Sunday, February 28, 2016

Grilled cod marinated in sake lees 鱈の粕漬け焼き

Sake lees or "sakekasu" 酒粕 is the residue of fermented rice or moromi もろみ after the sake is pressed. There are many forms of sake lees but it usually comes in sheets like the one I got. It consists of  fermented rice, sake yeast, with some residual alcohol. I bought this some time ago. I froze it and completely forgot about it until a few days ago. I can immediately think of three dishes to make from this; 1. Amazake 甘酒 which is sake lees sweetened and diluted with hot water. It is a classic drink of choice for girl's day celebration (March 3rd). It is too sweet for me and I never liked it. 2. Kasu-jiru 粕汁 is a soup made with dissolved sake lees (with or without miso) with vegetables and fish. This is much better than amazake and perfect for a cold winter's night and 3. Kasuzuke 粕漬け meaning "sake lees marinated". For this dish, the marinade is called "Kasudoko" 酒粕床. Fish, meat or vegetables can be marinated with this. If fish or meat is used it can then be grilled. The most famous vegetable kasuzuke is "Narazuke"  奈良漬け which originated in the oldest capital of Japan "Nara" where sake brewing as we know it may have originated.  Among these dishes, I like the sake lees marinated grilled fish best. So, I decided to make sake lees marinade base and then marinate cod and grill it. The fish needs to be marinated for at least 2-3 days in the refrigerator before grilling. 

I grilled the marinated cod in our toaster oven. This has to be done very carefully because it is very easy to "burn".

I served this with cucumber onion salad and cucumber, daikon and red radish asazuke 浅漬け.

Sake lee marinade base "Kasu-doko" 酒粕床
Sake lees: one package, 300grams, frozen.
Miso: 30grams
Sugar: 3 tbs
Salt 1/2 tsp
Sake and hot water: as needed depending on how dry sake lees is (see direction).

1. I broke the sake lees in to small chunks (#1). Since my sake lee was kind of dry, I added about 50ml of hot water and covered and let it steep to soften. 
2. I added miso, sugar and initially using a potato masher and then switched to a silicon spatula to mix as I added sake in small increments (probably ended up using about 100ml, #2).

3. I mixed it well until the sugar dissolved, then mixed in the miso until I attained the consistency of soft miso. The amount of hot water and sake totally depends on how dry the sake lees was to start with (#3).
4. I placed the sake lees mixture to sealable flat container (#4).

Preparation for cod:

I got two pieces of cod filet; serving for two. I washed and patted it dry using sheets of paper towel. I salted both sides and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

I dried the surface again using paper towels and placed the filets in the sake lees marinade above (making sure all the surfaces of the fish were covered, see picture below). The fish needs to be marinated at least 3 days to have a nice somewhat pungent (but not fishy) flavor.

This is after three days. I carefully scraped off the sake lees marinade. Depending on your preference, you could leave some sake lee marinade attached but it is very easily burnt. I quickly washed off and then dried the fish it by blotting with sheets of paper towel before grilling.

I grilled it using our toaster oven.  Some moisture will develop during grilling so I placed a metal grate on a shallow baking pan and placed the fish 1 inch below the grilling element. I cooked one side 5-7 minutes until occasional brown spots appeared. I carefully turned it over and grilled the other side for several more minutes.

This technique can be used for other fish such as salmon but I like cod the best. Since cod or white fish does not have a strong flavor but does have a nice flaky texture, kasuzuke treatment really adds a nice albeit a bit pungent (but not fishy) flavor to the fish. This was somewhat nostalgic to me since I have not had cod kasuzuke for a long time. This is a lot of work but kasudoko can be frozen and can be used multiple times. I divided the kasudoko into two sealable containers; one for fish or meat and the other for vegetables (I am making cucumber kasuzuke as I speak). The only problem for us is to find space for it in our freezer.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Mac and Cheese with cauliflower puree カリフラワープピュレー入りマックアンドチーズ

When my wife made baked cauliflower with cauliflower puree, we were impressed with how creamy the puree was without much fat. My wife suggested making Mac and Cheese with cauliflower puree instead of Bechamel sauce. So, one weekend, we made this new cauliflower puree Mac and cheese. We made two versions. One was topped with a mixture of panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese (see below). It came out nicely browned with a crunchy crust.

Under the crunchy topping was a creamy cheesy sauce clinging to the macaroni.

The second version was topped with grated cheddar cheese.

