Thursday, March 26, 2009

eat your veggies (and some fish)

Dinner for the past couple of days was an assortment of different fish and veggies.

On my bowl of rice was kugini (which literally means simmered nails), ikanago (Japanese sand lance) is simmered in shoyu (soy sauce), ginger, sugar, mirin (sweet rice wine), sake (rice wine) & mizuame (starch syrup, like corn syrup) until it is caramelized.

This is a famous dish in Kobe, many families have their own variation of the dish. This is usually seen in the stores during Spring. Apparently there was a large oil spill in the waters off of Kobe recently, so the ikanago is quite sparse this year and the price of kugini is said to be expensive.

With some gobo (burdock) I had sitting in the refrig, I made kinpira. The hardest and most time consuming part of this recipe was whittling the gobo.

Kinpira from Hideo Makuuchi's "Soshoku no susume": Spring recipes : Serves 2 or more depending on your serving size

1 gobo (burdock), about 40 cm long (about 15 in) whittled
1 carrot, julienned
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sake (rice wine)
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
sliced chili pepper
sesame seeds

Heat a pan, add oil
Add the gobo and carrots, coat well in oil
Add sake, mirin, shoyu and chili and cook until liquid evaporates.
Top with sesame seeds.

The second dish I found on Obachan's blog. She has lots of delicious adventures in Kochi, Shikoku. If you have a chance you should check her site out.

This recipe uses Spring cabbage which is in season now. Spring cabbage is different from the normal cabbage you see in the store because the leaves are tender. Her recipe uses the microwave but since I don't normally use the microwave, I made this on the stove.

Spring Cabbage Tuna Salad : Serves 2 or more depending on your serving size.
1/4 spring cabbage
1 can tuna, drained
2 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
ra-yu (chili oil), to taste
sesame seed

Cut cabbage into bite sized pieces and wash.
Add to a heated non-stick pan and cook for about 3 minutes.
During the 3 minutes, cover to steam, stir and check until cabbage starts to wilt.
Add the tuna, honey, shoyu and mix well.
Add ra-yu, I added about 7 drops.
Top with sesame seeds.

In the small dish was rakkyo. Lately we've been hooked on these bambucha (huge) rakkyo (pickled scallions) from Miyazaki prefecture.

I liked these dishes, it was a great way to get in my veggies and some fish.

It is Spring, though the temperature here feels more like Winter...what have you been eating for dinner?


KirkK said...

Hi Kat - Yes, trimming and cutting the gobo is a bit of a pain as well.

Kathy YL Chan said...

Thanks for the recipes! Clean and fresh! My new job allows for more reasonable hours, so I've been cooking at home more recently :D

Anonymous said...

Question: I know you aren't a nutritionist, but I've always wondered why modern Japanese don't eat more of their vegetables raw. The accepted American way of thinking is that simmering "cooks away all the vitamins," but I guess that isn't true for Japanese nutritional (?) thinking. Hmmm. Do you have any resources which might be able to explain the difference in thinking?

Rowena said...

Interesting bit on the spring cabbage...I had no idea! We are thinking along the same lines because yesterday we went veggie shopping. Just can't wait until I'm able to "shop" in my garden! :lol:

K and S said...

Kirkk, it does take time but makes for good kinpira :)

I hope you enjoy these Kathy :)

My FIL was diabetic Anon, he wasn't allowed to eat any raw veggies, everything had to be cooked or at least doused with hot water. I can't remember exactly why, but I think it was to either break down the carbs or proteins. In America everyone eats salads as an entree but it is non-existent at most restaurants here. I think vegetables are cooked here because this is their culture. In fact, most people here suffer from constipation, which I cannot believe as almost everyone is so slim! I hope this answers your question.

Take care everyone.

K and S said...

Actually they have spring onions too, really tender and sweet, gonna post about that soon Rowena. Can't wait until you show us the fruit from your garden.

Take care.

Deb in Hawaii said...

It all looks delicious. I especially like the idea of the spring cabbage with the tuna--sounds like a good comfort food dish.

K and S said...

Thanks Deb, I really appreciated that they were fast and delicious :)

Take care.