The second ingredient I’ve chosen from CAI’s omakase box is the Butternut (Ishikawa).
Beautiful shade of orange.
Butternut, also known as Butternut Squash, is high in B-carotene, Potassium and Dietary Fibre, Butternut prevents cold and infectious diseases, cancer, high blood pressure and skin problems. Taste wise, Butternut have a smooth texture with a nutty flavor. Although they are good for making soup, they are also perfect for stir-fry or deep fry.
Use a vegetable peel to remove the skin.
The use of salted egg in food is so common these days, you could literally coat this highly addictive sauce with everything. This Salted Egg Golden Butternut is an adaptation from the popular Zi Char dish – Salted Egg Pumpkin (“Cook like a Chef by Chef Chay” ) found commonly in Zi Char stalls or Seafood restaurants. Zi Char stalls are usually no frills kind of eateries, known for dishing out wide variety and wallet-friendly Singapore home-style food.
This Salted Egg Golden Butternut receives so many compliments from my taste testers, I’m really eager to share it with everyone. This dish tastes best when serve immediately and in order for the butternut to remain crisp, you have to refry the pumpkin twice to remove excess oil. Also, to avoid that sandy mouthfeel in the salted egg yolk sauce, you must have the patience to cook the salted egg yolks over low heat till foamy before coating them onto the fried butternut.
When I was approached by the good folks from Chitose Agriculture Initiative (CAI) for their Omakase Box collaboration, I was over the moon. Okay, as to the elation of my joy, I’m a huge fan of CAI’s produce ever since I was exposed to their strawberries at a tasting event last year.
A little background on Chitose Agriculture Initiative – other than working closely with artisan farmers globally, they also make collaborative efforts to achieve ethical and sustainable agriculture that will feed future generations.
Just as Japanese restaurants offer exquisite Omakase (which means “leave it to the Chef” and is a menu created to highlight the season’s best ingredients), CAI’s Omakase Box celebrates Japan’s seasons with the very best selection of fruits and vegetables that meets with the highest standards set by the JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard). You can now enjoy fresh and beautiful hand-picked fruits and vegetables air-flown directly from artisanal farms in Japan.
This coming two weeks, I’ll be featuring three recipes using the ingredients available in the Omakase Box. Today’s featured ingredient is these bright-looking bunch of Kumquats (Kinkan) from Ishikawa.
Although they look like miniature oranges, the flesh of kumquat is sour and tangy, yet the peel is sweet. How surprising, right? Do you know consuming the Hesperidin (skin) of the Kumquat decreases cholesterol, blood pressure and risk of allergy and cancer?
Kumquats from Ishikawa.
This Kumquat Citrus Tea is inspired by the popular Kumquat tea (金桔茶) widely available in Taiwan night markets. It is often served cold. You could find it on the menu in teahouses or cafes too. Traditionally, they are made with kumquats only but since I found some limes lying in my fridge, I included them into the preserve as well.
There are few ways you could enjoy this Kumquat Citrus Tea. You could either mix a couple tablespoons with some hot water, add a few spoons to your favorite green or red tea or serve it with some cold sparkling water.
Besides having a rich comforting taste, Miso Soup is well known for its anticancer effects and positive beneficial enzymes which helps improve digestion.
I love making my own miso soup as I could customize the taste to suit our palettes. Besides using the basic ingredients like wakame (kelp) and tofu, you could add in daikon, carrot or clams to heighten the umami-ness of the soup.
I’m using white miso paste.
The best part of making this quick and easy homemade miso soup is it’ll take you only 10 minutes from start to end. I’m using white miso paste for a delicately flavored taste. You could definitely use red miso too (or a blend of both white and red) if you prefer a darker and punchier soup.
If you love Japanese curry as much as I do, then you will like this Hamburg Cheese Curry Rice. Inspired by a curry restaurant we visited in Tokyo recently, this dish will appeal to both young and old alike.
Japanese-style curry was inspired by the British during the Meiji era when India was under their colonial rule. Japan has since adapted the flavors and made it uniquely their own.
Instead of making the curry roux from scratch, pre-made instant curry blocks are widely available in all supermarkets, especially here in Singapore. The most popular brands are House Foods and S&B Foods. Japanese curry’s heat level is generally milder therefore, they are very popular with the kids too.
I found this brand – Zeppin at Tokyo’s Narita airport (Akihabara). The curry flavor is slightly more intense than the others I used before. Too bad I only managed to get one box.
Glico Zeppin curry roux.
Hamburg resembles a giant flattened meatball and I’m using my Better-than-Ikea Swedish Meatball recipe. You could definitely make the Hamburg patties and curry sauce in advance and warm them up before to serve.
Since saying no to shark finning years ago, we have been carefully avoiding shark fin soup at wedding banquets and celebratory occasions. Consuming shark fin is cruel and unnecessary. In fact, shark fin itself is rather tasteless. The flavor comes mainly from the broth, which is made with chicken stock.
Whenever I visit Hong Kong, I’d always come across this imitation shark fin soup 碗仔翅 sold by street hawkers. At HK$15 (approx. S$3) a bowl, they are shark-friendly and taste pretty genuine. Mung bean vermicelli or glass noodles is used instead to mimic the shark fin’s chewy and gelatinous texture.
Also known as glass noodles (tang hoon).
Oh, instead of using regular corn starch to thicken the soup, I’m using water chestnut powder. It gives the soup that signature clear translucent texture. If water chestnut flour is not available, feel free to use corn starch.
Water chestnut flour.
This soup is incredibly easy to make and keep well in the freezer. Simply thaw the required portion and heat them up over the stove.