Ochazuke

I have always wanted to try this dish, it’s just that I have never gotten around to making it until now. This reminds me of my Lolo Sianing (maternal grandfather), I remember when I was about five seeing him pour hot water over a bowl of cold rice with some dried fish on it. I was fascinated to say the least. I even tried to imitate what he did much to my mom’s dismay, thinking I was playing with my food. I added way too much water which in turn made it inedible. The dish that he was eating by the way was called “kanin labay”, kanin is rice in Tagalog. I also found out that labay which is a very uncommon Tagalog word means to eat with broth.

So when I discovered this dish, I thought my Lolo knew what he was doing back then. Ochazuke is a very traditional Japanese dish wherein you pour hot green tea over rice with savory toppings. Although I read water was used during the Heian period and it was just at the beginning of the Edo period that tea was used instead. This is also what they do at home with leftover rice.

To make, place a scoop of rice in a bowl. Then sprinkle some furikake or Ochazuke seasoning (freeze dried toppings) which can be found in Asian stores. Top with some flaked salmon, I used smoked salmon for this recipe. Then carefully pour hot green tea over the rice. Serve immediately. I think you can really get creative and use different types of toppings. I might even use Filipino dried fish to make it more pinoy next time.

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This is something that you can easily put together if your are in a hurry and is very light on the stomach too.

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Kimchi Fried Rice

We received our Instacart order from HMart today and I got the surprise of my life when I saw the 3 lb tub of Kimchi from one of the grocery bags. I guess because of the limited selections and stock our shopper just went with what is the closest replacement he can find. I am not complaining though since my family loves this stuff.

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So the first thing I made was Kimchi Fried Rice for dinner. To make get a big skillet and heat about 2 Tbsp. oil. To it add half a medium size finely chopped white onion (it’s better if you use green onion) and cook until transluscent, then add 2 cloves of minced garlic. Cook until fragrant. Place a cup of chopped kimchi and cook until heated through. Then add 3 cups rice preferably cold or day old rice and 1/4 cup kimchi juice. Stir until everything is well combined. If you don’t have kimchi juice you can add equal parts lite soy sauce and gochujang for flavor. I like to cook my fried rice until it’s a bit caramelized. Then add 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, mix well and remove from heat.

I served this with a sunny side egg on top and some shredded seaweed. We ate also ate this with Samgyeopsal.

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Goto (Congee with Beef Tripe)

I would describe Goto as a downright hearty and unpretentious food. It’s rice porridge with some kind of ofal or beef tripe added as a key ingredient. For me what distinguishes it from Arroz Caldo is the kind of meat that is added, goto has beef or ofal and arroz caldo uses chicken.

I haven’t had this in literally ages and I thought my girls would enjoy it since they are adventurous when it comes to food. I made this for dinner, though Filipinos usually have this for mid afternoon snack.

To make you will need beef tripe or beef honeycomb tripe. These are sold in Asian stores already cleaned and I’ve heard sometimes bleached. What I learned from my mom and grandma is boil it for a few minutes in water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Then you rinse it well in running water. Place in a pot and cover with water and add several garlic cloves, peppercorn and bay leaf and let this boil then simmer until tender.

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For the porridge, in a pot saute a medium sized finely chopped onion until transluscent. Then add 3 cloves of garlic minced and cook until fragrant be careful not to burn it. Then add a thumsize piece of ginger cut into slivers. I personally add more because I really want the strong flavors of ginger in my porridge. Then add 1 1/2 cup (I used my rice cooker measuring cup) combination of jasmine and glutinous rice. This is a personal preference, you may just use either one of the two. Then add 5-6 cups beef broth. I made my own beef broth using beef neck bones. I also added a pre-packed ox-bone broth that I got at a Korean grocery. Let it boil then lower heat and simmer until rice is cooked and has broken down. Continue stirring it while cooking to prevent the bottom from scorching. Season with salt and pepper and a dash of fish sauce.

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To serve, ladle into bowls and top with some sliced beef tripe, hard boiled egg, pork cracklin or Chicharon and green onions. I just added some meat from my neck bone broth for a heartier porridge. Serve immediately.

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Seafood Doria

This dish is best described as a rice casserole topped with béchamel sauce and cheese then browned under a broiler. Story goes that this dish was invented by an Italian living in France. But wherever it originated it became widely popular in Japan. It is considered Yashoku or what you call modern Japanese cuisine or western influenced Japanese cooking.

