Monday, 30 April 2012

Japanese Teriyaki Recipe: Mince meat and aubergine in a teriyaki sauce

There are many variations of teriyaki sauce. This is a nice recipe to start off with and then you can adjust the proportions of the basic ingredients for the teriyaki sauce (soya sauce, mirin, sake and sugar) to adapt to your personal taste. 

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large garlic cloves (finely chopped)
2 inches ginger root (finely chopped)
1 lb mince meat
2 large aubergine (cut into large square pieces)
8 tbsp soya sauce
4 tbsp mirin
4 tbsp sake
3 tsp caster sugar
Pickled ginger to garnish (optional)

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute or so (do not brown the garlic and ginger).
  3. Add the minced meat and stir using a wooden spoon to help break up the mince meat. Let it cook until the meat is nearly cooked (do not cook the meat fully or it may become dry).
  4. Add the aubergine pieces and stir into the mince meat using the wooden spoon.
  5. Mix the soya sauce, mirin, sake and caster sugar in a small bowl. 
  6. Pour the mixture over the mince meat and aubergine and stir well cooking under high heat for a few minutes, then let it simmer until the aubergines are nice and tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
How to eat:
Serve with a bowl of Japanese white rice. Sometimes I serve this dish with iceberg lettuce leaves (eat it like a wrap). This is not a traditional Japanese way of eating this dish but I find it handy if I don't have time to prepare rice or if I just fancy a change!

  1. Add less sugar if you prefer the dish less sweet
  2. If you have time you could soak the aubergine pieces in a bowl of water before adding to the dish to get rid of the bitterness of the aubergine. 
Why not:
Try adding other vegetables that go really well with this teriyaki sauce. These include green peas, edamame (soya beans), carrots, mushrooms, broccoli etc.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

How to prepare and cook Japanese Rice

Click here to see the Japanese rice that I buy in Superquinn and the Asian market on Drury St in Dublin (they also have another store in Merrywell Business park, Ballymount, Dublin 22).

  1. Measure 2 cups of Japanese white rice.   
  2. Place the rice in a medium sized bowl and add cold water. To wash the rice use your hand to gently rub the rice grains against each other.
  3. Drain the rice and add more water. Continue to clean the rice and replace the water until the water runs almost clear.  
  4. Add the rice to a heavy based saucepan if you don't have a rice cooker.  
  5. Add 2 cups of cold water to the rice in the saucepan (always add the same amount of water as rice).  
  6. Put the lid on the saucepan and turn the heat to maximum. When the water starts to boil reduce the heat and leave the rice cooking for about 10 minutes (try not to remove the lid).
  7. Then, turn off the heat and leave the rice standing for another 10 minutes. Now, remove the lid and using a rice spatula turn the rice from the wall of the saucepan towards the middle to get a nice fluffy and sticky white rice. 

How to eat:
Serve in individual bowls if you're having a traditional style Japanese meal. Since Japanese rice is sticky it's easy to eat with chopsticks compared to other types of rice.

  1. To make the rice tastier leave the drained washed rice sitting for about 10 minutes before cooking. Or my Japanese homestay mother use to leave the rice and water sitting in the rice cooker for about an hour before cooking.
  2. Make sure to wash the rice properly using your hand. How you wash the rice is just as important as how you cook the rice to get the perfect bowl of sticky Japanese rice! 
Why not: 
Add your favourite vegetable and some sake to the rice (tiny pieces of carrots or peas go very well).

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Easy Japanese Miso Shiru Recipe: Miso Soup

When I lived in Japan I had miso soup almost everyday. So, when I left Japan and returned to Ireland I really missed the taste of real Japanese miso soup. I could buy miso soup sachets in Asian supermarkets and health stores or order miso soup in Asian restaurants around the country but none of them compared to the delicious taste of this simple recipe that you can make at home. 

1000ml dashi* (homemade or instant dashi)
180g potato (peeled and cut into small bite sized cubes) 
60g onion (peeled and thinly sliced)
2-3 tbsp miso* paste (you can add more if you like a stronger taste)
*Click here to see miso and dashi explained on my "Basic Japanese ingredients - what they are and where you can find them" post
*Click here to see my recipe for homemade dashi (fish stock)

  1. Put the dashi in a medium sized saucepan and turn the heat up to maximum. 
  2. Once the dashi is boiling add the potatoes. 
  3. When the potatoes are nearly cooked add the onion and continue to boil until the onion slices are nice and soft. 
  4. Before adding the miso paste lower the heat allowing the dashi to simmer only. 
  5. Dilute the miso paste in a cup of dashi taken from the saucepan. Then, add to the saucepan and gently mix all the ingredients. 
The miso soup is now ready! 

How to eat: 
Serve in a bowl with chopsticks or a spoon. Japanese people hold the bowl to their mouth to drink the soup. They use chopsticks to eat the bite size ingredients in the soup.

  1. Never boil the miso soup only allow to simmer.
  2. Leave the chopped potato cubes into a bowl of cold water for a few minutes to remove excess starch before adding to the dashi.

Why not: 
Add tofu and wakame seaweed instead of potato and onion or any of your favourite vegetables.

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