By Kohei Aratani / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterKinmedai nabe
In this column, chefs and cooking experts share recipes that are easy to prepare at home.
As temperatures start rising, some might be tempted to pack away their donabe earthenware pots until autumn. For those who need easing into spring, Hatsue Shigenobu recommends a flavorful hotpot with kinmedai (splendid alfonsino).
The fatty fish flavor infuses the soup in this hot pot, which is complemented by the soft, flaky texture of lily bulbs and crunchy mizuna.
Shigenobu recommends using fish that have not had their backbones removed as it gives the dish a deeper flavor. Cut the fish into bite-size pieces, breaking the backbones with kitchen scissors. Season with sake and salt, then pat the pieces of fish dry with kitchen paper.
Next, shallow fry the fish immediately after coating the pieces with flour. “If the flour coating absorbs water it will become soggy,” Shigenobu warned. Shallow-fry the lily bulbs as well. Both the fish and the bulbs should be fried until lightly browned. “You don’t have to worry about cooking the fish and bulbs all the way through at this point,” Shigenobu says, “because they’ll simmer in the pot later,”
It is important to make a strongly flavored soup by using more dashi stock than you would ordinarily use in a hotpot. This is because the flavor will lighten when the grated daikon is added.
When the soup comes to the boil, add the fish, lily bulbs and some aburaage deep-fried tofu. When these ingredients are cooked, add mizuna, grated daikon (in the center of the pot), and sprinkle yuzu citrus rind over the top. Shigenobu says it’s best to avoid using the white pith under the peel “because it has a bitter taste.”
The fragrant smell of mizuna is prominent when the dish is served. The soup is infused with the richness of the fish, and the grated radish gives it a refreshing kick.
This is a wonderfully harmonious hot pot. The smoky aroma of the shallow-fried fish and lily bulbs, the flavor of the aburaage, and the refreshingly crunchy texture of mizuna all work to enhance each other.
Recipe for kinmedai hot pot with grated radish
Ingredients (serves 2):
2 fillets of kinmedai (splendid alfonsino)
80 grams lily bulbs
100 grams mizuna
1 piece aburaage deep-fried tofu
300 grams daikon radish
2½ cups dashi stock
A little yuzu citrus rind
1. Cut the fish into large bite-size pieces, season with a tablespoon of sake and a pinch of salt, and leave for about 10 minutes.
2. Separate the lily bulbs into individual cloves and rinse in water. Slice large cloves in half. Cut the mizuna into about 4-centimeter-long pieces. Press the aburaage between paper towels to remove excess oil and cut into about 2-centimeter-wide pieces. Grate the radish and drain in a strainer.
3. Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Dry the fish pieces and coat with flour. Place the fish in the pan and fill the gaps with lily bulb pieces. Cook over a medium heat for two or three minutes until the fish is browned. Turn the fish over and cook for another two minutes. Place the fish on paper towels to remove excess oil. Take the lily bulbs out of the pan when they become lightly brown.
4. Put dashi, two tablespoons of soy sauce, three tablespoons of mirin and ⅓ teaspoon of salt in a pot and heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, add the fish and bulbs from step 3 and the aburaage. Remove the scum that forms on top of the soup and cook for about two minutes over a low heat.
5. Add the mizuna, place the grated radish in the center and sprinkle yuzu rind over the top.
Radish leaf rice
Try serving rice and daikon radish leaves with the kinmedai hotpot.
To make two servings, blanch 30 grams of radish leaves, then rinse in cold water. Chop the leaves and squeeze out the excess moisture. Mix with a sprinkle of salt. Heat a teaspoon of vegetable oil in a pan and add 10 grams of chirimenjako small dried fish. Stir-fry for one or two minutes until lightly browned. Mix 300 grams of cooked rice, radish leaves, chirimenjako with the oil drained, and ½ teaspoon of white sesame seeds in a bowl.
To find out more about Japan’s attractions, visit http://the-japan-news.com/news/d&dSpeech