Sunday, September 22, 2013


TERIYAKI; let's break it down..."Teri" refers to the lusterous glaze that the sauce forms as it reduces. "Yaki" is the grilling or pan frying method used to cook the ingredients.

                                     Teriyaki chicken strips garnished with sesame

 Super simple to make, teriyaki sauce is basically soy sauce, sake or mirin (Japanese cooking wine) and sugar. Sometimes grated ginger is added to the mix.

                               Start with sake (or Mirin), soy sauce and sugar

Due in part to it's versatility, teriyaki sauce is one of Japan's most popular culinary exports. It pairs well with pretty much any protein. Chicken, beef or tofu are all delicious options.

                  Donburi are Japanese rice bowls. This one is topped with teriyaki beef

Seafood lover? Try salmon, tuna or even squid...

                                           Stuffed squid with teriyaki sauce

It's pretty hard to go wrong with chicken wings! Teriyaki sauce puts a Far-East spin on a Western classic.

                               Green onion is an excellent garnish for teriyaki dishes

Many companies offer premade sauces. Mori Mori Grocery sells prepared teriyaki but also has everything you need to make it yourself.

 Premium sliced beef, pork and sustainably sourced salmon and tuna are in our freezers.

                                             Sockeye salmon with homemade teriyaki

 At Sanbiki Japanese Kitchen, our teriyaki sauce is (of course!) homemade. We also have a wheat free version made with Tamari soy sauce. The choice is yours!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Inari sushi

                            Majestic Inari (fox God) stands guard at a temple in Japan

A Fox God whose favourite food is deep fried tofu.....Who would have guessed?! Inari sushi is sometimes referred to as tofu pockets or even "brown bag" sushi. A savoury and sweet deep fried tofu pocket is traditionally served stuffed with sushi rice.

                                        Some argue inari is best served simply

However, veggies, seafood and other ingredients have also gained popularity....

                                      Pretty much anything can end up in inari!

 Fushimi Inari is one of the most famous shrines in Japan dedicated to Inari. It encompasses an entire hill top near Kyoto in the Kansai area of eastern Japan. Bright red tori (sacred gates) wind their way around the grounds of the shrine.

                 Japanese families and companies build gates to honour the fox deity

                             Fushimi Inari contains thousands of faimily shrines and alters

                           The foxes are often portrayed wearing a protective red "bib"
Like many Japanese "okami" (spirits/gods) Inari appears in female and male forms. In this woodprint, Inari is a goddess and protector of swordsmiths. With her entourage of ghostly foxes, she helps forge a weapon.

"Aburaage" is the name for the deep fried tofu pockets by themselves  (no sushi rice or stuffing). "Kitsune udon" is the name given to a popular dish of udon noodles in soup topped with aburagge. "Kitsune" is the Japanese word for fox, again alluding the creatures taste for fried tofu....

                                                  A bowl of "kitsune udon"

Kids love inari, and Japanese moms will often dress them up in bento lunch boxes.

                                                           Brown bear sushi?!

Inari pockets can be purchased at many Asian groceries. Mori Mori on Lansdowne Street has frozen and canned inari pockets for sale.

                                                Just thaw, stuff and serve!

More posts coming soon on Japan's unique cuisine and culture...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Eat eel? Unagi and Anago

BBQ freshwater eel is know as "unagi" in Japan. "Anago" is a sea eel that is often grilled in a similar fashion. Both unagi and anago are cooked and seasoned, often with a slightly sweet sauce called "kabayaki"

                             Unagi (left) and anago (right) nigiri sushi

The popularity of unagi has meant nowadays most freshwater eel is farmed. Japanese eels are small and slender, spending time in both fresh and saltwater.

                                                       Unagi before the BBQ......

Anago are larger than unagi but are also frequently farmed in ocean pens.

                    Farmed Conger eels (anago) are used in Chinese and other cuisines

  Anago is less fatty and rich than unagi. The flesh has a delicate, slightly sweet flavour. It is served as sushi, with rice or on it's own.

                        Anago is also lighter in colour than unagi but served in a similar fashion

                                  Nothing goes to waste! Deep fried eel bones....

Europeans have their own recipes for eel. Jellied or "potted eel" can be found in the United Kingdom. Smoked eel is popular in Scandinavia as well as mainland Europe. Sadly the popularity of European eel has led to its classification as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Amazingly, eels can live over 70 years!

