The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch It, I Try It!

ホップ!ステップ!ジャンプ!⌒v⌒v⌒v⌒ミ(ノ ̄⊿)ノ

Jdorama Inspiration: Tumbling

Tumbling is one of the new dramas currently being aired on TBS.  It is about a struggling high school club that does men’s rhythmic gymnastics (yes, there is such a thing).  The club starts out as a four-man group until the school’s rough bad boy delinquents headed by Azuma Wataru (Yamamato Yusuke) join in.  The guys face obstacles and ridicule as they try to prove their worth and dedication to the sport while resolving differences within the group and  strengthening bonds with each other as well.

I’ll Tumble for Ya!: OMG… men in tights! And with a pose like this… who can possibly resist Tumbling? lol

In the tradition of Japan’s sports manga, Tumbling looks like the usual I-don’t-care-what-you-say,-I’m-gonna-practice-hard-til-I-succeed kind of story.  However, it is unusual with its choice of sports – rhythmic gymnastics for men (which I learned is quite popular in Japan) since RG is more known to be largely performed by women.  So basically, Tumbling is more like the movie Waterboys (a group of HS guys doing another sport dominated by women – synchronized swimming) of which I am a loyal fan.  Anyway, the drama is still ongoing so I can’t give a full review on it yet.  In the meantime, it is great to see Yusuke and the other actors do their own tumbling, handstands and other routines which are obviously not easy to do. Good job, mina-san!

Jdorama Food: Omuraisu

Omuraisu (also known as omurice) is short for “omelette rice” which is exactly that – omelette and rice. It is one of the Japan’s well-loved western-styled dishes.  It is made of fried rice (usually consisting of chicken and tomato sauce) with omelette that is either placed on top of the rice or wrapped around it.

The FooDorama Connection: Omuraisu is shown so far in almost every episode since Wataru’s mom (Otsuka Nene) owns a diner that seems to specialize on this dish (because it’s the only food i’ve seen her served so far!)

Wataru and his friends would usually hang out at his mom’s diner and bond over a meal of omuraisu after grueling hours of stretching and tumbling (either that or fighting with other gangs).

The omuraisu served in Tumbling with ketchup on top.

Another favorite jdorama of mine that showed omuraisu was…

Tiger and Dragon (TBS, 2005): Meeting at a western -styled diner, Yakuza henchman, Tora (Nagase Tomoya) and rakuga master, Don-chan (Nishida Toshiyuki – above left) would often end every episode with their funny running gag – the ‘exchange of debt payments’ (hard to explain – basta, watch it na lang!) while having their usual orders of omuraisu.

The FooDorama Challenge: Trying out Omuraisu!

I find this dish not really strange and new since I have been having fried rice and omelette throughout my whole life.  But I guess presenting it in a novel kind of way made me feel excited about it – plus the fact that I do love fried rice along with fluffy scrambled eggs! Yummm…

How to make the raisu in omuraisu: Saute chopped garlic and onions in a pan.  Add meat, preferably chicken (but I used ham instead).

Then, mix in the other ingredients: sliced mushrooms, green peas, chopped bell peppers, tomato sauce, and some ketchup.  When ready, add in cooked white rice and stir.  Season with salt and pepper. To enhance flavor, one can mix in chicken bouillon (finely chopped into powder), a bay leaf, and/or Worcestershire sauce. For me, I used a lil thing we call magik sarap.  Adjust the amounts to your liking. Then, set aside on a plate when done.

To make the omelette: beat 2 eggs in a bowl and season it with salt and pepper. Pour it on the same heated pan you used for the rice, making sure to spread it evenly throughout the surface.  As it cooks, place a cup of the fried rice in the center. Bring the top and bottom edges of the omelette over the rice.  The tricky part comes when placing it on your plate: place an upside down plate on the pan, turn the whole thing over so the plate catches the omuraisu.

Actually… This is what it looks like after transferring it on a plate.  My omelette was almost turning brown since it had sat on the hot pan for too long (because I was busy taking pix! Hee-hee…).  Anyhoo, I adjusted it using my hands – tucking the edges and shaping it for a better, neater look.

