Tag Archives: TasteSpotting

salmon onigiri (japanese rice balls) eat in 2 ways

Onigiri, the Japanese rice balls, is very common to eat at lunch or as part of the bento (lunchbox), in the past I would occasionally buy a piece of onigiri from the Japanese supermarket and eat as a quick lunch.

Fig. 6



I have bought this onigiri mold (Fig. 1) for some time and it’s really handy and clean. I had a lot of fun just making them this evening. There are many flavors you can make or create, I have chosen to have salted salmon with Umeboshi plum paste.

Makes 7-8


  • 150g salmon fillet
  • 1 cup Japanese rice
  • 2 tbsp umeboshi plum paste (Fig. 2)
  • 2 sachets of onigiri seasonings* (optional) see (Fig.2), you can find different flavors in the Japanese shop
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar**
  • black & white sesame, grinded with sesame mill
  • nori (seaweed), cut into long pieces
  • spicy mayonnaise sauce for dipping: mix 2 tbsp of mayonnaise and 3/4 tbsp of Sriracha chili sauce together



  1. Make in advance the salted salmon fillet by sprinkle coarse sea salt on both sides of the fillet and leave for at least 30 mins***.
  2. When it’s time, rinse the salt off the salmon and pad dry with kitchen towel. Heat a little olive oil and pan-fry the salmon in a skillet until cooked. (Fig 3).
  3. Let the salmon to cool down and then break the fillet into very small pieces like flakes and set aside. 
  4. Cook the rice in the rice cooker or in a saucepan.
  5. When the rice is cooked, open the lid and let it cool down for a few minutes and then add 1 tbsp of rice vinegar into the rice and mix.
  6. Transfer the rice to a big bowl when it is still warm, add in the onigiri powder and the flaked salmon and mix thoroughly.
  7. Wet the onigiri mold in water and then spoon a layer of the rice mixture into the mould, use the teaspoon to help to make the rice mixture fill up the bottom of the mold.
  8. Use another teaspoon and put a little plum paste onto the rice (Fig. 4) and then cover another layer of the rice mixture on top, now put the mold cover on top and insert some pressure to make the rice stick together.
  9. Grind some sesame on a plate, release the molded rice onto the plate and dust them with the sesame (Fig.5).
  10. Now the onigiri are ready, you can either serve them just like this (Fig. 6) or wrap a piece of seaweed each one , if desire(Fig. 7)
  11. Or if you like them warm, you can brush some olive oil on both sides, grill or panfry until lightly brown, serve immediately when hot (Fig. 8.)
  12. Dip some of the spicy mayo sauce, it’s awesome (Fig. 9) .
  13. Serve with a miso soup/ green tea & perhaps a glass of Choya Plum Wine.
Fig. 9

Fig. 9



*The onigiri seasonings is nice to have but not compulsory.

**Normally you don’t need rice vinegar in onigiri but I like the rice vinegar which make the rice a little more shiny, and a few drops won’t be overpowered.

***I like to prepare the salted salmon fillet in advance by seasoning it with salt and put in the freezer immediately after purchase without rinsing the fish, you can season one or more fillets in advance and use it anytime when you feel like it.

seared scallop sashimi

Found some very fresh big scallop this afternoon and thought of sliced them up and make a scallop sashimi. Then I thought can I do something different, here I came up something really good as appetizer. I had something very similar to this in a high-end Japanese restaurant once and it is not in their menu. I was taken by surprise when they offer me a mega big scallop. If you are love Japanese food and loves scallop, you will love this. So good and easy to make that I have to blog this right away.
Makes 4
  • 4 very fresh scallops (Sashimi quality)
  • 2 tbsp Tonkatsu sauce (you can buy this from Japanese Groceries store or make it yourself, thanks Tess for your recipe)
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Nori, cut into square pieces, big enough to wrap the scallops
  1. Heat up a skillet in high heat
  2. Brush some olive oil on both sides of the scallops, and then sear the scallops, 30 secs on each side.
  3. Then brush some Tonkashu sauce on the scallop, does not need too much, just want to have a hint of the sauce.
  4. Sear further for one minute on both sides until lightly brown, grind a little sea salt and black pepper as seasoning.
  5. Take out the scallops and dry on a kitchen towel to absorb the liquid, since they are not fully cooked, there may be some liquid coming out after remove from heat.
  6. Wrap the scallop with a piece of nori and serve immediately.
  7. If you have sake that will be nice to go with otherwise a glass of white wine or a hot green tea will be great too.

cameralized roast pumpkin risotto TRIO with grilled prawns

Cameralized Roast Pumpkin Risotto TRIO


I still have a pumpkin bought from a farmers’ market earlier on in late Autumn keeping in the garage, I have not checked for a long time and thought it has turned bad and luckily it is still in very good condition. Instead of making pumpkin soup again, I wanted to try something different. I used half of it and made two different dishes in the last two days: cameralized roast pumpkin risotto TRIO with grilled prawns and ricotta ravioli with pumpkin sauce (coming in the next post).

