Simple Recipes (2)

Eggplants & Tomatoes Stew

Aubergines or eggplants/eggplants and tomatoes are the vegetables of the summer!
They come in cheap, are aplenty and very healthy.
The French have “invented” ratatouille to accomodate them together.
This recipe is a cross between the French and Italian concept.
Vegans should forget the bacon and adopt this simple recipe!

Tomato & Eggplants Stew!

INGREDIENTS: For 4 people

-Eggplants: 4
-Tomatoes: 2
-Bacon: 60g
-Garlic: 1 clove
-Parsley/finely chopped: 1 tablespoon
-Flour: as appropriate
-Olive oil (EV): as appropriate
-Salt & pepper
-Frying oil


-Peel the eggplants partly along their length in 4~5 spots for design. Cut lengthwise in 4 and cut across to obtain 2 cm thick pieces.

-Cut the tomatoes in 2 cm side cubes.

-Cut bacon in 8 mm wide strips/pieces.

-Cut the garlic clove in two halves and take out core (indegistble!). Cruch the garlic.

-Coat the cut eggplants with flour. Shake off excess flour before deep-frying them at high temperature (170~180 degrees Celsius). Once fried, lay on kitchen paper to take off excess oil, then transfer into bowl. Sprinkle them with a little salt.

-Pour some olive oil in a frypan. Heat it and fry bacon in it. When the bacon becomes crispy, add the tomato cubes and garlic. Fry until most water/liquid is gone. Season with salt and pepper.

-Throw in the eggplants and check taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Add chopped parsley and a little more olive oil before serving.

Very easy and adaptable, isn’t it?
Japanese Cuisine: Stewed Sato Imo, Koyadofu & Chicken

Japanese cuisine makes for some very healthy food.
I have already introduce koyadofu, a variety of dried tofu, sato imo or taro.
Here is a simple and hearty recipe fir for any age group!

INGREDIENTS: For 3~4 people

-Chicken thigh meat: 1 thigh
-Soy sauce: 1 tablespoon
-Japanese sake: 1 tablespoon (if unavailable use dry white wine)
-Sato Imo/taro: 8 (medium-sized)
-Koyadofu: 3 standard sheets
-Flour: as appropriate
-Dashi: 2 cups/400 cc/ml (if unavailable use chicken soupstock)
-Soy sauce: 2.5 tablepoons
-japanese sake: 2.5 tablespoons
-Sugar: 2.5 tablespoons
-Shungiku: Spring chrysanthemum a little (if not available, use green of your choice!)


-Cut the chickeninto small bite-sized chunks amd marinate with soy sauce and Japanese sake.

-Cut the hard part of the shungiku (or other green leaf vegetable such as soinach, and so on), boil lightly in salted water, drain and cut into 5 cm (2 inches) bits.

-Peel sato imo/taro as shown on above pic. Boil. Clean in clear water to get rid of the stickiness. Transfer into a zaru/sieve basket.

-Soften koyadofu in lukewarm water. Press out all water. Cut into 1.5 cm (0.7 inch) squares and coat with flour. Deep-fry in oil at 160 degrees Celsius. Scoop out as soon as they change color. Tansfer into a sieve basket and pour hot water on it to take out excess oil.

-In a pan, drop the dashi, soy sauce, sake and sugar. Bring slowly to boil and reduce fire to low. Add sato imo/taro and koyadofu. Simmer for a while on a low fire to allow all sato imo and koyadofu to absorb taste.

-In another pan bring some water to boil. Wipe chicken off any humidity. Coat with flour. Drop into boiling water and cook until tender.

-Once cooked, transfer into sieve basket/zaru.

-Once the sato imo and koyadofu are cooked to satisfaction, add chicken. Simmer for 2=3 minutes.

-Serve into dish with greens.

Great with beer!

The Japanese are starting to take a real interest in many varieties of potatoes as opposed to sweet potatoes.
The Missus having received a batch of them from her family’s garden, I prepared a quick appetizer last night.
I had 3 differentcolors available: red, yellow and black, that is as far their outside colors were concerned!

Once boiled, they turned to slghtly differentcolors: dark blue, light yellow and pink!
Almost tricolor (I’m in for another of BG’s comments!)!

