Curry Pan (Japanese Curry Donut)

A not so well-known fact about Tokyo (and Japan in general) is that there are some insanely delicious bakeries scattered around the entire city. My favorite bakery is located in the neighborhood where I grew up, Azabu Juban, called Mont-Thabor. They are most famous for their milk bread which is like a buttery, milky, sweet rolled up loaf. They have a copy-cat version of it at 85 degrees bakery but it pales in comparison to the real deal.  They also have some famous French & New York bakeries/pastry shops in Tokyo such as Maison Kayser, Dominique Ansel’s, Magnolia Bakery, etc. but I prefer the bakeries that sell old school Japanese baked goods.

One of my favorite Japanese bakery items is the Curry Pan. I’ve been eating these deep fried savory delicacies for as long as I can remember and it combines two of some of my favorite food items: fried bread and curry. It’s basically a savory donut and if you’ve never had it run to your nearest Japanese (or Korean) bakery and grab one. It’s SO GOOD.

I’ve been wanting to try making curry pan for some time now and since I had made my mother’s dry curry recipe, I figured the dry curry would be the perfect filler for my very own curry pan. I first did my research by looking up the best curry pan recipes on CookPad (a Japanese recipe app/site) and watching various YouTube videos. The end result went over very well with my “test subjects” aka my family and friends. If making this recipe, I recommend using my curry recipe as the filler, or some sort of drier curry as your average Japanese curry may be too runny. The dry curry should be kept in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to make sure it’s hardened and easier to handle as a filling.

Once you have your filling prepared, you can start on your bread dough…

Ingredients
makes about 8 servings

Bread dough

  • 250g Bread Flour
  • 10g Granulated Sugar
  • 3g Salt
  • 150g Water
  • 2g Dry Yeast
  • 5g Butter

Filling

Dredging/Frying

  • 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Vegetable Oil enough to fill your frying vessel about 4 inches

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Mix everything except the butter in a bowl until it is no longer “flour-y”. Flip dough onto your work surface and knead in butter and knead until smooth. It may be a little lumpy but that’s ok.

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Put the kneaded dough ball in a bowl and cover and let proof in a warm area for about 1 hour. After the first proof, divide the dough into 8 equal balls. Let it rest for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, divide your dry curry into 8 equal portions for your filling.

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Take one ball and softly pound out the gas bubbles that may have formed and roll it into an oval. Put in 1 portion of the filling in the center.

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Take both sides of the dough and bring them together in the middle and pinch at the top. Then pinch your way down both sides so that no filling is showing.

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Once you’ve pinched it all the way, roll it on your surface and shape it in a pointy oval (I’m sure there’s a name for this…). Lay it to rest seam-side down. Repeat these steps for the rest of the 7 balls.

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Once you’ve filled all 8 of the dough balls, set up your work station to dredge the filled dough.

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Dip each piece into the egg and then the panko and set it down (make sure you put it seam-side down again!).

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Keep the dredged pieces in a warm area and let it proof a second time for 30 minutes until they are slightly larger.

Heat up the vegetable oil to 160-170 C (320 – 338 F) and fry about 3 pieces at a time.

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Fry each side of the pieces until golden brown (about 6 minutes total). Sprinkle with flaky salt (optional). Serve hot!

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Instructions

  1. Mix everything except the butter in a bowl until it is no longer “flour-y”. Flip dough onto your work surface and knead in butter and knead until smooth. It may be a little lumpy but that’s ok.
  2. Put the kneaded dough ball in a bowl and cover and let proof in a warm area for about 1 hour. After the first proof, divide the dough into 8 equal balls. Let it rest for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, divide your dry curry into 8 equal portions for your filling.
  3. Take one ball and softly pound out the gas bubbles that may have formed and roll it into an oval. Put in 1 portion of the filling in the center. Take both sides of the dough and bring them together in the middle and pinch at the top. Then pinch your way down both sides so that no filling is showing.
  4. Once you’ve pinched it all the way, roll it on your surface and shape it in a pointy oval (I’m sure there’s a name for this…). Lay it to rest seam-side down. Repeat these steps for the rest of the 7 balls.
  5. Once you’ve filled all 8 of the dough balls, set up your work station to dredge the filled dough. Dip each piece into the egg and then the panko and set it down (make sure you put it seam-side down again!).
  6. Keep the dredged pieces in a warm area and let it proof a second time for 30 minutes until they are slightly larger.
  7. Heat up the vegetable oil to 160-170 C (320 – 338 F) and fry about 3 pieces at a time.
  8. Fry each side of the pieces until golden brown (about 6 minutes total). Sprinkle with flaky salt (optional). Serve hot!

