21 July 2009


Kea likes nishime but not the smell of it cooking. He didn't grow up eating it--only has it at my parents' house and at his sister and brother-in-law's house. He says it smells like farts; I think it's probably the daikon.

Nishime is one thing I need to learn how to make.

My mom cooked it last night but forgot to add the konnyaku so I cut and added it today. The package translates it into English as "yam cake," which I find amusing.

When I was small, "konnyaku" always meant the noodles, which Googling seems to show are more properly called "shirataki." We have started eating the gray one shown above though--I think my mom heard it is healthier. We shape it like the twist seen in the picture. It's kind of fun. You just slice it into rectangles, make a slit down the middle, and push one end of the rectangle through the slit.

photo 1 credit: http://japanesefood.about.com/od/japanesefoodpicture/ig/Japanese-Ingredients-Pictures/Konnyaku-Picture.htm

15 July 2009

Fish Steamed in Microwave

Last night, my mom cooked a fish I had never heard of before: swai. Googling turns up lots of information. Apparently it is from Southeast Asia, inexpensive, and sometimes sold as catfish, though now is required to be labelled "swai" or as a specific kind of catfish.

I'm picky about fish. I like salmon and tuna--though I will also eat both raw. I'm starting to like hamachi sushi too. I like opakapaka, mahi, and sometimes butterfish. And now I like swai. Also, to me, it doesn't taste like catfish. I'm not a fan of catfish; to me, it tastes dirty.

Anyway, besides this exciting new fish, I also liked how my mom prepared it. She cut it into small pieces (~2" square) and put them in a single layer in a corningware. She put salt, green onion, ginger, and some cooking oil. The ginger was sliced thin enough that you could eat it if you like ginger; I sort of like ginger but eating it was too strong for me. She then covered it and microwaved it! I think she didn't give a specific length of time for microwaving--just until it is done. When it was done, she put shoyu and sesame oil on top. Sooo good!! We had this and ribs last night and like I said, I'm cautious about fish so I would've guessed I would eat more ribs. Instead I found I liked the fish better!


I usually find chain restaurants disappointing. I think this comes from having high expectations from watching all these commercials for restaurants that are not in Hawai'i. You know, the food looks so good and you can't have it! Anyway, Chili's has been here for awhile but other than the excitement when they first opened, I have not been a fan.

Last time I went was in Sandusky, Ohio in 2006. Kea and I were in Sandusky for a couple days visiting Cedar Point amusement park. I thought Chili's was a Southwestern restaurant so I should order tacos or something. I don't remember what I ordered but I do remember that I hated it.

Anyway, we ended up at Chili's again last Friday with our nephews (age 10 and 8) and Kea's dad. I was racking my brain trying to think of a restaurant to please these two different audiences. Kea's dad usually doesn't eat out. He thinks it's a waste of money. If we were just going out with him, I think maybe we would've gone to a Chinese restaurant or like somewhere that served katsu curry or something. And kids of course are picky. I knew they liked Japanese food and pizza. They wanted to go to Hanaki at Manoa Marketplace and me and Kea refused. That place is so meh. It's good in that they have sushi, tempura, and all kinds of other stuff buffet style but the quality is really poor.

When we decided to go to Chili's, I was not happy, but Kea's sister recommended the Buffalo Chicken Salad. I ended up ordering it and it was awesome. I guess it helps that I love buffalo chicken. It was a little spicy--as in, more than I would expect from a chain restaurant. And it was nice having that somewhat healthy salad to go with the salty, battered, and sauced chicken. It was one of those salad's that's got so much stuff on it that non-salad people can enjoy it. But I have no problem with that.

Based on what everyone else ordered, I heard the ribs are good too.