Today is the last day of the Golden Week vacation for many. Nobody really wishes to cook a big dinner and then have to go to work tomorrow, so here is a quick and easy recipe provided by Mrs. Maruyama.
8 cups/1600 ml water
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp ginger juice
3 Tbsp red miso (or regular miso)
1 Tbsp toubanjan
2 Tbsp kochujan
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
200g thinly sliced pork, beef, or chicken
1 block yaki-doufu (grilled tofu), or momen-tofu (firm tofu)
Vegetables- choose two to four of: 1/2 - 1 pack mame-moyashi (soybean sprouts); 1/2 bunch shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves); 1 - 2 bunches chingensai (bok choy); 1/2 bunch spinach; 4- 8 shiitake; 1/4 head hakusai (Chinese cabbage); 1 bunch nira (Chinese chives); 1 small onion; 1 bell pepper; 1 stalk negi (long onion)
Optional ingredients: 200 g cod or other white fish; 200 g squid; 200 g fresh oysters; 100g mochi (Japanese rice cake); 100 g harusame (cellophane noodles); 100 g kuzukiri;
To finish: 100 g udon (fat wheat noodles) or a few bowls full of cooked rice; 1 egg per person; thinly sliced negi
Add all stock ingredients to the water, taking care to fully dissolve the miso, toubanjan and kochujan. Taste stock and add more seasonings if necessary, keeping in mind the the stock will become richer during cooking.
Prepare the ingredients. If the meat slices are large, cut in half. Cut tofu into 6 to 8 cubes. Cut vegetables, (fish or squid) into large bite-sized pieces. Soak cellophane noodles in hot (not boiling) water for five minutes, drain, rinse with cold water and drain again; cut into shorter lengths if desired. If udon noodles are not pre-cooked, boil briefly until barely soft.
Fill a pot with half of the stock, reserving the remaining. Bring the stock to a simmer on the stove top, then add to the boiling stock. With heat on medium-high, start adding ingredients. Add ingredients that need a lot of time to cook, like tofu and mochi, first; taking care not to crowd the pot. Ladle a little bit of the stock into each bowl and pluck items from the pot as they finish cooking. Continue to replace ingredients in nabe, being careful to handle raw meat or seafood with the saibashi or tongs. When the stock gets low, carefully pour in some of the reserved stock.
After all ingredients are used up, the stock will be richly flavoured. Finish the meal by cooking either rice or udon noodles in the stock. For udon, heat the pre-cooked noodles in the stock until warm, add the eggs, mix lightly and cover. Turn off the heat and let it sit a few minutes, until the are barely eggs set. Serve topped with the negi.