Friday, November 30, 2012

Quick donabe recipe...Calcium-rich Crunchy Baby Fish and Walnuts


Classic-style donabe are not only great for hot pot dishes, but they are essentials in my kitchen for multi-purpose uses.

Mini-size donabe are excellent for small side dishes.
I made a quick fish & nuts dish with my mini-size classic-style donabe, "Rikyu Tokusa".

This dish is called, "Tazukuri", in Japanese, and it's a traditional New Year dish in Japan. But, of course, you can enjoy it all year round. It's so rich in calcium and makes a great side dish or a snack.


2 oz  dry baby sardines ("gomame")...can be found at Japanese grocery stores
1/4C  walnuts
1T  sesame seeds

(for the sauce)
2T  sake
2T  sugar
1T  mirin
2T  soy sauce

1. For the fish, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roast them at 300F for 15 minutes in the oven. Remove from the oven and let them cool down. The fish should be light-crispy.
2. Increase the oven temperature to 400F. Roast the walnuts for 8 minutes in the oven. Remove from the oven and break them into smaller peaces by hand. 
3. In a small-size donabe, combine the ingredients for the sauce. Bring to simmer over medium-heat. Simmer until the sauce is thickened and reduced by half (3-4 minutes).
4. Remove from the heat and immediately add the baby sardines and walnuts. Stir quickly. Serve at room temperature.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Donabe-steamed Fennel Soup with Crab Meat

Steaming is a wonderful way to cook vegetables in terms of both nutrition and taste. Steamed vegetable(s) can make healthy non-oil soup very easily, while bringing the pure flavor of the ingredients. One of my favorite steamed vegetable soup is fennel soup.

Donabe steamer, "Mushi Nabe", makes wonderful steamed fennel.

Donabe-steamed Fennel Soup

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Slice two large bulbs of fennel into wedges and steam in the hot Mushi Nabe over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes or until the fennel is very soft.

Transfer the fennel into a blender. Add 1.5C vegetable stock, 1T Saikyo Miso, and 1/2T shio-koji. Blend until the mixture is very smooth. Adjust the seasoning with some salt and pepper, as necessary.

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Transfer the mixture into a donabe (this time, I used mini-size classic-style donabe, "Yu-kizeto") and heat until hot.

Transfer into a bowl and top with some crab meat (and drizzle some olive oil, if you like a nice oil touch). For a vegan version, you can just serve as is, and it tastes really gorgeous.

Happy donabe life.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Donabe-steamed Crab & Tofu Shumai

Here's another steamed shumai recipe...
I've been cooking non-stop with my donabe steamer, "Mushi Nabe", for over a week. Steaming is one of my favorite methods of cooking, and Mushi Nabe is the best steamer I've ever used!

Crab & Tofu Shumai

(for the filling)
7oz  crab meat
7 oz medium-firm tofu (moisture pressed out and drained)
1/4C minced onion
1tsp  juice from grated ginger
1 egg, white only
2T  potato starch
1T  sake
1/2tsp  raw brown sugar
1/4 tsp  chicken powder, optional
1/2T  shio-koji (or 1/4tsp salt)
1/4tsp  white pepper
1tsp  sesame oil

20-25 shumai wrappers

1. In a bowl combine the ingredients for the filling until smooth by hand. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Wrap the filling in the shumai wrappers, and steam in Mushi Nabe for 4-5 minutes or until they are cooked through. (Medium-high heat)  Serve with soy sauce, vinegar, and karashi mustard.

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I love the combination of crab and delicate, so fluffy, and so pure in flavor.
Happy donabe life.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Side dishes for Thanksgiving

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year.
Jason and I were invited to our dear friends' house for dinner.
I offered to bring a couple of appetizer/ side dishes for 12 people.

I was glad both dishes were big hits...these are especially perfect for pot-luck, because they are meant to be served at room temperature and also can keep at room temperature for hours.

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With two big logs of brussels sprouts (Thanks for trimming and cutting all of them, Jason!), I made a salad dish. The sesame carrot vinaigrette complements with the brussels sprouts so well.  This vinaigrette is great with different kinds of vegetables. Here's the recipe.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts in Sesame Carrot Vinaigrette

2 logs  brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup  walnuts
1 cup  cooked white beans
5-6  sun-dried tomatoes, thinly-sliced (I used sun-dried smoked tomatoes from Paso Robles)

(for Sesame Carrot Vinaigrette - you will need about half of the vinaigrette for this recipe)
2T tahini paste
1  medium-size shallot
1 clove  garlic
1 knob  ginger
1/4  medium-size carrot
1T shio-koji (or 1 teaspoon sea salt)
2T honey
50 ml  rice vinegar
50 ml  light-color soy sauce
150 ml  olive oil
1.5T  sesame oil
1/2T red pepper flakes
1T sesame seeds

1. Toss the brussels sprouts in some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425F in the oven for 25 minutes or until they are tender. Set aside.
2. Roast the walnuts at 400F in the oven for 8 minutes.  Set aside.
3. Combine the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a blender. Blend until creamy.  Set aside.
4. In a large bowl combine the roasted brussels sprouts, walnuts, white beans and sun-dried tomatoes. Add just enough amount of the vinaigrette to your taste and mix well.

