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|The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com|
The Daring Cook's Challenge this month was a huge surprise for me. Japanese food. I have always admired the artful skills of Japanese cuisine and how light and healthy it looks. But I was never a huge fan due to one only thing. Japanese food to me
is was synonymous to raw fish. I don't enjoy raw fish. This month I had my eyes (and stomach) focused to the other side of this cuisine, now a new world to be explored.
I think the only Japanese dish that
is was part of my repertoire of recipes is Yakisoba, which I truly enjoy. From now on, there will be many more!
Hiyashi Soba consists of cold buckwheat noodles topped with vegetables, eggs and ham, that is served with a dipping sauce. Tempura are pieces of veggies and seafood coated in a light batter and deep fried to a delicious crunchiness.
2 quarts (2 Liters) water + 1 cup cold water, separate
12 oz (340 g) dried soba (buckwheat) noodles (or any Asian thin noodle)
Cooking the noodles:
Heat 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the noodles a small bundle at a time, stirring gently to separate. When the water returns to a full boil, add 1 cup of cold water. Repeat this twice. When the water returns to a full boil, check the noodles for doneness. You want to cook them until they are firm-tender. Do not overcook them.
Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse well under cold running water until the noodles are cool. This not only stops the cooking process, but also removes the starch from the noodles. This is an essential part of soba noodle making. Once the noodles are cool, drain them and cover them with a damp kitchen towel and set them aside allowing them to cool completely.
|This photo shows a package of Buckwheat Noodles and a bottle of Soba Base Sauce that I used in my dipping sauce to replace soy sauce, vinegar, salt and sugar|
SPICY DIPPING SAUCE
¾ cup 70gm/2½ oz spring onions/green onions/scallions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (4 ⅔ gm) (0.16 oz) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1/8 gm) (0.005 oz) English mustard powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) grape-seed oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil (if you can’t find this just omit from recipe.)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste - roughly 1/3 a teaspoon of each
Shake all the ingredients together in a covered container. Once the salt has dissolved, add and shake in 2 tablespoons of water and season again if needed.
(for the omelette strips, I followed this RECIPE)
(Recipe adapted from this VIDEO provided for the challenge)
Ingredients for the batter:
1 cup flour
1 tbsp corn starch
1 cup ice-cold water (+ ice cubes to keep batter cold)
In a bowl, combine all ingredients, mixing briefly with chopsticks.
Do this just before frying.
Heat the oil (160°C/320°F for vegetables ~ 170°C/340°F for seafood).
Start with the vegetables. Sprinkle them with flour and then dip into the batter. Fry until lightly golden. Drain over a wire rack lined with paper towels.
Vegetables and seafood should be very cold.
A huge thank you to Lisa from Blueberry Girl for showing me that Japanese food has so much to offer besides raw fish!
To see all the amazing creations of the other Daring Cooks, visit THE DARING KITCHEN, where you will also find the original recipes and guidelines for this challenge.