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Asian Inspirations by Sindhu Bharadwaj - 4d ago

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and transfer onto a baking paper lined oven tray. Roast for 45 minutes and baste often.
2. Remove the chicken from the oven and strain the sauce into a saucepan. Boil until the sauce is thickened. Pour back over the chicken and roast for a further 15 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven, garnish with mint leaves, finely sliced ginger and onions, and serve hot with steamed rice.

The post Honey Soy Sticky Chicken appeared first on Asian Inspirations.

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Asian Inspirations by Sindhu Bharadwaj - 4d ago

It’s amazing the difference a Michelin Star can make. Tsuta ramen had been serving its world-class noodle soup for years, but after receiving its first star in December 2015, business exploded. Soon, gourmands from all across the world were queueing for hours rain, hail or shine to buy a bowl.

Located on a small street in Sugamo, Tokyo, Tsuta ramen was founded in 2012 by Onishi Yuki, who feels ramen is “a dish Japan can boast to the world about”. And what a dish it is. The noodles are made in house (of course) and are hand stretched. The broth contains sea salt from Okinawa and rock salt from Mongolia, as well as a custom made soy sauce from the Shoy brewery in Wakayama. The pork is from Spain, and it’s all finished with just a hint of truffle oil.

Image courtesy: Zomato

Tsuta only serves 150 bowls of Ramen a day, so make sure you get there early (the restaurant opens at 11am). There’s a ticketing system that requires a 1000 yen deposit (don’t worry you get it back when you return) and make sure you have the correct cash for your order. The restaurant only seats 9 people, so you won’t be able to hang around or snap a whole bunch of selfies. But trust us, it’s more than worth it!

Tsuta also has restaurants in Hong Kong and Singapore, but they pale in comparison to the original.
If you’re ever in Tokyo, make sure you get down to Tsuta!

Tsuta Ramen
Address: 1 Chome-14-1 Sugamo, Toshima, Tokyo 170-0002, Japan

The post Tsuta Ramen appeared first on Asian Inspirations.

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Asian Inspirations by Sindhu Bharadwaj - 6d ago

As we move into winter, hot, heart-warming dishes start coming back onto our menus. And nothing warms the cockles like a big, steaming bowl of ramen. We’ve scoured the country to find Australia’s best ramen. Hopefully there’s one near you!

Hakataya Ramen

Shop 13 Market Square, Cnr. Mains Rd and McCullough St, Sunnybank, QLD (07) 3345 9911

Found right in the heart of an Asian cultural melting pot, Hakataya Ramen stands apart from the crowd. It serves just 5 soups, and its tonkotsu bone broth is to die for (boiled for 48 hours!). There are extras like gyoza and rice balls if you’re super hungry. Don’t dawdle getting down there though; the restaurant shuts when the ramen runs out!

Nao Ramen

117 Murray Street, Perth, (WA. 08) 9325 2090

The Asian food scene continues to grow in Perth. But despite all the exciting new places popping, the West’s oldest longest standing soup shop continues to rule the roost. Just be prepared to queue. Their unique soup (made with both chicken and pork) and housemade noodles are truly exceptional, and must be had if you decide to go west.

Hakata Maru

Shop 1, 475 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood NSW (02) 9884 8861

This ramen shop has an almost overwhelming amount of choices, and they do more than just soup. But you’re here for ramen! And it’s definitely the highlight. There’s thick, creamy, rich tonkotsu (finished with garlic oil), spicy dan dan for chilli lovers, or the Hakata Maru tonkotsu, if you’re looking for the best of both worlds.

Hakata Kensuke

168 Russell Street, Melbourne, Vic. 03 9663 6342; 4/860 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn; 03 9819 2558

This one’s a little on the expensive side ($20 a bowl with all the extras), but it’s well worth it. Considered ramen royalty, Hakata Kensuke has been serving up soup for years at both their Melbourne outlets. This is build your own ramen at its best, starting with the broth, noodles at various stages of hardness and seaweed sheets, rolled roast pork and, of course, a soft boiled egg.

Tokyo Ramen

92 Gawler Pl, Adelaide, SA, (08) 7225 0448

For one of Adelaide’s better bowls hit this CBD favourite. Tokyo Ramen is known for its shoyu ramen (made with a classic soy-based broth) as well as tonkotsu, and it does a pretty mean chashu as well. If you have another hidden ramen gem, let us know!

