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Category: Japanese

Japanese Fried Chicken

Japanese Fried Chicken

Well guys, I did it. I finally caved to peer pressure and I got an air fryer. And wow am I having fun playing with it!  We have this Japanese Fried Chicken on our restaurant menus, and it is hugely popular. I wanted to see read more

Coffee Jelly

Coffee Jelly

I love gelatin desserts. Not the ubiquitous neon hued jello that played heavily at school cafeterias, but all of the the amazing desserts that rely on humble gelatin: from the silky creaminess of panna cottas to the sinful richness of a bittersweet chocolate mousse and read more

Barley Tea

Barley Tea

Barley tea, or mugicha or boricha, is a thirst quenching beverage that is enjoyed in many parts of Asian (including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China), especially during their steamy summer. It’s not really a tea, as it’s made from roasted barley grains. It has an earthy, nutty taste-a bit like coffee without the caffeine. Japanese homes will have a pitcher of this in the fridge all summer long, and kids and adults alike guzzle it all day. My nephews Aiden and Noah take it to school in their thermoses and it’s their preferred beverage. It’s not sugary like sodas and juices, so it hydrates more and is a healthier choice.  This recipe makes 2 quarts and it’s super fast, so let’s get into it.

barley tea ingredients

Health Benefits of Barley Tea

Besides being the ultimate summer sipper, barley tea is also prized for its numerous health benefits. Studies show barley tea can:

  • improve cardiovascular health
  • reduce the risk for diabetes/help control blood sugar
  • aid in digestion

You can find roasted barley sold most commonly in tea bags at most Asian markets. You can also make it from loose grains of roasted barley, and I give directions for that too on the recipe card below.

loose barley tea

Brewing Barley

There are two basic ways you can make barley tea. There’s cold brewing which just involves putting the barley tea bags in a pitcher with the water, and letting it brew in the fridge for a couple hours. It’s the most hassle free and lazy way to brew mugicha. As you can guess, this is pretty much my go-to. But you need to wait…So then there’s hot brewing. I do this when speed is of the essence:

simmer barley tea

Then I add the tea bags and the brewed tea to a pitcher with cold water so it’s ready to drink NOW (also to protect delicate pitchers from thermal shock and possible damage). If you want a more mild flavor you can leave the tea bags out. There’s really no over-brewing with mugicha. It doesn’t really get bitter or too strong. I like a robust flavor so I usually leave the bags in until the tea is done and then toss out the bags when I’m ready to make a new batch.

Refrigerate until cold, and serve over ice. Traditionally, this tea is served the way it is unsweetened, but you certainly can sweeten it with whatever you use to sweeten tea. This is a perfect afternoon pick me up, without the jitters from caffeine.

I hope this mugicha becomes a part of your summer routine like it is in our home. Give it a try and let me know what you think. You can rate and comment on the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen; we love hearing from you!

 

 

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recipe barley tea

Barley Tea

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 7 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts 1x
  • Category: beverages
  • Cuisine: japanese

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 quarts (64 oz) water
  • 2 barley tea bags

If you are using barley grains:

  • 2 quarts (64 oz) water
  • 1/4 cup barley grains

Instructions

Hot brewing with tea bags:

  1. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil on high heat and add the tea bags.
  2. Lower the heat and gently simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Fill the pitcher with 1 quart of cold water and pour the tea into the pitcher. (You can discard the tea bag first but I leave it in for a stronger flavor).
  4. Refrigerate until ready to drink.

Cold brewing with tea bag:

  1. Place the tea bag in a pitcher with 2 quarts of water.
  2. Refrigerate for about 2 hours and enjoy.

Brewing from barley grains:

  1. Pour 1 quart of  water into a pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add the barley grains to the pot and lower the heat to a gentle simmer.
  3. Cover with a lid and simmer for 5-15 minutes. The longer you simmer, the stronger the taste. 
  4. Pour the tea through a strainer into a pitcher filled with 1 quart of cold water.
  5. Discard the barley grains. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

*Barley tea will keep refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Keywords: mugicha, barley tea, japanese, healthy, asian drinks

Okra Natto

Okra Natto

Today we’re really going to put the funky in Funky Asian Kitchen. Okra Natto is a mashup I made from two beloved Japanese dishes. It’s an acquired taste for sure, but we wouldn’t be living up to our name if we didn’t challenge you on read more

Turnip Cake

Turnip Cake

I’m a huge fan of savory pancakes for dinner. Much more so than I am pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast. And this recipe is one of my favorites. It’s my Japanese influenced take on a popular Chinese dim sum, Turnip Cake. No actual turnips, read more

