Tag Archives: fish

low carb sushi rolls!

2 Aug

low carb sushi urbanpocketknife

Once upon a time I took a sushi making class and continued to make it at home all the time.  After switching to low carb and not having rice in the house anymore, I was a little bummed that my sushi gadgets weren’t being used anymore.

I had seen sushi wrapped in thin slices of cucumber before but I had never ordered it until now!  Totally low carb and basically just raw fish and vegetables…tastes like sushi and is completely guilt free!

I gave it a whirl at home, I probably didn’t have the appropriate knife because cutting the cucumber was a hard task indeed.  I basically followed this video below:

low carb sushi urbanpocketknife

I piled everything up on one end starting with some mustard greens (taste like wasabi!), some smoked black cod, scallops that were marinated in mayo and green onions.  Roll em up and cut into 4 pieces!

low carb sushi urbanpocketknife

This one had some ruby streak lettuce (also very spicy) with some salmon and scallop.

low carb sushi urbanpocketknife

I ran out of cucumber slices after a while so I just used some collard greens as wraps instead.  Turned out pretty good!


I ♥ Real Japanese Restaurants…Shuraku Japanese Bistro

23 Jun

On a random stroll down Granville Street in downtown Vancouver, we ventured into Shuraku Japanese Bistro, mostly because we saw a bunch of Japanese kids sitting outside on the patio….it’s gotta be good right?

We soon discovered that this resto was all about tapas style plates not unlike the infamous Guu.  We grabbed a table outside and ordered a few plates.

Our waitress offered us a choice between 3 different kinds of green tea.  We decided on a roasted brown rice green tea that was served in a beautiful cast iron pot.  Presentation was clearly their strong suite.

Read more to see their amazing sushi dishes!

Continue reading

banana leaf – so good in my belly

15 Mar

A friend and I decided to try out Banana Leaf which is a super fantastic Malaysian restaurant located in three different places in Vancouver.  The Kits restaurant is very hip and smaller than the Willow and Broadway location which is more family oriented.  Both serve the same menu but the Kits one is definitely more lively.

Everything smelled so good when we entered that it was very hard to decide what to order.  Luckily they had a few prix fixe options and we tried the 8-course set meal at $28.75 per person.  And whoa, did we get a lot of food!

Our starter was a small papaya salad that had mixed greens.  The dressing made my lips pucker and it was a little bit over dressed but the sweetness of the papaya mellowed it out and made a nice balance.

Count ’em, four appetizers: roti Canai, calamari and spring rolls (okay that’s only three but we didn’t know the forth one was coming).  All three were really well prepared with the roti being soft and not too starchy.  The calamari was tender and crispy on the outside and one of the sauces was curry based and went well with all three appetizers.

To our surprise, our waiter came out with a fourth appetizer of chicken satay with a spicy peanut sauce.  The chicken was super moist but the peanut sauce was a little meh.

For our main, we got a great helping of Rendang beef, Sambal green beans, black cod, mussels and scallops, and a side of coconut jasmine rice.  The trio of mains made us giddy just because of how amazing they smelled and how much food was brought to our table.

The Rendang beef is stewed lean beef in rich Malaysian curry spices with coconut milk.  Although the coconut was subtle, the slightly spicy smokey curry went perfectly with the rice.  The beef could’ve been a little bit more tender but I assume it was because the cut was so lean.

With all the meat, it was nice to get a main with lots of crunchy green beans with a blast of garlic and mild chilis.  The shrimp that were mixed in were firm and not those puny ones that look like worms.

If there’s anything I can assume, it’s that Malaysian people know how to cook seafood properly.  The mussel and scallop dish was delicate in flavour with coconut milk and lemongrass undertones.  Perfectly cooked, the seafood was moist, tender and not at all rubbery.

Now the finale…I am always a huge fan of the rich taste of black cod (aka sable fish).  The black cod was deep fried with a light batter (so crispy!) with the flesh being super moist.  It was bathed in a blackish sauce called Kicap Manis which was slightly sweet and gingery.  Two very healthy portions came in our dish.

By now we were fully stuffed but dessert was still on the way.  Two banana halves deep fried in light batter with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream was a great end to an awesome dinner.  The bananas were warm and gooey on the inside and was great with the creamy cold ice cream.

Atmosphere (Broadway & Willow): 3/5
Atmosphere (Kitsilano): 5/5
Flavour: 4.5/5
Presentation: 3.5/5
Uniqueness: 4/5
Service: 4.5/5
Value: 5/5

fish paste stuffed peppers and chinese broccoli…

2 Mar

While I was shopping for fish at T&T I saw a bin of fish paste and remembered the stuffed peppers my mom used to make.  That pile of super white goo probably doesn’t look that appealing to the naked eye, but frying it up produces some tasty results! I don’t really remember what my mom used and how she cooked but I figure I could wing it and make a light dinner for later that day.  For the longest time I had no idea that gai lan was called chinese broccoli in english and just figured that everyone that wasn’t chinese called any asian vegetable chinese broccoli…oops.

