Tag Archives: Japanese

Kabocha nimono (simmered Japanese pumpkin)

We love root vegetables, so easy to handle and always delicious. Usually we roast a variety of them with minimum effort – some olive oil, salt and pepper and they result in a tray of shimmering rainbow. That’s a typical western version of handling root vegetables. The Chinese homes usually serve it as an accompaniment to a main ingredient in soups or stir fried. The Japanese however, take much effort in making sure the full flavours are represented.  This pumpkin is a good example,  although the dish was meant to be eaten as a side ( pardon the quantity we made it looks like we made a lot,hmmm actually we did, one large plate 😬😬😬. Like I’ve said, we do love our root vegetables) yet the dish receives as much attention to detail as a main dish. Not that it require that much effort, just sufficient for the flavours to burst through those golden bars.

Recipe

1/2 a kabocha or japanese pumpkin
1 piece of kombu, about a postcard size
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce

In a small saucepan add kombu to 4 cups of water. Slowly bring to boil. This will make a simple dashi stock.

Meanwhile, wash the kabocha thoroughly, scoop away the seeds but leave the skin on. The skin serves to hold the flesh and adds texture to this dish. Cut the kabocha into chunks. Arrange them skin-side down in a medium pot, preferably in 1 layer.

Combine the mirin, sugar and soy sauce in a bowl. Add one cup of the freshly made dashi stock and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over the kabocha chunks in the medium pot. Add another cup of dashi, or two cups, just to cover the kabocha.

Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until a fork can pierce into it, tender but not mushy. Adjust the taste of the simmering broth if necessary. Turn off the heat and let it stand lid closed for 30 minutes. The kabocha will continue to cook and absorb flavours while it cools in the pot (so do not overcook it before turning off the heat).

Serve the dish either slightly warm or at room temperature. Garnish with spring onions if you wish.

Note:Buy a nice and ripe kabocha (get those that are already cut into half, it’s easier to see if they are nice!). Because of the simplicity of the ingredients, careful execution is required and achieving the correct texture is of utmost importance.
Save the left over dashi for another use, such as making tamagoyaki (see the sushi post)

 

 

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Teriyaki Cod with Mushroom and Asparagus

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I never thought that teriyaki sauce can be home made. I know, what can’t be?
Erm, so it’s not supposed to be those thick salty kinds the Japanese food stall auntie slather over my over baked salmon?

Oh it’s actually very nice! Yummy!

Homemade Teriyaki sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce (less salt)
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sake
1 teaspoon raw sugar

Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat but do not allow to boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce until the desired consistency is reached. For the dish below, i first made a loose sauce for marinate, and further reduce it to thicken for final glazing.

Cod fillets, (Eringi) Mushrooms and Asparagus
Preheat oven to 220 deg Celsius. Wash ingredients and pat dry with kitchen towel. Arrange on baking tray and smear on loose teriyaki sauce. Turn the fish over and smear the other side as well. Let the ingredients sit for 15 minutes before putting into the oven to roast for 12-15 minutes.
While the fish and all is roasting, thicken the teriyaki to almost caramel consistency (be careful not to burn it! it will further thicken as it cools).
Plate the dish and apply teriyaki glaze on the ingredients and plate.

I Love Ramen

Harumi's Chinese Style Noodles

Yummy Ramen

For those who know zzz’s current craze with Japanese cooking.

Strictly speaking, its not a craze. he doesn’t cook everything Japanese. But I think he does have a liking towards the exquisiteness and simplicity of Japanese cuisine.

Anyways, it GOOD news for me. I LOVE RAMEN. They are one of the tastiest, affordable and hearty meal to have, especially on a cold or rainy day (that’s if they make it right).

Chinese Style Soup Noodles (Adapted from Harumi’s Japanese Cooking)

(Serves 4)

10 cups/2 ltrs water

4 tbsps granulated chicken stock or 6 stock cubes

1/2 cup/100ml pork stock (see below)

4 tbsp kombu cha powder

salt to taste

600 gm thin Chinese eff noodles – uncooked

chopped spring onions to taste

menma bamboo shoots to taste

coarsely ground black pepper

red chilli shochu – optional

sliced simmered pork and hard boiled eggs

1. Make the soup. In a large pan, bring the water to boil and add chicken stock, pork stock, soy sauce, kombu cha powder and salt. Bring to boil again , then turn the heat down to lowest possible and prepare the noodles.