 

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Japanese Dry Curry

My mother is a phenomenal cook. I know everyone says this, but I’m dead serious, she is a GREAT cook. There are certain people who just know exactly what needs to be added to a recipe to take it up a few notches and my mother is one of those people. We could make the same exact recipe and hers will always turn out better. Every time I cook, I strive to be as good as she is but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to compete!

Growing up, my mother, aka the best cook eva, had a few dozen recipes that were in rotation as her “go-to” recipes if we couldn’t decide what to eat for dinner. One of these recipes was her Japanese dry curry. If you’ve never had Japanese dry curry before, it is most similar to a Keema curry although it tastes slightly different. The curry is spicy, slightly sweet and best served with some hot white rice. The dry curry is super easy to make and is also a great filling for Curry Pan (curry bread- recipe to come soon!). You can always customize your recipe by adding more vegetables (corn is really good in this recipe) and making it spicier or sweeter depending on what you like.

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Onion chopped coarsely
  • 1.5 Carrots chopped coarsely
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp of Curry Powder
  • 3 Tbsp of Ketchup
  • 2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1.5 cups of Whole Milk*
  • 1 Bouillon Cube crushed to a fine powder
  • 2 tsp Red Pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

1) In a food processor, pulse the 3 garlic cloves a couple of times and then add the coarsely chopped onion and pulse until minced. Do not overly pulverize the onions or you will extract too much liquid.

2) In a medium sized Dutch oven on medium heat, add about 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil and add the minced onion and garlic. Caramelize the garlic and onions until they become golden brown. This step may take a while. Adding a tbsp or 2 of water to the pan when the onions start to stick prevents the onions from burning.

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The finished caramelized onions should look like this

 

3) While caramelizing the onions and garlic, add the coarsely chopped carrots to the food processor and pulse a few times until minced. Again, do not over-pulverize the carrots.

4) Cook the vegetable mixture until the carrots have softened, and add the ground beef. Cook until the beef is no longer pink.

5) Add the curry powder and the bouillon powder into the pot and sauté with the meat and vegetable mixture for about 1 minute.

6) Add the milk (*the milk should cover the beef and vegetable mixture, if 1.5 cups is not enough add more), ketchup and worcestershire sauce (if using) and mix. Keep the curry on medium low heat and cook until the milk has evaporated. Stir every once in a while to prevent the curry from burning.

7) Once the milk has evaporated, add the red pepper flakes (if using) and salt and pepper to taste.

8) Serve hot with steamed white rice. I served ours with steamed broccoli because I like the texture of the broccoli combined with the curry 🙂

 

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Temaki Party!

Sushi is one of my FAVORITE meals, but if you order omakase it can become quite an expensive dining habit. I’m lucky enough to live near an awesome Japanese supermarket (Mitsuwa) that sells great quality sashimi (raw fish). The fish isn’t cheap by any means, however, if you plan on going out for a sushi dinner with 3 or more people, it is waaaaay more cost effective to have a temaki party at home! Temaki (handrolls) parties are a fun, easy way to eat sushi at home for a fraction of the price. No need for any fancy equipment, below is a list of things you will need:

  • Sashimi (PLEASE make sure to purchase from a reputable store!! Make sure it is sashimi grade fish)
  • White sushi rice
  • Sushi powder vinegar
  •  Imitation Crab
  • Japanese Mayo
  • Avocado cut into thin slices
  • Scallions chopped
  • Shiso chiffonaded 
  • Japanese Cucumber julienned 
  • Kaiware (Daikon radish sprouts)
  • Nori (seaweed) cut into 5.5″ x 5.5″ squares

First, mix your hot rice with the sushi seasoning powder. If you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to season your rice with your own mix of vinegar, sugar and salt. When mixing the rice with the powder, make sure to “cut” the rice as you mix so as not to smash any of the grains.

