Kobe Days

34.6911° N, 135.1973° E


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Five

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A failed experiment with a new recipe has yielded me 6 meals’ worth of slightly undercooked gomoku rice (五目ご飯, lit. 5 items rice). After eating one, that’s 5 more servings waiting to eaten.

Well, at least it’s healthy and good for me.

Note to self: if it looks like you have too much stuff to fit in the rice cooker, take a hint. ><

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Winter cravings

Long time no post! I would love to post a travel post, but the thought of uploading a thousand photos (I’m not kidding) scares me. Facebook photo uploads have left me traumatised.

So instead of a travel post, have a food post! Actually, this is just for me to keep my recipe somewhere so I don’t go looking up every other site on the internet trying to figure out what I did the last time. If you want to try and follow it, please know that I’m a very haphazard cook who cooks based on my feelings and estimates (or agak) everything. You have been warned.

Today’s recipe: Rice Cooker Claypot Chicken Rice

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All right, so the picture isn’t that great, but what’s important is the taste!

I still can’t really understand why they would sell claypot rice premix because this is honestly one of the simplest things to make. The basic ingredients are chicken, rice, ginger, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Things you’ll find in almost every kitchen. But I guess it’s good to use if you don’t have a rice cooker that works well. Still…

To make it taste more authentic, there are a few more items, some of which can’t be found in Japan without paying a fortune. So, to help anyone who’s heading here in the near future, here are a few words of wisdom if you like claypot rice.

Dark soy sauce and a couple packs of Chinese lup cheong from NTUC. Don’t leave home without them. Shaoxing wine optional.

Recipe


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Food for the Soul

The last time I went home in February, I was saddened that I didn’t have time to eat all the things I wanted to eat. A week’s not a long time, and if you meet up with friends, you don’t exactly pick the hawker centre as a place for dinner. Still, next time I go back, I’m going to spend a day at a hawker centre, ordering whatever catches my fancy.

I kinda want a new column, so I thought that it might be a good idea to do one about my attempts to replicate Singapore food. So, since I’d talked about or chien, I decided to make and share another favourite recipe – bak chor mee.

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There are a few recipes online, but I like using this one from Food Made With Love. The bak chor in this recipe is fried, not boiled as you would usually see at the hawker centre, but I like it as the leftover can be used in bentos or in a stir-fry.

I cheated by using fresh shiitake instead of dried Chinese mushrooms to save on cooking. That way, I don’t need to soak them, and I can get away by using the microwave to ‘stew’ them instead of doing it over the fire. (Hey, gas is not cheap! :P)

Japanese fishcake (or kamaboko) makes its appearance in place of fishballs and fishcakes. I prefer using the ‘tiger-striped’ ones rather than the pink ones, though…they look more familiar. Wantons are sold at my local supermarket at 10 for 98 yen, so I panfried a couple of them and added them to the bowl.

With some chilli and a lot of Chin Kiang vinegar added to the mix, I think it was a decent attempt to recapture the flavour of the authentic bak chor mee in somewhat-warmer-but-still-not-there-yet Japan. So…are you hungry yet? 😀


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Homesickness remedies

If you’re a true blue Singaporean, ‘homesickness’ would almost definitely involve some kind of nostalgic rambling about…you guessed it, food. Chats with my fellow Singaporeans 5 months into our stays sometimes go into emotional reminiscing about hawker food – bak chor mee, roti prata, hokkien mee being some of the common few we rave about.

The first time I was here in Japan I didn’t really miss Singaporean food that much, so I learnt to make a lot of Japanese food instead – oyakodon, chicken karaage, okonomiyaki, curry rice…basic Japanese home-cooked food. My concession to Singaporean food came in the form of instant Prima mixes and Knorr instant soups. This time round, however, probably because I don’t have the luxury of having someone send the mixes to me (and also because of the cold), I started to crave a lot of the spicy, flavourful hawker food we have at home. With a larger kitchen and more spending money than my previous stay, I started my experimentation with online recipes.

I satisfied one craving today with or chien (oyster omelette) for lunch. Oysters are sometimes sold at a reasonable price at this time, and I got a pack of about 11 oysters for 258 yen at the local supermarket. I think I could have made it crispier by letting the batter sit a little longer before adding the egg, but it was still good and really reminded me of home.

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(recipe adapted from To Food With Love)

Add some lovely sweet strawberries that I got on sale for dessert and it was a wonderful lunch! Don’t you wish you were here? 😉
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