Genki

Genki desu ka?元気ですか?Or Genki for short is the closest thing to “How are you?” in English.  But in Japanese it literally means, “Are you fine/healthy?”

One of the newest  addition to Oslo’s restaurant scene is Genki (元気). A japanese restaurant located at Vika terasse not far from the main street of Oslo Karl Johans gate and the Royal Palace. The restaurants head chef Vladimir Pak and his team mix the long and old nippon traditions smootly with Nordic flavours, giving you a taste voyage through traditional Kaiseki setting in a new and innovative way. They strive to use only Norwegian and Japanese produce that you can enjoy in a modern and pleasant environment.

Clock wise from top left: 1. Rice cracker with lemon and pepper, from the kaiseki menu. 2. Salmon tartar and wakame. 3. Maki with tuna tartar, ox tongue tartar and king crab. 4. Ceviche miso, from the kaiseki menu

At Genki you can lower your shoulders, relax and enjoy the staffs informal interaction with you, were they make sure that you will have and enjoy a wonderful and tasty experience. In Vladimir Pak hands you will surely get a quality meal, he secured a third place in the World Sushi Championship last year.

Kaiseki is a traditional multi course Japanese dinner. The term also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals, and is analogous to Western haute cuisine. Genki offers three different menus for dinner, a fourteen course kaiseki menu, you can enjoy all fourteen or sample two or three. If you are vegan, you too can enjoy a few dishes too and if you are vegetarian you can enjoy a few more. They also serve a set three coarse meal and maki menu with a vegetarian option.

Price wise this place is decent. The fourteen course meal cost NOK 825,-  about US$ 98,-  or Euro 88,- in today’s currency exchange. You can see two of the dishes in the second picture from the top.

You can also go and enjoy lunch at Genki. The lunch menu is shorter and not so elaborate as the dinner menu, you have the choise of four meals to choose from. The bento box in picture above is from their lunch menu, crispy tonkatsu, ceviche miso with toasted pumpkin seeds, mixed salad with sesame dressing, vegetable maki, fried maki with salmon and steamed rice. As my bento box was placed in front of me, an older petite japanese lady came in the door. I could hear her say that she had just heard about the place and wanted to try it out, she happened to order the same as me. I could not help myself and as she was paying I popped by and asked her if she enjoyed her meal and how she would compare it to a traditional japanese meal. She said it was very tasty and she enjoyed it very much and it was a lot of food, she was not used to so much for lunch.

Vegetarian maki, Genki Vika terasse, Oslo, Analiza Gonzales, Japanese
Vegetarian maki

Genki shares a kitchen with Omakase by Alex Cabiao the newly opened Oslo version of the only Michelin stared sushi restaurant i Norway, Sabi Omakase in Stavanger wich is runned by Alex’s  previous apprentice Roger Askila Joya. The Oslo based Edomae style restaurant as the name suggests will be headed by Alex Cabiao the grand master of sushi here in Norway and among the top sushi chefs in the world. He has trained every renowned sushi chef in this Nordic country.

The team of chef at Genki right to left Jonathan Romano, Alex Cabiao, Mark Subia, Vladimir Pak

A not so known member of this Sushi family is Mark Jayson Subia who also is an apprentice of Alex. He won the Global Sushi Challenge in Oslo in 2015 and represented Norway in Tokyo. Praised by both Alex and Jonathan, they predict that we will hear more from this guy in the future.

I give this place a thumbs up and if you are in Oslo, Norway, I recommend that you come and visit these places.

Soft and fluffy Hokkaido milk bread

Milk bread recipe

Holy Moly, if I had just known about Tangzhong earlier, I would have used this method when baking sweet buns a long time ago, worst of all I lived in Asia during the 1990s when this japanese technique got popularized through the book The 65° Bread Doctor. Using this method allows bread to stay fresh longer without needing to use artificial preservatives. I used to enjoy savory filled milk bread while living in Hong kong and little did I know back then that the technique used was quite new, I learnt this method much later.

Tangzhong-water roux is usually one part flour to 5 parts water, but you can use milk or a combination of both. The best ratio for using this is, for every 100 g of flour you need 35 g of Tangzhong

These Hokkaido milk bread are the mother of all fluffy buns.

What is Tanzhong? Well it is just a simple paste made out of flour and milk that you heat up, it is similar to a roux when making sauce, but without the butter. The paste which is the starter, is then mixed into the dough and will produce the most soft and bouncy bread.

Why that happens, I do not know, but I experimented with something similar a little while ago, I made sour cream doughnuts and used a choux pastry base and got super fluffy drop doougnuts see recipe HERE

FLOUR PASTE
5 tbsp milk
1 tbsp flour
DOUGH
5 dl flour
0,6 dl sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1,25 dl warm whole milk
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and softened at room temperature, plus a little extra for buttering baking pan.

EGG WASH
1 egg
1 tbsp milk

 

First you make the starter, in a small pot, whisk flour and milk together until smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often until it thickens. When it’s ready, the spoon will leave tracks on the bottom of the pot. Put the mixture in a cup and lightly cover the surface with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a baking bowl .

In a separate bowl mix the milk, egg and the Tangzhong and then pour it into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix and knead until everything is combined for 5 minutes or so. (I used all of the tangzhong I made I did not weigh it, but I guess the amount was in the vicinity of 35%)

Add the soft butter and knead another until the butter is incorporated and then knead 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy and just a bit sticky.

