new york revisited: soba noodles with pork and sweet ginger scallion sauce

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The last time I made this dish we were living in New York City. For old times’ sake and all that, I made it again, this time without sirloin steak. I used pork tenderloin for tender juicy bites to go with the sesame-soy-ginger-scallion sauce.

Soba noodles with sweet ginger scallion sauce (Modified from Simply Reem)

8-9 oz. dry soba noodles
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 1/2 cups scallions, chopped fine
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons chili oil (substitute 2 teaspoons chili paste with garlic and 1 teaspoon oil)
Coarse salt, optional
Fresh ground black pepper, optional

Mix the scallions, ginger, cilantro, sesame oil, chili oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and honey in a bowl. Set it aside for 10 -15 minutes to let the flavors meld. Cook the noodles.

Cook’s Note: To cook soba, rinse the dried noodles first. According to Food 52, this reduces the gumminess of the noodles and they won’t stick together in cooking. Like rice grains, I rinsed the noodles until the water was clear. Bring pot of water to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Cook in simmering water 5-8 minutes or until cooked through. If al dente, cook a few minutes longer. Rinse and drain in cool water.

Toss the noodles with the sauce and sesame seeds. Taste. Add salt and pepper if needed. If too sour, add up to a teaspoon sugar. Serve at once.

OPTIONAL: To make the pork, I thinly sliced about 1 cup of pork tenderloin and marinated it for 10-15 minutes in soy sauce and pepper. Then I stir-fried the pork in a 2 teaspoons of hot oil until cooked through. Toss with the noodles.

quick and easy tonkatsu Japanese breaded cutlets with red-brown rice, broccoli and carrots

I’ve had so much traffic this weekend for the green onion cornbread post two years ago. I hope the people who dropped in to look will come back again!

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Last night, I took a break from grades to revisit an old favorite, tonkatsu, a Japanese breaded pork (or chicken) cutlet served with rice and vegetables. I love it with a special homemade tonkatsu sauce but I had no time to make it this weekend. I took a shortcut and put some fried garlic in a 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce so that made it quick and easy! I used a little oil to coat a nonstick pan but you can use cooking spray instead.

Breaded Cutlets
1 large chicken breast, slice thinly in half then cut each patty in half
1/2 pork tenderloin, silver removed, cut into four pieces and pound flat
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (can substitute ordinary breadcrumbs)
1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon water
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
cooking spray

Rice
2 rice cooker cups brown rice
1 rice cooker cup red rice

Veggie Side
3 cup broccoli florets
1 cup broccoli stems, peeled and sliced thin on the bias
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into rounds and halved
boiling water
salt

I only have one induction burner so I started with the rice. I washed it and set it to cook and forgot it so I could attend to the veggies. I peeled them, cut them up, and set them aside. Then I dipped each cutlet in oil, then flour-salt n’peppa, egg mixture, and finally breadcrumbs.

I fried the cutlets in the hot skillet rubbed with a bit of oil, until they were brown on both sides. Slice cutlets into strips then set aside.

I heated a large pan with water. Then I cooked the carrots and broccoli stems for 3 minutes. I added the florets and cooked them for another 2 minutes. Drain the veggies.

By then the rice was cooked. I heaped the rice into a bowl, topped the rice with meat, veggies, and barbecue sauce. Then we ate. I love the mixture of brown and red rice. It’s nutty and al dente.

tonkatsu made with hazelnut flour

I like making tonkatsu because it’s so simple and easy: rice, meat, and vegetables all in one bowl. Make the rice first–in a rice cooker you push a button and forget it. Next, make the sauce. While it’s simmering on the stove,  prep the meat. That’s it! This is my gluten-free version. I used ground hazelnut meal/flour instead of Panko bread crumbs. What was sacrificed in the crunchiness of the crumb coating was made up for by the nutty flavor of the hazelnuts.

