Monday, January 31, 2011

Cooking with donabe-smoked soy foil wrap with tagine-style donabe

I made an easy but special foil-wrap dinner. The secret ingredient is, yes, my donabe-smoked soy sauce. The fish was wild-caught petrale sole from Oregon. So beautiful.

In a piece of aluminum foil, I wrapped the fish (lightly seasoned with salt and pepper) with eryngi mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, garlic, shallot, and haricot verts. Then I added sake, soy sauce, and some butter, and closed it.

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The foil wraps were set in my tagine-style donabe, "Fukkura-san", and set over medium+ heat to cook for about 10 minutes.

All the flavors were sealed inside and it was so wonderfully aromatic! I drizzled extra donabe-smoked soy sauce and also some chunky la-yu. The fish was so pure and flavorful with the accent of smoked soy sauce. Gorgeous.

You can find the recipe on toiro's website. Hope you will try it.

Happy donabe life.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Donabe hot pot dish...Kurobuta pork in soymilk-miso broth

Here's an unique yet very easy hot pot (one pot) dish with donabe.

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First, I got ready the ingredients to cook in the broth...gobo (burdock root), mizuna, shimeji mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, mochi, carrot, and kurobuta pork slices.

Here's the broth. It's actually quite rich and more like sukiyaki-style, so it's between "broth" and "sauce". The below ingredients (for two servings) were combined and heated together. I made it for two people, so I used my light-weight "UFO" donabe, "Yu Kizeto". For 3-4 people, I would recommend Kyoto-style shallow donabe (large), "Kyoto Ame-yu".

(ingredients for the broth)
2 cups pure soymilk
3/4 cup sake
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2.5 tablespoons miso
1-1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated giner
2 scallions (green part only) - remove after simmering for 5 minutes.

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Pork and other ingredients were cooked in the broth tabletop in a few separate times, and served with some condiments, such as ponzu, grated daikon, ground roasted sesame seeds, shichimi pepper, and sliced scallion.

It was so wonderful!
Happy donabe life.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kabocha and shiitake miso soup

I make miso-soup almost every day. Because I love it, and also my body needs miso. It's normally something so simple like my regular tofu & wakame (seaweed), or daikon and abura-age (fried tofu pouch) miso soup.

Here's my soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe". Thank you for working so hard every day for us.

Here's my simple kabocha & shiitake miso soup, made with my homemade miso from last year. Sooo soothing. Only 4 ingredients to make it.

Kabocha & Shiitake Miso Soup

Ingredients (2-3 servings)
1/2 pound kabocha, cut into cubes (not too small)
4 large shiitake mushrooms, quartered
3 cups dashi stock
3.5-4 tablespoons miso

1. Combine the kabocha and dashi stock in "Miso-shiru Nabe". Simmer until kabocha is almost tender. Add the shiitake mushrooms and continue to simmer until everything is cooked through.
2. Add the miso paste and whisk in the stock so that it dissolves. Add more miso if necessary.
3. Turn off the heat and serve into individual bowls.

Happy donabe life.

Kurobuta gyoza time...accompanied by Barbaresco

Here they are...

My friends say they never get tired of my gyoza.
Thank you!

And, guess what, my kurobuta pork gyoza pairs wonderfully with Barbaresco. 2007 Ca' du Rabaja, Barbaresco "Rabaja", which (Rabaja) is considered to be the best cru of Barbaresco. The wine had a complex flavors of spices and dark berries with a hint of sweet ripeness.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Quick kurobuta pork pita wrap lunch...with donabe smoked soy sauce

This time, I made a pita wrap with kurobuta pork.

Thinly-sliced kurobuta pork loin (about 3 oz) was cut into bite-size pieces and marinated in 1 teaspoon of each sake, agave nectar, and donabe-smoked soy sauce for 10 minutes. It was then tossed in 1 teaspoon of potato starch ("katakuriko"), and sauteed with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in a pan. When the meat is cooked through, I turned off the heat and finished with a small drizzle of more donabe-smoked soy sauce.

The rest is the same as last fish pita wrap lunch. Whole wheat pita was quickly heated (both sides) on a pan, then topped with shredded cabbage, cilantro, homemade hummus, gruyere cheese. The meat was added at the end and some chunky la-yu and lemon juice was drizzled.

I could barely wrap it and hold with one hand this time! Wow...the flavor was so decadent. The juicy smokey pork flavor was just incredible.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Quick fish pita wrap lunch...with donabe smoked soy sauce

Align RightMy donabe-smoked soy sauce is such a big hit.
This gives a wonderful accent to a wide variety of dishes.

