March 26, 2014

Simmered Kiriboshi Daikon/切り干し大根の煮物

The main dish (shusai) of our supper last Monday was store-bought beef korokke (Japanese croquette), except for my wife, who prefers kabocha korokke, and one side dish (fukusai) was Chinese cabbage salad. I thought what I would make for another side dish. I remembered having bought one bag of kiriboshi daikon the day before, so I decided to make simmered kiriboshi daikon.

30 g kiriboshi daikon, rinsed under running water in a sieve
1/2 carrot, cut into julienne
10-20 g(?) pre-sliced dried shiitake, rinsed under running water in sieve
1 abura age, cut in half lengthwise first and then cut into strips

Put all the ingredients in a pot, add enough water to barely cover them, bring to a boil, add 1-2 tsp sugar, simmer for 3 min., add 1 tsp instant dashi and some soy sauce, and simmer for another 3 min.
The total cooking time is about 10 min.

切り干し大根 30 g。ざるに入れ、流水で洗う。
にんじん 1/2本。千切り。
切ってある干しシイタケ 10~20 g。ざるに入れ、流水で洗う。
油揚げ 1枚。まず縦に半分に切ってから細切りにする。

You may have noticed that I didn't reconstitute the kiriboshi daikon or the dried shiitake and I didn't remove excess oil from the abura age. I used to follow these steps, but not any longer. The resultant dish is good enough.

Note that one main dish (shusai) and two side dishes (fukusai), in addition to rice and soup, are common elements of a Japanese meal.

March 22, 2014

Vernal Equinox Day/春分の日

Let me just remind you that yesterday, March 21, was  Vernal Equinox Day, or Shunbun no Hi in Japanese. I thought I would talk a little bit about this day, but then I found that I had already written about O-higan twice in my blog:
here and


March 20, 2014

Substantial Soup Turned Tonjiru (Pork Soup)/具沢山の汁を豚汁に

The main dish of tonight's supper was katsuo tataki on a mound of onion slices.
Cheap (98 yen per 100 g) but tasty enough.
安い(100 g 98円)ですが、十分美味しいです。

It was rather cold today, which made me want to turn the leftover substantial miso soup into tonjiru. I added one pack of oyster mushroom, one block of momen dofu (< tofu), a large amount of gobo, some (about 300 g) thinly sliced pork, and grated ginger. I finally added some more instant dashi, turned off the heat, and added some more miso.
今日はちょっと寒かったので、残りの具沢山の味噌汁を豚汁にしたくなりました。ヒラタケ1パック、木綿豆腐1丁、ごぼうを沢山、薄切りの豚肉を少し(300 g程度)、おろし生姜を入れました。最後に出汁の素をちょっと足し、火を止めて、味噌を少し足しました。
Very, very good indeed! The combination of pork, burdock, ginger, and miso is heavenly.

Today, my wife's brother gave us these:
Kinpira gobo
I should say gobo-only kinpira. It was very good.

Nina (simmered nozawana pickle):
It was good, too.

Here in this area of Niigata prefecture, nina is not pronounced nina, but neena.

March 19, 2014

Kinpira Gobo/きんぴらごぼう

Today, my wife got lots of vegetables from her brother, including gobo (burdock roots), as well as large amounts of takuan (yellow pickled daikon) and pickled nozawana (a type of green).
I decided to make kinpira gobo using some of the gobo.
I used a sheet of aluminum foil to clean the skin.
You can see the crumpled sheet of aluminum foil on the right.

You need not remove all the dirt from the gobo.
Cut into sticks and soak in cold water for a few minutes.
(Or, you can whittle the gobo.)
Cut a carrot into sticks, too. (Or, you can whittle it.) Put some sesame oil in a frying pan, and add gobo and carrot.
I heated with a lid on, for a few minutes. I added one red pepper (deseeded and cut into small pieces with scissors). Then, I added a 1:1 mixture of mirin and soy sauce (75 ml each, because of the large amounts of gobo and carrot). Stir-fry until done.
蓋をして数分加熱しました。赤唐辛子(種を抜き、はさみで細かく切って)入れました。次に、みりんと醤油を1:1で混ぜたもの(ごぼうと人参の量が多いのでそれぞれ75 ml)入れました。火が通るまで炒めます。
I was surprised to see that my wife transferred the kinpira to this tiny container. Anyway, I sprinkled some white sesame seeds.
I also simmered four slices of ma-dara (a type of cod).
75 ml sake
75 ml water
30 ml soy sauce
30 ml mirin
(sake + water), mirin, and soy sauce ratio = 5:1:1, as usual)
お酒 75 ml
水 75 ml
醤油 30 ml
みりん 30 ml
(酒+水)、みりん、醤油の割合 = いつも通り5:1:1)

Simmered for 6 min.

I learned from my wife that these particular slices were salted ma-dara! They were a bit salty, but good enough.

We also had this very substantial miso soup, leftover from last night's supper.
We also had this simmered hijiki, also leftover from last night's supper.

March 18, 2014

Tebamoto Karaage/手羽元の唐揚げ

Yesterday, I bought a bag of 1-kg "tebamoto" for 360 yen.
昨日は、手羽元1 kg 買いました。360円でした。
Today, I spent tens of minutes trying to find a good way to cook them, but after all, I decided to simply deep-fry them as karaage in my usual way.

