Rika's TOKYO COUSINE in Penang
The third installment in our cooking documentary series where Chef Rika Yukimasa takes a break from her usual introductions of everyday Japanese cooking recipes, to travel throughout Asia and visit local chefs for cooking sessions to help her develop the new Tokyo Cuisine. This time, she’ll be visiting Malaysia’s Penang Island, famous for its incredible food. Penang’s blend of many cultures has made it a treasure trove of fusion cooking. George Town, Penang is even registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its beauty, but what really draws gourmands from around the world is the wide variety of ingredients and techniques employed in the local food. One type of food found here has been of particular note in recent years, as Rika heads to Penang to try Peranakan, or Nyonya, cuisine for herself. After getting a taste of the Nyonya food culture, Rika will work to use Penang ingredients for a new style of Japanese cooking.
Rolled Sushi with Penang Seafood & Vegetables
We’ll make three types of rolled sushi full of the flavors of Penang: sautéed salmon with herbs, a type of large Penang root vegetable called the bangkuang with shrimp flakes, and the sushi roll standards avocado and imitation crab with spicy, flavorful sambal belacan sauce as the secret ingredient.
Kushi-katsu with Pickled Wild Ginger Flower
Penang loves food on skewers, too! We’ll be making the Japanese skewered favorite, kushi-age, with both Japanese favorites like pork, shrimp, and eggplant, along with ingredients like bananas or even winged beans, rarely seen in Japan. For the sauce, we’ll be making our own variant on the popular Southeast Asian tau cheo sauce, reminiscent of Japanese miso.
Japanese Rolled Omelet with Sambal Belacan
We'll be making the Japanese home cooking staple, a rolled omelet, served with the Penang home-cooked favorite sambal belacan sauce.
1. Sauté the salmon. Chop the pepper leaves, basil, bangkuang, and cucumber into thin strips.
2. Peel the avocado and cut it into 1 cm-wide pieces. Pull the imitation crab apart by hand.
- 3. Add the sushi vinegar, rice vinegar, and salt to the freshly cooked rice, mixing it in with a cutting motion.
4. For the first sushi roll, place nori on a sushi mat, then spread the seasoned rice on top of it. Add fresh salmon, pepper leaves, basil leaves, and pickled ginger as one set of fillings to be rolled up, and bangkuang, cucumber, and shrimp flakes as another set in a thin line, then roll up with the sushi mat.
5. For the second sushi roll, place nori on the sushi mat, then spread the seasoned rice on top of it. Put kitchen wrap on top of the rice and turn over, so that the nori is on top, for a California roll-style roll with the rice on the outside. Place the avocado and imitation crab on top and add a small amount of sambal belacan sauce, then roll. After rolling, sprinkle powdered red shiso and salt mix onto the rice on the outside of the roll.
- 6. Cut the rolls into 2 cm-thick slices and serve with soy sauce on the side for dipping.
1. Cut the pork, shrimp, winged beans, eggplant, and banana into bite-sized pieces. Season all of them other than the banana with salt and pepper, then place them on skewers.
2. Mix the tempura flour with water. Dip the skewered ingredients into the tempura flour mixture, then coat with panko bread crumbs. Fry in 170°C oil until golden brown.
- 3. Cut the wild ginger flower into long, thin strips, and let sit in sushi vinegar to season, then remove and use as a garnish.
4. Add some sugar and water to the tau cheo to thin it out somewhat to use as a dipping sauce.
1. Beat the eggs thoroughly and season with salt and sugar.
2. Lightly oil a frying pan, and pour on a thin layer of beaten egg. When the edges set, roll up the thin layer of cooked egg, starting from the edge farthest away from you.
- 3. When you’ve finished rolling, replace the rolled egg on the far end of the frying pan and pour another thin layer of beaten egg into the pan. When the edges set, roll up as before. Repeat this process four to five times to make a thick rolled omelet.
4. When you finish cooking the omelet, place it onto a sushi mat lined with a paper towel, and use the rolling mat to squeeze it into a square shape.
5. Cut the rolled omelet into 2 cm-thick slices and arrange on a plate. Serve with grated daikon radish and sambal belacan on the side, to taste.