Thursday, February 28, 2008

How to Cook with Wine

Wine can be used as a flavoring, as in wine jellies or in soups, stews, braised foods, reductions and more to add robust interest and thickening power to recipes. These recipes use at least 1/4 cup of wine.
The first thing you can do with wine is marinating. Wine can be included in a marinade for meat, fowl or fish. Usually the wine will be mixed with other ingredients such as oil, aromatics, (garlic, ginger, onions etc.), herbs/seasonings, and/or additional flavoring agents such as Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, soy sauce, citrus juices, etc. Wine can also be the sole fluid in a marinade. Coq au vin, the classic French dish of chicken braised in red wine, starts with marinating the chicken in wine overnight. You can use a wine-based marinade, (or any marinade for that matter), to make a sauce for the final dish. However, you must always bring a marinade that was in contact with raw meat to a full boil for a few minutes to ensure the demise of bacteria.

Remember, wine is acidic and acids can "cook" the flesh of seafood and break it down. For a wine based marinade, do not marinate fish more than 30 minutes and shellfish for more than 10. Moreover, do not use reactive metals, (aluminum, copper, cast iron), when marinating/cooking with wine since they can chemically react with acid. Stainless steel, enamel, glass, or anodized aluminum is the way to go.

Just like a marinade, wine can be a constituent of the fluid medium or the only fluid used in any of a variety of wet cooking methods, namely steaming, simmering, poaching, braising, and stewing. Fish, shellfish, and chicken for example, can be steamed using wine. Let's take mussels for example. Saut some onion and garlic in oil, add a cup of white wine and bring it to a simmer. Place a steamer insert into the pot and add the mussels to it. Cover and steam until the mussels open. Pour the steaming liquid, fresh parsley, salt and pepper over them and serve. Were you to place the mussels directly in the fluid, then you would be simmering them.

Poaching is basically simmering only at a lower temperature. The difference between poaching, simmering, and boiling is the temperature of the liquid. Poaching is from 160 to 185 degrees, simmering is beyond 185, and boiling is when you obviously achieve a full boil. Virtually any white fleshed, non-oily fish can be poached either in wine or a combination of wine and other fluids, such as a court-bouillon, a broth made from water, wine, vinegar and/or citrus juice, aromatics and herbs. But it must be done at the proper temperature. If you wander into the simmering range or worse yet a boil, you can obliterate the fish. Another delicious example of poaching with wine is pears poached in red wine.

Braising and stewing frequently employ wine. Braising usually involves cooking a larger piece of meat, semi submerged in fluid, at a low temperature for an extended period of time. If the meat was cut into bite sized pieces and completely submerged, then it's stewing. The aforementioned dish coq au vin is chicken braised in red wine. Or the wine can be mixed with stock as in osso buco, braised lamb shanks, or any of a number of stews.

Probably the most well known use of wine in cooking is to make a sauce. After roasting or sauting a protein, remove it from the pan. Place the pan over a high flame and add wine. Scrape off the flavorful brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan as the wine comes to a boil. This is what's known as deglazing. Add stock, (optional), aromatics, herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer until it's reduced to at least half. Melt in some butter at the end, strain it, and pour it over your food. For a thicker sauce, you can reduce it even further or thicken it with roux, arrowroot, or cornstarch.

Bringing the wine to a boil facilitates evaporation of the alcohol, which begins to vaporize at 178 degrees. Reducing the wine by simmering continues the evaporation of the alcohol, (and water for that matter), and thus concentrates the flavor of the wine. This is precisely why the quality of the wine matters in cooking. If you concentrate an already poor tasting wine, you merely intensify its unpleasantness.

The idea that all or most of the alcohol is evaporated when reducing wine is largely apocryphal. You would actually need to simmer wine for a number of hours to approach complete vaporization of the alcohol. For example, ten minutes of simmering will only eliminate about half the alcohol.

Additional uses of wine include incorporation into a vinaigrette. Simply substitute some or all of the acid in the vinaigrette recipe with wine. Sometimes dishes are finished with a dash of wine to add a last minute touch of flavor. Often this method embraces a fortified wine such as Sherry, Port or Madeira. Fortified wines have had additional alcohol added to them and usually are sweet, (but not always), and have more intense flavors. Numerous soups, stews, casseroles, and even desserts are completed with a splash of these wonderful elixirs. I like culminating my black bean soup with a splash of dry sherry. Or you can make a sauce from fortified wines such as veal Marsala.
One of the wine instructors from my cooking school regularly proclaimed: "Wine is food." Cooking with wine is the ultimate expression of that declaration and elevates the enjoyment of wine to new heights.

