Trip to Japan

Japan: Week 5

Hey! It’s Sunday, time to review what yummy stuff I had this week.

Let’s be logical, and start from Monday. As usually, lunch at the Japanese restaurant. That day it was a meatball with a sauce that seemed to be like between goulash and Okonomyaki sauce. Reaaaally good.

For dinner, I did another try on Crispy Shrimpy in the oven, aaaand… I still don’t know how to make that bloody oven work properly. But it was fine.

On Tuesday the main dish was tempura fish. The fish was so soft that you actually eat it with the bones but don’t feel them. And as side dish there were two mini sausages and bamboo shouts salad.

For dinner I decided to make some Udon in a miso soup, with Konjaku, green onions, Wakame seaweeds, eggs and sesame oil. But I made way too much — like 1L of soup — and didn’t have any proper bowl to eat it, soooo … Simply ate it straight out of the pot =D Soooo good!

Wednesday was Katsu day. With some cabbage salad and a ball of potato salad. I really love that restaurant! And for dinner I had my team over at my place and we had a Burger party. I made 4 different kinds of burgers — Triple Crisp, Chicken Curry, Classical and an experimental pepper sauce one — and 5 burger of each kind, for a total of 20 burgers. It was a fun party with a lot of drinks — and I got a bottle of sake — and a lot of food as I additionally made some fries and guacamole, and my teammates bring chips and ice creams.

The next day — as my kitchen was a pure chaos — I didn’t have breakfast at home and just picked up some “Donuts with Bean Paste” from the convenience store. They are so yummy, not to sweet but just sweet enough.

And for lunch it was cold Soba noodles topped with Nori seaweeds and I guess grated daikon. Additionally you can add some green onions and wasabi — which I did — for more flavors. I really liked it. And as side dish, that stir-fried veggies I like and some rice topped with powdered pickled plums. I need to find this powder cause it so nice on rice. For dinner simply had some grilled fish on rice.

On Friday, I forgot that we had the lunch Seminar so didn’t have any food and had to run under the rain to get some Onigiris from the convenience store. By the way, simple onigiris but really yummy, I should try to do some at home. Then in the evening there was a “Farewell Party” at work with a looooot of food and even more alcohol. So I had some sushis, some deep-fried  potato thingy, some “Chicago style” pizza — but mainly sushis as everybody was excited about western food and I prefer sushis =D —  and drunk some beer, wine, sake — and red sake which is like a mix of rosé and sake — tequila and some Yomeishu which is like sweet sake with a ton of herbs. And most of all I discussed with a lot of people. So it was very lovely.

And during the party we decided to go out for a drink on Saturday. So Since we finish quite late on Friday, I woke up late on Saturday, and mainly took care of my flat and rested. Then I started walking to Ibaraki-shi station to go out, and instead of going through the town, I took the road passing next to the nearby Golf club. Really lovely walk, very calm but a little bit longer.

So I arrived at Ibaraki-shi station a little bit early and waited there, but nobody was arriving. I started thinking that perhaps I misunderstood something and as I don’t have a Japanese phone number I was a little bit worried. But a colleague of mine arrived soon after and explained me that it will be only us as everybody else is still hungover from Friday’s party. So we tried to go to the best Yakitori restaurant/bar of the area but it was fully booked — next time we will reserve >.< — and walked around and got to another Yakitori restaurant: とりのねぐら 阪急茨木店. It was a very lively restaurant with a lot of figurines around the shop. We got places at the bar in front of a collection of One Piece figurines.

Started with a beer and the sort of Karaage in sauce.

Then we started getting all the different dishes. With first chicken sashimi, served with soy sauce, soy and vinegar sauce, grated garlic, ginger, wasabi and chili. Just soooo good. Then we got raw octopus with diced wasabi, a must try definitely.

Then the plate of Yakitori arrived. So I guess it was 4 of simple chicken, 2 traditional scallion and chicken, 2 chicken hearts one and 2 of some other chicken organ. Everything was delicious. On the left of the picture you can also see some tofu with wasabi and sliced perilla leaf.

We had additionally some Karaage — sorry no picture — and I got some sake. And it is very interesting how they pour the sake.So you get that wooden cube with the glass inside and they pour the sake in the glass until it overflows and fill the cube to the half. Then you drink from the glass and when the glass is empty you refill it with the cube.

