I love anything with green onion in it because of its flavor. Most of the time it is used for garnishing and here is a dish where green onion is the main ingredient, the focus – Green Onion Pancake.
- 5 oz of all purpose flour
- 4 oz of warm water
- 4 stalks of minced green onion
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- In a large bowl, mix 3oz of warm water and the flour
- Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Slowly add the rest of the water in if needed.
- Divide the dough into 4 pieces
- On a floured surface, roll each piece in a square at least 5 in x 5 in in size. The biggest you can roll, the thinner the dough will be and the resulting pancakes will be have more puffy layers.
- Brush the top of the dough with oil
- Sprinkle salt and grean onions evenly on top
- Roll the dough up in a jellyroll then wind in up into a spiral/snail shape. (You can store the dough in the refrigerator for couple days in this form)
- Flatten the dough with your palm and rolled them into a 6-in diameter circle on a floured surface. (You can store the flattened dough in the freezer for months)
- Spray oil on a pan and heat it up at medium heat
- Cook each side for 2 mins or until golden brown. (take longer if the dough was taken straight out from the freezer).
With 2 onsen eggs cooked in the morning, I used them in my nabeyaki udon for lunch. While nabeyaki udon is not too diffcult to cook once you have perfected your dashi, it does involve preparing different toppings ahead of time and assembling them at the end. One thing to note is that you will be cutting raw chicken and green onion before cooking while you need to cut the cooked spinach later. Make sure you wash your hand throughroughly and use different cutting boards and knives to avoid cross contamination. Also, because of the number of toppings which you washed/sliced/cooked/measured ahead of time and kept separately, there are a lot of dishwashing afterward.
Nabeyaki udon usually cooked with a clay pot or Japanese cast iron pot. But since the small clay pot doesn’t work on my electric stove, I only used it for declaration.
Make 2 servings:
- Udon soup
- 3 cup of Ichiban dashi
- 1 tablespoon of mirin
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce (I use Japanese soy sauce for this as the Chinese soy sauce I tried develop a bit of a sour taste after boiled)
- 1/8 lbs chicken thigh, cut into bite size
- 1/4 bunch of spinach
- 2 Eggs (raw to be poached in the soup later or pre-poached, or onsen eggs)
- 8 slices of fish cake (either narutomaki or kamaboko). You usually only get one slice per bowl at the restaurant but why not treat yourself better when cooking at home
- 2 fried tempura shrimps (optional). I would love to have it to make it more authentic. Maybe next time.
- 2 tablespoons of green onion, diagonally sliced
- 2 pack of udon (Frozen or pre-boiled). I like the texture of the frozen udon better.
If you use frozen udon instead of pre-boiled udon, boil the udon according to the package instruction now. When it is done, take it out of the pot and set it aside. Save the hot water.
Cook the spinach in the pot for 1 min, cool in cold water and cut into 1 inch lengths.
Cook the fish cake slices for 2 mins and set it aside.
Discard the water.
Mix the dashi, mirin, 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce and salt in a pot and cook on medium heat. Taste and see if you need to add the rest of the 1/2 tablespoon of even more. The saltiness of the soup greatly depends on the dashi so adjust the amount of soy sauce accordingly.
Add chicken and simmer until cooked.
While the chicken is almost done, place the clay pot under running hot tap water for 1 min to warm it up.
Put the cooked chicken into the warm clay pot
Put the cooked udon into udon soup and heat it up for 1 min.
Place the udon on top of the chicken and garlish it with green onion, fish cake and spinach.
Pour the hot udon soup into the clay pot.
Drop in the raw eggs (or put the poached eggs on top) and cover the lid and let it steam.
I love egg. Scramble, sunnyside up with a crunchy edge, poached for egg benedict, soft boiled, and “Onsen (hot spring) Egg” a.k.a slow poached egg.
I have been thinking about making it for a while but had never wanted to wait like 45 mins for an egg. Until I started this blog and read about the method described in Momofuku.
Here is the basic idea:
- 1 Egg or more as long as it fit in the pot
- A large pot of water under very low heat
- Use something to prevent the egg from sitting on the bottom of the pot where it is hottest.
- Maintain a temperature between 140F-145F (60-70C) (use a thermometer)
- put the eggs in gently and let it bath for 40-45 mins
- keep check on water temperature and add hot water / ice cube to adjust.
The cool thing that I didn’t know / think about is that this can be kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours. All I need is to warm it back up under piping-hot tap water for a minute before serve. That makes spending the 45 mins worth it as this allow me to enjoy the poached egg for breakfast in a hurry instead of waiting for 45 mins or poaching in hot water which I haven’t master. Or use it in udon, egg benedict, ramen or any recipe that call for an boiled egg or poached egg as toppings. Keeping the egg in the shell when poaching is the way to go.
