a couple of drops of truffle oil into the risotto once its finished cooking.
  • You can refrigerate the risotto balls and repeat the 'egg - breadcrumbs' stage again to yield a slightly thicker crunchier coating.
  • The dried porcini mushrooms are optional, but a little bit of these babies do go along way in terms of taste
  • For the fresh herbs, I used Parsley, Sage and Chives. You can substitute with whatever you have available.
  • You can make this recipe up to a day ahead, and leave the pre-formed risotto balls in the refrigerator for up to a day. Just remember to cover them up well so the rice doesn't dry out too much.
  • The mushrooms can be substituted to any other flavoring ingredient like parma ham, seafood, pumpkin and other vegetables.

23 October 2009

Pho Ga - Daring Cook's Challenge

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge is from Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

There is a short version and a long version. Since I had only just touched down from my work trip to Melbourne, I opted for the shorter version. One of the rules of the challenge was that the longer version recipe was not to be reproduced on other sites. If you would like to try out the longer version, you can access the link to the recipe here - Pho Ga (long version)

The only grocery store that is within walking distance also did not have any limes, so I had to substitute with a lemon instead. I did also manage to pick up some mint leaves at the grocery store. I can't really imagine having Pho without mint leaves, so although the recipe doesn't call for them, I added them into my list of accompliments. I also used some fresh packaged rice noodles instead of buying the dried version.

Here is the recipe for the shorter version.
Pho Ga - Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

Servings: Makes 4 servings


For the Chicken Pho Broth:
  • 2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade chicken stock
  • 1 whole chicken breast (bone in or boneless)
  • ½ onion
  • 1 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
  • 1 to 2 tbsps. sugar
  • 1 to 2 tbsps. fish sauce
  • 1 lb. (500 grams/16 ounces) dried rice noodles (about ¼ inch/6 mm wide)


  • 2 cups (200 grams/7 ounces) bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched off
  • Fresh cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)
  • ½ cup (50 grams/approx. 2 ounces) shaved red onions
  • ½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice
To make the Chicken Pho Broth:

  1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning.
  2. In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil.
    Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
  3. Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.
  4. Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
  5. Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
  6. Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl.
  7. Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.

18 October 2009

Black Sesame Dessert Soup

This has always been one of my favorite chinese desserts. Well.. then there is the sweetened steam custard, mango pudding and steamed coconut pudding. All my other favorites. :)

It does take a bit of time to prepare this dessert, but the steps are actually really easy.

The nutty aroma from the black sesame seeds is intoxicatingly addictive.. :)

Black sesame is readily available from Asian grocery stores. If you aren't able to get roasted seeds, then you can toast the seeds over a hot saucepan before soaking and grinding the seeds.

This maybe the only ediable recipe that has been passed to me from my mum. Although she admits she originally got it from one of her friends. The rice is used to thicken the black sesame concentrate. You do need to spend a fair bit of time in front of a blender and pressing the mixture through a fine sieve. This process does need to be repeated about 3 times. The left over husk can be discarded, but some of my friends who have tried the end product, prefer to add a teaspoon of the husk into the soup. Apparently this gives the soup a bit more 'texture'.

Black Sesame Dessert Soup
Recipe via word of mouth from my mum's friend... :)

Serves 4


  • 300g Roasted Black Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 cup white rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 large pieces Rock Sugar - adjust to taste


  • fine-mesh sieve
  • blender
  • deep saucepan
  • large bowl


  1. Wash the white rice until the water runs clear.
  2. In a bowl, soak the rice with the black sesame seeds in about 2 cups of water. Then let sit for at least 2 hours
  3. Ladle about 2 spoonfuls of the soaked mixture into a blender and pulse until the black sesame seeds break open.
  4. With the fine-mesh sieve placed over the saucepan, pour the contents of the blender into the sieve. Using a soup spoon, push and strain the mixture through the sieve. Strain until the mixture starts to dry up.
  5. Set the strained mixture aside in another bowl.
  6. Spoon the strained mixture back into the blender add in about 1/2 cup of water and blend.
  7. Pour the contents of the blender into the sieve and continue to strain until the mixture dries up.
  8. Repeat this process until the soaked sesame bowl is empty, and all the black sesame seed husks are strained dry.
  9. Reserve the black sesame seed husks and set aside.
  10. Heat up the saucepan with the liquid black sesame, add in the rock sugar and slowly bring the contents to a simmer.
  11. The sesame soup should start to thicken as it simmers.
  12. Taste the soup and add more rock sugar if required.
  13. Add back in about 2 tablespoons of the reserved black sesame seed husk for a bit of texture and let simmer for about 5 minutes before serving.


