Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Japanese cooking workshop at Liang Court

In July, I was invited by Liang Court to participate in their Japanese cooking workshop. I was very happy to be part of it, because the workshop taught three Japanese dishes which I really liked. Held on a sunny Saturday afternoon and conducted by Chef Takashi Nakaya, the three dishes were Tamagoyaki, Karaage and Okonomiyaki.

Tamagoyaki 1
The first dish we did was Tamagoyaki. It's actually quite easy, requiring only three basic ingredients. Usually, it is made with a square pan, but at the event, I realized that it can be done even with a round pan. The trick is the way the egg is rolled. To help, I used chopsticks and a fork at the same time. Luckily, Chef Takashi was around to lend a hand, and with his help, I was able to make the perfect Yamagoyaki. Here's the recipe:

Ingredients
3 eggs
2/3 tbsp soy sauce
2/3 tbsp sugar
2/3 tbsp mirin

Method
1. Beat eggs, add sugar, mirin and soy sauce. Mix well.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan on medium heat. Drain extra oil into a small bowl for later use.
3. Pour a scoop of egg mixture, enough to make a thin layer, in the pan. Cook until half done then start to roll the egg toward the edge of the pan.
4. When the pan is dried up, add some oil and spread over the pan. Pour another scoop of egg mixture in the space and under the rolled egg. Cook until half done and roll the egg again so that the omelette becomes thicker.
5. Cook the omelette on all sides until slightly browned. Serve.

Come November, I will be sharing more about this for the What's Cooking blog train hosted by Alicia of Beanie N Us. Stay tuned!

Karaage 1
The second dish was Karaage, or Japanese Fried Chicken. This was quite simple to make - just mix the ingredients today to make the batter, put in the chicken pieces to marinate and then fry. Besides recommending some ingredients such as the potato starch, Chef Takashi gave a great tip for marinate the chicken by using a plastic bag. It's really quick, efficient and easy to ensure all the chicken pieces were covered with the batter marinate.

Karaage 2
Ingredients
100g boneless chicken leg meat
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp ginger juice
1 tsp sake (Japanese cooking rice wine)
50g potato starch
300ml cooking oil

Method
1. Cut the chicken meat into bite sizes. Put them in a bowl and mix with soy sauce, ginger juice and sake. Leave for five to ten minutes
2. Put the potato starch into a small plastic bag.
3. Remove excess sauce from the chicken pieces and place them into the bag of potato starch. Mix well.
4. Heat up the oil in a pan, up to 160 degrees. Deep fry the chicken for about 2 minutes. Remove the chicken and allow to strain on a paper towel. Leave for about 4 minutes. Heat up the oil again to 180 degrees and fry again for 1 minute.
5. Remove the chicken and leave it to strain on the paper towel for 2 minutes. Serve.

How do you judge the oil temperature? Just put in a pair of cooking chopsticks into the heated oil and see how the bubbles come out from the chopsticks. At 160 degrees, bubbles come up slowly. At 180 degrees, the bubbles come out much faster.

Okonomiyaki 1
The final recipe was Okonomiyaki. This required more ingredients, but essentially involved mixing them together, adding in the cabbage, then frying it. The key to it is to ensure that medium heat is used when frying the batter to ensure that it is thoroughly cooked. Otherwise, the underside will get burnt easily, while the inside remained uncooked. Once the Okonomiyaki was cooked, it was just a matter of adding the mayonnaise, xx and bonito flakes on top.

Ingredients
1/4 cup all purpose flour
A pinch of salt
A pinch of baking powder
40g Nagaimo, grated (a type of yam, also known as 淮山)
30ml dashi stock (or 30ml water with 2 pinches of dashi powder)
1 egg
100g cabbage (finely diced)
1/4 cup squid & shrimp, chopped into small pieces
1 tbsp oil
2 slices pork belly, cut into halves

Toppings
Okonomiyaki sauce
Japanese mayonnaise
Hana Katsuo (bonito flakes)
Spring onion
Aonori (dried seaweed powder)
Beni Shoga (picked ginger)

Method
1. In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.
2. Add the grated Nagaimo and dashi stock. Mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, add an egg and mix well. Then add the squid and mix again.
4. Stir in the cabbage.
5. Heat up the oil in a non-stick frying pan using medium to medium high heat.
6. Scoop one ladle of batter and place it on the pan. Do not flatten the mixture because it will easily break when you turn it over.
7. Place the sliced pork belly on top of the batter and cook covered for 5 minutes.
8. When the bottom side is nicely browned, turn it over and cook covered for another 5 minutes.
9. Turn over one more time and cook uncovered for 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
10. Drizzle Okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise. Sprinkle with Hana Katsuo and spring onion. Dried seaweed powder (Aonori) and pickled ginger (Beni Shoga) can also be added.

Beer 1
The event ended with a buzz, a beer buzz, I mean. The participants were treated to a beer tasting session by Thirsty, a shop specialisng in beer. The different types of beer such as ale and lager were shared, and there were also samples of malt and hops, which is a flavouring and stabilizing agent used in beer. There was also a chance to try out three beers.

I enjoyed the event. It was a good opportunity to get away from the kids, and I got to learn three very yummy Japanese dishes. The verdict? I think I didn't do that bad a job.

Note: Toddly Mummy was invited for a Japanese cooking workshop at Liang Court. No compensation was received. All opinions and images are my own.


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