Thus, I first marinated them in a mixture of:
75 ml mirin,
75 ml soy sauce,
grated ginger, and
dried garlic.
みりん 75 ml
醤油 75 ml
Then, I put equal amounts of flour and katakuriko (potato starch) in an I-Wrap bag, and added one half (eight) of them. I added some flour and katakuriko in the I-Wrap bag, and did the same with the other half. 
I tried double deep-frying this time: Deep-frying at a low temperature of 150-160C for 5-7 min. first, remove from the fryer, wait for a few minutes, and then deep-fry at a high temperature of 180-190C for 3 min.
For the first half, I set the temperature control at 160C, which was a mistake. After 5 min. the first batch looked like this.
I then deep-fried the other half, over low heat, without relying on the temperature control, for 7 min.
They were deep-fried fine.
Then, I deep-fried the first half at a high temperature of 180C for 3 min. Then, I transferred them to a tray, and heated in the toaster oven for 5 min., covered with aluminum foil.

I deep-fried the other half at a high temperature of 180C for 5 min. They ended up being as dark as the first half.
I was relieved to hear my daughter say, "They are delicious!"

You may wonder what "tebamoto" is. Here is a photo.
In Japan, the chicken wing is separated into three parts (left to right): tebasaki, tebanaka, and tebamoto.
日本では、chicken wingは(左から右に)、手羽先、手羽中、手羽元という3つの部分に分けられます。
The photo is copied from this blog.

I promised to my daughter that I would make chicken karaage more delicious than Kentucky Fried Chicken the next time.

March 17, 2014

Gomoku (Five-Item) Chirashi Zushi/五目ちらし寿司

As part of supper tonight, I made gomoku chirashi zushi (< sushi). I used a store-bought ready-made pack, like I usually do.
I almost always use leftover rice to make gomoku chirashi. In fact, the main reason why I made gomoku chirashi for this particular night is that I wanted to use up the leftover rice. Other dishes I make to use up leftover rice include inari zushi and chahan (fried rice).

The leftover rice shown above was not enough, so I also used the rice I cooked this morning.
The most important thing to remember when making sushi with leftover rice is to reheat the rice sufficiently, just like just cooked rice.

Mix the contents of the pack with the rice thoroughly. The rice must be hot for the vinegar to seep through each grain of rice.
Only after mixing thoroughly, can you use a fan to cool them.
This is the fan I used.
I made kinshi tamago in a large frying pan.
When one side is done, you need to flip over with a pair of chopsticks.
As I said previously, I don't add anything (salt, potato starch, etc.). I think that potato starch affects the flavor of the eggs. Maybe it's only me....

I made four sheet from six S/M eggs.
I like to cut them in half first, using my 18-cm Shigefusa kitaeji petty (paring) knife,
私は、18 cmの重房鍛地ペティナイフで、半分に切り、
and then, slice them as thinly as possible.
My portion:
I must say that mine is a very humble example. You must see gorgeous examples by clicking the link below.
Images of Gomoku Chirashi/五目ちらしの画像

March 16, 2014

Wafu (Japanese Style) Hamburgers/和風ハンバーグ

As part of supper tonight, I made wafu hamburgers, using 1 kg minced chicken, naga negi (only one of which was used), 2 eggs, grated ginger, salt, and katakuriko (potato starch).
今日の夕飯には、鶏のひき肉1 kg、長ネギ(一本だけ使用)、卵2個、おろしショウガ、塩、片栗粉で和風ハンバーグを作りました。
Note that the 1 kg bag of minced chicken is for commercial use. In Japan, we usually think of meat in terms of grams when buying it. I mean we usually buy meat in small quantities like 300 and 500 g, except for large families. In the case of rice, which is the staple of the Japanese, we used to buy a 30 kg bag at a time, but now, 10, 5, or even 2 kg bags are popular.
鶏のひき肉1 kg入りの袋は業務用です。日本では、肉を買う時はグラム単位で考えます。つまり、大家族を除き、普通は300 gや500 gなど少量づつ買います。日本人の主食、お米の場合は、昔は一度に30 kgの袋で買っていましたが、今では、10、5、さらに2 kgの袋が一般的です。
The resultant mixture had rather a soft consistency, so it was hard for me to make it into proper shapes.
A single pan was not enough.

Two pans were not enough, and I cooked the rest of the mixture in the toaster oven.

I also made potato salad. I used some cabbage instead of cucumbers.
Cucumbers can be very expensive (50-60 yen each) here in the snowy region in the winter time, and I simply can't afford them. I rubbed the cabbage with salt before mixing.

I also added some canned corn, fake crabmeat (called "surimi" in France and elsewhere), and Kewpie mayo.
(I had bought two tubes of Kewpie Half by mistake, which I hate...)

After mixing, I put more mayo.
I have kept making this type of very, very substantial soup these days, as requested by my wife.
This particular soup contains buna shimeji, enoki, daikon, daikon stems, carrot, Chinese cabbage, and naga negi.

I almost forgot to mention: The hamburger sauce was a 1:1 mixture of soy sauce and mirin, with some sake, as usual.

These particular hamburgers are a lot like chicken tsukune.
Images of chicken tsukune/鶏のつくねの画像