Thursday, September 2, 2010

 Beef Sukiyaki 

This post is to update the cooking adventures. 
There have been many successes! Hooray! As I continue to cook every day I become increasingly more adventurous in what I am willing to try.  I have also learned that de-veining shrimp takes for-ev-er. But that is ok because they are so delicious! Seafood here is WAY cheaper than in the midwest, for obvious reasons.  We are much closer to the ocean here. It am still amazed when I walk into the grocery store and there is a huge section devoted to whole squid, octopus tentacles, various crustaceans and a truly amazing variety of fish.  

Dish number one (ichi-一)! This is beef sukiyaki. The funny looking white things in there are a certain type of noodle called Shirataki (白滝). They are thin, translucent and have a jelly-like texture to them.  You are able to buy them either cooked already or dry.  They have a very interesting flavor that comes from the root of the plant from which they are made.  This plant is Japanese devil's tongue.

Another thing I learned when I made this dish is that red meat was not allowed in the Japanese diet until fairly recently: the mid-1800's.  Up until that time it was against the Buddhist teachings to eat red meat.  During the mid-nineteenth century international influence weakened this teaching and it was removed altogether.  It is from this time that this dish, Beef Sukiyaki, dates. 

Udon Noodle Soup
Dish number two (ni-二)!  This is Udon Noodle Soup with pork.  This has been one of our favorites thus far.  Udon is a thick type of noodle made from wheat.  Almost always served in broth, there can be a large variety or toppings.  Some examples are tempura (てんぷら), prawns, or pork, as we used.  It is also typically served with the thinly sliced scallions on top as a garnish.

Braised Shrimp with Vegetables

Dish number three (san-三)! This is braised shrimp with vegetables.  I strayed from the Japanese cuisine the night I made this and cooked Chinese style.  I was able to find the oyster sauce at Inageya (いなげや) just fine.  When I was searching for the bamboo shoots I suddenly realized I was looking for them in the canned goods.  They are, naturally, in the produce section here.  You can buy them whole and slice them yourself or simply buy a bag of them that have been pre-sliced.

Curried Noodles with Pork

Dish number four (yon-四)! Straying yet again from Japanese cuisine, I decided it was time to try something from Singapore/Malaysia. (The section in the cookbook groups these two together.) This dish is Curried Noodles with Pork.  The noodles are a dry stick noodle.  You put them in a bowl and pour hot water over them and let them sit for twenty minutes.  Very different!  They have a significantly different texture from any other type of noodle.  The best way I can describe them is chewy.  We enjoyed them! As with many curry recipes, this one called for coconut milk.  Finding the coconut milk was not difficult.  What I did think was different was the consistency.  When one purchases coconut milk in the States it is usually relatively liquid like.  This was practically solid.  My guess is they leave most of the natural oils in...? Just a guess.  It still worked great and tasted oishii! (おいしい! Delicious!) 

So there you have it! I have obviously been cooking more then this, these are just the top picks.  :) Also, as you can probably see, my adventuring with my camera is going well! I am learning much more about proper settings and when, where and how to use them. 

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  1. I need to stop reading these in the morning before I've had any breakfast. They look amazing!

  2. You pictures look really professional! Especially the last two, they look like they came form a magazine or something.