Friday, January 30, 2015

How to Make a Comforting Cup of Kinako Latte

Kinako Latte is something I discovered sometime in the year 2010. I remember finding out about it on TV during a typical autumn day and thinking how good it sounds. Kinako is simply, powdered soybeans and is traditionally used in Japanese sweets. Think of it like a Japanese peanut butter but in powder form. It's really good with mochi ( sticky rice cakes ) and until I learned about this drink, that was the only way I consumed it.

These days, people mix kinako powder into milk for a quick and nutritious breakfast. During the summer, I like to mix it with banana to make a quick and nutritious smoothie. I love peanut butter but you know how messy it can get. Not with kinako. It's just a light powder that packs a lot of peanutty ( or soybeany ) flavor.

Today I'm going to share with you my recipe for Kinako Latte because it's too good not to share. It's also ridiculously easy to make. Read on to see just how easy it is. Don't forget to watch the video to see how I create that lovely foam that's a prerequisite to good lattes worldwide.


1 cup milk
1 tablespoon kinako powder
1 tablespoon sugar or other sweetener


Add milk to saucepan. Add kinako and sweetener. Heat on medium-low heat stirring constantly.
Whisk vigorously with a whisk to create foam. Turn off heat and pour into a mug.
Add a sprinkle of kinako powder on top and enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

How to Make a Western-Style Oden-Japanese Hot Pot

Oden is a traditional Japanese hot pot that's usually eaten during the colder months. Not only do we make it at home, it's easy to buy them. They are sold everwhere. From supermarkets to convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Lawson, each touting their secret original recipe soup stock. I do like the ones sold at 7-Eleven and at 100 yen per piece, it's convenient and cheap!

So the other day, I thought it would be a good idea to put up a recipe for Oden. I wanted to share this recipe with friends and family that lived away from Japan. However I remembered how difficult it was to find certain ingredients that usually are found in a traditional Oden.

Daikon radish, eggs and potatoes are easy and can be found practically everywhere around the world. But what about konnyaku? Some have never even heard of it. Fish cakes? What about Hanpen? You can already see how difficult it would be for a Westerner. And even if these things can be found in specialty stores, you'd probably have to spend a fortune getting these ingredients ready for one of the most humble dishes around.

So instead, my friend Satoshi and I decided to get creative. We got creative and tried to come up with our version of Oden that uses only ingredients that can be found almost anywhere. There is no fish cake or hanpen to be found. No mirin or sake for cooking? No problem. Now there are just two ingredients that you must have that are Japanese. They are Konbu and Bonito Flakes. These will be used to make an authentic Japanese soup stock and without these, it would just be a Western stew. And to make things easier, I put some links below so you can easily get them online.

The other option ( easier ) is to use instant Japanese soup stock or Hondashi. Many people prefer not to use these as they most often than not, contain MSG. However we use them and have no problem with it. But if you want to go natural all the way, get the Konbu and Bonito Flakes. There are many uses for them and they will keep for a long time. They are also quite nutritious and good for you and handy to keep around. I also promise to come up with a few more recipes using Konbu and Bonito Flakes in the very near future.

OK, I think that's enough talking. Get your ingredients ready and let's start cooking!

NOTE: Watch the video tutorial first to get an idea of what this dish is about. It's simple but can get confusing at first.

CLICK HERE FOR ODEN VIDEO TUTORIAL and then come back here if you need to.

This is a large bag of high-quality bonito flakes or Katsuo Bushi. This is exactly what we use to make Japanese soup stock or Dashi and is useful to add to other ingredients.

One way I love to use bonito flakes is to sprinkle a handful on top of cold tofu. Serve with sliced spring onions and soy sauce and you have a dish called Hiyayakko. The flakes are great on tofu steak as well as on top of fried rice or fried noodles.

There are literally many uses for bonito flakes and they keep for a very long time. Click on that bag of bonito flakes to easily purchase one for yourself on Amazon.

If you are a fan of Japanese cooking, you know that dashi is the main ingredient for most Japanese dishes. Some use just bonito flakes and others prefer konbu.

You can use either one to make a simple stock for miso soup. However here in Japanese, we have separate uses for them. For example we usually prefer using bonito flakes for miso soup.

For shabu shabu, konbu is the preferred ingredients for soup stock. Whatever the choice, it's handy to have konbu on hand. It's easy to use, super nutritious ( deep fry them for great konbu chips ) and keeps for a long time.

NOTE 2: Although I've given you a recipe for 2, Oden is usually prepared for a family. You can easily double the recipe to feed a family of four. You don't have to double up on the soup stock. Just double up on the ingredients that go in the hot pot and it's good to go!

