Archive for stir fry

Creamy eggs + celery + tomatoes

DSC05939

This was an unusual stir fry, with celery as the main ingredient. It’s not Y’s favourite, but it was lovely here.

Steps:

Beat 5 eggs with:

  • salt, pepper
  • 1 tsp sake
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of chicken bouillon powder

Cook eggs to 90% done, then turn off heat and set aside.

Cook diced fresh tomato and sliced celery in the frying pan.

When almost done, add the eggs back and mix.

Served with white wine from Margaret River, Western Australia.

Advertisements

Comments off

Shio-koji stir fry numero uno

DSC05900

Shio-kōji is a popular item in Japanese kitchens of late, and hence in “western” ones as well. Yusuke and I had wanted to try it for a while, so he brought back a jar on a recent trip to Japan. We subsequently found it at a local Japanese grocery; restocking will not be too arduous!

So, what is shio-kōji? Short answer: kōji with salt.

So, what is kōji? Short answer: fungus.

Here is a longer answer from Makiko Itoh in the Japan Times. (Visit the rest of the article to read more.)

Kōji (Aspergillus oryzae) was probably domesticated at least 2,000 years ago. It is used to make sake, mirin, shōchū, awamori (an Okinawan beverage), rice vinegar, soy sauce and miso – all ingredients that define Japanese food. No wonder that it was declared the kokkin (national fungus) by the Brewing Society of Japan, and the genome was closely protected until 2005. Besides Japan, it is also used extensively in China and Korea to ferment and mature various foods.

To use kōji, spores are mixed into steamed rice (potatoes, wheat and soybeans are also used, depending on the purpose), then allowed to mature for a period of time in a warm environment, about 50 degrees Celsius. The kōji turns the starch in the rice into sugar (a process called saccharification) and releases a variety of fatty acids and amino acids including glutamate, the basis for the “fifth taste,” umami. This kōji-rice mixture is called kome-kōji.

When mixed with salt (shio, in Japanese), kōji is a very tasty cooking seasoning. It can be used for a variety of purposes, but among the most popular is marinating meat, fish, tofu, or veggies.

So far, we’ve used it to marinate salmon, as well as in a few veggie stir fries. Pictured above is the first attempt.

Yusuke began by stir frying the following in sesame oil:

  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Shrimp

When the veggies were nearly cooked, he stirred in about 2 tsp of shio-kōji and a sprinkling of black pepper. That’s it!

The concept of umami can be explained in many ways, but for me, it has to do with layers of taste and enhancing the natural flavours of the fresh veggies.

DSC03493 DSC03494

Comments off

Deep-fried harusame + veg

DSC03157

Forgot to write up this dish from a while back. It didn’t quite come out as Yusuke expected, but I thought it was pretty cool.

There were two components: fried harusame and a veggie stir fry.

To begin with the routine side, Yusuke whipped up a typical stir fry with soy sauce and oyster sauce, featuring carrots, green onions, shrimp, and bean sprouts.

The main inspiration behind this dish, though, was an experiment with harusame.

I’ve mentioned harusame on this blog a few times before. Since it’s been several months, I’m copying in my usual description again:

So what are harusame noodles, one might ask?

The wikipedia article offers the translation “cellophane noodles,” which sounds pretty much unappetizing to me. But other descriptions are better: glass noodles, bean thread noodles, or vermicelli.

According to Wise Geek, they’re Japanese noodles made from potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, or mung bean starch.

The noodles are extremely thin and become translucent when cooked. Since they’re less dense or “doughy” than other types of noodles, they’re delightful in soup!

Harusame (春雨) means spring rain, and you can google for more pics.

We most recently bought a big pack at a nearby Chinese grocery. When it’s dry, it’s sort of nested in a pack, but not curly like instant ramen.

We don’t have a deep fryer, so Yusuke attempted his experiment in a fairly deep frying pan, pouring in a few glugs of canola oil and adding a pile of dry noodles over medium heat. He thought that more oil would’ve had a better effect, but I guess our pan wasn’t deep enough.

The harusame is hard, so as soon as it hits the hot oil, it starts to expand. When the whole tangle of noodles turned white in colour, he removed the batch and added another.

