Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dinner - Sweet Simmered Chicken and Vegetables & Cold Soba Noodles with Sweet Walnut Dipping Sauce


I am a couple days late on posting this meal. Matt and I decided to again cook a meal from that "Let's Cook Japanese Food!" book by Amy Kaneko.

Now, I was kinda iffy on whether we should purchase this cookbook for our collection. If you don't know, I have a cookbook obsession so I tend to buy them more than I should. And I have often stood in front of my cookbook case (yes I have a bookcase dedicated solely to cookbooks. It is pretty big too.) and thought to myself "Jamie, you will never be able to make every recipe in every one of these books". The thought actually makes me really sad!! haha.

Anyways, this cookbook I think has managed to make me want to purchase it. The meal we cooked from it last time was good, but the two dishes we made from it for this dinner were fantastic!! The sweet simmered chicken and vegetables tasted amazingly like takeout food, while the side of cold soba noodles with sweet walnut dipping sauce was so good it was like eating a nice sweet dessert noodle (sorry I know that last part is going to gross some of you out!!).

The chicken dish was really not too bad to prepare. I'll post basics here and if you're interested, pick up the book and check out the real recipe!

Ingredients for chicken and veggies sauce:
-5 tablespoons mirin (rice wine)
-5 tablespoons sake
-3 tablespoons soy sauce
-2 tablespoons sugar

We cooked chicken in a skillet with high sides, using sesame and vegetable oils to coat the pan.
Next we added some cut up parsnips, bamboo shoots, and carrots to the dish, and cooked until nearly tender.
Add the sauce next and cook for about 5 minutes longer, adding cut up green beans at the end of cooking so they maintain crunchiness.

As for the soba noodles with sweet walnut dipping sauce: we actually added the walnut paste to the noodles and drizzled them with the sauce. The sauce had a nice, sweet and almost creamy flavor. A slight saltiness helped to balance the sweetness from the sugar, and the walnuts add a beautiful nuttiness.

For the walnut dipping sauce:
Make a paste by grinding 1 cup walnuts with 2-3 teaspoons sugar (I accidently used 2 tablespoons...oops). Then add 1-3 tablespoons tsuyu sauce (see below) to make a paste.

For "Tsuyu" sauce:
-1-1/4 cups dashi or water (we used water)
-2 tablespoons soy sauce
-2 tablespoons mirin

Cook soba noodles according to package. When tender, strain out water and move noodles to an ice water bath to cool them. Strain out water, then serve with dipping sauce and tsuyu sauce.

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