Today we enjoyed a healthy macrobiotic lunch using the latest addition to our Tortoise Test Kitchen:
A beautiful 30'' bamboo Chinese steamer!
Please try Akiko's Japanese - Chinese fusion inspired recipes below in your own test kitchen at home!
Steamed Red Snapper
- Red Snapper – 4 fillets
- Salt and pepper – to taste
- Shokushu (Chinese sake) - 2 tablespoons
To prepare the 4 fresh fillets of Red Snapper, acquired at the Santa Monica Fish Market, Akiko used a large Chinese style 30’’ bamboo steamer.
Salt and pepper the fillets to your taste, then place the fillets on a ceramic dish that can fit inside the steamer.
Take a large wok and fill just the base of the wok with water. This wok will be the base of the steamer.
Place the steamer on top of the wok so that the steamer bottom hovers just over the water without touching. Put the wok over the stove and bring the water to a boil. You will be able to tell the water is boiling when the steam starts to rise out of the steamer.
Once the steam begins to rise out of the steamer, place the ceramic dish with the fillets inside the steamer and pour shokushu over the fillets. Then close the lid. Cook the fillets for 15 minutes inside the steamer. Once the fish is cooked, transfer the fillets to a separate dish and garnish them with green onions and fresh ginger. Enjoy!
Wasabi Okra Pickles (serving 4)
- Okra – 14 pieces
- Wasabi – 1 tablespoon
- Soy sauce – 1 tablespoon
- Bonito flakes – 2.5 g (1 small bag typically packed in a large package at the Japanese market)
- Salt – 1 pinch
- Vinegar – 1 cup
- Water – 2/3 cup
- Mirin – 2/3 cup
- Sugar – 4.5 tablespoons
- Konbu (dry seaweed) – 2 inch piece
The wasabi dressing for these okra pickles adds heat that makes these an interesting and delicious side dish. Prepare these pickles overnight, giving them at least 24 hours to marinate in its juices for full flavor.
- Okra skins naturally have a slightly hard, bristly exterior. Akiko smooths out the skin of the okra by first rubbing the surface of the okra in salt. The salt exfoliates the okra skin, taking off the micro-fibers that make the skin tough. The best way to rub the salt onto the okra skin is by putting salt on a cutting board, then massaging the okra over the salt using the palm of your hand. Push down hard enough so that the salt will grab and peel off the okra hairs.
- After you have rubbed the okras in salt, rinse them in water so the salt is washed off.
- Boil a small pot with water. When it comes to a boil, drop the okra in and boil the okra for 3 minutes until it slightly softens.
- While the okra is boiling, prepare the wasabi sauce for the okra in a bowl by mixing the wasabi, soy sauce, salt and bonito flakes together.
- Take the okra out of the pot after it boils and strain. Once the okra cools down, add to the wasabi sauce and mix.
- In a separate bowl prepare the pickling vinegar dressing. Mix together the vinegar, water, mirin, sugar and konbu. Stir this mixture until the sugar crystals completely melts.
- Pour the pickling vinegar dressing into the bowl with the wasabi dressing and the okra. Mix well.
- Put the bowl of okra, now submerged in the dressing and vinegar mixture, into the fridge and keep there overnight.
- Wait 24 hours before taking the okra out of the fridge. Before eating, garnish the okra with a pinch of bonito flakes. These okras will be good to eat for 5 days if kept refrigerated.
Tofu Mayonnaise Dip (serving 4)
- Firm tofu – 1 pack
- Vinegar – 1 tablespoon
- Umezu (plum vinegar) – 2/3 tablespoon
- Lemon juice – 3 tablespoons
- Cane sugar – 1.5 tablespoon
- White miso – 2 tablespoon
- Mustard – 2 teaspoon
- Soy sauce – 2 teaspoon
- Salt – to flavor
- Canola oil – 2.5 tablespoon
*Food processor required
Mix all of the ingredients above in a food processor to make Tofu Mayonnaise.
- Umeboshi (pickled plum) – 1 tablespoon roughly chopped
- White miso – 1 tablespoon
- Cane sugar – 1 teaspoon
The mayonnaise should be a smooth creamy paste. Add chopped umeboshi skins, white miso and cane sugar to the mayonnaise for extra umami flavor. Dip your favorite steamed vegetable or fish and enjoy this healthy mayonnaise!
Mushroom Rice (serving 4)
- Shimeji - 1 pack
- Maitake - 1 pack
- Dashi - 2.3 cups or 18.5 oz
- Soy sauce - 1 tablespoon
- Sake - 1 tablespoon
- Mirin - 1 tablespoon
- Salt - pinch
- Sugar - pinch
- Rice - 2.5 cups (3 Japanese cups)
- Take the shiimeji and maitake, and cut off the stems. Break apart the shimeji mushrooms with your hands, and slice the maitake mushroom into pieces that are similar size to the shimeji mushrooms
- Mix the soy sauce, sake and mirin in a separate bowl. If you are cooking this rice as a side to a more savory main dish, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, sake and mirin is sufficient. If you prefer a more savory rice, or if you are going to have this rice alone (like in a rice ball form), feel free to add 2 tablespoons of all three ingredients.
- Rinse and wash the rice in a colander. Wash until the water that passes through the rice is relatively clear.
- Put the uncooked rice into your kamado donabe and add the dashi, and the mixture of soy sauce, sake and mirin. Add the pinch of salt and sugar. Make sure the liquid is evenly covering the rice and that the rice is level in the donabe.
- Place the kamado donabe over medium heat (gas stove only) and cook for approximately 13 minutes or until you begin to see steam come out in small puffs from the hole in the lid. Allow the steam to puff for 1 minute before turning off the heat. Do not turn off the heat until you see the steam come of the hole - this is the best indicator that your rice is done.
- Once your rice is cooked, turn off the heat and let it sit on the stove for 20 minutes to settle.
- After 20 minutes, open the kamado donabe and gently stir the rice in a scooping motion with a rice paddle, bringing air into the rice and fluffing it. Once the rice is fluffy, it is ready to eat!
We hope you enjoy these tasty recipes from Akiko and our test kitchen. The Tortoise Test Kitchen hopes to host demonstrations and tastings this fall so please stay tuned!