Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Week 22 - East Asian

The theme for Week 22 was originally miso, but after a bunch of people complained because we already had Japanese week earlier this year, they switched it up to East Asian. I hadn't planned out something with miso before the switch, but decided to make something with miso anyway. It was easier to find something with that theme than trying to narrow down the vast amount of options that would qualify for East Asian. What I ended up choosing was a recipe for udon with a ground meat miso sauce from a cookbook I had borrowed from the library a couple of years ago called Everyday Harumi. I think the original may have been with pork but when I copied the recipe out for my own library, I just wrote ground meat (it's been over 2 years, so I don't really remember).

The ingredients I used for the recipe (as I adapted it) were:

- 1 tbsp canola oil ($0.10)
- 1 heaping cup of frozen leeks, divided ($0.70)
- 1 piece of ginger, about 1 inch long ($0.30)
- 1 lb of ground turkey ($4.30)
- 1/2 hothouse cucumber, seeded ($0.65)
- 3 bunches of dried soba noodles ($2.50)
for sauce:
- 1/2 cup dashi stock ($0.25)
- 1 tbsp sake ($0.10)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce ($0.10)
- 2 tbsp mirin ($0.10)
- 1 tbsp agave ($0.10)
- 4 tbsp miso ($0.55)

Since we got a lot of these ingredients a few years ago, most of the amounts above are estimates. But the total cost came out to about $9.75 for the entire dinner, which was pretty good. (It tops out a little over $10 if you count the other half of the cucumber which we ate as a snack before dinner was ready, but that wasn't technically part of dinner.)

The steps for making the soba with miso meat sauce were:

1. Prep - peel and finely chop ginger; finely chop about 2/3 of the leeks; slice the remaining 1/3 of the leeks vertically; cut cucumber in half lengthwise, remove seeds from cucumber, slice into rounds, and then into vertical slices; mix together miso sauce; boil water for noodles.

2. Heat canola oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and the finely chopped leeks, and saute for a minute or so.

3. Add ground turkey, breaking it up as it cooks, until fully cooked through.

4. Add sauce to turkey, make sure everything is mixed well together, and cook until sauce thickens. (It didn't really "thicken" so much as get soaked up by the turkey and/or evaporate.) Keep stirring periodically.

5. Make soba (or whatever other noodles) according to package instructions.

6. Add soba to a bowl, cover with the miso meat sauce, and top with garnishes (sliced cucumber and the remaining leeks).

I was skeptical about this recipe after I made the sauce in the beginning, because I tried the sauce and thought it didn't have much flavor. This was when I first mixed it together, before I added it to the meat. A noted that I should be patient because cooking it down would concentrate the flavor. He was right. I was so pleasantly surprised when I had the first spoonful of sauce mixed with meat, after it had cooked for a bit, as the flavor was completely different. The miso really came through, and the sauce was so much more robust and full of flavor. Adding the cucumber and the leeks gave it a lot of freshness and lightness, and overall, it was a really good, well-composed dish. We were pretty happy with this and would make it again. The only thing I'd do differently next time is to use the entire cucumber and even more leeks. It was pretty good as it was, but more vegetables for garnish would probably make it even better.

No comments:

Post a Comment