Here some simple steps :

  • Unless the recipe specifically calls for it (like in a dessert), use a dry wine, not a sweet one.
  • In general, use a white wine with fish, chicken and pork dishes, and a red wine with beef, but you can certainly experiment. White wine is probably more versatile for cooking than red.
  • Add wine to dishes when you want an acidic note. A little wine in a cream sauce, for example, can temper its richness.
  • Use whatever wine you have on hand. You don't need to use the same wine in the sauce as the wine that will be served at the table. Since you're cooking the wine, grape variety isn't a big deal.
  • Pick a decent, but not stellar wine for cooking. Don't use a wine that you wouldn't want to drink and don't use a wine that you really want to drink.
  • Avoid using "cooking wine" from the supermarket; it contains added salt.

Herbs and Spices

Storage Tips:
Store spices in a cool, dark place. Humidity, light and heat will cause
herbs and spices to lose their flavor more quickly. Although the most
convenient place for your spice rack may be above your stove, moving
your spices to a different location may keep them fresh longer.

As a general rule, herbs and ground spices will retain their best flavors
for a year. Whole spices may last for 3 to 5 years. Proper storage should
result in longer freshness times.

When possible, grind whole spices in a grinder or mortar & pestle just
prior to using. Toasting whole spices in a dry skillet over medium heat
before grinding will bring out even more flavor. Be careful not to burn.

Because the refrigerator is a rather humid environment, storing herbs
and spices there is not recommended. To keep larger quantities of spices
fresh, store them in the freezer in tightly sealed containers.

Usage Tips:
Use a light hand when seasoning with spices and herbs. Your goal is to
compliment your dish without crowding out the flavor of the food.
Remember, it's usually impossible to "un-spice" a dish!

For long-cooking dishes, add herbs and spices an hour or less before
serving. Cooking spices for too long may result in overly strong flavors.

Finely crush dried herbs before adding to your dish after measuring.

Do not use dried herbs in the same quantity as fresh. In most cases,
use 1/3 the amount in dried as is called for fresh.

Keep it simple. Unless the recipe specifically calls for it, don't use
more than 3 herbs and spices in any one dish. The exception to this rule
is Indian cooking, which often calls for 10 or more different spices in
one curry dish!

Black pepper, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper are excellent
"after cooking" seasonings. Allow guests to season dishes with these
spices at the table.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice have a special affinity for
sweet dishes.

If you're feeling adventuresome, try replacing herbs and spices called
for in recipes with something different! Marjoram instead of oregano,
savory instead of thyme, cilantro instead of parsley,
anise seed instead of fennel, etc.

Deep Frying Tips

Deep-Frying Tips:

  • The oil must reach a good temperature to brown the exterior of the food quickly while cooking it. That temperature is almost always between 350F and 375F degrees. To be sure the oil is right use a frying thermometer.
  • Use canola oil for frying. It is low in saturated fat, has a high burning point, and does not detract from the flavor of the food you are frying.
  • Avoid crowding food that is deep-fat-fried. The food must be surrounded by bubbling oil, and you must keep the temperature from falling too much. If you add too much food to a small amount of oil, the temperature will plummet, and the food will wind up greasy and soggy.
  • Never fill the pot more than halfway with oil; this will prevent bubbling over when the food is added.
  • Dry food well with paper towels before adding to the pot;it helps reduce splattering.

How to Pick Fresh Fish

Whenever you can, buy fresh seafood, you'll get top quality and the best taste experience. The best way to buy fish for preparation ease, is in fresh fillet or steak form. Fillets are normally bone free and steaks are usually cut into serving portion sizes making your prep time shorter. Most "light cooking recipes" call for 6-ounce raw fish fillets or steaks, which yield approximately 4 1/2-ounce cooked portions. Choose only fish of the right size for your planned meal if you can. If there are only larger fillets buy 12 or 18 once sizes etc. and cut them into 6 once portions. (Most counters will also cut them for you)

Don't buy anything more than one day or at most a couple of days old, especially if you don't plan to cook it that night. Pick fish that are blemish-free with the outside skin being neither slick nor soggy. Fresh fish should be firm and the flesh should spring back when touched. The fish should smell subtly of the water from which it came. If it has a strong "fishy" smell, it is not fresh and not for you. Ask at the counter when the fish came in.