Again, underneath was the warm, cheesy sauce with macaroni.

Ingredients: (this makes about 8 servings in small ramekins such as the one seen above).
One head of cauliflower, separated into small florets.
Enough milk to cover the florets.
1 tbs unsalted butter
One large Jalapeno pepper, seeded and deveined, finely chopped (optional)
Cheeses (we used smoked gouda, fresh goat cheese, parmesan and cheddar) grated (#3)
Elbow macaroni, half box, cooked, drained, seasoned with salt, rice vinegar and then coated with olive oil (#5).

Making cauliflower puree is exactly the same as posted before. Briefly; separate a head of cauliflower into florets, cook it in milk until tender with a pat of butter and red pepper flakes. I added one medium onion sautéed (instead of baked), adjusted the amount of milk to attain the right consistency while blending using a immersion mixer (#1). For variation, I added sautéed and finely chopped Jalapeno pepper (seeded and deveined) (#2). For cheeses, I used smoked gouda,  fresh goat and parmesan (#3) and mixed into the puree and cooked over the lowest flame until the cheeses incorporated (#4). I added the cooked macaroni (#5) into the cauliflower puree cheese mixture (#6). Then added the cheddar cheese (#7).  The reason for adding the cheddar at the last moment is to prevent it from being over cooked and getting grainy in texture. Meanwhile, I mixed panko bread crumbs, grated parmesan and olive oil (#8).

I placed the macaroni mixture in small ramekins (#9 and 10). I topped one with the panko/parmesan mixture (#11)  and the other with grated cheddar (#12). Baked in 350F oven for 15 minutes. If the top is not browned enough, place it under the broiler until the top browns nicely.

The end result: Both version were good but the sauce/puree was a bit grainy as compared to the cauliflower puree we made before. We were wondering if this is something to do with the cheeses we used, although we took precaution not to overcook cheddar cheese which get grainy after long cooking. We do not know how much calories/fat we are saving by substituting bechamel with cauliflower puree but certainly this is a good alternative. Compared to bechamel based Mac, this cauliflower puree did not get thick even after baking. We liked the one topped with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Baked cauliflower with cauliflower puree

We try to have some vegetable dishes on hand which we can tap into during work weekdays. During the weekend, I usually blanch broccoli and green beans so that we can use them during the week, either as is or by quickly sautéing them in butter as a side. The challenge is always to find new and interesting ways to prepare the veggies. For example we have cooked cauliflower many different ways. But, even so, we were getting into a rut.  (The Japanese expression would be "manmeri" マンネリwhich is reportedly derived from the English word "mannerism". Certainly "mannerrism" does not have the same usage or meaning as the Japanese word "manmeri".) So my wife went hunting on the internet to find some inspiration and a different way to prepare cauliflower. She perused many different recipes and came up with her own recipe inspired by several of those she found. It is really good but very visually white. She said she would make some improvements to further perfect this recipe. It is essentially au gratin dish made out of baked cauliflower and onion and instead of béchamel sauce, she used cauliflower puree. She also added panko crumbs with olive oil and chopped parsley on the top.

The Panko crust gave nice crunchy layer which contrasted with creamy puree underneath. The cauliflower florets were a bit too soft and we will improve on this next time.

Cauliflower, one large head, separated into florets (#1).
Onion, two medium, cut into thin (1/4 inch) rings.
Garlic, several gloves skin still intact
Milk, 1-2 cups (see direction below).
Butter, 1 tbs
Red pepper flakes
Juice of one lemon

1. Place a bit more than half of the cauliflower florets, the onion, and garlic on a cookie sheet, add several tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and coat all vegetables well (#2) and bake it in a 375F preheated oven for 30 minutes mixing once during the baking until some brown spots appear on the cauliflower.
2. Place the remaining cauliflower in a sauce pan and add milk to cover, pepper flakes and the butter. Simmer until the cauliflower is soft (#4) (yes we noticed picture 3 is missing but for various reasons it will stay that way).
3. Strain the cauliflower (#5) reserving the liquid (#5).
4. Add some of the baked onion and garlic (skin removed) (#7) to the strained milk cauliflower (#6).

5.  Add 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid and the vegetables into the blending cup and puree using an immersion blender. Add more reserved liquid until the consistency of béchamel sauce is reached(#8). Taste and season with salt and white pepper.
6. In a small ramekin, place the baked cauliflower, onion, and any remaining roasted garlic (#9) and cover them with the puree (#10). Drizzle on some lemon juice if desired. 
7. Cover the surface with a mixture of Panko bred crumbs with olive oil (mix well using finger tips) and bake it in 400F oven until brown (#11).