2. In a separate pan, bring a large quantity of water to boil and add noodles. Cook until al dente and drain.

3. Divide the noodles between 4 large warmed bowls and ladle in soup. Sprinkle chopped spring onion and the menma on top along with some sliced pork. Add pepper and chilli shochu to taste.

Simmered Pork

(Serves 4)

a little sunflower/vegetable oil

500gm pork loin

green part of 1 spring onion

3cm piece of ginger, peeled and crushed

1/2 cup.100ml soya sauce

1/4 cup/50ml sake

1 tbsp caster sugar

water

4 hard boiled eggs

1. Heat the oil in saucepan to medium heat and add pork and seal evenly on all sides

2. Wipe of any excess oil form pan (with kitchen towel). Add spring onion, ginger, soy sauce, sake and sugar. Pout in enough water to almost cover pork and increase heat. Once it boils, turn heat down to medium, skim the surface to remove any scum and simmer for 40 mins. During this time, turn the pork a couple of times and keep removing any scum.

3. When water is reduced by half, add eggs to the pan with pork. move them around from time to time to ensure even color.

4. When water is reduced to about 100ml (about 1/2 cup), turn off heat and leave to cool, then slice pork and cut the effs in half. Use the stock to make ramen and put meat and eggs on top.

I Love Ramen

Harumi's Chinese Style Noodles

Yummy Ramen

For those who know zzz’s current craze with Japanese cooking.

Strictly speaking, its not a craze. he doesn’t cook everything Japanese. But I think he does have a liking towards the exquisiteness and simplicity of Japanese cuisine.

Anyways, it GOOD news for me. I LOVE RAMEN. They are one of the tastiest, affordable and hearty meal to have, especially on a cold or rainy day (that’s if they make it right).

Chinese Style Soup Noodles (Adapted from Harumi’s Japanese Cooking)

(Serves 4)

10 cups/2 ltrs water

4 tbsps granulated chicken stock or 6 stock cubes

1/2 cup/100ml pork stock (see below)

4 tbsp kombu cha powder

salt to taste

600 gm thin Chinese eff noodles – uncooked

chopped spring onions to taste

menma bamboo shoots to taste

coarsely ground black pepper

red chilli shochu – optional

sliced simmered pork and hard boiled eggs

1. Make the soup. In a large pan, bring the water to boil and add chicken stock, pork stock, soy sauce, kombu cha powder and salt. Bring to boil again , then turn the heat down to lowest possible and prepare the noodles.

2. In a separate pan, bring a large quantity of water to boil and add noodles. Cook until al dente and drain.

3. Divide the noodles between 4 large warmed bowls and ladle in soup. Sprinkle chopped spring onion and the menma on top along with some sliced pork. Add pepper and chilli shochu to taste.

Simmered Pork

(Serves 4)

a little sunflower/vegetable oil

500gm pork loin

green part of 1 spring onion

3cm piece of ginger, peeled and crushed

1/2 cup.100ml soya sauce

1/4 cup/50ml sake

1 tbsp caster sugar

water

4 hard boiled eggs

1. Heat the oil in saucepan to medium heat and add pork and seal evenly on all sides

2. Wipe of any excess oil form pan (with kitchen towel). Add spring onion, ginger, soy sauce, sake and sugar. Pout in enough water to almost cover pork and increase heat. Once it boils, turn heat down to medium, skim the surface to remove any scum and simmer for 40 mins. During this time, turn the pork a couple of times and keep removing any scum.

3. When water is reduced by half, add eggs to the pan with pork. move them around from time to time to ensure even color.

4. When water is reduced to about 100ml (about 1/2 cup), turn off heat and leave to cool, then slice pork and cut the effs in half. Use the stock to make ramen and put meat and eggs on top.

Eat. Healthy.

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

25ml mirin

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

salt

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!!