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How To Make Nabeyaki Udon (鍋焼きうどん), Udon Noodle Soup with Shrimp Tempura
Nabeyaki udon is one of the first Japanese dishes I really learned how to make. One of my favorite things about Japanese recipes - especially when compared to other East Asian cuisines - is how a lot of it is not only extremely simple to make, but how savory and flavorful the final result ends up being. Case in point, nabeyaki udon blends ingredients like shrimp, mushroom, and dashi broth to create a flavor so clean and full of 'umami' that it might just replace your sick day bowl of chicken noodle. In this card, I'm going to teach you not only how to make this udon soup but how to make shrimp tempura from scratch for the recipe's integral ingredient. However, I will be honest in saying that a lot of the time, I end up cheating and buying premade shrimp tempura made elsewhere. (Check Trader Joe's. Cough cough.) -------------------------------------------------------------- Nabeyaki Udon (Shrimp Tempura Udon Soup) To Make Tempura Shrimp: 2 large tiger shrimp, shelled and deveined with the tails still attached (If your shrimp are frozen, let them thaw in cold water for about 20 minutes.) Salt Potato starch Frying oil (I use soybean.) 1 3/4 cups of water 2 tablespoons tempura flour 1. In a small bowl, cover the shrimp with a little salt and enough potato starch to coat evenly. Add a little bit of water to the bowl, gently tossing the shrimp to coat them in it. 2. Rinse the shrimp in cold water, and then then dry them well with a paper towel. Make diagonal cuts into the length of the shrimp, then gently straighten the shrimp out with your fingers. 3. In a separate bowl, put cold water in a bowl and mix in the tempura flour until fully combined. 4. Sprinkle the shrimp with a bit of salt and apply a very thin coating of more tempura flour to each. Dip one shrimp into the batter and gently place the shrimp into a frying pan of oil, heated to around 350F. 5. As the shrimp fries, use a pair of cooking chopsticks to reattach stray bits of tempura back to the shrimp. Add the second shrimp, fully frying both. 6. Once the tempura becomes crisp, carefully shake off the excess oil and transfer the shrimp onto a plate or cooling rack. To Prepare Toppings: 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed (You can use dried shiitake mushrooms as well, but you must submerge them for at least 30 - 60 minutes in a small bowl of water to prepare them for the recipe.) 1 1/4 cup water 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon soy sauce Green onion, chopped diagonally Flat parsley, chopped Kamaboko (steamed fish cake), sliced diagonally 1 egg 1. Preparing Mushrooms: On medium-high heat, place the mushrooms into a small saucepan with the 1 1/4 cups of water. As the water boils, use a spoon to skim the foam. Once boiling, cover the water with a square piece of paper towel, place the lid on, and reduce the heat to low to prevent bubbling over. Cook for 20 minutes before stirring in sugar, gently lifting and reapplying the paper towel to do so. Cook for an additional 7 minutes. Add in soy sauce, and keep the mushrooms on low heat until the water in the saucepan has almost evaporated completely. Then turn off the burner and allow the mushrooms to sit in the saucepan until cool, absorbing the remaining liquid. To Make The Broth: 1 bag of fresh (or frozen) udon noodles 1 1/2 cups water 2/3 teaspoon dashi soup base 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 1/2 tablespoons mirin 1. Drop the udon noodles into a medium-sized saucepan of boiling water. After 25-30 seconds, separate the noodles with cooking chopsticks and drain them with a colander. Let them immediately soak in a shallow bowl of ice water, then set them aside in a dry bowl while creating the broth. 2. Add the 1 1/2 cups of water to a small saucepan or ceramic cooking pot, setting the burner to medium-high. Lightly stir in dashi base, soy sauce, and mirin. 3. Drop in the udon noodles. If you are not using a ceramic cooking pot, let the udon noodles cook in the bowl for about a minute before transferring it into a large soup bowl. 4. Add the ingredients to the bowl, keeping in mind that the pride of a bowl of Japanese udon noodles is having a beautiful presentation! Add the slices of kamaboko, the shiitake mushrooms, and chopped green onion. While still freshly hot, crack an egg into the bowl of soup and sprinkle on the flat parsley. Finally, lay the shrimp tempura across the soup. Enjoy!
