Both of these recipes called for ginger juice. Ginger juice? How do you get juice out of a ginger? It turns out, if you peel and then grate the ginger, you can squeeze the "shavings" to get ginger juice. I liked the result. In the past, when I wanted some ginger flavor, I would cut up a few pieces and hope it would infuse the dish, but it was more like ginger "surprise" rather than an infusion. I may use this technique in future Chinese dishes.
The eggplant prep was also interesting, as it called for making many shallow diagonal slits on the skin. It seems to have helped make it easier to eat, as well as help the eggplant to more readily absorb the flavor of the broth.
Although the pork recipe calls for marinating the meat for at least 20 minutes, I felt like it could have been longer. The ginger flavor was not as concentrated as I would have liked, and I suspect it would have been better with one hour of marinating.
For dessert, my wife requested this recipe for grapefruit soufflé. Let me tell you, I'm not trusting a recipe from Australia again! First of all, apparently their version of a tablespoon is 20 mL, and the American version is 14.2 mL. Second, and most importantly, they have an ingredient called cornflour.
I thought I was being smart when I thought "cornflour" was Aussie for "cornstarch". Makes sense, no? No. Definitely not, especially when I tried to mix 30 g of cornstarch with 2 American tablespoons of water. Remember in science class when they taught you about liquids and solids? This one was a solid, and there was no way I was going to get 30 g of all-purpose flour to somehow join that party. I even added 1 more American tbsp of water to the mix, but to no avail.
After doing some research online, I found that Australian "cornflour" is some type of wheat product, because the British used to call wheat by the name "corn," and the Aussies call it maize. Wikipedia says Aussie "cornflour" is "wheaten starch." Thanks, Wikipedia. What's wheaten starch? Google doesn't seem to know, either. Maybe this ingredient just doesn't exist in the US?
Oh well, at least the extra grapefruit juice was good.
(adapted from Washoku)
4 Japanese eggplants, about 3 oz each
1/3 cup dashi
1 teaspoon sake
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ginger juice, with peels reserved
1 tablespoon soy sauce
light-colored soy sauce, to taste
mirin, to taste
- Cut each eggplant in half, lengthwise, and make shallow, parallel slits on the diagonal into the skin side of each half
- In a skillet, sear the eggplant, skin side down
- Flip the eggplant halves over so the skin is facing up, sear for another minute
- Add dashi, sake, sugar, and ginger peels, and lower the heat to maintain a simmer
- Cover with an otoshi-buta
- Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until liquid is reduced in half
- Add soy sauce and discard the ginger peels, simmer for another minute
- Add ginger juice and cook for another 30 seconds
- If necessary, adjust seasoning with soy sauce or mirin.
- Remove pan from heat, and let the eggplant cool in the pan, covered
- Serve at room temperature or chilled
(adapted from Washoku)
12 ounces of pork loin, sliced thinly
2 teaspoons ginger juice
2 tbsp sake
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
3 bell peppers
- Mix ginger juice and sake, and marinate pork for at least 20 min
- Add soy sauce to marinade 10-15 min before cooking
- Quickly sear pork on both sides over high heat, set aside
- Lower the heat and sear bell peppers, set aside
- Return the pork to the pan, along with any juices released. Sauté for 2 minutes, or until the surfaces are well glazed and slightly browned.
- Return the peppers to the pan and warm through.
- Serve immediately.