Pumpkin Dumpling (かぼちゃ団子)

Pumpkin Dango 

Japanese love to eat pumpkin not only for its nutrition but also to add colour to dishes, especially in the bento. A small cut of pumpkin in bento can really have the brighten up effect and make it looks more appealing. Hence, pumpkin is available on the shelves all year round. This time, I added pumpkin in traditional Japanese sweet called shirotama dango (白玉団子). Shirotama (literally means white ball), original version is white in colour (plain) but green tea (matcha) flavour is also popular.

Dango (dumpling) is often served with sweet red bean paste, brown sugar syrup, and kinako (soy bean powder). It is delicious too, to serve it western way with icecream (eg: parfait). My elder son loves them all, but younger boy votes for western sweet. 

Ingredients (3-4 servings):
100 g pumpkin (without peel and seed)
100 g glutinous rice flour (I used Japanese type)
Warm water

4-5 tbsp Sweet red bean
Kinako (optional)
Green to garnish

  1. Steam and mash the pumpkin.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together mash pumpkin and glutinous rice flour. Add in warm water slowly to form pliable soft dough.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, divide and shape dough into small balls.
  4. Drop dumplings into boiling water, once they are floated remove and put them in a bowl of iced water.
  5. Drain well. Arrange a few dumplings on a serving plate, serve with a heap tablespoon of sweet red bean. 

*  *  *  *  *

Next, sharing few photos of Mount Hiei (比叡山) covering in snow I took during Japanese new year holiday.  We went there by public transports, train + bus + cable car. Boys were excited to see such thick snow, it was our main purpose there actually. 




Star covered in snow


Fried Squid II [Beer's Companion]

Fried Squid 

Fried Squid's Tentacles or イカのげそ揚げ (Ika-no-geso-age) is one of the popular side dishes offered at many Izakaya (居酒屋), it goes very well with a glass of cold beer. In Japan, squid tentacles and body is often served in different way unlike in Malaysia, the whole squid is cooked/served together in one dish. 

Not only squid, chicken is also sold by properly prepared parts and deboned except for the wings. It is hard to find the whole chicken, whole legs and drumsticks with bone in the supermarket except during Christmas season. Hence, my boys always excited whenever they find the drumlets/drumstick with bone on.

Back to squid, tentacles are often served at Izakaya or restaurants in two major ways - fried or grilled with salt. Yes, both are good for drinkers but non-drinkers like my boys and I love geso too. Here is my replicated izakaya-style geso-age, be warned, it is addictive!

Fried Squid's Tentacles [Print Recipe]

Ingredients (2-3 serves):

  • 200 g squid tentacles
  • 3-4 tbsp katakuriko
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp syoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tbsp sake
  • 1/2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • A pinch of sugar
  • A pinch of black pepper

  1. Cut squid tentacles into halves if too long, marinate for 30 minutes. 
  2. Use a sieve, drain all the liquid. Then, coat with katakuriko evenly. 
  3. Heat oil, add in sesame oil and fry squid till golden brown.
  4. Drain and serve immediately with mayonnaise or a wedge of lemon at the side. 


Rendang Chicken [First Rendang In Japan]

Rendang Chicken

Late spring this year, I planted turmeric, ginger and lemongrass in my little veggie patch. All of them growing pretty well and surviving till today, late Autumn. Weather is getting so much colder this week and onwards, big different between day and night temperature, I wonder if they will survive the winter. Ginger roots are still pretty small, but sufficient for my cooking.

As the turmeric is growing very well with healthy looking young leaves, I should put them in good use - Rendang. After a long time, this is first Rendang Chicken in Japan. Due to shortage of fresh ingredients, I cooked it with a pack of instant rendang paste brought in from Malaysia but added "kerisik" and some shredded turmeric leaves. It was not the best rendang I tasted but good enough for satisfying my craving for this oily dish. I am glad that John liked it too although he kept complaining spicy and drinking lots of water.

Sorry, cooked with instant paste so no recipe for this one.

Rendang Chicken


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