Okonomiyaki

Grilled as you like it

Nira harumaki: Garlic chive spring rolls March 11, 2009

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Here is another tasty dish from the February Kyou no Ryouri’s nabemono vegetable ideas article: Nira harumaki. These yummy rolls combine pork, harusame noodles, enoki mushrooms, and nira. Nira are garlic chives (not garlic and chives), a flat green leaf with a flavor similar to chives and garlic. The flavor is pretty strong when they’re raw but it becomes milder as they cook.

These are my first harumaki (spring rolls). Although I was worried that rolling them would be a lot of work, they were surprisingly simple to make, but next time I’ll have to make sure to fry them in cooler oil because they got a little bit overcooked (they should be golden, but not brown).

Nira harumaki: Garlic chive spring rolls
from Kyou no Ryouri, February 2009

200 grams thinly sliced pork loin
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon shoyu
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
100 grams nira (garlic chives)
1 bunch enoki mushrooms
30 grams harusame noodles
10 sheets harumaki wrappers
katakuriko or cornstarch
water mixed with a bit of flour (to seal the harumaki wrappers)
vegetable oil for frying
garnish: shoyu, vinegar, chili threads

Chop the pork. Add salt, pepper, sake, sesame oil, shoyu, and oyster sauce to pork and mix.

Cut nira into 3 cm lengths. Trim the bottom from the bunch of enoki. Cut tops into 3 cm lengths. Soak harusame noodles in warm water for 4 to 5 minutes. Drain well and cut into 3 cm lengths.

Mix together pork, vegetables, and harusame. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon katakuriko and mix.

Place one harumaki wrapper on your work surface. Place one tenth of the meat and vegetable mixture diagonally about 1/3 of the way across the wrapper. Dip your finger in some water mixed with flour and paint a line around the edges of the wrapper (this is to help the wrapper seal shut). Now roll up the harumaki like a burrito. Make sure the filling is not poking out from the corners of the wrappers.

Fry the harumaki in 165 – 170 degree C vegetable oil until golden. Drain harumaki on paper towels or oil-absorbing kitchen paper.

Make a dipping sauce by mixing vinegar and shoyu to taste. Garnish with chili threads.

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Stamina hakusai su-mushi: Vinegar-steamed cabbage and pork March 2, 2009

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Stamina hakusai su-mushi: vinegar-steamed napa cabbage and stir-fried pork

I bought the February issue of Kyou no Ryouri (Today’s Cooking) recently because there was an interesting looking feature, “Nabemono Yasai Idea Dishes.” This article had a lot of recipes for using the vegetables that you usually put into nabe (Japanese hotpots). Maybe Japanese housewives have the same issue that I do: I love daikon, nira, hakusai (napa cabbage), and shungiku in my nabe, but then I’m not sure what to do with the leftover vegetables except to make more nabe with them. Now I have a bunch of ideas for other dishes that use these leftover vegetables. Most of the recipes focus on the vegetable, with just a bit of meat added as an accent, so they’re good for the environment and low calorie too (compared to more meat-centric meals). Trying to save money? It doesn’t get much more economical than cabbage and daikon! Another great point is that all of the recipes that I’ve tried from the article look quick and simple; great for a weeknight meal!

Here’s the first recipe I tried from this feature.

Stamina hakusai su-mushi: Vinegar-steamed pork and napa cabbage
adapted from Kyou no Ryouri, February 2009

1/4 hakusai (napa cabbage)
300 grams thinly sliced pork (buta koma gire niku)
2 cloves garlic
small piece fresh ginger
rice vinegar
salt
oil
shoyu
sake

Chop the cabbage into bite-sized pieces. Mince the garlic and ginger. Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces.

Put the cabbage into a pot large enough to hold all of it. Add 100 milliliters vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and steam for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir the cabbage and continue cooking until the cabbage is as cooked as you like it.

In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (reduced from 2 tablespoons in the original recipe) and cook the garlic and ginger. When the garlic and ginger is fragrant, add the pork and stir fry. Add 1 tablespoon shoyu and 1 tablespoon sake. Reduce the liquid a bit.

To serve, pile the cabbage on a large platter (drain off most of the liquid as it is very strong). Pile the pork on top of the cabbage. Eat with rice.