Sunday, November 10, 2013

#153 Sashimi Lemon Dipping Sauce

It takes a lot of patience to shape thin slices of raw fish into salmon roses. It was very challenging, without proper research and especially when my stomach was growling! Very little patience was left, since there's the picture taking that needs to be done. :)
The end result, is a nice image, looks nothing like a rose :/, but I did a very good job on the leaves and stem I believe, I used the wasabi paste extracted from a tube, so that part was very easy. For this recipe, I just wanted to share a really tasty dip for your sashimi, or thinly sliced raw seafood. It is very simple to make, here's how:


1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1 green onion, (green part only), chopped finely

  1. Heat vinegar, sugar and sauce in a small saucepan, stirring, until sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat, add rind; let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle sauce with onion.
Recipe adapted from Tasting Japan, Australian women's weekly magazine

This weekend, I learned a few do's and don'ts in Japanese etiquette, but here is what I learned about serving Sashimi:
When serving sashimi with soy sauce and wasabi on the side, it is traditional to serve the wasabi and soysauce separately, that is, not to mix the ingredients. This is because the wasabi does nothing to enhance either the flavor or sensation of the sauce. And, you don't know how much wasabi your guest wants in her/his soysauce! Leave the mixing to them.
Another important thing that I learned is, you can use your own chopsticks to take food from the communal dish if no serving implements are provided, but turn them around and use the clean handle end. Turn right way around again to use them for picking up your own food. :) Good to know!

Blogging is great. If I didn't have this blog, I don't know if I would even try making my own salmon roses! :) When I ate sashimi with friends  at restaurants, which I have- so many times, nothing compelled  me to learn more about it. I simply know it was Japanese food, raw, tastes good and then enjoyed it while catching up. None of our conservations revolved around food, it was always about our busy lives and all the crazy stuffs around us. Starting a food/cooking blog definitely opened my eyes,  I learn so much, I see food and home cooking in a different light now; cooking to me  is no longer a task, but a really fun, intimate activity at home, it helped me personally develop things within me that I didn't know I had. I am  also falling in love with food photography.  I think it is time to retire my point and shoot camera. :)

#152 Sashimi Rolls

I am a huge fan of Japanese cuisine. It is delicious, low in fat, deceptively simple to prepare, beautiful and fresh. I have always thought that the Japanese diet is a great attribute to their longevity. Their methods of cooking  have very little added fat. They consume lots of fish, and fucoidans, which are long chained molecules found in seaweed. Researchers believe that fucoidans are partly responsible for the extraordinary longevity observed in Japanese populations, where organic, unpolluted seaweeds form a significant dietary component. To embrace the Japanese diet is a no-brainer, but having cooked, photographed and posted 151+ dishes now, for me it is truly hard to stick to Japanese cuisine exclusively, especially here in the United States, there's just too many choices available. However, it is not too difficult to stick to a healthy diet. There is a saying, if it is important to you, you will make a way, if not, you will find an excuse. So if longevity is important to you, you will find a way to eat healthier, like the Japanese do. 
One of my favorites is a Japanese delicacy called Sashimi. It is thinly sliced raw seafood, traditionally served with soysauce and wasabi paste. You can use tuna, fatty tuna, squid, prawn, octopus, mackarel, snapper, white snapper and red salmon. I haven't tried prawn and octopus, yet. :) Maybe when I am bored with the fish variety, I can try eating octopus tentacles. Umm, okay, maybe just the prawns! Now sticking to red salmon and tuna, which are my two most favorite.  I found this recipe for sashimi rolls,  I loved the idea of inserting raw vegetables in each roll of the sashimi. It was fun, definitely worth all the effort because it was different and  delicious!



sashimi fish
cucumber, halved lengthways
red bell pepper
green onion

japanese soy sauce

  1. Sharpen knife using a steel; wipe knife. Cut fish into paper-thin slices.
  2. Remove and discard seeds from cucumber and membrane from  red bell pepper. Cut cucumber, red bell pepper and green onions into long thin strips; trim strips  to approximately the same size as the width of the fish slices.
  3. Place one fish slice on board; place one or two pieces of each vegetable at one end. Roll fish to enclose filling; repeat with remaining fish and filling. Serve sashimi rolls with soy sauce in a separate bowl.
recipe adapted from Brigid Treloar, Australian Women's weekly test kitchen

Saturday, November 9, 2013

#151 Asian Eggplant Dip

Eggplant or also known an aubergine, brinjal, brinjal eggplant, melongene, garden egg or guinea squash. Wow, I didn't know this vegetable has so many different names! We call it talong in the Philippines. They come in different variety names, in different colors and can be cooked in many different ways. Back home, we throw it on a hot grill or steam it, and  then dip it in a mixture of soysauce, lemon, chopped green onions and crushed fresh hot chili pepper. A very simple poor man's meal. We also use it in stir fries and add it in soups as well. I didn't know of any other ways to cook it then. When I moved to the United States,  I was surprised to discover the many wonderful ways it can be enjoyed. Ratatouille, Parmigiana di melanzane,  Baba Ganoush, Moussaka, etc. So delicious!

I was craving for eggplants, so when I visited Ranch 99, which is an Asian grocery store, I picked up a couple of giant eggplants. Although there are many ways to enjoy it, I always go back to how we prepared it while I was growing up.  Good old grilling and making my spicy hot soy sauce dip. The taste always brings back great memories. 
Once I took it off the grill, I stared at it for a long time because it was then that I realize, I did not have green onions and soysauce. I ran out of soysauce! For the first time!  

Instead of grabbing my key to drive to the nearest grocery store, I  started searching for baba ganoush recipe, I quickly found it and learned that it is easy to make IF I had tahini, which is the major ingredient. :/ I searched the fridge to see what I had, and found lemon, ginger and garlic. I quickly peeled and  minced the garlic and ginger, I knew in my heart that the mix of flavors will work! No need for me to rush to the grocery store! I then scraped the meat of the grilled eggplant and mixed all other ingredients with it in a bowl, squeezed in the fresh lemon juice, and then added the salt to taste. What would I do with out salt? :) Next, I added ground pepper.. Yum! Then, I sprinkled red pepper flakes, mixed it all good, and a great asian flavor inspired dip is created!
It was a great dish to enjoy with left over crackers and that smoked salmon that I picked up from Trader Joes that's been in the fridge for a while.
Ready to make yours? Here's how:
2 large eggplants, halved, grilled until soft
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 root ginger, peeled and minced
1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
smoked salmon, optional
  1. Scrape the meat off the grilled eggplant using a fork.
  2. In a bowl, mix the eggplants, minced garlic, minced ginger, lemon, salt, mix well.
  3. Add pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.