Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Donabe Sundubu Jjigae

I've been making many Korean dishes since my trip to Seoul a few weeks ago. I didn't get to eat Sundubu Jjigae (hot tofu stew) when we visited Seoul, but it's one of my favorite Korean dishes and I've been making it at home sometimes.

I made it in a slight different way than the last times. For this dish, I used my classic-style donabe, "Hakeme".

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Saute the pork belly slices in the donabe. Add 2 cups of water and the spice mixture (1 tbsp kochujang, 1tbsp soy sauce, 1.5 tbsp hot red pepper powder, grated ginger and garlic, 2 tbsps sake, minced scallion). Then, add the sliced shiitake mushrooms.

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Once the broth starts boiling, turn down to simmer. Add the extra soft tofu, clams, and shimeji mushrooms. Close the lid and wait until the clam shells open. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

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As always, we had it with the donabe rice. The dinner made my body feel so good.

Donabe Gamjatang

As I was so inspired by the delicious Gamjatang dinner I had in Seoul, I decided to make my own "donabe" version at home. For this dish, I used my classic-style donabe, "Hakeme".

The main ingredients of Gamjatang are pork and potato. Instead of the back bone meat which is traditionally used for this dish in Korea, I picked up the nice pork ribs and salt-marinated it overnight. I cooked the meat for about 2 hours with water in the donabe over 325F in the oven. By the time, the cooking water turned into a nice rich stock. I seasoned it with kochujang, hot red chili powder, soy sauce, miso, etc., and added the potatoes. Once the potatoes are cooked through, I added mushrooms and other ingredients.

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Voila. It was served with a lot of sesame leaves and ground black pepper. The flavor was amazing. The meat was super-tender and fell off the bone very easily. In fact, it was so delicious that I liked my version even better than the original kind I had in Seoul!

As a "shime", instead of making the rice dish, we cooked the ramen noodles in the leftover broth. Righteous.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Korean-style BBQ dinner with Yaki Yaki San (Iga-yaki grill)

I was so craving for another Yakiniku dinner at home. We invited a friend of ours and did a Korean-style BBQ dinner at home again.

We set up a table with our most beautiful Yaki Yaki San (Iga-yaki Grill), and ingredients for the dinner. This grill is made of the ancient porous clay of Iga (which used to be a lakebed in the pre-historic time) and cooks the ingredients so wonderfully.

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Fresh beef short rib, marinated (soy base) beef short rib, and sake-marinated pork belly.

Soy bean sprouts namul and condiments.

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Cooked meat was wrapped in sesame leaf and lettuce. So delicious.

You can find the basic Yakiniku recipe on toiro's website. So, please check it out.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tonight's donabe dinner...Salt & Butter Chanko Nabe

Chanko Nabe is a "sumo-style" hot pot dish. In Japan, sumo wrestlers eat chanko nabe every day. It's a kind like Yose Nabe (assorted ingredients hot pot), because each smo stable has various variations of Chanko Nabe recipes. But, traditionally, it's a protein-rich hot pot with chicken (symbolizes victory, because chicken stands with two feet), cabbage, and a lot of other vegetables.

I saw in a Japanese culinary magazine about "Salt & Butter Chanko Nabe" recipe from one of sumo stables, and it looked so delicious! So I made my own version of it.

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Main ingredients...ground chicken mixture (for chicken meat balls), tofu, mushrooms, savoy cabbage, shungiku, carrot, etc. Condiments include trio of yuzu (quartered yuzu, sliced yuzu rind, yuzu kosho), scallion, sesame seeds, etc.

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The combination of the rich chicken broth with the salt and butter was just heavenly!

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As the "shime" (end of the meal), we cooked ramen with the broth. Perfect ending.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Duckless Duck Rice with Kamado-san (double-lid donabe rice cooker)

With my 12-hour duck stock, I made the duck rice. But, there is no duck meat in this dish, so I call it "duckless duck rice".

I simply combined 2 rice-cup (360 ml) of short grain white rice with 400 ml of duck stock (of which 1 table spoon was replaced with the light soy sauce) and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in the donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san" and soaked for 20 minutes. The mixture was topped with the thinly sliced gobo root (soaked in water for 15 minutes and rinsed before it was added to the rice mixture).

After 15 minutes over medium-high heat on the stove-top, and 20 minutes of resting, the rice was ready.

The wonderful aroma filled the room. The rice was so shiny and rich-flavored with the duck stock. Earthy gobo flavor gave a nice balance. Bravo.

Roasted Duck...Our Christmas Tradition

My roasted duck came out beautifully again this year.

The duck was seasoned with the mixture of salt, black pepper, juniper berries, orange rind, Chinese five spice, etc., and rested in the fridge for 2 days.

Duck with Yuzu Butter Brussels Sprouts (cooked with my donabe), and Roasted Beets and Beets Greens.

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Godme, Champagne, Brut Integral, Premier Cru
2000 Mas de Daumas Gassac

After the dinner, with the duck carcasses, I made the duck stock. I simmered them with ginger, garlic, scallion (green parts only), black peppercorn, sake and water for 12 hours. The aroma was so nice. I also saved the duck fat from roasting.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Healing Power…Miso Nikomi Udon with Donabe

We came back from our trip to Japan a few days ago. It was a wonderful 2-week stay (including in Seoul, Korea) and we miss our time there so much.

We were heavily jetlagged and exhausted the next day, but we were also very hungry. So I made us Miso Nikomi Udon (udon noodles, braised in miso broth) with donabe for lunch.

This is my classic stylel donabe, “Hakeme”…it’s a multi-purpose donabe from Iga, Japan. My life would be so difficult without it! As much as I love using this donabe, I just love staring at its beauty.

Making Nikomi Udon is so easy and simple, especially since it’s a “one pot” donabe dish. This is also a wonderful vegetarian dish with a lot of flavors. If you want to make it heartier non-vegetarian version, you can simply add your choice of meat to the broth.

I first simmered the cabbage and shiitake with the broth (dashi stock, sake, light soy sauce). Once the vegetables are cooked, I dissolved the miso paste in the broth. Then, I added the frozen udon noodles (it’s great stuff, as you don’t need to pre-cook or defrost it before adding to the broth). Right before serving, I added the grated ginger (for the healing power!).

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I served the whole donabe pot at the table and served it into individual bowls with some condiments…a little amount at a time, so that the udon and the broth could stay very hot in the donabe before the second serving.

The donabe udon made me feel so much better. You can find the full recipe on toiro’s website. Please check it out.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Back in Japan (Winter 2009)…Duck Hamburg and Red Burgundy

We ate out a lot during our stay back in Japan, but we also had some dinners at home.

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On the final evening, we had the smoked duck and duck hamburg steaks...they were screaming for Burgundy red. We also made Niigata Koshihikari (from Uonuma, Niigata) rice with Tomoko's donabe (double-lid rice cooker, Kamado-san)!

Here are some of the wines we had at home in the last few dinners.

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Frank Pascal Champagne Cuvee Rose Brut
2007 Domaine Herve Sigault AOC Chambolle-Musigny
2005 Domaine Thierry MORTET Gevrey-Chambertin
2001 Domaine Jean COLLET Chablis 1er Cru "Vaillon"
2005 Domaine Henri Richard Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Corvees
2006 Vigneau-Chevreau, Vouvray, Cuvee Silex
2005 Domaine Joseph Voillot Pommard Vieilles Vignes
Yves・Louvet Champagne Brut Cuvee de Reserve
2007 Alain Hudelot-Noellat, Vougeot 1er Cru "Les Petits Vougeot"
We also had a premium mugi (barley) shochu, "Kanehachi"