The most economical way to purchase fish is in the whole. When you buy a whole fish, look for clear glossy eyes; shiny red gills and a firm body. Again make sure that the skin is free of any dark blemishes. The tail should not be dried out, brittle or curled. Ask the counter person to fillet and portion it for you, or wash and cook it as. Whole fish are great for BBQ or banquet affairs.

If you have a whole fish you can cook what you need and freeze the rest. Use the bones to make fish stock for soups and stews. The bones will freeze and the stock will also. Fish stock packed in plastic tubs with tight fitting lids freezes well. It's a good idea to date everything you freeze and use it as soon as you can.

No matter the form, avoid seafood that has been in a display case for extended periods, even if it is on ice. If you are unsure ask if there is more in the back. If there isn't fresh fish available buying fish that has been frozen at sea is your next best alternative.

If you buy frozen fish, when possible, purchase vacuum-packed frozen fish, and look for "once frozen" on the label. Buy individually Quick Frozen (IQF) not bulk frozen. Avoid any fish that has symptoms of freezer burn, such as brown or dry edges. If the packaging has tears, rips or is ragged looking avoid it. Defrost frozen fish in the refrigerator overnight. Don't refreeze fish you have thawed, purchase a size that can be consumed at one meal.

If you are shopping at a grocery buy fresh seafood on your way out of the store, take it directly home, and cook it within 24 hours. Take along a cooler to keep it cool going home. If it's not possible to cook it immediately warp it good and freeze it. Keep the fish as cold as possible until you are ready to cook it, store seafood in the coldest part of your refrigerator.

When shopping for fresh whole shellfish always buy live or if unavailable buy cooked products that have been canned or frozen and dated. In the case of shucked shellfish meats such as scallops buy those in a fresh state, again ask how fresh they are. Don't buy live clams and mussels that have gaping shells, they should be close or shut with a little hand pressure. Lobsters and crabs should be moving and not be sagging at the joints and tails.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thit Bo Xao Dau

Thit Bo Xao Dau
Ingredients:
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound sirloin tips, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cups fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, combine garlic, black pepper, cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Add beef, and mix well.
In a large wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil over high heat for one minute. Add meat; cook and stir for about 2 minutes, or until beef begins to brown. Transfer beef to a large bowl, and set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in wok. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Mix in green beans, and add broth. Cover, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, or until beans are tender crisp. Stir in soy sauce and beef. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 or 2 minutes, or until heated through.

Vietnamese Beef Pho

Vietnamese Beef Pho
Ingredients:
4 quarts beef broth
1 large onion, sliced into rings
6 slices fresh ginger root
1 lemon grass
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 pound sirloin tip, cut into thin slices
1/2 pound bean sprouts
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
3 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced into rings
2 limes, cut into wedges
2 (8 ounce) packages dried rice noodles
1/2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 dash hot pepper sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce

Directions:
In a large soup pot, combine broth, onion, ginger, lemon grass, cinnamon, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for 1 hour.
Arrange bean sprouts, mint, basil, and cilantro on a platter with chilies and lime.
Soak the noodles in hot water to cover for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain. Place equal portions of noodles into 6 large soup bowls, and place raw beef on top. Ladle hot broth over noodles and beef. Pass platter with garnishes and sauces.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bulgogi (Korean BBQ)

Bulgogi (Korean BBQ)
Ingredients:
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup pear juice or white wine
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon monosodium glutamate
1 (2 pound) beef rump roast, sliced into thin strips
1 onion, cut into thin strips

Directions:
In a large bowl, mix together soy sauce, pear juice, sugar, garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, black pepper, and monosodium glutamate. Place beef and onions into the mixture, and stir to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat grill pan over high heat. Brush oil over grill pan, and add beef and onions. Cook, turning to brown evenly, for 3 to 6 minutes, or until done.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Smoked Salmon Sushi Roll

