Japanese

The first time I ate edamame was in the Caribbean of all places.  On a balmy night matched with an ice-cold Japanese beer they were hard to beat.  They are so very more-ish and addictive.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon dashi granules
3 teaspoons Japanese soy sauce
2 teaspoons mirin
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 small red chillies halved lengthways
4 garlic cloves crushed
2 star anise
500gm frozen soya beans in the pod
sea salt flakes

serves 4-6 as a snack

 

Method

Put the dashi granules, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, chilli, garlic, star anise and 1 litre water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat.  Cook for 5 minutes to infuse the flavours.

 

Add the soya beans and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until tender.

 

Drain well, remove the chilli, garlic and star anise.  Sprinkle with sea salt and toss to combine.  Serve warm in a bowl.  To eat, simply squeeze the beans straight from the pod into your mouth – which is basically what I did whilst I made the second dish.

Recipe:      soba with sautéed pork eggplant and chilli


Ingredients

60ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 long slender eggplants sliced 1.5cm
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1½ teaspoons finely grated ginger
6 spring onions sliced on the diagonal, white and green parts kept separate
600g minced pork
2 tablespoons chilli bean sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon dashi granules
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon Japanese soy sauce
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
250 soba noodles
extra sesame oil to drizzle

serves 4 as a main

Method

Put 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and the sesame oil in a wok over medium high heat.  Add the eggplant slices and cook, stir frying until golden on both sides, for about 4-5 minutes.  Drain on paper towel and set aside.

Add the remaining vegetable oil to the wok, then add the garlic, ginger and the white part of the spring onions and cook for 30 seconds, then remove and set aside.  Add the pork and brown well all over, using a fork to break up any lumps.  This should take 6-8 minutes.

 

Add the chilli bean sauce, tomato paste, dashi granules, mirin, soy sauce, sugar and 250ml water to the wok, along with the spring onion and garlic mixture.  Allow to come to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the eggplant and most of the spring onion greens, reserving some for garnish, and cook for 3 minutes of until the eggplant is cooked through.  Increase the heat to high and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is slightly glazy – about 4-5 minutes.

 

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over high heat.  Add the soba stirring so they don’t stick together, and return to the boil.  Add 125ml cold water and return to the boil.  Repeat this procedure twice more or until the noodles are al dente.  Drain, then rinse well under cold running water, rubbing the noodles lightly between your hands to remove any excess starch.

Pile the noodles in to a ‘nest’ in the centre of the plate.  Top with the meat and eggplant sauce and garnish with reserved spring onions.  Serve with sesame oil for drizzling over, if desired.

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