Cut the imitation crab pieces in half and separate the strands into a bowl. Add Japanese mayo (add sriracha for a spicy kick!) and mix. Set aside.

Arrange your cut up vegetables on a large platter.

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Cut your sashimi into thin slices and arrange on a separate platter.

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My family and I usually have a couple of side dishes with our temaki. Pictured above, we have a side of Kinpira Gobou (recipe coming soon!) and Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken). Make your own plate and voila! You and your guests are ready for your very own Temaki partay!

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To assemble your own Temaki, place the seaweed in your hand, add a spoonful of sushi rice, a piece of fish, and vegetables of your choice. My favorite combination is toro (fatty tuna) with kaiware, scallions, and shiso. Yum!!

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The beauty of hosting a Temaki party is that it is highly customizable to what fish and vegetables you and your guests prefer. My family always opts for Toro, Hamachi and Salmon. The vegetables listed above are always a must at our parties as well! Toro is usually my favorite piece at any sushi restaurant anyway and by having a Temaki party at home, I can eat several pieces without having to worry about the bill at the end 😛

What’s your favorite sashimi? Do you have DIY cooking parties at home? Please leave a comment, I would love to hear everyone’s suggestions!

Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

 

Growing up, my mother would make Karaage on special occasions, especially for picnics or birthday parties.  Karaage, or Japanese Fried Chicken (JFC) are pieces of chicken (thigh meat) marinated in a tasty ginger-based soy sauce and then deep-fried to a golden, crunchy, morsel of heaven.  From my knowledge, using dark meat is what makes this dish Karaage, whereas using the white meat makes this dish Tatsutaage.  Whichever name is used, all I can tell you is that it is absolutely delicious.

The great thing about Karaage is that as it cools down to room temperature, the chicken becomes more flavorful, which makes it perfect for Obentos (packed lunches), picnics, and parties!

Karaage is one of my husband’s favorite dishes that I make, and recently our family was having a temaki party night (DIY sushi handrolls) and I thought the karaage would be a perfect side dish. I think hubby ate more chicken than he did the sashimi 😉 The recipe is quite easy and the marinade can be adjusted to your preference of sweetness, saltiness or gingery-ness.

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces (can substitute chicken breast or add chicken breast if so desired.  I like white meat better so I use both)
  • Grated ginger (About a 2-inch piece of ginger..more can be used if you like it a little spicy)
  • 1 clove grated fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Japanese sake
  • 1/4 cup Mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
  • Katakuriko (Potato Starch) to dredge the chicken
  • Vegetable oil for frying

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1. Pour the soy sauce, sake, mirin, and garlic into a bowl big enough to fit all the chicken pieces.

2. Take the grated ginger in your hand and squeeze out all the juice into the marinade bowl.  It is best not to get all the pulp in the marinade, because it may burn while frying the chicken.

3. Place all the raw cut up pieces of chicken in the marinade bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave refrigerated for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.  The longer the chicken marinades, the stronger the flavor will be but it is best not to marinade longer than 2 hours or the chicken will be too salty.

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4. After the chicken is marinated, drain all the marinade from the chicken using a fine mesh strainer. This step is important in ensuring that the katakuriko doesn’t form a paste when coating the chicken. If the chicken is too wet, you will end up with a huge mess on your hands!

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5. Set up your fry station. Heat vegetable oil (about 3 inches) to 170 degrees Celcius (338 F) in a heavy bottomed pot (I used my dutch oven). Make sure you have a baking sheet with a cooling rack sitting on top of it to place the Karaage on after frying, to rid of the excess oil.

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6. Pour the katakuriko into a plastic bag (ziploc or any produce bag works). Drop about 5 pieces of chicken at a time into the bag and shake to coat each piece with the katakuriko.

7.  Once all the pieces have been coated, start frying the chicken in batches. Deep-fry about 5 to 6 pieces of chicken at a time.  Too many pieces in the fryer will lower the temperature of the oil and yield oily chicken.  Too little pieces in the fryer will make the temperature of the oil too hot and will burn the chicken before it is cooked through.  Fry each batch for about 3 – 4 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown.

