Sake Steamed Mussels/Daikon-Cabbage Soup/Somen/Sauteed Vegetables/Chicken Yakitori

Sake Steamed Mussels/Daikon-Cabbage Soup/Somen/Sauteed Vegetables/Chicken Yakitori

Discover the delicious dishes prepared during an impromptu Japanese dinner party in Brooklyn. Learn about cooking techniques for sake-steamed mussels, daikon-cabbage-cod soup, somen with dipping sauce, sautéed summer vegetables, and pan-sautéed chicken with yakitori sauce. These cooking methods and approaches can be a great starting point for experimenting at home!

Too bad baby Gen can only eat mashed rice: The chefs of the fabulous Kajitsu and their wives came over to our place in Brooklyn the other night for an impromptu Japanese dinner party, and I wish Gen could have tasted the amazing spread. (Well, I guess there's still time, he's only eight months old!) While chef Masato and everyone played with baby Gen, my pal chef Atsushi and I headed to the kitchen, where I watched Atsushi knock out a bunch of simple dishes, and made one myself. I'm going to describe what we cooked, so you can try it at home. These aren't recipes, per se, but techniques and approaches. Use them as a point of departure, and experiment! Here are the dishes:

Sake-steamed Mussels

Ingredients:

  • Mussels
  • About 1 cup of sake
  • 1 piece of kombu

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Mussels: Wash the mussels thoroughly.
  2. Steam the Mussels: In a pot, place a piece of kombu and pour in about a cup of sake. The sake should come up about halfway to the top of the mussels. Cover the pot.
  3. Cook: Steam the mussels over high heat until all of them open up.
  4. Serve: Enjoy the mussels with the broth.

Daikon-Cabbage-Cod Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 big pieces of kombu
  • Cabbage and daikon trimmings
  • Cabbage, daikon, and large scallion, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and usukuchi soy sauce, to taste
  • Cod slices

Instructions:

  1. Make Dashi: Simmer the kombu and vegetable trimmings in water over low heat for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare Vegetables: Remove the kombu and trimmings from the dashi. Add the cabbage, daikon, and scallion. Cook for another 30 minutes or until the daikon is tender.
  3. Season and Cook the Cod: Season the soup with salt and usukuchi soy sauce. Layer slices of cod on top and simmer until just cooked through.
  4. Serve: Enjoy this pure cabbage soup with tender cod.

Somen with Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Dashi
  • Mirin
  • Soy sauce
  • Somen noodles
  • Shiso leaves and wasabi (optional)
  • Aonori (powdered nori, optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Dipping Sauce: Use a 4-1-1 ratio of dashi to mirin to soy sauce. Bring the dashi to a boil, add mirin, then soy sauce, allowing it to boil each time.
  2. Cook and Cool Somen: Cook the somen for about 2 minutes, strain, and cool under cold running water.
  3. Serve: Top with ice cubes and serve with thinly sliced shiso leaves and wasabi if desired. For a variation, pan-fry leftover somen with soy sauce and aonori.

Sautéed Summer Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • Okra, wax beans, zucchini, tomatoes (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • Butter and olive oil
  • Katsuobushi (dried shaved bonito)
  • Soy sauce (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Sauté Vegetables: Sauté okra, wax beans, and zucchini in butter and olive oil until cooked but still crispy.
  2. Add Tomatoes and Serve: Sauté tomatoes lightly and add to the dish. Top with katsuobushi. Optionally, add a little soy sauce while sautéing.

Pan-Sautéed Chicken with Yakitori Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Boneless chicken legs
  • Homemade yakitori sauce

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Chicken: Pan-sauté boneless chicken legs until half-done.
  2. Add Sauce and Cook: Brush on the yakitori sauce, turning and sautéing until the chicken is ready.
  3. Serve: Enjoy this delicious dish with your homemade yakitori sauce.