Somen Nests with Eggplant and Shiitake Mushrooms

Ingredients

2 small eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
12 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3-1/2 oz fresh enoki mushrooms
1 teaspoon dashi granules
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup Japanese soy sauce
11 oz dried somen noodles

Method

  1. Blanch the sliced eggplant in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a plate and weigh down for 15 minutes to press out any remaining liquid. Pat dry.
  2. Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and reserve the liquid.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the eggplant slices in batches until golden brown on both sides. Remove.
  4. Add the enoki mushrooms and cook for 10 seconds. Remove.
  5. Stir in the dashi, sugar, miso, mirin, reserved liquid, water, soy sauce and shiitake mushrooms and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Cook the somen noodles in boiling water for 3 minutes or until tender. Drain.
  7. Place nests of the noodles onto plates, top with eggplant slices and the mushrooms, and drizzle with the sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Food Style – Noodles

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Asian Carbonara with Braised Pork Belly

Ingredients

750 grams skin-on, well-layered pork belly
40 ml soy sauce
40 ml rice wine
30 grams granulated sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 (40 gram) chunk of ginger
3 garlic cloves
1 dashi bag
480-600 grams fresh egg noodles (of medium thickness)
1 tsp sesame oil
80 grams spring onions
40 grams fried shallots
4 small handfuls of shredded nori
4 eggs
shichimi togarashi
toasted sesame seeds

Method

  1. Cut the pork belly into pieces that are about 8mm x 8mm. Put the pieces in a pan and add the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and salt.
  2. Peel the ginger and garlic, then place the ginger on a cutting board and whack it with a meat mallet or the side of a cleaver, to crush it lightly. Put the garlic and ginger in the pan.
  3. Put the dashi bag into a cup and add 1 cup boiling water. Leave for a few minutes, then remove the bag. Add 150 ml of the dashi stock (or chicken broth or water) to the pan and bring to the boil over a medium flame. Lower the heat, cover the pan with the lid and simmer, stirring occasionally.
  4. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until the pork is very tender. Check the consistency of the sauce: it should be glossy and sticky. If needed, simmer the ingredients, uncovered and stirring often, until the sauce lightly coats the meat. Remove the ginger and garlic cloves.
  5. Chop the spring onions about 5 mm thick.
  6. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add the egg noodles and cook until done to your liking, then drain. Add the sesame oil and mix to coat the noodles. Divide the noodles between four bowls.
  7. Spoon the pork belly (with sauce) over the noodles, then add the spring onions and a small handful of shredded nori to each portion. Make an indentation in the centre of the noodles and add some fried shallots.
  8. Crack the eggs, separating the white from the yolk. (Reserve the egg whites for another use.)
  9. Put the egg yolk on top of the fried shallots in the centre of the bowl and sprinkle lightly with shichimi togarashi. Sprinkle some sesame seeds over the pork and serve immediately.
  10. Diner should mix the ingredients thoroughly so the egg yolk and braised pork belly sauce combine to thickly coat the noodles.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Post Magazine

Miso Soba Bowl with Egg and Vegetables

Ingredients

3 cups water
1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1/2 cup sliced green onion bottoms (white and light green parts)
6 (1/4-inch) slices peeled fresh ginger
5 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
3 tablespoons yellow or white miso
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soysauce
6 large eggs in shells, refrigerator-cold
9 ounces uncooked soba (buckwheat noodles)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 (14-ounce) package water-packed extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
3 baby bok choy, halved vertically (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup sliced green onion tops (dark green parts)

Method

  1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add mushrooms; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
  2. Remove mushrooms from pan with a slotted spoon, reserving liquid. Thinly slice mushrooms.
  3. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to Dutch oven and swirl to coat. Add green onion bottoms, ginger, and garlic. Cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add mushrooms, mushroom soaking liquid, stock, miso, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
  5. While stock mixture simmers, bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Place eggs in a vegetable steamer basket and lower basket into pan. Cover and cook 6 minutes 45 seconds. Remove and plunge eggs into ice water. Let stand 3 minutes. Drain and peel.
  6. Cook soba in boiling water 2 minutes or until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain.
  7. Stir vinegar and tofu into stock mixture. Arrange bok choy on top, cover and simmer 5 minutes.
  8. Place about 3/4 cup soba and 1 bok choy half in each of 6 bowls. Ladle about 1-1/4 cups simmering stock mixture over noodles. Sprinkle each serving with 1-1/2 tablespoons green onion tops. Cut each egg in half and nestle 2 egg halves into each bowl.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Everyday Whole Grains

Lamb and Pasta Hotpot

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil
1-1/4 pounds lean boneless lamb, cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 rosemary sprigs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-1/2 cups light beer
2-1/2 cups water
8 ounces frozen peas
1 pound pasta spirals
2/3 cup sour cream
paprika
croutons, to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole or heavy-based saucepan. Add the lamb and brown the cubes all over.
  2. Stir in the onion, carrots, rosemary sprigs and seasoning. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes, then add the beer and water. Bring just to a boil, reduce the heat and cover the pan. Leave the hotpot to simmer for 1-1/4 hours, stirring occasionally until the lamb is tender and the cooking liquor is well flavored.
  3. Taste for seasoning, then add the peas. Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat and cover the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the pasta, stir well, then bring back to a boil. Partially cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes, only allowing the hotpot to boil very slowly.
  5. Top individual portions of the hotpot with sour cream and sprinkle with paprika. Sprinkle with croutons and serve piping hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Fresh Pasta Cookbook

Chicken and Ham Lasagne

Ingredients

12 ounces fresh lasagne
5 cups Bechamel Sauce
1-1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
1-1/2 cups diced cooked ham
4 ounces button mushrooms, chopped
6 scallion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped sage
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup finely crumbled Monterey jack or Colby cheese
paprika
1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs

Bechamel Sauce

2 thick onion slice
2 bay leaf
2 mace blade
4 parsley sprigs
5 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
salt and freshly ground white or black pepper

Method

  1. To make the Bechamel sauce, place the onion, bay leaf, mace and parsley in a saucepan. Add the milk and heat slowly until just boiling. Remove from the heat, cover and leave for 45 minutes.
  2. Strain the milk into a jug or bowl. Wash the saucepan, then melt the butter and stir in the flour. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring all the time. Continue stirring until the sauce boils, then reduce the heat, if necessary, so that it just simmers. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add seasoning to taste.
  3. If the sauce is not used straightaway, lay a piece of dampened waxed paper directly on its surface to prevent a skin forming.
  4. Lower the pieces of pasta one at a time into a large pot of boiling water. Bring back to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Drin and rinse under cold water. Lay the pasta on double-thick paper towels.
  5. Butter a 12-15 x 8-inch ovenproof dish and set the oven at 350°F.
  6. Set aside a third of the Bechamel sauce. Mix the chicken, ham, mushrooms, scallions, parsley and sage with the rest of the sauce. Taste for seasoning.
  7. Layer this sauce in the dish with the lasagne, ending with a layer of lasagne on top. Stir the cheese into the reserved sauce (it doesn’t matter if the sauce is too cool for it to melt), then spread it over the top of the pasta. Sprinkle with a little paprika and top with the bread crumbs.

  8. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the topping is crisp and golden and the lasagne layers are bubbling hot.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Source: The Fresh Pasta Cookbook