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8.  Once you have let the excess oil drip from the Karaage, transfer the chicken to a paper towel lined plate. Serve with wedges of lemon or Japanese mayonnaise mixed with sriracha on the side!  Can be served hot, room temperature, or even cold 🙂

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Enjoy the J.F.C.!  This stuff is seriously addicting so make sure you make enough for everyone 🙂

Baking Day 8: Brioche Dough

This was my first time making brioche dough from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. I was hoping to make the brioche dough specifically for the Brioche au Levain, but that recipe calls for proofing the dough overnight and I wanted to bake bread that would be done by the end of today. The option that didn’t require overnight proofing was brioche dough for Hot Cross Buns, but I added my own little twist on it.

The recipe calls for a LOT of butter. Like a 2:1 ratio of flour to butter. After mixing the flour, yeast, milk, eggs, salt and sugar for about 34 minutes, I added the butter pieces a few pieces at a time. I noticed that the butter wasn’t incorporating that easily into the dough. I’m wondering if maybe the butter was too hard? The recipe didn’t specify what texture the butter should be…

The recipe in the cookbook calls for dried currants and dried cranberries but I opted for chocolate chips instead of the dried fruit. I honestly despise any sort of dried fruit in my baked goods. Blegh! I forgot to knead in the chocolate chips and went straight into the stretch and folding of the dough. I let the dough proof for 45 minutes, repeated the stretch and fold and then proofed for another 45 minutes. I then divided the dough into 12 equal pieces and rolled each piece into balls.

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At this point I noticed that the buttery dough is SUPER greasy and doesn’t feel at all similar to any of the dough I’ve previously made. Rolling the dough into the ball shape was a lot easier than I had anticipated. At this point, I think I botched the recipe along the way but I won’t be sure until they’re done…

The buns went into the oven preheated at 350F for about 27 minutes. The tops of the buns were very golden brown and on the harder side due to the egg wash that I had brushed on. Once the buns had cooled a bit, I tried one and I was really amazed at how delicious the brioche turned out! Very fluffy and buttery with slightly melted chocolate chips in every bite, yum! My one complaint, again, was the top being a bit hard but I think if you add icing on top it’s supposed to soften the top part of the bun. I opted for no icing because I figured the brioche would be sweet enough without it but I think it would have definitely tasted better either with icing or with more sugar in the dough. Overall I was really impressed with this recipe! I thought I had messed up but the end result proved that this recipe is easy to follow and results in buttery fluffy brioche buns!

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Recipe for Brioche Dough for Hot Cross Buns (Adapted from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook)

Brioche Dough

  • 372 g All-purpose Flour
  • 8 g Instant Yeast
  • 44 g Granulated Sugar
  • 9 g Fine Sea Salt
  • 186g Eggs
  • 63 g Whole Milk
  • 167 g Unsalted butter cut into 1/2″ cubes

Hot Cross Buns

  • 183 g Guittard (or Valhrona) Chocolate Chips
  • 3 g of Vanilla Paste
  • Brioche dough (recipe above)
  • Egg wash
  1. Place the flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix for about 15 seconds to distribute the yeast evenly. Add all of the remaining dough ingredients, except butter, and mix on low speed for 4 minutes. Continue to mix on low speed for 30 minutes.
  2. Add butter a few pieces at a time, incorporating each addition before adding the next. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and push the dough off the hook. Continue to mix for 10 minutes.
  3. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Run a bowl scraper around the sides and down to the bottom of the bowl of brioche dough to release the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, adding flour only as needed to keep it from sticking.
  4. With your hands, gently pat the dough into a rectangular shape. Pour the chocolate chip mixture onto the dough and knead it into the dough (which will be sticky) to distribute it evenly. Pat the dough into a rectangle again.
  5. Stretch the left side of the dough out and fold it over two-thirds of the dough, then stretch and fold it from the right side to the opposite side, as if you were folding a letter. Repeat the process, working from the bottom and then the top. Turn the dough over, lift it up with a bench scraper, and place it seam side down in the prepared bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let the dough sit at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  6. Repeat the stretching and folding process, then return the dough to the bowl, seam side down, cover, and let sit for another 45 minutes.
  7. Spray the quarter sheet pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.
  8. Use the bowl scraper to release the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into 12 equal portions (78 grams each). Cup your fingers around a portion of dough and, using the palm of your hand, roll it against the work surface to form a ball. Continue to roll until the dough is completely smooth. Repeat with the remaining dough. (When you become proficient at rolling with one hand, you can use both hands and roll 2 portions at a time.) Set the balls on the prepared pan in 3 rows of 4. Brush the tops with egg wash.
  9. Cover the pan with a plastic tub or a cardboard box and let proof for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the balls have risen and are touching.
  10. Preheat the oven to 325 F (convection) or 350 F (standard).
  11. Brush the tops of the buns with egg wash again. Bake for 17 to 22 minutes in a convection oven, 25 to 30 minutes in a standard oven, until the tops are a rich golden brown and, when tested with a toothpick, the centers are baked through. Set the pan on a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  12. The buns taste best if eaten on the same day but can also be wrapped tightly in saran wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 3 days.