I used this recipe to make this dish, the only difference I made is using frozen seafood mix instead of just plain shrimps.

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You can bake it in individual serving dishes or a casserole pan.

Paella

I had my first taste of paella when my dad took us to Minggoy’s restaurant in Magallanes as a high school student in the 80s. That was the first Spanish restaurant I have ever been to. My family would also order paella to go from them whenever there is a family celebration at home. When I first started making paella, I must admit I took the easy route and used the packaged paella mix you can buy in the grocery store. It’s either the goya or vigo brand, my family wasn’t complaining and it’s actually pretty decent tasting. But later on I wanted that distinct flavor of paella that you can only get from pimenton de la vera and saffron.

This dish takes sometime to prepare but so totally worth it. I can’t say it’s an authentic Spanish recipe but this is the closest I can get to recreate the paella I grew up with. In a small saucepan pour 4 cups of chicken broth and add about 2 pinches of saffron. Let it simmer over low heat and set aside. Don’t allow it to boil. Keep warm.

Get a paella pan and brown some slices of Spanish chorizo, when it becomes crisp around the edges remove to a plate. In the same pan add about 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs that has been seasoned with salt, pepper and pimenton and cook until brown on the outside then set aside again . (Note: you don’t need to cook it well since it will continue cooking with the rice later). Then saute in olive oil 1 medium finely chopped onion and shallot and 2-3 cloves finely minced garlic. Cook until translucent. Then add 3-4 roma tomatoes (I cut the tomatoes in half and removed the seeds then let it pass through a box grater and discarded the skin) and 1 tsp pimenton which is smoked Spanish paprika (Note: pimenton is not the same as the sweet paprika or the hungarian paprika) Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add 2 cups bomba rice, I usually just use 1 cup jasmine and 1 cup sushi rice. Stir and let the rice get coated with the oil and the vegetables. Slowly add your 4 cups of chicken stock and give it a few stirs. Add your chorizo and chicken at this point. Let it boil then cover and simmer over low heat. When rice is almost done you may add shrimps, mussels and sliced squid. Continue cooking until rice is done and all the liquid is absorbed. I also add some red bell pepper and peas towards the end of cooking just to give it color.

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Paella Negra

Some purist would argue that this is really arros negre since it is not paella in a traditional sense. It is similar to a seafood paella in preparation but cuttlefish ink or squid ink is added to give it its black color.

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I have been making traditional paella for many years now but I was somewhat intimidated to make this. After getting my hands on a bottle of cuttlefish ink, I was challenged to finally make it this weekend for special send off dinner. I have compared several recipes online and this is what I came up with.

In a small saucepan pour 4 cups of chicken broth and add about 2 pinches of saffron. Let it simmer over low heat and set aside. Don’t allow it to boil. Keep warm.

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Get a paella pan and brown some slices of Spanish chorizo, when it becomes crisp around the edges remove and set aside (Note: paella negra does not have chorizo but I decided to add some in mine). In the same pan saute in olive oil 1 medium finely chopped onion and shallot and 2-3 cloves finely minced garlic. Cook until translucent. Then add 3-4 roma tomatoes (I cut the tomatoes in half and removed the seeds then let it pass through a box grater and discarded the skin) and 1 tsp pimenton which is smoked Spanish paprika (Note: pimenton is not the same as the sweet paprika or the hungarian paprika) Cook for 1-2 minutes.

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Add 2 cups bomba rice (I didn’t have any on hand I just used 1 cup jasmine and 1 cup sushi rice). Stir and let the rice get coated with the oil and the vegetables. Slowly add your 4 cups of chicken stock and give it a few stirs. Then add 2 tbsp of the cuttlefish ink. Continue stiring until everything turns homogenous in color. Add your chorizo at this point. Let it boil then cover and simmer over low heat. When rice is almost done you may add shrimps, mussels and sliced squid. Continue cooking until rice is done and all the liquid is absorbed.

Garnish with lemon wedges and sprinkle some parsley on top. Serve with garlic mayonnaise on the side.

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Omurice (Japanese Omelet Rice)

My girls love omurice. They usually get this everytime we go to the food court at Mitsuwa or H-Mart. This is a western style Japanese food or what you call Yoshoku. Typical omurice is ketchup fried rice wrapped in an omelet.

