Onigiri (Rice balls)

Onigiri or rice balls are easy to make

Ingredients ( Serves 4 )
Onigiri with a grilled salmon filling (sufficient for 4 rice balls)
・400 g steamed rice
・A half of sliced salmon (50g)
・White sesame seeds  

Onigiri with a tuna and mayonnaise filling (sufficient for 4 rice balls)
・400 g steamed rice
・40 g tinned tuna in oil
・2 teaspoons mayonnaise

Grilled onigiri flavoured with soy sauce (sufficient for 4 rice balls)
・400 g steamed rice
・Soy sauce

How to cook
1.For the onigiri with the salmon filling, sprinkle salmon with salt, and rest for at least 30 minutes. Pat dry and grill in a frying pan. Carefully remove any skin and bones, and flake the fish.
2.Place 100 g of the steamed rice in a rice bowl. Insert a quarter of the flaked salmon into the center of the rice. Ensure the rice is covering the salmon filling.
3.Moisten both hands and coat lightly with salt. Upend the bowl of rice into your hands, and press and shape into a ball. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
4.For the onigiri with the tuna and mayonnaise filling, drain the tinned tuna and mix with the mayonnaise. Add the mixture to the center of the rice, instead of the salmon in case of the salmon Onigiri. Shape the rice into a ball as you made the salmon Onigiri. Then squeeze into a flattened ball about 3 cm thick between your hands. Then use both hands to shape it into a triangle.
5.For the grilled onigiri, shape the rice into a flattened ball. Grill in a frying pan. Turn when the rice starts to turn color. Dip in soy sauce and return to the pan. Grill again over low heat, turning occasionally until it turns a golden brown.
Courtesy of Akiko Watanabe of NHK



Zoni is a simple and very healthy Japanese soup and grilled rice cake dish that you can easily make at home. You can buy the mustard spinach, the shaved katsuo-bushi (dried and smoked bonito) for the dashi stock, and rice cakes at an Asian market.

Ingredients (serves 4)

100 g chicken thigh meat
100 g komatsuna (mustard spinach)
4 mochi rice cakes
1/2/ (70 g) carrot

4 cups dashi stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt

How to cook

1.Prepare the dashi stock. Bring 4 cups of water to the boil. Stir in 12 g of shaved katsuo-bushi (dried and smoked bonito), and simmer over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve.

2.Blanch the mustard spinach for 2-3 minutes in salted boiling water. Remove with tongs and plunge immediately into a bowl of cold water to set the color. Once the mustard spinach has cooled, remove and squeeze the moisture from the leaves. Lay on a chopping board and cut into 4 cm lengths. Slice the carrot into rounds 5 mm thick. If you possess a mold, the rounds can be cut into decorative shapes. Boil the carrot for 7-8 minutes, until tender, in the same water which you used to blanch the mustard spinach. Drain and set aside.

3.Place the rice cakes in a non-oiled frying pan. Place the lid over the pan, and set over low heat, turning the cakes after 2-3 minutes. The cakes should have puffed up after 5 minutes.

4.Cut the chicken into 2 cm pieces and place in a saucepan with the cold dashi stock. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce to a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes, being sure to remove the scum that wells to the surface with a ladle or spoon. Season with the salt and soy sauce. Add the prepared mustard spinach and carrot, heating them gently. Have 4 small bowls ready. Place a grilled rice cake in each, and then add the soup with the greens, carrot and chicken. Be sure to arrange them in decorative piles around the rice cake.

Courtesy of NHK

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is a very popular Thai dish. Thai cuisine is a mixture of Eastern and Western dishes. The characteristics of Thai cooking are sour, sweet, salty, and bitter flavors.