Yesterday, I made a quick pita wrap, with all the fresh ingredients. I seared beautiful arctic char, and wrapped it in a whole-wheat pita bread, with shredded cabbage, cilantro, gruyere cheese, homemade hummus, homemade chunky la-yu, and finished with the donabe-smoked soy sauce and lemon juice. I think I got a bit too greedy, because the filling became almost too big to wrap and hold by one hand!

The taste was incredible. The smoked soy sauce enhanced the flavor complexity and the fish was so pure and delicious.

This donabe-smoked soy sauce is like my "umami" drug.

Donabe-braised "jiggly" pork belly with sato-imo

Pork belly time!

I braised pork belly and sato-imo (taro) in my soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe". This donabe does wonderful braising.

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It's a (Japanese) classic-style braised pork belly with the soy-based broth, which is finished with some sansho berries (Japanese mountain pepper berries, "mi-sansho"). To flavor the broth, I also used some Okinawa black sugar, which gave another depth in the dish. The meat was so jiggly and melted in my mouth. Donabe-braised pork belly is such a wonderful comfort food for the winter, or anytime of the year.

Here's my recipe:

Donabe-braised pork belly with sato-imo

Ingredients (4-5 servings)
2.5 pounds pork belly, cut into 2"x2" cubes (I normally season the cubes with salt and let rest overnight for the juicier result - optional)
5-6 medium to large sato-imo (taro), peeled and cut into 2 to 3 pieces
2 cups water
1/2 cup sake
3 tablespoons Okinawa black sugar (you can substitute it with raw brown sugar)
1 tablespoon mirin
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon julienned ginger
2-3 teaspoons sansho berries (you can omit, if you can't find it)
some karashi (Japanese mustard) and grated daikon as condiments

1. In a medium-size pot, combine good amount of water and sato-imo. Bring to simmer and blanch for a couple of minutes. Drain and rinse. Set aside.
2. In a large saute pan, brown the pork belly all sides over medium+ heat. Transfer to a colander and pour some boiling water over the pork to remove excess grease.
3. In "Miso-shiru Nabe", combine the above pork, 2 cups of water, sake, black sugar, and mirin. Line the surface with a piece of foil. Braise in the 350F oven for 2 hours or until the meat is just tender.
4. (optional - you can skip this process if you are okay with a lot of fat released from the meat in the broth) Once it's cooled down, transfer the pork to a bowl. Cover and set aside (in the refrigerator if keeping it over a few hours). Transfer the braising broth to a separate bowl. Refrigerate it until the fat becomes solid on the surface. Remove the fat solid from the broth. Combine the broth and the pork back in the donabe.
5. Add the soy sauce, blanched sato-imo, and ginger. Simmer over stove-top for 25-30 minutes. Add the sansho berries, turn off the heat, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
6. Serve into individual bowls with condiments.

Happy donabe life.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Donabe-smoked soy sauce

Soy sauce is one of the essential ingredients in Japanese cooking.
There are so many different kinds of soy sauce for so many different purposes.
Now, I have a new addition to my soy sauce collection at home...thanks to my donabe smoker, "Ibushi Gin"!

Yes, it's home-smoked soy sauce.

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Making smoked soy sauce is extremely easy. After spreading a small amount of sakura (Japanese cherry blossom tree) smoke chips in the bottom, I just set some regular dark-color soy sauce in a shallow bowl in the donabe smoker. Then, just follow the basic smoking process of the donabe smoker, except that I let it rest for 30 minutes (instead of 20 minutes after turning off the heat), so that I could make sure the real "deep smoke" to my soy sauce. That's it, the aromatic smoked soy sauce was ready.

The aroma was seriously incredibly smokey-soy!

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To taste my donabe-smoked soy sauce for the first time, I made some simple brown rice with the double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san". The rice was served with fresh egg, a sprinkle of ao-nori (seaweed flakes), and some drizzle of the brand-new donabe-smoked soy sauce. It was amazing!

I think I'm now addicted to donabe-smoked soy sauce. This can be used for so many different types of dishes. You can use it as a dipping sauce, or cook with different ingredients. I can't try it with some fatty yellowtail sashimi next time.

The recipe for the smoked soy sauce is also found in toiro's website.
Happy donabe life.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Donabe-steamed pork and shrimp spring rolls

Donabe steaming is easy and fun.

This time, I made spring rolls and made them into a steaming dish. I made a mixture of ground pork and minced shrimp (with seasonings), then I wrapped it with some bean sprouts and cilantro in rice wrappers.

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They were steamed for 5-6 minutes, and the beautiful steamed spring rolls were ready.

The rolls were served with some homemade ponzu and chunky la-yu. The clear rice skin was nicely chewy and the filling was fluffy and packed with flavors. Great.

Here's my recipe.

