Saturday, May 24, 2014

033 - Ebi Fry (See, Shrimp, Crunch!)

Time for some more Japanese food!

If I had to choose one type of cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, pretty sure Japanese cuisine will take place even before Indonesian food. To me, Japanese food is everything I ever want in a dish; when it’s easy, it tasted good, when it’s hard, it tasted even better. And for me, dish that can be whipped up in 15 minutes or less is always gold in my book.

This time, let’s cook the infamous EBI FRY!

Ebi Furai (that’s how Japanese pronounce it over there) was one of the dishes that appear during the Meiji Restoration era. It is Japanese take on western dishes. Safe to say, this dish is very popular, especially as either part of a Bento or Donburi! 

It is a perfect pairing with a cold Japanese beer. It's crunchy, savory, and have a nice 'zing' to it.

The dish itself is very, VERY simple. As long as you have a fresh large shrimp and panko, you’re halfway there! All that’s left is just some careful frying with tender care.

For 2 servings of 3 shrimp each, you will need:

- 6 Large Tiger prawns. Yeah, I know it’s not exactly cheap, but here’s the thing; large shrimp looked better. By having a nicer looking shrimp on the first place, who am I to kid that I’m not hungry just by looking at it?
- 250 grams of Panko breadcrumbs. And more as needed
- 2 Large eggs
- 4 tbsp All-purpose flour
- Salt to taste

For the tartar sauce

- 3 tbsp  Japanese mayonnaise. Read: Kewpie.
- ½ Lemon/Lime. We’re using the juice.
- 1 Whole egg, boiled.
- 1 tbsp of Parsley. Fresh one got chopped, dried ones simply got measured.

For the garnish

- 1 medium sized Cabbage, shredded finely
- Tomato
- Lemon/Lime wedges
- Fresh parsley

So ladies and gentleman, shall we begin?

Ready? Here We Go!

Step 1 – Clean your shrimp if you haven’t done so. Wash it under running water, pull the head off and peel the skin, leaving only the tail and one part of the skin adjacent to the tail, and wipe with paper towel to dry. Here comes the rather annoying part; grab a toothpick, and place it on the back of the shrimp, and pull the nasty black veins out.

Grab the head and gently twist it
POP! Goes the head
In goes the toothpick
Get a feel for it, and you should be able to pull the black veins
Like this!
This thing tasted...EW.

Step 2 – Grab a knife, and cut off the end part of the tail, and squeeze out any moisture left inside it. After that, proceed to make several shallow cuts on the underbelly of the shrimp. This will help prevent the shrimp from curling during frying. After that, press the shrimp gently on a flat surface. When you do this, you can feel (even hear!) a cracking sound! No, no, don’t press it as if you would to your Ex. Remember, the past is the past!

Cut a bit of the ends
Squeeze the tail to pull the moisture out
Cut the belly
Press it flat
A perfectly shaped shrimp ready for the batter!
..and he is not alone

Step 3 – Prepare your Tartar sauce; chop your boiled eggs finely, mix it with Mayonnaise and Parsley. Give it a good stir and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste (if necessary), and mix in the lemon/lime juice last. Set it aside in a fridge to chill.

Chop the eggs finely
Parsley, too
In goes the baby.
Just enough 'zing' added to the taste

Step 4 – Have 3 bowls ready; 1 for the eggs, 1 for the flour, and the last one for the Panko. Right before the breading process, season your shrimp with salt. Then, first, dust your shrimp with the flour, then dip it in the eggs, and finally it gets coated with Panko. While you’re coating, gently squeeze the shrimp and the Panko on the palm of your hands. This will create a tight and thick breading. Oh, and you can always double dunk if you want (i.e the Panko’ed shrimp went for another egg wash and yet another Panko breading). Let your shrimp rest for about 10 minutes to let the batter sets.

Dust with flour, shake off the excess
Egg bath
Panko coating!
Ain't that a beaut?

Step 5 – Heat your oil, high heat. Once it’s hot enough, dip the shrimps in gently. This will cook fast, approximately around 1-1.5 minute per side. After the surface turns golden brown, pull it from the oil and let the excess drip on the paper towel.

I cook this 2 at a time to prevent the temperature from dropping drastically
When the sides turn golden, it's time to turn
Ah, what a sight
I love this. So much.

Step 6 – Serve!

Okay, i don't drink beer, alright? But legend has it, this goes very well with an ice cold one!

Give this recipe a go, kids and adults alike will love it.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

032 - The Doppelganger




Yeah you, doofus.

Come Here.

Are we safe?

Doors are locked?


What I’m about to tell you might get me killed. Italians loathe this idea. But for the sake of cooking, you have to try this recipe.