KUSAKABE San Francisco

I just got back from the Bay Area, and I had the pleasure of staying in San Francisco for a couple of nights. My mother was visiting as well and she requested sushi for dinner so after a bit of research I came across KUSAKABE. The head sushi chef at KUSAKABE, Chef Nori, previously worked at Nobu New York & Miami Beach and Sushi Ran in San Francisco. In 2014, he opened KUSAKABE, a kaiseki style sushi restaurant.

The entrance to the restaurant is unassuming, with a green curtain leading to the front door and blinds covering the windows. The ambiance of the restaurant is swanky, with a beautiful wooden sushi bar as well as some table seating. We were lucky enough to get seated at the sushi bar and we opted for the regular Omakase course ($98). There is also a Grand Omakase course for $165. The Omakase course is as follows: Ichiban Dashi, Sushi Prelude, Sashimi, Hassun, Soup, Seasonal Sushi, and Sushi Finale. My mother and I both ordered a glass of the Richard Grant Cuvée Brut Rosé, which was fruity, sweet and a little dry, and it was the PERFECT rosé for our Omakase course.

The Ichiban Dashi was fine, nothing to write home about. Our second course started with Zuke Chutoro (soy sauce cured blue fin medium fatty tuna) followed by Hirame (konbu cured halibut with its own liver), and Katsuo (lightly cherry wood smoked bonito). The Katsuo was one of my favorite nigiri of the night. The subtle smoky flavor was aromatic and complemented the perfectly fatty fish topped with the momiji oroshi (grated daikon radish with chili peppers), which added a hint of spice. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

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The second course was our sashimi, with Honmaguro (center loin bluefin tuna) and Kanpachi (greater amberjack), which was probably my least favorite course. Neither fish really stood out and I honestly prefer my raw fish with sushi rice.

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Our third course, Hassun, included a Japanese style oyster with French daurenki caviar and five kinds of chef’s assorted les petit plats. The five les petit plats included seared Kamasu (Japanese Barracuda), Softshell Crab Nanbanzuke (fried softshell crab in a sour sauce, served cold), a deep fried Wagyu Croquette, Shirako (Japanese Tai snapper milt), and Hotaru ika (firefly squid). Out of the dishes, I really enjoyed the Nanbanzuke, Kamasu, and Wagyu Korokke. The Shirako was good, but I always feel weird eating fish testicles T_T. I didn’t like the Hotaru ika because it was too fishy and the oyster was fine but I wouldn’t order it again.

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Our fourth course, the soup, was an Akadashi, Kyoto style red miso soup with Kamo Dango (duck meatball), lotus root and soy cream foam. The soup was unique, I’ve never had creamy akadashi before and the lime zest added the right amount of citrusy aroma. The Kamo Dango stole the show in this course. Fatty with no gaminess and the crunch of the lotus root resulted in a perfect meatball.

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Our fifth course, seasonal sushi, included Shima Aji (stripe jack with daikon oroshi and yuzu kosho), Kasugodai (bamboo leaf cured young red snapper topped with grated sweet egg yolk), and Sakuramasu (Japanese cherry salmon with cherry leaf). The Shima Aji had a pristine, clean flavor. Being a yuzu lover, I enjoyed the yuzu kosho topping which didn’t overpower the flavor of the Shima Aji. The Kasugodai was good, albeit, a little sweet due to the egg yolk topping. The Sakuramasu would have been great without the cherry leaf. The cherry leaf (sakura no ha) is commonly used in a Japanese mochi dessert called Sakura Mochi. Since I associate this flavor with the sweet mochi, I didn’t like the combination of the cherry leaf combined with the salmon.

