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About samchan

A child of God. Discovering new things day by day, and jotting them down. A TV junkie. Watching endless shows to pass my time A quiet thinker. Moments when inspiration hit and i just jot them all down... well, almost all...

Katsudon: Japanese takeaway at home

Wow! It’s been a while hasn’t it! This blog has seems to have taken a backseat in the midst of our busy busy lives!

Well, it’s back now! And we have another yummy recipe from Adam Liaw’s book, Two Asian Kitchens to share. Since buying this book, we’ve been interested to try the Japanese dishes. We have quite a few good Jap food places we frequent, but we have only made sushi at home.. yup.. thats as far as our Japanese cuisine repertoire goes. But since starting to cook some dishes from the book, we realise its not too difficult, just need to have some basic japanese ingredients kept in the pantry: mirin, rice vinegar, mentsuyu and dashi stock powder, and we’re set!

This time around we tried the Katsudon – it is typically a pork cutlet, deep-fried, and topped with egg served on top of a bed (or bowl, if you must be pedantic) of rice. Japanese takeaway restaurants here have versions of it done with chicken, which you can do as well, basically the same process i guess. But be warned, to serve a few people (we save some for lunch the next day as well), you will use up a mother-load of eggs!!

Katsudon (from Two Asian Kitchens, Adam Liaw)
(the recipe serves 2, but increase amount as you need, much of asian cooking is about estimation
anyway! :P)

75g Plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 thick pork cutlets*
3 eggs, lightly beaten
100g panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil (for deep frying)
250ml mentsuyu (soy sauce used for soba/udon/dipping tempura – tastes lighter than chinese soy sauce)
1/2 small brown onion
3 eggs, extra
steamed rice for the meat to sit on

* Pork cutlets were quite expensive, so we used forequarter chops and removed the bones, not sure how it affects the overall dish, but i figured, they were for frying, why waste a good cut *shrug*. Here’s the meat we used. the chops were huge and we had enough for 3 meals!!

Pork chops

First, mix the flour and salt together. Dip the cutlet in the seasoned flour, then the egg mixture, then into the flour again, and into the egg again, then into the Panko bread crumbs. This is so there is a thick coating on the cutlet, so it remains juicy, even though its deep fried. (Can you see why you might go through your whole tray of eggs now?)

Katsudon pork cutlet crumbing

Panko crumbs

As per the directions: Apply LIBERALLY and fry! more panko = more crunchy goodness ๐Ÿ™‚

Deep fry them in a wok with really hot oil until its golden brown or cooked through. Because some of the pieces were quite thick, We chucked them into the oven to let them cook thoroughly.

Katsudon fried pork cutlet

After all the cutlets are fried, heat up a fry pan and add the onions and fry them till they are softened. Then add the mentsuyu. (this forms the gravy that will make the dish less dry.. just the way we like it! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) When this is done, add the pork cutlets that have been sliced up into the pan, then add the other 3 (or however many you need) lightly beaten eggs to the mixture in the pan. Let the eggs cook until they are just set.

Katsudon pork cutlet and egg

onion mixture (right) and pork cutlet & egg mixture (left).. got a bit jumbled there!

Spoon as much rice as you can (or would like to) consume into a bowl, and lift the pork out of the pan and set it on top of the rice.You can garnish it with some greens. The book suggested snow pea sprouts, but we didn’t have any. We served it with a side salad instead, with a sesame oil, soy and vinegar dressing. Yumm-o!

Japanese Pork Katsudon

Be warned that your home may smell like a japanese takeaway after this! Ours smelt like one for a few days after!

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Posted by on June 10, 2011 in Cookbooks, Japanese

 

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Making macarons… a series of experiments

Since we started watching Masterchef, we’ve been inspired to make the things they make on the telly. And we especially love watching the masterclass on Friday nights, where the chefs give cooking tips and give techniques. Besides getting cooking tips, we’ve been exposed to a some of Australia’s top chefs, although most of them (probably all) are over east.