The post Soup-sational appeared first on Asian Inspirations.

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Asian Inspirations by Sindhu Bharadwaj - 1w ago

Traditional Japanese Ramen―the broth-y noodle soup loaded with umami flavours and often times topped with a soft boiled egg―can take a long time to perfect.

Ramen masters spend years honing their craft. But most of us living stateside don’t have years to wait on a good bowl of ramen; we have an hour, tops. Plus, we don’t need the calorie bomb that is found in a traditional bowl you’d order at a restaurant.

The broth is the key to everything, so we’re going to show you how it’s done!

Ingredients
  • 1.5kg pig trotters (split lengthwise or cut crosswise into 1-inch disks—ask your butcher to do this for you) or pork bones)
  • 1kg chicken bones (skin and excess fat removed)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion (skin on, roughly chopped)
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • One 8cm knob ginger (roughly chopped)
  • 2 whole leeks (washed and roughly chopped)
  • 2 dozen spring onions, white parts only (reserve greens and light green parts for garnishing finished soup)
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 500g slab pork fat
  • Additional toppings: hard-boiled eggs, sliced pork roast, black and white sesame.
Directions
  1. Place pork and chicken bones in a large pot and cover with cold water. Place on a burner over high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat once boiling.
  2. While pot is heating, heat vegetable oil in a medium pan over high heat until lightly smoking. Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook, tossing occasionally until deeply charred on most sides, about 15 mins total. Set aside.
  3. Once pot has come to a boil, dump water down the drain. Carefully wash all bones under cold running water, removing any bits of dark marrow or coagulated blood. Bones should be uniform grey/white after you’ve scrubbed them. Use a chopstick to help remove small bits of dark marrow from inside the trotters or near the chickens’ spines.
  4. Return bones to pot along with charred vegetables, leeks, spring onion whites, mushrooms, and pork fat. Top up with cold water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, skimming off any scum that appears (this should stop appearing within the first 20 minutes or so). Use a clean sponge or moist paper towels to wipe any black or grey scum off from around the rim of the pot. Reduce heat to low and place a heavy lid on top.
  5. Once the lid is on, check the pot after 15 minutes. It should be at a slow rolling boil. If not, increase or decrease heat slightly to adjust boiling speed. Boil broth until pork fat is completely tender, about 4 hours. Carefully remove pork fat with a slotted spatula. Transfer fat back to a sealed container and refrigerate. Return lid to pot and continue cooking until broth is opaque with the texture of light cream, about 6 to 8 hours longer, topping up as necessary to keep bones submerged at all times.
  6. Once broth is ready, cook over high heat until reduced to around 3 litres. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot. Discard solids. For an even cleaner soup, strain again through a chinois or a fine mesh strainer lined with several layers of cheese cloth. Skim liquid fat from top with a ladle and discard.
  7. Finely chop cooked pork fat and whisk into finished broth. To serve, season broth with condiments of your choice (salt, soy sauce, miso, sesame paste, grated fresh garlic, chilli oil, etc.) and serve with cooked ramen noodles and toppings as desired.

The post How to Ramen appeared first on Asian Inspirations.

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The Tsukiji Market in Tokyo is the world’s most famous fish market. If you’ve ever wanted to see hundreds of thousands of dollars of fish auctioned off, then this is the place for you!

History

The market was founded in Tokyo during the Edo period, probably in the early 1600’s. Originally built in Nihonhashi to sell the fish not bought by the royalty in the castle, it wasn’t until the rice riots in 1918 that the market became the centre of wholesale fish sales in Japan. After the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, the market was re-established at Tsukiji.

Auctions

The market’s opening hours are 3:30am to 6:00am and there are two sets of 60 people allowed to observe the action. The first tour runs between 5:25am and 5:45am, the second tour is allowed a view between 5:50am and 6:10am. However, you’ll need to arrive earlier to ensure you reserve your spot; during peak season this might be as early as 1am! If you’re not sure how early or late to leave it, you might consider a private guide, who’ll know exactly when you need to turn up. A 222-kilogram bluefin tuna was sold at the market for an all-time high of 155.4 million yen, or 1.8 million dollars (US).

