Shitaake Mushroom Rice Burgers (make about 8 to 9 mini ones)
Ingredients for rice burgers: 4 thinly sliced shitaake mushrooms, 1 cup rice, 4 to 5 dried scallops, 1 to 2 tablespoons shoyu, 1 small piece of kelp
Ingredients for beef yakiniku: 8 to 9 Thin slices of beef , 1/4 cup yakiniku sauce, 2 tablespoons sake, nira (Japanese chives), 1 to 2 sliced ginger, salt & pepper, chopped shiso leaf, 2 tablespoons of mirin
Simply cook the rice with all the ingredients in the rice-cooker, remove the kelp halfway through the cooking. Once the rice is cooked, stir in the mirin and cool it down. Once its cooled, mix in the chopped shiso leaf.
For yakiniku beef, use a small clay pot or a deep saucepan, heat a little cooking oil, add in sliced beef, and panfry for a minute, mix in the rest of the sauce ingredients and let it simmer for 5 minutes or until the beef slices are cooked. Throw in the nira at the last minute. Turn off the fire, let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the beef to soak in the flavors of the sauce.
Use any semi-circle mould you can find (similar to those for making cake-pops, for example. I used a circular rice mould), place a piece of cellophane wrap into the mould and fill it up with the rice and shape it. You need 2 semi circle rice patties for 1 burger. Sandwich 1 or 2 pieces of the beef with nira between the rice patties. You can use any cocktail bamboo picks to hold them together.
Okra & Nattō Salad (Simple thai style)
Ingredients : 5-6 okras (lady fingers), 1 box of Nattō (なっとう or 納豆) (a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans), sliced boiled octopus (tako), 1 teaspoon of palm sugar (or canned sugar), 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons of fish sauce, juice of 1 lime.
Some Nattō comes with its own sauce. Use the sauce in this salad too. Cut the okras into small pieces. Steam the okras in a little salt until its just cooked yet the texture is still crunchy. If you use microwave, it take about 1 1/2 minute to cook. Mix in the natto, tako and sauce ingredients. Adjust the level of saltiness, sweetness and citrus taste of the sauce according to your liking. You can add in some cut chillies too. Chill it in the fridge for a while.
Nasu & Negi Chikuwa Grilled Roll
Ingredients: Thinly sliced eggplant (Nasu), 1 piece of Negi Chikuwa (Japanese grilled fish cake), 1 piece of carrot, sweet miso paste.
Cut the carrot into a size that can easily fit into the hollow section of the fish cake. Cook the carrot until its slightly soft yet firm. Push the carrot into the fish cake. Rub some sweet miso paste all over the fish cake. I used spicy fermented beef paste I bought from Ishigaki, Okinawa. Arrange the thinly sliced eggplant in a overlapping manner on a piece cellophane wrap. Place the fish cake on the eggplant layers. Use the wrap to help you roll the eggplant over the fishcake. You can also use some cooking strings to tie the roll together before grilling it. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper and grill it in a little oil until all the sides of the eggplant are lightly browned.
Home-made Daifuku wrapped in bamboo leaf
Ingredients: Gyuuhi, ready-made red bean paste from stores.
Gyuuhi is a type of sweet rice flour mochi-like dough. It is very easy to make them.
Ingredients: 75g shiratamako rice flour, 115ml water, 65g white sugar, lots of potato or corn starch
Put the flour into a microwave friendly bowl, slowly mix in the water until the paste is smooth with no lumps. Add in the sugar and mix it well. Cover the bowl with a piece of cellophane wrap and cook it in the microwave on high setting for 1 minute. Take it out and mix it very well before putting it into the microwave again for another 1 1/2 minutes. Make sure both times, the bowl is covered. Once its done, mix it well one more time for smoothness. Each time you mix, wet your mixing fork or spoon, it can get very sticky. Flour a work surface and your hands generously, spread the gyuuhi over the surface to let it cool completely. Once its cool, you can start moulding small pieces of the gyuuhi into round flat circle and put a small spoonful of red bean paste in the centre and wrap it up and hand roll it into a ball. Remember, to flour your hands. For the daifuku here, I coated it with soy bean flour (warabi flour, a type of bracken starch)