So last year, when we went over to Sydney, we made sure we paid a visit to Adriano Zumbo’s pattiserie to try his acclaimed macarons. We were faced with a whole glass cabinet of macarons, and we had a hard time choosing which to try.. and they all looked so pretty and perfect and colourful. So we chose some (can’t remeber what flavours now) and they were awesome! Crunchy shells with soft centres.. nommmms

Adriano Zumbo Patisserie macarons

Since then, we’ve wanted to try our hand at making our own macarons. We knew that these were finicky little bicces, and that lots of things could go wrong. Lots of people have written up lots of tips and do’s and don’ts to successfully make macarons. So, armed with all these information, we set a date to try them out.

Our first macaron making attempt was a failure. The almond meal was too coarse, so it ended up tasting like almond cookies. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It took us a while before we decided to try again. Second time around, it wasn’t great either. Not sure what went wrong, but we suspect an overmixed mixture and under cooking the shells, so we ended up with lemon curd meringue cookies. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Take three – I found this recipe from BraveTart, who had compiled a list of “macaron making mythbusters”, which i thought was interesting to know, it helps in figuring out what I need/need not worry about in making the macarons.

Here’s the link to the recipe – its for a basic macaron recipe. We did a mocha macaron, by taking out 1oz icing sugar and replacing it with cocoa powder and added about 1tbsp of instant coffee powder, ground finely.

Macaron shells
115g blanched almonds or almond meal
200g icing sugar
30g cocoa powder
144gย whites
72g sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp instant coffee granules (ground finely)
1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate Ganache filling
220g dark cooking chocolate
1 cup cream

We had Esther’s help in sifting the almond meal – the most laborious task, as almond meal isn’t as fine as flour and takes FOREVER to get through the sieve.

While Esther was painstakingly sifting the almond meal mixture, we whipped the egg white till it forms a stiff meringue. After that, fold the dry ingredients into the meringue. This should be done in about 40 strokes. (Yes, we were so determined to make this round a success, we counted the amount of strokes when folding it!) A mixture that is mixed right should have the consistency of molten lava. I’ve never seen molten lava, but I guessed that it thinner than a brownie mixture but thicker than a pancake mixture, so I thought it should be done.

After that, the mixture is put into a piping bag and piped onto baking paper. My piping skills aren’t that perfect yet, so I drew out circles with the base of a piping nozzle as a guide on baking paper and piped the mixture on the flip side. I started piping the mixture from the centre towards the outside. If the mixture is the right consistency, it will spread itself out slightly, but still hold its shape. After that, we just let them stand for about half an hour, or until the tops are dry to the touch.

Macaron mixture piped

Then, put them in the oven and anxiously wait, crossing your fingers that those macarons will grow their feet (or skirt as some might call it). I snuck a peek while it was baking and did a happy dance when they DID grow feet! YAY! ๐Ÿ˜€ We filled them with chocolate ganache, and it was YUMMY!

Mocha macarons with chocolate ganache filling

So yea, it took us a few experiments, and a bit of a journey, but we finally managed to make our own macarons. It’s recommended that the macarons be filled and let them sit overnight, as the shells will absorb the filling and create a soft, chewy centre. But we couldn’t help ourselves, we had a few and then left the rest to sit overnight, and I was told they were yummier. (I didn’t get to try them :()

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2011 in Baking, Desserts

 

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Orange & Poppyseed muffins.. because toast for brekky gets boring!

We tend to get bored of eating toast or cereal for breakfast every morning, so sometimes I go looking for something yummy to bake so we can keep it for breakfast the following day(s). Sometimes we get frozen mantous or rice rolls (chee cheong fun) from the oriental shop to create some variety as well.

But last weekend, we visited the Subi Station St markets for our weekly fruit & veg shop, and jie went to pick up some veggie chips (of which she has an upsetting story to tell) as well as some poppyseeds.

I’ve never seen poppyseeds until I came to Australia, and they would typically be paired with lemon in a muffin/cake. It doesn’t add much flavour or smell, but it is visually appealing, and adds a bit of texture -sometimes you might bite into a seed when chowing down the muffin/cake.