  • You can serve this dessert soup with some Glutinous rice balls. Just cook the rice balls separately as per the instructions on the packet, then add into the dessert soup just before serving.
  • Glutinous rice balls are available in the freezer compartment of most Asian Grocery stores.
  • Toasted sesame seeds from Japan seem to taste better.

14 October 2009

Grilled Lemongrass Pork - Rice Paper Rolls

This is a recipe I found online for making Vietnamese-Style Grilled Lemongrass Pork.

We used this lemongrass pork as the main ingredient for making Vietnamese rice paper rolls. Along with some nuoc cham dipping sauce, these were perfect on a warm summer night.

For the rice paper rolls (you can use a combination of any of the items listed):

  • Mint leaves
  • Coriander
  • Basil
  • Rice noodles (soaked for 2 mins in warm water, then pan fried)
  • Cucumber (finely sliced)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Lettuce
  • Rice paper spring roll sheets

Vietnamese-Style Grilled Lemongrass Pork
recipe adapted from Viet World Kitchen

For the Lemongrass Pork:

  • 400g pork neck (sliced into 1/2" thick pieces)

  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (trimmed and finely chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 bird's eye chilli (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon seasame oil

Pork in Marinade

  1. Slice the pork neck into pieces about 1/2" thick. Set aside.
  2. Put the sugar, garlic, shallot and lemongrass into food processor and blend into a fine texture.
  3. Pour out the mixture into a bowl. Add in the finely chopped up chilli, white pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce, and oils and mixed to combine well.
  4. Add the pork, and turn to coat well.
  5. Cover and set aside at room temperature to marinate for 1 hour. Or refrigerate up to 24 hours, letting the meat sit out at room temperature for 45 minutes to remove some of the chill before grilling.
  6. Preheat a grill pan to medium-high. Grill each piece for a couple of minutes, until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and serve with the other rice paper roll ingredients.

Making a rice paper roll

The end product... Yummy!


  • You can substitute about 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder for the lemongrass instead.

  • When using the rice paper sheets, dip them in a bowl of cold water for about 2 seconds, then lay flat on a clean plate. The rice paper will become soft as it absorbs the water.

13 October 2009

Vietnamese Basic Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)

This sauce is used to add flavor to foods wrapped in lettuce or herbs, grilled meat with noodles or rice. I almost always drench my food in it when I have Vietnamese food. It does seem to heighten the overall eating experience. With this batch I made, I used this as a dipping sauce for my rice paper rolls.

Vietnamese Basic Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)
recipe adapted from Viet World Kitchen

Makes ¾ cup

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
Optional additions:
  • 1 small garlic clove (finely chopped)
  • 1 bird's eye chilli (thinly sliced)
  • Zest of the lime used
  1. Combine the lime juice, sugar and water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Taste and adjust the flavors to balance out the sweet and sour.
  2. Add the fish sauce and any of the optional ingredients. Taste again and adjust the flavors to your liking, balancing out the sour, sweet, salty and spicy. Aim for something a little stronger than what you'd normally like.
  • This sauce may be prepared early in the day and left to sit at room temperature.
  • Use half lime juice and half Japanese rice vinegar for a less assertive sauce - Some more delicately flavored dishes may require this instead.