As a general rule, I boil the potatoes before deep-frying them.
Actually, I don’t deep-fry them but use only a little olive oil. Far healthier!
As for vegans and vegetarians, just frying and seasoning them is enough, but for the sake of taste I first fry chopped bacon (with no oil). Once it has reached a crispy state, I put it a aside. I use the same fry pan without wiping it at all. I pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (EV) for the 3 medium potatoes I had.
The potatoes wer cut into large dices with their skin.
I fried them until they had completely absorbed the oil and became brownish. I then throw in a finely chopped clove of garlic, the bacon ,black pepper and some nutmeg.

Once the garlic has started browning I pour the lot into a serving dish.
(Sorry for the last 2 pics! The Missus took them!)

Before serving them I sprinkle them with a good amount of freshly grated parmegiano. This way, I don’t need to add any salt!

Great with dark beer!
Beef Cheek and Wild Boar by Yasushi Imaizumi

Because of my work and my love for food, whatever gastronomy, I’m blessed with friends in Japan and elsewhere who are always keen to share their experiences.
Yasushi Imaizumi is a very old Japanese friend for whom I also work regularly as a trouble shooter for his fashion clothes company.
As he extensively travels all year round in Japan and abroad, he cooks a lot back home.
A few days ago, he came to my working place with a tupperware full with sauce he had just made.
Only later, I found out that the pasta sauce had been made as a second part of a whole dinner he cooked himself at home.
In the picture above is Beef Cheek stewed in beer as served at the Restaurant in Nao Jima Setonaikai, a restaurant restaurant produced by Stella Maris.
He served his own fried potatoes, and fresh pasta and the meat topped with a julienne of onion, celery and carrot with olive oil.

Now, the sauce for the pasta back (my) home was made with wild boar (70%) stir fried in olive oil with beef (20%) and pancetta (10%).
stir fried [sofuritto] with onion, celery, carrot,, red wine, beef bouillon, Banyuls, basil, nutmeg, tomato, salt and pepper about 2 hours, later seasoned with Parmigiano Reggiano.

Very hearty, delicious and extravagant!
Imo Souffle (Naga Imo Souffle)/Yam Souffle

After extolling the virtues of yams/imo in another posting, I thought I had to introduce a few simple Japanese recipes using this very useful vegetable!
This recipe is more a combination of Japanese and French gastronomy than anything else. It has the merit to be very simple and healthy!
No need for an ove, a simple grill is enough!

The yam used in this particular recipe is “naga imo/長いも or long yam”.

The same, cleaned and cut!

INGREDIENTS: For 2 people

-Yam/naga imo: 150 g
-Egg: 1
-White dashi/shirodashi/shiradshi (if not available, plain dashi or souptock of your choice): 1 tablespoon
-Flour: 1 teaspoon
-Salt, pepper and spices: if and as you like!


-Peel the yam and grate into a bowl.

-Add the beaten egg, dashi, flour and (optional) seasoning and mix well.

Pour into shallow oven dish and cook in the grill for 5~10 minutes.
Serve at once!

Simple, ain’t it?
Natto & Rice Patties

Here is a simple way of turning leftovers in a great snack!

Natto & Rice Patties!

INGREDIENTS: For 6 10 cm-wide patties

-Steamed rice (cold): 1 bowl
-Okonomiyaki powder mix: 1 cup/200 cc
-Egg: 1
-Water: 1 cup/200 cc/ml
-Minced meat (of ypur choice): as appropriate
-Nira/Chinese chives: 12 sprigs
-Leek: as appropriateDried hijiki/sweet seawed: 2 tablespoons
-Cabbage: 1/8 (chopped)
-Natto: 1 standard pack


-Chop all the vegetables including seaweed (as it is). Put them inside a bowl. Cover them with cellophane paper and cook in microwave oven for 3 minutes.

-Take out. Let cool down. Add rice, egg and okonomiyaki powder mix. Mix well.
Add minced meat natto and mix well.

-Heat some sesame oil in a frypan.
Pour the patties batter into the frypan with a ladle and shape as pattiies.
Fry well on both sides.
While cooking, prepare an okoniyaki sauce with mayonnaise, soy sauce, mustard, bbq sauce and a little ketchup.

-Serve at once with a good beer!

