Recipes from Marche, Italy

For this entry, I made two recipes. Neither of them were especially good, but I don't blame the people who posted the original recipes or any of the traditions they came from, I blame myself and my propensity for Googling things that might kill me.

Recipes from Marche, Italy: Brodetto

A seafood stew with mussels and clams, minus the Vibrio.

Recipes from Marche, Italy: Filone Casereccio

An Italian bread that will come out much better than mine did if you use fresh brewer's yeast and steam.

Recipes from Malta

This is actually the third time I’ve cooked a meal from Malta. The first time, I cooked the meal and then just did not write the blog post. Years went by.

Recipes from Malta: Imqarrun

Imquarrum (also called Imqarrun il-forn) is descended from a dish served in Sicily, but the Maltese have adopted it as a traditional staple. The key to making this dish is to be patient.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Recipes from Nowhere

This week we're in ... um, we're not, because it's been a crazy week and I haven't had time to write a post! So I apologize, with Memorial Day weekend plus my daughter's class trip I'm afraid I have to take a pass on this week's entry.

I did make the food, but sometimes the blog posts take more time than the recipes do.

See you next week!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Recipes from Jiangsu Province, China

You would think that my kids would be used to this by now. They’re not. To them, blog night is still all about the dessert, even though they’re usually disappointed that the dessert in question isn’t the cream and sugar-filled festival of processed fats that their American palettes are used to.

But this week, no dessert. They were pissed.

I actually don’t think I’ve ever done a dessert for any of the Chinese provinces I’ve covered for this blog, because to be honest the idea of Chinese desserts is sort of off putting. Water chestnut cakes, grass jelly and sweets made from glutinous rice–I mean, I’m not as addicted to the sugary, fatty processed stuff as my kids are but jeez, Chinese desserts just don’t sound very delicious. Add to that those weird, typically-stale cream puffs and strangely-textured cakes they give you at Chinese buffets and, um, no thank you.

I should probably try doing a dessert for one of the Chinese provinces at some point, but it’s not gonna happen this week.

Anyway, this week’s province du jour is Jiangsu, China. Jiangsu is an eastern coastal province, and it has the happy distinction of having the highest GDP per-capita of any of the Chinese provinces–in fact the GDP for Jiangsu alone is more than half the GDP of the entire nation of India. This is largely because of electronic equipment manufacture and export, as well as export of chemicals and textiles.

Zhouzhuang, Jiangsu Province, China. Photo by Jakob Montrasio.
Jiangsu also sounds like a cool place to visit–it’s the home of the world’s largest Buddha statue, the Ming Dynasty city wall and gates and the water-town of Zhouzhuang, “an international tourist destination with Venice-like waterways, bridges and dwellings.” It doesn’t stop there, either; I’m pretty sure you could spend at least a month in Jiangsu before you would start to feel bored.

Jiangsu cuisine (also just called “Su” cuisine) is one of the eight culinary traditions of China. Because of its proximity to the sea, Jiangsu cuisine is often seafood based. Many if the dishes are braised or stewed, and presentation is particularly important, which I’m sure you’ll find quite humorous when you see the photos from this week.

I chose three dishes this week, and here they are:

Wuxi Sweet and Salty Pork Spareribs
(from Chinese Food Recipes

  • 1 1/2 lbs spareribs
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 to 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 5 slices of ginger
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 stalks spring onion
On the side:

Yang Zhou Fried Rice
(from Chinese Food Recipes)
  • 1/2 cup shelled and deviened shrimp
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 thin slices ginger
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups cooked rice, cold
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 to 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup Chinese barbecued pork
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 3 stalks green onions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
And also:

Immortal Eggs
(from Flavor and Fortune)
  • 6 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 1/4 pound finely chopped pork
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup corn oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp cold water
Let's start with the pork. First mix the sugar with the dark soy sauce and Shaoxing wine. Pour over the spareribs and let marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.

Now heat the oil in a pressure cooker and then fry the ginger, onion and garlic until fragrant. 

Add the spareribs and the remaining ingredients (except the spring onion). Cover the pressure cooker and set to high. When the cooker reaches the right pressure, reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the pressure release.

Take the lid off and turn the heat back on. Let simmer until the sauce thickens, then sprinkle green onions over and serve.

Now for the rice:

Mix the shrimp with the salt and sugar and let sit for 20 minutes. Now heat the oil over a medium flame and add the garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute and then add the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp turns pink, then transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the eggs to the pan and scramble a little.