 Smoked Salmon Sushi Roll
Ingredients:
2 cups Japanese sushi rice
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
6 sheets nori (dry seaweed)
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and sliced
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
8 ounces smoked salmon, cut into long strips
2 tablespoons wasabi paste

Directions:
Soak rice for 4 hours. Drain rice and cook in a rice cooker with 2 cups of water. Rice must be slightly dry as vinegar will be added later.
Immediately after rice is cooked, mix in 6 tablespoons rice vinegar to the hot rice. Spread rice on a plate until completely cool.
Place 1 sheet of seaweed on bamboo mat, press a thin layer of cool rice on the seaweed. Leave at least 1/2 inch top and bottom edge of the seaweed uncovered. This is for easier sealing later. Dot some wasabi on the rice. Arrange cucumber, avocado and smoked salmon to the rice. Position them about 1 inch away from the bottom edge of the seaweed.
Slightly wet the top edge of the seaweed. Roll from bottom to the top edge with the help of the bamboo mat tightly. Cut roll into 8 equal pieces and serve. Repeat for other rolls.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cha Siu Bao (Chinese Pork Bun)

Chinese Pork Bun
Ingredients:
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 3/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons shortening
1 pound finely chopped pork
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Directions:
Dissolve 1/4 cup sugar in 1 3/4 cups warm water, and then add the yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until mixture is frothy. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons shortening and the yeast mixture; mix well.
Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and cover it with a sheet of cling wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until it has tripled in bulk.
Cut the pork into 2 inch thick strips. Use fork to prick it all over. Marinate for 5 hours in a mixture made with 1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, and 1 teaspoon sweet soy sauce. Grill the pork until cooked and charred. Cut roasted port into 1/2 inch cubes.
Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, oyster sauce, and 1 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Mix cornstarch with 2 1/2 tablespoons water; add to the saucepan, and stir until thickened. Mix in 2 tablespoons lard or shortening, sesame oil, and white pepper. Cool, and mix in the roasted pork.
Remove the dough from the bowl, and knead it on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth and elastic. Roll the dough into a long roll, and divide it into 24 pieces. Flatten each piece with the palm of the hand to form a thin circle. The center of the circle should be thicker than the edge. Place one portion of the pork filling in the center of each dough circle. Wrap the dough to enclose the filling. Pinch edges to form the bun. Let the buns stand for 10 minutes.
Steam buns for 12 minutes. Serve.

Simple Fortune Cookie

Simple Fortune Cookie
Ingredients:
3 egg whites
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper. Have fortunes ready to go on small strips of paper.
In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites and sugar on high speed of an electric mixer until frothy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and stir in melted butter, vanilla, almond extract, water and flour one at a time, mixing well after each. Consistency should resemble pancake batter. Spoon the batter into 3 inch circles on the prepared baking sheets. Leave room between for spreading.
Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges begin to brown slightly. Quickly remove one at a time, place a message in the center, and fold in half. Fold the ends of the half together into a horse shoe shape. If they spring open, place them in a muffin tin to cool until set.

Taiwanese Fried Tofu

Taiwanese Fried Tofu
Ingredients:
1 (16 ounce) package extra firm tofu
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon white sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped green onions
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Cut the tofu in half lengthwise down the top. Slice into squares 1/4 inch thick. Stir together the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar in a small bowl, set aside.
Heat oil in a large, nonstick pan over medium heat. Add garlic and green onions, and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Brown tofu well on each side, then pour in sauce and cook until the sauce has been incorporated by the tofu, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chi Tan T'ang (Egg Drop Soup)

 Chi Tan T'ang (Egg Drop Soup)
Ingredients:
8 cubes chicken bouillon
6 cups hot water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 green onion, minced
3 eggs, beaten

Directions:
In a large saucepan, dissolve bouillon in hot water. Mix cornstarch with a small amount of water, and stir into bouillon. Add soy sauce, vinegar, and green onion. Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally. Gradually pour the beaten eggs into the saucepan while stirring. Serve at once.

Tonkatsu (pork cutlet)

Tonkatsu - pork cutlet
Ingredients:
4 slices pork sirloin, 1/2 - 3/4 lb. each (about 1 inch thick)
1 egg, beaten
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup flour
Peanut or canola oil for deep frying
1 lemon (optional)
Hot yellow mustard

Tonkatsu sauce or substitute
Use your favorite steak sauce and mix with ketchup to sweeten. You can also mix in lemon juice, to add a touch of sourness. A-1 or 76 steak sauce, or even Worcestershire sauce alone, goes well, too.