The cauliflower puree is really silky and luscious. It tasted like a very rich béchamel. I can envision many other uses for this concoction. The combination of texture and flavor in this dish is really good. This time, the baked cauliflower was a bit over done but next time, my wife said she would bake it at a higher temperature (400F) and for shorter time to make the cauliflower more crisp with brown spots. The baked onions gave it rich sweetness and the garlic was done perfectly adding another flavor dimension.  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Rye whole wheat bread ライ麦と全粒小麦パン

This is my wife's baking. This is a rye whole wheat bread she has made several times before with complete success. But this time, it refused to rise despite proofing the yeast and leaving the dough "to contemplate its actions" until the following morning. (My rule of thumb is that if the bread is not rising fast enough just be patient and give it as much time as it needs.) My wife, however, was very distraught. She had been planning to make small rolls but I suggested she make 2  large loaves instead and see what comes out of it. The result was two boule-like loaves--one shown in the very bottom.

3 1/2 cups wheat flour
2 cups rye flour

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 tbs salt
2 tbs butter
2 tbs caraway seeds
1 1/4 cup hot water

1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water with 1/2 tsp honey added to proof yeast

1 cup raisins

Combine the honey, molasses, salt, butter, caraway seeds and hot water. Stir until the butter is melted, the salt dissolved and the honey and molasses melted. Set aside to cool to about 110 degrees or just slightly warm to touch.

Meanwhile add the rye flour and about 1 1/2 cups of the wheat flour to the mixer and combine. Proof the yeast in the 1/2 cup water with a dash of honey added.

Add the yeast mixture and honey/molasses mixture to the flour and start mixing with dough hook. As with any bread slowly add additional wheat flour until the dough forms a ball on the dough hook. Once the proper consistency has been reached knead for 7 minutes. Add the raisins and knead an additional 3 minutes. Turn out onto a floured board and hand knead a few more times. Put into a bowl with a bit of vegetable oil to lightly coat the dough so it doesn't dry out while rising.

At this point the dough is supposed to double in volume in about an hour. When my wife made it in the past it behaved nicely and rose as expected. This time nothing happened--Zip. The picture below is when she placed the dough for the first rise. Even after 6 hours wrapped up in towels, it did not rise but just sat there sullenly. By this time it was getting late so I suggested we just leave it overnight and see how it was in the morning. Next morning it had grudgingly risen about 30%.

My wife was in despair; it has been years since she had a "bread failure". She had proofed the yeast and it was active when she put it in why wasn't it rising? She was ready to toss the whole thing out when I suggested she go ahead and cook it. What's the worst that could happen? We get a massive rye cracker? After some mumbling about sending good supplies after bad she went ahead and made two loaves seen below. She didn't even bother with a second rise and just stuck them in the 375 oven for 30 minutes.

Amazingly the bread turned out! It was a somewhat rustic loaf but the texture was pleasantly dense and moist. The flavor was wonderful. 

The rye taste came through with a slight sweetness and tang form the honey and molasses. We have been enjoying this bread lightly toasted with butter for breakfast. Still don't know what happened to prevent it from rising but there was a lesson to be learned here; don't give up even if the bread dough doesn't rise. No matter how many times you bake bread and proof the yeast this type of failure will happen to anybody but apparently yeast breads can also be very forgiving. Wish we could say as much about other things in life.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hogate's Rum buns ラムバンズ

We had a lobster dinner at a restaurant one evening with my wife's friend of 40 some years and her husband. He is a true Washingtonian (born and lived in Washington for his entire life). He reminisced about other lobster dinners he had, particularly those that included rum buns at the now-closed seafood restaurant in Washington water front called Hogate's. We weren't entirely sure whether, for him, the lobster was a side dish for the rum buns and he considered the buns the main focus of the meal. My wife and her friend also spent some time at Hogate's. It was the "go to" place for office luncheons and parties for many years of their early careers. The rum bun was an institution. No meal at Hogate's was complete without it. I suspect some people went just for the buns. Our friend's husband may have fit that category. Hogate's closed 2001, so there has been a rum bun deprivation in Washington for some time.  A copy of this recipe which was published in the Washington Post in 2003 appeared in our e-mail inbox soon after the dinner. (hint, hint). Our friend's husband was hoping my wife would make some, so he could taste them again.

