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Avocado Tuna Tartare Served with Potato Chips

This dish is a fun and tasty way to eat tuna that is not sashimi and not poke or sushi. This avocado tuna tartare is eaten with potato chips which gives it great umami! This is a great dish to serve as an appetizer or to take to a dinner party! (When dinner parties are allowed again…)

Hope this uniquely enjoyable dish becomes a favorite for you too!

List of Ingredients

(3-4 servings)

  • ¼ C Honey
  • ¼ C Rice vinegar, unseasoned — Mizkan is my preferred brand.

  • 1-2 Tbs Avocado oil or equivalent (omit if preferred)
  • 1 Tbs Soy sauce or tamari sauce

  • 1 Tsp Sesame oil — use a good quality sesame oil, Kadoya

  • 1 Tbs Peanut butter, creamy
  • ~½ Tsp Kosher salt — Diamond Crystal is worth the effort to purchase

  • Black pepper — sprinkle to taste in the dressing
  • ~1 Inch finely grated fresh ginger or to taste
  • ~1-2 Garlic cloves, pressed
  • ~1-2 Stems green onion, chopped
  • 3-4 oz High grade tuna, finely chopped
  • ½ to 1 Avocado depending on size, mashed
  • 1 Bag crinkle cut potato chips for serving

List of Tools

  • Measuring cup — for mixing the dressing
  • Whisk or utensil —to mix dressing
  • Measuring spoons (measuring glass is helpful but optional)

  • Spatula (optional) — helpful to get every last drop out of the measuring cup
  • Fork — for mashing the avocado
  • Fine microplane or grater — grating ginger into the dressing

  • Small mixing bowl — used for putting together the tartare
  • Garlic press — this is my favorite way of using garlic versus finely chopping
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Paring knife — for preparing the avocado
  • Paring knife or spoon for peeling ginger — many people have luck using the edge of a spoon to peel ginger, I just have not had any luck. I use the paring knife which is not ideal but does the job. A paring knife tends to peel away more of the ginger root than a spoon would.

Directions

Prepare the dressing

Mix honey, rice vinegar, oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, salt, pepper, grated ginger and pressed garlic in a bowl and whisk together. Adjust according to taste.¹

Prepare the ingredients

Finely chop the tuna into a paste like texture and set aside. Clean and chop 1-2 stems of the green onion and also set aside. Peel and use ½ or 1 avocado depending on size and place in a small mixing bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork. Add in the tuna and green onion and mix. Now add about 3-4 Tbs of dressing. Taste a bit and add more dressing if necessary. 🙂

Plate the tuna tartare and the potato chips!

That’s it! Enjoy!

¹ Enjoy the extra dressing over salad or make more tartare! It keeps well in the refrigerator!


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Also, don’t forget to submit a photo of your creations!  You can upload your photos using my Contact form!

Tonkatsu — Light and Crispy Edition

Welcome back to byKumi.  This week, we’ll make tonkatsu, a breaded pork cutlet.  With this recipe, we’ll make tonkatsu in a way that is lighter and crispier than what you’d find at a traditional Japanese restaurant.

Ingredients

  • 1 Pork tenderloin¹
  • ~3 Heaping Tbs. White rice flour², plus more 
    Rice Flour
    Rice Flour
  • ¼ Cup Milk or Non-Dairy Substitute or water, enough to make medium thick batter
  • 6 oz. Panko (Japanese bread crumbs, any brand) 
    Panko (Japanese Style Bread Crumbs)
    Panko (Japanese Style Bread Crumbs)
  • Kosher salt (preferred) Diamond Crystal is my favorite brand. It is my go-to for all cooking and baking.
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder (or Garlic salt, omit above salt)
  • Oil to deep fry enough for about 1 inch deep. Refined coconut oil (not virgin coconut oil) or peanut oil are my top choices. These oils are good for high heat cooking.
  • Sauce for serving (Store bought tonkatsu sauce or homemade, see below for recipe.) A-1 or plain ketchup work as well!

¹ Can substitute with chicken. Chicken tenders work well. Remove extra fat and some of the tendon if possible on the tenders. Leave whole or cut in half.

² Purchase white rice flour from an Asian market. Bob’s Red Mill is not as finely ground and will be gritty in texture. And be careful not to purchase the glutinous rice flour. 

Ingredients for Tonkatsu Sauce

  • 3 Tbs. Ketchup
  • ~1-2 Tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Mix the above ingredients and adjust to your taste. This should be enough to make one serving.

Prepare the tenderloin

Remove gristle or extra fat and slice thinly. Cut about ¼ inch, keep thin so meat cooks evenly. Lay the slices of pork on a large plate or baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. (Or pepper and garlic salt.)

