October 2003

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Garlic Chahan

Fried rice really. Cooked rice dried a little by spreading it out on a pan and then popping it in the oven with just the fan on.

Get a couple of eggs, beat them with a little slat and pepper and quickly cook in a wok and reserve.

Take four or five thinly sliced cloves of garlic and stir-fry until a little coloured, then add a few finely sliced spring onions, then add a handful of minced beef, stir until cooked. Add a tablespoon or so of extra oil and then toss in the rice, stir quickly until coated with the oil, throw in the eggs, then add a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce and serve.

Izakaya Food

Last night I made dinner for friends to raise a few bucks for Austcare and made a Japanese pub “Izakaya” food menu. Izakayas are one of the few non-specialised kinds of Japanese restaurants and make pretty much everything. In addition to the usual yakitori and nigiri sushi I made a few less well known here but quite common dishes. The dishes were served at regualr intervals throughout the night. Here are four of them and hopefully I can put the others up later.

Ika Geso Age – Fried Squid Legs

Squid legs are cheap and considering they’re all edible, unlike mussels and mullets, represent exceptional value as they’re as good as anything else in the sea. They’re not really substantial enough to hold a batter so potato starch is used as the coating.

Place the legs in a plastic bag, add a few drops of chili oil or tabasco and mix around. Then pour enough potato starch into the bag to coat the legs and shake the bag well.

Then just fry in 180C vegetable oil for about a minute and serve with a squeeze of lemon.

Buta Kim-Chee Pork with Spicy Pickled Cabbage

Buta Kim-Chee – Pork with Spicy Pickled Radish.

Easy. Slice up some pork into bite sized slices, stir fry until almost cooked, toss in some kim-chee, which isn’t too hard to find at asian stores, and stir until the pork is fully cooked and the kim chee is heated through.

Saikoro Steak

I always wondered what the saikoro meant but just means “cube” which is pretty bloody dull really. Anyway cube meat, I used topside, into bite size cubes sprinkled it with salt and pepper and then marinated it in half of a mixture of equal parts soy sauce, sake , and mirin.

Once marinated I cooked it on a hot plate ’til cooked then topped it with finely grated daikon (giant radish) and then poured the rest of the marinade over it.

Kara age Chicken

This is the finest thing I make.
Chicken cut into bite sized pieces and then marinated in ginger, garlic with 2tbs each of soy sauce and sake plus a little pepper and salt

Having marinated the chicken, dust it with potato starch (used in chinese cooking as a thickener similar to cornstarch – the japanese use katakuriko which is translated sometimes as potato starch and sometimes dogstarch).

Then it’s deep fried at 180C until golden.

Tofu with Chinese Greens

Healthy and good.

Had some fresh Tofu. Popped it in the microwave for a minute to toughen it up and patted it down with some paper towels. I then sliced it into 1cm slices and dusted them with half flour and half potato starch which gives it a tasty “skin”. They were then fried on both sides with bit of oil. Meanwhile I’d snuck some thinly sliced garlic into the wok and let it colour slighty at the same time.

Meanwhile chopped up some chinese greens, can’t remember the name but one of the long “boks”, popped them in the microwave for a minute and a half and then colled them down under running water and left them to drain.

By the time the tofu had coloured I chucked in the greens, splashed in some Chinese rice wine, and a couple of tablespoons of oyster sauce and stirred well over heat for a minute and served.

This was taken from the very helpful Jpanese housework mag “Orange Page”.

Veal Tortellini with Mushroom Gravy

This was a happy experiment.

I had some fresh tortellini to be rid of. Actually it wasn’t fresh in the true sense just one of those sealed packs that last a couple of weeks. I was just going to have some mushrooms with a tomato sauce but I found some really nice small field mushrooms at the Subi markets on the weekend and was worried about swamping them with tomato so I yanked them out of the pan and chopped up the small piece of pancetta that I had in the fridge.

This I fried until it’s colour started to change then chucked in a thinly sliced eschallot – softened it and then in went the mushrooms with a splash more olive oil and some pepper. Stirred until softened and then I tossed in half and a bit of a glass of cardboard red and brought to the boil, them allowed to simmer.

Then I mixed in barely half a cup of tomato puree and allowed to simmer.

This went on top of the by now cooked tortellini and a mutton chop from the farm.

It was great. The sauce was very meaty, even without the assistance of beef stock and made a change from my usual pasta sauce combos.

Goya Champon

Goya is called bitter melon I think. It’s the size of a large cucumber, tapered at the end, light green, with deep knobbly ridges. It is amzingly bitter, well within the realms of quinine, but tasty in this recipe. This is a traditional Okinawan dish, Okinawa being part of Japan but a different culture and was part of the US from 1945 to 1973. They then had to switch the island from driving on the right to driving on the left. The ingredients for this are pretty basic – goya, tofu, bacon, and a couple of eggs

Anyway get a goya and slice it lengthwise and scrape out the pulpy inner. Then slice it crosswise into 3mm slices, they should look like narrow arches.

Mean while get a block of tofu or I just used the deep fried tofu. For deep fried tofu it’s not a bad idea to pour some boiling water over to rinse out the extra oil. Then slice it a bit thicker than the goya into rectangles.

Fry the Tofu in a frypan with a little sesame oil until it’s browned slightly. Then add some bacon or better still, thinly sliced pork belly, cook then remove.

Now add the goya slices and fry them in a little more sesame oil until they change colour. Return the pork and tofu add a tablespoon of soy, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Then mix in two beaten eggs, stir until lightly set and serve.

It’s one of my favourites because of the unusual bitterness of the goya which brings out the natural sweetness of the pork and the eggs, The tofu acts as a texture juxtaposition as the goya should retain much of its crunch. There’s also the nice shape contrast of the round of the goya and the squares of tofu. A lot going on for such a simple dish.

Stuffed and Baked Baby Squid

A modified recipe as an entree. A dozen finger length squid hoods with the following stuffing.

A cup of cooked and finely chopped spinach (with a bit of nutmeg), half a cup of breadcrumbs moistened with milk, half a cup of ricotta, 2tbs of pine-nuts (goldened in a little olive oil and chopped), salt pepper.

Stuffed the squid hoods with the stuffing, fastened with a toothpick, and then put in a lidded casserole dish with half a cu of dry white and cooked for 40 minutes in the oven at 200C.

Then reduced the remaining juices and cooked in some diced tomato, pouring it over the squid.

Nice but I would halve the amount of pine nuts as they dominated the flavour too much, or as I saw elsewhere, use walnuts.