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Posts Tagged ‘asahi’

I had some angel hair pasta that I wanted to use up last night. Combine that with all of the Japanese ingredients I had in my fridge that needed to be eaten I whipped up a bolognese sauce with Japanese flavors. Note, I usually cook for 4 so that we have lunch the next day, but since it was Friday and we don’t need to take a lunch anywhere on Saturday this recipe was for 2.

My ingredient list for the bolognese was a package of enoki mushrooms, 1 negi thinly sliced (I had two but decided only to use one), some ginger and garlic minced, 1/2 carrot cut into quarter moon slices, 1 rib of celery cut down the middle lengthwise and then sliced, 10 cherry tomatoes halved, some wakame seaweed, 1/4 pound of ground beef, and 1/4 pound ground pork. What I didn’t get in the photo was some cooking sake, mirin, and soy sauce.

In my pot I heated up about 2 tablespoons of soy oil and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and then let the garlic and ginger go for about a minute. Then I tossed in the carrot, negi, and celery for about 5 minutes until they just started to soften a little. After that I added the ground meats. They took about 5 minutes or so to cook and break up, I added just a touch of salt (not too much since I was about to add some soy sauce) and some black pepper. Once the meat was broken down I poured in about 3 tablespoons of sake and let that boil off for a couple of minutes before adding about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of mirin. Once all the liquid was almost completely boiled off, about 2 more minutes, I added the cherry tomatoes and enoki. A couple of minutes later I mixed in the wakame and then turned off the heat. The wakame doesn’t need to be cooked, so I just wanted its flavor to incorporate into the meat.

While that was all going on I cooked some angel hair pasta and drained it thoroughly.

To serve, I piled the pasta on the plate and then topped it with the bolognese. On top of that I put some katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes). Some Asahi to wash it all down and we were good for the night.

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Last night I did a riff on one of Yuki’s recipes. She commonly makes ground chicken dumplings similar to these patties in the winter when we eat nabe (Japanese hot-pot). So, I took her idea and made my own Japanese flavored dinner.

The ingredient list for the patties were 3/4’s pound of ground chicken thigh, 1 block of tofu that I had pressed the water out of, one egg scrambled with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 carrot cut into a small dice, 3 garlic cloves and 1 inch of ginger that I minced, and 1 tablespoon of hijiki seaweed. The hijiki comes dried and is available in most Asian sections of your grocer. I put 1 tablespoon of dried hijiki in a couple of cups of cold water and let it sit for about a half hour. Then I strained it, reserving the liquid for the miso soup.

I mixed it all together, with about a tablespoon of nanami togarashi (a Japanese red pepper spice mix, there are various kinds of togarashi that are also usually available in the Asian section) until the tofu was completely broken down and everything was mixed well. Then, on a lightly oiled baking sheet, I laid 8 patties (two patties per serving, leftovers for lunch). I let it cook in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Before cooking the patties I got my miso soup ingredients ready to go. I cut 2 negi (Japanese green onions, larger than regular green onions, not as big as leeks) into 1 inch pieces, hiratake (oyster mushrooms), and wakame seaweed. Wakame can be bought dried or fresh. Fresh comes heavily salted to preserve it. You need to soak it really well in water and cut it into smaller pieces as it expands once the salt is rinsed off.

I also chopped up a small head of napa cabbage to cook as a side.

Once I put the patties in the oven I melted 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet and heated up the hijiki liquid in a pan along with one more cup of water, 1 teaspoon of dashi-no-moto (instant dashi), the negi, and the mushrooms. I let the soup simmer while working on the cabbage. Once the butter was melted I added 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and then the cabbage. I let the cabbage wilt in the soy butter for about 10 minutes and then turned off the heat.

After the cabbage was ready I added the wakame to the soup and then the miso. The best way to add the miso is to take a heaping spoonful and swirl it around in a ladle that is just slightly in the soup. This allows the miso to incorporate slowly keeping it from being lumpy.

I served everything with some white rice. I poured just a little ponzu on top of the patties to add a touch of acidity and help keep them moist. To keep with the Japanese flavors it only seemed right to drink Asahi.

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