Wafu 和风 (Japanese Style) Braised Eggplants – Simply Wonderful!

#5 wafu 和风 (japanese braised) eggplants - this dish was simply excellent!

wafu 和风 (japanese braised) eggplants

japanese is a very wide cuisine like chinese, indian, french, italian (whereas my impression is korean cuisine is quite limited).

in japanese cooking there are so many very nice side dishes and great combination of different dishes even in a simple bento at the railway station.

& in kaiseki they always have many diffferent types of appetizers, steamed, broiled, poached, boiled, stewed, braised, vinegared, cured, stir-fired, grilled, hotpot, really endless array of dishes.

for my recent 9pax japanese course dinner on 28.9.2015, i paired the shabu pork with grated radish & small japanese cucumbers.

& i wanted to pair the wafu (和风) pasta with teriyaki cod & a veg.

after surfing/looking up a bit, i found a simple interesting wafu (和风) braised eggplant recipe from japanesecooking101 here.

following the recipe, i cut 2 egg plants in 1/2, then sliced the egg plants (this to let the sauce infused into the egg plants), then cut in 1/2 again, so i have 8 quarters. i fried them a bit, turned over, then added 1 cup dashi (i used chicken/vegetable stock), 1 tbsp tsuyu, 1 tbsp mirin, 1 tbsp sake (basically to taste) & reduced & set aside. when serving i reduced a little further while warming up & served. 🙂

wafu 和风 (japanese braised) eggplants

wafu 和风 (japanese braised) eggplants

the wafu 和风 (japanese braised) eggplants was simply excellent! this the first time i did a japanese braised eggplant. it’s so easy & the taste was just fantastic!^^

egg plant is really a very nice veg. you can do it in so many ways.

i had very nice eggplants with minced pork in hong kong at 富记大排档 at tai wai, and i recreated the minced pork egg plant dish at home,

and later a vegetarian version of the egg plant dish. 🙂

& i still want to do the chinese version though (i like the ye shanghai one very much). don’t think much difference, probably just use oysters sauce instead.

a wonderful, most satisfying dish! ^^

c.h.e.f andy

Oven Slow-braised Chashu (Japanese Braised Belly Pork for Ramen)

chashumen

chashumen

have not done any blogging on recipes for a while.

lately, after seeing some internet recipes on cooking Japanese chashu (see a very good one by http://www.seriouseats.com on chashu pork), I did a few attempts myself, with some reasonable success. 🙂

I had also in fact undertaken a 10pax homegourmet dinner recently on 11.6.2013, where I also served 10 bowls of chasumen, which was rather well received. 🙂 the top photo (and the one right at the bottom) were taken during that dinner. 🙂

chashu (Japanese oven slow-braised pork belly)

chashu (Japanese oven slow-braised pork belly)

now on the cooking. I blanched a 300g belly pork in boiling water to remove the scums & then rinsed with slow running water.  I then used a string (butcher twine) to tie the pork belly to make the semi-circular shape. 🙂 I prepared the braising sauce which comprised 1/2 cup sake, 1/2 cup mirin, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoon light soy sauce and 1 cup water. I added sliced ginger (3cm block), 4 peeled garlic cloves, 1 stalk spring onions, 1 shallot quartered and heat till boiling. I added the belly pork & transfer to a preheated oven at 130degC for 1/2hr. I then let the oven cooled and set to 90degC and left the belly pork to slowly braise over 2hrs. 🙂

chashu (Japanese oven slow-braised pork belly)

chashu (Japanese oven slow-braised pork belly)

the result was a very tender texture of belly pork including the skin. 🙂 & it was sweet & tasty from the sauce marinade. 🙂

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the above photos were from my very first attempt.

just to add – I have now perfected the 6 minutes runny yoke egg (will make a separate recipe post later!). also though the chashu would go very well with the regular ramen, I prefer the much lighter version using the thin Japanese noodles, especially when this carbo item is served as part of a 8-course menu. 🙂

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the bowl on the right with the runny york egg was from the recent 10pax homegourmet dinner on 11.6.2013. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 300g belly pork
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1 shallot quartered
  • 1 stalk spring onions
  • 3cm ginger (sliced)

Directions:

  1. blanch 300g belly pork in boiling water to remove the scums & then rinse with slow running water.  use a string (butcher twine) to tie the pork belly to make the semi-circular shape.
  2. prepare the braising sauce which comprises 1/2 cup sake, 1/2 cup mirin, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoon light soy sauce, and 1 cup water. add sliced ginger (3cm block), 4 peeled garlic cloves, 1 stalk spring onions, 1 shallot quartered and heat till boiling.
  3. add the belly pork & transfer to a preheated oven at 130degC for 1/2hr. let the oven cool and set to 90degC and leave the belly pork to slowly braise over 2hrs. serve or store in fridge for future use.

