Thursday, January 29, 2009

Make Your Own Bibimbop with Donabe Rice

Since I don't have the individual stone pots like in Korean restaurants, I made the "non-sizzling" version of Bibimbop (Korean-style mixed rice) tonight. It's not just easy and delicious, but it's also fun to make.

I served a big plate of toppings along with the rice made in donabe (clay pot). Then, each of us made your own version.

Toppings I made are Bean sprouts, spinach, carrot, mushrooms, and chicken. I posted the recipe (vegetarian version) on toiro's website.

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You get your donabe rice in the bowl, put the toppings (including very runny-yolk fride egg and kochujan paste), then mix everything together!

It's so healthy and yummy...everyone should try this, really.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lunar New Year Party at Friend's House

One of my dear friend hosted an annual Lunar New Year Party the other night. It was a real feast to say the least.

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Homemade Pig Feet Terrine, and Pate. Very French-style! We also had fresh Oysters from Washington.

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Live Spiny Lobsters were cut in half and grilled after quickly seared in a pan. Every one got the half lobster. It was dramatically sweet and fresh.

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By the time we had the main course, it was already past midnight.

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All homemade desserts...Ginger Ice Cream, Pithivier, etc.

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Of course, so many wonderful wines.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sweet Potato Appetizer

I made Satsumaimo no Amani (Braised "Satsuma" Sweet Potatoes) the other night as an appetizer. This is another very rustic-style Japanese dish. As the sweet potato is naturally sweet (duh), I don't like to add too much sweetness to this dish. Sugar is the most common "sweetner" to this type of dish, but I like to substitute it with Yuzu-cha (Yuzu citrus jam).

1 medium-size Japanese sweet potato (about 3/4 to 1 lb), washed and cut into 1/2" disks. You can cut further into a half-moon shape, if the disk is too large.
1.5 Tbsps yuzu jam
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
a pinch of salt

In a medium-size pot, put the sweet potatoes and add barely enough water to cover the top of the potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce to low.

Once the potatoes are almost tender, drain half of the cooking water. Add the yuzu jam, light and dark soy sauces, and a pinch of salt (if necessary) to the pot. Bring the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the remaining sauce is reduced by half. Stir the potatoes with the sauce occasionally.

You can serve the dish either hot, or at room temperature.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Steamed Tofu Shrimp

I cook a lot of Japanese home-style Chinese dishes. Steamed Tofu Shrimp is one of my favorites and also the easiest among them.

Ingredients (for 12 pieces)
(Shrimp Mixture)
1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled
1Tbsp Chinese rice wine
1 tsp lard or duck fat
a pinch of sugar
salt and pepper
1/2 Tbsp potato starch
1 ea. egg white

1 package medium-firm tofu
potato starch

2Tbsp Scallion, minced
1 small piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 clove garlic, grated
2 Tbsps sesame oil
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
2 Tbsps soy sauce
a pinch of sugar

Make sure to clean and pat-dry the shrimp with a paper towel first.
To make the shrimp mixture, mince the shrimp to make it the coarse paste.
Mix the shrimp with Chinese rice wine, lard, sugar, a little amount of each salt and pepper, potato starch and egg white in a bowl until the mixture is smooth.
Cover the mixture with a piece of plastic and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the tofu on a shallow plate and put another flat plate on top of the tofu. Put a weight (canned food, for example) on top of the plate and let it stand for 30 minutes. Drain the water which was released out of the tofu.
Slice the tofu into disks.

In a plate, place lettuce leaves and put the tofu disks on top of the lettuce. Sift a small amount of the potato starch over the tofu surface.
Make a small mound of the shrimp mixture on top of each tofu disk.

Place the plate with the assembled tofu-shrimp in a steamer and steam for 10-13 minutes or until done.

(To make the sauce)
Make the sauce while the tofu-shrimp is steaming. Heat the sesame oil in a small pan until it starts smoking. Pour the sesame oil immediately over the scallion, ginger, and garlic mixture in a small bowl. Pour the Chinese rice wine into the still hot pan (used for heating the sesame oil), and pour again into the scallion-ginger-garlic mixture in a bowl. Add soy sauce and a pinch of sugar to the bowl and mix well.

