Posts Tagged bean sprouts

Soba plate

Soba time again. Yusuke says that he dreaded soba for a while in elementary school because his mom made it nearly everyday for lunch during the summer. (It’s a typical hot weather food.) Fortunately for me, he has recovered and once again highly enjoys it.

To prepare this dish, Yusuke sautéed slices of baby eggplant in sesame oil. He was careful to cook it slowly to maximize softness and bring out the flavour. We were lucky to have an extra-good batch of eggplant this time. (*^_^*)

The other two soba toppings were boiled bean sprouts and hot springs eggs (20 seconds in the microwave!).

As per usual, the soba sauce was made from soy sauce, sugar, mirin, water, and some of our special dashi stock. He also cooked fresh crimini mushrooms to the broth.

Instead of using of bowls, Yusuke assembled the noodles and toppings on large plates, poured the sauce, added chopped green onions, and sprinkled a bit of shichimi. I had more difficulty trying to slurp the noodles than usual, but this was a perfect meal for a gloriously sweltering day.

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Spicy bean sprouts

This is the same principle as Yusuke’s spicy eggplant or spicy tofu (マーポードウフ), but with bean sprouts (moyashi / もやし) instead. First, he sautéed chopped garlic and ginger (i.e., from a jar) in oil. Then he added finely chopped white onions, followed by the bean sprouts.

Separately, he prepared a sauce of:

  • 300 mL water
  • 1 tsp powdered chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp tobanjan
  • 1 tbsp tenmenjan
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce

After dumping the sauce into the pan with bean sprouts, a pinch of salt and pepper was added. The finale was 1 tbsp of katakuriko and water to thicken the sauce.

Burn. Yum.

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Succulent fried tofu

This was a very special dish that Yusuke created for my enjoyment, and enjoyed it was, believe you me.

First, he cut firm tofu (Soyarie brand, bien sûr) into cubes. He coated the outside in katakuriko (Japanese potato starch) and fried them in a pan, since we don’t have a deep fryer.

Next, he assembled a sauce made from hot water, soy sauce, mirin, and a pinch of salt. The coup de grâce was a few packets of ume-kombu (plum-seaweed) tea that I swiped from our ryokan in Kyoto. He added a bit of katakuriko to thicken the sauce.

He boiled bean sprouts separately—very briefly to maintain crunchiness—and added them to the sauce along with enoki mushrooms. Finally, the sauce was poured over the tofu and topped with chopped green onions and grated daikon.

This is a perfect example of how Japanese cuisine perfectly harmonizes textures and flavours: tofu crispy on the outside and soft inside, crunchy bean sprouts, slippery mushrooms, cool grated daikon, sharp onions, and gentle kombu.

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Leftover combo

This is an old post that I hadn’t written up…leftovers indeed.

This meal was composed of sundry items that had accumulated in our fridge, mainly bean sprout-related.

One item was onsen tamago (hot springs eggs). The eggs were served over a bed of boiled and chopped cabbage, tasty on its own with a naturally sweet flavour. I seasoned mine with soy sauce; Yusuke used mayonnaise and oyster sauce.

Next was a bean sprout dish. They were just boiled with dashi powder and salt, nicely arranged in mounds and topped with green onions. It was so flavourful that I had a hard time believing that was all there was to it. Yusuke said that he took the idea from the Korean dish namuru (as it’s called in Japan), which is bean sprouts cooked with garlic and sesame oil.

The final item was the remainder of the spicy bean sprout / green bean stir fry that I wrote up here.

We also had plain rice and miso soup with bean sprouts and green onions.

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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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Korean domburi

Yusuke made this dish for himself one night when I had to work. He calls it a Korean-ish domburi.

Each of the items was prepared separately and then arranged over a big bowl full of rice. The meat is chicken, stir fried with salt and pepper.

The bean sprouts are Korean-style: boiled and then dressed with sesame oil, garlic, salt, and dashi.

The baby spinach is simply boiled until wilted.

In lieu of kimchi, Yusuke stir fried napa (Chinese cabbage) with spicy tobanjan sauce.

The centerpiece is a hot spring egg.

Everything was arranged for the picture, then mixed up to eat.

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

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Hot springs eggs and okra

This fabulous dish features hot springs eggs (onsen tamago) crowning a mixture of chopped okra and sliced white onions, all perched over soba noodles. Hot springs eggs are so called, naturally, because they’re supposed to be cooked in water from hot springs.

From what Yusuke tells me, egg yolks start to cook at 70 degrees (Celsius), while the whites cook at 90. So, since hot springs water is—ideally—65 degrees after the eggs cook for 30 minutes, the yolk is slightly cooked but the whites are soft. The whole process confuses me, but these two blog posts seem to confirm the story: http://epicureandebauchery.blogspot.com/2005/06/imbb-onsen-tamago-hot-spring-eggs.html and http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/17933.

Anyway, all of that to say that Yusuke made these eggs in the microwave, and despite a slight explosion, they still came out well.

The last garnish was bonito flakes and shichimi togarashi. To eat, we destroyed the lovely arrangement by mixing everything together in the bowl.

During the meal, Yusuke noted that the texture of the dish, particularly the okra, was ネバネバ (neba neba), roughly translated as slippery and sticky, but not quite slimey or nuru nuru ヌルヌル.

Japanese has lots of delightful mimetic (sound symbolic) words that are difficult to translate or categorize. They aren’t really adjectives, but they describe an overall feeling or sensation. One that I learned in my Japanese class is ドキドキ (doki doki), which conveys nervous excitement, as with a fast heartbeat. There are tons of websites out there with listings of these types of words, but there are examples here, here, and here (the last if you read hiragana and katakana). I also like くたくた (kuta kuta) for extreme tiredness and のろのろ (noro noro) for cars (or people?) who are crawling along slowly in traffic.

Of course, food-related expressions are the most important category of mimetic phrases! In addition to neba neba, I also like ピリ (piri) for the sting of wasabi and シコシコ (shiko shiko) for chewy noodles.

Just Hungry and the Japan Times have other food expressions for your onomatopoetic pleasure.

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