How to Make Katsu Curry (カツカレー), Japan's Cutlet & Curry Dish (Vegan Option)
Every so often, this is one of those plates I get a serious craving for. I always think that katsu cutlets tend to be a little too dry and that simple curry rice plates are a little bit boring, so when I'm able to order them together, I get really excited. They really balance each other out! Traditionally, katsu curry is made with chicken, beef, or pork, but you can customize this however you would want. For example, I have seen people sub the meat out for thick breaded cuts of eggplant or Portobello mushroom for an equally satisfying vegetarian dish. Katsu Curry (Makes 4 servings) INGREDIENTS: To Make the Katsu (Meat Version) - 4 pork loin chops, chicken breast, or thin steaks (about 1" thick, no bones) Salt & pepper, to taste 1/2 cup flour 1 - 2 eggs 1 cup panko or bread crumbs Oil for deep frying To Make the Katsu (Vegan/Vegetarian Version) - 4 1" thick slices of eggplant, 4 portobello caps, or 4 store-bought seitan-based cutlets (I would recommend trying Gardein's Chick'n Scallopini - thawed - for this dish.) Salt & pepper, to taste 1/2 cup flour 1 - 2 egg replacements (Ener-G Egg Replacer woould be good for this recipe.) 1 cup panko or bread crumbs Oil for frying To Make the Curry - 2 yellow onions 2 carrots 3 potatoes 1 tablespoons oil 3 1/2 cups water 1 box curry sauce mix (approximately 4 ounces) 4 cups of cooked white rice DIRECTIONS: 1) To make the katsu, make small cuts all over your cutlet of choice with tip of knife. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Coat it with flour, dip in eggs (or egg replacement), then cover with bread crumbs. 2) Heat deep frying oil to 350 F, and deep fry crumb-covered cutlet. (You can check the temperature by dropping a bread crumb. If it comes up to the oil surface right after it's dropped, it's good.) 3) Fry until color turns golden brown and cutlet floats in the oil, about 5-8 minutes, turning once or twice. Set the meat on a cooling rack for a minute. Cut into 5-6 pieces. 4) To make the curry, cut vegetables into bite size pieces. Heat oil and fry onions for 8 minutes. Add carrots and potatoes. Add water to the pot. After it boils, remove from heat and add curry sauce mix. Stir well so the pieces of the mix dissolve. Let it simmer for 10 - 15 minutes (cook longer if you'd like it thicker). If you'd like to add the optional curry powder, stir it in just before serving. 5) Put about a cup of rice on each plate, then place a katsu over the rice. Finally, generously pour curry over it. Serve while still warm.
How To Make Oyakodon (親子丼), Donburi with Chicken and Egg
A 'donburi' - or 'don' for short - in Japanese cuisine is any type of meal that is eaten over a steaming bowl of rice. Among the most internationally popular are katsudon, a rice bowl topped with a fried cutlet and covered in katsu sauce, or gyudon, which is topped with simmered cuts of beef and chopped onion. Perhaps my favorite of all the donburi meals out there, however, is oyakodon, which literally translates to 'parent-and-child' donburi because it uses both the egg and the chicken. (A little gross when you think about it, but whatever. It's delicious.) A warm bowl of oyakodon gives me the same kind of wholesome 'well-being' feeling I would get when I ate a bowl of chicken noodle soup growing up. I blame this either entirely on the chicken and onion itself or the aromatic flavors the donburi is cooked with. In any case, oyakodon is perhaps one of the simplest donburi bowls to make, and I highly suggest you try it out yourself! Pretty much all of the harder to find ingredients (particularly dashi and mirin) should be easy to find in the international section of your local supermarket. ------------------------------------------------------------- Oyakodon, Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl Chicken thigh, skin on (You can use any cut of chicken really, but I prefer using boneless skin-on chicken thigh because of all of its flavor.) 2 eggs 1/2 cup dashi broth (or chicken broth if you have trouble finding dashi near you) 2 teaspoons soy sauce 2 teaspoons honey 2 tablespoon sake (or mirin) a pinch of salt green onions, chopped 1. Place your chicken onto a cold saute pan with some oil, making sure as much meat is making contact with the pan so that cooking will be nice and even. Adjust to medium heat and continue pressing down the meat with a spatula as it cooks to make sure that every bit of the chicken is touching the pan as it goes from cold to hot. It'll make your chicken nice as crispy! 2. As your chicken cooks, mix dashi, soy sauce, honey, and a little bit of salt in a small bowl. In another bowl, throw in two eggs and lightly beat them just enough to break up the yolk. 3. Once the chicken skin is browned, remove from heat and cut the meat into small, bite-size pieces. Don't worry if your chicken isn't cooked thoroughly because it will be put back in the pan later. 4. Drain excess oil in the pan, and put it back on your stove to medium-high with the chicken. Add sake or mirin and cook until the liquid is evaporated. before adding the dashi/soy sauce/honey mixture. Cook until the liquid boils. Add the green onions and egg mixture, and cover until the eggs reach a preferred consistency. 5. Serve over rice, and as an option, garnish with flat-leaf parsley or furikake, a seaweed-based garnish you can find at most Japanese markets. Enjoy!