Serve immediately with the sauce.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Szechuan-style "Fiery" Pot

We cooked Szechan-style "Fiery" Pot (火鍋) with our donabe tonight. Since I saved the pork stock I made the other day in the freezer, I used it as the base for the broth, but you can use the Chinese-style chicken stock, too. Here's my recipe.

Ingredients for the soup
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1Tbsp minced scallion (bottom part only)
1 tsp grated Szechuan peppercorn
a sprinkle of Chinese five-spice
2 Tbsps sesame oil
2 Tbsps tobanjan (Chinese hot bean paste)
1/4C Chinese rice wine
5C stock
a small bunch of scallions (green part only)

(Pork Meat Balls)
1/2 lb ground pork
1 small piece ginger, grated
1 egg
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
salt and pepper to taste

(Other ingredients for the pot)
assorted mushrooms
nira (Chinese chives)
Napa cabbage

Chinese noodles

To cook the soup, in a small pan, saute the first 5 ingredients in the sesame oil at a medium heat for 1 minute. Add the tobanjan and continue to cook for another minute. Add 1/4C of Chinese rice wine and stir. Transfer the mixture to the donabe (clay pot) and add the stock. Season with salt. Add the scallions (green parts).

To make the pork meatballs, mix all the ingredients for the meat balls and knead until sticky.

To enjoy the hot pot, bring the soup to boil, cook the ingredients of your choice at the table. You can serve the cooked ingredients and soup with your choice of condiments, such as sliced scallion, hot paste, shichimi, etc. Or, you can dip the cooked ingredients in the raw egg (like sukiyaki-style).

At the end of the meal, cook the Chinese noodle in the remaining soup and enjoy!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Our Classic Home-style Gyoza

January 19, 2009

I made gyoza tonight. It's our family recipe and I've made it countless times. Making gyoza is so easy and it's almost impossible to fail it. I never measure anything, because my hands just do the job without thinking. So the below ingredients amounts are just approximate.

1/2 lb ground pork (if the meat is too lean, add a little amount of lard)
1/2 lb cabbage, boiled for 2-3 minutes, pressed (to drain water) and minced
1/2 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, grated
1 piece (about 1-inch length) ginger, grated
1 tablespoon potato starch
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon of each black pepper and Szechuan pepper, grated

1 package gyoza wrapper
sesame oil

(Dipping Sauce)
Soy sauce
Rice vinegar
La-yu (sesame chili oil)

To make the filling, mix the first 11 ingredients (pork to pepper) in a large bowl. Knead well until the ingredients are well-incorporated and sticky. Cover with the plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Take the filling mixture out of the fridge, and wrap about 1 tablespoon of the filling in each gyoza wrapper. Rub the water around the edge to seal.
To cook, heat the sesame oil in a pan at a medium heat. Place the gyoza pieces and pour 1/4-1/3 cup of water over the pan. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until all the water is gone and the bottm of the gyoza is nicely browned.
To make the dipping sauce, blend about the same amount of each soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Drizzle a little amount of la-yu into the mixture.
Serve the gyoza while hot with the dipping sauce.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hainanese Chicken Rice...Chicken 3 Ways!

January 18, 2009

I made Singapore (Hainanese) Chicken Rice with my donabe (clay pot) tonight. It was simply phoenomenal! This time, I used the bone-in chicken thigh meat for this dish. What I love so much about this dish is you can enjoy three different dishes out of one chicken. Meat, the rice cooked in the chicken stock, and the chicken soup. I posted the recipe on toiro's website.

The rice came out so shiny and tasty. The chicken was really tender, too. Out of the two kinds of sauces I made, I really liked the ginger-yuzu jam sauce.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tai Meshi (Tai Snapper Rice) with Donabe

January 10, 2009

I made Tai Meshi (Tai snapper rice), which is one of my favorite rice dishes, with my donabe tonight. The recipe is now posted in toiro's website.

Cooking tai meshi is not only fun but also eye-catchy. Of course, the taste is the best part.

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Before and after cooking pictures.

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I also made Daikon Mochi (pan-fried daikon radish cake), and Sui-Gyoza (poached shrimp & pork gyoza).

Smoked Salmon Donabe Rice

January 10, 2009

I made Smoked Salmon Rice tonight. The preparation is extremely easy. It's basically you cook the regular rice, make the sauce meanwhile, and assemble the rice with smoked salmon when the rice is ready.

I posted the recipe on toiro's website.

