I belong to the legions of Japanese food fans. There is something so simple, artistic yet delicious about Japanese food. I've always been crazy about both as a vegetarian and non-vegetarian. However, sadly, Japanese food is not really vegetarian friendly. This time round, I decided that I had to try my hand at making Japanese food. However, I had my own constraints. My hubby does not like Japanese food and he certainly does not like seaweed. My brother is relatively neutral but he prefers not to have Japanese food. So with these challenges in mind, I surfed around and finally decided to make a sort of Japanese rice meal instead of sushi.
Of course, I was rather petrified to make Japanese rice. I had read many horror stories of burnt bottoms and mushy rice. After extensive reading, I used Alton Brown's sushi rice recipe but since I used sea salt, I reduced it to about a teaspoon. This recipe was fool proof and I managed to make a decent batch of sushi rice. For the sushi vinegar, I reduced the amount of sugar since my family don't enjoy sweet food as much.
The dish I was really craving for was miso soup and one of the important tips I have learnt was not to boil the soup. Apparently, it causes the flavours to merge and ruin the soup. I didn't have kombu at home so I just hecked it and made with miso paste. I added silken tofu and some enoki mushroom and it was a meal on its own. Very delicious. I suppose some seaweed would have made it much more delicious. I didn't use any particular recipe for this. Just surf around in youtube to learn the recipe.
So we've got the rice and soup. For the side dish, I decided to make some teriyaki tofu steak. I made my own teriyaki sauce but replaced the honey with brown sugar for a vegan version. I also added some sesame oil to the marinade. I pressed some firm tofu in between two plates to release extra water and sliced it up added it to the marinade. After about an hour, I grilled it on a non-stick pan with a tiny bit of oil. After removing the teriyaki tofu, I added the remaining marinade with about 1/4 cup of water to dilute it and added some corn starch. Thickened it in the pan (sort of deglazing, I suppose) and used it as a dipping sauce. I also topped the dipping sauce with some sesame seeds. The teriyaki tofu was very delicious, even my hubby liked it!
Of course I knew this is still not going to be enough to win over my hubby, so I decided to make some vegetable tempura using Jamie Oliver's recipe, halved. I decided to deep fry some yellow bell peppers, brinjal, onions and broccoli. Surprisingly, the batter clinged on beautifully and the vegetables turned out crispy. I never knew broccoli could be deep fried. It was a first for me! With the teriyaki dipping sauce, it was awesome!
At the request of my brother, I also made some curried potatoes, to help them 'down' the Japanese rice should they not like the dishes. I also contemplated making sushi balls by using the potatoes as stuffing but did not have the time to try it.
All in all, the meal was a success. So much so, that I was left with only some miso soup and curried potatoes and nothing to bring for lunch the next day!