 This is the sauce for the rice: a little goes a long way.
Now add the rice, salt, soy sauce, sugar and pepper, adding a little bit of water if needed to soften up the rice. Fry for a minute or two, then add the pork and peas. Cook for a few more minutes or until the rice becomes fragrant. Now add the scallions and remove from heat. Toss and serve.

Finally, the eggs. First peel the eggs and cut them in two, as if you're making deviled eggs. Take out the yolks and put two of them in a bowl. Mash the two egg yolks and then mix with the pork, wine, soy sauce, ginger and cornstarch.

Now heat the oil until bubbles rise around the non-stirring end of a wooden spoon. Shape the yolks into balls and deep fry until golden. Drain on paper towels and cool slightly, then use to stuff the sliced eggs. Now heat the chicken stock over a medium flame and quickly whisk in the cornstarch/water mixture. Pour over the eggs and serve.

Um, they look a little bit like someone sneezed on them.

So I never met a fried rice I didn't like, and that was by far my favorite part of this meal. It really wasn't hugely different from any other fried rice, but it was fried rice so I was happy. I did like the pork, too, and so did my kids. I have to confess that I made them with country style ribs though, because the way my husband is about fat and bone actual spareribs might have made his head explode. And the eggs, well, they were weird. I had serious texture issues with them, I think because of the egg yolk. Even though I went OCD with my meat thermometer to make sure they were cooked, they really didn't seem cooked when I bit into them. The egg yolks gave them a sort of mushy texture that was kind of alarming. Martin said he didn't notice, because he didn't know there were any egg yolks in the mix. But I noticed, and it was weird.

So no dessert but even if we really were missing something delicious, that's probably not such a bad thing. We've had four birthday parties in the last four months, so I've kind of had my fill of dessert anyway.

Next week: Jordan

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Recipes from Jersey

I know I will be getting some hate mail for this. Because some countries are really, really proud of their produce, cheese, wine, jam or other product and they get really mad when I make substitutions.

So please Jerseyans, know that I mean no offense when I say that you can't get Jersey Royals in California. I'm quite sure they are far superior to the potatoes I used in the recipe I made this week, but the only other option I had was to find some other main dish for this week's entry. And sadly, there just aren't a ton of Jersey recipes out there to choose from, unless you count pizza from NEW Jersey, which of course you can't.

Yes, Jersey. This is another one of those British crown dependencies--it is a part of the ancient duchy of Normandy, which was considered a part of England for many centuries even though it is geographically in France. Jersey is located in the Channel Islands off the coast of Normandy, and though it is technically a British possession it is self-governing, with its own parliamentary democracy and its own financial, legal and judicial systems. Jersey isn't British its citizens don't identify as British, although the UK is constitutionally obligated to kick the butts of anyone who tries to threaten them.

Gorey Castle, Jersey. Photo by Paul Davis.
The food in Jersey is actually very similar to the food in Guernsey, another one of those Channel Islands crown dependencies. In fact Jersey also has a version of the bean jar that I did for Guernsey. But while Guernsey is proud of their butter and milk, Jersey is proud of their royals. The Jersey royal is a kind of new potato that supposedly has a distinct flavor though I wouldn't know, because I had to use the new potatoes that you can buy in a California supermarket.

 Anyway I'm not sure I could have even done this entry without the help of the Facebook page "Traditional Jersey Recipes," which is where I got all of the recipes I made this week. Once again, my search was complicated by the smallness of the nation in question--with just under 100,000 people, I guess Jersey cookbooks and food blogs have yet to make it into the international consciousness.

So thanks to Traditional Jersey Recipes, here's what I came up with for this week:

Roast Sirloin of Beef with Creamy Jersey Royals
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 oz sirloin steaks
  • 8 oz assorted mushrooms (I used white mushrooms and oysters)
  • A handful of baby spinach, washed
  • 8 oz cooked Jersey Royal potatoes, quartered (I used mixed new potatoes)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 4 oz Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Cabbage Loaf
  • 3 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp margarine
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 large cabbage leaves

For dessert I decided to make these, though I think they are typically served as a snack:

Jersey Wonders
  • 5 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
Let's start with the beef and potatoes. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Now heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the meat on both sides. Transfer to an oven-safe dish and cook until your meat reaches an internal temperature of 125 to 130 degrees (note this is not a safe internal temperature yet--the meat will continue to cook after youtake it out of the oven).

Oh steak photo, how crappy are thee ....
 Season the steaks and let them rest while the internal temperature rises. Now, I like my meat medium rare which is about 140. If you like  your meat more well-done or less well-done than that, you will have to adjust the temperature at which you remove the meat from the oven.

Now add the mushrooms and potatoes to the same pan you used to cook the steaks. (Note you will have quartered and boiled the potatoes ahead of time). Cook over a medium flame until the potatoes start to form a golden crust.

