Posts Tagged okra

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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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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Roasted melange, starring sweet potatoes

I’ve been obsessed with sweet potatoes lately, and so I was very pleased with this roasted veggie mélange. Most especially because it included my beloved okra and mushrooms (yay!). Also, zucchini.

To be more specific, they were crimini mushrooms—a great source of riboflavin (vitamin b2), doncha know.

As the picture shows, Yusuke combined the chopped veggies all together in a pan and roasted them in a hot oven. Seasoning was soy sauce or sea salt; either works.

In the oven

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This dish was quite simple, but deceptively time-consuming to make. It was also quite messy! Good thing my specialty is cleaning up after dinner.

First, Yusuke boiled okra, chopped it all up (a very sticky operation!), and combined it with prepared (i.e., microwaved) natto.

Next, he finely chopped cabbage and boiled it.

The cabbage went into big bowls, onto which the natto-okra mixture was poured, followed by hot springs eggs.

Last came a sauce of water, dashi, soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar. We also added a sprinkle of しちみとがらし(shichimi togarashi, seven spices mix).

Then we stirred it all up and ate!

This dish is incredibly great for soothing stomachs with its ネバネバ texture (neba neba, i.e., slipperiness) and extremely low caloric content.

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Black sesame stir fry

We had this stir fry several days ago, and we don’t quite remember what was in it. It was rather exceptionally good, and therefore worthy of a blog post, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.

As far as Yusuke recalls, the bean sprouts, sliced green pepper, and chopped okra were stir fried with oyster sauce, spicy tobanjan, and a bit of salt.

The tobanjan offered quite a kick, but it was given depth by the final, all-important ingredient: sweet ground black sesame seeds.

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This meal was similar to the izakaya vegetables that I wrote about before, but the sauce was quite different this time.

Yusuke grilled okra, sliced zucchini, and whole crimini mushrooms directly on the rack of a hot oven (or rather on tin foil on the rack) since we don’t have a barbecue or griddle. He also toasted white onion slices in a dry frying pan, with the rings held together by toothpicks.

He wanted to use orange or apple juice as a yakitori sauce base, but we didn’t have any. Instead, he peeled and then grated apples and sautéed them in a sauce pan. He then added soy sauce, white wine, lemon juice, mirin, brown sugar (white sugar would also work), ginger and garlic. He simmered the entire mixture on the stove for 30 minutes or so.

To eat, we dipped the veggies into the sauce, adding in addition a sprinkle of shichimi and sesame seeds. Yusuke also added sesame oil to his bowl: an option according to personal preference, he says.

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Izakaya-style veggies

This meal was inspired by a trip to a new restaurant in our neighbourhood called Kazu. See menu here; reviews here and here.

It’s a tiny izakaya (pub-style restaurant), a bit of a dive at first glance. It’s run by a family that happens to be a friend of my current Japanese teacher. They clearly work very hard; the place is always packed with lines out the door, even though they just opened a few weeks ago.

There is a little menu that you can flip through, but most of the dishes are hand-written on pieces of paper taped up on the walls, all in English. The mostly-Japanese staff and customers crammed into the cozy space made us feel like we were back in Japan. It was a chilly day, so I was happy to snuggle up at the bar in front of the large open grills. This was also a good vantage point to see all of the day’s offering being prepared—and to get ideas for the next trip.

Most of the food seemed to have some salad + dressing component. I ordered what I expected to be yudofu, but it turned out to be a salad with large cubes of tofu topped with some type of lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, long, thin puffed rice thingies, and the aforementioned dressing. Unfortunately, it seems that they frequently don’t have certain things on the menu, so flexibility in decision-making is required. I also had extremely tasty mixed-rice onigiri. Yusuke had a tuna and salmon bowl, with turned out to be sliced raw fish on top of rice, then further topped with the same salad greens and dressing. Also extremely tasty. We shared grilled okra, which, to cut off my tangential story, inspired the dinner pictured in this post.

Hot oven

So, back at home: lacking an open-flame grill, Yusuke grilled our okra, green onions, and mushrooms on tin foil in our oven.

He drizzled them with an improvised yakitori sauce of mirin, soy sauce, sake, and sugar. The ingredients were heated in a small saucepan to dissolve the sugar.

grilled 'shrooms

We also had these lovely daikon medallions which were leftover from another meal. First Yusuke microwaved the sliced daikon for 3 minutes to soften them. Then he sauteed them in sesame oil. Last, he prepared a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sake, and chili flakes, which he dumped in the frying pan with the daikon and let simmer until the liquid was absorbed or evaporated. We sprinkled some bonito flakes on the daikon when served.

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