Tag Archives: japanese food

Today’s food: char-siu rice bowl lunchbox

lunch box: Char-siu pork rice bowl

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.

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Filed under faux chinese, Japanese, ramen

Today’s food: Steamed eggplant pasta with Chinese chives

pasta: steamed eggplants, anchovies, chopped chinese chives

Sauteed garlic and anchovies mixed with steamed eggplants and pasta. My intense love for the strange aroma of Chinese chives lead me to dump a whole bunch of them, raw, on top of my creation. Raw Chinese chives are also a great topping for abura-soba and other Japanese maze-men dishes.

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Today’s food: roasted miso mushroom pasta

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Miso roasted under the broiler, enoki mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, grated parmesan, olive oil.

Little nubbins of toasted miso in a cheesy miso sauce. Miso and dairy cannot go wrong.

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Today’s food: Simple noodles topped with mapo nappa

Nappa mapo on noodles

 

I’m still mortified that I used the word “overload” in my earlier post. It’s just one of those words like “explosion” that immediately discredits the dish by its name. However, I am going to keep that word there to remind myself of what a humiliating being I can be.

Noodle soup topped with simplified mapo. Instead of sweet black bean sauce (ten men jian), I season the mapo with only do ban jian (hot bean sauce), garlic (which are sauteed in oil before everything else is thrown in), soy sauce, wine, and sugar. The nappa doesn’t have an assertive texture, but blends in and adds some heft to the mapo sauce.
The simple noodle soup is just my leftover turkey broth seasoned with soy sauce and rice wine.

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Filed under faux chinese, Japanese noodles, ramen

Turkey ramen with turkey porchetta char-siu

I’m still taking my time getting used to the early Canadian Thanksgiving. Actually, I don’t have too much to get used to, since being a foreigner, Thanksgiving doesn’t mean too much to me except holiday TV episodes, friends coming home with depressing family stories, and cheap turkey.

Anyway, I grabbed a bag of cheap turkey a couple days before Thanksgiving day. Since I was going to a friend’s house to indulge in the beauty of traditional Thanksgiving day fare, I decided to use up my turkey for a completely Asian fare.

First, I made turkey char-siu with the breast. I created a turkey porchetta (as described on Serious Eats), but instead of the herb mixture, I rubbed in a thoroughly pounded mixture of green onion/ginger/garlic. Afterwards, I stewed the whole thing in a sugar/water/sake/mirin/soy sauce mixture with kombu (dried kelp) on low heat, until the insides were 150f.

Turkey breast char siu

I decided to boil down the remaining sauce to use it for the basic seasoning of the ramen, for brining the eggs, and for future char-siu making sessions. The boiled down braising liquid keeps well in the fridge, and the flavor improves as you keep using it and topping it off. The meaty goodness of the sauce improves any dish that it’s added to. So don’t throw away the braising liquid.

I made the ramen stock with the turkey back, neck, and other leftover parts. I just used my regular method of parboiling briefly, washing, and then throwing it in the pressure cooker with some green onions and ginger slices for 30-40 minutes.

The result:

Turykey shoyu ramen

Turkey porchetta char-siu, broth seasoned with braising liquid, eggs pickled in the same sauce, green onions, scallion oil, and some crushed garlic to top it off.

This turned out as a very comforting old-school shoyu ramen, despite the unorthodox use of turkey. The turkey porchetta char-siu was undoubtedly the highlight of the dish. And the char-siu braising liquid that I ended up with is being poured into my dishes every chance I get.

Now I’m left with the drumstick and thighs. I’m going to try to replicate the experience of eating Taiwanese turkey rice that I ate obsessively in Chiayi. My god I love Thanksgiving for its discounted poultry.

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Filed under Japanese noodles, ramen

Today’s food: Taiwan maze-men

Taiwan maze-men has nothing to do with Taiwan. It’s a dish that came from Nagoya, the Japanese equivalent of a midwestern city, a middle child living in the shadows of Tokyo and Osaka. However, there are numerous strange culinary inventions that originated in that city, such as the cutlet doused in miso sauce, or Japanese style spiced wings. Taiwan maze-men is not the best known of Nagoya foods, but it’s still a highly popular dish.

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Maze-men is a direct translation of the Chinese ban-mian, soupless noodles that are meant to be mixed before being eaten. Taiwan maze-men consists of thick noodles, onion or garlic oil, spicy sauteed ground pork, shredded nori, and chopped Chinese chives, and an uncooked egg yolk on top.

I didn’t have any chives, so I topped it with some thinly sliced cabbage. Not the best substitute, but it’ll provide some crunch. I had some doubts about the freshness of my eggs, so I threw them in a 140f hot water for 45 minutes, so that they would come out soft-cooked. The eggy parts are essential to this dish.

The spicy pork I made by sauteeing doubanjian (Chinese spicy chili bean) with garlic until the oil turned red, and then threw in some soy sauce, sugar and sake. The ground pork is the main salty element in this dish, so season heavily.

If you have the ground pork, noodles, and the egg yolk, I think you got the most essential parts covered. This sum of this dish is much, much greater than its parts. It becomes this eggy, spicy, porky mass when it’s mixed.

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Today’s food: making okonomiyaki without the sauce

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.

So yesterday I was stuck with a strong desire to eat okonomiyaki, but without any sauce. So I stumbled off the path of authenticity and made strange multicultural cabbage pancakes. Gochujang okonomiyaki and another with fish dipping sauce

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.

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