12 October 2009

Buffalo Wings

These are a different version of Buffalo Wings to the ones you can get from a pub in the States. I tried to make these a bit more 'healthier', so therefore these are oven baked and not fried. I also marinate them in some lemon juice and freshly grounded cumin before baking them. After baking the wings, I throw them into the saucepan with the prepared sauce and then put the sauce-coated wings under the grill for about 3 mins. Just enough for the sauce to start bubbling on the wings.
You can serve these with some blue cheese sauce or have them just as is. The perfect snack during poker game nights. :)
Buffalo Wings
Marinate, mix together and let stand for about 1-2 hrs:
  • 1 kg Chicken Wings (separated, tips removed)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoon of cumin (grounded)
  • 3 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly grounded black pepper
Bake wings on a wire rack (with a baking tray below to catch the juices & oil dripping), at 180C for about 10 minutes.
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • 6 tablespoons hot sauce (I used Frank's)
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grounded black pepper
Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add in the remaining ingredients for the hot sauce and let heat up to a slow simmer.

Add in the baked chicken wings and toss together so that the sauce coats the wings.

Arrange wings in a baking dish and put back into the oven on the grill setting. Let the wings grill for about 3 minutes on high or until you can see the sauce on the wings start to bubble up.

Serve immediately.

11 October 2009

Warm Soft Chocolate Cake

I spent 15 hrs straight at work yesterday...yes..a Saturday. When I finally managed to pull myself out of bed today, I was in much need of some cooking therapy. The only thing on my mind was something sweet. Chocolate.
I could only think about dessert. Well.. since I've already skipped lunch, dinner and breakfast .. Somehow starting my day with dessert didn't seem too extreme. :)

I browsed the web for a simple and quick chocolate dessert and I stumbled across this recipe. It looks very similar to the molten chocolate babycakes that usually make.

Molten Chocolate Magic
Recipe adapted from Suzanne Lenzer


  • 100g unsalted butter, plus more to butter the molds
  • 100g bittersweet chocolate (I used 70% cocoa)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons plain flour


  1. Butter 4 ramekins. Then place them into the fridge until they are ready to be used.
  2. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, heat the butter and chocolate together until the chocolate is almost completely melted.
  3. While that's heating, beat the eggs, egg yolks in the mixing bowl, gradually adding sugar, until the mixture is thick and pale yellow and forms a ribbon
  4. Mix together the melted chocolate, butter and vanilla extract. The chocolate mixture should be warm to touch. Pour in the egg mixture, then quickly beat in the flour until just combined.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220C. Bake the molds on a tray for 6 to 7 minutes; the center will still be quite soft, but the sides will be set.

You can invert each mold onto a plate and let sit for about 10 seconds. Unmold by lifting up one corner of the mold, the cake will fall out onto the plate. I skipped this step and just left the cakes in the ramekins. Serve immediately with some vanilla ice cream.

08 October 2009

Claypot Chicken Rice

I've always loved the tasty claypot rice from the street stalls in Hong Kong. Actually been craving for it. So I've been trying to replicate it at home in the past couple of months... to some limited success. :P

The rice is supposed to form a fragrant brown crispy layer around the bottom of the claypot

However, the many times I've tried cooking it, I always seemed to burn that layer. The taste and flavour of the chicken was the same, but I'm not really fond of eating burnt rice.

So as a work around, I let the rice cook on the stove top for about 15 mins, while that was cooking, pre-heat the oven to about 180C then place the marinated chicken over the semi-cooked rice, then finish the dish in the oven instead of keeping it over the stove top.

Here is the recipe...

Claypot Chicken Rice
  • 2 ½ cups rice (washed and drained)
  • 2 Chinese sausage (sliced diagonally)
  • 1 ½ cm thick piece salted fish
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • water from the soaked mushrooms


  • 3 chicken pieces (Thigh pieces or Drumstick - cut into 3cm wide pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 thumbsized piece of ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon corn flour
  • 5 Chinese mushrooms (soaked, stalk removed, cut into half - water reserved)


  1. Mix chicken, mushrooms with marinade and let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Put rice and the reserved water from the soaked mushrooms into a claypot, add in salted fish, cover and let simmer over a lower fire till the rice is semi-cooked. (This should take about 15 minutes)
  3. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  4. Pour the marinated chicken, mushrooms and chinese sausages over the rice
  5. Cover the claypot and put into the oven
  6. Leave for about 15-20 mins until the chicken is cooked.
  7. Serve by drizzling the dark soy sauce over the chicken.

If you like the extra bit of semi-burnt rice, then put the claypot back on top of the stove and keep it on low heat for about 3 mins.

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