Whew! My first attempt at Omuraisu for FDC#12 – done!: It turned out pretty ok for a first try, I guess.  Garnished with parsley and drizzled with ketchup.  The presentation looked really inviting.  As a breakfast meal (for us Pinoys, this is preferably served as a good hearty breakfast with hot coffee), it would really start your day right just by looking at it. You can write/design ketchup symbols and messages on it like hearts and smileys.  Your kids and spouse would love it!

Open up and say…Mmm!: My first omuraisu was fantastic! They all went so well in your mouth – the rice, the omelette, and even the ketchup!  You got to eat it fast though because it does taste better if it’s warm.

Yup! Omuraisu is definitely worth tumbling for!

HereGoes~。°。ヾ( ・_・)ツ⌒Y⌒Y⌒ ミ(。A。)⌒v⌒v⌒ミ(ノ ̄v ̄)ノ゜°YATTA!!!

My FooDorama Challenge Links
Coming Soon – FDC#13: An FDC Special on Japanese Comfort Food (Jdorama Inspiration: Shinya Shokodo)
FDC#11: Bibimbap (Kdrama Inspiration: Full House)
FDC#10: Agedashi Tofu (Jdorama Inspiration: JIN)

———————————– fodocha

Dish info source: wikipedia
Recipe source:  CookingWithDog
Jdorama info: dramawiki
Jdorama photo credits: TBS (Tumbling); TBS (Tiger and Dragon)
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The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch It, I Try It!

アリガトーフ♪≡c⌒っ´・∀・)っ□

Jdorama Challenge: JIN

JIN is an 11 episode sci-fi/medical drama shown from Oct. to Dec. of 2009 on TBS.  The story centers around a brain surgeon, Dr. Minakata Jin, who got mysteriously transported back in time – around 1860’s or a few years prior to Japan’s historic period, the Meiji Restoration.  The doctor in his quest to find a way to go back to his own time had suddenly found himself involved and interacting with people of that era – both ordinary and prominent figures – thereby, inevitably altering the course of history – not just of Japan, but of the whole world as well.  This drama bagged the top awards in the 63rd Japan Drama Academy Awards including best drama and best lead actor for Osawa Takao (as Jin).

JIN is an interesting drama that is definitely “edutaining” – (educational and entertaining).  The viewer can learn about Japan’s history as well as a bit about science and medicine. Though i am no expert, I am sure the drama is not historically accurate.  However, its absorbing story-line, the mysteries behind his time travel that have yet to be solved, and the consequences and morality of his actions are thought-provoking and can surely hook a viewer like me til the end.  I am sure there will be a second season… and I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next!

Jdorama Food: Agedashi Tofu

Agedashi tofu (also known as agedashidofu or age tofu) is basically deep-fried tofu served with a dipping sauce called tentsuyu (made of mirin, dashi, and soy sauce).  It is eaten as a side dish or appetizer.

FooDorama Connection: In Episode 10, before leaving the Tachibana family (who had “adopted” him ever since he got transported back into the past), Dr. Minakata (Osawa) receives a bento box from Tachibana Miki (played by Ayase Haruka) as she bids him farewell.

In this drama: I learned that prior to the Meiji Restoration (pre-1868), the Japanese were forbidden to eat meat from four-legged animals due to their strict Buddhist beliefs.  Therefore, Dr. Minakata had been eating a lot of vegetarian meals (which he considers plain side dishes in his own time) that were always prepared by Miki.  Above shows Jin looking at the last bento food she prepared for him and realizes he’s going to miss her cooking especially her deep-fried tofu.

Jin’s favorite: agedashi tofu in tentsuyu sauce – “unusually” served in a bento box by Miki.

The FooDorama Challenge: Making Agedashi Tofu

A typical middle class Pinoy family meal do not include side dishes much – especially if one is on a budget or too busy to cook extra dishes.  A meal of around one or two ulam (main dish) and rice is our everyday fare along with condiments and fruits. When we do serve a side dish – it’s most probably something simple and store-bought than home-made (to save time) like atsara or achara (pickled papaya strips) and salted red duck eggs.

Well, this  side dish is a centuries-old recipe in Japan.  Tofu does not really have much taste so I assumed that the dipping sauce is the one that’s important.

What you need: silken tofu, corn starch, granulated dashi, mirin and soy sauce.

Cut the tofu into smaller cubes and coat each one with corn starch: this was a bit tricky since the tofu was too delicate and breaks up easily while doing so.

