Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tofu Dashi-Chazuke with Donabe Rice...Cold over Hot, or Hot over Cold

Warm donabe rice with cold dashi broth and layers of toppings...so healthy!

During hot summer, I like to eat something easy on a palate and nutritious. We, Japanese people, also eat a lot of slimy ingredients in the summer time (okra, mountain yam, mozuku, natto, etc.) for stronger immune system in order to fight fatigue from brutal heat and humidity across the nation.

It's sometimes hard to enjoy hot (temperature) food in the hot weather, but eating too much cold food is not good. So, I like "cool" temperature Dashi-Chazuke, which is basically dashi-based broth, poured over rice. It's a healthy one bowl meal, which lets me survive the heat!

The kind I often make is pouring cold dashi-based broth over warm rice, made with double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san". It tastes so gorgeous.

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Here's the miso-sesame topping. Lightly roasted sesame was ground and miso (my homemade red miso plus Saikyo miso) was added and mashed together.

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I made plain rice with multi grains with "Kamado-san". Rice was scooped into a serving bowl.

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Chilled and very lightly-seasoned broth with soft tofu was poured over the rice. Then, the toppings were built in layers...okra, grated mountain yam, miso-sesame paste, grated ginger, and shiso leaves.

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To enjoy, instead of mixing everything together all at once, I like to gently stir in the miso-sesame paste and partially mix as I eat. Warm rice with cold broth makes nice cool dish. Just amazing!

Here's my recipe.

Tofu Dashi-Chazuke (Cold broth over warm rice)
(for double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san")

Ingredients: (2 servings)

2 servings of warm plain rice, made with "Kamado-san"

1 2/3 (400 ml) dashi stock
2 tablespoons sake
1 teaspoon light color soy sauce ("usukuchi shoyu")
a pinch of salt
7 oz (200 g) soft tofu, cut into cubes
1/2 tablespoon arrowroot starch ("kuzuko"), dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

(miso-sesame paste)
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, lightly-roasted
1 tablespoon each red miso and Saikyo miso (or other types of sweet white miso)
1 teaspoon mirin

6 medium-size okra, blanched for 1 minute and thinly-sliced
2 oz mountain yam ("yama-imo"), peeled and grated
1 small knob ginger, grated
4 shiso leaves, thinly-sliced
some "shichimi tougarashi" powder

  1. To make the broth, heat the dashi stock and sake in a pot and season with the soy sauce and salt. Add the tofu and bring to low simmer. Drizzle the "kuzuko"/ water mixture into the pot and stir. Remove from the heat. Chill.
  2. To make the mios-sesame paste, in a Japanese mortar and pestle ("suribachi" and "surikogi"), ground the sesame seeds until they become fine powder. Add both kinds of miso and miring. Continue to ground until fine paste. Set aside.
  3. To serve, scoop rice into two bowls. Top the rice with okra. Pour the chilled dashi broth with tofu. Top with grated mountain yam, ginger, miso-sesame paste and shiso leaves. Sprinkle some "shichimi tougarashi" if you like. Serve immediately.
  4. To enjoy, break the miso-sesame paste a little by little and stir with the broth and other ingredients as you eat.
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Here's another variation. This time, I chilled down the donabe rice completely and poured hot dashi broth with tofu. I made toppings with homemade natto (fermented slimy soy beans) and miso-sesame paste. I loved this version so much, too!

Happy donabe life.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Donabe Curry Week...Ground Pork & Okra Curry

Ground Pork & Okra Curry with Fluffy Saffron Rice and Egg

We did back-to-back donabe curry 2 nights in a row. Previous night was very summery Chicken and Eggplant Tomato Curry. This time, It's a meatier curry and spicier curry...Ground Pork and Okra Curry. Yes, of course, I used my soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe" to make this curry.

Jason is crazy about this curry. Every time I make this, he just becomes so excited and end up eating more than half of the whole batch! The making process is even easier than last night's Chicken and Eggplant Tomato Curry, as I can do the entire process in just one donabe.

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After pork was sautéed with vegetables and spices, vegetable stock, ketchup, and bay leaves are added and simmered for 10 minutes.

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Generous amount of okra was added and cooked for 5 more minutes.

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The curry was served with fluffy saffron rice, cooked in double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san", and boiled egg. As a side dish, I made simple sautéed water spinach ("kushinsai" in Japanese) and shiitake mushrooms, seasoned with shichimi tougarashi salt. Yes, it was the night of good heat. Wonderful delicious dinner!

Here's the recipe:

Ground Pork and Okra Curry
(for large-size soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe")

Ingredients: 4 servings

1 tablespoon each olive oil and butter
1 medium size onion, minced
1 clove garlic, grated
1 small knob ginger, grated
2 oz (60 g) carrot, cut into brunoise (tiny dice)
12 oz (360 g) ground pork
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 bay leaves
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) vegetable stock or chicken stock
2 tablespoons ketchup
6 oz (180 g) okra, cut into small bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon black vinegar ("kurozu") or rice vinegar
1 teaspoon fish sauce or soy sauce
1 teaspoon garam masala
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In "Miso-shiru Nabe", heat 1 tablespoon each olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and sauté for 20-25 minutes until the onions are lightly browned.
  2. Turn up the heat to medium. Add the ground pork and sauté until it’s almost cooked through.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, followed by the carrot, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the cumin seeds, curry powder, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Continue to sauté until fragrant.
  4. Add the bay leaves, stock and ketchup. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Skim as necessary.
  5. Line the surface with a piece of parchment paper. Cover with lid. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add the cut okra and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add the vinegar, fish sauce, and garam masala. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  8. Turn off the heat and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
  9. Enjoy with the freshly made rice, cooked with “Kamado-san”, and boiled eggs. (optional)
Happy donabe life.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Donabe Saffron Rice...So fluffy and aromatic

Donabe Saffron Rice with Ground Pork & Okra Curry

When I make curry dish, I often make this Saffron Rice with short grain rice. It's so easy, aromatic, and fluffy. My double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san", does the perfect job!

