JAPANESE MONTH: A SIMPLE ART: One Pot Dishes, Noodles
Please use this thread to discuss and review recipes from the chapters about one pot cooking, one pot dishes, and noodles.
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Noodle Dipping Sauce, Noodles in a Basket p 311-312
Inspired by some recent reviews in the Japanese cotm companion thread, this was for dinner on a sultry summer night, and it was perfect to beat the heat.
The noodle sauce is a salty, smoky, lip-smackingly delicious combination of dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and a touch of sugar that is brought to a boil, then a heavy handed amount of bonito flakes are tossed in. I realized far too late in the game that I was nearly out of bonito, and so had to use way less than was called for. This sauce was delicious nonetheless, and I suspect because I used Tsuji's version of dashi, which already has plenty of the fish flakes, it was already packed full of flavour and so wasn't missed as much. The sauce is strained and chilled. I made a half recipe and still have leftovers.
To serve, this goes with the cold cooked soba sprinkled with toasted nori, and a side of grated daikon, sliced green onions, and wasabi for applying to one's taste. I added a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds as well as a dusting of shichimi togaroshi, and served alongside blanched cold greens steeped in a dashi-soy broth. A wonderful light meal that left me wanting for nothing.
Noodle Broth pg. 310
Handmade Japanese Noodles, Soba version, pg 308
Tempura Noodles pg. 456
First the broth. What a joy, and incredibly easy to boot. I was making a half batch so one batch of Tsuji's Dashi yielded just the right amount, bring that to a boil add salt, dark &light soy, sugar and mirin. He suggests straining it, but I can't see why, mine was perfectly clear as was. That's it. I'm now on my third type of mirin each one better than the last (sayonara corn syrup and added sugar), this one is good enough to use until it is gone, and what a difference it makes to the balance and flavor of these dishes.
Next the handmade soba. Total and complete fail. I've attempted hand made soba a few times in the past, including using Tsuji's recipe w/o egg yolk, this time I tried the added egg yolk and it was the worst batch ever. The dough tore like crazy and wouldn't fold at all. I just gave up and used commercial dried soba. Please someone tell me what is the "secret" to home made soba?
But all was not lost, the Tempura Soba came together fine, I used a combination of vegetable (sweet potato, onion, cauliflower, green beans) and shrimp tempura. I did try arranging a few pieces in the noodle bowl, but gave up on that quickly, and just served the tempura on side plates. Anyway, the broth, soba, tempura combination is just wonderful and we enjoyed our Friday night kick off the weekend dinner very much.
Thanks, it was good, I think Mr SMT is in for a treat if you do make it. Funny, I have just the opposite problem....Mr. QN can't get enough of Japanese, while I'm ready for some Thai or Sichuan food.... oh, well banking some "my choice" credits for Greek month, more my thing than his.
Chicken One-Pot (Mizutaki) pg. 262
Prepping this it seemed like the dullest dish in the world. I really thought it was going to be a disaster. Boy was I wrong. This made a delightful, flavorful winter dinner, that I would serve again, even to company, in a heartbeat.
The process is simple enough, put lightly blanched cut up bone & skin on chicken pieces (I used a combination of drumsticks, a thigh and chicken backs) in a pot with cold water and a piece of kombu, bring slowly to the boil, just at the boil remove the kombu, simmer the chicken for 20-30 minutes, skimming as needed. This did need several skims, but worth it as the result was a lovely clear broth. When the chicken is just cooked through remove the pieces to a platter, moistening them with some of the broth. Reserve the chicken & broth. Meanwhile prep the vegetables and noodles.
The basic recipe has Chinese cabbage, fresh shitakes, carrots and trefoil listed for veggies, and harusame as noodle/starch. In the notes/variations he lists some other options. I went with the following: Chinese cabbage, blanched and then rolled and then cut into rounds, carrots, 3 dried shitake re-hydrated (sneaked a few tablespoons of the hydrating water into the broth before serving), watercress and spinach (in place of the elusive trefoil), enoki (in place of fresh shitake), yakidofu (grilled dofu, seemed like a good way to use up a lonely small block of bean-curd that was lurking in the fridge. I was really surprised by how easy it was to gill bean-curd), and kuzukiri (thought I'd bought harusame last week, but it looks like I got kuzukiri, I doubt it mattered that much, to me starch noodles all pretty much taste the same, anyway that's what I told myself when I realized what I'd done). It sounds like a long list of ingredients, but since most of this is used in smallish quantities and the prep is wash or soak, slice if needed, it comes together fast.
For the dipping sauce, grate red maple radish (i.e. daikon w/ dried chili), place in individual dipping bowls, add ponzu and a little yu-zu or lemon peel.
The final assembly can be done on the stove top or at the table. Chicken and broth go into the donabe (table top induction cooking pot here), and the various veggies and the noodles are added to simmer for a few minutes. We actually added the vegges and so forth as we went along, sort of fondue style, so that nothing over cooked, and added the kuzukiri toward the end, finishing the meal with the noodles and a little broth in our dipping bowls (kind of Chinese style).
The flavors were delightful and balanced, the ponzu dipping sauce really brightens the vegetables wonderfully. But the most impressive thing was the broth. Really a revelation how well the chicken and kombu flavors combined, just incredibly tasty.
I think that this is what's been keeping me from trying these hot pot dishes: they seem extraordinarily uninteresting. I am pleased to hear that it is not the case.
Did you actually brave winter to go out and grill the tofu? I wonder whether broiling and/or pan frying would have the same effect, as I keep finding myself with odd bits of tofu this month. This sounds like a great new way to use it up.
Well I'm one to grill all winter, the cold doesn't stop me but the fact that lighting is dismal should; don't know how many things I've destroyed for not being able to see what I am doing! Anyway, we are having a really incredibly mild winter, so not a problem weather wise this year. But to answer your real question, Andoh suggests broiling as an alternative, and I don't see why it wouldn't work.
This dish really was flavorful. Not chili-pepper garlic flavorful, but serious deep umami flavor. The chicken/kombu broth was just wonderful We eat a lot of Chinese hot pot with lots of dried spices, ginger and scallion in the broth, and either sesame-chili paste dipping sauce, or anchovy-chili dipping sauce, and with that training I thought this would bore us. Not at all!