Hope this will become an idea you can work on!
Japanese Chicken Meatballs and Rice Vermicelli Soup

I love chicken and meat balls!
Now, if you can make them healthy, so much the better!
Here is a recipe that you can use both as an appetizer or as a main dish:

Japanese Chicken Balls and rice vermicelli Soup!
Note that yam is used to make the meatballs light and tender!

RECIPE: For 2~ people

-Minced chicken (any part of the animal is fine): 300 g
-Yam/yamaimo/山芋: 5 cm-long piece
-Eggs: 2
-White leek: half and finely chopped
-Water: 600 cc/ml
-Chicken soup bouillon powder: 2~3 teaspoons
-Japanese sake (or whit wine if unavailable): 1 tablespoon
-Freshly grated ginger: as appropriate
-Salt & pepper: according to preferences!
-Rice vermicelli/Haruzame/春雨: 100 g
-Carrot: 3 cm-long piece (cut to preference)
-Green leek: as appropriate (cut/chopped to preference)


-Grate the yam into a bowl. Chop the white leek finely and add with minced chicken and egg. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper as you like (I personally don’t!).

-In a large pot pour and heat the water. Add salt, pepper, Japanese sake, grated ginger and chicken bouillon powder. Cook for a while to create a tasty soup.
During that time soften the rice vermicelli in lukewarm water and cut green leek and carrot to preferred size.

-When soup is ready add the carrot.

-Shape meatballs with spoons and drop them directly in the soup.
Lower fire and cover with a glass lid. Once the meatballs have come to the surface, add the rice vermicelli.

-Once the rice vermicelli are cooked add chopped green leeks and serve.
Either bring the pot onto the table and serve from it into bowls or serve directly into individual bowls or plates!
Japanese Cuisine: Kaki Dotenabe-Oysters Pot-au-feu

The Japanese are not only great producers of oysters, they also come with some both delicious and simple ways to eat them that my friend Lou-Ann would definitely try!

The following recipe makes for a great pot-au feu or potluck in cold evenings! Ingredients can be easily varied according to the seasons and avaibility, although the oysters and tofu are a must!

Kaki Dotenabe/Oysters Pot-au-feu:

INGREDIENTS: For 5 people

-Oysters: 500 g (without the shells!LOL)
-Yaki tofu/grilled tofu: 1 large block~400 g
-Chinese cabbage: as appropriate
-Mizuna/trefoil or kikuna/edible chrysanthemum leaves: as appropriate
-White leek: 1
-Mushrooms of your choice: as appropriate
-Ito konnyaku/konnyaku vermicelli: 1 standard pack
-White miso paste: 300 g
-Red miso paste: 50 g
-Mirin/sweet sake: 5~6 tablespoons
-Dashi/soupstock: 4~5 cups/800~1000ml/cc


-Drop the oysters in a bowl. Sprinkle them salt. massage them carefully. Clean under running cold water. Drain well.

-Cut the block of grilled tofu into 16 pieces.

-Clean the ito konnyaku/konnyuaku vermicelli under cold runnin water. Cut into 7~8 cm long bits.

-Cut all vegetables into the same size (Bite-size)

-In a bowl mix the two miso paste well. Add mirin and mix well again.
Line the inside of the pot with the miso paste mixture. Pour the dashi/soupstock in it and place over fire.

-First drop the vegetables and tofu inside the pot. The moment they are cooked add the oysters. The oysters should come in last, otherwise they will get hard.
Scoopthe food out of the pot into your own bowl with enough soup to enjoy the whole!

-Eat with chopsticks and Chinese spoon!
Japanese Cuisine: Mitarashi Tofu Dango/Mitarashi Sauce Tofu Balls

The Japanese are quite proficient at making all kinds of dango/団子/balls, be they made with meat or not.
This particular recipe does not call for meat and is very healthy.
Mitarashi sauce is a light Jpanese sweet and sour sauce.

Mitarashi Sauce Tofu Balls/みたらし豆腐団子

INGREDIENTS: For 8 balls

-All-purpose flour: 150~200g
-Onion + Carrot: 1/2 each finely chopped
-Egg: 1 (beaten)
-Water: 50 ml/cc

A: Dashi or bouillon powder: 1 small tablespoon
A: Soy sauce: 1 tablepoon
A: Sugar: 1 teaspoon
A: Pepper: as appropriate
A: Freshly grated ginger: 1 teaspoon
Salad oi: a apprpriate.