This is not that difficult to make since I did not do a french style omelet. I wanted the soft and creamy restaurant style eggs being dished out at Tokyo Hanten in Mitsuwa. First make your fried rice by sautéing 1/4 cup minced onion in a little oil until translucent. Then add about a quarter cup frozen carrots and peas and cook until a bit softened. Then add some cooked chicken (I used about 1/2 cup leftover chicken katsu, you can also use leftover roast chicken). Add your broken up day old cooked white rice about 2 cups. Cook and toss rice until your ingredients are well combined. Pour in 1/4 cup of ketchup thinned with a little water and continue cooking until rice is evenly coated. Remove from heat and pack your fried rice into a small bowl. Invert your bowl onto a serving plate and set aside.

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Prepare your omelet by heating a 10 inch non skillet and adding a bit of oil. Beat 3 eggs in a bowl and pour this into your pan. Stir and cook your eggs by pushing it towards the center to form curds. Swirl your pan as you continue to cook until eggs are set at bottom and not runny but appears wet on top.

Carefully slide your eggs onto the mound of rice and squeeze some ketchup and Japanese mayonnaise on top. Sprinkle with some parsley and serve hot.

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Bibimbap Made Easy

Bibimbap is a Korean dish, literally translated as mixed rice. This is a rice bowl topped with different kinds of sautéed and seasoned vegetables. A fried sunny side egg is usually added, others would include some thinly sliced beef. This is all mixed together with some gochujang (chili pepper paste) before eating.

We usually order this or another variation, which is the Dolsot Bibimbap at our favorite Korean Restaurant. H-mart which is a Korean grocery store carries ready made Bibimbap vegetables. This is really convenient for those who does not have the luxury of time to prepare a lot of small dishes. This ready made vegetables include: daikon, spinach, royal fern, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, cucumbers and soybean sprout. It also came with a small cup of chili pepper paste.

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To make, just scoop out some hot cooked rice on a large bowl. Then arrange the season/sauteed vegetables over it and top with a sunny side egg. Drizzle with some gochujang and stir everything together. I was surprised at the amount of vegetables this ready made Bibimbap kit has, it easily fed our family of four. But of course I did served another dish to go with it.

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Mix Grain Rice

I was first introduced to this kind of rice at our favorite Korean Barbecue restaurant. This is always included in their buffet selection. I initially thought it was just red rice but after giving it a taste, I found out it is a blend of various grains.

The Korean food store where I frequently shop carries different brands of mix grain rice. They call it Jab Gok Bap. Some brands have very complicated cooking directions that requires a pressure rice cooker while others require soaking the grains overnight. After looking through the various brands they have, I finally decided on this. It is a mix of 6 types of grains; black rice, purple barley, hulless barley, rye berries, red rice and short grain brown rice.

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The cooking directions is fairly simple. First measure 1 cup (I used the cup measure of my rice cooker) of mix grain and rinse lightly then drain. Place your mix grain rice in a saucepan or pot then add 1 1/2 cups water (again using the cup measure of my rice cooker) and let this soak for 30 minutes. Then cover the pot tightly and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and let this cook for around 40 minutes or until water is absorbed. Then let stand covered for 15 minutes. When done fluff your rice with a fork.

This is a very good alternative for white rice. It is very filling and loaded with fiber and nutrients.

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Congee with Youtiao

Congee is the traditional breakfast fare in Far East Asia. In China, Hong Kong and Taiwan it is usually just made up of rice, water or broth and aromatics such as ginger and scallions. Most countries in Asia have their own version of this dish as I have explained in my previous post on Arroz Caldo.

It is often prepared plain when served for breakfast. Toppings are always added depending on one’s preference. In most households and coffee shops in Asia this is usually paired with Youtiao. Youtiao is a long fried strip of dough, also known as Chinese Cruller. In the Philippines we call this Bicho-Bicho. Some refer to is as Chinese doughnut. I do remember this sometimes being rolled in sugar after being taken out of a big vat of oil. Prepared Youtiao are sold in most Asian groceries and you can find them in the refrigerator section.

To make this congee, I just placed 1 cup measure (I used the cup that came with my rice cooker) of jasmine rice in a medium sized pot. Then I added 5-6 cups water, 1 stalk of scallion finely minced (white part only) and a thumb sized ginger cut into slivers. Let this come to a boil, after which let it simmer under low heat until the rice is softened and broken down. Make sure to stir it once in a while to prevent scorching.

Ladle in bowls and serve with Youtiao. I got prepared Youtiao and just warmed it in the oven for a few minutes. You can serve this on the side or cut up as topping.

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