Now turn down the flame and add the cream and the Parmesan cheese. Once the cheese has melted, toss in the spinach and add salt and pepper to taste.

The sauce should now be nice and thick. Turn off the heat and divide the potato and mushroom mixture amongst plates. Slice the beef and serve alongside the potatoes (I served the beef over the potatoes, because I thought it was prettier).

Now for the cabbage rolls. So this recipe didn't say so, but the sole purpose of those cabbage leaves is to create a pretty indentation in the top of each roll, which I really wish I'd known before I made them, because mine didn't come out exactly right. So here's what you're actually supposed to do:

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Meanwhile, mix the yeast and sugar together with 1/4 cup of water. Now make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Let stand until frothy, then add the rest of the liquid along with the margarine and salt. Knead until you get a firm dough (note you can also have your bread machine do all of this for you).  Transfer to a bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Punch down and knead for a few more minutes, then shape into a loaf and let rise again.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease the undersides of each cabbage leaf, then cover the loaf with the leaves, making sure to press down so that you make an impression of the leaf in the surface of the dough.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the loaf makes a hollow sound when you thump it.

OK now for the Jersey wonders. First sift the flour together with the sugar. Now cut the butter up into small pieces and rub into the flour/sugar mixture with your fingers. Add the eggs and blend until you get a light dough.

Flour your hands and roll the dough into balls that are about the size of golf balls. Lightly flour a cookie sheet and place the balls on the sheet. Cover with a clean damp cloth and let stand for about two hours.

Now roll the balls out into oblong shapes that are about twice as long as they are wide.

 Cut a little slit into the center of each shape ...

... and stuff one end into the slit.
Meanwhile, heat some oil on the stove until bubbles rise around the non-stirring end of a wooden spoon. Drop the wonders into the oil and let fry on each side until they are a nice golden brown color. Drain on paper towels and serve.

This was restaurant quaility food. If I'd paid 20 bucks for this at a steakhouse, I would have been happy. The potato mushroom mixture was creamy and delicious and the steak was perfectly cooked, if I do say so myself (I love my meat thermometer). The cabbage rolls were good--they actually had a mildly cabbagey flavor but I didn't get that nice impression of the leaf on the top because, you know, no one told me that's what was supposed to happen and I didn't push down hard enough. But they were good, and of course my kids gobbled them up because my kids could eat nothing but bread every day of the week and actually be perfectly happy.

We all loved the Jersey Wonders. Martin was kind of mad at me for making them because he couldn't stop himself from eating them. I did think they could be a little sweeter so I sprinkled them with powdered sugar, and everyone was happy.

It was a god meal, which was kind of surprising given my fairly limited choices. I would make it again, and for a special occasion, too.

Next week: Jiangsu Province, China

Friday, May 9, 2014

Recipes from Java and Madura, Indonesia

I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 10 years, so I've eaten a lot of Asian food. There's a very large Asian population in the Bay Area, and you can find almost every variety of Asian restaurant somewhere in the region: Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean--but I'll admit that I never did eat at an Indonesian restaurant the whole time I lived there.

I think I actually missed out a little by waiting until I was a stay at home mom with four kids living in the whitest county in California before I started doing this blog. Because around here, we have American food, Americanized Chinese food, Americanized Italian food and Americanized Mexican food. And a couple of Americanized sushi places. And that's as international as we get. If I still lived in the Bay Area, I would go to restaurants that serve the sort of food I make for my blog, so I could experience both the restaurant version and the second hand version I often end up with here at home.

But alas, I don't have that option so I have to settle with guessing. Usually it turns out great, though I never really know if I got it right.

This week we're doing Indonesia, or more specifically, Java and Madura, Indonesia. These two volcanic Islands are often grouped together but Java is the larger one--in fact it's actually the 13th largest island in the world by land mass and the world's most populous island. Java is 53,589 square miles but there are 143 million people living there--that's roughly the same number of people living in Russia's entire 6,592,800 square miles. So Java is also one of the most densely populated places in the world.

 The Hidden Buddhist Temple of Borobudur.
Photo by Trey Ratcliff.

Javanese food differs from other Indonesian cuisines primarily by how much sweeter it tends to be. Javanese food often contains palm sugar or kecap manis, which is a sweet soy sauce (we used it back in the Ashmore and Cartier Islands, way back in the A's). Most Javanese food is simple and doesn't tend to be very spicy, though one of the dishes I made this week certainly was.

Java is the red island; Madura is that little
gray finger off the North Eastern Coast.

