Archive for rice

Wafuu chahan

wafuu chahan

Yuuummmmm, these photos are making me drool. This post gets two for good measure.

I’ve labeled the dish わふうチャーハン, that is, Japanese style fried rice (wafuu chahan).

The first step was to soak dried hijiki, a wondrous thin seaweed, kindly sent to us by my mother-in-law in Japan. (I also love kombu, nori, and wakame, but I think hijiki is my favourite.)

Yusuke began the cooking stage by sauteing shredded cabbage and chopped okra with a bit of sesame oil.

He then added the now-soft drained hijiki to the sizzling pan.

After the veggies were cooked, he pushed them to the side of the pan and poured beaten eggs onto the hot surface. After the eggs stared to cook (like an omelette), he added hot pre-cooked rice and mixed everything together.

At the very end, he added some seasoning to taste:

  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • dashi powder
  • soy sauce

So. Good.


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Tomato risotto

Drat, I seem to have lost my notes for this dish. It was a lovely Japanese-style risotto with tomatoes, leeks, and cabbage. Given the ingredients, I suspect that it was designed to target symptoms of a winter cold… It was most certainly delicious.

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Comfort food! Porridge/おかゆ (okayu).

The key to deliciousness with this dish is the stock. I wrote about another edition that used mushrooms as the base, while this one used seaweed.

So to make the おかゆ, Yusuke used the “porridge” setting on our rice cooker, with the appropriate amount of extra water. In addition, he added a big strip of kombu seaweed. This cooked along with the rice, giving it a rich, subtle flavour.

We ate the rice topped with chopped spinach that had been sauteed in sesame oil, along with chopped green onions, sesame seeds, and a pinch of sea salt.

Perfect for uneasy stomachs!


Photo courtesy of Flickr user kattebelletje. License:Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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タコライス. Translation: taco rice.

This is one of the many examples of the Japanese tendency to embrace foreign concepts and make them uniquely Japanese (see also: curry, pasta, omu-rice etc. etc.). Based on Mexican-style cuisine, this particular dish is especially popular in Okinawa, so much so that you can even read about it on wikipedia.

Yusuke has been on a salsa and tortilla kick…too bad he couldn’t join me in Guatemala! Hence the desire for this dish.

Rather than using the typical ground pork, Yusuke instead used firm tofu. He also omitted the cheese and used asparagus rather than lettuce.

He began the cooking procedure by chopping white onions (suffering through the tears!). Next, he crumbled firm tofu by hand and sauteed both with olive oil.

After the onions became translucent, he added carrots, chopped into tiny pieces.

Next came the seasoning:

  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Some recipes call for worchestershire sauce or that taco seasoning stuff that you can buy in a package. But since this is タコライス, you definitely need soy sauce!

The asparagus was boiled separately, chopped, and added to rest of the mix.

Everything was then arranged on rice, topped with an over-easy egg, and served with salsa.

おいしかった / ¡muy delicioso!

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Matsutake risotto

Another recipe for the risotto/porridge/おかゆ file. This is an excellent choice for any not-feeling-good circumstance.

The rice was prepared in the rice cooker, on the porridge setting. Yusuke added a bit of dashi and soy sauce to the water. In addition, he added dried matsutake mushrooms and let everything soak for about 30 minutes.

I had bought the mushrooms at Montreal’s Salon des métiers d’art in December from a lovely purveyor of preserved foods called Gourmet Sauvages. Matsutake are especially prized gems of the mushroom world, often described as having a spicy undertone.

While the rice was cooking, Yusuke boiled okra and chopped it into thin pieces.

The おかゆ emerged from the rice cooker with a lovely aroma. Yusuke stirred in the okra with raw eggs—which cooked quickly in the hot porridge. To serve, we stirred in a bit of sea salt and wasabi. Very warm and soothing.

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Leek donburi

Leek donburi

One of my favourite items in our csa basket over the past several weeks has been beautiful, beautiful leeks.

Above is pictured another cold-clearing dish. In Japan, as elsewhere, leeks are attributed with healing properties for colds. This page has a few other interesting home remedies. I have not yet experimented with a leek bandage…

To prepare the leeks, Yusuke began by cooking the green bits for a few seconds in boiling water. Then he shredded the green along with the raw white.

To prepare the tofu, he dumped silken tofu in a pan and boiled them over medium heat. Then he drained the water and continued to cook the tofu until the water was drawn out. He smashed it into fine crumbles during the cooking process. Once the tofu was dry, he reduced the pan to low heat and then added:

  • soy sauce
  • katsuoboshi (dried fish flakes)
  • a tiny bit of sesame oil
  • sake
  • sea salt

The tofu mixture was then piled on top of rice, followed by the purifying leeks. Served with a pinch of shichimi pepper sprinkled on top.

