Thursday, May 17, 2007

Diamond Hotel Japanese cooking class & recipes from Yurakuen restaurant

I was privileged enough to participate in a cooking class offered every weekend by Diamond Hotel. Appreciated this very much as am a big fan of Japanese food. By now everyone knows that the cuisine is all about purity of taste, the freshness of the ingredients and the beauty of presentation of the prepared food.

For this class, we were able to learn a lot from Chef Junichi Sekiyama and his team from Yurakuen Restaurant. It was very helpful since we were able to learn a lot of cooking techniques and tips on what brands to purchase and where to source Japanese products in Manila.

For example, almost every Pinoy loves tempura, but do you ever wonder how to make the perfect one? Sharing here some treasured recipes from Yurakuen and Chef Sekiyama:

Ebi tempura

Choose one kilo good-quality fresh shrimps. Remove skin while shrimp is raw. Leave tail intact.

Scrape tip of shrimp tail with knife to remove dirty liquid and devein the shrimp.

Make small slices along the shrimp's body so shrimp will not curl when cooked.

Wrap shrimp in a paper towel and gently squeeze out excess liquid. Set aside.

Prepare the ingredients for tempura batter:

In a bowl, mix one cup Japanese tempura flour and 3/4 cup water with ice until lump-free.

Add one egg yolk to add color and texture.

Test heat of the oil by dripping a small amount of the batter into the pan. If batter floats right away, oil is ready; but if the batter hits the bottom of the pan before floating, oil is not hot enough.

Dredge shrimp in flour, then dip in batter.

Fry (preferably in corn oil) until coating turns light yellow.

Remove shrimps from pan and drain oil in paper towel.

To make tempura sauce:

Mix together six parts water, one part kikkoman, one part mirin and 10 grams hondashi. Place one tsp. ground fresh ginger and ground radish on the side.

Mixed Japanese fried rice

Saute chopped garlic in oil until golden brown. Add in chopped white onion and minced carrots.

Set side in one corner of the pan.

In the center of the pan, cook 10 grams of beef until it becomes white.

Add in 10 g. shrimp and squid and mix beef and sauteed vegetables all together.

Season with salt, pepper and Kikkoman soy sauce.

Move again to one side of the pan to makie room for egg.

Cook egg in the middle of the pan and scramble it.

Add steamed rice and mix well.

Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lasang Pinoy 17: Squash Yema

Thanks to Angelo of Eat Matters who is hosting this month's Lasang Pinoy, a Filipino food blogging event with focus on any egg-based recipe, I had to rummage through my best culinary memory for a dish that can truly be considered Egg's a Deal!

The result is this simple but great-tasting yema; not just any yema, mind you, but a squash or pumpkin yema that my veggie-hating kiddos relished with gusto. Kids always love sweets and so entranced were they with the taste that they forgot it's something they wouldn't eat otherwise if the squash was sauteed with other vegetables or simmered in coconut milk.
A yema is a Filipino round-shaped candy of Spanish origin which counts among its main ingredients egg yolk and condensed milk. The mention of yema evokes memories of my childhood since I always happily munched on this sweet treat and/or cooked this in home economics class.

The recipe for the candy I adapted from "Filipino Cuisine," my favorite local cookbook published by Centro Escolar University.

How to prepare -
toast 1/2 cup pinipigchop three tablespoons of jackfruit or langkaopen one can of condensed milktake out two tablespoons of butter or margarine from the refrigeratorboil and mash one cup of squash, chopped into piecesprepare six pieces egg yolks by using egg separatorchop two tablespoons peanuts or cashew nutstake out three-fourth cup sugar

For the final countdown -

"Mix pinipig and langka in condensed milk. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine butter, squash, egg yolks and cashew nuts. Add to the pinipig mixture and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. When thick enough to hold its shape, remove from heat. Cool mixture. Form 1/2 tablespoon mixture into balls and roll in sugar. Wrap each in cellophane."

Cook's Notes:
1. Toast the pinipig enough only so as not to burn.
2. The reason why I shy away from buying squash and thereby cooking pinakbet is that it's so difficult to chop. Save kitchen time by buying chopped squash pieces in the market, but make sure it's freshly prepared.
3. The nuts are optional. I omitted them from my recipe and it was still able to hold its own. You can add more pinipig and more squash though.
4. Make the candy more attractive to kids by buying multi-colored wrapper. Enjoy:)