                                        Smoked eel is a European delicacy

Unagi is a summertime favourite in Japan. High in protein, calcium and vitamins A and B; unagi is thought to to provide energy and replenish the body in hot and humid weather.

                                               UNADON is an unagi rice bowl

That's all for this time...Sanbiki has unagi on the menu and Mori Mori sells frozen unagi fillets that are cooked and seasoned. Easy for DIY sushi/rice bowl!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Chirashi Sushi

Sushi comes in many forms. To most non-Japanese, sushi rolls (maki sushi) and nigiri (piece sushi) are perhaps the most familiar. "Chirashi sushi" translates roughly as "scattered sushi". A bowl full of mixed sushi rice is topped off with an assortment of raw seafood.

Chirashi ingredients and presentation varies depending on where you are in Japan. There may be many ingredients mixed in with the rice, or none. The toppings can depend on the season, the Chef or the customer's preferences.

                                 Even vegetarian versions of chirashi are possible 

At Sanbiki, we mix unagi (BBQ freshwater eel) and tamago (savoury omelette) into our sushi rice. Shiitake mushrooms, ginger and fresh shiso (Japanese minty "basil") are added as well. Slices of sustainably sourced B.C. tuna and wild salmon are arranged on top. A slice of lemon and ebi (cooked prawn) complete the dish.

                                   Sanbiki's version of chirashi sushi

DIY chirashi is easy with premixed seasoning/ingredients. Mori Mori Grocery carries chirashi mix for rice and also sashimi quality seafood for toppings.

                         Add the mix to cooked rice and top with your seafood of choice

Another popular "sushi bowl" is tekkadon. Tuna sashimi is arranged on top of the sushi rice, sometimes in a flower shape. The presentation is stunning but simple to do!

                                      Tekkadon made with red tuna sashimi

Cooked lotus root is crunchy and resembles a white flower when sliced. It is also an attractive addition to a chirashi bowl and can dress up other dishes as well.

           Lotus root, shrimp and ikura (salmon roe) provide colour, texture and taste
Join us for chirashi at Sanbiki Japanese Kitchen! Or if you're in the mood to try something new at home, Mori Mori has sushi making supplies and we're open 7 days a week.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Thai Time!

                               FREE coconut ice cream with dishes on our new Thai menu!

Have you tried our Thai? Spring is in the air and it's inspired our Chefs to conduct delicious experiments with the flavours of South East Asia.....

 Thai food can seem spicy to the uninitiated. We've kept the heat on medium for our dishes. We've always got extra chili available on request; it's easier to add spice to your dish than it is to take it away!

                                            Pad Thai enjoys global popularity

Pad Thai involves rice noodles stirfried with seafood, meat, egg and bean sprouts or other veggies. Fish sauce, chilis and fresh herbs are used for seasoning. Cilantro (coriander) is particularly popular in Thai cusine. Peanuts or cashews can be added for crunch. Lime, tamarind and sugar "balance" each other out and give pad thai a complexity that is appreciated by Thai people.

"Gaeng" is Thai for curry. Garlic, ginger, fish sauce and coconut milk are usually found in all Thai currys. They may be served with steamed long grain rice; sticky rice in northern Thailand or roti style flat breads in the south.

                            Colourful curry pastes and powders on sale at a Thai market 
 Sanbiki's beef curry is the green kind. Other popular varieties are red curry (with shrimp and pineapple or even duck) and yellow curry. Chicken is commonly used but vegetarian and even vegan curries can be made with tofu, veggies and soy sauce instead of fish sauce. Coconut milk makes Thai curries rich and creamy.

                             Sanbiki's new Green Curry with beef and bamboo shoots

"Woon sen" are a clear noodle made from mung beans. We use it to make our version of "yam woon sen" a refreshing noodle salad with fresh herbs, baby shrimp, chili and garlic. It's perfect summer fare; and like most Thai dishes can be easily shared.

                                                  Summer salad, Thai-style!

Lemon grass is another central ingredient in Thai cuisine. We've made sure to include a healthy dose in our "kai yang" (grilled chicken)

                               "Kai Yang" is a specialty of Isaan in northern Thailand

We are always eager to get your feedback and favourite recipe ideas! Please try the dishes on our new spring menu and let us know what you think....


Saturday, March 30, 2013

SOBA Noodles

Soba are a thin Japanese noodle made with buckwheat. They usually contain a small amount of wheat flour as well. They can be served hot, usually in soup....