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Our final course of the night, sushi finale, included roasted Ariake Nori Temaki and a final serving of Toro (low temperature aging Bluefin fatty tuna belly). The Ariake Nori Temaki was filled with Bafun Uni (Hokkaido short spine sea urchin) and ikura. This was my least favorite sushi piece of the night. The Bafu Uni, while creamy, had a faint ammonia smell which I couldn’t stand. I have a very sensitive sense of smell so others may not find it as bad, but I CANNOT eat any uni that has that smell/taste. Blegh! I initially thought that was our last piece and I was so disappointed to have to end on a bad piece but we were pleasantly surprised when we were handed the Toro. The fatty tuna, having been aged, had an incredibly tender texture. So so so good.

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Ariake Nori Temaki with Bafun Uni and Ikura

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I really liked Chef Nori’s style of both rice and Gari. The rice in the nigiri is served semi warm and is on the tangier side with no sweetness. I assume Chef Nori uses little to no sugar in his sushi rice. The Gari (pickled ginger) was also quite tangy and had almost no sweetness to it.

The excellent service, GREAT sushi, and the glass of rosé I had puts KUSAKABE in the top 3 best sushi experiences I’ve had in the US. The ONLY reason why it may not be number 1 was because of the Bafun Uni. Overall I highly recommend this restaurant for any special occasion or if you’re in town looking for great sushi. It is on the pricy side but much more affordable compared to high-end sushi places in Manhattan or LA.

KUSAKABE – 4.5 out of 5 stars

584 Washington St.
San Francisco, CA 94111
Financial District

Ph: (415) 757-0155

Spicy No Bean Chili

I really love a GOOD chili. I’ve had several great chilis in my past, but I’ve definitely had a lot of… not so great chilis. Growing up, my mom would make a really good chili that we would eat with white rice. While she usually made the chili with beans, I preferred mine without beans. Not that I’m against legumes, I just feel like the texture of beans gets in the way of the meatiness if that makes sense?

The chili I made last night differs from my mom’s recipe that I usually make, but it turned out really great and had a lot of meatiness and a hint of spice without being overpowering. The bacon fat is key in adding extra richness and smokiness. The habanero also adds a slightly fruity flavor which was a nice surprise. 

Every cook I’ve talked to has their own way of making their chili and I would love to hear your favorite chili recipes! Please leave a comment with your favorite twist on homemade chili! 

Ingredients

Servings: 4

  • 1 lb of ground beef (85/15)
  • 1 Cubanelle pepper finely diced
  • 1 Carrot finely diced
  • 1 Onion finely diced
  • 2 Garlic cloves finely diced
  • 2 Celery sticks finely diced
  • 1 Habanero minced
  • 1 Can of Diced Tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1 Can of Tomato Sauce (15 oz)
  • 2 tsp of Cumin
  • 3 tsp of Chili Powder 
  • 2 Tbsp of Bacon Fat
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Shredded cheese of choice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat up bacon fat in Dutch oven or stockpot on medium heat.
  2. Once heated, add the garlic, onion, carrot and celery and cook on medium heat.
  3. After 5 minutes, add the cubanelle pepper and continue to cook and stir the vegetables until softened (about 7 more minutes).
  4. After the vegetables are softened and slightly caramelized, make a well in the center of your pot (make a border of the mixed vegetables) and add in your ground beef.
  5. Let the beef cook and brown on one side before mixing up the ground beef and vegetables and continue cooking until the beef is no longer pink.
  6. Add in the cumin and chili pepper and allow the spices to cook until fragrant and then add in the canned tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.
  7. Stir the chili and add in the habanero and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Lower to low heat, put a lid on the pot and let the chili stew for about 1 hour. Don’t forget to stir every so often to make sure the chili isn’t burning!
  9. Stir the chili before serving. If wanted, serve the chili with cheese and any garnish of choice (I like sour cream and slices of avocado but didn’t have any on hand).

I had a box of Trader Joe’s cornbread mix but didn’t have any vegetable oil, so I used coconut oil and it resulted in a coconutty, deeelicuous, moist cornbread with a nice crust from my cast iron skillet!