This is how it looks inside when you break into it, layers of cinnamon sugar.

Most of the ingredients in this recipe, shown in the picture below are measured by weight. 

There were also a number of what appeared to be errors in the original recipe. For example, it called for 4 oz of yeast (which is the equivalent of an entire Fleischmann's yeast container (way way too much by far. That much yeast is the equivalent of 16 envelopes which at 2 envelopes per loaf would have made at least 8 loaves of bread). So based on previous experience making bread my wife used the usually called for 2 packets of yeast. In addition the recipe called for the dough to be rolled out 4 inches by 20 which didn't make a lot of sense. My wife rolled it out so it was longer than wide. It also said to bake the buns for 30 minutes. If cooked that long they would have been a cinder. Hopefully the following recipe adequately corrects the apparent anomalies of the original.

The original recipe would have resulted in a dough that exceeded the capacity of our dough mixer so this recipe is half the original.


1 Lb. + 1/2 oz AP flour
2 1/2 oz raisins
3 oz. granulated sugar
2 oz vegetable shortening
2 oz butter
1 tbs grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup warm water
2 packages yeast
1/2 cup eggs
1 oz rum extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Cinnamon sugar:

1 tbs. cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water
2 tbs rum extract
2 oz. sugar

1 oz rum extract
1 oz corn syrup
1/2 oz unsalted butter (melted)
6 oz confectioners sugar

Bread: In a mixing bow fitted with a dough hook, combine all dough ingredients. Mix for 20 minutes until dough is smooth, place on floured tray and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Then refrigerate overnight. Next day preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough on floured board. Spread with about 2 tbs melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (as shown below). Then roll out the dough into a rectangle. Cut the dough into rounds 2 to 3 fingers wide. Put in a greased baking dish and let rise until double in size.

Bake in oven for 18 to 20 minutes. Brush with glaze immediately after removing from oven. Cool then coat with icing.

These buns are quite rich. They did bring back memories of past luncheons at Hogate's. We didn't add the icing because we thought it would be too sweet for us. Next time we will eliminate the sugar in the cinnamon sugar and just use butter and cinnamon. For our friend's husband, however, no sugar will be spared. In addition, for him, they would have to be twice the size shown here.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Potato Croquette with cheese チーズ入りポテトコロッケ

This is a form of leftovers control and I made it from my wife's mashed potatoes, which we had with roasted pork loin.  My wife's mashed potatoes were made from white potatoes (eyes removed and skin left on) cooked in the microwave oven until soft, then mashed rather coarsely, This time she added cream cheese with onion and chives spread, and buttermilk  (the buttermilk was Harrisburg Dairies whole milk buttermilk. It is her favorite and she refers to this as "high octane" buttermilk because, according to her, it is so rich and flavorful). She then seasoned it with salt and pepper. I noticed she made a lot of potatoes; much more than we needed for the meal. I commented on the large quantity. She confessed she made enough so there might be leftovers that could be used for other dishes such as my croquettes (hint, hint). A few days later, I obliged and transformed the smashed taters into potato croquettes. As seen below, I formed them into a shape like my creamy crab croquette instead of the more usual oval disk shape.

I served it with Indian-style carrot salad, and blanched broccoli.

The reason, I made these potato croquettes into this form was is to conceal a button of cheese I hid inside (I used smoked Gruyere cheese) which nicely melted.

Again, there is no recipe for this. I first made buttons of Gruyere cheese (about 5x1x1cm, or whatever size depending on how the croquette would be formed). I took my wife's leftover mashed potatoes (cold from the refrigerator and easy to form) and wrapped the cheese with the potatoes and shaped in to short cylinder form or "tawara" shape 俵 in Japanese culinary parlance. I then dredged in flour, egg wash and panko bread crumbs. I deep fried in 350F oil for 4-5 minutes turning several times.

