More Japanese food and recipes

15 02 2013

I’ve moved on to another blog/site. Find me at!

Let’s Forking in a new place!

5 07 2010

It’s time to start anew… follow the link to my new blog, “Let’s Forking!”. More than just recipes, Let’s Forking will also feature comments on restaurants, food, and give you some tips on where to get Japanese food and ingredients in Vancouver.

Thanks to the power of the internet, even though I’ve moved, we can still fork! Let’s Forking!!

Let’s Forking in Whistler

13 04 2010

I will be giving a short presentation on Japanese home-cooking and my cookbook project at Whistler’s very first PechaKucha Night. If you’re in Whistler, come check it out. Presenters at the 1st ever PechaKucha so far include local photographer Carin Smolinski, Michelle Lee, the sexiest Periodontist you’ve ever met, Accidental Sexpert Grant Stoddard, Lisa Richardson, founder of the Slow Food Cycle in Pemberton and Leslie Anthony, editor of Skier Magazine.

Tix are $5 and available at Hot Buns Bakery in Whistler village. They include a drink – so essentially, they are free!

Are you a food nerd?

30 12 2009

Someone asked me today what qualifies one as a “food nerd”. After a good, hard (30 second) think, this is my response.

Here is a 5-point scoring system to find out if you’re a food nerd. If you answer “yes” to at least 4 of the 5 of the following, you are a “food nerd”:

  1. Love eating and drinking… obviously.
  2. Plan your day around the meals you eat and/or plan your social activities based on proximity to good restaurants or food shops.
  3. Become unreasonably despondent and moody when stuck in small towns or suburban food courts where all food choices are deemed “unworthy” of your standards.
  4. Only retain historical, political, geographical, scientific and other important facts when they are food-related.
  5. Have a “happy dance” that you pull out when exciting food opportunities arise.

Happy forking, fellow food nerds.

Forking Hiatus

14 09 2009

Yippee! New job! The down side – it leaves me with little time to fork (much less forking write about it). Not usually one to prioritize work over forking, I’m taking a chance and testing the waters of full-time, full-on work. Wish me luck and allow me a brief hiatus from our forking sessions. I’ll be back with a vengeance, I promise!

Summertime Session #4: Chirashi-sushi

9 09 2009

Summertime Forking Lesson #4: Get all torn up

Chirashi sushi

(serves 4)

Feeling a bit torn up about all of your scandalous summer forking?  Dipped your noodle in too many sauces? With summer coming to an end, you may need to indulge in a little guilt-fest by forking this “torn-up” dish. Just like guilt (religious, sexual or otherwise) Chirashi (literally: “torn”) sushi is dead-easy, since it’s just an assortment of toppings on a bed of sushi rice – no rolling required. While sushi restaurants display gorgeous arrays of sashimi atop their glistening beds of rice, the humble Japanese housewife expresses torn-up feelings of guilt with the following: sushi rice mixed with boiled vegetables and topped with fish (if you like) shredded egg and nori (seaweed).  Are you a glutton for self-loathing? If so, here’s an easy way to get “all torn up”.

Ingredients for “All torn-up Chirashi Sushi”

Sushi Rice:

  • 2 cups hot, cooked Japanese rice
  • 4 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 – 1.5 Tbsp sugar, depending on your taste, pinch of salt OR “sushinoko” powder (follow package directions for amount)


  • Boiled vegetables: Your choice or combination of thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, julienned carrots, and peas boiled in a broth of: ½ cup fish stock (“dashi”), 1 ½ Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar, pinch salt
  • Assorted sashimi (Totally optional. e.g. tuna, salmon, cooked shrimp, salmon roe, etc.)
  • Shredded egg – 2 eggs, beaten
  • Sushi nori – ½ sheet, shredded by hand or finely cut with scissors

How to make “All torn-up Chirashi Sushi”