Some sections ended up rather more oily than others although he was quick with paper towels to soak up the oil. The final product, overall, had a rice cracker-like crunchiness.

After several batches were done…the giant mess happened.

In order to serve the dish, Yusuke wanted to make the finished tangle of noodles smaller. So, he put some on a plate, took a big knife, and went *SMACK* on top of the noodles. The result was a spectacular crunch action that had projectile consequences. In other words, the fried noodles shattered and debris went across the kitchen. But it still ended up nicely on our plates somehow in the end, and Yusuke arranged the veggie stir fry over the top.

Incidentally, lots of other crunchy little noodles escaped during various points of the process, so the clean up crew (moi) had lots to do!

Overall, it wasn’t perfect, but still tasty and kinda fun.

Comments off

Wasa-cabba-cado

cabbage

That is, cabbage and avocado with wasabi. Ok, so the colour in the photo looks rather unfortunate. But this dish was FANTASTIC. Yusuke made it, of course, but I hope to replicate it sometime.

Yusuke began by sautéing garlic until the aroma was released.

He then added strips of cabbage and stir fried them with olive oil.

He then mixed in pieces of avocado (neatly scooped out with a spoon). While much of the pieces stayed in tact, the avocado added a lovely creaminess.

The main seasoning was わさびじょうゆ (wasabi-jouyu aka wasabi + soy sauce). He squeezed out about 3 cm of wasabi from the tube, mixed it with soy sauce, and poured it into the cabbage. He also sprinkled in a bit of sea salt.

One could also add lime or lemon juice if desired.

YUM.

Comments off

Bean sprouts + fish sauce

Yusuke cooked this one. Hurray!

He began by sauteing ginger (lots) and garlic. To this, he added pork [boo, but I let him enjoy it sometimes] which was further sauteed with sesame oil.

After the meat was cooked, he added green onions. Bean sprouts were tossed in at the last moment so that they stayed crunchy.

For seasoning:

  • black pepper
  • a bit less than 1 tbsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce–yum!)
  • splash of lemon juice
  • chopped basil

The melange came out kinda spicy and tangy. “Ethnic style”, said Yusuke, using the Japanese description for South or Southeast Asian food.

bean-sprouts

Comments off

Asparagus-tofu-onions with sweet soy sauce

Image

Yup, this is another example of my work.

A few times recently, we’ve ended up with more tofu than we could consume in one sitting, so I stuck the leftovers in the freezer. This does interesting things to its texture, making it spongy (in a good way) when thawed. You can squeeze the water left from the ice right out without breaking the tofu. Then you can then cut it into cubes for use in stews or stir fries to soak up other flavours, or crumble it up for a stir fry or casserole. Tofu can be bought in dehydrated form (kouya dofu) to be used in these ways, but it’s fun to do it yourself.

Just Hungry and No Recipes have more interesting info and ideas for frozen tofu.

For my little dish here, I began by sauteing sliced red onions with lots of garlic and ginger.

I then added pieces of asparagus.

When it started to turn bright green, I added the aforementioned frozen-then-defrosted tofu, crumbled into a fine texture.

I also dumped in perhaps a teaspoon or two each of sake and rice vinegar.

As the tofu started to warm up, I added sweet soy sauce and sea salt.

Ketjap (or kecap) manis—sweet soy sauce—is something new to us here in Perth. It’s Indonesian in origin, and seems to be quite popular in Asian and general stores alike here. It’s more syrupy than Japanese soy sauce in consistency and is sweetened with palm sugar. Just a drizzle, then, was nice to flavour this dish.

Image

Image

Comments off

Parsnip kinpira

Oh, glorious fruit of the earth. Parsnip, I sing your praises.

Yusuke, noting parsnips’ similarities to the earthiness of gobo (a Japanese root vegetable), employed it in a fabulous kinpira.

He started with fresh chili pepper from our farmer’s market basket, thinly sliced and sauteed in a tiny bit of canola oil.

He added sliced carrots and parsnips and let it all sizzle.

For seasoning, he added 3 tbsp each of soy sauce and mirin. He also drizzled in a tiny bit of sesame oil for aroma. The last addition was sesame seeds.

Earthy and spicy!

Comments off

Older Posts »