Saturday, 28 November 2009

Restaurant Review: Kazu Sumiyaki (4.5*)

This obscure restaurant nestled amongst other Japanese restaurants and Japanese karaoke bars on level 4 of cuppage plaza delivered a pleasant surprise in terms of the great variety of good quality skewered delicacies. Strongly recommended by pamela, Chris and I decided to give it a try for our 7th Wedding Anniversary instead of our usual Torisho Taka at Gallery Hotel.

We had:
Grilled whole yellow fish (1)
Wagyu (2)
Chicken Wings (1)
Pork Jaw with Apple (2)
Pork with Asparagus (1)
Pork with Enoki (1)
Kurobuta with Miso (1)
Prawn and Scallop with bacon (1)
Ginko Nuts (1)
Shiitake (1)
Onion (1)
Garlic Fried Rice (1 - we shared)
Clam miso soup and seaweed miso soup (1 each)
yuzu sherbet (1)
black sesame ice cream (1)
musk melon (1 - we shared)

all the items we ordered were very nicely done and served very promptly. the only one i felt was over-done was the ginko nuts. it was bitter. but all in all, we enjoyed the food and what i liked v much were the pork jaw with apple, onion and chicken wings. the onion was so sweet and juicy =) the clam soup is nice too. i am not a fan of clam because "unfresh" clams are powdery and have a fishy smell but the clams were plump, juicy and fresh =)

dessert was very very good. i loved the yuzu sherbet and on the way back home i was still savouring the taste =D ok, some people may find it too sour but i find it very refreshing... love the taste of yuzu =D the cherry sauce topping made it even more tasty =D chris scraped his black sesame ice cream with azuki beans CLEAN... short of licking the bowl hahaha... musk melon cost $10 per slice and i have tasted sweeter ones (in japan... hahaha, at half the price)

total bill was $160 which i find reasonable. it would have been about $100 if we didn't order the yellow fish (chris likes it) which cost $50.

compared to Nambantei, this place has more variety in terms of exotic stuff. but if you like the chi chi atmosphere of torisho taka, you'd find this place a bit "not high class". but heck la, then you can don't care about ettiquette, go there in berms and feast ma LOL i'd say it's a place to bring your long-time girlfriend or wife but if you want to impress your clients or celebrate your first christmas or whateva with your girlfriend, torisho taka has much much nicer ambience la.

hahaha... on our way down, we saw a girl open the door of a karaoke, performed some funny ritual of bending down to touch her toes then turned around and repeated the act (hence showing off her behind) then she disappeared behind the frosted glass door and joined by another girl, both pressed their bodies against the frosted glass so from outside you could see their sexy silhouttes... chris n i were like

me: >.> er dear, did you see what i just saw??
chris: <.< hahaha... what on earth are they doing???

so funny...

Kazu Sumiyaki, Cuppage Centre 04-05, 67342492 (Reservations recommended)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Restuarant Review: Tunch at Rose Veranda (Shangrila Hotel) 3.5*

I have heard a lot about this cafe which boasts a comprehensive range of 102 varieties of tea so my girlfriend (who used to be my colleague) and i went there for tunch a couple of days ago since they were having 38% discount in conjunction with their 38% anniversary. reservations have to be made online here within 38 days in advance and no show will result in a $20 penalty (they require credit card details).

well, while i was impressed with the range of teas, delicate fine china teasets and perfectly pressed linen napkins, the spread did not really wow me. although they had a pretty good selection of sweets (including chocolate fondue fountain, which has become quite the norm), the savouries consisted of the usual fare. i'd say it was the company that i enjoyed much more. service was very pleasant and prompt. the waitress (i believe from china) helpfully recommended two teas for us to sample and i finished it off with an earl grey (of cos, one of my favourites ^^)

i don't think i will go there without the 38% discount. after the discount, it was about $27 each which i find decent. i prefer regent hotel's british high tea at $36+++

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Dashi

Dashi is the most basic stock used in many japanese dishes. it's a stock made from konbu (dried kelp) and katsuo bushi (which is rock-hard dried bonito fish shaved into flakes, or bonito flakes). in the olden days (n i believe in the rural areas of japan now), people take a "cake" of dried compressed bonito fish and shave it when needed but now, packets of shaved bonito flakes can be purchased at supermarkets.

The traditional way of making dashi is quite troublesome n expensive. you need to buy dried kelp and bonito flakes. first wipe clean a piece of konbu (6 X 4cm). put it in a pot of 7 cups of water. just before the water comes to boil, remove kelp and discard. sprinkle in 50g of bonito flakes (which is a lot because they're light as a feather... they will fly all over the place one hor) and remove pot from heat. as soon as the flakes sink, strain stock and discard flakes. can be kept for 3 days in the fridge. i did this once for a steamboat party and never tried again LOL.

