Easy breezy Japanesey

I apologize for the long hiatus. No, I haven’t been that busy with schoolwork; it’s procrastination. *gasp* Sad but true, I procrastinate even with my blog!  Someone needs to put a stop to this disgusting situation. A clamorous call for rectification! I will do my penance for this lapse, and that translates to whatever number of posts this week so I can be up to date by Friday (a rather ambitious goal…oh god). Brace yourself for an overdose of new entries – two weeks worth of gluttony, oh my.


 Spaghetti with enoki and Japanesey mesclun salad

Since the start of this semester, I’ve found myself going back time and again to the Japanese quarter in our multicultural pantheon of condiments. Thanks to Gilbey who makes it his duty to ensure that the Japanase has ample representation in our kitchen. But ample or not, I have grown quite an appreciation for them Japanese condiments. I highly recommend that you stock your pantry with the fab four: shoyu (soy sauce), dashi (stock/broth made from kelp and dried fish flakes), mirin (Japanese rice wine), and rice wine vinegar. They are extremely versatile and make things delicious with minimal effort on your part (or my part in this case). 

So resulting from my newfound obsession was what I’d like to call easy breezy Japanase-y cooking – copped-out, simple dishes that rely heavily on the umami-ness of certain Japanase condiments. One of my current favorites is enoki pasta, a quick dish that gets its dose of umami from the shoyu, dashi and mirin. Butter is an obvious choice for the fat here because it not only adds oomph but its taste and smell also complement the shoyu flavor very well.

Spaghetti with enoki and Japanesey mesclun salad

for the pasta:
Spaghetti, enoki, butter, garlic, shoyu, mirin, dashi stock, black pepper, dried seaweed and parsley for garnish

for the salad:
mesclun greens, grape tomatoes, dashi stock, mirin, olive oil, furikake

*quantity not specified because I’m lazy and also because it really depends on your taste.

1. Boil the spaghetti.

2. While waiting for the pasta to cook, tend to the mushroom. Melt butter in the skillet (I use 1 tbs). Add garlic and wait until it’s softened. Add enoki and all the condiments. Play with the flavors until it suits your taste. Be careful not to overcook the enoki.

3. Pasta is done! Add the nooldles to the skillet. Flavor-check one last time. Finish with a little bit of freshly ground black pepper, dried seaweed and parsley.

4. For the salad dressing, mix dashi, mirin and olive oil together. Drizzle it on the mesclun greens. Mix well. Finish with a generous sprinkle of furikake.


Sesame crusted tuna, cold buckwheat soba salad, sauteed shitake mushroom

That same Sunday I made the enoki pasta, I remember I went on to make a more full-blown Japanesey meal for dinner. All the credits to James who insisted that we eat his tuna, proceeded to cook the tuna, and took all these pictures once again.


James made these super-photogenic tuna (recipe here)

Since the guy was adamant about searing tuna, I was relegated to fashioning the sides. First I made a simple cold soba salad with crisp cucumber julienne using the same dressing that I made for the mesclun salad I ate earlier for lunch. I happened to have shitake mushroom on hand, so I sauteed it really quickly with butter and the same three condiments I used for the enoki pasta I ate earlier for lunch. Hah! How uninspired. But together, they made a light and balanced meal with the fish as the main protein anchoring the dish, the cold soba for carbs and refreshing taste, and the buttery shitake to round out the flavors.


Cold soba salad with cucumber and dried seaweed


I’m only putting this picture up so I can credit Ry for the placemats and chopsticks that he got for me from Shanghai. Haha, how thoughtful of you Ry!

To further prove my point of the easy-breeziness of this Japanese-y style of cooking, the following salad was put together in literally one minute. I took out a bowl and threw in some mesclun greens, leftover buckwheat soba, smoked salmon and grape tomatoes. Then I poured in a little bit of dashi, mirin and rice wine vinegar (no need for oil! very diet friendly) and finished with a dash of furikake and dried seaweed. It made a very satisfying and healthful (albeit a little sodium-laden) lunch.



2 Responses to “Easy breezy Japanesey”

  1. 1 D February 6, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    *whisper* it’s so beauuutiful..!

  1. 1 Odds and ends II « Food and Whine Trackback on May 29, 2007 at 3:22 am

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