Saturday, October 22, 2011

Marinated tuna bento 鮪の漬け弁当

This is another way to present a one bowl "donburi" dish. Instead of a bowl, (which is "donburi" 丼 in Japanese),  however, I used a rectangular Japanese lacquer box. This is a very common presentation for grilled eels called "una-juu" うな重. (Lacquered square vessels are called "juubako" 重箱、since they can be stacked, "juubako"  means stacked boxes). Mine was not a "juubako" but a two-tiered bento box, so I will call this dish "marinated tuna bento" but I could have called this dish "tuna-juu" ツナ重. This beautiful Japanese lacquer bento box in "Tsugaru-nuri" 津軽塗 (see the picture below) is from Northern Japan (Tsugaru is an area near Aomori 青森). It was a gift I received a long time ago from one of my friends but I have not used it for many years. For this occasion, it was perfect since this has two stackable rectangular compartments.

This post is actually the continuation of a "fresh wasabi rhizome" post. That means the center of attention is the small mound of wasabi in the picture below. The rest of the dish was just to highlight the wasabi (this could be a case of the tail wagging the dog). I made marinated tuna or 鮪の漬け for this. This time I marinated the tuna overnight which made the texture of the tuna somewhat slimy which may not sound appetizing but many Japanese like this particular texture in marinated tuna.

I made the marinade as I posted before (a mixture of soy sauce, sake, juice of grated ginger, and ground roasted white sesame seeds). I did my "yubiki" 湯引き preparation as before, sliced the tuna and marinated it in the refrigerator.

I made sushi rice and spread it on the bottom of the bento box. I then covered the surface with marinated tuna. As garnish, I used Jabara-cut cucumber, avocado, scallion (briefly microwaved with splash of sesame oil), strips of nori and perilla. Of course, the most important garnish is the freshly grated wasabi.

I served it with miso soup (see above, with tofu, scallion and wakame seaweed).

The slightly slimy texture of the tuna, of course, does not brother me and even my wife sort of liked it. We spread a little of the wasabi on the each slice of tuna before eating. The is a sublime combination of flavors and textures. We almost used up this small wasabi daikon after all these dishes.

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