Garnish
Thin slices of cabbage or lettuce leaves.
To prepare cabbage slices: Thin-slice 8 cabbage leaves and soak in cold water. Drain well and use them as a garnish for the tonkatsu.

Directions:
Tenderize the meat and flatten to about 1/2 inch thick. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Coat the meat with flour and shake off the excess. Dip the meat into the egg, then the bread crumbs on a platter. Chill the meat in the freezer for 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for 2 hours. This chilling process gives the tonkatsu a crispy crust. Deep-fry (350F) until each side is light to medium golden brown. Drain the oil well and serve with the garnish. Slices of tomato will add some color.
To tonkatsu-fry seafood or other types of meat, follow the same directions. Of course, you have to peel the shells of shrimps. Oysters are our favorite choice. In Japan a bowl of miso soup usually comes with this dish.

Note:This recipe also works very well with beef, chicken, oysters, and large shrimps or prawns.

Shabu-shabu (quick-cooked beef)

Shabu-shabu - quick-cooked beef
Ingredients:
1 lb very thinly sliced beef (sirloin), preferably grain-fed. Beer-fed Kobe beef is the best. I MEAN VERY THIN (less than 1/16 inch)
8 shiitake mushrooms
1/2 lb enoki mushrooms
1/2 lb shimeji mushrooms
1/2 lb shirataki
1 lb chinese cabbage
1/2 lb watercress, to substitute for spring chrysanthemum leaves
1 lb tofu, cut in 1 in. cubes, pressed and drained
any other ingredients you want to use

Dipping Sauce:
In a small bowl, you should have soy sauce and lemon juice 2:1, as a dipping sauce.

Cooking time: varies

Nikujaga (beef and potato stew)

Nikujaga - beef and potato stew
Ingredients:
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 4 to 5 pieces each
1/3 lb. beef, thinly sliced
2/3 lb. yellow onions, sliced (about 1/3 inch wide)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
400 cc water (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons or more soy sauce (to taste)
3 tablespoons or more brown sugar (to taste)
2 tablespoons sake or white wine

Directions:
Prepare vegetables as described above. Heat a deep pan and add oil and beef. Saute for a couple of minutes, then add onion and potato. Continue sauteing for 3 minutes. Add water, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sake or wine. Bring to a simmer half covered. Skim off any foam and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes until potatoes are done.

Kenchin-style Vegetable Soup

Kenchin-style Vegetable Soup
Ingredients:
5 1/2 ounces (150g) burdock root
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 1/2 cups (600ml) water
1 block konnyaku, about 10 1/2 ounces (300g), cut into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons sesame oil
10 1/2 ounces (300g) daikon radish, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
7 ounces (200g) carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
3 1/2 ounces (100g) lotus root, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce, for preparation
2 1/2 cups (600ml) konbu stock (see below)
4 tablespoons sake
1 block firm tofu, about 14 ounces (400g)
4 tablespoons soy sauce, for the soup
3 1/2 ounces (100g) baby spinach or other leafy greens, cut into 2-inch (5cm) lengths

Directions:
Scrub the burdock root thoroughly and scrape off the skin with the back of a clean knife. Cut the burdock into bite-sized pieces, place immediately in cold water, soak for 5 minutes, then drain.
Soak the shiitake in the water for about 30 minutes until soft. Drain, and reserve the water. Remove the stalks, and then cut the caps into 1/4-inch (5mm) slices.
Boil the konnyaku for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain.
Heat the sesame oil in a saucepan, then add the burdock root, shiitake, konnyaku, daikon, carrot, lotus root, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
Add the shiitake water, konbu stock and sake to the saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove any froth from the surface, and cook on low heat until the vegetables are tender.
Without draining the tofu, crumble into lumps and add to the saucepan along with 4 tablespoons of soy sauce.
Add the baby spinach to the saucepan, and cook until wilted.

Konbu stock

1 2/3 cups (400ml) water
1 piece dried konbu, 4 inches (10cm) square

The white powder on the surface of dried konbu adds to the flavor, so do not wash the konbu before use, simply lightly wipe with a damp cloth.
Place the water and the konbu in a saucepan, and leave to soak for 2 or 3 hours.
Place the saucepan over medium heat. Just before the water boils, remove the konbu. Use the konbu-flavored water as stock.