Shape the dough into a ball and cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes.

Punch the dough down and knead lightly and reshape the dough into a ball, cover again and let rise 15 minutes.

Butter a cake tin.

Tip the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and roll it in to a sausage and divide into 9 equal parts.

Shape each part in to round balls. Loosely cup hand around dough and, without applying pressure to dough, move hand in small circular motions. Place the buns into the prepared pan. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rest for another 30-40 minutes, until puffy.

Japanese milk bread

Pre heat the oven to 180 C.

Brush the tops with the egg wash and bake in the middle of the oven until golden brown, 25-30 minutes

Let cool in the pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and let cool at least 1 hour, to let the crust soften and keep the crumb lofty. (If cut too soon, the air bubbles trapped in the bread will deflate.)

Hokkaido milk bread

 

 

Homemade udon noodles

 

Udon noodles in a delicious broth with a few veggies and meat, is a little piece of heaven. Japanese comfort food at its best.

Making handmade udon noodles, thick chewy Japanese noodles made from wheat flour, water, and salt, is easier than it looks, you just need your feet to help:)

This recipe makes 4 servings

Continue reading “Homemade udon noodles”

Chicken Karrage, fried marinated chicken nuggets

Yummy juicy and tasty chicken nuggets marinated before they are coated and then fried.

Karaage is a Japanese cooking technique were you marinate smaller pieces of meat, by massaging the marinade into the meat, and then lightly coat them with  seasoned wheat flour or potato starch mix before frying in a light oil.

500  g boneless chicken meat, diced

Marinade
0,5 dl salt reduced soy sauce
0,5 dl mirin
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
3 cloves minced garlic
citrus

Coating
1,5 dl potato starch
1,5 dl wheat flour
0,5 dl sesame seeds
I sheet of nori finely cut
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Vegetable oil, for frying

 

Cut the chicken.

 

Combine the marinade ingredients in a zip lock baggie and add the chicken. Close the bag and massage the marinade into the chicken, then leave for about 30 minutes.

Combine all the coating ingredient in a bowl.

Heat a large saucepan with about 2 inches of vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat to about 180 C.

Dip the chicken in the flour mix, put the chicken in the saucepan and cook until golden brown and cooked through.

Serve with rice or noodles and some teriyaki or tonkatsu sauce.

 

Tonkatsu, Japanese schnitzel or Dongas in Korean

Exploring some of my Japanese heritage, funny thing though, I was 14 when I first ate at a Japanese reataurant. My great great grandfather was Japanese, unfortunately I do not know his name, but my great grand father was Pedro Nakamura y Gonzales. There can’t be that many Filipinos back then with that name so if anyoneelse has ties to him or know of him please let me know. He was married to Gabina Platon Burgos. One of my many hobbies is geneology, but I am sort of stuck with my side of the tree. My childrens three on their father side I have been able to go back centuries.

Tonkatsu is the japanese version of a Schnitzel, made with thin slices of pork sirloin. Originally these were made with beef and called Katsuretsu. It is said that the pork version was invented at a restaurant in Tokyo called Renegatei in 1899. The dish was seen as a “Yoshoku” a Japanese version of European cuisine. Some say that it was the Portuguese who brought Tonkatsu to Japan in the late 1800s. The portuguese arrived much earlier and at the end of the 1800s. In this period of history many countries had attempted to get a foothold in Japan, so who brought the dish to japan is somewhat uncertain, my theory i that it was those who invented the wiener schnitzel.

Tonkatsu is usually served with thinly sliced cabbage and a dark sauce called Tonkatsu sauce, a type of mustard (Karashi) and preferably with a slice of lemon or two along with rice and miso soup.
When we lived in South Korea we got it served with kimchi and kim and the dish is called Dongas. Kim is the same as Nori, the difference between Kim and Nori is that Kim as a side dish is often toasted with a little oil and lightly salted.
We often bought kim in little rectangular pieces, you it by placing a pice on top of your rice and pick up a mouthful of rice with chop sticks. If you want to eat this with kimchi, HERE is a recipe.

Tonkatsu sauce

1 dl ketchup
1/2 dl Worchestershire sauce
1/2 dl sake
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp grated fresh garlic
1-2 tsp of sugar
3 tbsp mirin

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil and stir-
Turn down the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Remove the foam that forms on top and let the sauce cool slightly before serving.

Tonkatsu
500 g pork sirloin
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs
4-5 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
4 dl panko crumbs
Oil for frying, not olive oil

Cut the meat into thin slices, about 1/2 cm thickness. If you want you can give the pieces a couple of whacks with a meat tenderizer. Salt and pepper slightly or to taste.

Pour oil in a deep sauce pan and set on medium heat.


Beat the eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Put the flour and panko in separate bowl.

Flour both sides of the meat and make sure it is completely covered, then dip it in the egg and finally in panko crumbs
Fry until golden.
Keep the meat warm in the oven in an ovenproof dish at approximately 150 ° C while you fry the rest.
If you are going to eat this with chop sticks, cut the Tonkatsu into strips before serving.Plate the tonkatsu and serve it with rice and miso soup, and other side dishes you want.