however, if u only need like 100ml or 50ml, then what r u going to do with the remaining dashi?? very wasteful right? so dashi-no-moto or granules are a convenient alternative. they come in a box of 5 or 10 sachets. each sachet can make 600ml of dashi. if you need only a little, you can scoop out some, fold the sachet to close it and keep the remaining powder in the fridge. it's kinda like our chicken cubes (which means it contains some MSG). if u can read chinese, the bottom left says 粉末 which means "powdered-form" and if you can read japanese, かつおだし (katsuo dashi) is what you're looking for. meidiya, isetan and cold storage have this. yamakawa may have, i'm not sure. if i go there, i'm usually more interested in the snacks LOL NTUC not sure too.


there are also dashi bags which work like tea bags and contain pure ground kelp and bonito. i used to use this until pochacco intro me to dahi-no-moto ^^ i find this healthier (cos no MSG) but again, there's a lot of wastage because one bag makes a couple of 100ml of dashi and u can't use 1/2 a bag if you need less... so i guess, dashi-no-moto is still the winner when u need just a little. u can even share one box with a friend (5 sachets will go a long way) to cut cost.

hope this helps =)

Okonomiyaki


I love okonomiyaki and will try to eat it when i'm in osaka (it's one of their specialties, with takoyaki... osaka is known to be food heaven =D) but it's not easy to find restaurants in Singapore selling nice okonomiyaki. we tried botejyu but didn't reallly like it. so when i saw this video, i was quite thrilled to try it. since "okonomi" means "what you like", you can actually add what you like =)



i didn't add the octopus, leek, pickled ginger, dried shrimp and tenkasu because chris doesn't like octopus, pickled ginger and leek and i didn't want to buy sakuraebi and tenkasu just for testing (so wasteful...skali not nice neh?). hw, i added some shiitake mushrooms (we didn't finish using the mushrooms for sukiyaki last night ma...)

i divided the portion into two to make two small pancakes rather than one big one so it will be easier to flip over (it's v v tricky to flip over a large pancake successfully). it's also because chris will be late for dinner so i will cook again for him... golly, i'm becoming like a japanese wife... they cook dinner twice, once for themselves and children, once for husband because (i heard) married japanese men don't like to eat re-heated food.

one thing to note when dealing with yama no imo (japanese yam) or huai shan in Chinese is to avoid touching it because you will itch like mad. i wonder how the aunty can scrap it with her bare hands >.< i always wear gloves when preparing huai shan.

i felt it tasted v good... hm... maybe i can add more ingredients next time. it's ok if chris doesn't like those ingredients, i'll just add in my portion lor! chris finished his in like 5 mins LOL

i used a pizza cutter cos i don't have the metal spatula for okonomiyaki (hm... maybe i should get it when in osaka muahahaha)

serve it with one of these teas =D wa! oishi!


(from left: green tea (ocha), oolong tea (uroncha), roasted rice tea(genmaicha))

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Sukiyaki ^^


i tried the "cooking with dog's" sukiyaki recipe and it turned out great! ^^ i have a cast iron pot with wooden lid so we ate at our japanese table with a portable stove and the pot.

we used beef (200g), shiitake (4), japanese tang o (v expensive! $7.90 for one bunch! but v nice and much much cleaner than local ones), grilled tofu (4 pieces - meidiya sells boxes... like regular tofu except it's already grilled), cooked udon (3/4 packet), carrot (1/2, cut into florets), chinese cabbage (1/4). forgot to buy enoki mushroom. we cooked the ingredients in two servings and chris finished every morsel =)

here's the video:

Friday, 20 November 2009

Gyoza

i love gyoza and found these seafood gyoza at meidiya so bought some to try.


gyoza dip:

1:1 of soy sauce and rice vinegar with a few drops of chilli oil (or sesame oil if you don't want it spicy)

when cooking gyoza, heat oil in a pan then place the gyoza on the pan. let them sit for about 3-4 mins. you may peek at the bottom to see if it's brown. when it's light brown, splash 1 tbsp of water around the edges and cover to steam for about 1 min. serve with gyoza dip immediately.


i feel that the skin could be softer... could be because i went to take sesame oil for the dip and took a photo -.- see la, i sacrificed for you all...

this reminds me of the time when my cell group sold gyozas during the church food fair... it was so eventful and hilarious LOL. read about it here.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Oyakodon

WA! the oyakodon in the following video is so super easy to cook and it costs only $3 for two (cos i only needed to buy chicken and cilantro) =D it took only about 30 min to prepare plus cook =D great one-dish meal if you're too tired to make the whole works...



i made 3 modifications. i didn't have dashi so just used water and there was no parsley plus i prefer cilantro so i bought cilantro. i used 1.5 eggs each (wa, omurice eat 2 eggs each, oyakodon also eat 2 eggs each... will have high cholesterol one neh!)


Chris finished EVERY rice grain =D

Friday, 6 November 2009

Omurice

i followed the instructions of the video i wrote about the last time below:



it's nice neh! it;s quite easy... took less than 1.5 hours to make it, including a potato carrot onion soup and some broccoli. hm... wrapping the rice with the omelette is rather tricky. i broke the first one (which i ate haha) then for chris i tried harder and it was successful =D but i overfried the egg a little (the egg is supposed to be yellow, not supposed to have so much brown parts)


i made some modifications. couldn't find dairy cream so used full cream milk instead and i used chicken cube instead of beef cube. oh, i also forgot to add the wine (which i don't have anw but intended to throw in some sake) and the green peas (which i forgot to scald with hot water LOL. and i didn't squirt the tomato sauce cos chris doesn't like it. but still, i have not even finished washing up and chris came into the kitchen with the empty plate and a =DDD on his face ^^ he likes it and approved it for future meals.