Frying them all up in vegetable oil.

Agedashi Tofu for FDC#10 is done: garnished with chopped spring onions and katsuboshi flakes and dipped in tentsuyu sauce (boil the following: 2/3 cup water, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 3 tablespoon mirin, 1 1/2 teaspoon granulated dashi).

Crispy fried and up close: Many Pinoys may find it a bit too mild-tasting even with the dipping sauce (we would more likely modify it by using more soy sauce, and add garlic and/or pepper to jazz it up).  And there are still too many steps to make it just for a simple side dish (if we get to deep-fry anything – then it should be something for a main dish).  But other than that, it was ok… I conclude that it would be something I would serve guests or order in a resto rather than be a part of an ordinary meal. (^_^) v

NEXT: For my 11th FooDorama Challenge, I’ll take a short break from Japanese dishes and go Korean once again so I could pay tribute to my most favorite Kdrama of all time! Heehee!

My FooDorama Challenge Links:
FDC#11: Bibimbap (Kdrama Inspiration: Full House)
FDC#9: Sekihan (Jdorama Inspiration: Hotaru no Haka)
FDC#8: Kareh Raisu (Jdorama Inspiration: Kaibutsu-kun)

————————————- fodocha

Dish info source: wikipedia
Recipe source: mamaloli
Japan's meat history info source: luciesfarm
Jdorama info source: dramawiki
Jdorama photo credits: TBS

The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch It, I Try It!

平和 (★´3`)ノ.☆.・∴.・☆:*・∵.:*・☆.。.:*, :*・∵.:☆.。

Jdorama Inspiration: Hotaru no Haka

The live action version of Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies) was a tanpatsu (movie made for TV) that was shown on November 1, 2005 on NTV.  Based on a novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, Hotaru no Haku was first made into a critically acclaimed animated movie in 1988. The story, set in World War II, is a heart-breaking tale of a brother and sister who were orphaned and taken under the care of a distant aunt.  The harsh realities and hopelessness caused by the cruelties of war inevitably affected everyone and thus, led the the two siblings to go and fend for themselves which ultimately brought about tragic and unfortunate consequences.

It would be better to see the 1988 movie before you watch the jdorama version.  A lot of people liked the original much better than the newer version – mainly because they disliked the auntie (played by Matsushima Nanako in the live action version) so much they prefer not to see her side of the story (which wasn’t implied in the animated movie).  The 2005 version tried to point out that it is understandable if people do make cruel, apathetic decisions and acts just to protect those who are precious to them in times of war. Both versions still showed a clear message though: war may bring out the best as well as the worst in us, and let’s hope and pray that something like this will never ever happen again.

“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” ~Bertrand Russell: Seita (Ishida Hoshi) and Setsuko (Sasaki Mao) try to stay alive during the war (above left); At right are their animated counterparts from the 1988 movie.

Jdorama Food: Sekihan

Sekihan or red bean rice is a traditional Japanese dish that is made of steamed glutinous rice and azuki beans.  The rice gets its red color from the water used from boiling the beans.  Red is a color associated with ‘happiness’ or driving away evil vibes in Japan; that is why, sekihan is served during celebrations like birthdays and holidays.

The FooDorama Connection: At the start of the TV movie, the husband of the auntie was called to serve in the war and will be leaving on that day. For his going-away party, the aunt cooks a big batch of sekihan which excited her two daughters for they hadn’t eaten anything as luxurious as sekihan since the war started.  Above shows the elder daughter Natsu (played by Inoue Mao) scolding her sisters, reminding them that their father’s departure is not something to rejoice about.

The sekihan in the TV movie being cooked in a wooden steamer.

Another jdorama that featured sekihan:

Smile (TBS, 2009): In episode 2, Hayakawa Bito (Matsumoto Jun), helps make and deliver sekihan to an elementary school.  Unaware that the rice in the sekihan was tainted with pesticide, Bito later finds out about the mass poisoning of the students through the TV news (above right).

The FooDorama Challenge: Sekihan for My Dad’s Birthday!

We Pinoys are no strangers when it comes to glutinous rice cakes (like biko and bibingka) which we also serve during special occasions, and occasionally as an afternoon snack.  However, ours have coconut milk and sugar so they’re sweeter and goes well with strong coffee.  So when I read the ingredients for sekihan – I naturally went: What? No sugar? WTH will it taste like?