Bread the pork

In a small bowl, make a batter with the rice flour and milk or non-dairy substitute or water. Adjust the batter with more liquid or rice flour to achieve the right consistency. Pour some panko in a different small bowl. 

Dip one piece of pork in the batter to coat both sides and allow excess batter to drip off. Now, lay the pork in the panko. Sprinkle panko on top and press down gently to coat evenly. Flip the pork and press gently. Shake any excess panko off and set aside on a large plate or baking sheet. Continue until all the pork is breaded, making more batter if necessary. Discard any leftover panko from the breading. 

Deep frying

Add enough oil to about 1 inch in depth in the pot. Turn on the stove to medium high. Optimal stove setting will vary. 

While heating the oil, prepare a baking sheet with paper towels and cooling rack.

The oil is ready when a piece of panko dropped in the pot immediately bubbles in the oil.

Carefully place pork into the oil. Add enough to fit the pot without overcrowding, about 5-7 pcs. Be sure no pieces stick to the bottom. Let both sides fry to a nice golden color. Once fully cooked and golden in color, remove and allow to drain on the rack.

If/when the oil fills with a lot of stray panko, remove with a skimmer. The panko will blacken and burn if left inside the pot.

Repeat until all the pork is cooked. And enjoy!

Also, don’t forget to submit a photo of your creations!  You can upload your photos using my Contact form!

Yakisoba

Yakisoba is a savory, vegetable filled noodle dish that makes a great meal during the week. You can make it vegetarian, even vegan or add protein. Local grocery stores carry yakisoba kits with noodles and seasoning, or you can make it from scratch! It is really flexible and easy! (Just be sure to check ingredients as not all yakisoba seasoning is vegetarian or vegan.)

List of Ingredients for Yakisoba (1 serving)

  • ¼ Head of cabbage — cleaned and thinly sliced
  • ¼ Yellow onion (large) or ½ small — peeled and sliced
  • 2 Green onion stems — cleaned and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Carrot — peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
    (Can use other vegetables too!)
  • ~1/4 lbs chicken breast/thigh meat or preferred protein (optional) — thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper — lightly sprinkle salt and pepper while frying protein and while frying vegetables
  • 1 Package of yakisoba noodles and seasoning (1 serving size)
  • Oil for cooking meat and vegetables
Packaged Yakisoba
Packaged Yakisoba

List of Ingredients for Yakisoba Sauce (1 serving)

Yakisoba Sauce Ingredients
Yakisoba Sauce Ingredients
  • ¼ C Ketchup
  • 4 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ Tsp Soy sauce or Tamari Sauce
  • ½ Tsp Oyster Sauce (can omit)

Mix the above ingredients. This is very flexible and can be altered to your own tastes. This should be enough to make one serving (which is one single serving package of ramen or yakisoba noodles, plus vegetables).

List of Tools

  • Large bowl or plate — to hold the sliced vegetables (additional plate if using protein)
  • Vegetable peeler — if using carrots
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Small pot — to boil water to separate the noodles
  • Colander — for draining the noodles
  • Cooking chopsticks — to break apart noodles in water and to cook
  • 2 Spatulas — I love my narrow and long spatulas from Ikea
  • Wok like pot for cooking — medium size is sufficient
  • Serving plate

Prepare the Chicken and Vegetables

Remove gristle or extra fat on chicken and slice thinly.

Thinly slice cabbage and yellow onion into strips and place in a bowl or on a plate. If using carrots, thinly slice on an angle and add to other ingredients. Cutting on an angle makes for pretty slices. Green onions should be cut into 1 inch lengths and set aside separately.

Prepare Noodles

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add 1 package of noodles. Turn off the stove and let the noodles soften and separate. You can help separate the noodles with chopsticks but be patient, otherwise you will end up breaking the noodles into small pieces. Once the noodles separate nicely, drain in the colander and set aside.Cook the Protein

Heat the pot with 1 Tbs of oil on medium to medium high. Cook the chicken or preferred type of protein with some salt and pepper until thoroughly cooked. Set aside.

Cook the Vegetables

Add more oil if necessary and cook the crunchy vegetables (cabbage, yellow onion, carrots); just before those are fully cooked, add the green onions. Complete the frying until desired doneness. When using additional vegetables, always remember to cook the harder, crunchier vegetables first, then add other faster cooking vegetables towards the end.

Finish Cooking and Seasoning

Add the cooked chicken and the drained noodles into the pot with the vegetables. Toss to mix the ingredients a bit and then sprinkle in the seasoning packet. Toss again until thoroughly mixed, the dish is ready! Enjoy!

TIP: Too many veggies may weaken the flavor, which can be a problem if using packaged yakisoba. You can make a small amount of sauce, but many times just adding a bit of worcestershire sauce can help.

 

Also, don’t forget to submit a photo of your creations!  You can upload your photos using my Contact form!

