From Tokyo with Love (for Food)

Archive for October, 2013

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Sweet-and-sour Pork with Black Vinegar 黒酢酢豚

Sweet-and-sour Pork with Black Vinegar 黒酢酢豚

Sweet-and-sour pork gets a new twist when made with black vinegar.

Sweet-and-sour Pork with Black Vinegar (for 2-3 persons)

200g thinly sliced pork
1 tsp sake
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
potato starch

1/2 carrot
1 green bell pepper
1/4 red & yellow pepper
70g lotus root
100g Japanese pumpkin
1/2 onion
2 shiitake mushrooms

Black Vinegar Sauce
2 tbs black vinegar
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs mirin
1 tbs sake
1/2 tsp granule chicken stock
60ml water

2 tsp potato starch
1 tsp water

1) Marinate pork slices with the mixture of sake, soy sauce and sugar. Mix the ingredients of the black vinegar sauce except potato starch and water (mix these two in a cup).
2) Cut the vegetables bite size, and put the lotus root in vinegar water to remove the astringent taste.
3) Heat hard vegetables (carrot, pumpkin, lotus root) in 500 W microwave for 3 minutes. This makes them quicker to cook.
4) Roll the marinated pork slices to bite-sized balls, and sprinkle with potato starch.
5) Put plenty of vegetable oil to a fry pan, and fry the pork balls until they are well done. Move the balls from the pan.
6) Fry the vegetables in the same oil and move from the fry pan.
7) Wipe off the excessive oil from the frying pan, and add the ingredients of black vinegar sauce. Heat until simmering, and add the potato starch mixed with water to add thickness.
8) Add the pork balls and fried vegetables to the sauce and mix lightly.

I don’t like my pork very sweet, so I’m using a bit less sugar. If you like your pork more sweet, you can use 2 tbs of sugar in the vinegar sauce.
As for the picture, I’m not a huge fan of lotus root, so I used daikon instead.

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Cafe Nooks

Cafe Nooks

Nooks2

I went to Shimokitazawa after not visiting the area a long time. You always hear that there are so many nice cafes and restaurants, but I have always found it a bit overhyped…

Outlying the main area I found this nice and cozy cafe in the residential area. They were serving pancakes, and of course I chose ricotta cheese pancakes with apples & maple butter.

With three pancakes, apple slices and bananas it was quite good treat for 1000 yen, and the taste was also nothing to complain about. For some reason the set also included a home-made ice cream afterwards, although I couldn’t find a mention about it in the menu. Nice surprise though.

In the evenings cafe claims to change to a Spain bar, so next time an evening visit might be a good idea…


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Macha Twists

Macha Twists

I decided to try new shape for macha bread, and came up with these macha twists. They look almost like lollipops, but are soft and fluffy inside.

Macha Twist (8 pcs)

200g plain flour
1 tbs sugar
a hint of salt
20g melted butter
1 tsp instant yeast
100cc milk
40cc water

For macha dough:
1 tsp boiling water
1 tsp macha (Japanese green tea powder)

1) Mix the flour and instant yeast in a bowl.
2) Put milk and water to an another bowl and warm in the microwave to 42 degrees.
3) Add sugar to the warm liquid and mix. Add the flour and yeast mix little by little.
4) Add melted and cooled down butter, and knead until the dough don’t stick to the bowl anymore.
5) Cut 1/3 of the dough and move to another bowl. Add macha that is mixed well with hot water, and knead until evenly green.
6) Let both doughs proof 20 mins in 40 degrees.
7) Push the excessive air out, and cut both doughs to 8 pieces. Let them rest 10 mins.
8) Start with plain dough and flatten it with a rolling pin to make a circle of ca. 10 cm. Flatten the macha dough too, and put it on the plain dough to make two layers. Roll the doughs to a stick and close the seam well. Then cut the stick in half vertically, leave 2 cm together. Twist the two strips like making a braid, and gather the ends together to make a knot. Do the same to rest of the doughs.
9) Let the twist to proof for 20 min in 40 degrees.
10) Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees, then lower the heat to 170 degrees and bake the twists for 12 min. If they seem to get too much colour, you can put a foil on them in the middle of the baking.

If you want to make them sweeter, you can use 2 tbs of sugar, or even put some anko (sweet red ban paste) inside, but I like them as a bit more savory version.


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Gyudon, Japanese Style Beef Bowl

Gyudon, Japanese Style Beef Bowl

Gyudon is mostly seen as a fast food in Japan (a bowl costs 280 yens in gyudon specialized chains), but it can be easily made at home too. With no added oil, it actually makes quite healthy dinner.

Gyudon (for 4 persons)

300 g thinly sliced beef
1 onion

Caramel sauce:
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs water

Tare sauce:
250 cc water
3 tbs white wine
3 tbs mirin
4 tbs light soy sauce
a hint of salt
1/2 cubes of soup stock
a hint of dashi
1 glove of garlic peeled and sliced
1 cm piece of ginger peeled and sliced

1) Peel and cut the onion to 5 mm thick slices. Cut the meat to 3-4 cm long slices.
2) Make the caramel sauce. Put sugar and water in to a pan and heat until the mixture gets light brown colour.
3) Add white wine and mirin to the pan, and heat so that the alcohol vaporizes.
4) Add the other ingredients of tare sauce, and bring to boil.
5) Add sliced onion, and after a while, add the meat. Mix well and put a lid on. Leave for max 1 min (otherwise the meat gets chewy).
6) Put a portion of warm rice into a bowl and top it with beef & onion mixture. If you want, you can sprinkle some shichimi (Japanese seven spice) on the portion.