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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 🙂

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! 🙂 ) 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. 😦 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. 😦

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
144g 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! 😀 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 :()


Posted by on May 7, 2011 in Baking, Desserts


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Good Food and Wine Show 2011 – Tickets Selling today!

Good Food and Wine Show 2010 Event
The Good Food and Wine Show 2011 is back for another year in all major cities of Australia and I’m pretty sure we’ll be going (dependent on where we’ll be at that time!) We went to the show last year, battled through the crowds and managed to taste quite a few different things (ice cream, chilli salted fries, organic popcorn to name a few), and there was a whole range of wine to try.

Fifth Leg Restaurant Wines

Part of the Good Food and Wine show was showcasing the array of food created by the celebrity chefs (well, not personally cooked by them unfortunately) like Manu Fieldel, Matt Moran, Gary Mehigan and George Colambaris. Each dish was paired with wine, which I think went perfectly together. I remember being in AWE of Manu’s Creme Brulee!

Creme Brulee Manu Fieldel

The highlight of the day  was definitely seeing Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris from Masterchef (*starstruck!*) and getting their autograph! 🙂

We will definitely be there again this year – we’re still deciding whether we want to go the  Perth show or the Melbourne show, because we are somehow perfectly placed to be there at just the right times!

The Good Food and Wine show this year runs from 15th to 17th July 2011 in Perth at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre. I would suggest taking public transport or coming early to find street parking if you are adverse to high parking charges!

Opening Times:
Friday: 10.00am – 5.00pm *Friday after hours – 6.00pm – 9.30pm* (Please see website for details)
Saturday: 10.00am – 6.00pm
Sunday: 10.00am – 5.00pm

Some of the highlights (taken from the website) of the show include:

1. Fisher & Paykel Celebrity Theatre – this was where we saw George and Gary cook on stage, and there were many opportunities to win prizes as well. Other well known Celebrity Chefs that will be making an appearance are: Matt Moran, Manu Fieldel and Anna Gare. (Nope, I haven’t decided who I want to see yet! :P)
2. Riedel Decanter Bar ($75)
3. Riedel Wine Theatre
4. Cheese Matters Discovery Class ($35)
5. Chef Book Signings

The above costs are in addition to the general admission costs and you can buy the tickets on their website.

So what are you waiting for? Get your tickets today!! 🙂  – and no, they didn’t endorse me, I think it’s just a great show for food and wine lovers.

And their website is in case you missed it! See you there!


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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in Food Events


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It’s Out! Two Asian Kitchens by Adam Liaw

Two Asian Kitchens

Two Asian Kitchens (by Adam Liaw)

For all you Masterchef fans out there, I’m sure you would know who Adam Liaw is. If you don’t watch it, well, shame on you! it’s not to late to be caught in the Masterchef craze 😛 Anyway, he was the Masterchef winner of 2010; but I am always intrigued by the dishes that he whips up (it always looks so good) and plus it has a huge asian influence. When it came to the time of the competition where they had to pitch their cookbook idea, I was so excited!! Two Asian Kitchens – what an awesome idea! So I couldn’t wait until his cookbook came out…and now it’s here!

You can read here for a detailed description of his book – basically it’s a combination of his old, more traditional kitchen experiences growing up and pairing it up with his new, modern cooking experiences in Australia. I can’t wait to get it..! People who know me know how much I LOVE cookbooks…and this will definitely be one of them sitting on my shelf! For those who are interested, you can get the book from a list of online bookstores available on

Would his cookbook interest you? If you’ve bought it already, let me know how you go with his recipes!

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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Cookbooks


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