(To help with my search results: domburi is also transliterated as donburi. Easier: 丼 or どんぶり)

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Cold-busting risotto

When I felt the ominous beginnings of a head cold creeping up, Yusuke made this dish in the hope of warding it off.

He began by sautéing garlic and chopped fresh chili pepper (from the farmers’ market) in olive oil until aromatic (i.e., “til the smell comes out”). Then he added sliced white onions, followed by chopped carrot greens shortly thereafter. Next, he poured in diced tomatoes and raised the heat. The next addition was beautiful fresh carrots along with 100 ml of water. Finally, he added white wine, sea salt, and consommé stock and let everything simmer. Finally, he mixed in pre-cooked (well, leftover) rice.

Garlic is a famous folk remedy, and onions and carrots are said to be helpful as well. Alas, this review seems to shoot down garlic’s efficacy:

LISSIMAN E, BHASALE AL, & COHEN M. (2009). Garlic for the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (Online).

“AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient clinical trial evidence regarding the effects of garlic in preventing or treating the common cold. A single trial suggested that garlic may prevent occurrences of the common cold, but more studies are needed to validate this finding. Claims of effectiveness appear to rely largely on poor quality evidence.”

(N.B. I got the damn cold anyway, but this meal made me feel very good and happy regardless. This is much more important to me than clinical trials. I believe in folk medicine.)

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Tako feast

Lucky day: tako [octopus] at the grocery store! Ok, so it’s not quite the same quality as tako fresh out of the Pacific ocean a few hours before, but it wasn’t bad.

To prepare this lovely salad, Yusuke began by scrubbing the tako in salt to reduce fishiness. After rinsing, he boiled it for just a few minutes until tender. In a large bowl, he added minutely sliced white onions and halved cherry tomatoes. Then he poured in a marinade:

  • lemon juice
  • soy sauce
  • sea salt
  • olive oil
  • rice vinegar

We ate the salad at room temperature after a few hours of marination.

The second component of this tako double-whammy was mixed rice. The following was cooked in the rice cooker:

  • rice [duh]
  • water (usual amount)
  • sake
  • soy sauce
  • dashi
  • kombu [seaweed]
  • fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • tako, boiled and thinly sliced

The tako came out fantastically soft and the ginger gave the rice a great aroma.

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Portobello rice burger

My backlog of blog fodder is piling up again, so I thought I should break the posting fast with a particularly nifty dish.

Yusuke’s fantastic work here was inspired by both fast food and fancy cookbook fare.

He began by grilling especially lovely portobello mushrooms on our George Foreman grill. Pan-toasting would also work. He sprinkled a tiny bit of sea salt on the surface of the mushrooms before cooking.

To prepare the rice buns, he made brown rice like normal in our rice cooker. When it was finished, he wrapped a bun-sized amount in plastic wrap and squished it in a little custard bowl, using a second bowl for additional smashing power. Then he flattened the mounds by hand.

Next, he brushed the rice with a very light coating of sauce: equal amounts of sake, mirin, and soy sauce, along with a bit of sesame oil and ginger.

Finally, he toasted the buns on both sides in a frying pan.

To assemble, he added a bit more of the sauce to the mushrooms and added lightly toasted sheets of nori seaweed. Mayonnaise is an optional condiment.

During our last trip to Japan, I was pleased to encounter a hamburger joint at which I could be happy: Mos Burger, a Japanese institution. [N.B. The website includes ridiculously animated hamburgers.] Although the vast majority of their offerings don’t exactly suit my tastes, I discovered the fantabulous kinpira burger on a rice bun. The veggies in that instance were carrots, mushrooms, and gobo.

At Mos Burger

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Moyashi domburi

A few weeks ago, Yusuke was positively salivating over pictures of food that one of his sisters had taken during a trip to Hokkaido. In particular, he really drooled over the various ramen dishes. Alas, we didn’t have any ramen on hand, but he made a substitute.

To start, he sautéed a tiny bit of spicy tobanjan sauce with sesame oil and then added asparagus, leeks, and bean sprouts. For additional seasoning, he added a tiny of bit of salt—to be precise—and 1 tbsp of soy sauce.

This mixture was dumped onto a healthy portion of rice.

Next came the broth spooned over all: made of soy sauce, water, black pepper, a tiny bit of sugar, and bonito powder. Last, strips of nori were arranged to garnish.

This is nothing like ramen at all, but for Yusuke it evoked the taste of shoyu (soy sauce) ramen and made him less jealous of his sister.

(To help with my search results: domburi is also transliterated as donburi. Easier: 丼 or どんぶり)

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