Posts Tagged mushrooms

Grillin’

Cooking and eating still happen chez Yusuke, just not much blogging.

Our stovetop was out of commission for a while, so a new grill/griddle was acquired.

Here are some action shots.

Yum.

Okonomyaki  Raw vegGrilled veg

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Mabo dofu plus…natto!

Vegetarian spicy tofu

I’ve written about mabo dofu (that is, spicy tofu, also transliterated as mapo doufu) before, because it’s so darn tasty. The origins are Szechwanese, but it’s a very popular dish in Japan.

This version was extra-special, though, based on a recipe that Yusuke happened upon recently. Traditional mabo dofu is supposed to have ground pork, or possibly ground beef, but that just ruins everything. This is a lovely vegan* version of the classic dish, with mushrooms and natto instead of dead animals. Yes, natto: those slippery, pungent fermented soybeans. Along with the mushrooms, they provided a perfect texture and layering of umami.

Yusuke pretty much followed his usual recipe (quantities are approximate):

  • 1/4 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp chili bean sauce (a.k.a. tobanjan)
  • 1 tbsp sweet bean sauce (a.k.a. tenmenjan)
  • Broth*, around 250 mL
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp katakuriko (Japanese potato starch), dissolved in 2 tbsp of water
  • Green onions, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 2 packages of silken tofu, cut into cubes
  • Lots of mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 packages of frozen natto
  • Splash of soy sauce
  • Splash of rice wine vinegar
  1. Saute ginger and garlic in sesame oil
  2. Add tenmenjan and tobanjan and stir
  3. Add mushrooms
  4. After mushrooms begin to cook, add natto and mix
  5. Add broth, tofu (gently), and green onions and continue to stir
  6. Add a tiny bit of vinegar and soy sauce
  7. Drizzle in the katakuriko mix
  8. Eat with plain rice (and miso soup and salad)

Lovely, filling texture and awesomely spicy taste.

*Yusuke used chicken stock, but veggie broth is fine, as is dashi stock.

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Leek and mushroom pasta

Leek mushroom pasta

Here is another example of わふう パスタ (wafuu pasta)—that is, Japanese-style pasta. The possibilities are endless: see some examples here from Just Hungry. (Or Google it.)

 

To make this particular version:

Lightly saute sliced leeks, chopped mushrooms (portobello here, but could be shiitake), and canned tuna with:

  • salt (tiny bit)
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • olive oil

Boil spaghetti in water with a bit of dashi and salt.

After the pasta is *mostly* cooked, add it to the skillet in which the leeks and mushrooms have been sauteing, along with some of the dashi-flavoured water from the pasta.

Cook everything a bit more and that’s it!

 

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Omelette collaboration

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Mmm, tasty pic. In this collaboration, I looked after sauteing white onions, mushrooms, and asparagus to fold into my dad’s expertly prepared thick, fluffy omelette.

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Shio-koji stir fry numero uno

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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.

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Mushroom spaghettini

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Looks lovely, eh?

This was one of Yusuke’s weekend pasta creations.

The pasta of choice was spaghettini, imported from Italy, acquired from an Italian grocery. He cooked it to a perfect al dente.

To prepare the veggies, Yusuke started with TONS of garlic, to which he added four or so sliced portobello mushrooms and diced cherry tomatoes. Mid-way through the saute procedure, he sprinkled a tablespoon of sesame seeds into the mix.

At the end, he added the cooked pasta and tossed everything together. Last, raw green onions were added to the top!

He speculated that perhaps Italians wouldn’t recognize this as an Italian dish; instead, it’s definitely wafuu pasta—that is, Japanese style!

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Leeks and mushrooms

Sautéed leeks and mushrooms. Yup.

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