Mitarashi sauce:
B: Water: 200 ml/cc
B: Soy sauce: 2 small tablespoons
B: Dashi or bouillon powder: 1 teaspoon
B: Sugar: 2 tablespoons
B: Mirin/Sweet sake: 2 tablespoons
B: Rice vinegar: 1 tablespoon
Cornstarch: 1 tablespoon mixed in some lukewarm water


-Mix xhopped carrot and onion, flour, beaten eagg and water. Add A ingredients and mix well.

-Wet your hands ands and make 8 balls.
Deep-fry slowly in oil at 160~170 degrees.

-Drop all B ingredients into a pan and heat till just before boiling point. Drop the balls in the sauce and cook over medium fire until balls are well coated. Add cornsatrch dissolved in lukewarm water and stir until the sauce is smooth.

Serve altogether in a serving dish topped with some chooped greens.
Easy, isn’t it?

Great with beer or Japanese sake or shochu!
Japanese Cuisine: Carrot Meatballs

Meatballs, or Meat Balls, are a universal favourite.
They can be conceived in a simple and healthy way as shown in Japanese home cooking:

Carrot Meatballs!

INGREDIENTS: for 4 people

-Minced pork: 500 g
-Egg: 1
-Carrot: 1
-Onion: 1 small
-Daikon: as appropriate/sliced into thin quarters
-Panko/Breadcrumbs: 50 g
-Cornstarch: as appropriate
-salt: 1/2 teaspoon
-Sugar: 2 tablespoons
-Soy sauce: 2 tablespoons
-Water: 450 cc/ml
-Bouillon powder: 2 teaspoons


-Cut the onion into thin slices. Drop them inside an oven-resistant dish. Cover with cellophane paper. Cook in microwave oven for 2 minutes at 600 Watt. Let cool down completely.

Grate carrot and mix with minced pork.

Add salt, onion, egg and breadcrumbs. Mix well.

-Shape meatballs and cover and roll them into cornstarch.

-In a large pan, bring water to boil.
Lower fir to small. Add bouillon, soy sauce and sugar to make a soup. Mix well.
Drop in sliced daikon and meatballs.
Simmer gently until properly cooked.
Serve hot topped with some greens!

Meat Balls, Chinese Cabbage & Rice Vermicelli Soup

The Japanese are very fond of two culinary delights, namely dango/団子 or meat balls and haruzame/春雨(Spring Rain) or rice vermicelli.
They do make for great and simple combinations.
How about the following one:

Meat Balls, Chinese Cabbage & Rice Vermicelli Soup

INGREDIENTS: For basic recipe. You can multiply it at will!

-Chinese cabbage: 6 leaves
-Pork belly: 80 g
-Chicken lean breast: 60 g
-Panko/breadcrumbs: 1 tablespoon
-Japanese sake: 1 tablespoon
-Fresh (if possible) ginger juice: 1/2 teaspoon
-Rice vermicelli/Haruzame (dry weight): 20 g
-Egg (beaten): 1/2
-Water: 3 cups/600 cc/ml
-Chicken bouillon: 1 cube or as appropriate, crumbled into powder.
-Salt: 1 teaspoon (can be varied according to preferences and priorities)
-Pepper: as appropriate


-Chop the core of Chinese cabbage finely, and cut the leafy part in 5 cm square pieces.

-Humidify lightly the panko/breadcrumbs with lukewarm water if coarse. Us them as they are if they are fine.

-Drop the pork belly and chicken lean breast in a food processor and mince. Add the sake, panko/breadcrumbs, ginger juice, beaten egg and a little salt. Mix.

-Soften the rice vermicelli in slightly salted lukewarm water and drain.

-In a pan pour the water. Add cut Chinese cabbage, salt, pepper and chicken bouillon. Cover with lid and cook over a small fire until the Chinese cabbage has become translucent.

-Fashion balls with the processed meat. Add to the Chinese cabbage and cover with lid. Cook over small fire for up to 20 minutes.

-Add the rice vemicelli and cook for 3 more minutes.

-Serve as shown in above picture.
Add some finely chopped thin leeks for a “green” finishing note!

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