Sunday night my son stood us up for dinner. I had this great interactive Japanese Hot Pot and Korean BBQ dinner planned for all of us and it wound up being just my husband and I. It was supposed to be a surprise as he loves to eat this kind of food but he had an exam to prepare for.
I admit that every time I get an email of a posting from the Japanese Food Report, I get inspiration. Add to that the simple fact that my Asian market/grocer is next to the doggy daycare and manicure salon; well how much can a girl hold out. I am in there browsing practically every week.
It amazes me that they are able to sell their fresh vegetables at almost half the price of our big box grocery chain stores. Sometimes I will go in just for my vegetables albeit they are limited to the Asian taste.
When I decide on cooking Japanese I go to one of two stores. The first being the Korean/Japanese Grocer across from Le Pet Spa on St. Catherine St West, and the other on Decarie Blvd called Marche Oriental.
Marche Oriental is not just a grocer but also has an assortment of cookware, eating and cooking utensils, plates and dishes, teapots and table top cookers; unique to Asian cooking. Japanese $2 Store it is called. What they have here is amazing in price; for instance what sells at Canadian Tire for 'camping' at over 30 bucks is sold here as a table top stove for $24.
The beauty of Japanese Hot Pot is that any ingredient can be used. It is up to your mind's delight - the only thing you have to factor in is that the protein must be sliced thin and easily cooked in a minute or two. It is the hot liquid that cooks the protein and the veg.
Usually I buy pre-sliced protein at the Japanese Grocer. This time it was lamb for the Japanese Hot Pot and for the Korean BBQ it was pork.
Chicken is a great alternative as a protein because, in slices or even as a round meatball, chicken tends to cook quickly. Of course no bones on the chicken for Japanese Hot Pot and make sure if it is breast that it is sliced very thin. Placing the breasts in the freezer to firm up is a good way to ensure you are able to cut the slices as thin as possible.
I use instant Miso soup. Sometimes I will use or add instant Dashi. Soba noodles. Scallions. Hard Tofu. Napa cabbage.
Kombu always...always I use Kombu (dried seaweed) in the liquid whether it be chicken stock or instant Dashi. Kombu gives it a unique taste that no other ingredient can.
Make sure there is a dipping sauce. My go-to dipping sauce is this:
1/3 cup shaoxing wine:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 c mirin
2 ts sugar
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup scallions, greens only, 1/8 inch slice
1/2 cup minced ginger
1 cup scallion, chopped 1/4-inch thick
combine all and shake.
1/3 cup thin soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup sliced scallions
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sambal/chile oil
Korean BBQ one can used slice Bulgogi which are bone-in short ribs. Cooking on the grill is basic what is called Korean BBQ. It is high enough heat on the butaine burner for a grill pan to sit and then it is just simply placing the pork or whatever protein you use, together with whatever veggies you are using, onto the grill. I always lightly oil the grill pan. I also make steamed rice with which to eat the Korean BBQ.
Asian Grocers have grill pans made especially for these butane burners. The bottoms are like so: with notches to fit on top of the burner.
a closer look at the notches underneath. On top there is also a large screw that can open to let juices run out the sides or screwed shut to keep the juices as part of the cooking liquid. I usually screw it tight.
Since I marinate the Pork; I just simply place it on the grill and then eat it with rice. There is no need to dip Korean BBQ and traditionally it is eaten with all kinds of pickles or Kimchee which can also be bought and is usually much more authentic than anything you can make at home.
Look at the pictures and the video and then haul yourself off to your local Japanese store and if this is your first time then take full advantage of all the frozen and ready-to-cook products they have.
There is nothing more fun than interactive cooking and eating.
TABLE SET FOR INTERACTIVE COOKING OTHERWISE KNOWN AS JAPANESE HOT POT AND KOREAN B B Q
Notice how the grill is made to fit snugly on this table top burner. The notched edges fit onto the rings of the cooktop so there is no danger of slipping or sliding as you cook.
This is the Butane used to light the burner.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the Japanese community throughout Montreal and the world.
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