Chicken Katsu

Not your ordinary KFC

My son returned from Japan this morning!  Upon leaving the airport, I asked him what he wanted for dinner tonight.  I knew the answer already, but I always ask anyway because he just might suggest something different.  Who am I kidding?  “You should know!  Chicken katsu!”  It’s his favorite dish and I usually make musubi and namasu to go along with it.  I should have planned for jet lag because not even 2 hours after he got home, he passed out on the couch!  So it sits….


This also packs well as a picnic!  I took it on many kayak trips in the summer and nothing tastes better than chicken katsu and musubi after 4 hours on the water!


Chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)               2 LBS.

Eggs, beaten                                                                3 EA.

Flour                                                                                2 C

Panko                                                                              2 C

Salt and pepper                                                         TT

Peanut oil                                                                  For frying


*this recipe uses a standard breading procedure*

  1. Slice chicken breasts into thin strips.
  2. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add chicken.
  3. Coat the chicken with the beaten eggs.
  4. On a large plate or deep pan, mix flour, salt and pepper.
  5. On another large plate or deep pan, add panko.
  6. Take the egg coated chicken and cover in flour mixture.
  7. Dip back in the egg mixture to coat again.
  8. Coat in Panko.
  9. Fry in peanut oil on medium-high heat until golden brown.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce!  My son’s favorite sauce is peanut sauce and my boyfriend’s favorite is sweet chili sauce.

Side Notes!

While we are talking about Musubi, it is everyone’s favorite comfort food in Hawaii.  If you have not had one, YOU MUST HAVE ONE.  In fact, I’m now tempted to plan a musubi party in the near future because I’m obsessing over them right now.  It’s a fun and easy meal and like sushi, you can stuff it with anything you want!  I recently discovered a place called Mana Bu, in my hometown of Honululu, Hawaii.  When I got there, I couldn’t believe that I was standing in a room with so much musubi.  HUNDREDS of them!  It was heaven!!  The staff was straight out of a Manga cartoon too…it was very surreal.  If you are ever visiting Hawaii, GO THERE.

Namasu is another comfort food for me.  Usually you can find some in my refrigerator.  My son and my other half loves it!  I do the easy version:  sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, seasoned rice vinegar, dried shrimps and a sprinkling of salt.  Marinate over night and you’ve got the easiest, tastiest pickles ever.  Here is my favorite picture of my mom making it for my family…


HPIM2574                                                                             bucket full of namasu!


Simple Oregon Bay Shrimp Stirfry

Seriously, the quickest dinner EVER.

Seriously, the quickest dinner EVER.

Excuse the fuzzy photo… I sent my camera on a trip to Japan with my son.  This photo doesn’t do this dish justice!  While waiting to eat dinner at my favorite Japanese Restaurant, Yuzu, with my friend Jason, we went walking around the neighbourhood and stumbled upon Asian Food Center!  As we walked in, we were greeted with an exciting produce section, filled with stuff you don’t see everyday in a conventional grocery.  I was tempted to buy every single produce in there, but I was conservative and walked away with just Filipino long beans and fresh chive buds!  It was enough to make the easiest and TASTIEST stir fry ever!


Filipino long beans          3/4 pound, chopped into 1 inch pieces

Chive buds                        1/2 pound, chopped into 1 inch pieces

Oregon Bay Shrimp          1/2 pound

Butter                                   2 TBSP (you can sub with Coconut oil–good idea Debra Meadow!)

Garlic                                  2 cloves, minced

Sweet Chili Sauce             TT (to taste)

Soy Sauce                           TT (to taste)

Salt and pepper                  TT (to taste)



  1. Prep vegetables.  Set aside in bowl.
  2. Mince garlic.
  3. In your favorite pan, on medium-high heat, melt butter and stir fry garlic until fragrant.
  4. Add vegetables and stir fry for about 3 minutes.
  5. Add shrimp and stir fry for about 7 more minutes, being careful not to overcook your vegetables!
  6. Add sweet chili sauce, soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste.  (FYI, I added about 1/8 cup sweet chili sauce and 3 TBSP soy sauce)
  7. Incorporate sauce and cook for another 2 minutes.

**If you have ever made stir fry, you can add as much shrimp and veggies as you want!  I like more vegetables in my stir fry, so I sometimes go nuts.  Also, your flavorings are all added to taste…so the measurements are all just a guide.  Have fun with it!**



Steamed Red Snapper

Jarl and Grandpa Neal with the fresh catch of the day!


Every time I show someone this picture, they ask me if that fish is real.  This dish was one of my favorites growing up in Hawaii and it’s so simple!  You can substitute any white fish, like halibut or grouper.  Halibut is a little more firm, but still a great sub!  My dad used to buy the whole fish, clean it up for my mom and she would cook each half in a steamer pan.  You can ask your fishmonger to clean it up for you or most places sell it already portioned into chunks. This was always served during the Japanese New Year at my house, and you can read all about why we do things on this day here.  I will also blog about the Japanese New Year festivities that go on at my mom’s house every year….coming soon.  My boyfriend LOVES seafood and as I sit here typing this, I’m wondering why I have not made it yet!  Woops!  Here is the recipe!

