Spinach Steeped in Dashi

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gohan

despite this entry’s lack of written substance, i’m hoping that at least the photos (somewhat) make up for it, at least until i have something more definitive to write about:


soy-braised hijiki and carrots


soy-stewed chicken with vegetables


foxy soup noodles


spinach steeped in dashi


silken tofu topped with mushrooms


dark miso soup with roasted eggplant


crisp fried sole in spicy vinaigrette


rice cooked with ginger

a number of the japanese dishes i’ve been learning to cook seem to be missing something by the time i’m done cooking it. i don’t know where i’m making a mistake, but i need to work on the seasonings. practice makes perfect, i guess.

Here’s the recipe for the spinach steeped in dashi:

1 bunch spinach, washed and drained
1 cup dashi (you can make this homemade with kombu and katsuo-bushi or purchase at any Japanese grocery)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
katsuo-bushi flakes and sesame seeds for garnish

1. Blanch spinach in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and squeeze out excess water. In a seperate bowl, mix dashi broth and soy sauce.

2. Arrange spinach on a serving platter and gently pour dashi mixture over the spinach. Garnish with katsuo-bushi flakes and sesame seeds and serve.

Banana Wontons with Coconut Cream Sauce

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What I’ve been cooking: banana wontons with coconut-cream sauce:

Ingredients:

For the filling:
2 bananas, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sweetened flaked coconut

For the sauce:
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
wonton wrappers
vegetable oil (for deep frying)

Directions:

1. Stir the bananas, sugar, cinnamon, and coconut together in a small bowl, lightly mashing the bananas as you mix. The mixture should still be a little chunky.

2. In a small sauce pan, bring the milk and coconut milk to a boil then remove from the heat.

3. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl until pale yellow and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Stirring constantly, gradually pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then stir the yolk mixture into the milk mixture remaining in the pan. Over medium heat, stir the milk mixture constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes. Strain the sauce into a medium bowl. Let cool to room temperature, then cover the bowl and chill until cold.

4. Place a heaping teaspoonful of the filling in the center of one of the wonton wrappers. Moisten the edges of the wrapper with a fingertip dipped in water, then fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle. Pinch the edges together firmly to seal. Pull the opposite corners of the base of the triangle, moisten one of the corners with water, and press the two corners firmly to seal. Repeat with the remaining wontons and filling.

5. Pour enough vegetable oil into a wok or 2 quart saucepan to come to a depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350°F. Slip a few of the wontons into the oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining wontons. Serve cold, with the coconut cream sauce.

Beijing Sesame-Fried Chicken

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Who doesn’t love fried chicken? No one, that’s who. This dish is every bit as delectable as traditional fried chicken but without the guilt of deep-frying. By encasing this chicken in cornstarch and shallow-frying it, the results are just as crispy and juicy but significantly healthier. The Chinese-style marinade adds an extra kick of flavor for good measure.

Five spice fried chicken with pepper salt
Ingredients:

1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces

marinade:
3 T soy sauce
3 rice wine
1 1/2 T cornstarch
1/2 t chinese five-spice
1/4 t pepper

1/2 c cornstarch
1/2 c panko
2 T toasted sesame seeds
1 egg white, lightly beaten
cooking oil for frying

1. combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. add chicken and stir to coat; let stand for 10 minutes.

2. combine cornstarch, panko, and sesame seeds in a bowl; set aside.

3. place a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. add oil to a depth of 1/4-inch. dip chicken in egg white and then dredge in cornstarch mixture. add chicken to pan and fry, covered, turning once, until meat near bone is no longer pink and chicken is golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. remove and drain on paper towels.

Sherried Mushroom Chicken Scallopine

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the most recent foray into the kitchen:

spaghettini with garlic and olive oil, and sherried mushroom chicken scallopine.

here’s the recipe for the chicken:

to compensate, here is the recipe for the last update’s dish – sherried mushroom chicken scallopine:

ingredients:
4 boned, skinned chicken breast halves
1/2 cup flour
4 tbsp olive oil
6 oz mushrooms, quartered
2 tbsp minced shallots
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup sherry
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp whipping cream
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper

1. sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper. place halves between sheets of plastic wrap; with a mallet pound chicken to an even 1/4 inch thick. peel off wrap.

2. put flour in a shallow container. turn each piece of chicken in flour to coat.

3. set a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil. lay chicken in pan; cook, turning once, until no longer pink in the center, about five minutes on each side.

4. add 2 tbsp olive oil, mushrooms, shallots, and thyme to hot pan used to cook chicken and stir often over high heat until mushrooms are browned, about five minutes. spoon over chicken.

5. add sherry, chicken broth, and cream to pan; stir until mixture is boiling. boil, stirring occasionally, until juices are slightly reduced, about 1 minute. spoon sauce over chicken. sprinkle with parsley and salt and pepper to taste. serve with a simple spaghettini tossed with sauteed garlic, hot pepper flakes, parsley, parmesan and olive oil.