Yesterday evening we did Japanese. We both love Japanese food and since discovering Harumi Kurihara's wonderful cookbooks we have found it to be quite simple. Here you can see 'Tofu with Ricotta Cheese' in the small square dish, 'Aubergine and Noodle Salad' in the rectangular dish and mixed seaweed salad in the small bowl.
Tofu with Ricotta Cheese
Silken firm tofu
Fresh mint and basil leaves, roughly cut
50ml soy sauce
2 tbsps caster sugar
1 tbsp mirin
Mix these three ingredients together in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Take off the heat and let it cool a little then add about 1 or 2 cm of grated ginger. It's better if you use a Japanese grater which sort of turns the ginger to mush. Pour this over the tofu, ricotta and herbs. Finally sprinkle over roasted sesame seeds. We do a big batch of roasted seeds then keep them in an old saké bottle. This dish is pure heaven with every mouthful!
This recipe is adapted from the recipe book Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking.
Aubergine and Noodle Salad
150g vermicelli noodles
Cut the aubergine in thirds, peel and then cut into long sticks. Put the aubergine into a bowl of water with a plate on top to keep them down and allow then to soak for about 5 to 6 minutes. This removes the bitterness from the aubergines and seems to be the standard way to prepare aubergine in Japanese cooking.
While the aubergine is soaking take the noodles and cover with boiling water. Follow the packet instructions for time and when ready flush with cold water and set aside.
When the aubergine has finished soaking steam it for 5 minutes or until soft. If you're new to steaming, as I was, you can purchase an insert for a normal saucepan from IKEA that works perfectly.
0.5 teaspoon of good vegetable stock dissolved in 3 tablespoons of boiling water
2.5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped
1 red chilli, chopped or sambal oelek, to taste
While the aubergine is steaming mix the sauce ingredients together. Arrange the aubergine on to two plates, lay the noodles on top, pour the sauce over and finally scatter over chopped coriander.
This recipe is also adapted from Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking.
Mixed Seaweed Salad
This is a dried selection of seaweeds produced by Renée Voltaire that you hydrate with water for 10 minutes. We followed the instructions on the packet that advised a little grated ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. It was very tasty but I guess you have to be a seaweed fan. :) Give it a try!
Renée Voltaire - Mixed sea vegetable salad