This is best eaten piping hot with the molten cheese oozing out like the picture above. My wife was delighted with the hidden cheese surprise. For intentional-leftover control, this was not too bad. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Salmon filet with crispy skin 鮭の塩焼き

We eat salmon quite frequently and I have posted many salmon dishes but I realized I never posted my simplest and most frequent way of cooking salmon. As you may have noticed, I serve our salmon skin side up since my wife and I like the crispy skin best. I could have removed the skin and cooked it separately to get it crisp but through trial and error over the years I came up with a few tricks to get a nice crispiness without removing it from the filet. My secret is to salt and dry the skin surface in the refrigerator uncovered for at least, several hours or up to 3 days. We like to serve salmon with freshly cooked rice (plain for me and with butter and soy sauce for my wife). This time I served it with our cucumber onion salad with dill

We like filet (as opposed to steak cut), more specifically a head portion of salmon filet which has a belly portion (upper sliver portion in the picture below). I am not sure how many people like to eat the skin, probably not many. When we get salmon filet at our regular grocery store, it is not scaled. So the very first thing  I have to do is scale it (below) which is more difficult to do with a filet than if it was the entire fish. I usually place the filet on a plastic cutting board meat side down and using a filet knife under running water (weak stream) scale the filet. I also check for any pin bones and if present I remove them. I blot any moisture from skin and meat surface using several sheets of paper towel.

I usually remove the thin belly part which is most fatty (see below) and cook it separately as an appetizer

I cut the thick (or back) portion of the filet into one serving and salt it on both sides. I use Kosher salt (see below)

Here comes the most important part. I place the salted salmon filets on a plate skin side up, uncovered in the refrigerator for, at least, several hours or up to 3 days before cooking. The below is after 4 hours but over night is the best. Drying up the skin makes it much easier to cook the skin perfectly and without splatter.

Just for comparison, the below is after 3 days in the refrigerator. Looks totally dried out but once it's cooked, it is just fine.

I put olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, on medium low heat (If you prefer you could use butter here). Without moving the filets, I cook the skin side for 5-7 minutes. If the filets seem to be sticking to the pan continue cooking for several more minutes.

When I turn them over,  you can see the skin is nicely crispy. I cook the meat side for 1-2 minutes more and finish cooking in a 400F oven (cooking time depends on the thickness but for 2 inch thick filet, like this one, 6-7 minutes).  I am using a convection oven. 

You will be amazed how much difference the drying process makes. We usually do not use any sauce. We just enjoy the flavor of the salon and crispy skin with freshly cooked rice.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

"Zangi" Hokkaido Kara-age 北海道の唐揚げ, ザンギ

The very first time I had chicken "Zangi" 鶏のザンギ was when I was a freshman in college and in my very early drinking days in Sapporo, Hokkaido 札幌、北海道.  My friend took me to a small Izakaya near my University. One of the foods he ordered for us was chicken "Zangi" which to me was "kara-age" but a bit darker and more seasoned and went perfectly with cold beer.  Later I learned "Zangi" is a type of deep fried chicken which was invented and popularized by "Torimastu" 鳥松 in Kushiro 釧路 (North-eastern city in Hokkaido). The name "Zangi" was said to have originated from a Chinese fried chicken dish called 炸鸡 (zhá jī). By adding "n" for a good luck ("n" or "un" 運) in the middle, it became "Zanji" and then modified to "Zangi". What is the difference from chicken kara-age 唐揚げ or tatsuta-age 竜田揚げ? According to how it is done at "Torimatsu", the original is served with bone in and was eaten with dipping sauce but they even serve "Zangi" without the bone. So, "bone-in" is not a prerequisite to be called zangi.  I made "Zangi" here as I remembered it from my youth. I served my "Zangi" with cucumber onion dill salad and Japanese-flavored coleslaw (thinly julienned cabbage and carrot dressed in mayonnaise and ponzu mixture).

I used chicken thighs and I removed the bone but left the skin. I double fried them to make it crispy outside but juicy inside.

I am sure there are many variations in zangi recipes since many izakayas in Hokkaido serve their version. To me, zangi is seasoned with sake and soy sauce but no mirin or sugar and the amount of soy sauce is more than tatsuta-age.  Mine is seasoned enough to be eaten as is without dipping sauces.

Four chicken thighs: I removed the bone  and visible fat but trimmed excess skin. I cut the thigh into small bite size pieces.
Marinade: Sake and soy sauce (about 1:1) with grated garlic and ginger (1/2 tsp each or whatever amount you like).
Potato starch (Katakuri-ko) for dredging.
Peanut oil for deep frying.

