Monday, March 29, 2010

Yuba Soba Lunch

Since I started working from home, one of the nicest things about it is that I can eat lunch at home. I really love eating simple Japanese lunch...I make soba or udon dish often and never get tired of it. This is a very typical style simple lunch I make. Simple broth (dashi stock, sake, mirin, and light soy sauce) and yuba (tofu skin) over soba noodles.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Miso-braised Pork Belly and Daikon with Donabe

I love braising meat.

I love braising meat with my soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe", so much. This beautiful donabe is designed specifically for soup & stew making. The result is always amazing and this donabe made my braising experiences so much easier and delicious.

Pork belly (about 1 pound) was cut into large cubes and seasoned with salt (I let it rest in the fridge overnight). The meat was first blanched in boiling water for a couple of minutes and drained. By doing this, you can get rid of the foamy scum before cooking the meat, and the meat will not make the broth cloudy after braised.

Photobucket Photobucket
In the donabe, sliced onion was laid on the bottom, followed by the blanched pork belly. 2 cups of water + 1/2 cup of sake were added.

Photobucket Photobucket
The surface was lined with the parchment paper (with a little hole in the center). The donabe was covered and put in the 325F degrees oven.

Photobucket Photobucket
After 2 hours in the oven, both pork and onion have become tender and smelled so nice. about 1 pound of Daikon (cut into 1" thick discus and cut further into quarters) was added along with 1 tablespoon of mirin, 1 teaspoon of agave syrup, and 1 tablespoon of usukuchi shoyu (light color soy sauce). The surface was lined with the parchment paper again. The donabe was covered and put it back in the oven for additional 1 hour.

Photobucket Photobucket
After 1 hour, daikon was nicely tender, and the meat was super tender. 2.5 tablespoons of miso was added to the broth and dissolved. To finish, the donabe was set on the stove-top over medium-low heat, add a package of enoki mushrooms and some sliced yuzu rind, and simmered for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat, and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

The dish smelled so wonderful and tasted amazing!! Pork was so tender and jiggly. Daikon soaked the deep flavors of the broth. It was so easy to make, because most cooking was done just in the oven and I could forget about it meanwhile. I served the dish with the mixture of scallion, mitsuba (Japanese parsley), and daikon sprouts on top, and sprinkled some sansho pepper (Japanese mountain pepper). Thank you, my Miso-shiru Nabe for the outstanding work!

You can find the full recipe on toiro's website.
Hapy donabe life.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Donabe Sundubu Jjigae...again

It was time for Sundubu Jjigae (Korean-style hot tofu stew) again...I was having big cravings for the dish, so I got the ingredients and just started cooking.

Then, I realized, I probably make it in a different way every time. I think, the last time, I sauteed the pork in the donabe first. But today, I made the broth first and added the main ingredients later. So, here's how I made it... tonight's version.

Tonight's Sundubu Jjigae with Donabe

Ingredients - 3 servings
3/4 lbs. pork belly slices, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 tablespoons sake
3.5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup sake
1.5 tablespoons light color soy sauce (usukuchi shoyu)
2 tablespoons kochujan paste (Korean hot pepper paste)
2 teaspoons Korean red chili pepper flakes
1 package (about 14 oz) soft tofu
2-3 oz king oyster mushrooms
3-4 oz shimeji mushrooms
2-3 oz nira (Chinese chives), cut into 2" length
sliced scallion for topping

1. Marinate the pork with salt, pepper, and the first 2 tablespoons of sake. Cover and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2. In the donabe, bring the chicken stock to simmer over medium heat. Add the remaining (1/2 cup) sake and the soy sauce.
3. Add the kochujan paste and red chili pepper flakes to the donabe. Disolve the kochujan throughly in the broth.
4. Add the marinated pork to the broth.
5. When the pork is almost cooked through, add the tofu (break by hand) and mushrooms.
6. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Add the nira, 1-2 minutes before turning off the heat.
7. Serve with sliced scallions, and rice on the side.

My home-style donabe Sundubu was ready. It looked so appetizing and smelled wonderful, too.

Yes, I put an egg in my sundubu! I kept it until the broth was half-way gone. Then, I added the rice to the broth and broke the egg yolk with the spoon. The gooey yolk coated the rice and it was just so delicious.

With the left over sundubu, next day, I made the sundubu ramen! I simply cooked the dry ramen noodles with the leftover broth.

I got to enjoy sundubu different ways over two meals. Wonderful.

Happy donabe life.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Miso Yaki Onigiri (miso-flavored grilled rice balls)...How can you resist?

I made Yaki Onigiri (grilled rice balls) for lunch today.

First, the very plain white rice was made with my double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san". Hope the camera could capture how shiny and gorgeous looking the rice was. It smelled so nice, too. I just wanted to eat it straight, but I had to fight against this temptation.

