Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mr. Miyagi is From Okinawa (Just Like These Short Ribs)

I don't know anything about Japanese cooking. Well, I guess I know a little. After all I have seen nearly every available episode of Iron Chef. So that means I'd like to think I'm something of a secret expert on the cuisine. What this actually means is that I'm more dangerous than anything else.

One thing that I know is that in over three hundred episodes of Iron Chef (the real Iron Chef, not the American version) they never once had beets as the theme ingredient. So I figured what better place to start with my Japanese dinner?

I made this salad with the leftover bibb lettuce and beets from last night. I dressed it with rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce and topped it with sesame seeds, sliced green onion, and pickled ginger.

I got some nice beef short ribs at the local butcher shop the other day when I picked up my rabbit. I tried to look for a recipe from Katsuyo Kobayashi, a personal favorite in the realm of Japanese cooking. Unfortunately while she has about four hundred cookbooks there are few English versions available and the one Jen gave me for Christmas didn't have any beef short rib recipes.

I did, however, stumble upon this recipe for Okinawan-style beef short ribs which looked very interesting. Since Mr. Miyagi is from Okinawa I figured I would give it a shot. The only problem with the recipe was that it called for dashi to be made. After a few trips to local stores I was unable to find any kombu to make my dashi and I was running out of time before dinner and would have to resort to using up some more of my turkey stock from the freezer with some water added to it.

I was reminded of the episode of Iron Chef where Takeshi Kajimoto, a master of seaweed broths, made a bunch of different broths in the abalone battle. It probably wouldn't hurt if I had a little more exposure to Japanese culture apart from Iron Chef and Dragon Ball Z.

I seared the ribs in a pan, added some garlic, ginger, and shallots, then added my stock, some mirin, soy sauce, maple syrup, and star anise, reducing the broth down while braising the ribs.

I steamed some white rice and broccoli and served them both, fairly plain, as sides. With the thick, sweet, reduced sauce from the beef there was little reason to do anything else to the rice and broccoli.

For beer I opened this big bottle of Asahi Super Dry to split with Jen. I then found out that Jen doesn't care for this particular beer so she only had half a glass. I'm the real winner in this scenario.

For dessert I decided to use the leftover puff pastry from last night to make my own take on traditional Japanese shu cream. Traditionally shu cream is like a little cream puff but filled more with a custard-like substance than cream. My version was a little bowl I made which I filled with a quick custard I made (like an ordinary pastry cream) and I dusted it with powdered sugar.

It's kind of a French-style version of it which is fitting because French is the only style of cooking they taught me in culinary school. In fact if anyone from my alma mater reads this they will probably nullify my diploma. I'm not even supposed to know about Japanese cooking or even Japan for that matter.

In fact I shouldn't be telling you any of this. I've already said too much.


Nico S. said...

It you follow Theo Fremd south into Harrison (It turns into Halsted Ave) You will find a very nice local Japanese market on your left, I don't remember the name. They have a pretty good selection! There is also an AMAZING one on Mamaroneck Ave in White Plains. Just some knowledge for future attempts!

Unknown said...

Damn! I knew I should have called you. Still, it turned out really good!