Then we had some chicken meatball in sauce and with cheese.

And my colleague explained me that this Yakitori restaurant does also Okinawa — that the Japanese tropical island — style food. So we shared some Okinawa style udon with pork and pink ginger. I really loved that restaurant and Yakitoris in general.

Then it was time to drink. So we went to a bar called the “Lazy Bar”. It is a very lovely bar with a big choice of drinks. And the barman was really nice. So we had a lot of drinks, like really a lot. Going from Hawaiian vodka — very good one — to whisky, awamori, sake aaaaaand I finally tried Absinthe. Really a nice evening, but the walk home is still a pain >.<

So today I woke up late again, and had a lazy day with some cleaning, watching stuff and etc… I was slightly hungover in the morning but it went away pretty fast. And as I really enjoyed yakitori, I decided to try to do some at home but without skewers and grill. So I created the “Lazy Yakitori” that you do in a pan. And I must say it was pretty good, so will publish the recipe in the next days.

Now will go to sleep so see you next time! 😉

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Trip to Japan

Japan: Week 2

Hola qué tal?

Second week here already =O. So this week was quite calm except for Tuesday night, but will talk about it later. Most of the days I would go to work and have lunch in that lovely Japanese restaurant that I told you about last week. On Monday it was Katsu — Japanese cutlet — with a fried egg and a salad with that Japanese dressing I love. That dressing is with soy sauce and sesame oil, and some other thing that I would love to know what it is so I could make it myself.

Tuesday was my first time ever having real Japanese Udon — I made my own Udon a few time but never had any in a restaurant. It was served in a pretty simple broth with green onion, a thin slice of sweet fried tofu, a narutomaki piece — and no it’s not a Maki done in reference to the Manga Naruto but a sort of fish cake — and some shredded Kombu seaweed. very lovely. With the Udon dish was a dish of fried rice with soy sauce, carrots, konjaku, shimeji mushrooms and a few pieces of chicken and of fried tofu. I reaaaaaaally loved it so will try to do it at home and share the recipe with you. Finally there were some deep-fried onions and blanched veggies — some bok choy I guess. And as always some pickled veggies, that tasted awesome with the deep-fried onions.

On Wednesday I was sick so no lunch. For Thursday lunch we had some Oden — which is a Japanese pot-au-feu — with a lot of veggies and a dish of what I think was pickled bamboo shouts. Quite interesting.

As I was expecting to have our “Friday lunch seminar” I bought some premade food from the convenience store, but in the end left it for dinner as there wasn’t any seminar that day so we went to that restaurant to have some lovely fish and a quite amazing onion salad. But after that salad, it was probably impossible for me to talk to anybody due to the “onioness” of my breath ^^’.

Now that I finished to summary my lunches during the work days, let’s speak about the dinners. On Monday I simply cooked some chicken with onions and garlic. It really seems to me that chicken is much more flavorful here, I don’t know why.

So on Tuesday evening, my lab organized a very lovely party for the farewell of a member of the lab and my welcome. So we met at a nice restaurant nearby Ibaraki station — the town of Ibaraki, not the prefecture 😛 — for dinner. There were so much different dishes. At first there was some sashimi — tuna, salmon, octopus, yellow-tail and slightly cooked scallops. The octopus has a very weird texture but is very yummy. Then there was a few baby octopus, or perhaps squids I am not sure, that were again a little bit strange but very good too. The next dish was some Oden with spicy sausages, cabbages, some beef and other stuff — I was so impressed at that point that I wasn’t paying to much attention to what was in the dishes, sorry. Ah and I nearly forgot, there was a little bit of potato salad too. Then arrived the most fancy looking dish of the evening: whelk on fire =O. I was not really fond of its taste, it was too bitter for me.

What I really like is that all the dishes are coming one after another and everybody share and take whatever they like. The rest of the dishes were Karaage (Japanese chicken nuggets), fried oysters, some sort of glutenous tofu and finally — I hope I did not forget anything — some rice topped with mini fishes, roe and seaweed. All of these dishes were accompanied by first beer and then a mix of whiskey and sparkling water, which is a little bit strange as I generally drink my whisky on the rocks. To summary: an amazing dinner.