Here’s the recipe…

Continue reading

black cod in black bean sauce with sweet sugarsnaps…

25 Feb

Black cod has such a distinct buttery flavour that is rich and ultra yummy.  It’s generally an expensive fish but I found it at T&T for $11.99/lb (asian nation rules!).  Sugarsnaps have great fresh pea flavour very similar to snowpeas but with the added crunch of a thicker pod. This recipe is super easy and can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes.

What you need!
2 black cod fillets or steaks
2 tbsp black bean sauce
5 cloves of garlic
1 lb sugar snaps
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground or fresh ginger
1 onion
2 tbsp garlic butter
olive oil

What you do!

1.  Wash your sugar snaps and snap off the ends if they are tough.  Chop your onions and mince the garlic.

2. Prepare your fish marinade by adding black bean sauce, 2 tbsp of minced garlic, salt, pepper, ginger and rice wine vinegar in a bowl.  Give it a stir.

3.  Wash and pat dry your black cod.  In a saucepan on high heat, drizzle some olive oil and add the black cod to sear about 3 minutes.  Turn down the heat to medium and top the black cod with your black bean mixture.  Add about 3/4 cup of water to the pan and cover for 6-7 minutes depending on how thick the fish is.  Usually black cod is steamed but I like to cook it in the water so I get a sauce at the same time.  Remove lid and cook for another 2-3 minutes to let some water evaporate.  The fish should be opaque when it’s fully cooked.

4.  In another pan on high heat, add the garlic butter, onions and the remaining minced garlic.  Sautee until golden 6-8 minutes.

5.  Add the sugarsnaps in and sautee until they are bright green 6-8 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

6.  Serve with rice and enjoy!

hiya! Oshizushi pressed sushi goodness!

28 Jan

I took a sushi maki class in the fall and have easily worked it into my weekly meals.  I think no matter how much I practice, it still takes forever to prepare and make it all so I found a solution!  Sushi goodness in one casserole dish, enough to feed an army.

If you don’t like cooking too much, you’re in luck!  The only cooking part is microwaving the rice.  You can basically put whatever you like in this layered pressed sushi but I make sure to have lemons, some sort of smoked fish, and avocados among other tasty things.

Here’s a recipe for you to give a whirl!

What you need!
5 cups of cooked japanese rice (see bottom for cooking method)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
4-5 slices of smoked salmon or tuna
2 lemons
1/4 red onion
2 1/2 cups of peeled cooked shrimp
1/2 cup cucumbers
3 tbsp green onion

What you do!

1.  Prepare the sushi rice marinade.  Stir the sugar and salt into the rice vinegar until dissolved.

2.  Drizzle some on the rice and gentle fold the rice to mix.  Continue to drizzle the vinegar mix and stir as you go.  Taste it and stop when you’ve reached the desired tartness.

the vinegar mix makes the rice all pretty and shiny!

3.  Prepare your ingredients.  Thinly slice the red onions, cut the cucumbers into small strips, cut the peel off one lemon and chop the lemon into small pieces.

4.  If needed, defrost your smoked fish and cooked peel shrimp in a bowl of cold water.

5.  Oil your 8×8 glass casserole dish lightly and layer the lemon pieces, green onion and red onion slices.

6.  Layer the smoked fish evenly, two layers is best!

7.  Add the wee shrimps and some cucumbers.  Make sure there is space between the cucumbers so the layers will stick.

8.  Take half the marinated rice and spread it evenly on top.  Wet your hands periodically so the rice doesn’t stick.  Press the rice down firmly to create a flat even layer.  Layer one done!

9.  Grate some lemon zest all over the rice layer, cut the second lemon in half and squeeze the juice all over.  Layer some more cucumber strips and avocado.  Put the rest of the rice on top and smush it done with wet fingers again!

10.  Squeeze the last half of lemon all over the last rice layer.  The rice should be slightly over the lip of the casserole dish.

11.  Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap.  Put a heavy cutting board over the casserole dish with some heavy dishes or pots on it.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.

12.  Using a flat dish or cutting board that is larger than the casserole dish, flip the casserole dish over and slowly remove.  Voila!  A cake of sushi!  Cut it into bite size pieces and enjoy with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger!

this beauty feeds at least 6-8 people

variation! sliced lemons, smoked salmon, shrimp, white onions, cucumber and avocado

say hello to the close-up

How to cook the rice, nuking styles!

I used to cook it on the stove until I discovered the magic of the microwave.  It’s almost as good as a rice cooker and certainly beats scrubbing pots full of sticky rice bits.  I use Kokuho Rose japanese rice.

1.  For this Oshizushi I used 2 cups of rice.  Rinse the rice until the water is clear.  Put 2 1/2 cups of water in the microwaveable rice pot (it’s plastic and usually has a lid with vents that clips to the pot).

2.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Take it out, open the lid (be careful of steam!) and give it a stir.

3.  Put it back in the microwave for 10 minutes on 50% power, perfect rice every time!