So since we had them, I decided to hunt down a recipe to use them in. Off i went to Dr. G again.. oh what would I have done if the internet wasn’t around? (probably not writing this post.. but I digress!) And I found this orange and poppyseed muffin recipe from taste.com.au (they have some great recipes there! I’ve used them a few times for dinner ideas before)

Muffins have got to be the easiest thing ever to bake! No gentle folding, or creaming butter and sugar, or need for fancy-schmancy cake mixers. Just measure out the ingredients, put them in a bowl, give it a good stir with a wooden spoon (or spatula, whichever you fancy!), and put them into lined/greased muffin pans! even Becks (our younger sister) should be able to do it! ๐Ÿ˜›

So thats basically what I did. Measured the ingredients according to the recipe, and about an hour later (taking into account the prep & baking time) we had fresh, hot and fluffy orange and poppyseed muffins ready to be devoured! *lip-licking smiley* (someone sholud create one!)

Orange and poppyseed muffins

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2011 in Cakes/Muffins, Perth Eateries, Snacks

 

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Quick & Easy Weeknight meals: Oyakodon

We subscribe to the MasterChef Magazine, and this month’s issue featured a few recipes from 2010 winner Adam Liaw (probably in anticipation of his book release, which we’ve already got our hands on! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Anyway, we decided to try his Oyakodon recipe in the magazine, it looked quite easy and we had all the ingredients on hand anyway. According to Adam’s explanation, Oyakodon is so named because it has chicken and egg in the same bowl (oyako meaning parent and child).. bit of trivia for all you trivia buffs out there! ๐Ÿ™‚

We only started taking pictures towards the end of the process, so no images for the prep part of the dish. But its basically cutting chicken thighs into 5mm strips (or breasts, for those who don’t like the sinewy thighs), slicing up a brown onion. Then fry off the brown onion in a fry pan, add in dashi stock (instant ones sold in the oriental shop), mirin, soy sauce and a bit of sugar and bring to a boil. Then add the chicken and let it simmer for a few minutes until its cooked.

Then in a separate non-stick fry pan, heat up some oil and add in 2 beaten up eggs (I used 2 eggs per bowl), add in some of the chicken mixture and let it cook until just set.

Adam Liaw Oyakodon recipe

After that, divide the rice up into bowls. We put in some corn kernels, just cause we didn’t have an accompanying veg dish (all about balance y’know!).Then slide the egg & chicken mixture onto the rice. The egg & chicken is cooked separately for each serving, probably helps in not overcooking the egg, or else you’ll just end up with chicken omelette on rice… :S Then we cut up some Nori into strips, and there you go, a yummy dinner all ready to go.

Adam Liaw Oyakodon recipe ricebowl

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2011 in Quick Dinners

 

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A childhood favourite – Loh Mai Gai (็ณฏ็ฑณ้ธก)

Growing up in KL, Malaysia, I have fond memories of the Pau man coming by our house in a bike, loaded with steamed buns (pau) with all sorts of fillings. Mum would often buy us some for our breakfast the following day, and she’d ask us what we want. I usually have moods for what I feel like having the next day, and some times, I choose to have the loh mai gai, which is glutinous rice with chicken.

We can’t find much of it here in Perth, I’ve only seen it at one of the stalls down at Spencer Village. The “loh mai gai” we get here is at the dim sum places, and its the Hong Kong (i guess) style, which comes wrapped in lotus leaf. So, when I felt like having some good old, brown coloured, non lotus leaf wrapped loh mai gai, I said to myself “I should try and make it myself”. So off I went to Dr. G, and I found some recipes. (I usually look up a few to compare ingredients, processes etc. and choose 1 that I can use/adapt).

So I found a recipe from Pig Pigs Corner. I used it as a reference for rice:water ratio, and also the steps involved. The others (ie amount of ingredients, sauces, flavorings etc.) was done pretty much by estimation and “feel” ๐Ÿ˜›

So 1st step was to prepare the ingredients. Soak the glutinous rice and the chinese mushrooms overnight. Also, you can marinade the chicken overnight, but I just let mine sit for about an hour. Marinate the chicken with garlic, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, soy sauce and some soy sauce (basically the same as the rice seasoning)

The next day, put the seasoning for the rice – chicken stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, shaoxing wine, sasame oil and dark soy sauce into a bowl with the rice and let it steam for about 15 minutes.

glutinous rice loh mai gai

When the liquid is all soaked up by the rice, place the chinese sausages (lap cheong) on top of the rice, and let it steam for another 20 minutes or so (or until the rice is cooked).

