weeklydelights


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Korokke (Croquette)

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With the extra potatoes lying around the kitchen, I decided to try something new after watching a travel show. When I had visited Japan for the first time, I actually did not try korokkes which just gives me the reason to go back as soon as possible. For those that are not aware, korokke is basically croquettes with a Japanese twist.
As I was searching for recipes online, I came across this recipe that seemed relatively easy to follow. The results turned out better than I had expected but I think I will need to add more seasoning next time I make it as my family prefers richer tasting items.


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Chipits Bake Bar

With the gloomy weather, I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled on Chipits Bake Bar by the beaches. It’s a pop-up shop that offers free cookies until July 16th where you can either customize your own cookies or choose one from their set menu. I liked the fact that while they are promoting their products, they are also adding a charitable component where for each bag of cookies they give out, a meal will be donated to the Daily Food Bank.

I had trouble with choosing the combinations that were available so I ended up deciding on the Salty/Sweet Cookie from their set menu and I really didn’t know what to expect. The cookies took about 10-15 minutes to bake and they were super soft which is exactly how I liked them.


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Strawberry Cupcakes

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With summer finally upon us, I decided it was time to make good use of ingredients that are in season. I personally prefer coffee flavoured cupcakes but my nieces just love strawberries. I have found that strawberry flavoured cupcakes usually just involved strawberry icing and a vanilla bottom which is a bit boring. After doing some research, I found this recipe where it requires fresh strawberries. The recipe was easy to follow but I had to decrease the amount of icing sugar in the buttercream icing. I found that with 3.5 cups of icing sugar was just too sweet especially with the strawberry purée but the caveat is that with icing, you need the sugar to stabilize the frosting.

For a first attempt, it was better than expected but I think after testing this recipe out, I will need to make some tweaks especially with the strawberry base.

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Although strawberry purée was integrated in the batter, I found that the flavour was not strong enough but adding additional purée would generate more liquid. If I were to make this again, I think I will need to simmer the purée over the stove in order to reduce excess liquid. The summer has just started so hopefully I will get the chance to attempt this again…..


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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.