This char-siu was initially made for my ramen. Japanese style char-siu is deceptively simple, and involves simply tying up a hunk of pork (loin or belly) and stew the pork in a mixture of water, soy sauce, sake, and sugar, while staying somewhat vigilant to scoop up any gunk that floats around. The soy sauce mixture used to stew the pork can later be boiled down and reused for stewing other bits of pork, or as a savory, porky alternative to soy sauce. In the case of this rice bowl, the reduced sauce was poured on top. Wonderful stuff served with some stir-fried bok choy.
Category Archives: Japanese
I bought a big bag of sesame leaves for making gamjatang. And now I’m stuck with a bunch of these things. It seems like there’s a conflation of sesame leaves and perilla leaves in English websites, but from my experience, there is a difference between the two, albeit in subtle ways.
Anyway, I decided to use them interchangeably. Otherwise, they’ll just wilt in my crisper drawer.
So this pasta dish is made by sautéing ground pork and enoki and adding a soy sauce-rice wine (or mirin)-sugar mixture, adding the pasta, and topping everything with a generous heap of sesame leaves cut into ribbons. Good stuff.
I haven’t had okonomiyaki since I moved to Vancouver. Partly this is my fault, since I refuse to buy any okonomiyaki sauce unless I come upon an industrial sized bottle. I take the smaller bottles as a personal insult to my okonomiyaki obsession.
They don’t look pretty. But they turned out pretty good.
The one on the right has a gochujang/grated apple/garlic/scallion/sugar sauce, and had some Korean rice cakes (the tubular kind) and pork slices for toppings. The white, gloppy things on top is my homemade mayo, to smooth out the hotness.
The one on the left comes from my recent infatuation with the cookbook Pok Pok. That one is brushed with mayonnaise, topped with octopus bits and cilantro, and the batter was mixed with fish sauce and water in place of dashi stock. The dipping sauce is actually the leftover from the Khao Phat Muu (fried rice) from the Pok Pok cookbook. It’s a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, chopped Thai chilis, and sliced garlic.
The parallel drawn between okonomiyaki and pancakes and pizza are strangely appropriate, because all three are simple creations that are glorious receptacles for new sauce/topping combinations. I will keep on with the bastardized okonomiyaki dishes.
Saury are wonderful. A Korean grocery store nearby were selling 10 for $8, which meant that I was able to escape from my seafood deprived state, and that I needed to keep eating saucy for several meals. This did not pose a large problem for me, since I love blue fish and their intensely fishy flavor. If white fleshed fish were coffee made by drip systems, blues are the less refined yet robust and strong french press coffee. Blue fish are not for everyone, but people who like it, love it.
Day 1, Grilled saury
Wash, dry, salt on both sides, let sit for 30 min, create shallow incisions on both sides (as you might when baking a baguette), and broil on high, with the fish sitting at least 6 inches apart from the heating element. Common garnishes are grated daikon (highly recommended) and citrus (sudachi, if you can get your hands on it). You can gut the fish if you want, but enjoying the bitter, rich taste of the fish offals are considered to be a marker of mature taste.
Day 2, Stewed.
Lay sliced ginger in the bottom of a pressure cooker, pour some sake, sugar, soy sauce, and a bit of water. Cook under pressure for 15 min. Or, stew for a while in a regular pot. The pressure cookers thoroughly softens the bones, making the fish much easier to eat.
One added bonus is that you can add stewed saury on top of soba noodle in dashi based soup, and the soup gets enriched with saury fishiness.
Day 3, saury onion pasta with garlic, garlicky toasted breadcrumbs, and italian parsley
The whole thing tastes like a large mass of saury and garlic. Wondefully tasty, but horrible for your breath. Sauté breadcrumbs with garlic until a bit browned. Sauté garlic, add filleted saury, fry in couple tablespoons of oil. When the thing’s crisp, throw in pasta water, toss with pasta, cram everything into a dish, and sprinkle some italian parsley on top. Filleting saury may be tedious, but this dish is well worth it.
One of the best izakaya style dishes. Low cost, low class, and delicious.
With recent discussions of mouth impregnations by eating raw squid and antibiotic resistant viruses from Korean squid, there may be some fear towards this trending ingredient. But rest assured, separating the legs from the innards will eliminate the possibility of insemination, and deep-frying will hopefully kill off most bacteria. In addition, this dish does not suffer too much from over-cooking, if you are paranoid and tend to cook the shit out of your food.
To make, just marinate in a soy sauce, sugar, sake (or mirin), and ginger mixture for 20 minutes or so. Drain, and toss in cornstarch and flour mixture (50-50 is fine). Let it rest, and meanwhile, heat up oil to about 180c or 360f. Fry until golden. I like double frying, so I throw it in until the batter solidifies, take it out, wait for the oil to heat up again, and throw it in until the color becomes right.
Serve with a wedge of lemon.
Sômen are Japanese wheat vermicelli, eaten cold (in a bowl of cold water to prevent sticking) with a dipping sauce made out of bonito and kelp broth with soy sauce and mirin.
This version subs out the dipping sauce with Asian gazpacho, with bread, tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, stale bread (all tossed with salt and soy sauce infused with kelp and dried shitake mushrooms) and a bit of sesame oil. The infused soy sauce can be subbed with some menmi.
Toppings (usually julienned omelette, grated ginger, scallions, and myôga herb) are the best part of sômen. This one comes with minced parsley and a poached egg.
Sômen works best, but vermicelli pasta or ramen noodles will work too.