Another dish I made was Sun-dried Mushrooms in Olive Oil Marinade. I just love this dish so much and make it all the time.

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What a beautiful time we had with wonderful friends. I felt truly thankful.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Donabe-steamed Pork Dumplings Two Ways

Pork shumai (dumplings) is one of Jason's favorite donabe-steamed dishes, so I make this dish quite often. With my donabe steamer, "Mushi Nabe", we can enjoy home dim-sum meal right at the table.

There are many variations of the pork filling I do, but here's the standard recipe for the filling.

Filling for Pork Shumai

14 oz  ground pork
1/4C minced onion
1tsp  juice from grated ginger
4  shiitake mushrooms, diced
1T  potato starch
1T  sake
1 egg
1/2tsp raw brown sugar
1/2T shio-koji (or 1/4tsp salt)
1/4tsp  black pepper
1 tsp  soy sauce
1/2T  sesame oil

Mix the ingredients until smooth by hand. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

With the above filling:

Pork Shumai 1 (with shumai wrappers)
25-30 wrappers are needed. Wrap the filling in the wrappers, and steam in the donabe for 6-8 minutes or until cooked through.

Pork Shumai 2 (with sweet rice)
Rinse 1/2 sweet rice (mochi rice) and soak in water for 2-3 hours. Drain. In a bowl, combine the drained sweet rice with 1T sake and 1/4tsp salt. Make the filling into 25-30 balls and roll each in the sweet rice so that it's covered with the rice. Steam for 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Both kinds of shumai can be served with soy sauce and vinegar dipping with a little karashi mustard.

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We also made donabe rice...this time, we got special "Tsuya Hime" rice from Yamagata, Japan. It was a gift and just harvested last month. Cooking the premium rice in our double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san", was such a luxury. And, the flavor was superb...waaah, I wish we could have Tsuya Hime rice all the time!

Can't stop good.
Happy donabe life.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Donabe-steamed Tofu Chichen Gyoza & Pan-fried Shiso Chicken Gyoza

Gyoza two ways...steamed and pan-fried.

For steamed gyoza, this time, I made tofu and chicken filling. There is more tofu than chicken, so the filling is super fluffy. Just steam in the donabe steamer, "Mushi Nabe", for 5 minutes or so, and the healthy dumplings are ready.

Steamed Tofu & Chicken Gyoza

(For the filling)
7 oz medium-tofu (moisture drained)
4 oz ground chicken
1/4C  minced onion
1 knob  ginger, grated
1T potato starch
1T sake
1/2 tsp chicken powder
1/2T shio-koji (or 1/4 tsp salt)
1/2T light-color soy sauce
1/4 tsp  sansho pepper (or black pepper)
1/2oz  glass noodle, rehydrated and coarsely chopped
1tsp sesame oil

25-30 gyoza wrappers

1. Mix the ingredients for the filling in a bowl until smooth by hand.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
2. Wrap the mixture in gyoza wrappers and steam in the donabe for 5-6 minutes or until cooked through.
3. Serve with soy sauce & vinegar mixture.

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Wrap, steam, and enjoy...they are so delicious.

For pan-fried style, I also made very healthy style with tons of shiso leaves and leftover ground chicken.

Pan-fried Shiso Chicken Gyoza

(For the filling)
5 oz  cabbage, minced
1/2 tsp salt
5 oz  ground chicken
30  shiso leaves, thinly-sliced
1/4C  minced onion

1 clove  garlic, grated
1 knob  ginger, grated
1.5T potato starch
1T sake
1/2T shio-koji (or 1/4 tsp salt)
1/2T sesame oil

40-50 gyoza wrappers
1.5-2T sesame oil

1. In a bowl, toss the cabbage with 1/2 tsp salt and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Squeeze out the moisture.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the drained cabbage and the rest of the ingredients for the filling and mix until smooth by hand. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
3. Wrap the filling with the gyoza wrappers.
4. Heat the sesame oil in a large pan over medium+ heat. Arrange the wrapped gyoza. Pour 1/4C water. Cover and steam-fry for 5 minutes or until most water is gone. Uncover and continue to cook until the bottom part is browned and crisp.
5. Transfer to a plate so that the bottom part will show. Enjoy with soy sauce, vinegar, and some la-yu.

