Monday, April 5, 2010

魚料理 ぎんだら - Gindara - Alaskan Black Cod

こんにちわ! Your Gaijin Gourmet is back with another oh so おいいしい dish you will absolutely love! Today we introduce you to Gindara which is actually Alaskan Black Cod that we will prepare in foil and bake in the oven. This is another easy dish to prepare and a favorite of many of my Japanese friends. Black Cod is mostly harvested by the Boys of the Bearing Sea and a good portion of it gets shipped to Japan for consumption. Luckily for us, some of that cod makes it’s way down to the lower 48 and can be found in most American Markets. So aside from ease in preparation, the ease in acquisition of ingredients makes Gindara an excellent meal for us to feature here.

So let’s get started はじめましょお!
4 Block Cod Fillets - I say buy four because you will kick yourself in the butt if you only buy two. Trust me!
1 pkg Baby Spinach
1 Lemon
2 tblsp Mayonnaise
Salt & Pepper
Vegetable Oil
Tin Foil
1 Oven - なんちゃって! - Just kidding! No seriously, you'll use one.

The first thing you will want to do is start with the preparation. So in starting, take a good sized piece of tin foil large enough to completely encase your fillet. Fold your edges neatly as if you were going to place a square object inside. Do not approach this like a baked potato. Remember, presentation is very important. You’ll see why when we move over to the spinach.
Once you have your foil laid out, take a small amount of vegetable oil (or olive oil) and lightly baste the foil.
You can use a small brush to evenly prep your foil.

Now that your foil if prepped, you will now prepare the baby spinach.

Cut your spinach leaves in one inch lengths.


Place your spinach leaves inside the foil in a neat manner.

Place your black cod fillets on top of the spinach.

Lightly add salt & pepper.

Next, slice your Lemon in two. Use one half of the lemon and squeeze over the fillets.

You’ll use the other half later for garnish.

Take two tablespoons of mayonnaise and spread lightly over your fillets. For presentation purposes, it's recommended you use a squeezable bottle.

For personal taste I will also recomend using Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise. It really adds to the taste! YUM!

Once you have made it this far, you can preheat your oven and fold over your tin foil. Ok, now this looks like you are baking a potato but trust me, this is going to come out seriously yummy!

Bring your oven up to 350* and bake for 15-20 minutes. Take a peak at 15 minutes and if your oven is like mine, you'll likely put your fillets back in for another five minutes. Always check to be sure.

Once your fillets are cooked, take your remaining lemon half and cut into thin slices for garnish and serve.

You'll discover the bed of spinach will have cooked nicely under your fillets. If your fillets have bones, don't fret. When properly cooked, the bones will lift nicely. Your end result should be phenominal. The Gindara literally melts in your mouth leaving you saying おいいしい!!!

Gindara is a popular fish dish in Japan and here in our home. It's both inexpensive and easy to make within thirty minutes. We think you will love this dish. We sure did! Let us know how yours came out!


丼ずけ-どん - Zuke-don

こんにちわ! I’ve been getting some positive feedback on some of my posts and every so often I’ll get a request to offer something basic that anyone with the least amount of cooking experience can make. Well to satisfy that request, we tried our hands at another Donburi using Tuna. For this Donburi you can use any sashimi grade Tuna but for this we are going to go native and use Hon Maguro (blue fin). Now if you have been reading the Japanese News lately, you have seen a lot of controversy over the use of blue fin tuna. I personally don’t have an issue with it for if it were so endangered I wouldn’t be able to find it so easily at the Japanese Markets here in Southern California. But if that is an issue for you I’ll repeat that you can always use any sashimi grade tuna as a substitute. We sure won’t object!

So here’s what you will need:
I pkg Hon Maguro – Tuna – Sashimi Grade
Japanese Soy Sauce
1 Cup of cooked Sushi Rice
Wasabi – according to taste!

If you are ready, let’s begin! はじめましょ!

To start we will first open our package of tuna. In Japanese markets you can get this pre-sliced but if this is not an option, no problem! Simply slice your tuna filet into bite sized one inch slices.