Easy and delicious.

Buta Jjigae (Korean Style Pork Hot Stew)

January 8, 2009

I've been doing more research about Korean dishes this week. After checking out different "hot pot" recipes, I made my own version of hot pork stew (jjigae) tonight. As I just cannot handle kimchee, my version doesn't have it at all. Here's my recipe.

Make the seasoning paste by blending 1T soy sauce, 1/2T sugar, about 1 tsp each grated ginger and garlic, 1T minced scallion, 2T red chili powder, 1/2T sesame oil, and a little bit of ground pepper. With half amount of the paste, marinate the pork belly slices (about 1/2lb) for 15 minutes.

In the bottom of the donabe (clay pot), place sliced Napa cabbage (about 2 cups), tofu (half pack), and sliced king oyster mushrooms (2 pieces), then pour 2-1/3C chicken stock. Close the lid and bring it to boil. Add the marinated pork, turn the heat to medium and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add egg and enoki mushrooms and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until ready.

Serve the stew into individual bowls and top with sliced scallions and serve with rice.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Made Sundubu with my Donabe!

January 5, 2009
Since I found a new Korean grocery store not far from my home recently, I've been intereted in cooking more Korean-style dishes. Tonight, I made Sundubu Jjigae (hot and spicy tofu stew) for the first time! I went through different Sundubu recipes from internet and came up with my own version. Here's how I did.

First, make a paste by blending 1T sesame oil, 2T red chili powder, 1T Kochujan (hot bean paste), 1tsp sugar, 3T minced scallion (white part), 1 clove garlic (grated), 1 small cube ginger (grated), and 2T sake. Place the paste at the bottom of donabe (clay pot).

On top of the paste, place sliced pork, mushrooms, tofu, and then add 1-3/4C of Chinese chicken stock. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

Once the mixture starts to boil, roughly stir the soup, then top it with nira (Chinese chives) and eggs. Cover again and let it cook for another minute.

The soup is now ready. You can't do Sundubu without rice! I made the azuki rice with my donabe rice cooker and served with the soup. The soup got the nice heat with tons of flavor. The mixed chopped greens (scallion, daikon sprouts, and watercress) were also a nice condiment to the dish. It was seriously great! I'd love to make it again.

Kamo Nabe (Duck Pot)

January 4, 2009
Whether it's for rice or soup, it feels like I use donabe every day.

Tonight, I made Kamo Nabe (Duck Pot).

I used a few pieces of beautiful duck breast. I slowly seared just the skin side in a pan to release excess fat and sliced the meat very thin to be ready for the pot. Since I had some extra ground pork, I also made some pork wontons to cook in the pot. We also cooked various other ingredients including mushrooms, and vegetables.

It took only a minute or so for each slice of duck to cook. The meat was so tender and juicy.

As a "shime" (finish of the meal) for Kamo Nabe, it's more common to do soba, but we did udon and it was very nice, too.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Dinner Party at Friend's House... I made Azuki Sweet Potato Rice

January 3, 2009

We were invited to a dinner party at our friend's house tonight. A few of us made different dishes for the group of eight.

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Winter Salad was followed by Barramundi was pan-fried and roasted with the herb-panko topping, served with Thai-style coconut-herb sauce. The doneness of the barramundi was so perfect and the flavor was right on.

Here's my dish. I was requested to make a rice dish with donabe. To go well with the Thai-style barramundi dish, I made Azuki Sweet Potato Rice. The preparation was so easy. I did all the prep-work at home, and brought all the ingredients and donabe (clay pot) to our friend's house. So, all I needed to do was to just assemble and cook! I posted the recipe in my toiro's website.

I used three kinds of rice (white, sweet, and black), which brought the wonderful flavor to the dish and also the beautiful red/ purple color (from the black rice). I was so glad that everybody loved my rice and the rice was all gone in just a short time.

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Another friend made the Szechuan Style Oxtail Stew. I loved the slight heat in the dish. The dessert was Lemon Tart.

Wines were great, too. We started with 1995 Veuve Clicquot, La Grande Dame, Brut. We also had 2006 Fontaine Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet, 2005 Van Volxem, Scharzhofberger, Riesling (Saar, Germany), 2006 Etude, Deer Camp, Pinot Noir, and 1995 Allegrini, Amarone Classico.

Life is good.