Risotto TRIO with grilled prawns

Thanks to the wonderful recipes by Aum Shanti of A Life (Time) of Cooking, her rustic way of cameralized roast pumpkin is unbelievably easy to make. It was so easy to scrape out the seeds and take out the pumpkin flesh, I also find this method, you will waste the pumpkin flesh even less than removing the skin prior by knife. I added some cumin seeds, some bay leaves from Tuscany given by my friend Carmen and my second last head of violet garlic from Sarlat, France.

Cameralized roast pumpkin (before)

 Before cameralized

When I took the baking tray out of the oven, the fragrant was so powerful, inviting and tempting. It was really irresistible that I had to try a piece immediately. So here it is, you can prepare the cameralized beforehand in early afternoon, set aside at room temperature when it is time to prepare dinner.

Cameralized roast pumpkin (after)

After cameralized

As for the risotto itself I was wondering if I could make a little tweak. Risotto is actually the name of the finished dish, not the rice itself. So I looked into my cupboard and thought of mixing with other types of rice. I picked the rice that would give a creamy or gooey texture and have come up with this risotto TRIO : 1/3 arborio rice; 1/3 barley & 1/3 Korean brown sweet rice (the one used for ginseng chicken). I had another rationale behind, that was to make the risotto less heavy and high in fibre.

Korean brown sweet rice, barley & arborio rice

From left: Korean brown sweet rice, barley and arborio rice; as seen in foodgawker #14733, 30.01.09 & TasteSpotting #32267, 30.01.09

The outcome was indeed delicious, I did not feel too full after dinner and still have room for dessert as I have used 50% pumpkin and 50% rice. And the grilled prawns were just perfect matched to the pumpkin risotto. To grill the prawns, I simply deveined and grilled them with olive oil, salt and pepper. I am not going to write out the whole recipe here again. Please click the above links to try out, am sure you will not regret it. This is surely a culinary dish I will keep in my list for my guests in the future. It’s just so healthy and tasty at the same time!

One little note, I noticed that some people will opt out the white wine in cooking the risotto, I would not do that unless you are against of alcohol whatsoever as this is what making it an Italian risotto but not a Chinese risotto.


PS. I have made a TAKE 2 last Sunday for my friends on request and this time I think I could even better control the time and it turned out even better, also, my first time to try to use SLR to take my food photos.

Cameralized Roast Pumpkin Risotto TRIO Take 2


my first day of 2009


Bergweg 28 New Year's Lunch Menu

My hands are getting itchy from not needing to do any cooking in the last days. Therefore I have offered to prepare the New Year’s Dinner at my in-laws home for the family. I have prepared Indian dishes for the main meal. And for desserts we had opa’s oliebollen (Dutch doughnuts) & oma’s appelflappen (apple fritters), so have a peek at our dinner menu at Bergweg 28:



  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Cucumber & coriander raita
  • Saffron Rice
  • Naan Bread

Desserts (see pictures at bottom).

  • Oliebollen: I have heard so much about opa’s famous Oliebollen, those who have tried, will never forget them. Finally I could look over opa’s shoulder to see how he made them. I have tried the ones prepared in the restaurants, although they look bigger and rounder but they are not as airy as opa’s ones.


  • Appelflappen : Oma’s appelflappen is not the normal apple turnover you see out there, she used the same oliebollen batter mix but with some beer add to it, stir briskly to mix thoughoutly to air as much as as possible. She then coated the sliced apple  in the dough and then fry them. They can be served warm or cold.

Note: only Goudreinet apples are used in a truly authentic dutch way, the same type of apples for Dutch appeltart!!!


And here I would just share my experience on my naan bread, they were great success, because I don’t have my bread recipe book with me, so I did some searching and found quite a few bloggers have used Anjun Anand’s  recipe in BBC Food. Other recipes I found consist eggs but as far as I can recall,  the recipe I used consists of yogurt and no egg, so I used this recipe as the backbone and adapted it to become to the closest recipe I used previously. Anyway, this was my second time making homemade naan bread and they were awesome and even better this time after gaining some experience from my first time. And they are just so easy to make, once you have experienced the fresh ones made by yourself, you will never buy the ready made ones ever again.


naan bread_best

 as seen in Tastespotting #30226, 03.01 09


Preparation time:  1-2 hours

Cooking time less than 10 mins


For the dough

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3.5g (half pack) of 7g instant yeast
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 130g warm low-fat plain yogurt (please take note that I used gram and not ml as in Anjum Anand’s 
  • 80-100ml warm milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing

For variations:

  • Cumin seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, chopped garlic and/ or fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted, for brushing on top when the naan is cooked.