Ingredients (Serves 2 as a main dish)

2 eggs
2 slices daikon radish (cut into 2 cm thickness)
12 Green beans (Three green beans secure to one toothpick. )
1 bunch enoki mushrooms
2 slices lean bacon or 4 slices ham (bacon cut in half)
2-4 sausages
4 asparagus spears
1 avocado (peeled, deseeded, cut in half)
1 large potato (peeled and cut into bite sized pieces)

Chicken Balls
200 grams ( 1 cup ) ground chicken
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/2 egg
1 tablespoon white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons spring onions ( minced )
1/2 onion

Soup stock
20 grams konbu
30 grams bonito flakes
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup white wine
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups water


Boil eggs for 12 minutes. Peel and set aside.
Cut daikon into 2 cm thickness ( about 1 inch ). Round the edges with knife for better absorption.
Boil daikon for 20 minutes or until just tender. Take out and set aside.
Make chicken balls by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well with hands and blend. Roll into balls and set aside.
Separate enoki into 4-5 bunches with hands. Cut bacon in half and wrap around enoki bunches. Secure with toothpick. If using ham, you do not have to cut into half. 
Cut the konbu that you used for the soup stock into strips. Tie into ribbons. 
Boil potatoes in a sauce pan until just tender. Take them out and set aside.
Add soy sauce, white wine, sugar and salt into the soup stock. Mix well. 
Make soup stock. Put konbu in cold water. Heat until just before boiling and take out. Set konbu aside for later use. 
Add bonito flakes into the soup stock. Boil for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander. Discard the bonito flakes or save for another use. 
Add all the ingredients into the soup stock except for the sausages, potatoes and konbu ribbons
Simmer over medium low heat for 1 hour.
Add the potatoes, sausages and konbu ribbons.
Heat for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the sausages have been cooked through. 
Serve hot with mustard of choice.  

Viola! It's done! Now all you need to do is dig in!

As always, thanks for reading this post and let me know what you thought in the comments below. Subscribe to this blog for regular updates if you haven't done so already. You'll receive a FREE copy of my mini-recipe booklet in PDF form. Hope you're all having a great week!

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Have nomming and cheers everyone!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How to Make Matcha Latte at Home

You know those cups of goodness called Matcha Latte that they sell at Starbucks for over $4.00? Well I love those things and I can't seem to get enough of them. In fact, I used to frequent Starbucks just for these lovely cups of goodness at least three times a week for many many years. I must have spent a fortune on them. At least until now.

I got smart and I've learned how to make my own, I no longer have to make the trek to the coffee shop to curb my matcha latte cravings. It's easy enough to make really and I don't know why I didn't learn how to make them earlier. For the longest time, I thought there was some kind of magic trick to making them. I also didn't have a milk foamer to create that lovely foam on top.

Guess what? I found out that you didn't need one. You can simply use a whisk. Really! It's really simple but somehow it never occurred to me. Use a whisk and bowl to make foam. I mean is it really that simple?

Fortunately the answer is yes. The only other ingredients you'll need are a good matcha powder, milk and sugar or sweetener of choice. That's it! No magic ingredients or tools necessary.

Makes 1 serving


1 cup milk
1 tablespoon good quality matcha powder
Sweetener of choice
Hot water


Put matcha in a cup. Add a little hot water and mix until powder is dissolved. Set aside. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally so milk doesn't scorch.
Pour milk into a bowl. Whisk vigorously to create foam.
Pour milk into the matcha. Use a spoon to prevent foam from going inside. Finally scoop out the foam on top and sprinkle some matcha powder for extra flavor and color.
Enjoy and drink while it's hot!

If you want to see me in action, check out my Matcha Latte Video on YouTube. It will show you just how easy it is to make and you can watch me goof up at the end as well. :) Seriously though, watching the video makes it easier and you'll see how creating the foam with a whisk is really super easy. If you do like the video, don't forget to LIKE the video by pressing that THUMBS UP button. Also commenting and sharing the video helps me out a lot so thanks in advance!


As always, thanks for reading this post and let me know what you thought in the comments below. Subscribe to this blog for regular updates if you haven't done so already. You'll receive a FREE copy of my mini-recipe booklet in PDF form. Hope you're all having a great week!

Friday, January 9, 2015

3-Minute Gluten-Free Bread in a Mug

As may of you may know by now, I am obsessed with food. So it's not surprising that i tend to put on those pounds now and and then. I really should NOT be eating everything I make, especially things like cupcakes, scones and all those other heavenly delights that make life worth living. But you know, sometimes you just can't help it and after making a dozen delicious cupcakes, what is one supposed to do with them anyway? 
Now if you've been following this blog for awhile, you'll notice that this is similar to one I made before. That's true except that this one doesn't have the nuts and seeds that the other one did. This version is plain, simple and really so simple to make. 

Quick 3-Minute Low-Carb Bread in a Mug


1/3 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed oil ( you can use butter, coconut, or olive oil instead )


1.Grease one mug with some oil. 
2. Put all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well with a fork. 
3. Pour the mixture into the mug. Microwave on high for 90 seconds. You might need to cook it a few seconds longer depending on your microwave oven. 
4. Let it cool in the mug for 3 minutes. 
5. Gently pop the bread out of the mug and slice. 

I also made a video tutorial of this recipe so you might want to check that out too. You'll see just how easy it really is to make. 


Slice them up and pop them under a toaster oven to make them even better. I hope you try this recipe out as it's one of my go-to comfort foods. Let me know what you think in the comments below and if you haven't done so, subscribe to my blog for updates. 

Hope you're all having a great day!