Posts Tagged sweet potato

Nifty soba

This was an unusual soba dish that I can only describe as nifty.

The original recipe focused on a ゆず / こしょう sauce (citrus/black pepper) and included bacon. Fortunately, Yusuke made modifications.

The soba (buckwheat noodles) was boiled as usual. The toppings were:

  • sweet potatoes: cubed and steamed in the microwave
  • beet greens: chopped and boiled
  • leeks: shredded and raw

The sauce was assembled as follows:
Fresh minced garlic was sauteed with sesame oil until aromatic. Next came chopped tomatoes, cooked until heated. The liquid portion of the soba sauce was:

  • dashi
  • soy sauce
  • mirin
  • sake
  • lime juice (as a substitute for yuzu)
  • black pepper (こしょう)

N.B. Soba must be slurped, loudly. I am slowly developing the technique.

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Cold-weather soup

Oh so warm and filling. Here are the assembly steps, imperative style:

Cut salmon into chunks and boil briefly in salted water until the colour changes. Drain.

Add water to the pot and dump in the following:

  • crimini mushrooms
  • green onions
  • white onions
  • sweet potatoes

Add vegetable bouillon and 1 tbsp of mirin.

Add the previously-boiled salmon and reduce the heat.

Add 1 cup of soy milk.

Stir in green onions and serve.

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Stir fry, with no special description

Yusuke began this stir fry by dicing sweet potatoes and then microwaving them for 3 minutes. Next, he sautéed green beans in a tiny bit of canola oil in the frying pan. When tender, he added the sweet potatoes, cubed firm tofu, and crimini mushrooms, along with sea salt, black pepper, and 1 tsp of chicken seasoning powder (used for Chinese cuisine). He mixed everything together and added a bit of garlic for good measure.


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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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Satsumaimo gohan (sweet potato rice)

Ah, comfort food. I think this dish rates in the top five best things I’ve ever eaten. Or at least the top ten. Anyway, it’s good, good, good.

Satsumaimo is a Japanese sweet potato. The flesh is golden, like we are familiar with in North America, but the outside is bright purple. The recipe would work with other varieties of sweet potato, but it’s just not the same. So we were happy to find some decent-ish satsumaimo at P.A. in Montreal.

Yaki-imo photo courtesy of Flickr user Ganjin. Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

To prepare the dish, Yusuke started by washing the potato and cutting out the eyes. He left the skin on this time, but he often peels it. Next, he cut it into 1 inch cubes, which were soaked in salty water for 10-15 minutes. The water was changed 2 or 3 times during the process. The first time, the water should taste salty, with less or none in the subsequent baths. Yusuke wasn’t sure why the soaking is necessary, but perhaps it reduces the bitterness and enhances sweetness.

The uncooked rice was washed, drained, and set aside for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This technique is used for any maze gohan (mixed rice).

After the waiting time, water was added to the rice as usual in the rice cooker. In addition, he stirred in 1 tbsp each of soy sauce, sake, and mirin. On top of the mixture in the rice cooker, he added the sweet potato cubes and final one strip of dried kombu.

From there, it was just a matter of turning on the rice cooker and waiting for the magic. The rice was particularly fragrant while cooking, and I was drooling by the time it was ready.

For the final touch, we sprinkled crushed black sesame seeds on the top of the rice.

We also had miso soup with the meal (of course), and it was extra salty with wakame and bean sprouts. A perfect foil to the sweet rice.

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Sweet sweet potato

Maple goodness

Maple goodness

Yusuke says that this dish, daigaku-imo, is always a favourite among Japanese children for their school lunch. And it’s no wonder: it’s mondo-sugary.

A web search in English retrieves lots of pictures and recipes. Yusuke’s Japanese searching found a few origins for the name, which can be translated as “university potatoes.” Apparently the dish originated as a treat prepared and sold by university students for a little extra cash in Tokyo in the 1940s. Another story says that daigaku-imo was first created at a sweets shop near Tokyo University and became a huge fad before the Pacific war.

Yusuke made a little Canadian variation. We can’t usually find Japanese sweet potatoes here, which are purple in colour, so we went with the familiar (to me) orange ones. He cubed the potato and soaked in salty water for a while. Then he fried it in a canola oil in a frying pan since we don’t have a deep fryer.

Meanwhile, he made the sauce with:

6 (!) tbsp of maple syrup
splash or two of mirin
splash or two of soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp water

He simmered the sauce until thick and sticky and then added the potatoes, mixing well.

Sprinkled with sesame seeds to serve.

Most recipes call for white or brown sugar (or both) or sugar syrup, but Yusuke opted for maple syrup instead, to great success.

And for a random aside, I just discovered that Kit Kat bars come in a bizarrely diverse range of flavours in Japan, including, among many others, chestnut, watermelon and salt, cherry blossom, apple vinegar, kinako, and…daigaku-imo. Wikipedia has a list of the various flavours, and I also enjoyed some reviews of the candy here and here.

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Sweet potato stir fry

Sweet potato stir fry

Sweet potato stir fry

This stir fry was our nod to Canadian thanksgiving back in October. The stir fry is diced sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, spinach, and egg, with salt and black pepper. Yusuke usually uses a bit of butter for this stir fry instead of oil. This would be an excellent breakfast/brunch dish, too. Yusuke sometimes tops his portion with ketchup, but I prefer unadorned sweet potato.

The soup is simply water, sesame oil, salt, black pepper, wakame, bean sprouts, and Ajinomoto “super seasoning.” Ajinomoto is MSG, a flavour enhancer that has gotten a fair bit of bad press. I’m not concerned about it though, since we eat very little processed food (which often has lots of MSG), and Yusuke only uses a tiny bit when he adds it to soup. At any rate, it was delicious.

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