The first recipe came from a website called Pig Pig's Corner. This site is actually run by a Malaysian blogger, but this recipe was a guest post from a blogger from Indonesia Eats, which is incidentally the place where I got my other two recipes. Anyway here's that first one:

Lombok Kethok
  • 3 tbsp oil coconut oil
  • 4 decent-sized shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 9 oz beef brisket
  • 4 tbsp kecap manis
  • 10 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 1/2-inch piece galangal, halved and bruised
  • 3 Indonesian bay leaves
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), halved and bruised
  • 1/2 cup reserved beef broth
  • Sea salt to taste
The second one:

Bakmi Godhog

For the spice paste:
  • 3 decent-sized shallots
  • 4 garlics cloves
5 candlenuts (substitute macadamia nuts)
1 tbsp sea salt
For the chicken broth
  • 1 2/3 lb bone-in chicken
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, scrapped and bruised

  • 4 stalks Chinese garlic (substitute sprouted garlic)
  • 1 oz Chinese celery

  • 9 1/2 cups water
Other ingredients:

  • 10 1/2 oz fresh cooked Chinese noodle
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp kecap manis

  • 4 1/2 oz cabbage, shredded

  • 4 1/2 oz bok choy, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 green onions, sliced

  • 1 oz Chinese celery, chopped

And for dessert:

Javanese Coconut Sticky Rice Cake
  • 1 1/2 cups glutinous rice (sticky rice) flour
  • 1  3/4 cups medium coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups grated coconuts
  • 3/4 oz 90% dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • banana leaves
We'll go in order this time, how's that for mixing things up? First let's do that chili pepper dish:

Boil the brisket with a half stalk of lemongrass, half the galangal and one Indonesian bay leaf until just tender, taking care not to over-cook it the way I did. Drain, but reserve a half cup of the broth for later.

Now cut the beef up into cubes or slices (I cut mine into small cubes in the hope that no one would notice how overcooked it was) and set aside. Heat the oil and fry the shallots until fragrant, then add the beef pieces, kecap manis and beef broth. Stir to mix and then add the other half of your lemongrass stalk, the rest of the galangal, the rest of the bay leaves and all of the chiles.

Cook until the liquid has reduced down. Remove the lemongrass stalk and serve over rice.

Now for the noodles. First remove the skin from your chicken and boil it in the water with the Chinese chives and ginger. When the chicken is no longer pink in the middle remove from the pot and set aside. Strain and reserve the broth.

Meanwhile, put all the spice paste ingredients together in a food processor or mortar and pestle. Process until smooth.

Your noodles should already be cooked, so prepare some warm water and then transfer the noodles to that pot for about one minute. Drain well.

Now take the chicken pieces and put them under your broiler. Let them broil until blackened, then remove from the bone and shred or cube the meat.

Heat 3 tbsp of oil and fry the spices until they start to turn brown, which should take between five and seven minutes.

Add six cups of the chicken broth and bring to a boil, then very quickly whisk in the egg. Add the kecap manis and shredded chicken and return to a boil. Finally, add the cabbage, bok choy and green onions. Toss everything together with the noodles and Chinese celery.

Finally the dessert:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Layer a 9x9 pan with banana leaves (if you don't have any, just grease the pan. I promise they'll be fine).

Now heat the coconut milk over medium heat. Add the vanilla extract and sugar and stir until melted, then add the salt, the dark chocolate and the cocoa powder. Whisk until everything is melted and blended together.

In a large bowl, mix the rice flour with the coconut. Add the sauce a little bit at a time, stirring to mix. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. 

Note: these things slice much easier if you refrigerate them before serving.

Here's what we thought: The chile dish was quite tasty, for me and Martin anyway. I didn't tell my kids to eat the peppers because that would have been cruel, but I did ask them to nibble a little on the beef. Even that was a bit spicy--this particular crop of jalapenos had a pretty good kick to it.

I liked the noodles, too, but my eggs curdled so they were actually very unpleasant to look at, though tasty. I think if I made this again I would add the eggs after taking the dish off of the heat, the way I did it back in Bolivia. For that I might actually use pasteurized eggs though, because past experience has made me kind of chicken about eating anything that might potentially contain undercooked eggs.

Now for the dessert--it was very sticky and very different. My kids said they liked it, then they said they didn't like it, so they were clearly confused. Martin ate a lot of them. I ate one or two. I'm not sure I ever decided what I thought about them--they were good, but I'm an American so really I would rather just have a brownie.

Next week: Jersey

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Recipes from Japan

To lots of Americans, Japanese cuisine = sushi.

