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Posts Tagged ‘scrambled eggs’

This dish is actually from this past Sunday night. Since Yuki’s parents love seafood, like most Japanese, I wanted to grill some red snapper for Tamiko on Mother’s Day. Our friends that gave us the Rick Bayless cookbook were up at Tensuke Market so I had asked them to bring me some snapper. Unfortunately, they did not have whole snapper, just filets. They did, however, have Sanma. I remember Tamiko made Sanma for me once in Japan so I thought it’d be fun to grill some up and return the favor.

Sanma is a Pacific Saury, commonly called Mackerel Pike in English. About a foot long and slender it’s simply salted and grilled, complete with the guts. You can certainly eat the guts, as Yuki’s brother-in-law Jun does, but they’re very bitter. I don’t eat them, too bitter for me. After grilling you simply pull the skin and meat off the bones and chow down. The skin gets very crisp and tasty while the meat stay moist.

To prepare the Sanma I simply washed them down with cold water and patted them dry. Then I heavily salted both sides of the fish and let it rest for about 20 minutes. This allows the salt to stick to the fish and add the depth of flavor while keeping it a little less oily.

I had some fingerling potatoes that needed to be used up so I halved them, drizzled them with olive oil, and sprinkled some salt and shichimi togarashi on them.

I heated up the grill to med-high. The potatoes went on the top rack while the fish were on direct heat. I cooked one side of the fish for about 8 minutes then flipped it over and cooked the other side for about 6 minutes. Not sure why, but Tamiko said you should cook the first side a little longer. Since this was my first go at grilling Sanma I happily took her experienced advice. Glad I did because they cooked to perfection!

Sanma is typically eaten with grated daikon radish that has a little soy sauce poured on top of it. So, I grated some daikon and we poured a little soy.

Tamiko made Bara Sushi to accompany the Sanma. Bara loosely translates to spread out, so it’s basically just spread out sushi. She made two cups of rice and mixed some rice vinegar, sake, and mirin (maybe a little sugar too, not exactly sure what her blend of sushi rice consists of, but you can find multiple recipes for sushi rice online if you feel like trying your hand at it) into the rice. I fanned the rice down while she mixed the vinegar mix in to help rid some of the moisture. Then, she mixed in some smoked salmon, thinly sliced pea pods, thinly sliced lotus root, thinly sliced soy simmered shiitake, and carrot matchsticks. She then made some scrambled egg crepes, thinly sliced them and placed them on top. Finally, it gets garnished with thin strips of nori seaweed. It is absolutely delicious!

The soup was a simple clear dashi broth with wakame seaweed and eryngii mushrooms.

I wish more Americans would cook whole fish instead of the typical flavorless tilapia filets you see at every grocery store. Sanma is such a flavorful little fish that really would be a waste to add more than just salt. By keeping the guts inside you really get a full fish flavor, and you certainly don’t have to eat the guts. Full of omega-3’s and lower in mercury, it’s a great fish to grill up and enjoy with a cold beer or some cold sake.

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Friday night we went out to Sun Wah B.B.Q. with a bunch of Yuki’s co-workers. We had a big group of 12 adults (I still have trouble thinking of myself as an adult) including spouses and then there were 3 babies. For Chinese food, I think it’s best to go with a big crowd so you can order a variety of food.

The first thing I noticed about Sun Wah was that they had duck hanging in the window. You don’t see that often in Chicago which is a shame. Any restaurant that serves Peking Duck (Sun Wah is considered the best Peking Duck in Chicago, from what I’ve eaten here, I would have to agree) needs to display it in the window to dry the skin and show the customers what’s in store.

They have a huge dining room. I guess that’s a good thing because as the night went on they got packed! I think the wait was about 30-45 minutes when we left. Good thing we got there relatively early, although, we did have a reservation. Service was pretty typical of a Chinese restaurant. Not refined, but not sloppy. As for the food…

…the first thing that rolled out was the Peking Duck. Since we had two big round tables we ordered two of each dish so that we didn’t have to pass things from one table to the other.

Classic tableside duck carving. Slice off that crispy skin first and then chop up the meat. Really good duck. If you’re a fan of Peking Duck, and the only people I know who aren’t are veggies, you have to try Sun Wah’s. I wouldn’t say it’s really anything special, but it is the best in town, very good duck.

Lobster with ginger and scallions, what more do you need? My only gripe with this dish, and it’s not unique to Sun Wah, is that the lobster was all hacked up and very hard to get the meat from the shell. Why do Chinese restaurants hack up lobster like this? Surely there has to be a better way to stir-fry all of that flavor into the meat and keep it easy to eat.

Peking Pork Ribs. Thin slices of rib meat cooked in a thickened sweet sauce. There were slices of carrot, green pepper, and yellow pepper in it as well. If you like sweet Chinese ribs, this is the dish for you!

Stir-fried water spinach. We wanted green beans, but they didn’t have any. No worries, water spinach has a nice subtle bitterness to it. It’s also extremely healthy. A good vegetable to help cut through all of the animal fat we were mauling down.

Fried rice with BBQ pork, shrimp, scallions, carrots, and scrambled eggs. Another classic, but one you must have with a Chinese feast.

Shanton soup with chunks of pork. It’s the pork bone that gives this soup its flavor. This is to the Chinese kitchen what chicken soup is to the Jewish kitchen.

Fried noodles. For this dish they used the duck breast from the Peking duck (for Peking you only eat the skin and some of the dark meat), pea pods, baby corn, carrots, mushrooms, and onions. Personally, I would have used shiitake instead of white button mushrooms, but hey, it’s not my restaurant. Still a tasty dish.

Our last dish was silken tofu steamed with shrimp. It was topped with cilantro and swimming in a soy and broth soup. It was really good.

