Dinner @862 has recently taken on a Japanese twist. All because zzz borrowed a book from NLB (yes, our national library IS ONE OF THE BEST!!) by Kimiko Barber titled “Japanese Pure and Simple”.
Japanese food/cuisine (if you like) has this simple allure with the quest for perfection, balance of food with beauty, and all that invisible zen around, its really hard to not like it. In any case, Japanese fare has always been enjoyed everywhere. The sushi chains, ramen shops, new modern Japanese cafes (now what’s that?!) – all the too-commercial restaurants that have sprouted everywhere are sure evidence.
For us, there are only a handful of shops we will gladly choose for a Japanese meal – among them are Nansuttei or Ikoi. I didn’t used to be or meant to be picky, that only happened when we got repeatedly disappointed by the franchise shops which decided cost efficiency is more important than quality.
Anyways. Here are 2 recipes which zzz tried over the past weeks. They look pretty easy, obviously, i only ate, so i wouldn’t know more. There were more, but i just got too hungry to snap snap – bad bad me.
Number one dashi stock
1 postcard-sized piece of konbu (kelp seaweed)
1 ltr of water
20 dried bonito flakes (roughly a handful)
Soak the konbu in the measured water in a saucepan for at least 30 mins (ideally 1 hr) before placing it over a moderate heat. If you have not had enough time to siak the konbu, lower the heat to low/moderate to allow more time for the konbu to infuse the water/
Take out the konbu when it begins to float and a few small bubbles start to appear. Pour in a ladle of cold water followed by the bonito flakes. Turn up the heat slightly and cook until the liquid returns to boil, but do not let it come to a full boil; turn off the heat. Let the bonito flakes settle to the bottom and strain the dashi through a fine sieve lined with a piece of kitchen paper.
Grilled asparagus in dashi
20 asparagus spears
2 tbsps vegetable oil
100 ml dashi stock
50ml soy sauce
An asparagus spear has a natural breaking point when you bend it, so break the spears with you hands and discard the hard lower parts. brush each spear with vegetable oil and frill for 10 mins., turning them over to cook evenly. meanwhile, mix the dashi stock, soy sauce and mirin in a flat-based dish. Transfer the cooked asparagus spears to the dish while they are hot to let them absorb the flavors fof the dashi mixture and serve.
Hokkaido salmon and potato miso soup
150 gm salmon fillet
150g potatoes, peeled
100g carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks
150g cabbage, roughly cut
150g leeks, chopped diagionally
1 tsp grated garlic
1.2 ltrs dashi stock
2-3 heaped tbsps medium colored miso paste
2 spring onions, chopped diagionally
Cut the salmon fillet into bite-sized chunks, sprinkle with salt and set aside
Chop the potatoes into bite-sized chunks and soak in water while you prepare the other vegetables. Drain the potatoes. Put the salmon and all vegetables in a saucepan with the dashi stock and bring to boil over a moderate heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20mins, spooning off any scum that floats to the surface
Put the miso paste in a small bowl and add a ladle of soup to dilute. Add the miso mixture to the soup and stir to blend, Adjust the seasoning with salt if necessary. Let the soup return to the boil and add the chopped spring onions. Turn off the heat and serve in warmed soup dishes.
If the rice above looks like a little brown. It is. That’s because we used brown rice. OK, so its not Japanese, but we figured its the taste and essence that counts!!