A walk down memory lane to Japan

Kirk and I visited Japan back in 2016 when I went there to work for 4 weeks and added an additional week on for travel at the end. That’s when this blog started.

Well yesterday we visited Japan again from our home and it brought back some amazing memories.

When in Japan we visited Kyoto and there is a small food market there where we came across soy milk donuts – they were delicious. So we tried our best to recreate these. Although tasty they definitely weren’t a match for the Japanese versions.

Recipe:

50g margarine 

120ml soy milk

2 tbsp sunflower oil, plus 1 litre extra for frying

250g self raising flour

100g caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1. Gently melt the butter over a low-medium heat. Add milk and 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil and mix together. Once combined, take off the heat and set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, 50g of the sugar and salt with a fork. Make a well in the centre and pour in the butter mixture. Combine gradually until a thick dough forms. 

3. Using your hands, roll dough into little flat balls and with your thumb, press a hole in the centre of each doughnut. (You may need to flour your hands for this part to avoid getting sticky!)

4. Heat up the litre of oil in a pan. To know when it’s hot enough, fry a little bit of bread in the oil. If it goes brown and floats to the top, in 45-50 seconds the oil will be ready! Gently lay the doughnuts into the oil using a spatula. Fry for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

5. Transfer the doughnuts onto some tissue paper to soak up any excess oil. Then roll into a bowl of the remaining 50g sugar.

We had one of these as a snack with a Matcha frappe

Matcha frappe can be made by blitzing ice, milk, 1-2tsp of matcha powder and either vanilla or sugar syrup together.

Whilst having a snack and drink we sat down to watch Lost in Translation

This is a lovely film about two people out in Japan feeling lonely and lost and they get to know each other and become great friends. Not only was it a nice film but wow did it bring back so many memories. From the scene of him standing in the lift and being taller than everyone to the sounds of the arcade machines, specifically the ball ones, to the shrines and Shibuya crossing.

Origami is something I’ve never really tried so we decided to give it ago and bought a kit (paper and book with instructions).

We really got into it and made a crane, a box and an iris flower.

Other ideas for activities

  • Hold a tea ceremony
  • Watch sumo wrestling
  • Wear a kimono
  • Play arcade games
  • Write Japanese calligraphy
  • Photo booth session

We had a mid afternoon snack of Gyozas – bought from the frozen section of Tesco. Itsu’S vegetable gyozas

They were delicious and really good value for money. I’m sure I only paid £3.50 for the bag which is for 20. In a restaurant or takeaway you’d pay at least that if not more for 5.

When in Japan two of our favourite dinners were Katsu curry from coco curry and Ton Katsu.

Ton Katsu is breaded meat or veg served with shredded cabbage and rice with a dipping sauce. See example from our Japan trip below

Katsu curry is breaded meat (usually pork) served with rice and curry sauce. This is one from our favourite restaurant in Japan. Which have recently opened in London!!

So we combine the two – making Katsu curry served with shredded cabbage. Why not?!

Really impressed with the sauce – pretty close to the one from Japan. I believe main difference is that in Coco curry they used beef stock whereas we used chicken. I’ll definitely make this again but try changing the stock to beef.

Recipe:

The sauce, serves 4:

  • 2–3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2.5cmx2 piece of ginger, peeled + grated
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 heaped tbsp mild curry powder
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 2 tsp soy sauce

The dish, serves 4:

  • 120g rice (basmati)
  • 1 quantity katsu curry sauce (which you’ve just made with the ingredients above)
  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 200g panko breadcrumbs
  • 75ml vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • Sweetheart cabbage

Method

  1. Cook the garlic, onions and ginger in a saucepan until soft before adding in curry powder and tumeric.
  2. Add the flour, stir for a minute.
  3. Then slowly add in hot chicken stock, bit by bit to let it mix properly.
  4. To make the sauce as creamy as you want, add coconut milk to taste. Add soy sauce and mix well. 
  5. Simmer for 15 minutes
  6. Blitz in blender or with stick blender until smooth
  7. Take your chicken breasts and slice them down in the middle, coating them in flour, egg and breadcrumbs.
  8. Then fry it in a generous amount of vegetable oil and be careful it doesn’t burn.
  9. Boil rice while you do the chicken.
  10. Once chicken is cooked – let rest on paper towel to drain oil. Then slice into strips
  11. Serve with sweetheart cabbage thinly shredded

Other ideas of meals:

  • Sushi
  • Ramen
  • Yakisoba
  • Okonomiyaki
  • Miso soup
  • Tempura
  • Edamame
  • Donburi

Final film of the day was Godzilla: King of the monsters. This is the second of the modern Godzilla films. Actually not really based in Japan unlike the first one. Good film though and worth a watch

Other ideas of films

  • Godzilla (most of them)
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Last Samurai
  • Spirited Away
  • Any other anime

Next stop is Italy 🇮🇹

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