After that some people went home, but a big part of us went to a bar to brink some more. I had some more beer and some Shōchū — if I am not mistaking — which is kind of a “Japanese vodka” as my colleague introduced it to me. It was a very lovely evening. But next morning I wasn’t really fresh — probably due to the mix of alcohol, having a cold and being jet-lagged —  and managed to stay at work for only two hours. But taking that day as rest actually helped me to get over my jet-lag.

The rest of the working week I got dinner from the convenience store. I had some tempura, some other deep-fried stuff (like last week) and some Yakitori. It was all nice 😉

So the week-end! The week end was sort of short as I was waking up at 11:00 but that’s nice. On Saturday I got out of the house right after waking up — I took a shower first but almost right after waking up — and walk again to the “ExpoCity” commercial center. I needed to get an USB key and a cup or a mug for work. Got both and got my groceries at the same time. I finally found flour and butter — YAY! But I was surprised by the high price of cheeses but I guess most of them are imported from Europe or the US. And I was shocked to only find smaaaaaall burger buns. What will happen to my burgers with such small buns >.< For my way back decided to be lazy and took the monorail. Finally spent the rest of the day cleaning and taking care of the laundry. Ah and had sushi for dinner =D

Woke up in a great mood on Sunday: a cooking mood. So directly started doing a big pot of Japanese curry for dinner and then experimented a little bit with the mini burger buns, Japanese mayonnaise and Japanese ketchup. The result baby burgers were actually pretty good so I guess my burgers are safe but small ^^’.

In the afternoon decided to go for a walk. I went through the campus of the Osaka University to reach a nice little park, then walked through the nearby town. I was surprised to see the shops open on Sunday so decided to perhaps get some alcohol in prevision of a burger party at my place. And Happiness: whiskey is pretty cheap in Japan =D. So got myself a bottle and a few other stuff. At the till, I don’t know if I misunderstood the cashier or she forgot to give me a bag, but yeah no bags and I didn’t had any with me. As I was too shy to ask after I just packed my jacket pockets and stacked all the rest to somehow manage everything. “Anyway the house is close” I thought aaaaaand… NO! 25 or 30 minutes of balancing all that stuff while walking to reach home. And you know the best? I arrive finally at home — dying — put everything on the table, and the bow of already squashed sushis fell on the floor >.< Still ate it!

So now I’m seating and writing this post while enjoy a glass of Bourbon. And so “Chin chin” and see you next time 😉

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Recipe

Pepper Shrimp Udon

Heeeeello!

Back to the recipes today with an experiment that was not bad but had to be slightly changed. I will give you the changed version.
And as always its an idea of recipe, tweak it as much as you want — I actually change my recipes every time I cook =P.

About this dish, it is inspired from “Black Pepper Crab” — a Singaporean dish. But since in don’t have a whole crab, and it would have been sad wasting a crab in the case of a fail, I decided to try it with shrimps. And it was really nice. I am quite sure that it would work well with chicken instead of shrimp too.

And concerning the edits done on the recipe from my experiment, the main one is reducing dramatically the amount of black pepper. When I did it for myself I put about 2 or 3 tablespoons of pepper, and it was bloody strong — actually had to rinse the Udon to be able to finish them ^^’. The other slight change is when to add the spring onion, which should be done more towards the end that what I did.

So I hope you give it a try and tell me how it was 😉


Ingredients for 1 portion:

  • 1 portion of udon (or any kind of noodles)
  • 10 shrimps
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce

  1. Start by removing the shrimp shell, and cleaning the shrimp. I additionally like to butterfly them so it looks cooler.
  2. Cut the spring onion in small slices, separate the white part from the green one.
  3. Dice thinly the garlic, or you can even simply crush it.
  4. Cook the udon as recommended on the package.
  5. In a pan, pour a little bit of oil and put it on medium heat.
  6. Add the garlic and the white part of the spring onion in the pan. Cook for 2 minutes so it infuses a little bit the oil.
  7. Add the shrimps and cook until they turn red.
  8. Add the soy sauce, pepper and sugar and mix well.
  9. When your udon are ready, drain and rinse them.
  10. Add the green part of the spring onion right before the udon noodles and mix well.

It’s ready 😉

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