Etiquette

Don’t wear inappropriate footwear (high heels, thongs etc.), or take flash photography. The auction is taken very seriously and tourists are kicked out all the time for what is considered bad behaviour. This includes eating and drinking during the auction, so snack before you go!

How to get there

The best idea is to stay nearby the market, as trains and buses won’t be running after midnight. If it’s too late for that, then a taxi may be your only option, but be warned: they are very expensive in Tokyo! Some private tours will organise pick up and drop off for you.

Taste the freshest sushi at the many sushi stalls in Tsukiji Market.

Relocation

Because of its location near the heart of Tokyo, the market occupies some very valuable real estate. So plans (very unpopular plans) have been in the works for a while to move the market to Toyosu, Koto. Scheduled to take place in 2016, the move was put on hold after Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympics. The market is now scheduled to move in July 2018.

The post Tsukiji Market appeared first on Asian Inspirations.

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Asian Inspirations by Sindhu Bharadwaj - 2w ago

Australia’s food culture has been enriched by all the wonderful people who have emigrated. It’s also true that Australia has allowed people of different backgrounds and cultures to grow and develop their love of food in ways only possible here. Karen Chan is both of these things, and we thought we’d share her story.

I’m originally from Malaysia. Almost immediately after our wedding, my husband came to Melbourne to study an MBA. I tagged along for what I thought was a 2-year adventure. That was 19 years ago and I’m still on this adventure.

My love of food started in Malaysia. My mum is a good cook, and as a child I loved pretending to be her in the kitchen. My paternal grandmother, also a good cook, is another important influence in my love for cooking. She made the best nyonya (South Malay) style, thick and rich kaya (coconut jam).

I started cooking when I was very young. I didn’t play with dolls or toys, I played with a mortar and pestle. I’d go to kindergarten in the morning, then my afternoons were spent playing masak-masak (pretending to cook) and pounding grass pretending to make sambal. Every day, my mum gave me a few tablespoons of flour to make ‘gravy’, ‘bread’ and ‘pastries’. I eventually graduated to helping mum make real sambal, tarts, dumplings, and, when she said I was ready, bak chang (rice dumplings).

In high school I studied domestic science as a subject, and that taught me basic cooking techniques and appreciation for nutrients in food and a balanced diet.

What’s your favourite dish to cook, and why?

Charsiew. It’s simple to cook using only 4 ingredients, to make a fragrant and tasty dish. It’s our family’s favourite.
Some of my most vivid memories revolve around food, like Sunday dinners at my eldest uncle’s house. My aunt would cook a banquet of at least 10 dishes to feed a crowd of hungry cousins, and the fight over the prized chicken drumstick was terrifyingly hilarious.

Then there were the celebration dinners with the extended family at our place. My mum would start preparing a week ahead of time, and the banquet would feed over 30 guests. I always knew that when I grew up I wanted to be just like her.

Food is important to me for myriad reasons. For starters, it satisfies hunger, and I’m always hungry! Good food brings smiles. Serving deliciously good food is a reason for friends and family to come visit you, and I love the company of family and friends.

I admire all good cooks. I choose the word ‘admire’ because I appreciate the variety of techniques used, fussiness to ensure the quality of the right ingredient is used, discipline to practice the recipe, and the humility to consider feedback. Good cooks continue to inspire me.

The post Local Tales appeared first on Asian Inspirations.

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Asian Inspirations by Sindhu Bharadwaj - 2w ago

  1. To make the yoghurt jelly, add thickened cream and coconut milk in a saucepan and heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat and stir in second batch of gelatin, mixing in well until completely dissolved.
  2. Mix together the yoghurt, maple syrup and lemon juice in a large bowl. Pour in the cream mixture and mix together well.
  3. Pour the yoghurt jelly mixture into your mould, filling them up halfway. Set aside in the fridge to set.
  4. To make the sake jelly, heat the sake in a saucepan until almost boiling. Remove from heat and sprinkle over caster sugar and add in one portion of the bloomed gelatin. Stir mixture until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add in water and mix well.
  5. Pour the sake jelly mixture over the yoghurt jelly, leaving room at the top. Working quickly, press blueberries and flowers until the surface of the jelly. Place back in fridge, leaving to set for a minimum of 1 hour, depending on the size of your mould.

