Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer vegetables "Nanban-zuke"

"Nanban-zuke" is like a Japanese-style escabeche. Deep fried ingredients are marinated in the vinegar-dashi based broth. This kabocha "nanban-zuke" is one of my summer regular dishes, and very popular among dinner guests, too.

Kabocha and Summer Vegetables "Nanban-zuke"

1/4 medium-size kabocha pumpkin, sliced into 1/3"-thick wedges
2 medium-size Japanese eggplant, cut into wedges
some haricot verts
some yellow and orange bell peppers, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic
some vegetable oil for deep-frying
some salt

1/2 cup brown rice vinegar
1/2 cup dashi stock
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon raw brown sugar
2 tablespoons light color soy sauce ("usukuchi shoyu")

1/2 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/2 tablespoon thinly sliced dry red chili

1. Sprinkle some salt to the eggplant and leave for 15 minutes. Rinse quickly and wipe off any excess moisture.
2. Combine the ingredients for the broth in a large bowl. Add the carrot and dry red chili. Set aside.
3. Set the oil in a deep-fryer at 350F degrees.
4. Deep-fry the ingredients one kind at a time, starting with the garlic (it will infuse the nice aroma in the oil). (About 2 minutes for garlic, 3-4 minutes for kabocha and eggplant, 1 minute for haricot verde and bell pepper).
5. After each kind of ingredients is cooked through (should be light golden color), lightly drain the excess grease and transfer to the bowl with the broth to marinade.
6. Leave the deep-fried ingredients in the broth for 1 hour or so. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve at a room temperature.

If you marinade overnight, the flavor will be even deeper and very nice. You can keep the vegetables in the broth in the fridge and leave it out in a room temperature 1 hour before serving.