February 21, 2010

Yaki-onigiri (Grilled rice balls) 焼きおにぎり

Equipment: Short-grain Japanese rice (or risotto rice), soy sauce, non-stick pan, clingfilm/glad wrap, oil (may be optional), rice cooker (optional), mirin (optional), sesame seeds (optional)

More about yaki-onigiri at Momofuku for 2 or else you can Google it, there are plenty of sites out there discussing the various methods available.

Rice must be freshly made and warm so that it adheres and holds its structure when shaped.

Clingfilm is a great cheat, so the rice does not stick to your hands.

Lightly oil the plate, gently flip the onigiri so that it has a slight coating of oil. This will help when grilling the onigiri.

Only soy sauce is strictly necessary.

Grill lightly over low heat until a crust forms. Flip.

Brush the first (crispy) side with soy sauce. Be gentle so the onigiri does not fall apart.

Keep flipping, brushing and grilling until beautifully crispy and golden.

Eat. Goes well with beer or sake.

Bailey's chocolate raspberry torte

This delicious torte was not made by me, but Jon on Valentine's day as part of a 4-course dinner (the other courses were wild mushroom salad, stuffed garlic spinach portobello mushrooms, and baked penne).

The torte was made in a 9-inch baking pan with Cadbury's cocoa powder, topped with fresh raspberries and mint, and then drenched in Bailey's mint Irish Cream. Just the thing to win a girl's heart! ;)

Here is a similar recipe (minus fresh mint leaves) for you to try.

Chicken marsala dinner with rosemary potatoes and Parmesan peas

We stayed in last night for dinner. It was cold outside, and we didn't feel like moving much. I had bought a bottle of Marsala wine yesterday on an impulse, as I had seen it on a supermarket shelf, which is something I'd never seen before - Marsala seems to be quite hard to find here in Hong Kong. Anyway, I love the rich umami flavour that Marsala adds to meats, and I had some frozen boneless chicken thighs in the freezer, plus a few leftover mushrooms and shallots, so voila, chicken Marsala dinner. For the sides, we had leftover white rice, plus roasted potatoes and peas - i.e., the ingredients I had on hand in the kitchen!

Chicken Marsala recipe: I followed the Smitten Kitchen recipe but modified it. I didn't measure the ingredients exactly (just going by instinct instead) except for the Marsala as I didn't want it to end up too winey or too weak. Here's my shorthand instructions:

1. Defrost chicken in a bowl or Tupperware container, dump some salt and black pepper on and flip them until seasoning is coated. I used metal tongs (as in picture).
2. Melt butter to coat the bottom of your dish (I used the glass Pyrex dish for cooking and serving)
3. Brown chicken (don't cook all the way through, you will add the chicken back in later) and take back out. Set aside.
4. In the same pan, using the melted butter/chicken juices, fry sliced mushrooms (white or brown button is fine) and thinly sliced shallots (I used this instead of the onion called for in the SK recipe as I wanted to use up my shallots) until soft.
5. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup (or more depending on preference) of Marsala wine, stir into the onion-mushroom-butter sauce, and wait til it evaporates. Add back chicken and turn down heat slightly. Flip chicken occasionally until done, making sure it doesn't stick to bottom of the dish and burn.
6. Taste, adding more butter/salt/pepper as needed, and then serve immediately.

This is a rich and flavourful dish so best to serve it with some plain carbs to soak up the sauce. I used white rice, but crusty bread or plain pasta would go with this too.


I diced one baking potato, skin-on, (we had a lot of chicken and also rice, so only one for 2 people, otherwise I would do one potato per person), and blanched the cubes in some boiling water for a couple of minutes to remove some of the starch. Then I put the cubes in the roasting pan and added extra virgin olive oil, rosemary, and teaspoon of salt. I tossed the mixture so that the potatoes were thoroughly coated, and then baked until golden crispy brown in a 220 Celcius oven.


I adapted this from a Jamie Oliver recipe. Basically I used frozen peas, heated until soft, tossed in good extra virgin olive oil, a little fresh mint, and then added shaved Parmesan and shredded Mozarella to the mixture. Before serving, sprinkle with some grated/cracked black pepper.