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Kuruma-Bu Katsu-Don
車麩カツ丼

Here is another dish I made using the Kuruma-Bu Katsu.

This is called Katsu-Don, which means Katsu (something breaded and deep-fried) on rice served in a bowl.

The Katsu is usually paired with onions and softly cooked eggs in soy sauce-based sweet broth.

In my version, the eggs were substituted with silken tofu and soy milk.

I haven’t had Katsu-Don for a long time but this was absolutely delicious!!

Just how I remembered.

Kuruma-Bu Katsu Curry
車麩カツカレー

Since the Kuruma-Bu Katsu was such a great hit that I decided to use it for a few more dishes.

Katsu Curry is a popular dish in Japan.

It is basically a bowl of rice, Japanese style curry (it’s a bit thicker and has the stew-like texture) and Katsu.

The crunchy Kuruma-Bu Katsu goes well with the curry.

Happy Tuesday everyone.

Kuruma-Bu Katsu
車麩カツ

Katsu typically means “breaded (with Panko) and deep-fried meat” in Japanese.

Katsu also means “victory” in Japanese, so people like to eat Katsu the night before an important day (e.g., sporting game, exam, etc.).

Apparently I don’t use meat since we are on the 100% plant-based diet now, so this “Katsu” was made of one of traditional Japanese ingredients called “Kuruma-Bu”.

Kuruma-Bu is mainly made of flour and gluten, and because of its texture, it is often used as a fake meat option for vegetarians and vegans.

To tell the truth, I’ve never had Kuruma-Bu before even when I lived in Japan, and I was so excited to try it.

(I bought this in Japan when I went back to see my family in May.)

The name “kuruma” came from the round shape (“kuruma” means a wheel in Japanese).

The “Hu (or “Bu” in this case)” typically has a soft texture, but Kuruma-Bu seems to have a bit firmer texture compared to the regular “hu (or “bu”)”, particularly the brown edge.

Kuruma-Bu is usually sold dry, so first you need to soak it in flavored liquid in order to bring it back to life and also to add flavor; Kuruma-Bu does not have a very strong flavor itself.

Then make sure you remove excess liquid so that it won’t splash oil when cooked.

I used Kikkoman Panko for the first time.

This worked just fine and the result was very pretty.

But try different brands if you prefer a little coarser crumbs and extra crunchiness.

Beautifully fried!

Shredded cabbage is a must for any Katsu.

They go hand in hand like French fries and a burger.

Same thing (lol).

Looks good doesn’t it?

At this point I was dying to try my first Kuruma-Bu Katsu.

But wait!

Sauce first.

It’s a personal preference, but I like ketchup, Japanese worcestershire sauce, Japanese Okonomi sauce, or a mixture of some of these three.

The Kuruma-Bu Katsu was delicious and I really enjoyed it.

The texture of the Kuruma-Bu is firm enough and quite satisfying, yet, it’s not so heavy as some of the fake meat.

I wish I had brought more from Japan.

Kuruma-Bu is one of those food items that are still rather hard to find in the U.S….

I’ve made a few dishes using this Kuruma- Bu Katsu.

Come back soon to see in what other ways I enjoyed it.

Cashew Cream Breakfast Parfait
カシュークリーム朝食パフェ

Remember these cookies?

They were awesome, but they crumbled easily, and I ended up with a tasty mess.

I didn’t want to waste it, and I came up with this idea.

First, make cashew cream.

Puree pre-soaked cashew nuts, maple syrup, lemon juice, and salt, until creamy.

You can use any berries, but blueberry is probably my favorite kind of berry.

Recently the blueberries I’ve been buying have been particularly sweet.

Make layers.

Cashew cream first, blueberries, more cashew cream, and then top it off with more blueberries and the crumbled Breakfast Cookies.

This breakfast parfait is not only tasty but also pretty!

Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Soft Omelette Rice
ふわとろオムライス

Omelette Rice or “Omurice” is a popular Japanese dish.

As the name suggests, it is fried rice covered with omelette.

When I visited Japan in May, I came back with many vegan cookbooks, and I got an idea from the recipe in this book (Japanese) for the omelette part of my omelette rice.

(My hair is getting long!)

This is a soft scrambled “egg” version, and I really liked it.

(A note for myself: the yellow color from turmeric becomes brighter when cooked.)

The fried rice of the traditional omelette rice is flavored with ketchup.

I happened to be out of ketchup today, and I decided to use store-bought red pasta sauce as a flavor base instead.

The omelette rice is then typically served with a few spoonfuls of ketchup on top, and again, mine was served with red sauce based sauce (I added a few things to the store-bought red sauce like sugar and Japanese worcestershire sauce).

Love my IKEA utensils.

I bought them several years ago, but the more I use, the better they look.

This was SO TASTY!!

I definitely did NOT miss eggs.

And my non-ketchup version took the omelette rice to the next level!

There are so many fun ideas in this book.

I can’t wait to try others!

Tantan Ramen
担々麺

There are now a handful of restaurants that serve ramen in our neighborhood.

But there are still large gaps in quality from one restaurant to another.

And it is hard to get a table if you want good quality ramen.

I’m happy to see that ramen is becoming popular in the U.S., but it’s also frustrating that you can’t just go get good ramen any time you want.

So once in a while I do make my own ramen.

My vegan tantan ramen starts with marinating deep-fried tofu.

The broth is rich, creamy, and has depth of flavors.

I found these noodles at a local Asian market.

They were selling them as “Chinese noodles”, so I thought it would be perfect.

It also looked more yellowish through the packaging.

I particularly picked this brand because the yellow color was added by turmeric and not artificial dye.

When they were cooked, the color was almost gone, and I also realized that the noodles were rather flat and wider than I thought when they were before cooked.

I was a bit disappointed, but they still tasted good.

Baby bok choy is one of my favorite green leaves.

These are not only pretty but also very flavorful and refreshing.

I was so happy with the result.

Tantan Ramen – Vegan

1 package deep-fried tofu, crumbled
marinade (soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, onion powder)
canola oil
1/3 cup chopped scallion
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
1~2 tablespoon tobanjan (豆板醤Doubanjiang: chili bean paste)
700 cc water
1~1.5 tablespoons white vinegar
1~1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
3~4 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon miso
200 cc soy milk
salt
sesame oil
garlic chili paste
Chinese noodles, cooked
baby bok choy

1. Marinate crumbled deep-fried tofu in the marinade mixture overnight.
2. Cook scallion and ginger in oil. Add the crumbled/marinated tofu and tobanjan. Continue to cook over high heat. Stir constantly. Salt and pepper if needed. Set aside 2 tablespoons.
3. Add water and boil. Turn down to low heat.Skip the foam from the top.
4. Add vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, tahini, miso, milk, and salt. Add soy milk. Heat up the soup.
5. Place cooked noodles in a bowl. Pour the soup over the noodles. Put the tofu/ginger/scallion mixture that was set aside on top. Serve with sesame oil, garlic chili paste, and baby bok choy.

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