280 g of rice is about 1 cup but i find that a little too much for both of us so i scooped out some for lunch the next day. i'd say it feeds 3 small eaters (especially if there are other dishes like veg and soup) or 2 hungry people. cc tried a spoonful in the office (rmb i kept some for lunch?) and was very impressed. she felt v v motivated to try cooking it too LOL

k, next time i must get the egg right! yes! gambatte!!!!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Musk Melon =DDDDD


the piece de resistance of Chris' birthday dinner was the fruit =) since it was chris' birthday and the melons were cheaper than usual ($49 each as opposed to $60+ to $80+), i bought one for the dinner... when i cut it up, ah ma's domestic helper went WAH! it was so juicy there was a well of juice with the seeds... this fruit had to be served on an individual plate, one wedge per person (yes, so 7 plates) to do it justice...

my father-in-law slurped it up...

FIL: wa, v v sweet...
me: *ah bu then* hehe
MIL: 很甜 (v sweet) ^^

in the kitchen, my mum-in-law asked if it's the 很貴的日本(v expensive Japanese) melon and asked the price... haha... i told her the price and she was shocked... but she said it's ok since it's chris' birthday and he likes to eat, phew...

but anw, when we eat it in japan, one wedge costs about 350 JPY which is about $5 also... so $49 for one big melon is reasonable la... once a year, for chris birthday.

according to my ex-japanese teacher Kasagawa sensei, after you finish it, you can rinse the skin and rub it all over your face and your complexion will be v smooth... hm...

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Nice Miso Dip


I found a nice miso paste in Meidiya =) goes very well as a dip for japanese cucumber, radish and carrot strips =) grandma seemed to like it =) you can eat it with chicken, beef etc too... quite versatile. i grilled kobe beef pieces then wrapped them in lettuce with a strip of cucumber dipped in the miso. but don't add too much. it's quite salty.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup


 Time: 5 hours

kk, don't skip this post. It takes that long because you have to simmer it ma... you can still go and blog, check facebook, clean the house, shop at the neighbourhood mall, jog etc...

Ingredients (serves 4-6 or two very hungry people):
2 chickens. Ask the uncle/aunty to amputate legs, cut off ass, decapitate (sheesh, this sounds like some "silence of the lambs" plot...) skin one of the chickens.
3 ginko nuts
3 red dates
3 chestnuts
3 garlic cloves
10 pine nuts
2 ginseng (i used the dried ones from ZTP... in restaurants, they use fresh ginseng i think...)
50g glutinous rice
4-6 cups of water (depending on size of chicken... some chickens are huge)
1 stalk of spring onion (the white part)
salt to taste
chopped spring onions to garnish



make broth with the skinned chicken and 4 - 6 cups of water (depends on size of chicken, just make sure it's covered). simmer with one stalk of spring onion for 2.5 hours.

rinse the stuffing and stuff into the *ssh*le (sorry, this is the most direct way to describe that cavity la) of the other chicken (put rice in first so that the other ingredients act as a stopper). tie up drumsticks to close cavity if you want but i didn't. top with broth.

Bring to boil and simmer for at least 2.5 hours. Add salt to taste. Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve immediately. Do eat the stuffing =) love the chestnuts and ginko nuts (oh, i put in 4 ginko nuts cos i like ginko nuts!!) since there's glutinous rice, you can cook less rice lor...

I watched a Korean documentary which featured a Ginseng chicken soup restaurant. the Korean aunty who runs it cooks 100 chickens in a huge pot. So, although you order one chicken, you're essentially drinking the essence of 100 chickens. we use 2 chickens, so cannot fight k? statistically, we all know that one is not = the mean of 100 (i.e. X1 not equal to X bar) but the taste is still very nice, almost like the crystal jade one =D

can you use those packet chicken broth? well, don't try this if it's for your mother-in-law cos she'll know LOL anw, i have tried it before and the result is not nice. chris thinks i should use 100 chickens... siao -.-||| also don't be lazy and just use water, it will be very disappointing.

we finished every drop =)

couple this with korean-style spinach =)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Yakult-Drinking Chicken

Wow! I found this amazing chicken at NTUC =) it's called Sakura Chicken and is farmed in Malaysia, using Japanese farming technology which means we get Japanese quality chicken at an affordable price (imagine airflown from Japan... sheesh, it will cost an arm and a leg). The chickens supposed roam freely in controlled and air-conditioned environments and instead of using anti-biotics (which most other farms use), they're feed with lactobacillus (the ingredient in yakult la... L.casei shirota is a kind of lactobacillus, i think).

Advantages include:
Less fat
More flavour (happier chickens are tastier I read)

Anyway, I bought two and they gave me a Sakura Chicken cookbook!! =D


It's also suposedly more tender. I read that even the breast are tender... wow... nice ^^ we tried it and it's true... the breast is tender.

read more about it here.