Trip to Japan

Japan: Week 4

Helloo!

So already week 4!

The week started perfectly with a holiday on Monday, so it was a 3 days week-end yeah!
I didn’t do much on Monday, mainly tidying and housework… But I did an experiment that was a total “Meeeh!”: Stir-fried udon with shrimps and veggies. Not worth writing a recipe about it.

Tuesday was Ramen day at the usual restaurant. Quite simple ramen but still very good. And I love those blanched veggies and those sweet beans. I don’t really remember what I did for dinner but I think it was fish with rice. And then Ice cream!!!

On Wednesday, first time having Japanese curry not made by me =D It is more chunky than mine but the flavor was quite close. Just delicious. And it was served with a salad that had a lovely creamy sesame dressing. Lovely! And for dinner … hum … I don’t really remember this week >.< But I guess nothing worth remembering.

 

I think I looked a little bit stupid on Thursday. There were Karaage for lunch — chicken Karaage — and it was so juicy and I guess quite marinated that I thought it was pork. But it even had this “Pork fat” flavor >.< So one of my teammate corrected me when I told somebody that we had prok Karaage. But it was really delicious. And I was quite surprised by the side dishes. First a pickled cucumber salad with surimi — sound weird I know — that tasted AMAZING. Then a small “salad” that seemed to be slightly stir-fried. Very good too.

For dinner I made my easy “Shashlik” recipe and then wrote it on the blog.

Friday equal Seminar Day. Had two seminars that day, first one on “Multi Echo fMRI” and the second about “Transcranial direct-current stimulation”. Yeah, trying to learn as much as I can while here. The first one was during lunch, so got some take-away Katsu that I told about the first week. That egg mayo sauce really intrigues me.

For dinner I decided to try another marinade for chicken. Actually I put it to marinate a day before. It was quite good — sesame oil, soy sauce, paprika, chili powder and garam masala — but I think it will be better to marinate it and then batter it and deep-fry it. So will do that and see which is the best and then write the recipe here.

In the end was still quite hungry so went to the convenience store and got some Karaage with some weird salty sauce that tasted quite good.

Finally the week-end. I know it was a 4 days week but I felt quite tired all the week long — even more now. So I had to fetch some delivery from the post office, so decided to walk to the Ibaraki post office. It took me about 30 minutes but it was a nice morning walk. Then I went to do my shopping — another 30 minutes walk — but it was a quite nice weather so it was good. Bought some food for the week and all the ingredients for a Burger Party at my place with my team, so took the monorail to go home. I still struggled to get home with my hands full of bags. But the reward was worth it: I got myself a big set of sushi for lunch. SOOOO good! Just didn’t like the shiso leaf that they add in the scallops sushi.

I got some Takoyaki too but squashed the box, so no picture. There were nice but I still don’t fully get the fact that it has some liquid batter in the middle.

Today — Sunday — I am feeling very tired, don’t know why so mainly stayed home. Had some Salmon filet that I cut into Sashimi and had it with some rice for lunch. Then managed to motivate myself to go outside — it was raining >.< — and walked to the shop to get the burger buns that I couldn’t by the day before. Got some vodka at the same time :D. Then came home and had some cabbage salad and an experimental fried rice. Nothing worth picturing ^^.

So will go to sleep early, and see you next week 😉

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Trip to Japan

Japan: Week 3

Konbanwa! (Yeah it’s already the evening here)

The week is now finishing so it’s time for a post.
I had a lot of yummy stuff this week too and finally got my first “Holly Molly! Just why?” food moment in Japan.

So let’s start from Monday. So I had lunch as always as the lovely restaurant on the side of the campus. This time there were some meet with cabbage and pickled ginger in some sweet broth and as side dishes some blanched veggies and some big sweet beans. Everything was yummy and I was quite surprised by how sweet those beans were.

For dinner I decided to experiment a little bit. I made a marinade from rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and whisky — why whisky? Hum good question… Why not? =P —  that I used to quickly marinate some butterflied shrimps that I then breaded and cooked in my “oven”. Yeah I say “oven” because I am not sure if it is an oven, it’s like super small — about 5cm on 10cm — so perhaps it’s more a grill than an oven. And since I’m struggling with learning Japanese I did not really know what to press so just pressed random buttons and it somehow worked out ^^’. In the end it wasn’t bad but a little bit too bland so will have to improve that before presenting a real recipe to you.