Tori no kara-age (Deep-fried Chicken Nuggets)

Tori no kara-age (Deep-fried Chicken Nuggets)
Ingredients:
2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized cubes

For the marinade:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
30g (1 oz) root ginger, peeled and grated
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the coating:
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons plain flour
vegetable oil, for deep frying
2 slices lemon, to garnish

Directions:
The mixture of garlic, ginger and soy sauce enhances the taste of the chicken, with the sliced lemon giving refreshing "bite" to these delicious nuggets.
Marinate the chicken with the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper for 30 minutes.
Mix the cornflour with the plain flour. Take each piece of chicken from the marinade and roll in the flour mixture until completely coated.
Heat the oil to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) and deep-fry the chicken pieces for 4-5 minutes or until a burnished golden brown. Garnish with the sliced lemon and serve on a bed of salad leaves.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Yakitori Don

Yakitori Don Recipe
Ingredients:
1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons white sugar
2/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sake
1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
2 tablespoons cooking oil

Directions:
Rinse chicken, and pat dry. In a glass baking dish or bowl, stir together the ginger, garlic, sugar, soy sauce, sake and mirin. Place the chicken into the mixture to marinate. Refrigerate, covered for several hours, or overnight.
Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken pieces into the pan skin-side down, reserving marinade. Cook until light brown, then flip and brown the other side. Drain off grease, and pour the marinade into the pan. Cover, and reduce heat to low, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking, shaking the skillet occasionally, until marinade is evaporated. Serve hot with rice or noodles.

Onion Soup

Japanese Onion Soup Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 carrot, chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons chicken stock
3 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
1 cup chopped fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 quarts water
1 cup baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

Directions:
In a large saucepan or stockpot, combine the celery, onion, carrot, ginger, garlic, and a few of the mushrooms. Add chicken stock, beef bouillon, and water. Place the pot over high heat, and bring to a rolling boil. When the mixture reaches boiling, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 45 minutes.
Place all of the remaining mushrooms into a separate pot. When the boiling mixture is done, place a strainer over the pot with the mushrooms in it. Strain the cooked soup into the pot with the mushrooms. Discard strained materials.
Serve the broth with mushrooms in small porcelain bowls, and sprinkle fresh chives over the top. Use Asian soup spoons for an elegant effect.

Note: you can change the mushroom with other kind mushroom you like

Okonomiyaki

Japanese Okonomiyaki Recipe

Ingredients:
12 ounces sliced bacon
1 1/3 cups water
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium head cabbage, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons minced pickled ginger
1/4 cup tonkatsu sauce or barbeque sauce

Directions:
Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until slightly crispy. Remove to paper towels to drain and set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the water and eggs. Gradually stir in the flour and salt until smooth. Add the cabbage and ginger; stir until evenly distributed.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 of the batter into the center of the skillet. Place 4 slices of cooked bacon in the center. Use a spatula to shape the pancake into a circle. Fry for about 5 minutes or until the edges are dry. Flip and cook on the other side until the center is stable and it is browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and drizzle with tonkatsu sauce to serve. Continue with remaining batter and bacon.

Note: you can replace the bacon with other meat like ham

Agedashi-esque Tofu

Agedashi-esque Tofu

Ingredients:
1 (12 ounce) package extra firm tofu
3 tablespoons cornstarch
oil for frying
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Directions:
Cut tofu into 12 cubes. Place cornstarch on a plate or in a shallow bowl and dredge tofu in it, coating thoroughly.
Heat enough oil so that tofu will be half-way submerged. Fry tofu in hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until crispy. Drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle green onions over tofu and drizzle with hoisin sauce. Serve immediately.

Note: You can replace the hoisin sauce with other sauce you like

Miso Soup

Japanese Miso Soup
Ingredients:
2 teaspoons dashi granules
4 cups water
3 tablespoons miso paste
1 (8 ounce) package silken tofu, diced
2 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces

Directions:
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine dashi granules and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and whisk in the miso paste. Stir in tofu. Separate the layers of the green onions, and add them to the soup. Simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Note: You may also add some vegetable in it, such as tofu, onion, spinach, carrot, etc