Steamed Pork and Shrimp Spring Rolls

Ingredients (for 15-16 rolls)

1/2 pound ground kurobuta pork
1/4 pound shrimp, minced
1 medium-size egg
1 tablespoon katakuriko (potato starch)
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
a pinch of sugar
1 knob ginger, peeled and grated

15-16 rice wrappers
half package bean sprouts, cleaned
some cilantro

ponzu sauce and chunky la-yu

1. In a bowl, mix together the ingredients for the filling until smooth.
2. To make a spring roll. Soak a rice wrapper in warm water until soft. Lay some bean sprouts, pork/ shrimp mixture, and cilantro and wrap.
3. Once all are wrapped, spread some extra beansprouts in the steam grate of "Mushi Nabe", arrange the spring rolls (7-8 at a time), and steam over medium+ heat until cooked through (about 5-6 minutes).
4. Serve with ponzu sauce and chunky la-yu

Happy donabe life.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

More donabe-steamed sake manju

I had the cravings, so I made more...

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Anko (red bean paste) was mixed with roasted walnuts. They were made into balls. The dough was made from wholewheat flour, baking powder, sake lees ("sake-kasu"), sake, and sugar. They were also made into the same number of balls as the anko balls and pressed into a disk shape.

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Each anko balls were wrapped in the dough (then I brushed extra sake on the surface) and steamed in the donabe steamer, "Mushi Nabe" for about 10 minutes. The aroma was so sake-eey and so beautiful.

You can really smell and taste the sake in the maju (dumpling) skin. I love it.
You can find the recipe on toiro's website. It's so easy, so hope you will try.

Happy donabe life.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Donabe braising...Buri Daikon (yellowtail and daikon radish stew)

Buri Daikon (yellowtail and daikon radish stew) is a popular winter dish in Japan. Winter is the peak season for buri (grown-up yellowtail) and it has the high natural oil content. So, winter buri is especially rich and flavorful whether served raw (as sashimi) or cooked.

Buri daikon is a simple dish and it's very easy to make. For this dish, I like using my soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe", because it does the quick braising so well.

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Buri and daikon in the dashi stock. The fish was quickly blanched in hot water (less than 10 seconds) before added to the stock. The stock was seasoned with sake, sugar, mirin, and soy sauce. Right before the turning off the heat, sansho berries (optional) were added. (berries of sansho pepper. I brought back from Japan.)

Now it's ready. Once it's served into a bowl, the dish can be garnished with some sliced yuzu rind. Wonderful winter treat. Here's my recipe.

Buri Daikon (Winter yellowtail and daikon radish stew)

12 oz yellowtail, cut into smaller pieces, seasoned with salt and let rested for 15 minutes.
1 pound daikon, peeled and cut into small oblique
1 to 1-1/4 cups water
1 2"x4" piece dashi kombu (dry kelp)
1/3 cup sake
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon mirin
1 knob ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sansho berry
some thinly-sliced yuzu rind

1. Blanch the yellowtail in simmering water for 5-10 seconds and quickly transfer in ice bath. Pat dry and set aside.
2. In Miso-shiru Nabe, add dashi kombu and 1 cup water. Let the kombu soak for 15-30 minutes (optional). Add the sake, sugar, mirin, and ginger.
3. Add the yellowtail on one side and daikon on the other side of the donabe. Add more water if the liquid level is too low. The liquid should almost cover the ingredients.
4. Bring to a boil, and reduce to low-simmer. Skim as necessary. Line the surface of the ingredients with a pice of foil. Cover with the lid. Simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add the soy sauce and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the broth is reduced by almost half.
6. Add the sansho berries and turn off the heat. Let it rest for 10 minutes. (The broth will still continue to simmer meanwhile.)
7. Serve into individual bowls and garnish with some yuzu rind.

Happy donabe life.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Donabe one pot dish...Power Sake-kasu Nabe

It's the high-season for nabe-mono (hot pot) right now, although I like doing hot pot any time of the year (even in the summertime!).

Here's my beautiful classic-style donabe, "Yu Kizeto". It's a unique "handleless" donabe (I like to call it UFO donabe) and very light weight.

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I made a very popular winter hot pot, "Sake-kasu Nabe". The broth is made with dashi broth and sake lees ("sake kasu"), so the aroma is so rich and you can really smell "sake" in it. To cook in the broth, I picked up some cod, kabu (Japanese turnip), mushrooms, etc.

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Donabe was set on a table-top stove. Ingredients were cooked in the broth. In a short time, everything was cooked and ready. The aroma was even more gorgeous.

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Such a balanced and flavorful bowl of stew. I also cooked moch and cheese stuffed abura-age (fried tofu pouch). It was so great.

Since I had some extra Chinese noodles in the fridge, I cooked them in the broth as a "shime" (end of the meal) course. So delightful.

I posted the recipe on toiro's website. Hope you will try this dish.

Happy donabe life.