Posts Tagged squid

Tom yum soup

This fantastic spicy soup had the nice side effect of helping with one of my migraine—perhaps sinus-clearing spice or improvement of my blood flow?

The adventure began with the chef sauteeing finely chopped leeks and cuttlefish with minced garlic and ginger. Next, he added 880 mL of water and brought it to a boil.

Next, he added a store-bought tom yum soup paste. To quote today’s Wikipedia article, “The basic broth is made of stock and fresh ingredients such as lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce and crushed chili peppers.”

The recipe on the package recommended adding chicken broth, but we added vegetable bouillon instead. Next, lime juice was added, along with 1 tsp of nam pla (Thai fish sauce).

Finally, sliced mushrooms and carrots were added to the simmering broth.

A bit more lime juice was added when served.

Fantastic spice! Yusuke thought he had boiled it a bit too much, because the red spots of spice weren’t visible, but I thought that it was great.

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Riff on chipirones

October was not a big blogging month, as sickness, travel, and general busyness disrupted things. Of course, we have most certainly have been eating, but mainly variations on usual staples.

However: here is something new!

Yusuke very much appreciated the wonderful food that he had in Spain and wanted to recreate a bit of that at home.

He was excited to find some tiny squid—akin to Spanish chipirones—in our grocery store. Alas and alack, he was very disappointed to find that the ink had been removed, so the final result was not quite what he anticipated.

Anyway, this dish was composed of the following:

  • potatoes
  • squid
  • chives
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • lots of white wine
  • water
  • a pinch of bonito flakes

No particular measurements were used: just the right ones!

A note on the sea salt: for this dish in particular, Yusuke procured some sea salt from Portugal (via a Montreal grocery store). The brand is Bela Mandil, and it has won a “slow food award for defense of biodiversity.” In other words, it tastes better than generic salt!

Yusuke began this dish by sautéeing garlic and diced potato. Then he added the rest of the other ingredients to a frying pan. The bonito was added at the last moment since the taste wasn’t quite right. Although Yusuke said that the dish lacked the depth of taste compared to what he had in Spain, it was still quite yummy.

Pictured below is Yusuke’s meal in Spain that inspired this dish. Note the dark colour from the ink!

Delicious looking mini-squid (chiporones) in Spain. Complete with ink!

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Seafood pasta

Seafood pasta

Seafood pasta

This dish wouldn’t be out of place in a fancy-schmancy Montreal restaurant…only it was much cheaper! We managed to find decent squid in a nearby grocery store (PA on du Fort). Yusuke says that fresh squid in Japan is translucent, rather than the opaque white that we see here, but this was probably the best we could get—not too chewy at all. You can’t quite see in the picture, but we had both the body and tentacles of the squid. (N.B. This is from the girl whose only seafood consumption for the first twenty or so years of her life was reheated frozen fish sticks. Now it feels perfectly natural to say, “mmmm, tentacles”). Yusuke stir fried the squid and shrimp before combining it with tomatoes, lots o’ garlic, and Italian spices. He boiled the spaghetti in water with olive oil before adding the noodles to the sauce and seafood in the frying pan.

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Ryokan meals

A highlight of our December trip to Japan was a sojourn to the mountain resort town Hakone. We stayed in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. One of the best things about staying in a ryokan is that your food comes to you. Thus, we spent our time between trips down to the hot springs lounging in our room in our yukata waiting for tasty meals.

When we arrived at the ryokan, we were given slippers and escorted to our room, where the table was already set with green tea and wagashi (sweets).

Tea at the ryokan

Tea at the ryokan

Later in the evening, after a hot spring bath, the hostess arrived with our dinner. Wow. I quite like having small portions of many different dishes to try, although it was a bit overwhelming. I don’t think I could eat like this every day; it was almost too refined. But it fabulously wonderful, and a meal that I’ll never forget. Our appetizers are pictured below…can’t remember exactly what they were. I think this is Yusuke’s meal; mine didn’t include any meat (just fish).

Assorted appetizers

Assorted appetizers

Below is one of my dishes: a mound of sticky black rice with snapper, a white fish. It had a light, vaguely salty sauce. On the very top is fu, shaped like a momiji (maple) leaf and dyed with bright colours for decoration (see here and here for more about fu). The final garnish is wasabi: much smoother and purer than the kind that comes in a tube.

Black rice and snapper

Black rice and snapper

This dish is a hollowed-out baked potato stuffed with seafood (shrimp, crab, etc.) and potatoes mixed with a delicately cheesy sauce.

Seafood-potato gratin

Seafood-potato gratin

This was my absolute favourite, and no, it’s not a desert. The dish is puréed daikon (a type of radish) with crab meat. It was so smooth and melty in my mouth. Again, it’s topped with coloured fu.

Beautiful daikon

Beautiful daikon

And of course, we had miso soup with rich mountain vegetables: bamboo shoots, green onions, seaweed, and nameko mushrooms.

Miso soup

Miso soup

Finally, the dessert featured a small, sweet mochi ball with fruit: strawberry, tangerine, mango, and passion fruit, plus a chestnut and anko. Perfect.

Dessert

Dessert

In the morning, after another hot springs dip, our breakfast arrived. I eat oatmeal and a banana religiously for breakfast, or in case of need, something else that involves processed carbs and/or fruit. So I wasn’t sure how I would handle a non-sweet breakfast. I managed much better than I expected! (Although I did eat rather more than my fair share of the rice.) I was particularly surprised at my ability to eat fish for breakfast. It was simply grilled and served with soy sauce, so the flavour was mild. Less appealing was the carrot and daikon kinpira (normally I love it; just too spicy for the morning), the dish with squid, and the salty seaweed salad. However, I quite enjoyed the miso soup and the potato salad with green vegetables. I’m still sticking to oatmeal, though…doesn’t really go well with mackerel…

Breakfast: what a spread!

Breakfast: what a spread!

UPDATE: I had forgotten to add that the “squid dish” served for breakfast was shiokara, a term which I verified by googling “squid guts.” From Yusuke’s explanation, basically it’s the entire squid minced up and cooked in a salty spicy sauce. It wasn’t bad, but for breakfast? I’ll pass. Not exactly the breakfast of champions.

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