Tonight I decided to make a few more quick and easy Japanese dishes. Because we didn't want to be cooking all evening, I chose 2 really easy dishes that took a total of about 30 minutes.
The first was Lotus Root "Kinpira", a very easy(3 step) sweet and spicy dish of crunchy lotus root that is delici-yoso with Gohan(rice).
1/2 lb Lotus Root
1 Tb Sesame Oil
1 Tb Vegetable Oil
1 Tb Sake
3 Tb Soy sauce
1 Tb Sugar
1 Tb Mirin
Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
Shimichi Togarashi(Japanese Chili Pepper)optional
Toasted Sesame Seeds
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
2 Cups Water
1 - Peel the Lotus Root and slice thinly. Soak briefly in Vinegar and Water to remove bitterness.
2 - Heat Sesame and Vegetable Oil in a saucepan(I add vegetable oil to increase the smokepoint of the sesame oil), using medium heat fry the lotus root until slightly translucent. Do not overcook! Add crushed red pepper, Sake, Soy Sauce, Sugar, and Mirin. Simmer until all the liquid evaporates.
3 - Sprinkle with Sesame Seeds before serving.
The second dish was very easy Simmered Wakame and Bamboo Shoots. Wakame is a very popular dried seaweed, that can be found in everything from miso soup to salads. I've even had it in a few Korean Dishes, and as Kim Chee. To say that the Japanese have been using Wakame for a long time is an understatement. Use of Wakame have appeared in Japanese documents as far back as the ninth century. This dish is a fragrant and supposedly healthy dish, that combines two very aromatic ingredients, the earthy-woody bamboo shoot(takenoko), and the oceany wakame. I used canned bamboo shoots to cut down the cooking time.
Simmered Wakame and Bamboo Shoots
1 - Cut the Bamboo Shoots lengthwise into quarters or eighths depending on their size.
2 - Place wakame into a bowl and pour boiling water over them, and drain quickly.
3 - Place Bamboo Shoots and water into a pot, cover and bring to a boil. When a boil is reached add sake and mirin and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add Sugar and Soy Sauce, and stir. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
4 - Add wakame and simmer briefly. Turn off heat and add Dashi No Moto
Some notes on the Wakame; I used the "chopped" variety. If you purchase the "whole" variety, use about 2 strands.