                "Tsukimi soba" is served with a raw egg which semi-cooks in the soup

And soba is perhaps even more popular served chilled....

                           "Zaru" refers to the bamboo tray traditionally used for serving

"Zaru soba" are chilled soba noodles served with "tsuyu"; a dipping sauce made with soy sauce, mirin and dashi stock. The noodles are swirled in the sauce before being slurped up by the diner. Green onion, wasabi, nori or other garnishes may be added to the tsuyu if desired. And yes, slurping is strongly encouraged! It's said to improve the flavour and to show the Chef that you are enjoying the fruits of his labour....

               Slurp it up! Forget everything your Mother told you about noise and your soup

Soba noodles are usually bought dry, but fresh handcut noodles are found in Japan.

                                             Soba in dry and fresh forms

Is your soba looking a little green? It's probably been flavoured with green tea.

                                       Soba made with green tea is "cha soba"

Sushi rolls can be made using soba instead of rice. Soba sprouts also find their way into salads and even as a topping for vegetarian nigiri sushi. Buckwheat is high in fibre, antioxidants, magnesium and other nutrients.

                                              Soba maki with vegetable filling

Most buckwheat is grown in Hokkaido in the north of Japan. It grows fairly quickly and can be harvested a few times a year. Bees like the flowers and a strong dark honey can also be produced.
                                              A field of buckwheat in flower
 Shochu is a spirit sometimes refered to as Japanese "vodka". It can be made from barley, rice, sweet potato or buckwheat.

                                            Soba shochu is usually served over ice

Soba can be found in restaurants, train station cafes and at food stalls all across Japan. Owariya soba restaurant in Kyoto has been serving soba and other buckwheat treats for over 500 years! The Japanese Royal Family have been regular customers for several generations.
                                   The entrance to Owariya Restaurant in Kyoto
More on all your Japanese favourite foods soon!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sushi Basics

A highly simplified guide to DIY sushi....

The Rice...

Learn to get it right! The highest quality seafood will be wasted if served with improperly cooked or seasoned sushi rice. Simple ingredients will taste terrific when paired with well made sushi rice.

1) Use a Japanese type short grain white rice.

2) Wash the rice until the water runs clear

3) Cook the rice with the correct amount of water for the specified time. Using a rice cooker with it's own measuring cup/instructions virtually guarantees perfect rice every time.

4) After cooking, take the warm rice and season it with sushi rice seasoning (do NOT cook the rice in the seasoning!!) Premixed sushi seasoning is easy as it contains vinegar, salt and sugar in the proper proportions.

Fold the seasoning in gently, and do not "mash" the rice. You can cool the rice by fanning it but this is not neccesary.

5) Ready to Roll!!

The Rolling....

 Full sheet of nori with rice on the inside
Place the nori (seaweed) sheet on top of the sushi rolling mat. Add a thin layer of sushi rice and whatever ingredients you want inside your roll. If you prefer rolls with rice on the outside flip the nori and rice over and then add the filling to the nori side.

Half sheet of nori with rice on the outside

 If you like "hosomaki" (thin/smaller rolls) use a half sheet of nori.

     Full size "futomaki" rolls (top) or make hosomaki (thin rools) with 1/2 nori sheet

Use a sharp, non-serrated knife to cut the rolls. You should end up with 8 even pieces/roll. Keep the cuts clean by wiping the knife blade after each cut.

              Practice will make perfect when it comes to cleanly cut, even sushi pieces!

                                           Looking good and ready to serve.....

Nigiri Sushi....

Nigiri sushi is "piece sushi", with various toppings placed on top of a small "finger" of rice.

                         "Sake" is salmon nigiri sushi (sake is also an alcoholic beverage)
Form a small ball of rice on the palm of your hand. Keep your hands moist so the rice does not stick and do not use too much pressure.

 Top the rice with your favourite topping. This could be raw or cooked seafood, tamago (savoury omelette) or even veggies.

Traditionally, a Japanese sushi Chef would add as much wasabi as he thought was needed between the rice and the topping. Most non-Japanese prefer to add wasabi to soy sauce and dip their sushi to their own taste. Pickled ginger is used to cleanse the palate between different kinds of sushi.

Mori Mori has everything to make sushi! Wild salmon and sustainable BC Albacore tuna are available along with octopus, squid and other items. Pre sliced seafood is easy to use; just thaw, slice and serve. Open 7 days a week, enter off Lansdowne Street!