The next thing you will want to do is marinate your tuna in soy sauce as shown below. Refrigerate for one hour then turn over your tuna and refrigerate for another two hours.  Sounds simple so far? It is!

There's no need to drown the tuna. Simply pour enough soy sauce to around 1/4 inch to effectively marinate.

After one hour, turn your tuna and re-refrigerate for another two hours as seen here.
If you have read our previous post on how to make sushi rice and have already have your rice ready to go, simply fill enough rice in a bowl and leave enough room for your tuna. Serve your marinated tuna over the rice. For me I like to mix my rice up but that is your choice just as you can choose to spice it up with a dash of wasabi in your soy sauce. In any case, you’ll wind up with a savory dish full of nutritional value such as omega-3, iron, potassium, & vitamin b6 proteins you’ll enjoy on a hot summer’s day or anytime of the year.

If you are looking to cut calories, we suggest using a low sodium light soy sauce as we use. You can also substitute your sushi rice with brown rice. We’ve tried to make Zuke-don both ways and it came out おいいしい!!!

So once again, the Gaijin-Gourmet has brought you another simple easy to make dish you can make whether you are here in the U.S. or in Japan and with little or no trouble at all.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

もち米 Sushi Rice Basics

こんにちわ! The Gaijin Gourmet is back with another how to for you! Every now and then I will find myself talking about making Japanese dishes when someone stops me in mid sentence going ちょっと まって ください (whoa-wait)! "how do you make Japanese sticky rice???" I say to them not to feel embarrassed if you didn’t already know how. (I sure didn’t learn over night until I was shown how to properly make it myself). It’s a fair and most basic question to ask and so I felt it was about time I covered this most basic and essential component to Japanese Cooking.

So let’s get to it! はじめましょう!

The first thing you’ll need of course is some good quality short grained rice. Your choice of rice is an important factor when you consider both taste and quality. If you have access to a Japanese market or an Asian market, you will have some decent choices to choose from. JFC has three brands Nozomi, Tamanishiki, and Yume. They are all excellent short grained rice to work with. We personally like Matsuri Premium Rice.

You can use other rice such as Shirakiku Calrose Rice but there will be some extra work involved as I will go on to explain here.

Now the difference between American methods of cooking rice and Japanese methods vary in both the ratios of rice to water and preparation. Now growing up I was always taught to use 2 Cups Water to each Cup of Rice then add butter. This will not do! For Japanese cooking your ratio will always be one cup of water to each cup of rice.
So let's start with one cup of rice. Before you go straight to adding your one cup of water you'll need to WASH YOUR RICE! なに? Yes that's right. You'll need to wash the rice. This is very important!

To wash your rice run cold water and rinse your rice repeatedly. When you first pour water into the rice pot the water will appear cloudy. You’ll want to rinse that cloudy water and drain over and over again until the water appears clear. With good rice you can accomplish this in six or seven rinses. The colder the water is the better your rice will wash. If you are using lesser quality rice you can find your self rinsing twice as much but with hard work and determination you can still produce sticky rice.

Once your rice water is crystal clear, you can drain one last time and now add that one cup of cold water equal to the cup of rice that has been washed. Add a pinch of salt and stir it around the pot once. The salt will help prevent the rice from sticking to the pot thus eliminating the American need for using butter. This is actually healthier for you.

Now that you are ready to go turn on your stove and bring to a boil. Make sure your rice is covered and periodically stir. Once the water is nearly completely gone, turn off the heat and stir once and quickly cover. Next shake the pot from side to side for two shakes. This will help absorb any residual water. Let it stand for at least two to three minutes.

Next add Rice Vinegar. This is the most crucial ingredient! Add between half to one capful of rice vinegar according to taste then stir. This is what truly gives the sticky rice it’s flavor. You can find rice vinegar in pretty much any Asian foods section in the US or Japanese market. If you want to take one additional traditional step; use a small towel and place over the pot to go under the cover. This helps retain moisture and keeps the rice from going hard. If you have a bamboo rice pot even better!

Now if you have followed all of these easy steps,
You too will now master sushi rice!