Ever heard Spaghetti Carbonara? This recipe is influenced by it, but with a rather affordable approach. True Carbonara uses a good quality Parmesan. Which; unfortunately, cost quite a buck around here. So, I’m substituting with Cheddar.

And for the sake of my safety, I will NOT call this recipe by the sacred name of ‘Carbonara’.

Let’s just call this one, “THE DOPPELGANGER”. Why? It sounded cool on my head. HAHA!

For 1 (One) serving, you will need:

100 grams of Spaghetti. The thinner the pasta, the awesome it’ll get. Think Angel Hair
50 grams of grated Cheddar.
2 Whole Eggs
Pepper to taste
1.8 Litre Water for cooking the pasta
¾ tbsp Salt for cooking the pasta

Brace yourself, this is as easy as it gets.

Ready? Here We Go

Step 1 – Crack your eggs, and mix in the grated cheddar. Give it a good stir, add some pepper, and mix it again. Set it aside for a while

2 Eggs, 1 Bowl (LOL)




Step 2 – Pour the water to a big pot (don’t be fooled, I chose the wrong sized pot for this shoot), add the salt, and let it boil.

Step 3 – After boiling, throw your pasta in, and cooked according to the instruction. For me, this pasta takes 10 minutes to reach al dente (Italian for “to the bite”).

Step 4 – Here’s where the fun starts; dump the water, leaving only a very little amount on the pan left with the pasta. Remove the pan from the heat, and pour your egg-cheese mixture and stir quickly. The heat left in the pasta will help the egg emulsifies, so it turns creamy instead of lumpy. Remember, do it OFF the heat.

Don't believe your eyes; there is actually a tiny bit of pasta water left under there

The magic is waiting


Step 5 – Serve

This dish is without a doubt, easiest pasta you can whip up in no time. This cooks even faster than Aglio e Olio (I have the recipe for that here). The emulsified eggs help create this creamy consistency, fooling people to think that there's cream in the sauce. There isn't!

But don’t ever offer this recipe to an Italian and say it’s a Carbonara. It is pretty much one of the worst insults to them. NO.


Who’s there?

They found me

Gotta go



Saturday, May 3, 2014

031 - CHICKEN KATSU (So easy, you'll be amazed)

Comfort food time! You might recognize this recipe from one of the most famous fast food chain in Indonesia. It is crunchy, savory, and goes perfectly well with cabbage and piping hot white rice. CHICKEN KATSU, that’s what it is.

I consider this dish as the perfect introductory dish to Japanese cooking. It only uses a small amount of ingredient, it tasted awesome, and it cooks hella quick.

Like all dishes, the key to nailing the perfect katsu lies in the ingredients. Get a fresh chicken breast, and always use the Panko. Panko is Japanese breadcrumbs. It’s not expensive (around IDR 12.000/US$ 1.00 per bag), and it is now readily available in most supermarkets in Indonesia.

For 1 servings, you will need:

1 large, boneless Chicken Breast. Buying a pair of boobs, oops, breast in supermarket is fun. Chicken Breast are always sold in pairs, left side and right side of the breast. This recipe only needs one half of it.

Enough oil for frying

For the breading:

100 grams Panko Breadcrumbs.

100 grams All Purpose Flour

1 Egg

1 tsp of Salt

(Optional) ½ tsp of MSG. Yes, this might scare some people, but MSG is the Umami key. IT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE!

Ready? Here We Go!

Step 1 – Clean your chicken properly, remove any excess fat and small bones left behind. Wipe it dry with paper towel, and make sure it’s in room temperature. Then use a heavy object (i use my meat mallet) to tenderize the chicken. Don't skip this part, ever.

Dry it out.
And a quick punches.

Step 2 – Mix your all-purpose flour, salt, and MSG (if you’re going with the optional), give it a stir, set it aside. Oh, and i shit you not, the MSG DOES MADE A DIFFERENCE.

Stir, Stir, STIR.

Step 3 – Crack the egg, give it a nice mix.

Step 4 – Heat your oil, use medium heat. Set a coating line of flour-egg-panko.

Step 5 – After the oil gets hot enough, dip your chicken to the flour first. Shake off the excess, and dip it in the egg. After that, it all goes down to the Panko before the nice hot bath in the oil.

Step 6 – Let the chicken sit untouched for around 2-3 minutes. Once you see the edges turn brown, give it a flip. Remember, don’t hack the process with higher heat, you will end up with burnt outside and raw inside. No no. Cook the other side for an additional 2 minutes. Once it’s all cooked up, take it out of the oil and let it rest on paper towel to drain off excess oil.

The answers is in the edges, Son.
Bloody lovely!

Step 7 – Serve!

Garnish with a side of thinly sliced cabbage, and voila, your first step into Japanese cooking made easy.

It’s crunchy, it’s savory, it’s satisfying.

Give this a go, your loved ones will go crazy over it!