Still in the glow of a Michelin star, Miyazaki’s team shares Japanese recipes to try at home
Japanese cuisine, according to Victor Barrado, head chef at sister establishment Miyazaki on Evergreen St, is all about balance.
“While in a lot of Asian dishes they call for a balance between salty, sour, sweet and spicy, in Japan we focus on umami,” he says.
“The cooking style is not complicated at all; the Japanese look for fresh ingredients that are only cooked to enhance their flavor.
In terms of kit, we need very little, according to the chef. “A wok is always handy, but also a large saucepan will do. Mandolins are ideal for the fine chopping required in this style of cooking, and every cook needs a great knife.
What should we include in our cooking to achieve the elusive umami aroma so prevalent in Japanese cuisine? “Think of the deeply savory flavor that comes from salty food,” he advocates.
“Seaweed, of course, and many of our condiments will add umami to a dish, but also things like mushrooms. Shiitake mushrooms are a great source of umami flavor.
SALMON TONYU MISO (SOYA MILK CHOWDER)
This dish is normally cooked in a Donabe, a traditional Japanese clay pot. It is perfect for cold winter days. If you don’t have a clay pot, you can always use a deep pot or a small pot.
FOR 4 PEOPLE
· 450g salmon fillet, skinless, cut into 4cm cubes, lightly seasoned with salt.
12 fresh prawns, peeled and deveined
120g broccoli florets, blanched
· 2 tablespoons unsalted butter.
½ onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons plain flour
400 ml of fish stock
200g tofu cut into small cubes
400ml pure soy milk
120ml white miso
150 g shimeji mushrooms/Asian mushrooms
Sauté the onion in the butter until soft. Add the flour and cook for 30 seconds.
Gradually add the broth, stirring to avoid lumps.
As soon as it begins to boil, lower the heat to simmer gently.
In a bowl, whisk together the white miso and earth milk, add it to the pan. When boiling again, add the salmon, vegetables and tofu.
Cover for a minute. When the salmon is almost cooked, place the shrimp on top and cover for another 30 seconds.
Turn off the heat and let stand for a few minutes.
You can make us smoked butter. This gives it a nice touch, but use half the amount listed above.
AGE DASHI TOFU (DASHI FRIED TOFU)
It is a very traditional and simple Japanese dish. Perfect as an appetizer or just to share before your main course.
FOR 2 PEOPLE
350g silken tofu
100g potato starch
500ml vegetable oil
· ¼ daikon (moolie) peeled, chopped and mixed with water until very smooth. Strain the liquid through a small sieve and reserve the daikon “snow”.
Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
30 g finely chopped chives
Pinch of bonito flakes
Finely chopped roasted nori seaweed
1 cup kombu water (kombu soaked in water overnight)
¼ cup usukuchi, light colored soy sauce If not available, a little less regular soy
¼ cup mirin
· Sake splash.
Carefully cut the tofu into four cubes. On a flat surface, flour each side of your tofu cubes with potato starch. Remove any excess if necessary. In a pan with preheated oil, fry each piece until crispy and a nice light golden color. Remove from the oil and place it in a small bowl with some hot dashi in the bottom. On top: a spoonful of your “daikon snow”, a tiny bit of grated ginger, chives, a few bonito flakes and strips of nori.
Dashi is perfect as a tempura dip!
YAKI UDON NOODLES
One of the best known Japanese street food dishes. It’s very easy and quick to do.
100g thin strips of pork belly
90g minced onion
90 g carrots, thinly sliced using a mandolin
90g green cabbage, diced
Nice big handful of bean sprouts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup Japanese yakisoba sauce
· 1 packet of Udon noodles.
Pinch of bonito flakes
· Sprinkle of aonori (or strips of nori if not available)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Beni shoga pickled ginger
Boil the noodles in water until they separate, strain and set aside. Heat a little vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet and keep the heat high. Saute pork belly until half cooked. Add the onion and carrot and stir for a few seconds.
Add the cabbage then the noodles. Stir for three seconds. Now add your fresh sprouts and stir for two seconds.
Pour in the sauce and stir until the sauce is quite hot. Arrange the noodles in a large bowl. Spread your toppings all over the noodles.
Follow the correct order when adding the ingredients, it’s all about the textures!