Burdock Chips

Burdock Chips

Sometimes you just need a crispy, crunchy snack. Instead of reaching for some overly processed, sodium laden bag of chips, try making a batch of these Burdock Chips. The crunch you crave, with the added bonus of all the nutrition benefits of burdock root. Full of prebiotic fiber and antioxidants and other anti-cancer properties, burdock root has been used for centuries to treat blood sugar issues. But you won’t think about that when you are grabbing another handful of these delightfully crispy chips. Making chips is a great way to introduce a veggie you may not have tried before, so let’s get into it.

burdock chips ingredients

Turning Burdock into Chips

Burdock is a long and skinny root vegetable, with a skin that’s similar to ginger’s. It’s best to scrape it off rather than using a peeler. I use the back of a knife, which is just sharp enough to take the skin off quickly. It’s important to have the vinegar water bath ready since the burdock root will start to oxidize and brown immediately. Soaking the root in a vinegar-water bath will help to keep it from discoloring.

Trim off the ends of the woody burdock, scrape the skin off with your knife (you can also use a vegetable scrub or the rough side of a clean sponge), and cut the burdock into 4 inch logs. Then immediately place the burdock into the vinegar water. Keep it in the vinegar water as much as possible while you are cutting it into slices, until you are ready to cook it.

skin burdock chips

 

You can cut the burdock using a couple of different methods. I used a knife and first sliced a thin sliver off of the log to stabilize the burdock root and to keep it from rolling around on the cutting board. Then it’s just a matter of slicing the burdock root as thinly as possibly. It’s important to try and keep the slices uniform so that they fry evenly. You do not want some chips to burn before the others are done frying.

If you prefer to use a peeler to get the thin strips, do not cut the burdock into logs. Instead, scrape off the skin 4 inches at a time and then hold the burdock over the bowl of water and peel long strips into the vinegar water.ribbons burdock chips

Frying the Burdock Chips

These fry quickly, and in only one inch of oil. So it’s a great recipe to get more comfortable with frying. Also, the burdock flavors the frying oil and gives it a warm nutty flavor. Don’t throw out the oil! Use it for all of your cooking throughout the week. The mild flavor won’t clash with any other flavors.

 

When you first add the burdock root, the oil will bubble like crazy. But as the chips continue to fry, more of the the water from the burdock root will cook out and evaporate and there will be less bubbling. Keep frying until there are very few bubbles, which is a sign that the chips will be crispy. When the burdock chips are nicely browned and crisped, I remove them to a paper towel lined plate and salt them. I like a good, flakey salt for this.

Repeat this with the rest of the burdock root until you have a lovely pile of crunchy chips. There’s no shame in just devouring these on the couch. But, they also make an excellent side/topping. Try them with:

When you enjoy these burdock chips, take a moment to let me know what you think. Rate and comment on the recipe below, and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!

 

 

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recipe card burdock chips

Burdock Chips

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 2 1x
  • Category: small plates
  • Cuisine: Japanese

Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 ounces burdock root
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar (any kind is fine)
  • 2 cups water 
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Salt (any coarse salt will do-I used Maldon sea salt)

Instructions

 

  1. Combine the vinegar and water in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Use either a clean vegetable scrub or the back of your knife and scrub/scrape the skin from the burdock root.
  3. Cut the burdock root into 4” pieces and place the burdock root into the vinegar water.
  4. Using your knife, slice a thin sliver off the burdock root to keep it from rolling around on the cutting board. Then, slice the burdock root lengthwise into thin ribbons, about 1/16” thick.
  5. Place the ribbons into the vinegar water and continue slicing, putting the ribbons back into the water as quickly as possible.
  6. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat to about 325 degrees.
  7. Drain the burdock root and pat dry with some paper towels.
  8. Dip one ribbon of burdock root into the oil to test the heat. It should sizzle immediately. Carefully lower one large handful of burdock root into the oil. 
  9. Use a pair of chopsticks or tongs to swish the burdock, separating the pieces.
  10. Fry for 2-3 minutes until the burdock chips are crispy and lightly browned. When you first add the burdock root, the oil will furiously bubble. As the chips fry, the water from the burdock will leach out and evaporate. The chips will start to dry out and the oil will bubble less and less. By the time the chips are fully fried and crisp, there will be very little bubbling.
  11. Use a strainer or spider and scoop the chips onto a paper towel lined plate or bowl and sprinkle with salt while hot.
  12. Continue frying, draining, and salting until all of the burdock has been fried.
  13. Serve the burdock chips immediately.

Notes

*You can also use a peeler to slice the burdock root. First scrape the skin off in 4-5 inch section. Then hold the burdock root over the bowl of vinegar water and use the peeler to slice the burdock root lengthwise into thin ribbons. Have the ribbons drop into the vinegar water immediately to keep them from discoloring. Drain and blot the burdock root with paper towels right before frying.

Keywords: burdock, gobo chips, burdock root, snacks