From Tokyo with Love (for Food)

Archive for August, 2014

Khao Man Gai (Hainanese Chicken Rice) with Rice Cooker

Khao Man Gai
At last I’m able to chew properly, so after porridge diet, I wanted to make some “real” food. Spicy dishes were also banned during the healing period, so I was craving for some chilis.

Khao Man Gai, the Thai version of Hainanese Chicken Rice, has been in the media a lot lately, as the first Khao Man Gai restaurant straight from Bangkok opened their first shop in Shibuya last month. I decided to try it out at home, as I found out it could be easily done with a rice cooker.

Khao Man Gai (for 2 persons)

1 chicken thigh (250 g, boneless)
Hint of salt
Hint of white pepper
1 1/2 go (180 cc) rice
1 tbs sake
1/2 tsp chicken broth powder
1 tsp nam pla fish sauce
3 slices of ginger
5 cm leek

For serving:

1/2 cucumber sliced diagonally
Some coriander leaves


1 glove of garlic (peeled and minced)
1 cm piece of ginger (peeled and minced)
1 tsp nam pla
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp miso paste
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs water
1-2 red chilis

1) Wash the rice and let it stand in water for 30 minutes (depending on the type of rice you use, this might not be needed).
2) Cut out excess fat from the chicken, and sting the meat thoroughly with a fork to make it tender. Rub some salt and white pepper to the meat.
3) Cut the ginger (leave the skin on) and leek. Crush the leek a little bit with the side of a knife.
4) Put the rice, sake, chicken broth powder, nam pla, as well as sliced ginger and leek in a rice cooker. Add a little bit less water than usually.
5) Put the chicken on the top of the rice and turn the cooker on.
6) Mix the ingredients of the sauce. Adjust the saltiness to your liking by adding more soy sauce and miso, and hotness by increasing the amount of chili.
7) When the cooker finishes, take the meat out (be careful, as it is hot and really tender) as well as ginger and leek. Mix the rice well and divide to serving plates.
8) Cut the chicken to slices and put on the top of the rice. Garnish with cucumber slices and coriander leaves. Serve with the sauce.

I used brown rice for health reasons, even though white jasmine rice would look nicer with chicken. I also made some daikon salad in som tam style to go with the chicken rice; if you can find green papaya you can try to make the real som tam.




Korean Style Pumpkin Congee

I am still recovering from the extraction of the wisdom tooth, and able to eat only soft dishes. It is also really hot and tiring in Tokyo at the moment, but as much I would love to eat only (matcha) ice cream, it won’t do. Thus I’m experimenting with different kind of porridges.

This is one of favourite Korean dishes, lightly sweet pumpkin porridge, or hobakjuk in Korean, with azuki bean topping. Whenever I go to Korea, I need to go to eat it at least once, and every time I have the same problem – to take the azuki bean porridge patjuk or the pumpkin one, and always end up choosing the pumpkin. I had never tried to make it at home, and was surprised how easy it was.

Korean Style Pumpkin Congee, Hobakjuk (for 2 persons)

1/4 Japanese pumpkin + 200 cc water
50 g glutinous rice (mochigome) + 75 cc water
400 cc water
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp honey
Boiled and sweetened azuki beans
Black sesame seeds

1) Put glutinous rice and 75 cc water in a bowl and mix quickly by hand.
2) Scape off the seed from the pumpkin using for example a spoon. Put in heat-resistant bowl, cover with cling film and steam in microwave (500 W) for 6-7 minutes.
3) Scrape off the orange pulp, be careful not to scoop too much of the green part. Add 200 cc of water and use a hand mixer to make an even mixture.
4) Move the pumpkin purée to a pot, and add the rest 400 cc of water. Turn to high heat and boil 10 min while mixing well to prevent burning.
5) Lower the heat to medium and add the glutinous rice soaked in water. Keep on boiling another 5 min and mix well so that the rice won’t stick together.
6) When the porridge becomes the thickness of your liking, add salt and honey, and bring to boil quickly.
7) Mix with had mixer once more to get an even texture.
8) Garnish with sweetened azuki beans and black sesame seeds.

You can add more honey if you like more sweet dishes, and mochi rice cakes for more filling meal. Hobakjuk is also delicious when served as a cold dessert. 

Easy Rice Gruel Seasoned with Miso


I had felt a vague pain in my back teeth for a week, and went to see a dentist. As I had suspected, the wisdom tooth was to blame, so after a short consultation I decided to get it extracted. All went well, and it wasn’t even very painful, but of course I couldn’t eat normal food for a couple of days.

Thus I decided to make ojiya, rice gruel, which is often served to kids and elderly when they are sick. Also during the winter, the rest of nabe – or hot-pot – dish can be made to ojiya to utilize all the tasty stock that otherwise tends to end up down the drain.

Easy Rice Gruel Seasoned with Miso (for 1 person)

300cc water
1 tsp granuled dashi
1 bowl of (brown) rice
1/2 tbs miso
1 egg
Some shiokombu or nori for topping

1) If you use refrigerated rice, warm it in microwave. I use brown rice, but for example for elderly person or a person with stomach problems white rice is easier to digest.
2) Put the water and dashi granules in a pot. Add also rice and mix lightly so that rice grains won’t stick to each other any more. Turn the heat on and bring to boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes.
3) Turn the heat off and dissolve miso in the mixture. Mix and turn the heat on again to low heat.
4) Add beaten egg slowly in circles, turn off the heat and put a lid on. When the egg is half-cooked, move to serving bowl.
5) Garnish with shiokombu or nori seaweed.

Tip: You can also add vegetables to gruel. Spinach, japanese pumpkin, and leek for example are nourishing and easy to eat when cooked soft. Also shrimps go well as topping.


Salmon no Nambanzuke


Lately it’s been so hot and humid in Tokyo that I wanted to have something light and refreshing for dinner. I decided on nambanzuke, fish in sweet vinegar sauce. This time I used salmon – or shake in Japanese – but other fish like horse mackerel or sardine can be used too.

Sake no nambanzuke (for 2 persons)

200 g salmon fillet
hint of salt
hint of white pepper
1 tsp sake
1 tbs plain flour
Oil for frying

1/4 onion
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 red pepper
1 tsp vegetable oil

Sweet vinegar sauce:
100 cc dashi stock
60 cc (rice) vinegar
2 tsp Japanese soy sace
1 tbs sugar
1/8 cut of lemon thinly sliced
10 rings of dried red chili

1) Make the sauce first. Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a pan and bring to boil. When the sugar has totally dissolved, turn off the heat and let cool down.
2) Take the seeds out of the peppers and slice thinly (vertically). Peel the onion and make thin slices vertically.
3) Cut the salmon diagonally to bite-sized, equally thick pieces. Move them on a tray, sprinkle both sides with salt & white pepper, and pour 1 tsp of sake on them. Let them marinade while preparing the vegetables.
4) Heat 1 tsp of oil in a frying pan and fry onions until they become transparent. Add the sliced peppers and fry quickly. Move the vegetables into the sauce made in point 1).
5) Wipe excess moisture off from the fish, and sprinkle with plain flour. Pour around 5 mm of vegetable oil to the frying pan and turn the heat on. When oil is around 160 degrees, add the salmon pieces. Fry until light brown, then turn and fry the other side as well (together around 5 mins with low heat). Take of the pan and put on tray spread with kitchen paper.
6) Move the fish to the vegetable and vinegar sauce, mix carefully and move to fridge. Let marinade around 2 hours before eating.
7) Garnish with radish sprouts etc.