Eat the World – Part 13

Week 5 – Japan

ETW 05 Japan

This savoury pancake is a mix and matcher’s dream – it’s all about DIY toppings. The name itself comes from the word okonomi, which means “what you want”. Okonomiyaki is available throughout Japan, with toppings and batters changing across regions.

This pancake is so easy to pull together and tastes amazing! Go nuts on the toppings and discover a textural wonder, with flavours battling it out the whole meal through. This is a new kitchen staple…

Okonomiyaki

Ingredients

Meat

• 100 gr pork mince
• 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon mirin

Pancakes

• 100 gr plain flour, sifted
• 100 ml water
• 1 egg
• ¼ Chinese cabbage, shredded finely
• 2 spring onions, chopped finely

Otafuku sauce (I used Adam Liaw’s recipe for Otafuku sauce, available here)

• ½ tomato sauce
• ¼ Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon mirin
• 1 teaspoon caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon English mustard

Toppings (choice of)

• 2 tablespoons Japanese mayonnaise
• Cucumber, thinly sliced
• Bean sprouts
• Nori seaweed, torn in little pieces
• Pickled ginger
• Dried bonito flakes
• Tempura flakes
• Toasted sesame seeds, crushed

Method

1. For the meat, cook mince until it browns then stir through soy and mirin. Set aside.

2. For the pancakes, make a well in the flour and whisk in water and egg. Once combined, add cabbage and onions and stir through.

3. For the Otafuku sauce, combine all ingredients.

4. In a pan, heat some oil over a medium to high heat. Pour enough batter to create your desired pancake size. When underside is cooked and beginning to brown, add a layer of pork to the top (wet) side of the pancake, then flip to finish cooking through.

5. Top with Otafuku sauce and any combination of the listed toppings.

Week 6 – Korea

ETW 06 Korea

Bibimbap bibimbap bibimbap… The more you say it, the more fun it gets! Like Japan’s Okonomiyaki, Korea’s bibimbap a joyous mixture of everything. It’s about creating a new mouthful every time you go back the bowl throughout your meal. It’s fun to say, it’s fun to make and it’s fun to eat!

…What’s not fun is being stuck behind this guy with no chance to overtake on the way home from Queenscliff…

ETW 06 Korea bibimbap

Bibimbap is a big surprise, too. Looking at the recipe, the simplicity of preparation might raise an eyebrow – where’s all the flavour at? But somehow, it works – really well. My preference was for a runny egg to coat a lot of the rice, along with loads of chilli sauce!

Bibimbap

Ingredients (for 4 people)

• 1 cucumber, cut into thin strips
• 3 teaspoons of sea salt
• 1 ½ cups of baby spinach
• 4 teaspoons sesame oil
• 1 ½ teaspoons sesame seeds
• 1 cup bean sprouts
• 2 cups sushi rice
• 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 carrots, matchsticked
• 400 gr beef mince
• 4 eggs
• Chilli sauce, to serve

Method

1. Place cucumber and 1 teaspoon of salt in a bowl together. Cover with cold water and set aside for 15 minutes. Rinse and drain.

2. Blanch spinach and bean sprouts, separately, in hot water.

3. Combine spinach, sesame oil, 1 teaspoon sesame seeds and 1 teaspoon of salt. In a separate bowl, combine bean sprouts with remaining salt, seeds and sesame oil.

4. Cook rice as per packet instructions. Set aside to keep warm.

5. Heat vegetable oil in pan over medium heat. Cook carrot for 2 minutes, remove and set aside. Add mince to pan and cook for 10 minutes, or until browned, remove and set aside. Crack egg into pan and fry until cooked to your liking.

6. Divide rice among bowls and top with beef, carrots, spinach, sprouts and egg. Serve with chilli sauce.

Week 7 – China

ETW 07 China

Get ready for spice! Sichuan cuisine takes its name from its home province in southwestern China and is heavy on Sichuan pepper, spice and garlic.
This is a really quick and easy introduction to Sichuan, but doesn’t compromise on impact. It’s also full of colour, too; and you know that’s good for you! The Sichuan itself doesn’t pack a punch (although its flavour is very distinct), but the level of chilli paste you choose to add will heat things up to your liking.

Sichuan chicken

Ingredients

• 1 tablespoon Sichuan/Szechuan peppercorns
• Salt
• 2 chicken fillets, pounded flat and sliced thinly
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
• 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
• 1 cup onions, sliced thinly
• 1 cup broccoli florets
• ¼ cup each of green, red and yellow capsicum, each sliced thinly
• 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• ¼ cup dry sherry
• 1 tablespoon chilli paste
• ¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced

Method

1. Heat a saucepan and dry roast the Szechuan peppers until fragrant. Remove and grind in a mortar and pestle. Season chicken with crushed pepper and set aside.

2. Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add ginger, garlic and onions and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken, broccoli, capsicum, mushrooms, soy sauce, sherry and chilli paste. Cook for 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, tossing the wok regularly. Add scallions and cook for 1 minute.

3. Serve with rice.

Week 8 – Vietnam

ETW 08 Vietnam

Vietnamese food is a celebration of flavour – sweet, salty, sour, spicy, bitter, fishy and zesty… This Vietnamese beef and noodle salad brings a lot to the table with minimal effort and time. Make lots – you’ll want more and more.

Vietnamese beef noodle salad

Ingredients

• 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
• 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 teaspoon fish sauce
• 1 teaspoon caster sugar
• 400 gr beef rump steak, sliced thinly
• 250 gr rice vermicelli
• 1 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed, thinly sliced
• 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
• 1 carrot, cut in matchsticks
• ½ cup Thai basil leaves
• ½ cup Vietnamese mint leaves
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 cups bean sprouts
• ¼ cup roasted peanuts, roughly crushed
• ½ cup fried shallots

Dressing

• 1 red birdseye chilli, roughly chopped
• 1 clove garlic
• ¼ cup fish sauce
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• 3 teaspoons caster sugar

Method

1. Using a mortar and pestle, grind peppercorns, lemongrass and garlic into a paste. Combine with fish sauce and caster sugar. Cover beef with mixture and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

2. Dressing: Using a mortar and pestle, grind chilli and garlic to paste and combine well with fish sauce, lime juice and caster sugar.

3. Pour boiling water over noodles. Cover for 4 minutes, then drain and run under cold water to cool completely. Transfer noodles to a large bowl and top with cucumber, lettuce, basil and mint.

4. Heat oil in wok over high heat and cook beef in batches, tossing once or twice, for 2 minutes. Add beef to salad, pour over dressing and top with bean sprouts, peanuts and fried shallots.

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