Mama-san’s Chicken Corn Fritters

One of my favorite dishes growing up was my mom’s version of corn fritters. In fact, I loved them so much that I would make them for my own girls when they were younger! These corn fritters are hearty and pair well with lighter fare like miso soup and a salad like sunomono. The fritters also come together quickly, which makes for a fast, easy, and tasty(!) meal.

List of Ingredients for Corn Fritters

  • 1 Can of whole kernel sweet corn (15.25 ounce can = about 1 ½ cups) — (or equivalent amount of thawed frozen corn)
  • ~½ lbs chicken breast or thigh meat — cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 Bunch green onions — cleaned and chopped
  • ~5 Tbs. corn starch — doesn’t need to be exact, slightly heaping okay
  • ~5 Tbs. flour — doesn’t need to be exact, slightly heaping okay
  • 2 eggs
  • Milk or non-dairy substitute or water — use what is on hand to thin the batter
  • Salt and pepper — lightly sprinkle in salt and pepper
  • Oil for deep frying — I use an expeller pressed refined coconut oil that does not have the associated smell or taste of coconut. (Please do not use virgin coconut oil. It will flavor your food.) Peanut oil would be my second choice. You need enough to fill your pot with about 1 inch in depth.
    Healthy Traditions Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil
    Healthy Traditions Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil


    Both are great for frying as they tolerate high heat well.
  • Optional for serving — Coleman’s Mustard¹, Soy Sauce, or A-1 Sauce 

¹Mix a small amount of the dry mustard powder with water for desired consistency.

List of Tools

  • Medium bowl — for mixing batter
  • Spoon for mixing — I use a flatware soup spoon
  • 1 Tbs measuring spoon — to measure cornstarch and flour
  • Cooking chopsticks or tongs — for deep frying
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Heavy pot for deep frying — medium size is sufficient (~5 qt)
  • Skimmer or slotted spoon and resting plate — to remove excess stray batter pieces
  • Baking sheet or plate lined with paper towels — to soak extra oil from fritters
  • Serving plate

Making the Batter: Drain the can of corn and add to a medium mixing bowl. Cut excess fat and gristle from chicken. Cube chicken into ~½ inch pieces and add to the bowl. (Please keep the pieces small so they cook thoroughly.) Clean and chop the entire bunch of green onions and add to the bowl.

Measure about 5 Tbs cornstarch and 5 Tbs flour into the bowl. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Mix the ingredients. Now add the 2 eggs and mix to begin to form batter. Thin the batter with milk/non-dairy substitute/water to make a batter similar in consistency to thick pancake batter. Start with about ¼ cup liquid and add more if necessary.

Preparing to Deep Fry: Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot to about 1 inch deep. Turn on the stove to medium high, which is typically a good place to start. (Note: Optimal burner setting is based on type of pot, type of stove gas or electric, size of burner.)

While heating the oil, prepare a plate or baking sheet with paper towels to drain the freshly fried fritters.

The oil is ready when a drop of the batter rises to the surface immediately.

Stir the batter before adding a spoonful (~1 ½ Tbs) into the oil. Try to scoop a nice balance of chicken, corn, and green onions in each spoonful. Add enough to fit the pot without overcrowding, about 8-10 spoonfuls. Sometimes, the batter may stick to the bottom of the pot and if this happens, loosen with chopsticks or with tongs so the batter can rise to the surface of the oil. Let both sides fry to a nice golden color. Once fully cooked and golden in color, take out the fritters and allow to drain on the paper towels. (Sometimes if the oil fills with a lot of stray batter pieces, remove with a stainless steel skimmer or slotted spoon.) Add more spoonfuls of batter and repeat until all the batter is cooked. When finished, be sure to move the pot of oil off the hot burner to cool safely.

Now enjoy your fritters plain, or with hot mustard and soy sauce (which I grew up on) or with A-1 (which the rest of my family loves)!

Also, don’t forget to submit a photo of your creations!  You can upload your photos using my Contact form!

Matcha Up Your Life

Adding matcha into your life is not only tasty but also has some health benefits! One such benefit is the high amount of catechin which is an antioxidant believed to help fight cancer. However, aside from the health benefits, matcha also tends to be lower in caffeine than coffee — but there is a catch. The caffeine in matcha is slowly released over a longer period of time:  this slow release helps you avoid a coffee crash, but the caffeine effects stay with you a lot longer. So be careful what time of day you enjoy matcha, if you are sensitive to caffeine.

With that in mind, let’s dive in! We will start with a basic guide for buying matcha, and then explore ways to add matcha throughout your week. (That goes beyond just mixing with water and drinking!)

Matcha Buying Guide: (highlights)

  • Country of Origin: For highest quality only purchase matcha using tea grown in Japan. The Kyoto and Aichi prefectures are regions known for their quality.

