Tag Archives: Japanese

It was a Japanese Style Night!

Asian cuisine is the absolute way to go. I mean Asian women are predominately slim and fit, so it must be the cuisine and way of eating it that keeps them that way. Chopsticks are incredibly slimming. Not because you eat the wood but because of how you go about eating your food. One small bite at a time.

Fabulous right? It is said that if you eat your meal slowly you will become full quickly which is likely how Asian women stay so slim.

So I guess we should all be eating sushi for the rest of our lives! Not that I would mind as I love it!

Although sushi is fantastic, so is what I made for last nights meal.

Onigiri is very similar to sushi in the way that it is made of rice and most commonly wrapped around with nori (seaweed), the only difference from sushi is that it’s small while onigiri is usually the size of your palm. Maybe even bigger.

Onigiri

I first encountered onigiri when I lived in Brazil and my Japanese friend brought onigiri to us once for a snack. It was amazing. This little rice ball filled with small slices of nori made my mind whirl. I loved it so much.

Well for last nights meal I didn’t quite make the traditional onigiri ball with plain Japanese rice and seaweed, but went for a different take on it. Mostly because my mom abhors nori and my dad isn’t keen to have any starch in his diet.

I got the recipe to make these protein-packed onigiri balls from BittersweetBlog. Her creation of this treat featured lentils, the most difficult legume to ever make a dish attractive! Though because the lentils did not have to be made into a mush-like consistency, the dish didn’t look as unattractive as any other lentil-filled meal I have ever made.  So that was good! Here is the direct link to the recipe I followed and below will be my re-written recipe.

Onigiri before Forming Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (300g) sushi rice
  • 2 cups (470ml) water
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup (10g) fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups (400g) lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups (940ml) water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, bring water to boil while at medium heat. Once water is boiling add sushi rice and immediately turn heat to low while covering pot with lid to cook rice. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes. Once cooked rice should absorb all the water.

  2. While rice is cooking, in a large pot combine lentils and 4 cups water and bring water to a boil. Once at a rapid boil turn down heat until lentils are simmering. Add 2 bay leaves and allow lentils to cook uncovered. Lentils should cook 20-30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan/wok and add onions to hot oil to sauté. Once onions become translucent and begin to brown ever so slightly on the edges (approx. 10 minutes), add ½ teaspoon of salt and turn heat down. Continue to cook at a low heat stirring occasionally until onions take on a caramelized deep brown color. This should take approximately 30 minutes. Once onions are at desired color remove from heat and add balsamic vinegar and spices. Mix thoroughly and keep aside.

  4. Once lentils are finished cooking, drain excess water and remove bay leaves. Season with salt and keep aside.

  5. When rice and onions are warm enough to touch mix together with lentils and chopped parsley and add additional salt to mixture.

  6. Scoop out about 1/3-1/2 cup of onigiri and press into rounded triangles within your palms. If rice mixture isn’t holding allow to cool further. Or you could place a sheet of nori just beneath your onigiri form and fold the onigiri on your desired shape. Remember that water is necessary to keep nori folded on your onigiri.Onigiri wrapped in Nori

  7. Serve immediately. You can also wrap your onigiri (with and without nori) in plastic wrap to save for another time. Ensure your onigiri is in the fridge to keep firm.

Although this is not the normal onigiri recipe, it came out quite well. I was definitely content but I adore seaweed and rice. All one needs is a little soy sauce and all is good.

We had the onigiri with a Japanese style chicken. This being normal grilled chicken with a soy sauce type liquid poured into the sliced chicken. This sauce contained soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, and white wine (because we couldn’t find sake). To me the sauce tasted very similar to teriyaki, but not as sweet. It was a unique taste, that’s for sure. The recipe we followed was from the Best Recipe Box, the direct recipe is here. So if you want to do a lentil nori wrapped origini with the chicken you now can!

Final look for Onigiri

I’ve been eating the onigiri all through the morning as a breakfast. Which probably isn’t the best thing for someone, but I am very American in the way that I eat leftovers for breakfast. I’m known to eat pasta, rice, soup, and now onigiri for breakfast. I also like to have cereal and yoghurt for dinner or a late night snack. How odd am I? Oh well, the onigiri was delicious and I hope you all enjoy it too!

And if you are wondering, I ended up making sixteen onigiri rolls, most with seaweed but five were plain rice and lentil onigiri rolls. Though the original recipe said 24 rolls can be made.

Anyway, happy eating everyone!

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Green Pasta and Sauce

I think I have a problem. I am over the top obsessed with colors when it comes to food. Red velvet cake? Why not – but lets make it blue velvet! Rice Krispie Squares? Sounds good – but mix all colors together and make it black like coal! Sugar cookies? Sounds amazing – but lets add some green to the mix!

Yeah, I am obsessed with color in food. I honestly blame it on Dr. Seuss with his Green Eggs and Ham book. After reading that book I knew I wanted colorful food. I can honestly still remember sitting in our TV room in Ciudad Ojeda and imagining eating green food. I am a psycho for color.

I am sure my future children will love this just as much as I do.

So tonight I had green pasta with a basil tomato sauce. How awesome does that sound? And what a cuisine clash – Italian sauce meets Japanese spaghetti!

Green Tea Pasta with Basil Tomato Sauce

The other day my dad and I were killing time and decided to enter a grocery store in downtown Den Haag. The grocery store is called the Marqt. And oh my God is it amazing. It has everything organic and healthy and just amazing. It is rather similar to the store EkoPlaza, but I’ve not seen green pasta in EkoPlaza, so de Marqt is a favourite right now.

Dinner of Green Tea pastaThe instructions said to boil the water and then add the spaghetti and allow to cook for six minutes until al denté. I looked to my kitchen clock and saw the minute hand was on forty-three. I went on with adding some onion and garlic to olive oil in a pan and added some chopped portobello mushrooms to that sautéeing the vegetables and finally adding the basil tomato sauce to it. I then looked to the clock and was shocked to see that only a minute had passed in that time.

I then continued mixing my aromatic garlic and onion mixture with the mushrooms and sauce. And again I looked to the clock realizing that the second hand was ticking back and forth. The clock was dead.

My spaghetti was overcooked. Delightful.

So I strained the pasta and poured it into my bowl plate. I added a half a teaspoon of olive oil to the pasta to make it less sticky. Just before adding the sauce to the pasta I added a forth a teaspoon of dried basil and dried oregano then poured half the sauce I made on the green noodles to look like the above photo. I added the remainder of the chopped portobello to the top of the sauce.

It was rather decent tasting. Although I did have to add a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

Want a Bite?

It was definitely interesting. I would honestly make it again. Maybe use a different sauce to go with it though. The package that the spaghetti came in probably feeds two mouths. It is a small package of only 200g, but is perfect if you’re eating for one person as I am much of the time.

At the end of the day, green tea spaghetti is the best way to go about making a pasta dish.

If you manage to find colorful pasta I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! And please show me what amazing concoction you create!

Buon appetito!