weeklydelights


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Chicken Katsu (Chicken Cutlet)

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I can’t believe it is April already but time flies as cliché as the saying goes. With the weather in Toronto switching between hot/warm/cold, I was craving some comfort food and chicken katsu came to mind. For those that are not aware of what chicken katsu is, it is basically the Japanese version of a chicken cutlet where you are using panko as the breading instead of the typical bread crumbs.

Panko gives the chicken a nice crunch but not overly heavy feeling that you get from cutlets that are more breading than the chicken itself. The sauce itself can be bought or homemade and they are both just as delicious. Check out the recipe. I highly recommend this for an easy weekend meal.


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Korean Mochi Bread

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I had never bought instant bread mix before but this particular one intrigued me. I have had mochi bread before from T&T Supermarket but its a bit pricey in my opinion so luckily while I was visiting Korean Town, I stumbled on a box of instant bread mix which turned out to be a great buy. I was quite surprised at how easy it was to work the dough and knead it without having to worry about proofing.

For those that aren’t familiar with mochi bread, it is made from mochi flour (glutinous flour) which gives it this distinct chewy texture that you would not get from bread that is normally made from bread flour or all-purpose flour. It’s a fun bread to eat and I hope I can learn to make it from scratch eventually….

 


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Japanese Hamburger Stake

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Normally I do more baking than cooking but after watching a Japanese cartoon (Chibi Maruko-chan) I was inspired to attempt to make the Hamburger Steak that Maruko-chan’s mom. I am not sure about you guys out there but a lot of my initial exposure from food steamed from cartoons as a kid.

The hamburger steak is a like a hamburger but without the buns and I think the best comparison to it would be the Salisbury steak. Whenever I test out recipes, I often adjust it depending on preference and what ingredients that I have available. For this experience, I referenced a recipe from Just One Cook Book but since I did not have red wine on hand I referenced the sauce portion from Japanese Cooking 101.

One of the troubles that I encountered was making sure that it was thoroughly cooked due to the thickness of the patty. Both recipes mentioned that you need to cover the pan for roughly 5 minutes to make sure that the patties are cooked thoroughly which was something I skipped initially. It was a bad mistake especially when you are trying to make something the first time. It was a lesson learned for sure!

 


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Castella/Kasutera (Japanese Sponge Cake)

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Aside from eating, one of the most important aspects of my food journey is learning how to make things. For those that have read my blog, you probably have seen some of the hits and misses of my experiments. I have been craving cake lately but I didn’t want anything with icing so I did a little research and stumbled on this recipe which was relatively easy to follow. Castella is a form of Japanese sponge cake that is quite popular in Asia due to the fact that its sweet but not overly sweet. I have found that as much as I love sweets, there are cakes out there with more icing than cake which actually makes my stomach ache (Mom was right after all).

When I was trying this recipe, it was a bit of a challenge because I have never baked without baking powder or baking soda before. This cake rises through the excessive beating of the eggs in order to create the air bubbles to help the cake rise. Another tip for those that plan on trying it is to make sure that the eggs are at room temperature because that is when the eggs blend thoroughly with the other dry ingredients.


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Kyouka Ramen

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Despite the warm weather this weekend, I just had a terrible craving for ramen but I was a bit too lazy to head downtown. Fortunately there was a ramen shop that had opened by the beaches not too long along ago which was perfect because I can easily take a stroll afterwards to work off the calories. For $11, the Shoyo Ramen was a satisfying and filling at the same time. The noodle texture was fabulous with the right amount of firmness without being too tough which made the meal all the more satisfying. I cannot tell you all the amount of times I have had ramen where the noodles were either too soft or too hard which can ruin the experience even if the broth is done right.

Check out their official website: http://kyouka.ca


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Mantou (Chinese Steamed Buns)

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With the cold weather alerts that we have been receiving, I have been craving mantous which are these amazing fluffy plain buns that are divine. Mantous are native to Northern China but they are so commonly eaten that you can find them in just about any dim sum restaurants. They can be eaten plain as part of a meal or deep-fried with condensed milk as a dessert. Although these guys look simple, don’t be fooled as making any type of bread is a labour of love.

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