These are two typical dishes I used to eat in Izakaya (Japanese pub/reastaurants) when I lived in Japan. Excellent as nibbles to wash down with decent Japanese beer! Now that I’ve mastered the mandoline I thought I’d try my hand at renkon chips. Renkon is usually translated as Lotus Root but it is actually a rhizome. Either way it tastes good and is an incredibly versatile food and it looks fantastic too! Tofu is generally thought of as a health food and even deep fried I think it’s still probably quite healthy and it tastes great with spring onions and soy sauce. In summer I wouldn’t bother deep frying it but just eat it as it is with soy sauce and spring onions but in winter it’s nicer cooked and warm! These hardly count as recipes but I thought that it was worth posting as guidance if nothing else.
1 smallish lotus rhizome
– Heat up the deep fat frier.
– Slice the renkon finely on a mandoline and blot dry with kitchen paper.
– Scatter into the basket of the deep fat frier, don’t try to do them all at once cook them in batches.
– Deep fry for 2-3 minutes then tip onto kitchen paper to drain while you cook the rest.
– Return them all to the deep fat frier for a further 1-2 minutes. Watch VERY CAREFULLY as it only takes a short amount of time for them to burn as mine started to do.
– Again place on kitchen paper to dry then serve hot with a pinch of salt sprinkled over.
Deep Fried Tofu
1 or 2 spring onions, chopped
– Cut the tofu into chunks and heat the deep fat frier.
– Scatter the tofu into the basket and deep fry for about 3-5 minutes until golden on the outside.
– Drain on kitchen paper then serve scattered with spring onions with soy sauce.
I love Japanese food and I enjoy cooking it now and again. The rest of my family aren’t quite so enamoured of it I’m afraid. I think they find it rather bland and boring but I love the simplicity of it and how the ingredients are allowed to speak for themselves rather than being overwhelmed by seasoning and sauces. Tonight I made Nabe with Renkon Chips and Deep Fried Tofu.
Nabe, or Nabemono, is essentially a one pot stew, traditionally cooked at the table in a particulat dish, the nabe, but I did it on the stove in a large casserole dish. You don’t have to stick to this recipe in the least, just adapt to what you have in stock. Shitake mushrooms make an excellent addition. The dashi and konbu and renkon (the dashi is a powder that you add to water to make dashi stock, the konbu is dried seaweed and renkon is lotus root) are the only speciality ingredients and you can get them at any decent chinese supermarket or japancentre.com have all three in stock at the minute . I actually got my konbu in Sainsburys originally.
2 sachets dashi powder
1 strip konbu, wiped with a damp cloth
3 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 large carrot, cut into chunks
1/4 head white cabbage, cut into thin strips
1 small tin water chestnuts
a small handful of thinly sliced lotus root
1 leek, chopped
1/2 a block silken tofu, chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
– Add the dashi powder and konbu to a large pot of boiling water.
– Bring to the boil and add the chicken breast.
– After 5 minutes add the carrot, cabbage, water chestnuts and lotus root to the pot.
– After 20 minutes add the leek and tofu.
– Continue to heat until all of the vegetables are cooked, about another 5 minutes.
– Sprinkle the spring onion on top before serving.
When varying the contents adjust when you add things dependent on how long they take to cook: meat, root veg, soft veg and take care with the size of your chunks.
Mega baking session this morning as my sister went into hospital yesterday for 4 days and hates the food. I needed to cook up lots of things to take to her today to tempt her! She loves these mini quiche as they’re perfect to nibble on and much lighter than a regular quiche. I sometimes make them in a mini muffin tin and then they really puff up! I’ve also made them as starters in tartlet tins.
Makes 9-12 dependent on the size of your bun pan. But it can easily be increased to whatever yield you want.
125g shortcrust pastry (approx 1/4 of a pack)
3 spring onions, sliced
2 cm cheddar cheese (I just cut 2 large slices off the block) cut into small chunks
splash of milk
pinch of salt
– Heat to oven to gas mark 6.
– Roll out the pastry to a thickness of a pound coin and use a biscuit cutter to cut out rounds of pastry to fit your tin.
– Press each round lightly into the tin.
– Divide the spring onions and cheese between the pastry cases.
– Beat together the eggs, milk and salt.
– Pour the egg mix equally into each pastry case on topof the cheese and onions.
– Put the tray in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the egg is puffed up and just golden.
– Eat warm or cold.
Filed under Easy, Starters
Aesthetically pleasing they are not yet but my technique will improve with practice… I hope. That or I’ll just start placing them seam down. It’s supposed to be a sort of pinch and twist motion but I obviously haven’t mastered this yet!
For the dough:
300g bread or plain flour
10g baking powder
4g fast action yeast
pinch of salt
15g vegetable shortening (Trex)
For the filling:
475g minced pork
3 spring onions, chopped
1/2 a can bamboo shoots, chopped
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame oil
– Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
– Pour the milk and water into the well and mi well with a spoon until it all combines into a dough.
-Then add the vegetable shortening and knead this into the dough.
– Continue to knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft.
– Place the dough in a bowl and cover. Put in a warm place for 30-45 minutes or until the dough is doubled in size.
– While you’re waiting mix together all of the filling ingredients in a bowl.
– When the dough has risen knock it down and divide into 10 pieces.
– Keeping the dough you’re not working with covered, roll out the pieces into circles of about 5″.
– Put a large spoonful of filling in the centre of the circle, run a wet finger round the outside of the dough and then pinch and gather together in the centre. Place on a circle of waxed/parchment paper (I actually used flattened bun cases but they stuck). *
– Place in a steamer so that they’re not touching and steam for 15 minutes.
*At this point you can flash freeze them and keep them for later. To cook just defrost and steam as normal.