Tuesday started with a discovery. So on Saturday I bought a cup to be able to have tea at work — I was using a cardboard cup before — and so I took it to work on Tuesday. I made some tea and came back to my desk, looked at the cup and was surprised that it changed the design. So actually it is a Thermocolor cup that changes the design depending of the temperature. So when it’s hot it is as on the picture, when it’s cold all the colors turns black so you just have dark mountains. So it was a cool surprise.

For lunch that day there was Oden. Very yummy and just perfect for that day as it was pretty called outside. It had some fried tofu — I still don’t understand tofu, it’s too bland to me –and egg, some daikon, konjaku,two other things that I don’t know what it is ^^’.

For dinner simply had some of my curry that I made on Sunday.

On Wednesday, we had some visiting student in our lab, so we went to eat with them in a cafeteria on the campus. I had my first (not instant) ramen but was so hungry that I forgot to take a picture >.<
As I was struggling to get motivated to do my fitness of the day — yeah I stated from Monday to do one to one and half hour of fitness every day — I decided to get some snacks on the way home. So After the fitness I finished the curry and had a snack party. So from top left to bottom right:

  • Coca-Cola with ginger flavor. It have a more earthy flavor than normal Cola. It sort of reminds me a Russian soda called “Baykal” and that have a earthy flavor. So not bad but not amazing.
  • Pepperoni pizza flavored chips: This one … JUST WHY? It does not taste like either chips, pizza or pepperoni. I tried three chips and then through the bag out because it’s just not possible. Haaa just writing about it makes me feel bad.
  • Snack maki rolls with 3 rolls with mayo tuna and cucumber and 2 with surimi and salad. Nice snack, really enjoyed it.
  • Thick jerky. I took it to try Jerky once. I love Biltong — it’s sort of South African jerky — so wanted to compare to Jerky. It was not bad but biltong is so much better.
  • Dried squid. This! This is the good stuff. I love it, we have the same in Russian and I just love it with a beer.
  • Spicy jerky: Geez it was spicy, the cola really helped me with this one.

Thursday, back at the restaurant with some delicious Katsu, cabbage salad and beans and seaweed salad. really tasty.

For dinner first did some fish but was still hungry and had some chicken breast that would go bad if I did not cook them so I did an experiment for an idea of recipe I had. I was asked a long time ago by my sister, what a Russian burger would have in it. At that time I just answer joking “Red caviar and black caviar” as in the picture of the “Russian Big Mac“. But I finally got an idea this week after watching some Russian recipes done by a funny guy on Youtube: “Shashlik Burgers”. Shashlik is the russian way of doing barbecue and generally the marinade is quite simple. For example my mom simply marinates chicken in a mix of vinegar, salt and onions. So I thought of a recipe that I will present you later when I try it. But to come back to Thursday, I simply marinated a chicken breast in that simple marinade and cooked it in a pan with the onions from the marinade. I added some mayo and ketchup on the buns and served it like that. Aaaand… It was pretty good. I think my final idea will be pretty awesome =D

I additionally got myself a little Japanese bread that I thought was sweet. So I had it as pudding and NO! Curry filled bread! It was still yummy but I wanted sweet >.<

For the Lunch Seminar of Friday got a take away from the convenience store with a variety of fried stuff. Pretty good.

But for Friday night I got some cool stuff. As a starter, sushi — I really love it, could it it everyday without a problem, except for my wallet — followed by some Karaage, love that too. I had some plum soda with it. After that, beer and dried squid and cheesy crackers. And finally mini donuts and an ice cream waffle. That waffle really reminded me of Russian ice creams, made me ever more happy about that dinner!

On Saturday morning went to do some groceries, took care of the laundry and in the afternoon left to meet up with a teammate for a drink. As I am a little bit tight with money this month, I walked to the meeting point. It was a nice one hour walk through the town of Ibaraki.

We met at Ibaraki-shi station and he showed me around the area. Then we went to a lovely small bar — like for maximum 10 people — and had a few pints of beer and some smoked food. The owner was in a St-Patrick mood wearing an Irish t-shirt and a Leprechaun hat. Then our boss joined us for one more pint and a spicy pizza with smoked fish and egg. Actually it was very tasty.

Then we went to another bar. My boss wanted to go to his favorite bar but it was full so we went to another bar. Again a very small bar but with a very lovely atmosphere and a nice bartender. He even tried to do some Yodel when I told him that I am coming from Switzerland.

We had one more beer with some Japanese cabbage and beef roll. Then we got shoshu. I had brown sugar shoshu and my teammate had rice one. The taste is quite different. And as final dish of the night we had Chicken Sashimi. I know you are like “What the hell?” but in Japan they are extremely strict with food and the quality of chicken is so high that you can have it raw in restaurants. It is not actually raw, it is seared at very high temperature on both side, so it even has a slight burn taste. But it was very yummy.