Overall, I have to say, Sun Wah B.B.Q. is quite possibly the best Chinese food in Chicago. While I am a true believer that Chicago does not have the best Chinese food in the world, this place is definitely worth passing through your entrails. Every dish was fresh and well prepared. Nothing was over the top, but everything was extremely solid. The best part was that all of that food, along with Tsing Dao and tip, only came to $25 per person. Well worth the weakened US Dollar.

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Last night’s Meatless Monday certainly wasn’t the prettiest of all plating, but I do have to say, my fried rice was excellent!

First things first, making the shumai. I simply took a half a piece of tofu and mixed it together with a small carrot and three green onions that were all small diced. I folded it all into some wonton wrappers and then set everything aside to steam later. When it came time to steam them, I let them go for about 10 minutes or so. That left the carrots a little al dente to leave a little texture. For service, I drizzled the shumai with some ponzu.

The miso eggplant is a classic Japanese home dish called nasu-miso. To start, I took two large Chinese eggplants, chopped them up into bite-sized pieces, then sprinkled them with salt in a colander. I let them sit for about a half hour to allow the bitter juices to drip out. Then I rinsed them off and squeezed them dry.

In a really hot pan I heated up about 5 tablespoons of sesame oil. As soon as the oil was smoking hot I added the eggplant. I wanted to wait until the oil was super hot so that the eggplant didn’t absorb it all. I fried the eggplant for about 8 minutes and then added a mix consisting of 3 tablespoons of sake, 1 tablespoon of mirin, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. I let that boil down for a couple of minutes.

Once the liquid almost evaporated and absorbed, I added 2 tablespoons of miso that I diluted with 3 tablespoons of water. I mixed that all around and let it cook for about 2 more minutes before serving.

To make the fried rice I started by sauteing some ginger and garlic in peanut oil. After a few minutes when they became really aromatic I threw in a diced carrot and 7 chopped green onions. I let that all cook for about 7 minutes and then threw in a bunch of thinly sliced shiitake. That went for another 4 minutes.

Typically, when I make fried rice, I will first make some scrambled eggs and set them aside to add right about this point. I forgot to do that. So, I just dumped two scrambled eggs on top of the veggies and fried them. I still works, but it’s not how fried rice is usually made.

Once the egg was cooked I threw in 2 cups of rice that I had made earlier in the day and let cool. With a wooden spoon I continuously broke up the rice and stirred it all in to get an even mix and to allow all of the rice to fry a little bit.

Once the rice is was all broken up I added a few tablespoons of soy sauce along with some black pepper and mixed it in really well. Then I tasted it for seasoning only to see that I needed a little more soy. So, I added a little more soy. It’s always best to start with less than you think you need. You can always add more, you can’t take any back at this point. At any rate, the rice turned out fantastic!

Oh, right before serving the rice I mixed in a bunch of chopped chives. We were at my buddy’s new place out in Jefferson Park and they have tons of chives growing in their backyard. So they gave us some for our cooking pleasure.

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Yuki did the cooking last night. There’s a popular bento dish called Sanshoku Bento, or three-color bento. It’s basically rice topped with some sort of ground meat, scrambled eggs, and some sort of vegetable. Hence, the name three-color. Drawing off of that, she ended up doing Yonshoku, or 4 colors.

For the meat we picked up some really good ground beef. Whole Foods had 85% grass-fed on sale, so we took advantage of that. She cooked it up with some garlic, ginger, sugar, soy, sake, mirin, and a little sesame oil. Not sure what measurements she used though.

For the eggs she simply scrambled a couple.

We had a Chinese eggplant in the fridge that needed to be used up, so she cooked it in soy, sake, and mirin.

For the green she used two vegetables. First, she boiled some broccoli. Then she wilted down some spinach in a little bit of soy sauce.

Not wanting to waste the broccoli water, she added the spinach juice to it and then boiled some mushrooms, carrot slices, green onion, and wakame in it for about 10 minutes or so. Then she added a little soy sauce and just a touch of sesame oil. Just before serving she mixed in about a tablespoon of miso.

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Another Meatless Monday in the books. I had some veggies and tofu I needed to use up so I made a vegetarian version of Mapo Tofu.

I chopped up half of an onion and sautéed it for a few minutes. Then I added a half-inch piece of ginger and two cloves of garlic, both grated. After a few minutes I threw in some green beans that I cut down to smaller pieces. A few more minutes and I added some diced baby eggplant  and some chopped mushrooms.

While that was all sautéing, in a hot skillet I poured in a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil and scrambled two eggs. The hot oil cooks the eggs up nice and fluffy. Once they were almost finished I put them on a plate off to the side.

Back to my veggies. I seasoned with salt and a lot of freshly ground Sichuan Peppercorns, that’s what will give it the numbing burn you need with a good Mapo Tofu. Then I added about three tablespoons of water just to deglaze some of the garlic and ginger bits on the bottom of the pan. After that I added three or four tablespoons of soy sauce and a spoonful of Korean Chili Paste, any kind of chili paste will work for the most part.

Once the sauce was nicely mixed I added the scrambled egg making sure it was broken into smaller pieces. Finally, I added a block of diced silken tofu that I had drained the water from. To drain the water I lined a plate with a couple of paper towels, laid the tofu on top, then a couple more paper towels, a cutting board, and then something to weigh it down a little. That sat in the fridge for about 45 minutes.

When the tofu was coated with the sauce and heated through the dish was ready, about 5 more minutes. I simply served it with plain white rice and a cold beer. Oh, right before I served it I threw in some chopped parsley. I did this only because I had some in the fridge and thought it would add a nice freshness to all the spice. It did.

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