Prepare Pad Thai for 2 servings
2 Big tbsp. of palm sugar
3 tbsp. concentrated tamarind juice
3 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. oyster sauce

Prepare ingredients to cook the noodle: (You probably will find all these ingredients at Asian markets)

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. minced shallot
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. cut yellow tofu (regular tofu ok)
1 tbsp. sweet radish (minced)
2 handful thin noodle if you can’t find the specific one, just use any noodle, mung bean noodle is also good. (Soak the noodle in regular water for 2 hours)
2 eggs
1 handful of a garlic-like vegetable >>> garlic Chives/ Chinese Chives.
10 big shrimps (peeled, De-veined and cooked)

Final Decoration:
1 handful bean sprouts
1 tsp. dried red chili powder
2 tbsp. roasted peanut (crushed)
1 tsp. sugar
4-5 branches of Uuicnri leaves/ garlic Chives/ Chinese Chives.
1 piece of sliced lime

Cooking Instructions:

1.Heat the pan and add palm sugar, fish sauce, tamarind juice, oyster sauce and a little bit of water. Now used medium or low heat to let the sauce boiled and get thick. Keep stirring. Make sure you don’t burn the sauce. Gold pad Thai is good pad Thai. Be careful, it will be bitter if you put max heat and burn it.

2.Taste the sauce and make it the way you like. Some people love it more sweet and some just love it a little more salty but the trick of Pad Thai sauce is the well-balance of 3 tastes, sweetness, sourness and saltiness. So change it the way you like. If you like it sweet, keep the taste the way it is will be right taste for you. However, my trick is to add some Maggi soy sauce to make it more salty as my husband love it that way.

3.When the sauce get thick enough, remove from the stove.

Next, we will cook the pad Thai noodles.

1. In a different pan, heat the pan and add vegetable oil. When the pan is hot, add garlic and shallot Fry until it has aromatic smell.

2. Next, add tofu and sweet radish.

3. Now, add noodle and 4 tbsp of the sauce we made from earlier. (that’s for 1 serving). You can keep adding the sauce of the amount of the noodle is more than one handful. Make sure you don’t add too much because the noodle will be too wet and overcook. (add it little by little) Then, make a quick stir.
You may want to pick the noodle and taste it to see if your noodle is cooked right.

4. If you like bean sprouts and the sliced garlic Chives/ Chinese Chives to be cooked, add it in this step.

5. Push the noodle aside. Add the egg and cook it until it is half way done then mix it with the noodle. Now add shrimps and mix.

6. Turn off the fire. Arrange the noodle on a plate. Put dried chili pepper, sugar, roasted peanut, fresh bean sprouts, one piece of lemon and the garlic Chives/ Chinese Chives on a side.

Courtesy of joysthaifood.com


Fried Rice

Fried rice Cha-Han チャーハン is one of my favorite dishes – it’s easy and cheap to make and it tastes good. It’s a dish you can also use leftover rice, vegetables, and meat. This is a Japanese version.


1 ½ cups white rice to serve one person. I use short grain white rice because it stays together
1 white onion medium
1 green onions chopped
1 egg scrambled
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
2 tse to 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 tse Sugar to add more flavor


I use a frying pan to cook fried rice but you can use a wok
Cook rice – use a rice cooker if you can
Fry egg in pan using olive oil

Add rice to pan. Then add onions, green onions, and the egg. Then add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. Mix ingredients together and cook for about 15 minutes and you are done

Black Sesame Kitchen

Beijing’s Black Sesame Kitchen is where people cook, socialize, dine, and wine. It was founded in 2008 by Chinese-American chef and writer Jen Lin-Liu passion for Chinese cuisine. Jen wrote the book “Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China.” Some of the classes at Black Sesame Kitchen are: Shanxi and hand rolled noodles, Home style-Dumplings, and Sichuan cooking. The classes are held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoons. Wednesday and Friday are “Wine and Dine” night where a ten course meal is supplemented by unlimited wines. There are also private dining for birthdays and special occasions.



Vietnamese Rice Noodles Bún

Bún, popularly translated as ‘rice noodles’, is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine and one of the most popular noodles, used for preparing a plethora of delicious and exotic dishes, some good and some, well, exotic.

