Archive for March, 2010

A spicy stir fry

This stir fry had a tongue-tingling spiciness. Yusuke boiled and then drained the green beans before stir frying them with bean sprouts and pork in canola oil and a sauce of:

1/2 tbsp tobanjan
2 tbsp tenmenjan
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp ginger
1 tsp minced garlic

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I’ve written about soba before… à propos of nothing, here’s another.

Soba noodles—made of buckwheat—only take about 5 minutes to cook. Overcooked soba = disaster!

To eat the soba, we filled our bowls with soba sauce (soy sauce, sake, mirin, and dashi) and mixed in a selection of mushrooms, chopped okra, shrimp and chicken. This time we also mixed in crumbled nori (seaweed) and wasabi. To eat the soba, you grab a bunch of noodles, swirl it in the bowl, and slurp it up.

I put rather too much wasabi in my bowl, leading Yusuke to offer an important wasabi tip: when your eyes start to water, inhale. DON’T exhale!

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Cabbage salad

Yusuke put together this different and tasty salad when I had gone crazy on buying cabbage. I dubbed it rabbit salad, and I loved it. The bottom layer is boiled savoy cabbage, followed by raw carrots and alfalfa sprouts, topped with chopped hard boiled eggs.

The dressing was rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, dashi, sesame oil, and a tiny bit of lime juice (and possibly a splash of white wine…he can’t remember).

With rice on the side, a perfect lunch.

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Broccoli-tofu-chicken bowl

This one’s not so exciting, but I think it still deserves a write-up. Because it has tofu.

Yusuke boiled cubes of tofu, sliced white onions, and chopped fresh broccoli in water with a bit of dashi. After the broccoli was cooked, he added chicken that had been sauteed earlier. The water was drained, and verything was dressed with an improvised ponzu sauce: rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and lime juice. Plus shichimi on top!

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Tilapia and enoki

Yusuke wasn’t sure at first what he would be able to do with tilapia, but now that he’s used to it, the possibilities are endless. The fish has a very mild flavour and texture, so it can be combined with almost anything.

Yusuke sautéed the fish very briefly in olive oil before covering it in a lovely sauce. The centerpiece of the sauce was boiled enoki mushrooms (such funny things) along with soy sauce, sake, mirin, and dashi. The mushrooms gave the sauce a bit of thickness, and the taste was what Yusuke would describe as gentle.

Finally, the fish was topped with shichimi and alfalfa sprouts. おいしい!

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Birthday flowers from Yusuke.

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Ethiopian birthday

I wanted to try something different for my birthday dinner, so I selected an Ethiopian adventure. We ventured out to exotic Bishop Street (a block from our apartment) and found the restaurant Magdala nestled in among Irish pubs. And it turned out to be a very good choice.

We started with a salad, which was pretty generic except for a few pieces of chopped jalapeño that came as a little surprise to Yusuke. (Sadly, they didn’t have half the appetizers on the menu nor the soup. Maybe next time.)

For the main course, Yusuke choose a spicy lamb dish. I opted for a vegetarian combination of a bunch of things that I couldn’t decipher nor pronounce. But I believe that some of them are listed here. They included a very tasty boiled spinach melange (possibly with lemon), chickpeas, spicy lentils, and a stir-fried mix of cabbage and carrots. I loved all of them. I enjoy simple food, and each dish tasted very pure and gently spiced.

The most novel part was the awesome bread, called injera. As the picture shows, a huge piece of bread was spread over a serving tray, and we were given additional little rolls as well. So much, in fact, that we didn’t get around to eating the bottom piece. Injera is sort of like a crêpe, but spongier. It has a nice tangy taste, like sourdough bread, which I understand is from the fermentation of the yeast. To eat, you tear off small pieces of the bread and scoop up the food. No other utensils required.

Like Japanese food, I think I could eat like this everyday, and I’d like to go back again soon!

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