From Tokyo with Love (for Food)

Archive for June, 2013


Kabocha anpan

Kabocha anpan

These small buns are filled with sweet pumpkin paste. Kabocha, Japanese pumpkin, is one of my favourite vegetables, as it has a slightly sweet and gentle taste. It can be used both in savory cooking as well in sweets ♪

Kabocha anpan (6 pcs)

200g kabocha (Japanese pumpkin)
30g sugar
50cc milk
a hint of salt
10g butter

160g wheat flour
1 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 tbs sugar
1 egg
50cc water
a hint of salt
30g butter

1) Start with pumpkin paste. Cut off the green skin of the pumpkin and cut it to small chunks. Warm the chunks in microwave until they are soft. (Depending on your microwave, this may take 4-8 mins) Smash the soft pumpkin with a fork to make even paste.
2) Put the paste in a pot and add sugar, milk and salt. Boil down until you get the thickness you like (I prefer to boil it quite thick, as it is then easier to bake inside the buns.)
3) Add the butter and let the paste cool down.
4) Make the dough. Warm the water to 40 degrees. Melt the butter. Mix flours and yeast in a bowl.
5) Add sugar, salt and egg to the water. Mix well. Add the flour mix and knead until well mixed. Add the butter and knead until the dough doesn’t stick to the bowl anymore.
6) Leave the covered dough to a warm place (40 degrees) to proof for 35 mins.
7) When the dough has become 1.5 times the original size, move it to the baking board and punch the excessive air out. Cut in 6 pcs and make them round. Cover and let them rest for 5 mins.
8) Remove the air again and make round flats from the dough. Put around 1 tbs of kabocha-an in the middle of the round and wrap the ends together to make a ball. Put on the oven plate so that the seam becomes in the bottom.
9) Make five cuts with even distance on the bun so that you get balanced flower shaped buns. Let them proof covered in a warm place for 25 mins.
10) If you want, you can glace the buns with an egg and put some pumpkin seeds in the top. Bake in a 190 degrees oven for 13 mins.



Kagurazaka Oishinbo

Kagurazaka Oishinbo


This is a nice traditional Kyoto style restaurant in one of the narrow alleys in Kagurazaka.

During lunch time, they have very affordable set menus; this is this week’s donburi set that costs only 1000 yen (includes also a mini dessert). This time it was summer vegetable & namafu tempura.

Even in the evening the prizes are affordable among the Japanese restaurants in Kagurazaka, so if you want a bit of Kyoto when in Tokyo, this might be a good stop.


Cafe Pasifica

Cafe Pasifica

This is a nice and cozy cafe near Yoyogi park. However, it is not on the Harajuku side of park, where all the people gather, but on the other side. Thus there was plenty of space in a Saturday afternoon, when the cafes on the Harajuku side are packed with people.

Of course I had to taste their version of Bill’s classic, ricotta cheese pancakes. Have to say that they tasted as good as on the other side of the park, but without 1 and half hour lining up.

Cafe also has a Facebook page, and if you like their page you will get a drink 50% off.


White Cream Cheese Rolls

White Cream Cheese Rolls

These soft rolls are filled with a little bit sweet cream cheese filling. Thus they go well with tea!

White Cream Cheese Rolls (8 pcs)

200 g wheat flour
2 tbs sugar
a bit of salt
20 g butter
1 tsp dry yeast
100 cc milk
40 cc water

100 g cream cheese
30 g sugar
1 tbs skim milk

1) Mix the flour and yeast. Melt the butter and let it cool down. Measure milk and water in a bowl.
2) Add sugar and salt to the liquid, then add flour with yeast little by little. Knead the dough until all the ingredients are mixed well. Then add the butter and knead until the dough doesn’t stick to the bowl anymore.
3) Let the dough proof in warm place (40 degrees) for at least 30 mins, or until it has become double the original size.
4) Make the filling. Soften the cream cheese by warming it quickly in a microwave. Add sugar and skim milk and mix well. Put the filling to the freezer as then it is easier to handle when baking.
5) Turn the dough to a baking table and push the excess air out. Cut the dough to 8 pieces and let them rest for 10 mins. Put a wet cloth or some wrap on them so that they won’t dry.
6) Make round thins from the dough and put some filling in the middle. Bundle the ends together to make round rolls.
7) Let the rolls proof in a warm place (40 degrees) for around 20 mins.
8) Warm the oven to 180 degrees. When putting the rolls in, decrease the heat to 170 degrees and bake for 12 mins. If the rolls are getting too much colour, put some foil on them to prevent them getting too brown.


Twice Cooked Pork 回鍋肉

Twice Cooked Pork 回鍋肉

I had some cabbage that need to be used, so I decided to make this simple but tasty dish. This is an quick & easy version without boiling the pork first.

Twice Cooked Pork (for 4 persons)

300 g thinly sliced pork meat
1/2 small cabbage
5 green bell peppers
1 leek
2 cloves of garlic
2 cm ginger
2 dried chili peppers
1 tsb Chinese chicken stock powder
2 tbs tianmianjiang paste (or miso paste)
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs sake
2 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs sugar
2 tsb doubanjiang-bean paste

1) Mix the spices to make even paste.
2) Peel & mince garlic and ginger. Take the seeds from chili peppers and slice them thinly.
3) Cut the cabbage in chunks, halve green peppers and take the seeds out. Cut vertically in half. Slice leek in slanted slices.
4) Cut the meat bite-sized and add 3 tbs of wheat flour. Add some black pepper to taste and mix until the meat is covered with flour.
5) Put 2 tbs of sesame oil in a frying pan and add ginger, garlic and chili peppers. Fry lightly so that spices give out nice aroma.
6) Turn the heat to strong, add meat and fry well while mixing the whole time. When the meat is completely fried, move to a plate.
7) Add 1 1/2 tbs of sesame oil to the frying pan, put on strong heat and add the vegetables. Fry around 1 min, then add the meat and the spice paste made in the first step. Fry with strong heat, mixing well. When the paste has mixed with all the ingredients, it is ready.


Pork belly stew with rice cooker

Pork belly stew with rice cooker

This is called 豚の角煮 (buta no kakuni) in Japanese, and it is basically pork belly cubes boiled in broth until they become really soft. Normally it takes the whole day if you are cooking it in a traditional way, but it can be done quick & easy with a rice cooker!

Buta no kakuni with a rice cooker (for 4 persons)

500 g pork belly block
4 boiled eggs
1/2 daikon
green part of 1 leek
1 cm of ginger sliced
400 cc water
100 cc sake
4 tbs soy sauce
4 tbs sugar

1) Peel the boiled eggs. Cut the daikon 3-4 cm thick rounds. Cut the pork also in 3-4 cm blocks.
2) Put some vegetable oil on a frypan and fry pork cubes lightly so that they get some colour.
3) Put water, pork cubes, sliced ginger and leek in a rice cooker and start the cooker.
4) When the cooker is finished, the pork should be soft. Take leek and ginger out and put daikon and boiled eggs in the cooker.
5) Add water so that the ingredients are under the water. Add sake, soy sauce and sugar, and turn the cooker on again.
6) When the cooker is finished, kakuni is ready. Eat with some karashi (Japanese mustard) & rice. Goes well with beer too!


Cave Bar

Cave Bar

I was surprised when finding out that one of the most popular wine bars in Tokyo is in Takadanobaba. To say the least that’s the last place to think about finding a decent wine bar…

But yes, of course I had to give it a try. This is Australian vintage Shiraz with prociutto & parmesan salad. Wonderful combination; also the wine that was recommend by the sommelier was really tasty – deep taste with some spices, but still a bit fruity – very Australian to say the least.