Tuesday, 28 July 2015

[Fiction Recreation] Tadokoro Megumi's Bite Size Breakfast Oden

The beauty of recreating dishes is that it forces you out of your self-imposed fence of familiarity. Every time, I'm working with unfamiliar ingredients and methods or familiar ingredients with a twist. Doing so, allows you to grow. A method tried and tested by Masterchef contestants, I'm sure. Speaking of, my mum mentioned I should try out, not that I'm any good but because she believes that possessing a skill or a hobby should reap benefits. And as much as I enjoy yelling at the TV over second embarrassment over a contestant's trivial mistake, I would be ten times worse. I'd be that contestant. no not the one that masters something that takes professionals to master over years within the span of a few minutes - the one that's more like, 'what is that burning smell, shit, I forgot something in the oven' or the one that forgets the key ingredient in a particular challenge and the one that royally screws up. That's me. Enough about me, let's talk about this. 

What is the ideal breakfast? As Megumi highlighted, it can't be too voluminous nor heavy. Perhaps something gentle on the digestive system. This dish is the perfect solution. Everything bite sized because opening your mouth just that additional fraction requires far too much effort, the ingredients themselves are on the lighter, lower caloric scale and visually, it's stunning. 

The key point in this recipe is that everything is uniform. So cut every ingredient bite sized and identical! Cut daikon cook in the microwave on high for 3-5 minutes. 

Boil water and cook quail eggs for 2-3 minutes. Place in bowl of cold water and carefully peel. 

Use a flower cutter, don't be crazy like me. Of half crazy as you can clearly see where I gave up.

Boil sliced konyaku for 2 mins, drain.

Slice 2 chikuwa.

To make the mochi kinchaku, wash aburaage in boiled water to rid of excess oilness. Slice from the end and carefully peel back to form a pouch. Slice 1 kirimochi cake in 4. In each pouch, place 1 peeled quail egg, 1/4 kirimochi and a pinch of salt. 

Tie with garlic chives.

Do as I say, and not as I do. Bring the dashi broth to boil with 1 1/2 tblsp of sugar, mirin, sake and soy sauce. Add the rest of the ingredients (including sliced baby octopus) save for the brussel sprouts (add in the last ten minutes of cooking to save them from becoming bitter) and the hanpen. Boil for minimum 1 hour. The oden tastes better with time as the flavours are allowed to absorb. 

Slice hanpen when ready to serve

At this stage, add the brussel sprouts. Taste oden for seasoning, add salt if necessary. ta dahhh! You're done! (Octopus turns purple when cooked.. interesting). Ladle into bowl, smear lip with mustard and enjoy!

Tadokoro Megumi's Bize Size Breakfast Oden Recipe

8 quail eggs 
300g daikon
1 carrot
8 brussel sprouts
1 konyaku 
300g baby octopus
2 satsuma age 
1 hanpen
2 chikuwa

For the mochi kinchaku 

4 aburaage
4 quail eggs (cooked from the 8)
1 kirimochi
garlic chives (do not use the spring onions pictured! They will not be able to form a firm knot!)


1L dashi stock
1 1/2 tblsp of sugar, sake and mirin
1 tblsp soy sauce 

  1. Slice daikon, carrot, konyaku, baby octopus, satsuma age, hanpen and chikuwa to uniform, bite sized pieces, 
  2. Microwave daikon on high for 3-5 minutes. 
  3. Boil quail eggs for 2-3 minutes. Submerge in cold water and peel. 
  4. Boil konyaku for 2 minutes, strain.
  5. Slice kirimochi into 4 equal pieces, Slice the ends of the aburaage, and carefully pull apart to form a pouch. In each, place 1 quail egg, kirimochi quarter and a pinch of salt. Tie closed with garlic chive. 
  6. Bring broth ingredients to a boil. Add the rest of the ingredients except for hanpen and add brussel sprouts in the last 10 minutes of cooking. 
  7. Simmer for at least an hour
  8. Serve in a bowl and enjoy!



Thursday, 23 July 2015

Eat Japan!

So what do you do after returning from travel? Tearfully go through your food photos, weeping profusely that your stomach will never be granted such a luxury ever again. If there's one thing I regret the most regarding my Japan trip was that I did not eat enough. Seriously. If I could go back, I would not waste precious breaths, every second passed will be with food in either hand and teeth chomping through something else. So here, is a compilation over two weeks, I can't even gloat if you envy, I envy past-me far too much as it is.

Of course, supermarket bentos! A satisfying meal for less than $5 each. Sigh. I wholeheartedly believe that hunger is non-existent in Japan.

The standard breakfast when I was in Kobe. Green tea and avocado toast with egg and pesto. The bread is unbelievably thick, would've made for perfect french toast.

Miso ramen

Paying homage to numerous vending machines. Had it been fizzier and less sweet, I would've enjoyed this much more.

Lunch at Cafe Fish. Made even more recognisable with a large sclupture of a fish arching its back that tourists might mistake for a landmark. A rich chicken dish in a curry based sauce with mushrooms and cabbage. A peppery, fresh salad to spur your stomach further.

Sake poached pears with the most luxurious, unidentifiable cream. 

Virtuous vegetarian fare ruined with tempura. the healthiest of intentions always leads astray. 

Taiyaki, food bucket list making headway. 

The most creamiest, delicious takoyaki I have ever consumed. Japan has ruined me. 

Taiyaki parfait! It holds the world in its mouth

A Kobe beef lunch set due to obligation. Hype determined to be crushed

Hype inflamed - the first of ever. 

Pancake lunch set with a buttery cream, a rich gratin and a salad as a counterbalance against indulgence, hushed gently by generous lashings of maple syrup. 

It's possible, a chocolate and berry mille feuille pancake. 

Cookies and cream cheesecake crepe. 

Hokkaido Milk Soft Serve. The very thing that angels would eat on their clouds. 

Oden! Like a comforting hug on a cold day

Mochi chocolate glazed donuts because the regular kind are overrated. 

No your honour, I did not have a breakfast of brownie ice cream, cheesecake or green tea chocolates. don't be preposterous! 

Katsu Sando! I had to try it.. for science! You know you're doomed when you begin plotting ways to recreate this kombini treat into something more fabulous back at home..

Disney saw an opportunity and it gleefully ran with it 

Disney: How To Rip Off Customers 101

Another dessert laden breakfast of ice cream and a chocolate cornet. More and more food dreams accomplished!

A tea fit for the Red Queen.

Fruit fit for royalty.

Cakes disguised as works of art 

My greatest regret.. not consuming a thousand of these. Dango! WHYYY. WHYY DIDNT IIIII?

Every ramen is good. Every single god damn one. 

Okonomiyaki, brought fresh to order on a large table pan that you could delude yourself to believing to be a world class chef.

Sushi... now everything is ruined and Japanese food in Sydney will never be the same 

Wait til you see the eats I had in South Korea!