  • Color: The color should be bright and not dull. Look for matcha that is green without a brown or yellow hue.

  • Grind: Should be finely ground preferably by stone milling. Stone milling eliminates the risk of overheating the leaves during the grinding process. Overheating can alter the flavor.

  • Price: Admittedly, I love a good deal and unfortunately, matcha is one item where I have to resist that urge. While you absolutely don’t need the best, the cost can indicate the quality and flavor. And trust me, quality makes a big difference in flavor, so be prepared during checkout.

  • Grade (Ceremonial versus Culinary): Unfortunately, there is no standard grading system for matcha. Every brand has a system which makes things…well, complicated. But there are usually two broad categories.

    • Ceremonial: Typically the highest grade made from the 1st harvest (also known as Spring harvest) tea leaves. This is usually reserved for the traditional style consumption of mixing matcha with hot water. Ceremonial grade is smoother, sweeter, and less astringent, which is perfect when drinking without any extras.

    • Culinary: Typically a lower grade made from the later 2nd or 3rd harvest (also known as Summer and Autumn harvest) tea leaves. This is used for lattes or baking where the stronger, more bitter flavor can be beneficial.

  • Organic (my preference): Since matcha is a ground tea leaf, I prefer a brand that is organic to eliminate the chemicals.

While I don’t purchase top ceremonial grade (since I really don’t need that level of matcha), I do look for a 1st harvest matcha using less premium leaves. I have tried using different harvests but I prefer the flavor of the 1st harvest. My current brand that I am very happy with is Midori Spring “Emerald Class” matcha. I use it for drinking and for baking, while also shaving some of the cost.

Add Matcha to Your Favorite Recipes

I personally love taking my favorite recipes and modifying them for a fun uplevel. Not only can the color be pretty, but it is so delicious and oh, so easy! Here are some tips and recipes for you the next time you find yourself in the kitchen with some matcha in hand.

Baked Goods

Let’s take Sugar Cookies. Here is how I transformed the recipe into a wonderful dessert to serve after a meal.

Matcha Sugar Cookies

  • Add 1-2 Tbs of matcha to the dry ingredients
    Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl with the matcha and thoroughly mix together. (I use a whisk to do this.) You are set to add your dry ingredients into wet ingredients per your recipe!
  • TIP — My general rule is to add 2 tbs of matcha for every 2 cups of flour. This is a loose guideline based on taste AND grade of matcha. A culinary grade matcha may need less. Too much matcha and the bitterness will overpower so be careful the first time around.
  • TIP — Dough Consistency
    I typically add my matcha in addition to the original amounts called for by the recipe. However, you can help dough consistency by reducing the amount of flour by the amount of matcha you intend to use. An example would be if adding 2 tbs of matcha to a recipe, then reduce the amount of flour by 2 tbs.

Takeaway: Adding 1-2 tablespoons matcha to your dry goods and mixing is all you need to remember! Don’t be afraid to try cakes, pancakes/waffles, etc…There are a number of items that can be transformed by following the same basic rule.

Smoothies

Another favorite is adding matcha to smoothies. I have a favorite frozen drink that I make that is not only very simple but refreshing and tasty.

Matcha Smoothie

Matcha Smoothie Courtesy of Annalisa Pao
  • 1 Ripe Banana
  • 1 Cup Ice
  • 1 Cup Milk or Non-dairy Substitute or Water
  • 1 Tsp Matcha
  • 2 Tbs Hemp Seed (Optional, highly recommended if using water)
  • 1-3 Tsp Maple Syrup or Sweetener to taste (Optional)

Blend the above until desired consistency. Enjoy! (Sprinkle cinnamon on top for additional flavor and color!)

Takeaway: Adding ~1 teaspoon Matcha to your smoothie and blending should do the trick. However not all smoothies pair well.

Keeping it simple will help.

Cocktails

And finally, for those of you over 21…..how about a Matcha Whiskey Sour? My daughter (Yes, she is over 21 and certified in bartending!) crafted this for me!

Matcha Whiskey Sour

Matcha Whiskey Sour Courtesy of Christina Pao
  • 4 Tsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • ¼ Tsp Matcha
  • ~½ oz Simple Syrup
  • 1½ oz Whiskey

Add all the ingredients and dry shake well. (Dry shake = shaker is without ice) Once the matcha is fully incorporated, add ice to the shaker and shake again! Pour into a serving glass (and if you want, add a maraschino cherry to add a pop of color to this beautiful green cocktail). Enjoy!

Takeaway: Adding ¼ tsp matcha adds color and nice flavor to a cocktail but dry shake to avoid clumping.

Those are just a few ideas but there are so many more. For instance, my daughter Annalisa makes amazing matcha ice cream (which might have to be included in a video during one of her breaks)! Experiment and see what you come up with! And, as always, let me know how it goes!


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