Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Eggs On Rice Recipe

I wanted to share with you one of my favorite breakfasts to make whenever I have leftover rice after making bento. It's a spin on traditional Japanese egg on rice in bonito broth and it's a good balance of complex carbs, protein and a little bit of veggies.

I like this recipe because it doesn't require much additional effort on top of making bento. I start it after all of the bento food is cooked and the stove is still hot, and the breakfast cooks while I am arranging the food in the bento box. If I time it right, everything is ready at the same time and BF and I can enjoy a hot breakfast together with the lunches already packed.

Recipe: Eggs on Rice

1 1/2 cups hot cooked rice
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 eggs
green onions, salt and pepper for garnish

Notes about ingredients: Vegetable broths vary quite a bit across different brands with some light and airy and others dense and tomato-ey. As well, some are much saltier than others. I tried numerous brands while putting this recipe together and my favorite is Knorr Simply Vegetable Broth. Any other broth would work, putting a different spin on the recipe, but for a light dish, vegetable broth or dashi is quite nice.

Experiment with different greens! I made this one with green onion because that was what I had on hand but parsley leaves work well and pea sprouts are particularily nice because of their soft crunch.


Bring a water to a gentle boil in a deep frying pan (enough water to cover the eggs, about 2"). At the same time, put the broth in a small pot and simmer.

When the water in the frying pan is boiling, carefully slide in the eggs, one at a time. The easiest way to do this is to first crack the egg in a small bowl and section off a part of the water in the pan with a large spoon so that it is not bubbling in that small area. Then you can slide the egg into the calm water and let it cook for a few seconds before removing the spoon. This keeps the boiling water from separating the egg into shreds. Alternately, you could use an egg poacher.

Allow eggs to cook for about 3 minutes or until they reach desired doneness. While eggs are cooking, divide rice into two rice bowls. Remove cooked eggs from pan with a slotted spoon to drain the water and place one on top of the rice in each bowl. Pour half of the broth into each bowl.

Garnish with green onion. Salt and pepper to taste.

Notes about the recipe: The doneness of the eggs affect the overall texture and flavour of the dish a great deal. My favorite way to cook them is so that the whites are completely cooked and the yolks are quite runny. When I take my first bite of egg, I pierce the yolk with my spoon. It mixes with the broth and turns the broth into a delicious pale yellow eggy mixture.

BF on the other hand prefers his egg well cooked because he doesn't like the egg and broth to mix. It's very much a matter of personal taste.

As a last comment, I have to say that my biggest complaint with a traditional North American bacon/eggs/toast breakfast was that my eggs always got cold unless I ate them up right away. This dish fixes that problem because the broth keeps the egg warm throughout the duration of the meal (Plus it doesn't leave you feeling greasy and heavy afterwards).

So give this one a try some time when you have leftover rice after making bento. You can also throw in the vegetable scraps you have left over after you punch shapes out of them so that there's no waste at all!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dora-Yaki Recipe

I've been reading up on Japanese sweets and tea lately. It started with this blog and the beautiful examples of wagashi that the author shows. Wagashi refers to the sweets and confectionary served with tea in Japan, usually involving mochi and/or sweet adzuki bean paste.

I'm not yet ready to try my hand at mochi, but I found a recipe for dora-yaki that seemed simple and quick to make so I tried it out last night.

Dora-yaki is sort of a pancake sandwich. The pancakes are about 4" in diameter (although I made mine smaller, about 2.5" because they are so sweet) and are very sweet and egg-y compared to what we're used to seeing for breakfast. The filling is chunky sweet adzuki (red) bean paste.

The recipe posted below is from with a few adjustments. There is also a recipe for it in Japanese Cooking - A Simple Art that I plan to try next time I make these as it looks to be a little less sugary.

Recipe: Dora-Yaki


  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 3/4 lb sweet azuki beans
Put eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk very well. Dissolve baking soda in water. Add the water in the egg mixture. Add sifted flour in the egg mixture gradually. Heat a skillet or hot plate and lightly oil it. Pour a scoop of the batter into the skillet and make a small pancake. Turn over when bubbles appear on the surface. Repeat this process to make 8-10 pancakes. Cool the pancakes. Divide pancakes into pairs, matching size and shape as best you can and put a 1 1/2 Tbsp red bean paste between each pair. Slice in half before serving.

