Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rice Cooked with Edamame

recipe adapted from Elizabeth Andoh's Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen

Makes 4 cups cooked rice

1/2 cup shelled edamame beans
2 cups basic sea stock or dashi
1 tablspoon mirin
2 teaspoons light-colored soy sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1-3/4 cups japanese style white rice, washed
1 teaspoon black sesame salt*

Combine stock, mirin and soy sauce in a smal saucepan and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the beans and cook for 2 or 3 minutes to ensure they fully absorb the flavors of the saeasoned stock. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Set aside the beans, removing any looose skins.

To cook the rice in a rice cooker, place the rice in the bowl of the appliance. Add water if needed, to the cooking liquid to bring it up to 2 cups, and then add it to the rice coker. Make sure the liquid is cool before pressing the start button. The cooker's thermostat will malfunction with a hot or very warm liquid. As soon as the active cooking cycle switches off, scatter the simmered beans on top of the rice and re-cover the pot immediately. Allow the rice to self-steam for at least 10 minutes, or up to several hours if your cooker has a warmer feature.

Just before serving, use a rice paddle to stir the rice and beans with a light cutting and tossing motions to distribute the beans evenly. The bottom surface develops a slightly caramelized crust, or okoge, that is especially tasty.

Serve the rice hot or at room temperature, sprinkle each serving with seasoned salt.

To make black sesame salt:
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds, freshly dry-roasted.

Store in a tightly sealed glass jar for no more than a week.

Wafu Gyoza, Pork and Wakame Dumplings

WASHOKU: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen, Ten Speed Press 2005 (© 2005 All rights reserved by Elizabeth Andoh)

Makes 20 to 24 dumplings


  • 2-inch piece leek, about 1/2 ounce, chopped
  • 1 large leaf of cabbage, including thick stem portion, about 1/4 ounce, shredded
  • 1/4 cup dried wakame bits
  • 6 ounces ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon grated carrot
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 teaspoon dark miso
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil (goma abura)

dipping sauce:

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Place the leek, cabbage and wakame in the bowl of a food processor and pulse-process until the mixture is finely minced. The dried wakame will pick up moisture from contact with the other vegetables and begin to soften.

Transfer the vegetable mixture to a deep bowl, and add the pork, sake, miso, and a drop or two of the sesame oil. Knead the mixture with your hands to ensure even distribution. Gather the meat mixture into a ball, lift and throw it back with force into the bowl, repeating this action 4 or 5 times, a bit like baseball practice. This pitching tenderizes the meat, and ensures the mass will hold together. Divide the meat mixture in quarters; then sub-divide each section 5 or 6 times (one small portion will become the filling for a single dumpling). Nearby, have a small dish of cold water ready, and a flat plate on which to line up the stuffed dumplings.

Lay a dumpling wrapper on a dry surface, and place one small portion of meat in the center of it.

With fingertips moistened in water, trace a half-circle line near the edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over to enclose the filling, and pinch in the center to seal the edges at that spot. Pleat the closer edge of the wrapper, to the right and left of the center, pressing it to the flat edge of the wrapper at back. Set aside the stuffed dumpling, plump meat-filled side down, pleated wrapper edge standing up. Repeat to make 20 or 24 dumplings in all.

In a skillet large enough to cook all the dumplings at once, heat a teaspoon of sesame oil over medium-high heat. Carefully line up the dumplings, side-by-side, in clusters of 5 or 6 each. Arrange them standing so that the pleats are at top and the plump, meat-filled portion is in contact with the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes, or until nicely browned. Check progress by lifting one or two dumplings by their pleated edge.

Pour in 1/4 cup of water, and when the hissing and splattering die down, drizzle in the remaining sesame oil around the inner edge of the skillet. At the same time, lower the heat to keep the liquid just at a simmer, and immediately place a lid on the skillet to trap in the moisture. This type of cooking is called mushi yaki, or "steam-searing," and ensures that the pork will be thoroughly cooked, yet moist, and succulent.

Check progress after 2 minutes. When the wrappers appear translucent and the meat is firm (check by pressing lightly with a spoon, or gently pinching with chopsticks), remove the lid, and raise the heat slightly. Continue to cook until all the water has evaporated and only the oil remains, about 2 minutes. Once you hear a sizzling sound, shake the skillet. The dumplings should slide about, most likely in clusters. If they seem to stick to the skillet, move the skillet away from the stove, and re-lid it for a moment.

Remove the dumplings, a cluster at a time, with a broad, flat, flexible spatula. Flip the dumplings so that the seared surface faces up. 5 or 6 dumplings make a single serving as an appetizer, though often twice that many will be served as a main course in a family-style meal.

Serve hot, with a dipping sauce made by stirring the soy sauce and rice vinegar together.

You can add a couple of minced cloves of garlic and some minced ginger to add some excitement to the dish, as well as chili oil to the dipping sauce if you like things spicy.