Melting Pot #4

Saba Shioyaki

This is one of my favorite Japanese dishes. It is essentially a grilled mackerel, but the preparation is something that is pretty straight forward and you end up with an elegant and delicious dish. It is normally cooked on a charcoal grill, but you can make this in a broiler.

To make the dish you will need:

  • A nice mackerel fillet, skin on. About 8 ounces per serving is perfect.
  • Daikon radish
  • Soy sauce
  • Japanese short grain rice

Start by preparing the rice. Gently wash the rice in cold water to remove excess starch and talc. You might have to rinse the rice 8 to 10 times, but keep going until the water is clear. Drain the rice and let it rest for about 10 minutes or so. Put the rice in your cooker or start a pot on the stove.

Shred your daikon into thin long strips, like vermicelli. I like to put it in a bowl with some cold water and salt in the refrigerator. You can do this a day ahead if you like.

The saba should be sliced through the skin side, just barely through to allow for soy sauce penetration.

Put your oven on broil. Set up a cookie sheet with tin foil. Lay the fish on the sheet skin side up. Drizzle on the soy sauce, massage it gently into the fish. Place the sheet under the broiler and let it go for about 2 minutes. Remove the sheet and turn the fish over. Drizzle again lightly with soy and put back in the broiler for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the broiler and allow to rest.

Serve with a small mound of shredded daikon.  The rice is served in a bowl next to the fish. To eat just put a little soy on the daikon and mix with the fish.

You can also cook salmon this way, sea bass can work well too. Enjoy!

I got a note asking for pictures of stuff I am making so I will start doing that. I am not a great photographer but it will get the idea across.

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The Melting Pot

Thai Food

When I first moved to San Francisco and was young and poor (now I am old and poor…) I used to eat pretty much every day at a little Thai restaurant called the Racha Cafe. I could get a plate of Spicy Basil Chicken with steamed rice for about $5.00. That was usually my big meal for the day.

There are lots of great flavors from Thailand. Curries, fish dishes, noodles…all delicious. So check it out: IT IS EASY TO CREATE GREAT THAI FOOD AT HOME!! All you need is a collection of the right flavors.

When you want to cook in a Thai style there are a few items to add to your pantry. First, a good fish sauce; I like Tiparos but there are plenty of good brands. Then get some Sri Racha or as we call it Racha sauce. You will also want fresh ginger, lemon grass (you can get ground up Lemon Grass in a jar or tube if fresh isn’t available), garlic and soy sauce. Another regularly used item is basil. Thai basil is best but if you can’t get that use regular basil and some fresh mint leaves too. I keep jalapenos in the fridge pickled in cane vinegar, just wash in hot water and slice before dropping them in.

THAI BASIL CHICKEN

My daughter’s favorite, easy to make and delicious.

Get boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut them into little cubes. Figure two thighs per person, but add a few for leftovers (you will want some for lunch). Brown the chicken in oil, I use canola but anything but olive oil will do. You may have to cook the chicken in shifts…

After the chicken is lightly browned, add some soy sauce and fish sauce. Figure about 4 to 1 soy vs fish sauce. I use around four tablespoons or so of liquid per 6 thighs but you will have to adjust to your own taste. BE CAREFULL WITH THE FISH SAUCE…the flavor will multiply as the liquid reduces. Stir in about 1/4 tsp each of ground ginger and ground lemon grass. You can put in a little garlic but it is not needed. I like my chicken a little more spicy so I will stir in a little Racha sauce to give a small bite.

At the end throw in your pickled jalapenos to taste and then one bunch of basil. Let the basil wilt and toss it in. Remove from the heat and serve over jasmine rice.

You can do this same basic recipe with beef, seafood or veggies. Just try using the these spices to add to your cooking bag of tricks.