My first one cracked open wasn’t too successful (kind of still runny since there was a 10 mins period where the water temperature dropped below 137 F and my pot probably not as big as the one described in the book). So I kept the other two in the water bath for 7 more mins and saving them for lunch when I make Nabeyaki udon.
Dashi is the first recipe I am going to try. Here is the reason why dashi is chosen for the first recipe.
My wife and I love Japanese Food. From sushi, to ramen, to izakaya, we love them all (ok, except natto).
There are many Japanese restaurant in the San Francisco bay area that we like. Each has their own dishes that make us go back again and again.
Yuki Japanese Restaurant in Fremont is one of them. They serve very fresh sushi/sashimi (especially from their daily special menu on the wall) and a variety of other Japanese dishes like grill fish, udon, etc. Out of the many delicious dishes we tried there that I have a slim chance of replicating are: Tamago (sweet egg omlette) sushi and Nabeyaki Udon.
I rarely order Tamago sushi from any Japanese restaurant as it seemed to be overpriced comparing to other sushi with real fish. But since we have kids, we need to order something that is not RAW for them every time we visit the restaurant. And that introduced us to their Tamago sushi and Nabeyaki Udon and we now order them every time we visit this restaurant — for ourselves. We tried tamago sushi from couple other Japanese restaurant since then and it just doesn’t taste as good.
After some research, it turns out both Tamago Sushi and Nabeyaki Udon require Dashi, a Japanese stock/broth for their distinct flavor. It is the soul for a lot of the Japanese dishes. And I am sure it is the dashi at Yuki Japanese Restaurant that set it apart. If I can master this, I am sure it will enhance the taste of many Japanese recipes I am going to try down the road….Of course, you can always just used the instant one, Ajinomoto – Hon Dashi.
But it is gonna take less than 1 hour to make it from scratch and you can freeze it in the freezer and store it for months, I think it is well worth the trouble.
Ichiban Dashi (first stock)
- 2 x 4 inch-square pieces Kombu
- 2 oz of Katsuobushi (Bonito flakes)
- 4 cups of water
- Wipe the kombu gently with a damp cloth to remove some (but not all) of the powdery excess.
- In a large pot, add 4 cups of water and soak the kombu for 30 mins.
- Over heat medium heat, bring the water to almost boil over a 10 mins span. Immediately remove kombu and set it aside for niban dashi. (If the water heat up too fast, it doesn’t give the kombu enough time to release its favour. Make sure the water doesn’t actually boil as it might bring out bitter taste).
- Bring the liquid to boil
- Add all the bonito flakes to the pot and turn off heat. Let it sit for 10 mins.
- Strain the stock through cheesecloth or fine strainer and reserve the bonito flakes for niban dashi.
Niban Dashi (second stock)
- In a large pot, add 4 cups of water along with the reserved kombu and bonito flakes from the Ichiban dashi.
- Turn the heat up til almost boil
- Let it simmer for 3-4 mins
- Strain the stock through cheesecloth or fine strainer and discard the kombu and bonito flakes.
Ichiban dashi has a richer color and stronger flavor than niban dashi and is used for soup and dipping sauce.
Niban dashi is used to for stew and dishes when you want the flavor of dashi only as a background component.
Going to try to use the two different kind of dashi for tamagoyaki, basic miso soup and simple udon in the near future. For now I will just put them in the freezer.
Kombu is edible kelp. It is sold dried (in whole or strips) and used extensively in Japanese cooking. It is one of the main ingredients needed to make the Japanese dashi soup stock and some Japanese side dishes.
Growing up in Hong Kong, I have tasted a lot of authentic Chinese dishes, dim sum, Chinese Barbecue, noodles, treats from street vendors, etc. My tongue knows what tastes good and what’s not, but never fully understand how the dishes are prepared.
When studying college in Ohio, I had a Japanese roommate. With limited Asian cooking ingredient/sauce available and being college kids that were broke, we probably ate more mac and cheese, pizza, frozen burritos and instant ramen than any real food. We did manage to find enough stuff to make Japanese miso soup, Japanese curry, and some not-so-authentic Okonomiyaki. That’s my introduction to Japanese cooking.
Getting a job in California bay area, I now have access to most Asian ingredient (and they are more readily available to the rest of the country as well). On top of that, there are some pretty decent southeast Asian restaurant. Vietnamese Pho, Malaysian Prawn Mee, Pad Thai, Korean BBQ rib are all of my favorites. But I remain the same, not knowing how they are cooked.
My wife does almost all of the cooking at home and my interest in food had resulted in a lot of cookbooks at home that I rarely read or tried.
I don’t know if I will ever be cooking 2-3 meals a day at home but my engineering / science background urges me to find out how and why certain dish is prepared certain way. Alton Brown is my idol. The way he describe the cooking process makes sense to me. I wish more cookbooks are written that way.
Last December, after watching Julie and Julia on the flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong when visiting family, the idea to blog about cooking or the learning experience stuck in my head. So here it is.