Makes about five 4" dorayaki cakes or ten 2.5" cakes.

A note about the recipe: If you're used to making typical pancakes, it tempting to want to let these cook on the first side until bubbles appear and the sides of the top start to dry out. With dorayaki pancakes, do not wait for the sides to dry out or the pancake will most like burn. Be sure to flip them once the surface becomes bubbly.

Because of the moisture still present in the edges, these are a bit tougher to flip than breakfast pancakes. The easiest way I found to do this while preserving the round shape of the pancake was to slide a spatula under the pancake slightly, lifting it up enough to fit a chopstick underneath it. You can then lift the pancake with the chopstick, allowing you to slide the spatula far enough under the pancake to flip it properly.

The dora-yaki pictured here is accompanied by a cup of sencha green tea.

Sencha green tea is a slightly higher grade of tea from typical green tea (called bancha) or gen-maicha. Something to note when preparing sencha green tea is that the water should not be boiling when it is poured over the tea leaves. Instead, unplug the kettle and wait for the bubbles to stop before pouring it into the tea pot. The tea leaves should be removed after steeping for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Apple Crisp Recipe

Hello Fall!

When I think of Fall, I start craving anything with apples. Pies, dumplings, you name it. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll make it to the Annapolis Valley some time this fall to go apple picking. Mmmm fresh apples from trees.

So I picked up a bag of McIntosh apples yesterday and decided to make an apple crisp. While I was putting it together, first I was thinking that I wanted it to have loads of apples, so I was peeling apples for what felt like forever. But then I was thinking about how much I love the crunchy topping, so I decided to make a whole lot of topping. So really I just ended up making a tonne of everything. And it was delicious!

This is a great recipe to welcome Fall. I used slow cooking whole grain oats to give it a little more crunch because they don't get as soggy as other types of oatmeal. Also, please try to use pure maple syrup if you can. I think the synthetic kind would not turn out very good.

Recipe: Apple Crisp


  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter or 1 cup unsalted butter plus a pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 lb bag of apples, peeled cored and sliced
Note: do not slice apples too thinly or the end result will be mushy.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Cut butter into mixture until crumbly.

Place apple slices in 9” x 13” pan. Pour maple syrup over the apples and toss to coat.

Sprinkle crumb mixture over the apple slices. Bake for 50 minutes or until the apples are tender.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cornbread Recipe

BF was making chili tonight (too incredible for words) and requested some cornbread to go along . I was more than happy to oblige because he makes his chili so hot that a tiny bite of chili with a big bite of cornbread (and a sip of chocolate milk!) is the perfect amount of spicy for me.

This is not my original recipe (it's from allrecipes) but it's incredible. It turns out perfect every time.

Love it!!Recipe: Cornbread


  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean.

Yup, Another Blog

I've been pondering starting a new blog for a couple of weeks.

Ever since I made a beautiful, delicious chicken udon soup.

It was my first attempt at making a Japanese soup and it turned out incredible. The taste of the broth was just the right mix of delicate dashi and salty soy sauce. The noodles were perfectly cooked and on top of them, the chicken, vegetables and other odds and ends were beautifully arranged. All of this was laid out in gorgeous bowls I had bought that afternoon, specifically for the purpose of udon noodle dishes.

It was a perfect meal and a perfect experience in trying a new recipe and a new cooking technique from a foreign cuisine.

At the time, I thought to myself "I should do a blog entry about this so that I don't forget about this wonderful soup and how I made it", but after giving it some thought, I decided that I didn't want my blog to lose its focus of bento lunches and cupcakes.

But now, a month later, the memory of the perfect soup is haunting me.

And I know it won't end at the soup. I have two Thai cookbooks on order from Amazon, and a head full of plans for different dishes that I want to try to make.

So I've decided to start this blog as a journal of my experiments in the kitchen unrelated to bento lunches or cupcakes. At the moment that means forays into Asian cuisine and meal planning and attempts at expanding my baking repetoire.

Life is learning!

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