  1. Get in bed. The best place to retreat to when all torn up is a bed (of rice). Put on the rice to cook, and then get to prepping your toppings.
  2. Make your veg limp.  You’ve been naughty all summer – it’s time to punish your veg. Bring the broth (as outlined in the “toppings” section) to a boil, and then boil each topping in turn, scooping the toppings out when limp and re-using the broth to boil each subsequent topping. Set your limp veg aside and allow it to cool.Boiled veg
  3. Shred a tear. To make shredded egg, beat the eggs and make thin egg “crepes” by frying in a hot, lightly oiled pan. Hold the hot frying pan in one hand (by the handle, unless you are a glutton for punishment) and pour in the egg, swirling it around so that it creates a thin, flat sheet. When it’s cooked most of the way through, carefully flip it to cook the other side (I slide it out of the pan, then pick it up and place it back in on the flip side). Slide the crepe onto a cutting board, and cut it into 1-inch strips. Then, cut the strips cross-wise as thinly as you can, creating 1-inch long egg “sprinkles”. (If this is too much for you, just scramble the eggs instead, using chopsticks to mix up the egg as you cook, so as to create little bitty egg pieces.)Shredded egg
  4. Get all cut up. Create shredded nori pieces by cutting the sheet of seaweed into 1-inch strips, then cutting cross-wise like you did the egg.
  5. Salt (and vinegar) your wound. When the rice is cooked, it’s ready to be cooled and given a vinegar treatment. Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt, and then transfer the rice into a shallow dish – the shallower, the better (to allow for quick cooling). Drizzle the vinegar mixture over it, distributing it evenly, and then cool the rice by gently turning (not stirring!) it while fanning it at the same time. Do this until your fanning arm gives out and falls off or your rice is cooled, whichever comes first.Rice fanning
  6. Get all mixed up inside. Add your limp (and by now, cooled) veg to the rice, and gently mix in.
  7. Get topped. Transfer the rice/veg mixture to your serving platter, and then artfully arrange the shredded egg and seafood (if you’re using it) on top, sprinkling the whole thing with your shredded or cut nori.
  8. Indulge in your guilt. Don’t listen to your therapist, being all torn up can be a beautiful thing, especially when expressed in artfully arranged chirashi sushi.Chirashi

Summer Session #3: Zaru Udon (Cold Thick Noodles)

24 08 2009

Summer Forking Lesson #3: How to Dip Your Thick Noodle

Zaru Udon(serves 3 – 4)

If you’ve been following along in the summer sessions, you now are well (socially) lubricated and have managed to look good and stay cool while doing so. You’ve done the difficult part, now it’s time to get down to dipping your noodle. Zaru udon (cold thick noodles dipped in a soy-based sauce) make for perfect summer forking. Tasty, quick, and cold, you’ll easily have your noodle slipping and sliding just the way you like it. (Speaking of “just the way you like it”, if you find udon noodles have too much girth, you can replace the thick, white udon noodle with the thinner, darker soba.)

Ingredients for Zaru Udon

  • 3 to 4 bundles of udon noodles

For the dipping sauce

  • Boiling water, 2 Tbsp
  • Dashi (fish or kelp stock) powder, ½ tsp
  • Sugar, 1 Tbsp
  • Cold water, 1 ½ cups
  • Soy sauce, ¼ cup
  • Mirin, 1 Tbsp
  • Garnish: 2 green onions, chopped, and grated wasabi or ginger

How to make “Zaru Udon”

  1. Get hot. Put on a large pot of water to boil (for the noodles). Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl (big enough for 2 cups of liquid) prep the cold dipping sauce by throwing in the dashi powder and sugar and a couple of tablespoons of boiling water stirring until the dashi and sugar dissolve. If you nick the boiling from the large pot, do so before putting the noodles in it! The starch from the noodles are not desired in your sauce.
  2. Be saucy. To your dissolved sugar/dashi mixture, stir in the cold water, soy sauce, and mirin. Put the sauce into the fridge to chill.
  3. Get your thick noodle ready. Once your water is boiling, dump in your udon noodles. While the noodles are boiling, prepare a large bowl of icy-cold water (add a dozen ice cubes if you have them) which you’ll use to chill the noodles.  Once the noodles are al dente (around 5 -6 minutes, depending on girth) drain them, rinse in cold water, and then dump into the ice-cold bath, shaking them around until they are nice and cold.
  4. Present your noodle for dipping. Drain off the noodles and present each portion in a shallow serving bowl or, if you have it, a shallow woven basket (this is how the Japanese like to present their thick noodles). Pour out the chilled sauce into small bowls and garnish with chopped green onion and about 1 tsp of grated ginger or ½ tsp of grated wasabi per dish.
  5. Get dipping. To eat – take a few noodles and drop them (gently, don’t splash!) into the sauce. When you fish them back out, they will be dripping in cool, salty, yumminess, perked up by a little kick of ginger or wasabi. Enjoy!

Zaru Udon dipping

Special Bonus – Sloppy Seconds!

As an added bonus, you can have an amazing lunch or dinner the next day with leftover udon and sauce.

Yaki-udon: Fry the noodles up with some leftover veggies, meat or seafood. Add a little dissolved cornstarch to the sauce, and throw it on at the last minute, cooking until the sauce thicken.

Udon salad: Top your fave salad veggies and then pour on the sauce for a noodle salad. Add a bit of sesame oil for extra flavour.

Leftover udon salad


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.