Bún chả (bún with grilled pork), bún thịt nướng (bún with grilled meat), bún đậu mắm tôm (bún with tofu and shrimp sauce), bún thang (bun with chicken, sliced fried egg and pork) and bún ốc (bún with snail) can all be consumed at dusty meal vendors around the city but which one is the best?

To answer this question it is imperative to investigate with your nose, mouth and mind. First of all, you can’t just choose any bún chả or bún thịt nướng place willy-nilly. You must do some research, either with your own palate, which can be fun, time-consuming and occasionally disappointing or you can ask a local to tell you what street or area makes the best particular bún dish you are coveting.

Most people agree on these areas in general but are quick to point out that there are many places where you can find delicious bún dishes outside their famous locations. Only once you have tried several of these bún dishes at their most pristine locations can you properly answer the question, “how do you like your bún?”

More often than not the answer is bún chả, especially if you are asking an Ex-Pat, tourist or western student in Hanoi. Why? Simply because it is preposterously delicious and ultimately and because it agrees with even the most picky of Westerner palates.

Bún chả is a paragon of noodle deconstruction; it is served on two separate plates and one bowl, all celebrating powerfully simple flavors, and is consumed by combining the three in accordance with your preferred taste. The first plate consists of the obligatory Vietnamese mound of herbs, the second plate is piled with pristine white bún noodles and the bowl is full of a steamy sweet broth, sliced carrots and susu, and grilled pork.

While the herbs and bún play integral parts in this dish, it is the grilled pork that makes this dish a dynasty. The pork is seasoned with a secret family recipe then placed into a flat metal cage, which is turned over a charcoal fire until the pork is cooked.

The grills used to cook the chả are sustained by small fans that simultaneously function as homing beacons, blowing the delicious smell of grilled cha into the streets and up the nostrils of passing motorists. When you get a good whiff of bun cha, it is hard to keep driving.

Once all three pieces of the bun cha puzzle are in front of you, it is high time to consume the traditional Hanoian dish, this is obviously the best part. Everyone eats their bún cha a little differently but the general approach is to place a chopstick full of bun noodles into the broth, gather a piece of meat and some veggies and lift the delectable morsel into your watering mouth, chew, swallow and repeat.

To alter the taste of your bites, many people add their own combination of herbs, either by placing them directly in the broth or by eating them prior to any given bite. Yum! For an added bonus, order some nem rán hải sản (fried sea food springrolls) and dip them in the broth, which doubles as nem rán dipping sauce.

Phở might be the most famous dish of Vietnam but there is nothing that screams Hanoi louder than bún chả. A trip to Hanoi without at least one sampling of bún chả is like a trip to Paris sans the Eiffel Tour but make sure to seek your bún chả fix in the afternoon because it is strictly a lunch dish (although you can occasionally find it at night).

Because it is a traditional Hanoian dish, bún chả can be found all over the city. Many places around the city boast the best bún chả and because the dish is so popular many of these places concoct rather tasty bún chả to back up their claims.

However, if you are a true foodie, interested in the best bún chả in Hanoi, head to Le Van Huu, off Hue Street by Cho Hom market, and follow your nose. I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Courtesy of VOV Voice of Vietnam


2 chicken thighs, boned but with skin intact
1 1/2 cup whole dried red chilies, cut in half
4-5 whole Sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 cloves garlic, sliced into thin slivers
1 small piece ginger, sliced into small slivers
2 leeks, cut crosswise into thin slices
2 teaspoons cooking wine
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 quart cooking oil

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Heat oil in a wok on high for 4-5 minutes. Add the chicken and fry for 4-5 minutes until the pieces are light brown and crispy. Drain and set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok on medium for 1-2 minutes. Add the chilies, cumin, and Sichuan peppercorns for 30 seconds (making sure that the chilies don’t burn). Add the leek, garlic, and ginger and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken and stir for 1 minute. Add rice wine and soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt, sugar, and toss in wok. Add sesame oil and remove for heat.

Courtesy of Black Sesame Kitchen – classes and private dinning in Beijing, China