Grilled as you like it

Hiking Bento June 7, 2008

my bento: clockwise from top left, tatsuta-age, veggie sticks and sesame dressing, potato salad

On Sunday we went hiking with my school’s mountaineering club at Mt. Tanigawa. I’ll have more on that later.

I wanted to bring a tasty and filling bento for lunch. I started by making tatsuta-age using a recipe from chef2chef. I’m very proud of how my first tatsuta-age came out. I think that I’ll definitely make them again sometime, but maybe only for special occasions. I don’t usually deep-fry at home, but doing it in a wok meant that I didn’t use too much oil, and since we had an okonomiyaki party that night, we were even able to use up the leftover oil to fry the okonomiyaki. The tatsuta-age was crunchy and flavorful and still delicious, not soggy, on the second day. The garlic and ginger marinade gave the chicken a lot of flavor. Tatsuta-age similar to kara-age, but while kara-age is coated with wheat flour, tatsuta-age is coated with katakuriko. Katakuriko is starch that was originally made from katakuri, a lily that is known as dogs-tooth violet (though most katakuriko is actually potato starch now). We saw some katakuri growing along the trail while we were hiking. It seems like the katakuri must be highly seasonal, as we saw them growing only in a very small altitude range.

katakuri: Japanese dog-tooth violet (unfortunately there was some moisture in the lens, so it’s a little fuzzy)

I completed my bento with an American-style potato salad, vegetable sticks, and inari-zushi. I like my potato salad with celery, red onion, and lots of dill. Red onion is hard to find here, but I found some recently at Shoku-no-eki (a store that sells many local farm products) and I also got some that were grown by one of the teachers at school.

Laurel’s Dilly Potato Salad

3 small or medium potatoes
2 or 3 ribs of celery
wedge of red onion (about one eighth)
handful of dill
kewpie mayonnaise
spoonful of capers
one or two spoonfuls of dijon or whole-grained mustard
black pepper

Peel and dice the potatoes. Boil until tender in salted water. Drain. Taste the potatoes. If they don’t taste a bit salty, sprinkle the potatoes with salt while they’re still hot. Next chop the celery, onion, dill and capers, then add them to the potatoes. Stir together about a quarter cup of mayonnaise with a spoonful or two of mustard and some black pepper. Add to the potatoes and vegetables and stir together. Taste and adjust the flavor and texture by adding more of any of the ingredients. The potatoes should be evenly coated, but not drowned in the dressing. Be careful not to add too much mustard, since it’s flavor seems to get stronger over time.


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