Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kushikatsu and Doteyaki - Osaka Local Cuisine

While staying in Osaka, we took the opportunity to savour some local cuisine - this time, Kushikatsu and Doteyaki, at a small local restaurant, Yaebuta.
We just stepped out of our hotel room, across the road and 50m along a shopping street lined with restaurants.  When we saw the line-up, we decided this was where we'd stop!
(I have to tell you again, I just love staying at this super-cheap hotel!)
Even at 5pm customers were lining up at Yaebuta. 八重豚

Kushikatsu, Shiitake, Piiman.  This stuff was amazing, and cooked right in front of us, so it was hot and as fresh and crispy as it gets.  No wonder people line up for it.
Dip each item in the sauce (like a watery Tonkatsu Sauce) before transferring it to your plate, and then gobble it up while it's hot, before grabbing the next one and repeating the process...

 This is Dote-yaki.  どて焼き
I wasn't sure what I was eating at the time, but it sure tasted good!  
I since discovered that it's beef sinew cooked in miso and mirin.
This is how to cook Doteyaki:
 And this is how to make Kushi-Katsu:
 Help yourself to the dish of complimentary cabbage leaves on the side.  They taste surprisingly good as the fresh leaves contrast the richness of the kushi-katsu.
(What an easy salad! Love it!)

Kushi means skewer and Katsu means crumbed and deep fried, originally from the English word Cutlet, as Japanese deep-fried crumbed pork cutlets are called Ton-Katsu.  
These kushi-katsu are actually thin slices of beef!

 Menu: Kushi-katsu and Doteyaki come in a set of 3 sticks for 300 yen.  All the other menu items you pay per stick, 100~400 yen depending on the item.  Order a few to begin with, and then order more as you eat them so that you get a continuous supply and varitey.
I guess this kind of restaurant is best for those who can read and speak Japanese.  If you don't then there are plenty of more modern, sometimes chain-store restaurants which are much easier to order at, and you don't have to line up at those!

But if you want to try the kushi-katsu and dote-yaki at the place the locals prefer, look for the line-up!

Copy and paste this address into google maps if you want to see the exact location: 
Yaebuta is a 5 min walk from either Doubutsuen-mae Subway Station or JR Shin-Imamiya Sation.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sushi in Japan

1.  Salmon Tamanegi サーモンたまねぎ (Salmon with Onion)
One thing we're looking forward to in Japan is indulging in Sushi.
I mean, REAL sushi...

Yes, we do like those "spider roll", and "caterpillar roll", "tempura prawn roll" 
and even "chicken karaage roll" 
(At first it was like: "Are you serious? chicken in sushi?!"),
served in sushi restaurants outside of Japan,

but we rarely go out for sushi in Australia, because we're saving our appetite for Japan.
Not just for the variety of seafood, (but mainly for that)
but also for the sake of the purse.
Sushi Train in Australia set us back $45, (that was our budget that day) and then we came home and had second course of our dinner.  At around $4 a plate, we could only afford to eat it as an appetiser.

In Japan, however, one friend's record for number of plates of sushi 
consumed in a single meal is...

30 plates.
But then, at 105yen/plate, that's quite an affordable indulgence.
Here are the photos from our latest visit to Kappazushi, 
one of the 100 yen sushi restaurant chains in Japan.

Eating at a kaiten-zushi (sushi train) in Japan, sometimes the one you want doesn't come around.
If you know the name of what you want, it's easy to place an order.

Here is a Japanese friend's Top 15 recommendation list for when you go for sushi in Japan, 
with the names of each sushi:
(all favorites, not in order)
1.  At the top of this post was Salmon Tamanegi
2.  Ikura (salmon roe) いくら
3.  Hirame ひらめ 
4.  Sujiko (Tuna Roe on Shiso) すじこ
5.  Negitoro ネギトロ (Tuna belly with spring onion)
6.  Botan Ebi ボタン海老 (Prawn)
7.  Ama Ebi 甘エビ
8.  Asari Akadashi  あさり赤だし Miso soup with clams
9.  Crab かに
10.  Kanimiso かにみそ Crab with crab gut
(actually very popular)
11.  びんとろ Tuna Belly
12.  Kai かい shellfish
13.  Kazunoko 数の子
14.  Red Snapper たい Tai
15.  Salmon

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ebi (Shrimp) Okonomiyaki Recipe

Okonomiyaki Restaurants in Osaka always have many variations of Okonomiyaki to choose from.  One popular variation is Ebi Okonomiyaki (Ebi means prawns/shrimp).  As our family loves both prawns and okonomiyaki, this is also a favorite on our dinner menu.

If you have a teppanyaki plate, cook this at the table, serving on the teppanyaki plate to keep the okonomiyaki hot.  Each person then places a portion on their small plate (torizara) to eat.

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • about 1/2 a large cabbage (1/3 of a huge drumhead or 1 whole sugarloaf)
  • 2 cups flour (I use self-raising, my mother says plain flour)
  • 2 1/3 cups water
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp dashi-no-moto (fish stock powder, can be replaced by chicken stock powder)
  • Okonomi Sauce or Tonkatsu Sauce
  • About 200g uncooked prawns, shelled, sprinkled with a little salt
  • 1-2 negi (shallots/scallions/spring onions) sliced thinly, 
  • Japanese Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp beni-shouga (red pickled ginger) chopped finely
  • +/-Katsuo-bushi (for sprinkling on top)
  • +/-Ao-nori (for sprinkling on top)
  1. Finely slice cabbage.  (After slicing, bruise it a little by squeezing in your hands)
  2. Mix flour, water, eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Mix in dashi, pickled ginger and negi.  Add cabbage and combine well. 
  3. Heat a little oil in a frypan.  Spoon Cabbage/prawn mixture into the frypan, to make a circle about 22cm(9in) across and 1.5cm(3/4in) thick.  Make sure there's enough batter to hold it together.  Neaten the edges by using a spatula to push in the edges and any cabbage or batter that's sticking out.
  4. Cook over med-low heat about 5 min.  Flip, then cook another 3-5 min.  When cooked through, turn onto a plate.
  5. Spread sauce generously on top.  Decorate with Mayonnaise and your choice of Negi, Katsuobushi and Ao-nori.