Steamed Red Snapper (serves 2)

Snapper Fillet(s)            2 Lbs.

Fresh ginger root           1 knob (or as much as you want!), peeled and thinly julienned

Green onion                   2 stalks, thinly sliced

Cilantro                          about a cup and a half, washed and trimmed off the stem (no need to chop, unless preferred)

Peanut oil                      1 and 1/2  cup

Soy sauce                     1/4 cup or TT (to taste)

Salt and pepper            TT

*serve with steamed white rice and a side salad*


  1. In a steamer pan (if you don’t have a proper steam pan, I usually use a colander set in a huge pot with water at the bottom.  You want to make sure your colander sits deep enough in the pot so the lid can fit), add water to the bottom of pan or pot, usually 1 and 1/2 inches.  Heat water to boiling and set your fish into the pan.  Secure the lid.   Suggested cooking times for fillets that are 1 inch or thicker is 10 minutes.  Your fish is done when you poke the middle of the fillet with a chopstick and it is flaky.  If the flesh still sticks together, cook for additional 2 minutes, checking each time.
  2. Set your steamed fish in a baking dish or platter.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the top.  Lay all of your aromatics (ginger, green onion, and cilantro) on top of the fish.
  3. Heat up oil on high heat until smoking.  Immediately pull off the stove upon smoking!  Drizzle hot oil onto the fish.  You will hear a lot of crackling.  *Be careful during this stage*
  4. Drizzle soy sauce onto fish.  You can add more or less, depending on taste.
  5. Garnish the top of the fish with fresh aromatics.  I usually go crazy with the toppings because I love fresh greens!
  6. Serve on top of a bed of rice (great for the sauce!) with your favorite side salad!

ImageThat’s my mom, pouring the hot oil over the fish.  She was doing this for a huge family get together.  When I make it at home, I just lay newspaper on the counter top!  Isn’t that floor tile hideous?!?




Oregon Bay Shrimp Cakes


I’m lucky.

Not only do I get a discount at the best grocery store in the Pacific Northwest, I get to spend my dollars on locally sourced and delicious food!  This recipe features local Oregon Bay Shrimp.  I tasted the shrimps by themselves before I made the cakes and they were the perfect blend of salty and sweet.  It’s one of my boyfriend’s favorite dishes and I’m pretty sure he would be content if I made them 3 times a week!

Oregon Bay Shrimp Cakes   (yield:  approximately 8-10 cakes)

Oregon Bay Shrimp(cooked)           1 pint (or 1 LB)

Garlic                                                   1 clove, minced

Butter                                                   1/2 TBSP

Green onion                                        1 stalk, sliced thin

Fresh Dill                                             2 TBSP, minced

Japanese Panko                                  1 and 1/2 cup

Egg, large                                            1, beaten

Zest of lemon, minced                      As much as you want (I love zest, so I tend to over do it)

Mayo                                                   1 TBSP

Sriracha                                               1 tsp

Salt and pepper                                 TT  (to taste)

Peanut oil, for cooking                   4 TBSP to start, adding more as needed


  1. Saute shrimps quickly in butter and garlic.  Set aside to cool.  When the shrimps are cooled, mince.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Form the mixture into a ball and flatten (I usually portion them into golf ball sized measurements)
  4. In a skillet, heat up peanut oil on medium high heat.
  5. Fry cakes until golden brown on each side, about 5-6 minutes, adding more oil if needed.  (I continually check for perfect golden brown color!)

Serve immediately!

Prep time is 20 minutes, depending on your skill level of course.

A nice Sauvignon Blanc or even a local hard cider (if you live in the NW) would go well with these suckers!  Enjoy!




Breakfast Buns

ImageA slight mention of this in my household and there is no turning back.

The really cool thing about this recipe is, you can fill this bun with whatever the hell you want.  Sweet or savory fillings…the possibilities are endless!  You can use already made fresh pizza dough (I get free pizza dough from work so I always use ready made) or make your own favorite pizza dough recipe. For this recipe, I used 2 bags of pizza dough.

Step one is to choose your fillings.  For this recipe, I used my favorite local kielbasa from Olympic Provisions, local eggs from Ruby Hill Farms, organic yellow and red peppers, garlic and Romano cheese.  I used 12 eggs and half a pound of kielbasa for 10 buns.


Dice the kielbasa and peppers and mince the garlic.  In a frying pan, saute it all until the sausage is golden brown.  Scramble your eggs.


Take your scrambled eggs and sausage mixture and toss together.


On a floured surface, roll out pizza dough into a rectangle then cut into 8 pieces.


Now, take each section, roll it out just a tad and scoop filling into the middle.


Grab opposite ends of the dough and start folding towards the middle.  Pinch the dough as soon as you form a ball.  This will be the underside of the bun.


Flip it over and place on a greased baking sheet pan.


Take melted butter and brush the tops with it (using a pastry brush).  Sprinkle Romano cheese (or you can use Parmesan) and fresh cracked pepper on the tops.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Check on it.  If it is not golden brown, add 5 minute increments until slightly golden.  (You do not want to over bake or else the dough will get hard).

Serve hot right out of the oven!