Japanese (and other Asian) foods

Following my attempt to become somewhat decent at making sushi and sashimi, I’m also trying to cook Japanese (inspired) food a bit more often. I have to immediately say that I’m not even trying to make the impression that these dishes are authentic Japanese, but lets hope I’m somewhat close.

A mixture of new stuff

This weekend I had some friends over for dinner. I figured I would serve rice with lots of Korean and Japanese inspired fixings, so everyone could have a choice of what to eat. I have to say, this meal turned out to be great; probably one of the only very few times I was honestly pleased with the food I made.

The parts of the meal I will discuss here are the braised lotus root, daikon, cucumber pickles, karaage and green beans.

Lotus root is new to me. I had no idea what to expect, and went in pretty much blind following a recipe sent to me by a friend. As I could only get frozen, pre-sliced lotus root, I thawed the lotus root in water and let stand for a good half hour. Afterwards I blanched the roots for 5 minutes, drained and rinsed. Then I pan fried the roots in some sunflower oil for a good few minutes per side until they developed some kind of a crust. I proceeded by braising the roots in water and soy sauce (omitted the garlic), followed by adding sugar (about 20 grams less than the recipe prescribes, #healthy) and reducing. I really liked this dish and will be making it again!

For the Daikon, I followed a recipe from the book ‘Japan’ from Nancy Singleton, which basically involves boiling the daikon (cut into half moons) in water with konbu until tender (al dente, I’d say), and dressing with a miso/mirin mixture and sprinkling with shichimi togarashi. I really liked this way of eating daikon as the radish flavor (not a huge fan) is not too present. Will definitely be making again, but need to work on presentation.

The cucumber pickles are quite straight forward, and follow this recipe (except that I couldn’t be bothered with putting them in the fridge for a couple days. Japanese pickles is definitely something I need to work on in the future.

For the karaage I followed this recipe. The chicken was very flavorful! I made sure I didn’t fry too much chicken in one go, so the crust was nice and crispy. Probably the first time I’ve been somewhat happy with fried chicken I made.

Karaage served with Japanese mayo and shichimi togarashi

The green beans I had made once before, and are dressed with miso, sesame and firm tofu. This recipe allows me to use a suribachi I bought, which of course doesn’t add much in terms of flavor but using it definitely gives me a little bit of an authentic feeling. I like this dish a lot, it certainly makes eating vegetables a lot more delicious.

Suribachi to grind sesame seeds for green beans