At least once a week I like to cook something Japanese style and serve our meal in large noodle bowls. I really like the clean flavours and the simple ingredients. I add what vegetables I’ve bought at the market and add fish, chicken or meat and often an egg. I always have Japanese soy sauce, mirin, cooking sake, sachets of dashi (for making stock), sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, sesame seeds, dried seaweed, soba noodles and nanami togarashi (Japanese chilli pepper) in my pantry.
A couple of nights ago, using chicken breasts I’d bought, I came up with the following dish.
Ingredients (for 2 or 3)
1 whole skinless chicken breast (or 2 halves)
5 cups water
2 sachets dashi
4-5 cms piece fresh ginger, peeled and very finely grated preferably using a ginger grater
Baby spinach leaves or tat soi leaves
6-8 small/medium shitake mushrooms, halved or sliced if larger
1 hardboiled egg per person, peeled and halved
2-3 Jason’s red onion/spring onions (see below in the market news) or regular spring onions, finely sliced
2 bundles soba noodles, cooked according to directions on the packet
Toasted sesame seeds – white or black or a mix
100ml soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp cooking sake
2 tbsps brown sugar or coconut sugar
Put the poaching liquid ingredients in a pot on the stove. Gently heat and stir till the sugar is dissolved. Add the chicken breasts and bring to the boil. Skim any scum and simmer for 5 minutes then remove the pot from the heat. Leave the chicken in the pot for at least 10-15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Just before you’re ready to serve, slice the chicken.
Using a large pot, bring the 5 cups of water to the boil, add the dashi and grated ginger. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add ½ cup of the poaching liquid. Next add the shitake mushrooms and leave them to cook for another 3-4 minutes. Just before you’re ready to serve add the spinach and noodles. Remove from the heat.
Serve the noodles and vegetables in large bowls. Top with sliced chicken breast, hardboiled eggs and spring onions and sprinkle with sesame seeds and namani togarshi.
Salmon and rice bowl is another favourite. I top brown rice with sliced raw salmon, slices of Japanese style rolled omelette, quartered radishes, sprouts, sautéed shitakes, wilted spinach or tat soi, roasted pumpkin and roasted broccoli. On the side I serve lime miso dressing and let everyone add their own.