I've made loads of sushi, and I've eaten even more of it. I adore sushi. But damn it, I just couldn't do it for this entry. It's too familiar. And too Americanized.

Guess what, they don't have Califronia rolls in Japan. Before you go laughing at my stupidity, don't worry, I did already know that. The California Roll was invented in Los Angeles to appeal primarily to Americans who are scared to eat raw fish. In fact inside-out rolls of any kind are an American invention, too. So is the dragon roll, the rainbow roll and those deep-fried sushi rolls. As it turns out, very little of what you see in an American sushi restaurant precisely matches the sort of thing you'll find in Japan.

So I had to go in a completely different direction for this meal. Now, I did have a sort of distant acquaintance I could have asked for recipes, a guy my husband knows who grew up in Japan. But I got the feeling he wasn't the sort of guy who could tell me a whole lot about the food, so I asked that old friend of mine instead: the internet. Yawn.

First I'm sure you'll want to hear me ramble on and on about Japan, because you've probably never heard of it, haw haw.

 Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Tokyoform.

Japan is a archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. There are 6,852 islands in the archipelago, but just four of them comprise 97% of Japan's total land area. 126 million people live in Japan, which makes it the 10th most populated nation on earth. Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures make up the world's largest metropolitan area.

Japan also has the world's third largest economy by nominal GDP, the world's fifth largest military budget and the world's third lowest rate of infant mortality. Comparatively speaking, it's a good place to live. Plus, there's sushi. Though not the Americanized version.

But I forewent the sushi this time, and it wasn't just because it wouldn't be the sushi I know and love, but also because sushi is damned time consuming to make, and I wasn't doing time consuming this week. So instead I found this dream website: Japan Food Addict, which promised recipes that are "easy to make." That sounded like exactly what I needed.

So I chose the following three recipes, all of them from that website.

Chicken Karaage

Now I confess to having eaten this before, many, many times in fact. I love chicken Karaage and I used to get it as an appetizer every time I went to my favorite sushi restaurant, Kikusushi in Cupertino, California. If you ever go there, also get the niku tataki, which is to die for, and I never use that expression because I mostly hate using expressions, but seriously, it's to die for. Anyway, I had to make the chicken karaage. Here's the recipe:
  • 3/4 lb chicken, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 green onion, chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 1/2 tbsp chicken bullion powder
  • 2 tbsp katakuriko (potato starch)
And this:

  • Two packages of yakisoba noodles
  • 2 1/2 oz pork, sliced
  • 12 shrimp, peeled
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup cabbage, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • dash of pepper

Ingen no Gomaae
  • 3/4 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp ground sesame seeds
First the beans:

Boil the prepared beans for five minutes. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, mix the sugar with the soy sauce and ground sesame.

Transfer the beans to a wok or frying pan and pour the sauce over. Sprinkle with whole sesame seeds and serve.

Do the yakisoba next. You don't want this to sit around because the noodles really aren't very nice once they start to cool down.

First you'll need to cook the noodles according to the package directions. Meanwhile, mix all the spices together in a small bowl and boil the onion and cabbage for four minutes. Drain and set aside.

Sauté the garlic in the oil over medium heat, for one minute or until fragrant. Now add the sliced pork, shrimp, onion and cabbage. Sauté for about five minutes, or until the shrimp and pork are cooked through. Now add the noodles and sauté for about three minutes, enough time to firm them up a bit. Dump in the spices, stir and serve.

Make the karaage last because deep fried stuff is tastiest right out of the oil. Here's how:

Mix everything but the potato starch together to make a marinade. Pour over chicken and let sit in the fridge for a half hour.

Now take the chicken out of the marinade (you can toss the marinade). Put the potato starch in a bowl and roll each chicken piece around in it until completely coated. Heat some cooking oil until bubbles rise around the non-stirring end of a wooden spoon, then drop the chicken pieces in, taking care not to let them stick to each other. Fry until golden (note: it's always wise to check the internal temperature--165 is safe to eat).

Drain on paper towels and serve at once.

It doesn't look that lovely, but trust me it's good.

So I am happy to report that this chicken Karaage tasted exactly like the Karaage I remember from Kikusushi. Yay! Another one for my permanent recipe book. I loved the noodles and beans too, so overall I was quite pleased with this meal.

My kids could have cared less, but I'm sure that doesn't surprise you.

Martin, on the other hand, is getting grumpier and grumpier in his old age. He came home late from work, reheated his food and then incredulously went, "That was a blog meal? I thought it was something you made up." Which, you know, I'm really not sure how I feel about. I'm actually not that awesome at making recipes up. But whatever. I thought it was good.

Next week: Java and Madura, Indonesia

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