Oven-Fried Tonkatsu

Ingredients


  • 8 pork tenderloin medallions, pounded thin  (1 pound trimmed of fat and silver)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups ground hazelnut meal/flour (can use any nut flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to  400˚F for pork tenderloin medallions
  • Flatten each medallion to about ¼ inch thick.
  • Prepare a baking tray; spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a pie plate, combine the hazelnut meal, salt and pepper.
  • In another pie plate, pour the egg whites. Dip meat in egg whites
  • Roll meat lightly in flour mixture until coated.
  • Place each cutlet on the prepared baking tray.
  • Bake cutlets 10-15 minutes.
  • Slice meat into slivers about ½ inch wide.
  • Serve meat with warm rice, steamed broccoli, and tonkatsu sauce for dipping (see my recipe for homemade tonkatsu sauce below)

Tonkatsu Sauce (from grouprecipes.com)

Ingredients


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup sake or rice wine (substitute rice vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic or 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup mirin (substitute ¼ teaspoon sugar to ¼ cup white wine)

How to make it


  • Put all the above ingredients in a sauce pan.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce to a simmer for 25-30 minutes skimming any foam that rises to the top.
  • Refrigerate extra sauce.
  • Makes about 3 cups.

beef broccoli with sichuan pepper and japanese zucchini stir fry

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Sichuan pepper is actually not a pepper at all nor is it related to black pepper. If it smells and tastes familiar that’s because it is a common ingredient in Asian cooking, particularly  in Five-Spice Powder. To me it has a sweet smell, almost like cinnamon, and like cinnamon, it is somewhat bitter. Use it in small quantities because although it does not have the heat of the more familiar peppers, it does have a numbing effect on the tongue. To me, water tastes salty after eating too much Sichuan peppercorns!

Beef Broccoli with Sichuan Pepper

This is a variation on the popular dish in Chinese restaurant menus. The beef is tender and the broccoli is crisp tender, with a hint of sesame. In Chinese cooking, sesame oil is used to flavor food after it is cooked. It is too delicate to stand up to heat in cooking. A little bit, like a teaspoon, is  enough. I serve this beef broccoli with Sichuan pepper with brown-white rice mix because AJ thinks brown rice alone is too dry. The ratio is 2:1 brown rice to white rice.

3/4 pound lean boneless beef steak, sliced across the grain into thin strips
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon red Sichuan peppercorns, coarsely ground
3 tablespoons soy sauce or soy-ginger sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons garlic, peeled and minced
3 cups broccoli florets
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Blanch broccoli florets in a pot of boiling water until bright green, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and place under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, put the beef strips, peppercorns, soy sauce or soy-ginger sauce, add cornstarch. Mix well and set aside.

Put canola oil in a large wok or skillet, and turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beef and stir-fry until it begins to brown, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and toss to heat through. The beef should have pink streaks. Remove the pan from the heat and add the sesame oil. Taste and adjust seasoning; adding a little soy sauce, if desired. Serve immediately with steamed brown rice and Japanese Zucchini Stir Fry.

Japanese Zucchini Stir Fry

I found this recipe in Real Food Real Easy (2010) by George Stella. The recipes in this book use just a few ingredients (not more than nine) and the method is simple and straightforward. I really needed this cookbook since I started a new job this week, and I haven’t had much time for anything complicated. So this marks a return to my roots–simple stir fries with fresh ingredients.

2 medium zucchini
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

  1. To toast sesame seeds, put them in a skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside. Slice ends off zucchini and discard. Cut each zucchini in half crosswise then split each half vertically in two. Slice each quarter into thick sticks. Cut quartered onion into 1/4 inch thick strips
  2. Heat oil in a large work or skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add zucchini and onions and cook without stirring 2-4 minutes or until browned on the undersides. Stir once and continue cooking 2-3 minutes to continue browning.
  3. Add soy sauce and black pepper, tossing to combine. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil and sesame seeds.