Posts Tagged zucchini

Chinese-style shrimp melange

Yusuke described this stir fry as “Chinese style.” He began by quickly boiling thin strips of zucchini—for about 3 minutes. The shorter the time, the crunchier the zucchini. He then drained the water.

The original recipe that inspired him called for carrots and pork, but we didn’t have either; he opted for shrimp and crimini mushrooms instead. He boiled the mushrooms for 1 minute and drained well.

He combined the three chief elements in a bowl and added:

  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp of lime juice
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (olive or canola would also work)
  • a tiny bit of ajinomoto flavour enhancer (MSG! use with caution!)
  • a pinch of white sugar

As Yusuke put it, cooking is chemistry!

He just mixed everything up, and that was it.

On the side, we had a nice consommé soup, the picture of which I seem to have misplaced. He used a consommé powder, which I was surprised to note was produced in Israel. I wasn’t really familiar with what consommé actually is, and I’m still not exactly sure how it’s different from other stocks and bouillon. The label said that it was “chicken style,” but chicken isn’t listed in the ingredients. Instead, the word “celery” is in bolded font on the package. Even better. Yusuke said that it’s much easier to find in Japan; he has had a hard time locating it in Canada.

To the broth, he added a pinch of white sugar, a few drops of soy sauce, and ginger. The veggies were bok choy, cubed potatoes, and white onions.

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Italian-style okonomiyaki

This dish can be described as Italian-style okonomiyaki—a.k.a. we need to use up food basket contents. With lots of stuff to use up, creativity ensued.

Yusuke followed his usual okonomiyaki recipe, but instead used whole wheat flour and the following vegetable array:

  • cabbage
  • zucchini
  • carrots
  • tomatoes
  • fantastically beautiful fresh basil

The inclusion of basil and tomato evoked Italian cuisine, so instead of the usual toppings, we used sea salt and tasty balsamic vinegar. Exceedingly yummy; highly recommended.

Note that Yusuke always includes a secret weapon in okonomiyaki batter: crumbled firm tofu, with Soyarie being the brand of choose here in Montreal. It makes the pancake texture extra smooth and savoury.

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Broccoli and tomato, tofued

Broccoli and tomatoes go so very well together, especially when there is tofu involved.

The recipe that inspired Yusuke on this occasion called for canned tomatoes, but we went with juicy fresh ones instead.

First, he scored the skin of 6 tomatoes and placed them in hot water so that the skin started to peel. He removed them and peeled the skin completely. Then he cubed them and removed the seeds.

Next, he boiled cut broccoli for a few minutes, just until the colour started to change.

In a frying pan, he let sizzled a bit of minced garlic in olive oil and then added cubes of firm tofu, frying them until slightly brown.

Next, he added the broccoli to the pan, along with strips of zucchini for a bonus. Then tomatoes were added last.

Finally, the seasoning:

  • dashi
  • soy sauce
  • sake
  • mirin

…all approximately equal parts (probably 1 tbsp each).

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Here’s a simple one. Yusuke started by sautéing sliced white onions with minced garlic and a few splashes of chicken broth. Next, he added sliced crimini mushrooms, followed by zucchini. He cooked everything until the zucchini was lightly browned, seasoning with sea salt and black pepper. The onions’ natural caramelization made additional oil and sauces unnecessary. That’s it! Very flavourful.

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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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Zucchini steak

Zucchini steak on fish plate

This meal inaugurated an awesome fish dish that we received as a Christmas gift. Although the original intention is for fish, obviously, it works for veggies as well.

First, Yusuke grilled zucchini slices in the oven with black pepper and sea salt.

Meanwhile, he prepared a stir fry with carrots, bean sprouts, finely chopped mushrooms, and sliced white onions with a soupy soy sauce-based mixture.

The zucchini was beautifully arranged on the aforementioned awesome plate and then the sauce poured over.

fish dish

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Ume stir fry

A tangy and refreshing stir fry.

Yusuke used a bit of olive oil to cook up halved grape tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, bean sprouts, and chicken (optional). He opted for olive rather than sesame oil for a lighter, fresher taste.

The sauce was based around two smashed umeboshi (pickled plums). It also included mirin, sake, soy sauce, dashi, and mirin.

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Courgettes and aubergines

This domburi combines courgettes and aubergines (or zucchini and eggplants or なす と ズッキーニ, whichever you prefer).

First, Yusuke scored the skin of the eggplant, cut it into large pieces, and sautéed them in canola oil. After removing them from the pan, he set them on paper towels to remove some of the oil. Separately, he simmered white onions and cubed zucchini in a broth of water, dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sake.

He assembled a domburi by serving the veggies over rice, adding a sprinkle of sesame seeds, minced ginger, and shichimi.

Zucchini factoids: summer squash was first cultivated in Mexico/Guatemala and taken to Europe by Christopher Columbus. Excellent source of magnesium and vitamin C.

Eggplant: first cultivated in China in the 5th century B.C. Good source of dietary fiber and potassium.

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

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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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Soupy tofu and veggies


There are endless variations to what one can do with fresh vegetables, good tofu, and a few stock ingredients. This is why my food life is so happy.

For this dish, Yusuke boiled firm tofu, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, and bean sprouts in a big frying pan in a “soup” of some Japanese staples:

roughly 1-2 tbsp each…

  • soy sauce
  • water
  • rice vinegar
  • mirin
  • sake

a pinch…

  • dashi
  • sugar
  • salt

After everything was cooked, he lowered the heat and added katakuriko (Japanese potato starch) to thicken the sauce.

To serve, he removed the tofu from the pan so that it could form the bottom layer for the veggies.

(How sad I would be if I had never discovered tofu. I really, really want to visit at least one, and hopefully more, tofu restaurants during our upcoming visit to Japan. Yusuke went to a place called Junsei once in Kyoto and has never forgotten the experience. The restaurant’s site has posted an interesting video of the tofu-making process.)

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