Having doubts about it, I still went ahead with this recipe for my dad’s birthday, using whatever that was left from the expensive azuki beans that I used for shiruko (FDC#3).

To make Sekihan: I used half a cup of the beans and soaked them overnight in water.  Then, I boiled them with two cups of water for less than an hour, making sure they weren’t totally cooked yet.

Then, I placed the washed uncooked rice in the rice cooker, along with three cups of water (a portion of which came from the reddish water used for boiling the beans).  I also placed the semi-cooked beans in it and some salt and let it sit for an hour. Lastly, I turned on the rice cooker until the sekihan was ready.

onigiri sekihan

Sekihan for FDC#9 is done! You can mold the sekihan into round or triangular shapes (onigiri) if you like. 🙂

What did this biko-loyalist, Pinay amateur cook think of the taste? Hmm, as I said, I had my doubts but I decided to give it a chance.  I tried it with sesame seeds and salt (as stated in the recipe) but I wasn’t satisfied with it, and was only able to eat a few amount. I even tried store bought furikake (condiment used for rice) with it but I still found it lacking. The rice and beans tasted well together but I just blame my stubborn taste buds which is too used to eating rice cakes the way we usually make them… hence, I found my hand reaching up into the shelf to get the sugar jar….

sekihan with sugar

Topped with brown sugar and sesame seeds, this sekihan is much better and more satisfying for me.  And I did find out that in some parts of Japan (like in Tsugare and Iwate), they do use sugar to sweeten their sekihan. ^_^ V

sekihan for dad

This sugar-topped sekihan is for my dad who celebrated his birthday today! Happy, happy birthday to my dear old Dad!

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Postscript (★´3`): Btw, my sekihan turned out too dark (it was more like brown, not red) so my advice is to lessen the amount of the “red” water and use more clear water for the one you’ll use to cook rice with – that is, if you want a lighter red or pinkish colored rice.  (★´3`) Also, if you are a beginner, it is better to experiment with smaller amounts first (like 2 cups of rice and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of beans) and see if you like it.  If you do, you can make more next time. (★´3`) And lastly, of course, I don’t discount the traditional way of putting salt – but if you are watching your health and on a low-salt diet, I think brown or muscuvado sugar could be a tasty and healthier alternative.

^*・’゚☆。.:*:・’☆’・:*:.。 ~piisu~fireflies!~ v (゚▽゚)ノ.:*:・’゚:*:・’゚☆

My FooDorama Challenge Links:
FDC#10: Agedashi Tofu (Jdorama Inspiration: Jin)
FDC#8: Kareh Raisu (Jdorama Inspiration: Kaibutsu-kun)
FDC#7: Zaru Soba (Jdorama Inspiration: Attention Please)

———————————- fodocha

Sekihan info source: wikipedia (English), wikipedia (Japan)
Recipe sources: japanesefood.about, recipezaar
Jdorama info source: dramawiki
Jdorama photo credits: NTV, TBS
Anime photo source: News-Anime

The FooDorama Challenge: I watch it, I try it!

ゃぁ♪|/// |ヽ(^∀^)ノ| ///|(自動ドア)

Jdorama Inspiration: Hana Kimi

Hana Kimi (short for Hanazakari no Kimitachi e) is a comedy that was shown in the summer season of 2007 on FujiTV (and in 2008 on our own Kapuso network).  It had 12 episodes plus one SP in 2008.  It is about Ashiya Mizuki (Horikita Maki) who disguised herself as a young boy so she could enroll in an all-boys school.  She stays in a dormitory and immediately gets into sorts of crazy trouble and gain friends at the same time while helping her roommate and classmate, Sano Izumi (Oguri Shun) get back into the sports of high jumping.

Hana Kimi is such a fun and hilarious comedy, it’s hard not to like it.  The character of Nakatsu Shuichi (played by Ikuta Toma) was THE life of the show – hands down!  I wouldn’t mind watching this drama over and over again just to see his crazy, show-stopping thought-monologues that only he can deliver.

