School Lunchbox: Japanese treats for Monday

Japanese food to go...

Japanese food to go…

It’s the start of the week and I thought I would surprise the boys (son and hubby) with some home-made Japanese goodies. Next to cheese, Ashraf’s favourite is Japanese food. I could not find bonito-flakes anywhere this whole weekend, so I had to make do with whatever is at hand to prepare the dashi for miso soup and chawanmushi.

While wandering around Kuching, we managed to get Nishiki sushi rice, nori, kombu (kelp) and miso ready-mixed with bonito at Ta Kiong in the Spring mall. A piece of unagi kabayaki was purchased from Choice premier where local avocados were being sold for RM9 per kilo, cheap, compared to Australian avocados which sold for RM6.99 each. So I was set for this morning.

Last night, the kombu lay soaking in some water, ready for this morning. At 5.00 am I cooked the rice, got the steamer for the chawanmushi heated and started on the dashi by heating up the water with the kombu. This was followed by cutting up vegetables for sushi and chawanmushi. Then, it was time to mix the vinegar for sushi rice, toast the white and black sesame seeds for the California rolls and grill the unagi. By 7.15 am, the boys sat down to their Japanese breakfast while Ashraf’s lunch box is being prepared. It is possible to get the soup, chawanmushi and maki done while preparing breakfast at the same time, but the work order has to be planned and mise en place prepared.

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Recipes:

Sushi Rice (from Alton Brown)

  • 2 cups sushi rice and 2.6 cups water for cooking the rice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt

– Cook the rice in rice cooker.

– When cooked, add the vinegar+sugar+salt mixture and mix gently ensuring that the liquid is distributed evenly.

– With a hand-held fan, fan the rice while mixing the vinegar mixture to ensure even coating, continue to do so until rice cools down to room temperature (about 5 – 10 minutes) – it does help if you are ambidextrous! Once the rice is cool, it is ready for use.

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California Roll (from Alton Brown)

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 small avocado, mix with lemon juice to avoid browning, slice
  • 1 small cucumber, de-seed, slice
  • 4 crabsticks, torn into pieces
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds (1 mix black and white sesame seeds and toast it gently)
  • 4 nori sheets

– Place nori sheet on bamboo rolling mat (cover the mat with cling wrap first), nori shiny side down. Get a bowl of water, mixed with some rice vinegar ready. Wet your hands with this mixture when working with the rice.  Take a handful of the sushi rice, spread all over the nori sheet, leaving about 5 cm of nori free from rice. Sprinkle sesame seeds on the rice and press into the rice gently.

– Turn over the nori sheet, to face up, and rice side down. Place avocado, crabsticks, and cucumber along the top of the nori, roll tightly.

– Finish all ingredients ( you should be able to get 4 rolls of sushi) – Cut into pieces with a very sharp knife.

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Unagi Maki

  • 1 piece grilled unagi kabayaki
  • 1 small cucumber, de-seed, slice
  • some wasabi to be lightly dabbed on sushi rice

– Cut nori into 2 length-wise. Place nori on bamboo mat, shiny side down. With wet hands, spread rice mixture on nori. Place thinly sliced unagi, and cucumber sticks horizontally along the top of nori. Dab a little bit of wasabi along side the filling.

– Roll tightly and cut into pieces with a very sharp knife.

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Miso Soup (Adapted from Alton Brown)

  • 6 cups of water
  • 4 x 4 inches of kombu (kelp) soak in the 6 cups of water overnight
  • 4 tablespoons of miso paste with bonito flavour (that’s what I had)
  • half block of Japanese pressed tofu – cut into small pieces
  • some chopped fresh scallions

– Heat water with kombu till bubbles appear around the kombu and the sides of the pot (do not allow to boil). Strain the water and remove kombu.

– Take half a cup of the kombu water and mix to miso paste – stir till smooth – place the paste back into the pot. Be careful not to boil and manage the temperature really carefully.

– Add the tofu and chopped fresh scallions.

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Chawanmushi

  • 3 fresh eggs
  • 1.5 cups kombu stock + 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 fresh shiitake mushrooms – sliced
  • a few slices of crabsticks (and/or chicken if you want)

– beat eggs gently so as not to incoporate air. Add stock, light soy sauce and sugar, mix gently, strain mixture.

– place sliced mushrooms, crabsticks and chicken into bowls. Pour egg mixture into bowls. Cover bowls with foil and place in baine marie.

– Steam on high heat for 5 minutes, reduce heat to medium, steam for a further 10 minutes.

California Rolls and Unagi Maki

California Rolls and Unagi Maki

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About mumstech
Retired at 40 after working in various industries including banking and financial services, oil and gas as well as higher education.Now a stay-at-home mum, cheerleader for husband and son, cleaner, nutritionist, cook, laundry lady, driver, clerk cum administration assistant, public relations, personal assistant... I never knew that squeaky clean floors can give me such satisfaction!

One Response to School Lunchbox: Japanese treats for Monday

  1. Pingback: Grilled Pacific Mackerel for Dinner – Japanese at home anyone? | mumstech

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