Posted by: mikeydude | November 3, 2009

Udon & Dashi Broth, Miso Soup, and Yuan Style Chicken

Dashi…. the very essence of Japanese cooking. When I first started my studies in Japanese cuisine it quickly became apparent that it was imperative to master the art of making Dashi before all else as it forms the basis of so many classic Japanese dishes. I will not go into that process in this post, but perhaps will write a proper entry regarding my multiple attempts of making this elegant soup base another time.

It’s getting a bit wet and cold here in the UK in August 2009. Both myself and the Mrs are in the process of recovering from cough & colds which have crippled our fitness regimes. I needed to serve up a nice soupy meal with Japanese flair!

Ya right! I simply made a litre of primary dashi and about 750mls of secondary dashi to make a soup and broth for the main constituents of the dinner. Udon was bought from a chinese supermarket and simply boiled for a few minutes to cook before draining under plenty of cold tap water to rid the ‘starchiness’. The noodle broth that it was sit in later was also very simple to make… by just adding soy sauce, mirin, and a touch of sugar to the secondary dashi before slowly simmering! I almost forgot to mention the secret ingredient; japanese 7 spice powder at the end. This adds a kick of spice as you eat this dish.

cookudon1

cookudon2

The Miso soup was a bit more tricky. The wife had just bought some fine white miso from London Japan Center and I was really excited in making Miso for the first time, which is the most common soup served in Japan! The soup itself is simply dashi plus miso paste (I used white) along with your choice of accompaniments. I added tofu, wakami seaweed, oyster mushrooms, and sansho pepper. Probably ended up too cluttered for a miso soup, but we still enjoyed the end result 🙂

cookmiso1

cookmiso3

Now Yuan Style Chicken is interesting. The meat is totally derived from the chicken leg. Using a special filleting method you must separate both the thigh and drumstick bone from the meat so that you end up with one piece of meat with skin only on one side. This is so that the skin can be grilled uniformly. The resulting piece of fillet is then marinated in lemon rind (essential), dark soy sauce, sake, and mirin for about 30 mins. After pre-heating the grill to a not too hot setting you grill the meat skin side down first for a short while (about 3 mins depending on how big your chicken meat is), before cooking the majority of the chicken skin side up to achieve delicious crispy skin. My first attempt didn’t turn out too bad, but as you can see, the combination of the dark soy sauce and my overenthusiastic heat setting caused the skin to burn. It was nevertheless still a very tasty chicken dish and yet so easy to make. Another mistake I made was not pre-soaking the skewer sticks in water first and so they’ve been burnt too.

2009_1027initial0098

All in all not a bad attempt I don’t think. The miso soup tasted fairly good as did the udon noodles. Must’ve been the quality of the dashi hehe. The chicken tasted good but looked a mess. Need to work on that. I was totally surprised at how easy the whole meal was to make. Anyway… will probably try it again soon.

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