Tonight we had a friend oever for dinner, and as he knows I love to cook, asked ahead as to whether I would be cooking for him.
Well, why not?! I had a fairly flexible saturday for once so I could organise myself to get this cooking done.
When I asked what type of meal i would be cooking, his answer; Mexican or Japanese. Well… besides having been to Mexico, I have not had that much to do with their food and automatically think of tacos from a packet, yum, but not challenging enough I thought. Previously I have done a big Asian inspired cook up with a friend, and it was a lot of fun. Asian cooking has a lot of elements and a lot of sauces, which thankfully as I have done a bit of it, my cupboard was well stocked.
So, on the menu tonight was Japanese and the items of choice;
miso with tofu and mushrooms
peanut and black sesame crusted chicken on rice
matcha ice-cream with sweet red bean dumplings
What I was most excited about was both the miso and the matcha ice-cream.
As it was Japanese, there were still some items missing from y cupboard such as; black sesame, red bean paste, miso and tofu. So it was of to the local Asian Grocer for me. Somewhere I have been meaning to stop into and take a look for some time now, I just haven’t has the chance.
It is very interesting checking out the shelves in there, everything is in the corresponding language, so reading it is impossible, instead the pricing label tells you what the item is. You however must know what to do with it! Dried vegetables, legumes, beans, flours of all sorts, sauces I had only heard of and noodles of every variety. It made my mind boggle at what I could use everything in! I had to check out the sweets isle, full of authentic Asian treats, I would love to try some.
Typically Asian cuisine is not known for its desserts, they do tend to be on the more savoury nature then our that are laden with sugar, but I do enjoy their take of desserts. In particular I love sweet black rice with coconut milk.
So, I consulted the employee for help with my requirements and was on my way.
To make my life easier I started prepping what I could earlier in the day. That meant this morning at about 8am, I made the ice-cream. I also chopped all veggies, diced meats, measured out flours, made the miso broth, cooked my rice and made my sauces. This meant I could sit down and enjoy my afternoon without thinking about the mountain of food prep left to do.
Now, don’t think that what I say ‘mountain’ I think of it as a chore, I love cooking and I anything requiring a little more technique and thinking. So Japanese was just that.
I will share with you my desert recipe. The rest of the recipes can be found in ‘The Japanese Kitchen’ cookbook, I purchased on Amazon and is by a Japanese chef.
For the tempura I used only mushroom and zucchini, but the addition of fish, zucchini flour, sweet potato and other choices would be found. Some of the sauces I made myself, but kewpie mayonnaise is a favourite of mine with anything battered.
The Matcha ice-cream or Green Tea ice-cream followed my standard recipe but some alterations to suit. It was creamy and melt in your mouth as usual but with a sweetened green tea taste. Personally I do not like green tea, so I can understand where many people come across when they say that wouldn’t like the ice-cream. But it is completely different. With the addition of cream and sugar, it is not as you would imagine. It is a refreshing way to complete you meal, but perhaps not something you need a large serving of. Which your waste line will thank you for. So, I will stop talking about it and give you the recipe!
1 tub 60ml thicken cream
4 egg yolks
1 1/2tbsp matcha powder (I purchased mine online)
1 can 250ml coconut cream
First combine your eggs and sugar in a bowl and lace over a pot of boiling water, whisk (I use an electric whisk) for 8 minutes until pale, thick and creamy. set aside. Whip your cream into soft peaks. Transfer cream to a large bowl if required. Dissolve your matcha in a few tbsp of boiling water. Whisk the matcha liquid into the sugar/egg mix. Placing your electric mixer on a very low-speed whisk pour your matcha mix into the cream and blend till combined. Place in the fridge for min. 1hr to cool completely. Re whisk and pour into your mould and into the freezer. Remove from the freezer each hr and whisk, this helps prevent the ice-cream from freezing icy.
Allow to set fully before serving with your dumplings.
2 1/2tbsp sugar
1/2tsp baking powder
2tbsp red bean paste
So, first dissolve your 1tbsp sugar in about a tbsp of boiling water and stir into your bean paste. Place into the fridge.
For the dumplings, sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Dissolve the additional sugar in about 3tbsp boiling water and combine into the flour using a wooden spoon add a touch more water or flour if needed to make dough consistency, it should be soft and not sticky. once the dough is formed set a side for 30 minutes covered. Take out and knead on a floured surface for 10-20 times. divide into 6 even sizes and flatten out into your palm into 1inch disks.
If you have not got your bamboo steamer over boiling water yet, now is the time to do so. Ensure you line int with baking paper.
Place a dollop of the paste into the middle of the dumpling and fold them up around it. repeat with all dumplings and place into the steamer (not touching). steam for 6-8minutes.
Serve with your green tea ice-cream and additional sweet bean paste.
I did enjoy cooking all the meals tonight, It was a challenge. Although nothing major went wrong there is always room for improvement.
I would use a different pan for my gyoza, which stuck to the pan and therefore became messy. i also feel my chicken dish required more sauce, and it was very crispy crunchy chicken with some veggies and rice but lacked the sauce. Although it had some, was not enough.
The tempura, well I could eat that all day long, I would happily make myself a bowl of that. Delish
If you have tried your own Asian meals I would love to hear them