Thursday, 26 August 2010

Remembrance of things past...

One of my strongest memories of being in Kyoto is of the taste of teriyaki. It has all the classic flavours of Japan - the rich umami of soy, sweet mirin and the sharpness and bite of fresh ginger. It may not be as elegant, but it beats a porcelain cup of lime flower tea and petite madeleine for me hands down.

I'm sure purists would be horrified by the addition of sesame oil, but this recipe is - like my rose tinted memories of Japan - my interpretation, so anything goes.

Soba noodles are made with buckwheat and sometimes yam flour, and have a more robust texture and pronounced wheaty flavour than egg noodles. If you buy them from the Japan Centre they come beautifully wrapped in brown chequered tissue paper in pre-portioned bundles. The Japanese have a preoccupation with gorgeous and immaculate packaging, which the recycler in me disapproves of, but the fluffy girl in me rather loves.

Teriyaki noodles and sesame crusted salmon
Serves 2

2 x 200g salmon fillets
150g soba noodles (or 2 pretty bundles)
4 spring onions, chopped and separated into white and green parts
3 pak choi
a bunch of chives, chopped

for the sauce~

4 tbsp light soy sauce (like Kikkoman)
1" piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp saki
2 tsp sesame oil

1) Mix all the sauce ingredients except the sesame oil together in a small pan and bring to the boil, then lower the heat. Reduce the liquid until it is half the original volume.

2) Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the soba noodles. Boil for about 6-8 minutes, then drain and set aside. They should still have a bit of bite, like good spaghetti.

3) Use a pastry brush to cover the salmon with the syrupy sauce, then grill for 2 minutes each side under a hot grill. Then brush a little more sauce over the top of each piece, sprinkle a tablespoon of sesame seeds over each fillet, then return to the grill for one minute to lightly toast the seeds.

4) Meanwhile, separate the pak choi into leaves, then briefly stir fry for a couple of minutes only. Set aside, then add the chopped white spring onion parts to the pan and stir fry for a minute before adding the remaining sauce, 3 tablespoons of water and the sesame oil to the pan. Stir in the drained noodles, and serve with the salmon and pak choi.

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