I added the chicken pieces and the marinade to a Ziploc bag, massage it to make sure all the pieces got coated and let it marinate in the refrigerator for (at least) several hours. I then strained the liquid over a colander and blotted the excess moisture using sheets of paper towel. I then dredged the chicken pieces in potato starch. I first deep fried in 320F peanut oil for several minutes turning frequently for a few minutes in two batches. I let it drain and rest for 3-5 minutes (the above). After skimming off any flour or debris in the oil, I turned the flame up a bit and waited for 5 minutes or until the temperature reached 350-360F, I re-fried the first batch for several more minutes until the surface darkened and became crispy. I repeated this for the second batch.

Although I have served similar dishes before such as kara-age and tatsuta-age, this one was somehow better. We really liked this "zangi" version of Japanese fried chicken. I admit I am a bit biased since I am from Hokkaido originally.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Salmon nanban 鮭の南蛮漬け

For my New Year's salmon dishes, I bought the entire side of a salmon which was rather large.  (It was very reasonably priced.) I made all the following dishes from just that one side: Russian marinated salmon, 鮭のロシア漬け, salmon fry 鮭のフライ, salmon panfried which I finished in the oven (2 servings) 鮭の塩焼き, belly portion marinated and grilled 鮭のハラスの柚庵焼き (2 good servings as an appetizer) and then I made this fried salmon marinated in sweet vinegar or salmon nanban 鮭の南蛮漬け to finish all the salmon--it went a long way. This is a variation on the theme of other nanaban 南蛮 dishes in which I used sardines, shishamo, and chicken.

Below on the left is the salmon nanban and on the right is the Russian marinated salmon garnished with salmon roe.

Here is a close up with one piece of salmon covered with marinated carrot, onion and celery.

This was another day, you can see the celery and salmon better.

Salmon: skin and bone removed cut into eight 1/2 inch thick large bite sized pieces.
Flour: for dredging
Salt and peper:
Carrot: Two small, peeled and cut into julienne.
Sweet onion: One medium, cut into small strips
Celery: 2 ribs, cut into julienne.

For marinade:
Dashi broth: 1/2 cup (made from dashi pack with kelp and bonito).
Rice Vinegar:1/2 cup
Sugar: 1/4 cup (or 4 tbs)
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Light colored soy sauce 2 tbs
Japanese whole dried red pepper: 1
Yuzu juice: a dash if you have it.

I made the marinade first. In a small sauce pan, I added all the ingredients except for the yuzu juice and gently warmed it up to dissolve the sugar and then simmered it for a few more minutes. I let it cool down to room temperature. I fished out the dried red pepper and cut it into small rings and returned it to the marinade. I added a splash of yuzu juice but it is optional. (I used one from the bottle since I do not have fresh yuzu fruit or juice). I added the julienned vegetables and let it sit for several hours.

I seasoned the salmon pieces with salt and pepper. Dredged them in flour and deep fried in 350F oil for 1-2 minutes turning once. I drained the excess oil and immediately submerge the salmon pieces in the marinade and covered them with the marinating vegetables.

We could have eaten it immediately but I let it to marinate until the next day in the refrigerator.

This is a just variation of nanban dishes and I like the one with small fish best but salmon is not bad at all. Because of the vegetable marinated with the salmon, it is almost like a salad. We enjoyed this dish for the next 5 days with the other new year osechi dishes 御節料理.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Chawan-mushi flavored with lobster bisque ロブスター味の茶碗蒸し

Whenever we have lobster, I make lobster bisque from the shells and carcasses. This time I used the lobster bisque to flavor chawan-mushi 茶碗蒸し and added crab meat to make a sort of hybrid dish. I garnished it with julienne of radish and snow peas.

I put crab meat in the bottom and also on the top (I placed the top garnish including crab meat after the egg had set).

Ingredients: (6 small containers as seen below)
3 large eggs (about 150ml)
450ml Lobster bisque (or three times volume of the eggs)
Crab meat (more the better)
Snow peas and small red radish for garnish.

I beat the eggs, added the lobster bisque and mixed well. I placed crab meat in the bottom of each container and poured the egg mixture through a fine strainer into the containers. I placed the containers in a wok and steamed for 15 minutes. I checked and turned down the heat so the steam was steady but not so strong the egg mixture would developed bubbles. Once the custard set, I placed the garnishes on top including additional crab meat and steamed for another 5-10 minutes (see below).

This was good. I thought the lobster flavor would overwhelm the delicateness of the dish but it did not. It did not look any different from my usual chawan-mushi but on tasting it, the lobster bisque flavor came to the front in a nice subtle way. The sweet crab meet was also nice.  This variation of chwan-mushi will make our regular (or "teibann" 定番) dish.