The post Japanese Jelly Flower Pots appeared first on Asian Inspirations.

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If you love food, chances are you discovered your passion at home with your parents. As we head towards Mother’s Day, we asked some AI employees about their favourite stories about their mums and food, and the journey that it started them on.

Tyla

My mum never cooked during my younger days because my grandma is a fantastic cook and ruled the kitchen. We had to cook over charcoal, and my job was to fan the fire. I loved watching the embers fly out of the terracotta stove. All us Kids would take turns taste testing, then dodging mum as she yelled at us for tasting so much there would be barely any food left for dinner!

Our family specialities were lotus root and peanut soup, steamed pork ribs with shrimp paste, and choy geok – literally means “meal legs”. It is a one pot stew made from leftovers cooked in a tamarind base soup.

We were typical Asian family. My mum and her siblings gathered weekly at Grandma’s for a feast. They always requested their favourite dishes and always got them! My grandma is still the best cook out of everyone, and now whenever I try a new restaurant I will always compare it to my grandma’s cooking!

Lydia

I loved baking all sorts of Chinese New Year cookies (because I get to eat as I make them!) with mum. My Mum’s a last-minute kind of person, so we’ll be rushing cookie production 2-3 nights before Chinese New Year. We’ll bake, pack and seal the cookies (mostly for gifts) till 2-3am in the morning. We’ll always say that we’ll do it earlier the following year, but it’s always the same!

My favourite dish to cook with her is either peanut cookies, moist chocolate cake, or her signature mini sausage rolls and ‘mi ku’ (steamed buns)

“Everything you see out there can be made at home”, that’s what she’s said all my life, but we usually end up getting takeaway anyway!

But having said that, she’s still a much better cook than me!

Trent

My mum likes to think of herself as an excellent home cook who can recreate anything she sees at a restaurant except better. After on restaurant visit, we tried to make Salted Egg Yolk Chicken Spare Ribs. Not bothering to listen to my advice that we should look at recipes online before attempting the dish, we tried making it and it went horribly wrong. But of course, we still ate it.

Growing up, my mum would always be watching cooking shows on TV and, slowly over time, I started to enjoy watching shows like ‘Masterchef’ and ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ and developed a passion for all kinds of food.

I don’t really like cooking with my mum because she likes to hog all the space on the kitchen bench, but my mum, my sister and I often roll spring rolls or make gyoza together. We all have a job and work like an assembly line.

Am I a better cook than mum? I think it depends. If we’re talking about traditional Vietnamese food and family dinners, my mum definitely has it in the bag. However, I’m definitely better at baking and making desserts.

If you’ve got a story of cooking with your mum you’d like to share, let us know!

The post Inspirational Stories appeared first on Asian Inspirations.

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1. In a pot, bring water to boil. Blanch the pork trotters until they are no longer pinkish in colour. Discard the water and set aside pork trotters.
2. In a separate pot, heat oil in medium heat, saute ginger, garlic, shallots and spring onions until fragrant.
3. Prepare all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl, then add in to the pot with sautéed ingredients. Mix sauce well and then add in the pre blanched pork trotters. Next add in 1lt of water and bring to boil. Add in shitake mushrooms and deshelled hard boil eggs. Cover the pot with lid, turning heat down to low and allow to simmer for at least 2 hours.
4. Discard the spring onions and ginger before serving the braised pork trotter with steamed rice.

The post Braised Pork Trotters With Eggs appeared first on Asian Inspirations.

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1. Combine all spice paste ingredients to blend in an electric blender.
2. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a wok over low heat, saute the spice paste until the oil separates from the paste, approximately in 5 minutes.
3. In a bowl, combine tamarind paste with the water, mix well and strain for the tamarind juice. Add the juice to the spice paste in the wok and bring to boil.
4. Add in tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add in the daun kesom, bunga kantan salt and sugar. Stir occasionally while allowing to simmer until sauce thickens. Salt and sugar may be adjusted according to taste.
5. Meanwhile, heat enough oil in a deep wok over high heat. Deep fry fish until well cooked through. Drain oil and place on a serving dish, set aside.
6. Pour sauce over deep fried fish and serve immediately with steamed rice.

The post Malaysian Nyonya Style Deep Fried Whole Fish appeared first on Asian Inspirations.

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