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Unlike regular pork gyoza, this version is so light and also wonderfully aromatic with all the shiso used in this. This version has been a big hit at home.

Happy donabe life.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Donabe-steamed Har Gow (Shrimp Dumplings) from scratch

I caught a bad cold and was sick in bed for days since last weekend. So, it's been a while since my last posting. But I feel better now, thanks to donabe healing dishes.

Since I got better, I've been cooking mostly steamed dishes with my donabe steamer, "Mushi Nabe", every day.  The more I use it, the more I love this donabe. Sometimes, I make just one dish with it, but I normally make multiple dishes in this donabe, everything on the dining table, for a meal.

I've been making a lot of dumplings (steam gyoza, shumai, etc.) in this donabe, too. This time, I put a little extra work to make Har Gow (shrimp dumplings) from very scratch.

For the skin, I brought back high quality wheat starch from Japan. To make Har Gow skin, for the almost translucent skin, you use wheat starch, instead of wheat flour. First, combine 100 g wheat starch and 20 g potato starch in a bowl. Pour 150 ml boiling water into the bowl and stir quickly by a wooden spatula. Once the mixture becomes one piece, take it out to a work surface with 30 g potato starch. Knead by hand for good 5 minutes until the dough is nicely elastic. Make it into 2 logs by hand and cut them into 20 pieces. Roll out each piece into a round skin.

For the filling, mince 10 oz shrimp and combine with 1tsp grated ginger, 1T sake, 1/2 tsp raw brown sugar, 1/2T shio-koji (or 1/2 tsp salt), 1tsp sesame oil, and 1/2T potato starch. Let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

The filling was wrapped with the skins.

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In the donabe steamer, they were steamed over medium-high heat for about 6 minutes.

My donabe-steamed Har Gow tasted incredible. The skin was nicely chewy and the filling was so savory.

Happy donabe life.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Donabe Quinoa Pilaf...super fluffy

I like quinoa, in general, but when quinoa is cooked in my donabe, it becomes something so special and almost dangerously good (because I can't stop eating!).

The double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san" doesn't only make premium-quality rice, but it also does amazing job cooking different kinds of grain.

Here's a very quick and easy quinoa recipe with Kamado-san.
This time, I used my baby-size Kamado-san (1 rice-cup size) for a small amount.

Tomato-flavored Quinoa Pilaf in Donabe

1. Rinse 1 cup (240 ml) quinoa (I used mixed colors).
2. In Kamado-san, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute the quinoa for a couple of minutes over medium-heat.
3. Add 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable stock and 1/2 cup tomato sauce. Season with a little amount of salt and pepper. Stir. Add a bay leaf in the center.
4. Cover with both lids and cook over medium-heat for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it rest (covered) for 15-20 minutes.

It tastes great on its own or you can serve it as a side dish for your protein. The texture of donabe-cooked quinoa is really great, as I can really taste each grain.

Happy donabe life.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Donabe-smoked Salmon on Fennel Puree

This dish is a variation of my "regular" donabe-smoked salmon.
It's not only extremely easy to prepare, but it's also extremely delicious!

My donabe smoker, Ibushi Gin is a stove-top smoker, and it's "smokeless", so it won't make the kitchen smoky during cooking at all. I don't need any special skill, because this donabe does all the brilliant work of "hot smoking" for me.

For this dish, this time, I used the combination of oak wood chips and green tea leaves.  I was looking forward to finding out how the flavor of the salmon become with them.

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Scottish salmon filets (about 1-inch thick cut) were already seasoned with salt and patted dry with paper towel before being set in the donabe smoker.  Donabe smoker was set over high-heat and smoked about 7 minutes on the heat, and 20 additional resting minutes off the heat.

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Voila.  Oak + Green Tea Smoked Salmon was ready.  It looked and smelled so nice!

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To serve, I simply set the salmon filet over simple fennel puree (yes, very simple...I sliced fennel bulbs, roasted in the 425F oven, and pureed and seasoned), and drizzled a little yuzu juice and good amount of olive oil.  SUPER GORGEOUS!!!  The aroma, texture, and flavor...all were heavenly, and it was hard to believe I didn't have to put much effort to make such a delightful dish.  Great with Pinot Noir by RN Estate (2009, instead of 2010, because 2009 has more earthy and less jammy tone).

Happy donabe life.