Having not cooked in a long time, and finally having a free evening tonight, I decided to make myself a Japanese meal. I was inspired by the wonderful dinner we had at Sake No Hana last night (where I saw Ralph Fiennes!!) where we had the always delicious Inaniwa udon with prawn tempura, prawn sashimi, sashimi with wasabi jelly, a lobster broth (that had lobster brains in it!), yellowtail and mooli stew, black cod rice, sukiyaki and sake chicken. Didn't take my camera with me so don't have any pictures to share.
But anyway, back to my dinner tonight, I had bought some udon and handmade tofu from Japan Centre, which I wanted to use up. The handmade tofu came in 3 individual packs, so I decided to make 3 different sauces for it. I also wanted to satisfy my craving for nasu dengaku (eggplant with miso paste) since we didn't order that yesterday, and of course a udon soup to go with the dishes. I flipped through my Harumi cookbooks to get some inspiration for the tofu and decided on a miso sauce (which would be the same as what I'm making for the aubergine), a honsen egg and soy broth, and my ready-made sesame dressing that I had gotten from Japan Centre (yes, it's cheating a little, but hey 3 difference sauces from scratch is a lot!).
I definitely had way too much food again for one person :) so the recipes below are for 2 persons.
Nasu Dengaku (Eggplant with Miso Sauce)
60ml dashi (see recipe at the end)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
70g miso paste
Preheat oven to 200 deg C (convention oven)
Simmer the dashi, sake, mirin, cornflour and sugar in a saucepan until sugar is melted. Add in the miso paste and bring to boil. Once you see it start bubbling, take it off the heat.
Cut the eggplant into half and score it diagonally, making a grid-like pattern.
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a frying pan on medium heat and then place the 2 halves of eggplant face down. Turn it around after a few minutes, when you see it starting to soften and charring a little. Let it grill for a few minutes on the skin side as well.
Transfer the eggplant to foil-lined baking tray, skin-side down. Spoon the miso paste over each half and cover it well.
Bake in oven for about 15 minutes or when you see the miso paste turning brown and bubbling.
Honsen Egg & Soy Broth Tofu
1 small tofu
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsbp of bonito flakes
1 tsp sake
1 tbsp mirin
To make the honsen egg: Place the egg (which shd be at room temperature, not chilled) into a heatproof container such as a teapot. Pour boiling water over it and cover. Let it stand for 10-12 minutes. This would give you a perfect soft boiled egg.
Mix soy sauce, sake, mirin and bonito flakes together and put it into microwave for 1 minute. Strain out the bonito flakes.
Make a small well in the tofu by scooping out some tofu onto the sides. Crack the honsen egg into the well. Pour the soy broth over it and garnish with spring onions and bonito flakes.
For the other 2 tofu, I basically just spooned over some miso paste as well as my ready made sesame dressing and garnished with some sesame seeds, spring onions and seaweed.
Udon with Mushroom Dashi Broth and Honsen Egg
1L of dashi (see recipe at the end)
2 bundles of udon noodles (dried thin ones, not the thick fat ones)
Assorted mushrooms (shitake, honshimeji)
4 tbsp of soy sauce or soy & kelp noodle seasoning
2 honsen eggs (according to recipe above)
Bring the dashi to boil in saucepan. Add udon and mushrooms in and bring it down to simmer.
When udon and mushrooms are cooked, add the soy sauce/seasoning to taste. Take it off the heat and dish into bowls for serving. Crack a honsen egg into each portion.
To serve, garnish with spring onions and seaweed.
Dashi Stock recipe
2 pieces 10x10cm dried kelp (konbu)
50g bonito flakes
Wash the konbu in running water to get rid of any salt deposits.
Place konbu in saucepan with 1.2L of water and let it soak for 30 min.
After 30 min, bring the water and konbu to boil. When the water boils, immediately take out the konbu.
Add in the bonito flakes and bring to boil again. Once it has boiled, turn off the heat and let the broth stand until the flakes have sank to the bottom.
Strain for use, or keep in container in fridge for future use. You may reuse the bonito flakes for a milder dashi stock.