the hinata diaries

Friday, January 20, 2006

Japanese for beginners 2

Been a while since my last post - my trusty camera that had suffered shocks and bumps through the highlands of southwest China, the cathedrals of Spain, the temples of Kyoto and numerous memorable nights finally met its end on a particularly madcap night at Ministry of Sound :( I'm not too sure if it was the fall, the alcohol or the obscene goings-on that did it in...

Sure, it didn't take pictures very well at night (as you can see) and sure it was somewhat battered, but I was just getting used to carrying it around in my bag wherever I went, looking to snap the next interesting meal that appeared... plus it had the most amazing battery life and was a rather fetching shade of obiang green...

A moment of silence, please? *sniffle*

On the bright side, my camera isn't completely dead, it's just that the screen is broken. So I could always be retro and take pics using the little viewfinder and only review them when I get back home and hook it up to the computer... back to the stone ages!

Until I have excuse enough to get a new camera, I've been using Philippe's, which is (surprise surprise) the exact same model, just in a different colour... which means the grainy tinted dinner shots you've come to expect at Aventures d'une Cocotte will prevail (bet you're thrilled ;) )

To all detractors, donations towards a state-of-the-art camera are welcome!

Anyway, today's post is Japanese for Beginners 2, following an overwhelming craving for more mentaiko pasta. And since Philippe hadn't tried it, it was a good excuse to concoct another little casual Japanese dinner at home and play with all my funny Meidi-ya ingredients. End of the day, I'm really surprised at how simple Japanese food can be if you have the right ingredients. On to dinner...

Wakame and Leeks with Wasabi Dressing

I love the wakame you get in restaurants so was quite happy to figure out how to recreate it. Dried wakame can be found in the seaweed aisle of most Japanese supermarkets. Surprisingly, they're in very little pieces when you shake them out of the pack, almost like the dried veggie bits you get in instant noodles. But a couple of minutes soaking inflates them up to the familiar ribbon shape. Toss in a bit of Japanese vinegar and you're done.

The leeks were steamed on their own, then lightly brushed with dressing made from wasabi, mirin and soba dipping sauce that brought out the natural sweet and spicy flavour of the leeks.

Seared Scallops in a Yuzu-laced Ponzu Sauce

Got a couple of nice big scallops (hotate) from Meidi-ya, where I also picked up a pack of dried yuzu rind. Since this was my special invention of the night, I guess it warrants a proper write-up:

  • 2 large scallops (hotate)
  • Dried yuzu rind, approximately 6-8 slivers
  • Ponzu sauce, store bought
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • Bit of butter

Soak the yuzu rind for 3 minutes in a minimal amount of warm water. Squeeze yuzu rind dry and reserve water, which is now somewhat yuzu scented. Mix water with ponzu sauce.

Pan sear scallops in a dab of butter. Serve scallops on ponzu sauce and top with yuzu rind, serve hot.

To be honest, I didn't expect the yuzu rind to have that much of an impact on the scallops, and initially wondered if I should steam the scallops with the rind instead. Surprisingly though, those little bits pack a punch (which is probably why yuzu rind is so treasured in Japan) and the scallops were unmistakably scented with the lemony-orangey fragrance. The ponzu sauce then balanced this with a light tartness. Pretty fancy for something that took 5 minutes to prepare!

Mentaiko Pasta

Read Joone and my recipe here. Couple of pics though, just to demonstrate how sad my plating abilities are compared to Joone (I try to make up for it though with generosity with the good stuff, see second pic!)

What can I say? I guess as a wannabe cool food blogger I shouldn't be blogging the same dish twice in a month, but seriously, this stuff is gooooooood. Philippe went nuts, polishing off his bowl and offering to finish mine for me (mind you we were having dinner at midnight and our tummies usually shut down a couple of hours before).

Morinaga Pudding

Lastly, got some store bought Japanese pudding for dessert, basically a bastardized (and very wobbly) creme caramel. Sweet as hell but served its purpose in cutting through the mayonnaise and pasta from earlier. Would recommend this for really indulgent nights in front of the TV. (By indulgent I don't mean ooh what a lovely treat but rather ooh let's try to self-induce diabetes on the sofa, if you're into that sorta thing.)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home