With the plain donabe rice, I made the plain onigiri (rice balls). So that the surface area for the sauce will be wider, I made them into relatively thin disks.

The plain onigiri were arranged on the hot Iga-yaki grill, "Yaki Yaki San". This ancient-clay grill is also great for grilling the rice balls. It's smokeless and also quiet. I brushed a little amount of the sesame oil on the grill and slowly grilled the rice balls.

Once they were turned over, I spread the miso-based sauce on the surface of each onigiri. The sauce has the equal parts of miso paste and mirin, with a little sprinkle of each ichimi pepper, sansho pepper, and ground sesame seeds. After a few minutes, I turned them over again and put more miso sauce on the other side of each onigiri. Then I turned them over one more time after a few more minutes.

I made 7 onigiri and ate 4 of them! How could I resist? They smelled so nice, the texture was beautifully crusty outside and still fluffy inside (the grains nicely fell apart in the mouth), and the flavor was beautiful. I could've actually finished them all, but I decided to save a few for Jason.

Happy donabe life.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tonight's Donabe Cooking...Miso-butter Chicken with Tagine-style donabe

Miso and butter make the great flavor combination just like soy sauce and butter.

I made quick and delicious Chicken and Mushrooms in Miso-Butter Sauce with my tagine-style donabe, "Fukkura-san", tonight.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
After heating the butter and a little sesame oil in the skillet of Fukkurasan, I sauteed the chicken both sides.

Photobucket Photobucket
Chicken was removed and the mushrooms (king oyster mushrooms and shimeji mushrooms) were added with garlic and ginger. They were sauteed for about 1 minute.

Chicken was added back to the skillet, and cooked for about 3 minutes with the lid on over medium-heat.

Photobucket Photobucket
Miso sauce (red miso,sake, mirin, and yuzu rind) and nira (Chinese chives) were added. The mixture was simmered again for 2 more minutes with the lid on.

The quick miso-butter chicken was ready...the aroma was irresistible.

Photobucket Photobucket
The dish was served with my regular white-and-brown (50/50) rice, which was cooked with the donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san".

After the dish was plated, I topped it with the condiments mixture of scallion, serrano chili, and sesame leaves.

The dinner was simply delicious! I came up with this recipe just before the dinnertime...I was kind of proud of myself. And, of course, I was so proud of my donabe.

I posted the recipe on toiro's website. Please check it out.

Happy donabe life.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Donabe Cooking Class Report..."Yakiniku" Japanese table-top grilling with "Yaki Yaki San"

Last weekend, I hosted another Donabe & Japanese cooking class. The main theme was "Yakiniku" (Japanese-style grilled meat) on the table-top grilling. The dishes we made were actually more like the crossover between Korean and Japanese cuisines. Table-top style grilling was originally introduced by Korean people in Japan and became very popular among us. So, some of the dishes we made were our (Japanese) version of Korean dishes.

Photobucket Photobucket
We had the wonderful guests on both Saturday and Sunday. They brought the great energy to the class.

Photobucket Photobucket
Namul salad was the combination of soybean sprouts, wakame seaweed, and carrot.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
Korean-style scallion pancake.

We moved to the table and started grilling different ingredients. The grilling was done with our fantastic Iga-yaki grill, "Yaki Yaki San". This ancient-clay grill makes the wonderful dishes, and it's smoke-free! We love cooking with Yaki Yaki San, so much.

Photobucket Photobucket
Grilled abura-age, stuffed with Saikyo-miso and scallion. I came up with the recipe just a few days ago, and it was a big hit!

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
A lot of meat...American Kobe Beef Kalbi (short rib) was so fresh. Marinated tri-tip was so tender, and Kurobuta pork belly was so juicy.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
Grilled ingredients were served with homemade sauces and many condiments. Our guests made their own style of lettuce wraps, etc.

Photobucket PhotobucketPhotobucket
For meat lovers who still want to stay healthy, I highly recommend our style of "Yakiniku" (grilled meat) with the table-top grill. We cook relatively thin slices of meat with a LOT of vegetable condiments. We can have a very balanced delicious meal this way.

Here's the menu of the class:

Theme: Table-top Grilling with “Yaki Yaki San”


Scallion and shiitake mushrooms “pajeon” pancake


Tri-color “namul” salad


Grilled meat – Fresh Kobe-style kalbi (beef boneless sparerib), soy-marinated beef tri-tip, and sake-marinated kurobuta pork belly


Grilled vegetables etc. – Negi-miso abura-age, asparagus, king oyster mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, and garlic cloves


Miso-apple dipping sauce and ssamjang dipping sauce


Assorted condiments


Multi-grain donabe rice

Wine Selection

2008 Cazar, Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley, CA)

Happy donabe life.