After that had to walk home for one hour, totally drunk and already getting a massive headache. I somehow managed to do it and even got a Apple-Peach-Mango water on the way. But it was tough. Crashed in my bed until lunch time on Sunday. So on Sunday — today — I was quite hungover so stayed at home in my “Slime” mode. But still had lovely food. For lunch I warmed up some Unagi — caramelized eel. Soooooo good.

And for dinner I made some rice to eat with sashimi =D

And now I am sitting and finishing to write this post and really wonder if I should go get some waffle ice cream at the shop.

See you next week 😉 And have a lovely week.

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Experiements, Recipe

Chicken and mushroom ramen

ChickenRamen

For this recipe I used the recipe of Tsukemen of Cooking with dog as inspiration and customised it.


Ingredients for 2 persons:

  • One chicken breast
  • 250 gr of mushrooms ( I used a mix of Shimeji, Eringi and Oyster mushrooms)
  • One garlic clove
  • A piece of ginger (1cm*2cm approximately)
  • One chili
  • Sesame oil
  • Miso
  • One spring onion
  • Chicken broth
  • Soy sauce
  • Sake
  • Noodles
  • Toppings:
    • One egg
    • Seaweeds

  1. Cut the chicken breast in two pieces (I cut in one third/ two third pieces).
  2. Dice the mushrooms in 1cm pieces.
  3. Slice the chili in small pieces.
  4. Separate the spring onion in 3 pieces: the white one, the dark green one and the intermediate one. Slice thinly the white part and the dark green one.
  5. On high heat, pan sear the chicken.
  6. Finish cooking the bigger piece of chicken in an oven at 180°C. When cooked let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Keep the smallest piece in the pan, reduce the heat to medium and add 3 tablespoons of sake, the chili pieces and the mushrooms dices and cook for 3 minutes.
  8. Add one liter of chicken broth, the garlic slightly crushed, the ginger slightly crushed and the intermediate part of the spring onion.
  9. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  10. Cook the noodles as described on the packet. Cook the egg as you like it (soft boiled for me).
  11. Remove the garlic,the ginger and the intermediate part of the onion.
  12. Add 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and the white part of the spring onion and reduce to medium-low heat.
  13. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of miso in the soup and add a dash of sesame oil.
  14. Finally slice the big part of the chicken, cut the egg in two. In a bowl, put some noodles, add the soup and top it with an half of egg, te chicken slices, the green part of the spring onion and some seaweeds.

Enjoy!

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Experiements, Recipe

Prawn ramen

Shrimp ramen

I never ever ate any real ramen but I always wanted to have some. So I did a few experiment to get something nice. I tried some pork based broth, some chicken one, but never managed to make something that make me say “Waow!”.
So I bought some precooked ramen, it was the only noodles that I could find with “Ramen” written on it, and used some of the leftover ingredients that I had.
The result was “WAAAOW!”.


Ingredients for one bowl:

  • Ramen noodles
  • 500 ml of water
  • Dashi powder
  • 10 small prawns
  • 1 small onion
  • A very little piece of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
  • 4 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • Sesame oil (I used sesame oil infused with garlic and ginger)
  • Miso paste
  • Spices:
    • Cayenne pepper
    • Paprika
    • Curry

For the topping:

  • 1 soft boiled egg
  • 2-3 onion slices
  • Half of a leaf of nori seaweed
  • Wakame seaweed
  • Bonito flakes
  • Shrimps from the broth.

  1. First cut your onion: Keep 2-3 thin slices for the topping and dice the rest in 1cm pieces.
  2. Slice the ginger without removing the skin.
  3. In a pan, warm up some sesame oil and slowly cook on medium heat the onion, ginger and the shrimp. While it is cooking, begin the preparation of the broth.
  4. In a pot, pour the water and the dashi powder and put it on medium heat.
  5. Add the soy sauce, the fish sauce and oyster sauce.
  6. When the ingredients in the pan begin to have a nice smell, put them in the pot and let it simmer at medium low heat for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Sieve the broth to remove everything that is not liquid.
  8. Dissolve a tablespoon of miso in the broth.
  9. Taste and add the spices and a teaspoon of sesame oil.
  10. Cook the ramen as indicated on the packet.
  11. When cooked, rinse the ramen and dray it.
  12. Add them to the soup for 2 minutes.
  13. Serve:
    1. Put some ramen in a bowl
    2. Add some soup to slightly cover it
    3. Add all the topings

Itadakimasu!

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