1500yen Kuroge Wagyu (黑毛和牛) Lunch Set (sashimi, grilled & braised wagyu) on 14Apr2013

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kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) sashimi

was considering couple recommended yakiniku restaurants in Shinjuku like Kurumaya & Jojoen (which was also highly recommended by a good friend).

I found Jojoen (叙々苑) with little difficulty at 7F of a building just across the road from Shinjuku East Exit. 🙂 as was shown on the website, Jojoen had quite good 1700yen & 2700yen set lunches, both were Japanese beef (国产牛) but not kuroge. It had good lunch traffic and was clearly a popular restaurant. I had wanted to try out Kurumaya as it had a lunch kaiseki set which included beef for 5500yen so I continued on. however I was not able to locate Kurumaya w/o my map & GPS (as I did not subscribe to the unlimited roaming service on 14apr2013).

as I was walking up the streets to get back to the Jojeon locality I chanced upon this 1500yen kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) lunch set. I decided to give it a go and was happily very well rewarded for my adventurous spirit..haha. 🙂

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the set included 4 slices of kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) sashimi – I just love beef sashimi – and they were very sweet, tasty, not chewy & w/o residue. :-).

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1500yen kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) lunch set

there was also the grilled wagyu. of course I was not expecting some top grade kuroge & anyway it was really very nice & tasty even though it was not the highly marbled “pang” (fragrant) variety. 🙂

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kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) grilled

and I had always like braised beef, and the japanese way of braising beef & belly pork using mirin, sugar & soy sauce was a very nice recipe which I liked. 🙂

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kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) braised pot

The shop name was in hiragana or something so I tried but was unable to locate the shop on internet. anyway I was quite sure that I would have no difficulty to physically locate this place again.

yakiniku shop at Shinjuku kabukicho

yakiniku shop at Shinjuku kabukicho

I was very happy with the cheap& good lunch which included everything I wanted – sashimi, grilled steak & braised pot. I am sure to be back here again next time I visit Shinjuku. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Oven Slow-roast Pork Belly

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oven slow-roast pork belly

I have NOT been too successful when it comes to cooking belly pork. First, it is really not so healthy to be eating belly pork often & my family members are not really crazy over it. The more successful pork belly dish I have made is kakuni – Japanese slow-braised pork belly.

Anyhow I wanted a wider selection of dishes for my homecooked makan (meal) gatherings, so I still somewhat doggedly try out different cooking methods for pork belly. I find GR (Gordon Ramsay)’s crackling skin pressed pork belly too difficult to make, so I try out various slow-roast to get a dish that is good enough for my purpose.

The best version I have created is in the top picture. I did that when my youngest 19-year old daughter invited 14 friends to the house for lunch on the 3rd day of the recent Chinese New Year, 2013.

I use a square-cut block of belly pork, place it in boiling water for like 10seconds, then place it in cold water, wipe it clean & dry with kitchen towel or airdry in fridge. I then rub the belly pork with white sugar (but not the skin), place it in a baking dish skin-side up, drizzle Chinese old shaoxing wine (陈年绍兴酒) & then olive oil over it. I cover the baking dish with aluminium foil & place it in a preheated 175degC oven for 1/2 hr. I remove the dish from the oven, turn over the belly pork so it is skin-side down & drizzle 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, & letting the oven cool. I then preset the oven to 90degC on the low heat function and leave it for 3/4hr, turnover once again for another 3/4hr. So the total time is 2hrs.

The end result is the picture above, though the belly pork is looking pretty with a nice pink, it is fully cooked. That is my best production with this method so far.

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oven slow-roast pork belly

I tried it again for my recent gathering of friends, with a slight variation. Instead of the low heat function, I use the normal function still set to 90degC. The result is the one below. The texture of the fat & meat is still as good & soft, the skin is just very little bit tougher. One addition I made is the Spanish spicy mustard sauce. This is a really nice concoction & together with the original sauce from the belly pork (after passing through a sieve) made 2 very nice dipping sauce for the belly pork. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 1 block square cut belly pork (about 350g)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Chinese old shaoxing wine (陈年绍兴酒)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce

For spicy Spanish mustard sauce:

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cut chilli padi
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Prepare the belly pork – place it in boiling water for like 10seconds, then place it in cold water, wipe it clean & dry with kitchen towel or airdry in fridge.  rub the belly pork with white sugar (but not the skin), place it in a baking dish skin-side up, drizzle Chinese old shaoxing wine (陈年绍兴酒) & then olive oil over it.
  2. Cook the belly pork – cover the baking dish with aluminium foil & place it in a preheated 175degC oven for 1/2 hr. remove the dish from the oven, turn over the belly pork so it is skin-side down & drizzle 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, & letting the oven cool.  preset the oven to 90degC on the low heat function and leave it for 3/4hr, turnover once again for another 3/4hr. total time is 2hrs. remove from oven, rest & serve.
  3. Make spicy Spanish mustard sauce – put a teaspoon of dijon mustard in a small bowl, add 1 cut chilli padi, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, and 2 teaspoon olive oil. mix well.