  1. Mix all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder & yeast) in a bowl and then transfer to a large working surface area and make a well in the middle (just like making pizza dough)
  2. Warm the milk and yogurt.
  3. Pour in the milk, yogurt and olive oil into the centre of the flour mixture. Slowly draw the flour from the edges of the well into the liquid mixture to make a small dough. Knead for 8 minutes until a smooth dough is formed, if the dough is a bit sticky, adjust by adding more flour to it.
  4. Place the kneaded dough in a floured bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave it in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until the dough has risen and doubled in size.
  5. Transfer the dough back to the working surface and remove the air by knocking the dough back
  6. Divide the dough into five small doughs.
  7. Preheat the grill to medium and grease a baking tray with a little oil to avoid from sticking.
  8. Roll the small doughs into thin and teardrop shape, you can get this shape by gently pull on both sides longitudinally.
  9. Place the shaped dough immediately to the upper shelf of the grill and heat for 2-3 minutes on both sides until they are lightly brown. You can grill 2-3 pieces at a time.
  10. If you do not like plain and like some variation, you can sprinkle over your chosen topping and press into the surface of the dough.
  11. Serve immediately when hot with your favorite Indian curries and raita.






The oliebollen were gone in minutes!


Be patient, the Oliebollen are not cooked yet!



Look at the airy texture, the tip is not to fiddle too much with the dough, spoon and fry immediately.





Inside like apple mousse

  The apple was very soft inside : )



And here is my previous post for Grandma’s Erwtensoep (Dutch Split Green Peas Soup) if you are interested.

For more Dutch food pictures please go to my flickr!

more cookies on snowy days

10 Dec 2008 Outside Home, first day snowing in this Winter

When I woke up this morning, I see everything was covered white outside. It was said that it may still be snowing for the next couple of days. Luckily my car has just got in time changed to winter tires today.

Snowy day in Duggingen 10 dec 2008


And I have stocked up yesterday from the supermarket so I can stay peacefully at home baking more cookies and amaretti. I am flying to UK tomorrow and will take them with me to give out to my friends.

Also I was experimenting the best baking time and temperature for my oven. And this afternoon, I think I have got the hang the best temperature for my chewy chocolate cookies, of course it’s a matter of personal taste. The best was to eat them when they are still a bit warm. Last time I said I have used 170ºC but with a few more attempts, I can’t agree more with Mrs. Field that it is better at 150ºC.  So I have amended in my recipe from 170ºC to 150ºC. Although 170ºC is already chewy but 150ºC does make the cookie even more chewy. There is no need to worry that they are still rather soft when out of the oven. They look so good when the chocolate are somewhat melted and looks a bit shining. Not only I like eating the cookies, I enjoy taking photos for my cookies, I created a new term for myself ‘food modelling’…..


as seen in TasteSpotting #28749, 11.12.08 ; foodgawker #11012 , 11.12.08; Photograzing 19.12.08


Mountain of Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Cookies 10 Dec 08

italiano Amaretti cookies recipe


Learnt from Rosa’s Yum Yum’s post on Pecan Sandies that there is a worldwide cookie event called “Eat Christmas Cookies” by Susan at “Food Blogga” (USA), so I thought I can submit my amaretti too. This is already Season 2 of this event, you can see the round up so far here. The deadline is 21 December so there is still time to submit for all of you!

Italian Amaretti 01 as seen in TasteSpotting #28577, 09.12.08 & Photograzing, 18.12.08

The chewy cookies quest has got me went on to explore how to make amaretti.  Amaretti is my husband favorite, he was so happy when the first batch of the amaretti came out of the oven to be a success. I have never thought that they are so easy to make. The beauty is that I can buy the ground almond easily in Switzerland, saves a lot of time from grounding. The Swiss loves almond flavored desserts, the ground almonds was run out from Coop and I have to run to next door Migros to buy them, Migros has almost run out too so I immediately stocked up 6 packs of 100g in case I fail in my first attempt. Now that they come out so nicely, I have already received a pre-order from my in-laws to take over to Holland when we visit them over Christmas. This will keep me busy in the next days in the kitchen : )