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Sauté shallot and garlic in olive oil. Add the short grain rice and continue to sauté until the outer layer of each rice grain is translucent.

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Add saffron-infused water and vegetable stock, and bay leaves. Cover and cook for about 12 minutes.

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Saffron rice is ready. Discard the bay leaves and fluff the rice. It's so aromatic.

Here's the recipe.

Fluffy Saffron Rice
(for double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san")

Ingredients: (5 servings)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-size shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 rice-cups (360 ml) short grain rice (I use partially polished brown rice), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup (60 ml) boiling water
a good pinch of saffron
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves

  1. Put the saffron in a bowl and pour boiling water. Set aside to let the saffron infuse.
  2. In "Kamado-san", heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add the rice and and continue to sauté until the outer layer of each rice grain is translucent. (4-5 minutes).
  4. Add the saffron-infused water (make sure it's already cooled down), vegetable stock, and salt. Stir.
  5. Put the bay leaves on top and cover with both lids. Cook for 12 minutes over medium-heat.
  6. Turn off the heat and let it rest (with lids on) for 20 minutes.
  7. Uncover. Discard the bay leaves and fluff the rice. Serve with your delicious donabe curry.
Happy donabe life.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chicken & Eggplant Tomato Curry with Saffron Rice...Donabe Collaboration

Chicken & Eggplant Tomato Curry, served with Donabe Saffron Rice

For me, summer is a season for curry rice!
So, I make a lot of curry dishes in the summertime.

To make curry, I always use my soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe". My curry tastes always so wonderful when cooked in this donabe. Today, I made Chicken & Eggplant Tomato Curry. It's a great summer-style curry, and very easy to make.

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Sauté minced onion until lightly browned, and add grated garlic, ginger, and minced carrot. After curry powder and other spices are added, add tomato sauce and vegetable stock (or chicken stock).

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Chicken was marinated in shio-koji in advance. Pan-fry chicken thigh until the outside is brown, and add to the donabe. Simmer for 15 minutes.

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Pan-fry Japanese eggplants and add to the donabe at the end.

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The curry is ready! I also made saffron rice in my double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san", and served with the curry. I will post the saffron rice recipe soon.
This curry rice is so delicious that 2 of us almost finished everything!!

Here's my recipe.

Chicken & Eggplant Tomato Curry
(for large-size "Miso-shiru Nabe")

Ingredients (4 servings)
1 pond (450 g) boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into good bite size pieces
1 tablespoon shio-koji (can be substitued with 1 teaspoon sea salt)
2 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium-size onions, minced
1 clove garlic, grated
1 knob ginger, grated
2 oz (60 g) carrot, cut into brunoise (tiny cubes)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons curry powder (make sure it's very high quality)
1 teaspoon paprika (sweet or hot...your choice)
2 bay leaves
8 oz (240 ml) tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or rice vinegar)
1 teaspoon fish sauce or soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
salt and pepper to taste

3-4 medium-size Japanese eggplants (peel the skin in strips, and cut into oblique)

  1. Marinade the chicken in shio-koji for 3-4 hours in refrigerator. Dust the chicken in the flour with a little amount of black pepper.
  2. In "Miso-shiru Nabe", heat 1 tablespoon each olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and sauté for 20-25 minutes until the onions are lightly browned.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, followed by the carrot, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the cumin seeds, curry powder, and paprika. Continue to sauté until the mixture becomes fragrant.
  4. Add the bay leaves, tomato sauce, and vegetable stock. Turn up the heat to medium to medium-high. As soon as the mixture (curry) starts almost boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low.
  5. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan. Pan-fry the chicken until golden brown both sides over medium-high heat. (You don't need to cook through the chicken.) Add the chicken to the curry in "Miso-shiru Nabe", while leaving the excess grease in the pan.
  6. Line the surface with a parchment paper, cover with lid, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan and sauté the eggplants over medium heat until golden brown. Transfer the eggplants to a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess grease. Set aside.
  8. Remove the parchment paper from "Miso-shiru Nabe", and add the vinegar, fish sauce, garam masala, salt and pepper.
  9. Add the cooked eggplants and stir. Turn off the heat.
  10. Serve with donabe saffron rice.
Happy donabe life.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Our Summer with Santa Maria BBQ Grill

Our Santa Maria BBQ Grill works so hard in the summer time. We enjoy grilling and eating in our patio so often during the summer.

These are from our past couple of dinners...

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Fourth of July dinner party. We did 4 racks of baby back ribs in 2 different flavors (homemade miso sauce, and apricot paprika) for a main course. I made many other dishes but I was too busy to take photos. Only one more picture, which is taken by a friend...my crab, white beans & avocado salad.

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Grilled fish night. Appetizers included poke made with fresh ahi from Hawaii, herloom tomato marinade, baby potato & grilled asparagus salad, and roasted eggplant dip. Hew.

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The main course was Stripe Bass, which weighed 4 pounds! It was so fresh and so heavy. I stuffed its belly with mixed herbs and grilled both sides. It came out perfect!

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Side dishes were sautéed shishito peppers & shimeji mushrooms over charcoal grill, and corn rice which was cooked with my double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san". Dessert was homemade matcha honey ice cream.

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Leopard-look grilled branzino, the next day.
Non-stop grilling and donabe cooking this summer.