I Heart Nakatsu!!!: Ikuta Toma was so perfect as the lovable, funnyman Nakatsu-chan (above left), it is hard to imagine anyone else playing the role.  Above right shows Shun and Toma all dressed up for the Maid Cafe scene in Episode 12; these two characters go so well together they should have gotten their own drama spin-off.

Jdorama Food: Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is an easy Japanese recipe and fun to make.  It has been described as similar to pancake or pizza but for me I think it is more like an omelette where you just mix together your choice of ingredients and then fry it but using pancake batter.

The FooDorama Connection: Okonomiyaki was shown pretty much all through-out the whole drama since Nakatsu would often take Mizuki on a “date” in an okonomiyaki restaurant. Above pic is from the SP episode in what was supposedly a ‘flashback’ scene.

Nakatsu-san drizzling mayonnaise on his okonomiyaki.

My other favorite jdoramas that feature okonomiyaki are:

At Home Dad: In episode 10, the neighborhood moms (and one dad) were having an okonomiyaki party during their weekly get-together while they let their kids play.

Hana Yori Dango: In episode 8, the favorite food of the young Tsukasa Domyoji (above left) was okonomiyaki but his ‘rich-boy’ pride disallows him to buy one from the street vendors since he considers it ‘peasant food,’ so his older sister learned to make it for him at home.

And lastly in  Kekkon Dekinai Otoko: Eccentric architect, Shinsuke Kuwano (Hiroshi Abe) teaches Dr. Hayasaka Natsumi (Natsukawa Yui) the ‘art’ of making okonomiyaki; he unnecessarily makes a simple dish sound complicated, making his date feel a bit intimidated. Here is that preciously funny scene (sorry! it’s subbed only in French… but you’ll get the idea):

The FooDorama Challenge: Okonomiyaki Party at Home

Before I had the okonomiyaki party, I practiced first on my own, using left-over ingredients from the ref. The ingredients for okonomiyaki may be fresh according to recipe instructions but I prefer them to be pre-cooked so I won’t have to worry about over-cooking the batter or salmonella infection. Okonomiyaki is best cooked on a flat-surfaced pan but I only have a grooved type of griddle, nevertheless, it was ok.

So by the time I hosted an okonomiyaki party for Sis and family one Sunday afternoon, I was already somewhat of an ‘expert.’

In a bowl, I placed the basic ingredients of shredded cabbage and garlic chives. You can add any ingredient you want. I used pre-cooked pieces of pork and squid, crab sticks, cucumber, carrots, onions, and mixed them all up with one egg, 1/4 cup flour,  several teaspoons of water with a pinch of salt and pepper.  This makes one pancake (But if you prefer to make a big batch, you can use the ordinary pancake mix which I will do next time). Then I poured the batter on my hot electric griddle and let it cook on both sides.  It was that simple.

But what made it really fun and truly Japanese was the topped garnishing: aonori (seaweed flakes), Japanese mayo, and bonito flakes (which are fish shavings that move in the hot steam from the food). Okonomiyaki sauce is also used but I don’t have one so I used tonkatsu sauce instead. You can buy all these in a Japanese grocery store like Yamazaki in Little Tokyo, Makati.

Oki-Doki done! My Okonomiyaki for FDC#4.

I’m glad my guests like the okonomiyaki.  They found it deliciously different and so new that they don’t have anything to compare it with. But instead of a ‘make-your-own-okonomiyaki’ party that I had in mind, I ended up cooking the pancakes alone for all of them. Ewan ko nga ba... hmp! Mga tamad! haha! Anyway, I would go on making this recipe especially if I want to put some pizazz to unappetizing leftovers in the fridge, thereby my Okonomiyaki challenge deserves two thumbs up for FDC#4…

b (^-^) d ~ayuzz~

UPDATE:  I continued making okonomiyaki. Above was my Seafood Okonomiyaki experiment for Holy Week 2010.

Next on The FooDorama Challenge:
FDC#5: Natto (Jdorama Inspiration: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge)
Previous FooDorama Challenges:
FDC #3: Shiruko (Jdorama Inspiration: Saigo no Yakosoku)
FDC #2: Takoyaki (Jdorama Inspiration: Gokusen)
FDC #1: Yakiniku (Jdorama Inspiration: Kekkon Dekinai Otoko)
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Okonomiyaki info source: wikipedia
Jdorama info source: dramawiki
Recipe source: beyondboulder