Many thanks to Garrett McCord from Simply Recipes and ElenaC  from Comida De Mama for the lovely recipes. I have adapted and combined their recipes somewhat to the following version:



  • 300g ground almond (200g blanched & 100g non-blanched)
  • 280g fine sugar (confectioners sugar)
  •  3 egg whites (use large eggs)
  • 1 tbsp white flour
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • pinch of salt
  • a little of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp bitter almond essence
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  • butter and flour for baking paper

Make: 32-36 pieces



  1. Line the baking sheets on the baking trays, butter and flour them accordingly .
  2. If you cannot find ground almond, you will need to ground the almond (with skin removed) using a food processor. Otherwise mix the ground almond with the sugar in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt and a few drops of lemon juice until you get a dense white foam.
  4. Gradually fold in the almond sugar mix, flour and corn starch using a spatula. Make sure there are no lumps, use a colander where necessary.
  5. Add in the bitter almond and vanilla essence, blend well until it is throughoutly mixed.
  6. You should now have a very nice almond dough. Place teaspoon size of the dough in the buttered and floured baking sheets. The doughs can be quite close together about 2cm aparts, as they will not rise much. Each amaretti will be about 5cm x 5cm. Use your finger to help shaping the amaretti a little if necessary.
  7. Dust the dough with powdered sugar and leave them in a cool place for 4-5 hours before baking.
  8. Preheat oven to 170°C, half an hour before baking.
  9. Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 25 mins or until subtle golden brown. This will give you crispy sides and nicely chewy in the middle. If you like them more crispy, you can add a few more minutes accordingly to your preference.
  10. When out of the oven, let them cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before transfer them to the cooling rack.
  11. Serve when cooled or store them in air-tight metal cookie tins.
  12. Don’t forget to prepare a nice coffee or expresso to go with them. 

Note. My first attempt turned out to be so good that I went to make a second batch but this time I have left them overnight and it turned out that they only need to be baked for 20 mins, and they turned to golden yellow and still soft inside so I turned them to cooling rack straight away. Alternatively, you can turn the oven to 150°C  for 24 mins . It’s really a matter of adjusting between time and temperature and of course knowing your oven : )

Enjoy ;P

Italian Amaretti 02


gooseberry, mini kiwi and blog award

Food Event: A-Fruit-A-Month (AFAM) initiated by Maheswari from Beyond the Usual

Recently I was referred to a food event called A Fruit A Month (AFAM) by Ivy from kopiaste. And the Fruit selected for September was Gooseberry hosted by Vani from Illatharasi. I was invited to submit my gooseberries recipes. I like the concept of this food event, there will be a collection of all entries and information about the selected fruit at the beginning of the following month. Here is the link for the Gooseberry round up to share with up.


Another type of Gooseberry? Mini Kiwi is also know as Siberian Gooseberry!

Recently I have discovered another unusual fruit in the supermarket: Mini Kiwi. There are 2 versions (see picture below) and I was just curious and bought both to try out at home. Apparently they are locally grown here in Basel. You can just wash them, cut both ends and eat them like grapes, it is not necessary to peel off the skin. 

 as seen in #25119 TasteSpotting, 25.10.08 and #7986 foodgawker.com, 27.10.08

Excerpt from Wikipedia (translated from Dutch): The mini kiwi (Actinidia arguta) is a relative of the kiwi. It is an ancient species, in 770 AD. mini-kiwi for the first time described. The plant was soon in Europe and Asia cultivated, mainly in the botanical .gardens. The mini kiwi originated in northern Japan. eastern Manchuria and the taiga ‘s Siberia. The mini-kiwi is under many different names known. Funny enough one of them is known as Siberian gooseberry. Gooseberry again?

 Can you find the only Kiwi shaped Rock Candy in the Kiwi platter?

Note. Rock candy got from Sweet Basel.

And here comes the Blog Award….

Many thanks to Núria from Spanish Recipes that have passed a blog award to me in September. Funny enough I have received another award that day at the same time so it took me some time to collect another 7 blogs to nominate in order to stick to the game plan.

The rules are as follow:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you (as shown above).
3) Nominate at least seven other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

And I would like to pass onto the following:

  1. Gertrude from My Kitchen Snippets
  2. Karen from Rambling Spoon
  3. Kiriel from The Papillon Pantry
  4. Amy from We are Never Full
  5. Jessica from Apples and Butter
  6. Pixen from Life loves the Curious
  7. Bentoist from Bentoism

I want to mention that there are many more blogs iLike but most of the above are recently discovered and would like to share with you, please see my blogroll for more….

Happy cooking and blogging!