Sunday, October 19, 2008

3 Dinners: Japanese

Welcome to a new series of posts where I share 3 meals I've made each week. In theory it'd be from the previous week, in practice, the meals could be from months and months ago. The idea is twofold: to get through my massive backlog of food photos, and to share ideas for meals that are interesting and varied, but still manageable for a busy (and keen) cook.

This week's theme is Japanese.


Sake Simmered Chicken with Mushrooms and Miso-grilled Vegetables

I found these recipes in a 2005 (!) issue of Delicious magazine. It was their "healthy" issue, and I picked it up off the floor of my room when I running late for work and could not bear the thought of reading the MX again. Lucky I did, because it was full of great recipes! These ones are from Jill Dupleix's column. The recipes are pretty easy, if a bit fiddly. I think you could do them on a weeknight after work, if you were organised, but I made them on a lazy weekend evening. (To be honest, that night my brother suggested buying KFC - and believe me I was tempted - but I thought better of it and decided to make something healthy).

For the above veggies, you blanch them in hot water, drain them, then coat them in a mixture of miso/sugar/soy/mirin/sake, and grill them. For the chicken, you poach chicken breasts with shiitake mushrooms in a mixture of soy/mirin/sake/sugar and stock, then slice them and serve them on rice, with some wilted spinach and finely shredded carrots. Jill's recipe include enoki mushrooms also, but our local shops did not oblige.

I was very pleased with these recipes, and thought the poaching technique was a great way to add flavour without fat. I'd definitely like to make this again.


Grilled fish, Jamie Oliver's Broccoli, Miso Soup

The grilled fish in question was this toroaji I got at Fuji-mart a while back with my friend Markii. I can't remember exactly what fish it is (mackeral, perhaps?), but it is smoked and salted, and available in the freezer section. Markii enjoyed this fish while he was living in Japan, and it is apparently quite popular with Fuji-mart's customers. All you need to do to it is defrost and grill it.
The recipe for the veggies below, come from Jamie's Cook with Jamie, and is one of my favourite ways to make plain green veggies more interesting. They are served with little fried slivers of garlic, toasted sesame seeds, and a dressing made of soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and lime juice. Oishi~~i!

Miso soup. Instant. Also from Fuji-mart. Also good.
I enjoyed this meal overall, although I did find the fish very salty, so we only needed to eat a small amount to be full. Those above two pieces were more than enough for myself and my parents.


Japanese Beef Curry

I adore Japanese curry. As a Malaysian, I know that Japanese curry isn't actually hot, and therefore not a "real" curry, but I still love it. Beef curry, katsu curry (deep fried pork cutlet covered in curry sauce), or nasu karee (eggplant curry!) My host mother in Fukuoka made it for me back in '99 because she knew I love eggplants. And, because she knew I love hot food, she made it 3 times as hot as it normally is. I loved it! But I felt really, really sorry for my kawaisou host sisters who gasped like crazy, fanning their mouths and downing their water like nobody's business. Gomen-ne!

Any Asian grocery store should stock Japanese curry mix. Don't feel bad about using a packet, that's the way it's done in homes all over Japan. You just cook it with beef pieces, potatoes, carrots, and (I think) a bit of water.

Now, I didn't actually make this curry, my brother's girlfriend Su made it. (Arigatou Su, you are suupa~ kuuru!) But, I think it makes a great quick dinner, which is why I'm sharing it with y'all.

The leftovers froze really well, and made a great workday lunch.

3 comments:

Ran said...

i used to make jap curry alot as a uni student. it is pretty damn good! Sadly one day i read the ingredients list and msg was in it so i had to stop ;( I miss it! i might slip it in one time soon

Bob Lagatta said...

Thans for sharing these great recipes, especially the japanese one.
It’s good to know that I’m not alone when it comes to writing articles about quality, good food.
I’d better check the archived posts from your site. Ciao!
https://www.technocooks.com

Otaua Village Blog said...

I'm getting into using miso in cooking in a big way (seriously, have to stop myself putting it in everything) so thanks for some more inspiration! I LOVE the idea of poaching chicken in sake, it has an incredible flavour :)