Thursday, January 04, 2007

Japanese dinner

As you can see in the "currently reading" section of my blog, I got Harumi Kurihara's Japanese Cooking for Christmas. Thank you, peanut-bee! It's a beautiful book with delicious-sounding recipes, some for sushi but many other things as well. The author always lists possible alternatives for products which may not be available outside Japan, making japanese cooking so much more accessible. She even suggests leaving some ingredients out if they cannot be replaced, saying that the result would certainly still be quite close to the original. I really like the way she's not overly fussy about her recipes or sporting that holier-than-thou attitude you sometimes encounter in cooks - she points out the important bits of her recipes without insisting you follow them to the word all the time. Leafing through the book on the train the other day felt so inspirational that I went to home and tried to create japanese meal with whatever I had. The result was of course not original japanese but still very good.

Braised baby lettuce with toasted sesame dressing (serves 2)

  • 2 heads of baby lettuces, washed and cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • a little chili paste
  • a few basil leaves.
Roast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan until they are lightly brown. Grind in a pestle and mortar. Tip into a little bowl and add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and chili paste and stir together. Vary the quantity of the ingredients to your taste. Heat the vegetable oil in the frying pan and add the dripping wet lettuce, lower the heat and cook the lettuce for a few minutes, covered. Place on little plates and drizzle with the dressing. Scatter the basil on top. I had the lettuce with a bowl of white rice which made for a lovely light meal. Don't go overboard with the dressing, the sesame is very filling.


Kristen said...

That sounds like my kind of cookbook. I love flexible cooking!

wheresmymind said...

I think we need to get you a flash for the cam!:D

Anonymous said...

i do love your food-pictures and think they would get too bright with a flash. by the way, your boyfriend must be a very lucky man, cookingbee!