Loh Mai Gai Lap Cheong Chinese Sausage

While the rice is steaming, prepare the other ingredients. Slice the mushrooms and fry them off. Then fry the chicken until its cooked through.

Loh Mai Gai Stir fry chicken and mushrooms

After the rice is done, remove it from the steamer. Then its time to assemble it. start with greasing some rice bowls (we didn’t have many, so I used ramekins instead). Then divide up the chicken, mushrooms and sliced lap cheong among the bowls. Then pack in the cooked glutinous rice and put it back into the steamer for another 30 minutes.

Assembling loh mai gai sticky rice

Steam Loh mai gai

When its done, overturn it onto a plate, and voila! utterly satisfying! ๐Ÿ˜€ A bit more laborious than the usual loh mai fan (็ณฏ็ฑณ้ฅญ)ย I make, but oh so satisfying! ๐Ÿ™‚

Glutinous chicken rice loh mai gai

(NB: Excuse the slightly grainy iPod pics, as our resident photographer was a bit busy last weekend!)

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2011 in Malaysian, Savoury

 

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It’s Finally Here!! Koko Black & Grill’d @ Claremont Quarter

We love our food a lot! And one of the reasons we love going to Melbourne is the yummy and wide array of food! One of our Melbourne finds is the chocolate boutique (?) I think they call themselves a “chocolate salon”, is Koko Black. Imagine our excitement and delight when we found out they were opening here! In Perth!! Even Canberra got theirs’ before we did ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Anyway, we set the day we would pay a visit and satisfy our Koko Black craving.

We found out that there was a Grill’d next to it, so we hatched a plan to head there for dinner after our usual Saturday night church service for dinner and then head over to Koko black for dessert.. awesome plan! ๐Ÿ˜€

Grill’d is one of the many burger franchises that have popped up in the recent years. Also another franchise that has recently made its way over from over East. They make really good burgers, from beef, to chicken, to lamb, to veggie burgers. We’ve had it on a few ocassions and have never been disappointed.

Grilld Claremont burger menu boards

The menu boards

Our burger choice for this trip was the Baa Baa Burger. We decided to share the burger because we knew we had to fit lots in out tummies that day! The burger was made from lamb mince, accompanied by salad, relish, avocado (yumm!), tasty cheese and their yummy herb mayo, all sandwiched in a panini bun. It was one awesome burger and fully satisfying.

We also go to Grill’d for their fat-cut chips, seasoned with sea salt and rosemary. They also sell dipping sauces to go with these. They have 3 choices of herbed mayo, tomato relish and sweet chilli mayo. The chips are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and the sea salt & rosemary seasoning makes it that extra bit special compared to your other burger joint chips.

Grilled chips with seas salt & rosemary

After dinner, we head over to Koko Black which is just opposite. The decor inside is contemporary, whimsical and very pretty. A glass-window panel in the shopfront, where you are greeted with an array of chocolate bunnies and eggs (easter is near y’know), to the large display cabinet of chocolates, We head in and there are table and chairs (with plenty more on the outside). I love the illustration on the wall that runs throughout the main walls of the shop, and its complemented by black wood panes and panelling, very tastefully done I must say!

Koko Black chocolate Perth Claremont

So we sit ourselves down and have a look at what’s on the menu, and there’s just so many chocolate-related things to choose from. We usually have the Ice Chocolate here which is yummy (it doesn’t JUST taste like chocolate milk) its rich and choclatey and oh so sinful! (There’s no pic just cos we were too excited to drink it before the camera had a chance! :D)

Koko black chocolate ice-crem Perth Claremont

A must try is also the Chocolate Moelleux with a Raspberry Espuma. Its served warm with a crisp outside and has a thick, gooey centre the raspberry espuma (foam) gives it a bit of acidity to cut through the richness.

Koko Black Chocolate fondant molten

We also tried the Mocha Tart which was really yummy as well. The Chocolate ganache filling wasn’t too sweet, and I love the crunchy coffee-bean bits that were served with it.

Koko Black Mocha Tart Perth Claremont

Other items on the menu we tried included the Panna Cotta, which was served in a small shot-glass. They have an array of petit pastries displayed in a glass cabinet you can choose from. They also sell 2 Perth exclusive chocolates – Stout Caramel, featuring Little Creaturesโ€™ Single Batch Oatmeal Stout and also the Truffle Caramel, with truffles from Manjimup being the key ingredient. They also have an array of beverage like Hot Chocolate, Affogato, and also St Ali’s (Melbourne) Coffee.

