The monthly challenge set at Chef Across Boundaries was hosted by me for the month of June. After going through a wonderful experience of exploring Brazilian food last month, this month i decide to go for JAPANESE CUISINE. The only Japanese food i knew till date was Sushi. Wanted to explore more hence did a bit research before i could actually decide to go for it. Through internet research i came to know that Japanese cuisine (和食, washoku) offers an abundance of gastronomical delights with a boundless variety of regional and seasonal dishes as well as international cuisine. The Japanese cuisine offers a great variety of dishes and regional specialties. Some of the most popular Japanese and Japanized dishes are categorized into rice dishes, seafood dishes, noodle dishes, nabe dishes, meat dishes, soya bean dishes, yoshoku dishes and other dishes. The traditional food of Japan is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes, with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. The side dishes often consist of fish, pickled vegetables, and vegetables cooked in broth. Fish is common in the traditional cuisine. It is often grilled, but it may also be served raw as sashimi or in sushi. Seafood and vegetables are also deep-fried in a light batter as tempura. Apart from rice, staples include noodles, such as soba and udon. Japan has many simmered dishes such as fish products in broth called oden, or beef in sukiyaki and nikujaga. Foreign food, in particular Chinese food in the form of noodles in soup called ramen and fried dumplings, gyoza, and western food such as curry and hamburger steaks are commonly found in Japan. In Japanese cuisine, traditional Japanese sweets are known as wagashi. Ingredients such as red bean paste and mochi are used.
The challenge was tough yet very interesting. Was a learning experience and i thoroughly enjoyed making a soup and a snack dessert.
Today under Japanese cuisine i made Dangos. It is a Japanese dumpling and sweet made from mochiko (rice flour), related to mochi. It is often served with green tea. Dango is eaten year-round, but the different varieties are traditionally eaten in given seasons. Three to four dango are often served on a skewer. Recipe adapted from http://www.food.com/recipe/dango-sweet-japanese-dumplings-303655 (though i did some variations too)
Also made Chicken Udon Soup , which is loaded with chicken, veges, and udon noodles in a rich broth. It’s super easy to make and it hits the spot when you’re in the mood for a hearty Japanese soup. If you want to make it extra special….add a few pieces of shrimp tempura to the bowl. You’ll be hooked for sure!! (recipe i got from one of my old Japanese friend)
- In a large bottomed pan add the broth and minced ginger, soy sauce, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
- Now add carrots and simmer for few minutes.
- Next add the chicken, cabbage, mushrooms, sweet corn kernels and some onions. Return to a simmer and gently simmer for about 5 minutes. Adjust salt.
- Meanwhile cook noodles in another pan, drain and keep aside.
- Take a serving soup bowl, pile the noodles in between and pour the soup all over. Sprinkle left over spring onions.
- In a frying pan make a sunny side up. For making sunny side up, heat the pan with few drops of oil. Break the egg directly on the pan and adjust salt. Do not flip the egg. Let it cook from the bottom side only. This is know as sunny side up.
- Place the egg above the udon soup and serve hot with some extra udon noodles.
- Combine rice flour and powdered sugar and sift them together. Keep aside.
- Boil water in a pan with 1 tbsp clarified butter.
- Remove water from flame and now slowly start adding rice flour mix. Keep stirring. Break lumps if formed. Keep stirring till it thickens to form a smooth dough.
- Set aside to cool. Divide the dough into two parts.
- Add pink color or any other color of your choice to one part of the dough and knead well.
- Pinch a lemon sized ball from both white and pink dough one by one and roll between your palm to make Dango (round ball).
- Heat a steamer and place the dangos to steam in high flame for 15-20mins.
- Switch off the steamer and place the dangos on a wire rack to cool.
- Place them simultaneously on a skewer and serve as evening snack or dessert.
You can use various colors and shapes for making dangos. Dangos are best served with green tea.