Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Holy Trinity of Japanese Cooking :: Soy Sauce, Mirin + Sake

I've been cooking a lot of Japanese dishes lately. Somewhere deep down, I feel cooking Japanese dishes at home is my own tiny way of showing solidarity with the rest of the country. I dusted off my Harumi Kurihara books and also picked up a few Japanese food magazines.  They have (relatively) simple instructions and those have been a lot of fun to tackle. Both in cooking and trying to translate the recipes properly. 

One thing you'll see over and over again in Japanese recipe is the prolific use of soy sauce, mirin and sake. Used in varying ratios, these 3 ingredients tenderize and flavor meat and fish in a distinctly Japanese way. These days, you can get all three in the Asian food aisle and if you want to have an under 10 minute dinner during the week, these are staples in your kitchen. Used either as a marinade or sauce, this mix is essentially what we Americans know as teriyaki sauce. The flavor is strong and sweet, so it goes perfectly with plain rice and veggies like shredded cabbage, boiled green beans or bok choy. Here's a really basic and super easy recipe for teriyaki chicken that I've come to crave weekly. 

Basic Teriyaki Chicken

1 boneless chicken leg (with skin)
sake ... 2 TB
soy sauce ... 2 TB
grated ginger ... 1/2 TB

oil ... 1 TB 
sugar ... 1 TB
soy sauce ... 4 TB 
mirin ... 4 TB 

1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and season with pepper (no salt). Marinate for 10 minutes in the ingredients in red. Mix the sugar, soy sauce and mirin and set aside. 

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down and brown both sides. 

3. Once the meat has browned, add the rest of the ingredients to the pan. Once the sauce bubbles, turn the heat down to medium low and let it reduce until the sauce is thick and shiny. Careful not to burn the sauce. 

Serve with simple rice and vegetables. Serves 2. 

1 comment:

  1. ABC Cooking School FriendApril 8, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    Oishisou. I love how the first picture looks like an altar laden with offerings to Harumi.