Monday, March 17, 2008

Chicken & Daikon in Vinegar Soy Sauce Soup

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Tonight my wife made me corned beef with cabbage and potatoes, and of course, I had some Guinness as well. That was tasty.

During cold winter months, I made chicken and daikon boiled in soy sauce, mirin and sake numerous times. A couple of months ago when I held a potluck party, a friend of mine made chicken and egg boiled in soy sauce and vinegar (and mirin and sake), which tasted quite similar to my chicken and daikon (which I never had the chance to post here). My friend told me that using vinegar makes it healthier and it also makes the meat very tender. He also added that even though there are quite a bit of vinegar in it, you don't really taste the sourness. So, I had to give it a try myself.

IN JAPANESE: Tori to Daikon su nikomi
SERVES: 4 people

2.5 lb Chicken thighs, drumsticks or wings with bones in it
1 whole daikon (cut in about 1/2 inch thickness)
1 package of Tofu (optional)
2 boiled eggs (optional)
6 cups of water
1 TBsp of Dashi powder (about 6 shakes)
8 TBsp of Soy Sauce
6 TBsp of Vinegar
6 TBsp of Mirin
6 TBsp of Sake
1 clove of garlic chopped in half

Place the chicken in a large pot and cover that with water and set the burner to medium high. I measured about 6 cups of water, but if you are using smaller chicken pieces or larger pieces, the water you put in should cover most of the chicken. Add the dashi powder (I would say about 1 shake per cup of water you use).

While that pot is starting to cook, wash the daikon, slice it about 1/2 inch thickness. Peel the skin from each of the slices, and cut those in half (so each pieces look like half a circle). This really depends on how big of a daikon you got, but for 4 servings, you should have total of 12-18 of half circle daikon pieces. When you are done cutting them, the water should be boiling, and add the daikon to the pot and lower the heat to low.

Also peel one clove of garlic, and chop that in half and throw that in the pot as well.

By this time there should be some foamy stuff on the top. Be sure to take those out with spoon and throw it out (but try not to take out the oily part as that gives the rich flavor!).

When most of the foamy stuff is taken out (as you continue to cook, more will appear, which you can take out) add the soy sauce, mirin, sake and vinegar. For every cup of water you used, use 1 TBsp of everything, except soy sauce use about 1.25 TBsp. And like I said before, you can hardly taste any vinegar when everything is cooked.

If you want to make this dinner more filling, you can put in some tofu and boiled egg, which I ended up doing.

Put on the lid, make sure the heat is still set to low, and let it simmer for about an hour. Some of the chicken or daikon or anything else you put in may be above the soup, so occasionally stir the pot around so everything can get even amount of flavor soaking.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Crab Lettuce Fried Rice

Wow. It's been over a year now since the last blog entry. I hadn't updated this blog or answered people's comments, but recently I've noticed a sudden surge of traffic to this blog and some nice comments from people that have tried my recipe. Thanks!

So, I decided to start this blog again. Not sure how often I can update it, maybe once a week, but realistically let's say at least a couple of times a month. And to celebrate this re-start of this blog, I wanted to do something fancy, but I knew that would delay my start again, so I'm going with another easy recipe. I guess this is why this blog is called Easy Japanese recipes.

IN JAPANESE: Kani Lettuce Cha-han
CATEGORY: Rice/Noodles
SERVES: 2 people

2 bowls of rice
1 can of crab meat (or shrimp for cheaper alternative)
4-5 Finely chopped shrimp (optional)
1/2 onion
1 egg (beaten with 1 TBsp of crab juice from the can)
1/2 TBsp vegetable oil
1/2 TBsp sesame oil
1 half inch piece of ginger (see TIP: Ginger)
1 green onion finely chopped
1 TBsp mayonaise
2 handful of lettuce leaves
some salt
some pepper

This is another great thing to cook when you have some leftover rice. On a heated wok, pour both vegetable and sesame oil. When the oil is well heated, saute the onion until it is well cooked, and add the chopped shrimp now if they are raw (if they are pre-cooked ones, add it when you add the crab later).

While that is being cooked, beat the egg with some crab juice from the can (about 1 table spoon) in a separate bowl. When the onion (and raw shrimp) are mostly cooked push them to one side of the wok, and scramble the egg on the open side of the wok.

When the egg is fully cooked, add the rice, chopped green onion, crab meat (and cooked shrimp if you are adding) and a tablespoon of mayo and mix well. Don't worry you won't taste this mayo. It's mostly in there to give it a bit of shine. When all that is mostly mixed, add the lettuce. How much lettuce? I normally tear a few leaves to be about a little larger than a bite size (they shrink), and I add one handful of that per serving (so in this case, two handfuls, which is about 1/4 of the whole lettuce).

Right after the lettuce is added, shred the ginger, shake some salt and pepper to your liking and serve. I tried to serve it by putting it in a bowl first and flipping that out onto a plate to make it look like regular fried rice presentation, but for this one with lettuce in it, it's better to just scoop and serve on a plate.