Koko Black Chocolate Perth Claremont Menu

Anti-clockwise from left: Panna Cotta, Belgian Hot Chocolate, Stout & Truffle Caramel Chocolates

All in all it was a great night and our tummies are now fully satisfied. Best of all is we don’t need to wait for months to get out Koko Black fix, or travel 3hrs by plane for it either! ๐Ÿ™‚

Gri'lld on Urbanspoon

Koko Black on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Claremont, Perth Eateries

 

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You never know until you give it a go!

Back when we were students, eating out was quite the luxury, and our choices were very often limited by our budgets. So, we end up going to the usual places, knowing that we can get decent food at good prices. Ten Ten Kitchen in Vic Park was one of the chinese restaurants we used to visit, but stopped after a while because of their non-existent customer service. We had our plates thrown at us, and very unhappy looking waitstaff and boss, so we had boycotted them for several years now.

Recently, with the renos going on at Karawara and the injection of many eateries, we chanced upon Ten Ten Kitchen.. looks like they’ve branched out! It had been “trendified”, with good lighting and modern decor.. very inviting indeed! So we decided to give it a go, to see if visiting them was worth a shot.

Ten-Ten-House-Review Chinese Restaurantthe sign that greeted us

So we sat down, and had a look at the menu. All the dishes we averagely priced (around the $15-$20 mark), and there was quite a bit to choose from as well, I saw the Sambal Fried Runner Beans and decided we should try that.

Sambal-fried-runner-beans Long-beans chilli

It was really good. With just the right amount of chilli and crispy salty bits! And the beans were nice and soft, not too soggy or crunchy. It was yummylicious! And something different from our usual Sambal Kangkung or Kailan in Oyster Sauce.

We also ordered the Sizzling Japanese Tofu, one of the usual dishes we order at a chinese restaurant, along with Chilli Pepper Spare Ribs. Both dishes were good. The Sizzling Tofu had chunky bits of meat in it, and the sauce (you know we LOVE our sauce) was good for smothering our rice in! ๐Ÿ˜€

sizzling-tofu bean curd japanese-bean-curd Random side note: I just noticed the carrot in the middle looks a bit like a butterfly!

The Chilli Pepper Spare Ribs were good too! We usually go to Happy Meals in Vic Park for our Chilli Pepper Spare Ribs fix, but I think this one tastes just as good too! The pork was still tender, with a crispy outside, and the chilli, garlic and spring onions it is fried with rounds it off nicely!

Chilli-pepper-spare-ribs pork

We also had the Assam fish, which was the least stellar of the dishes we had. I was expecting a rich, red sauce, but was disappointed with the yellowy gravy we were presented with ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It was tasty, but the fish was a bit rubbery (not soft and flakey), so we probably wouldn’t be having it again.

Although the food was good, and the atmosphere was pleasant, the service was not fantastic. Although not as bad as what we had experienced in the past, we had to repeat our order to the waitress a few times, and also our tub of rice got thrown onto our table, with no apology from the waitress, who went on to serve another table (!!). The people in the table next to us were quite taken aback as well, we were like.. what the?? But yes, with the perpetually-in-a-bad-mood lady boss not there, we might venture back there.

Ten Ten House on Urbanspoon

The serving sizes were a bit small, and we felt like some dessert. We were contemplating making a visit to the newly opened Koko Black, but it was a bit of a drive away, so we popped into Gelare, which was just next door. It wasn’t half-price waffle day, and we forgot our voucher, so we had to pay full price! (horror! :P) We had the waffles with Jamaican Chocolate and Honey Malt Crunch. The waffles were really good – golden and crispy.. just the way I like it! And the Honey Malt Crunch, even though not my usual Gelare flavour, was quite good too!

waffle ice-cream gelare

Jamaican Chocolate in the foreground; Honey Malt Crunch in the background

What a great way to end the night with good company! And I thought I would end with this video for you to enjoy! (especially you Deb! :D)

 

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Karawara, Perth Eateries

 

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