Monday, 20 February 2012

A Bowl of Con-Fusion

Pasta Asiatica "Udon" con Peperoni e Okra in Brodo di Manzo e Funghi
Udon Noodles with Peppers and Okra in Beef & Mushroom Broth

Oh, I do the craziest things sometimes in the kitchen- and the craziest thing about the crazy things that I do, is that they often taste pretty darned good! Like this evenings supper. Now, I know that all of the ingredients I used are also commonly used in Japanese cuisine, but I am also pretty sure they are not used in this way... because I just made it up as I went along. Still, the flavor was amazing, the method was simple and the preparation was really minimal. And I am pretty confident you will excuse my lack of authenticity in the light of all that!

I used very thinly sliced braising steak and mushrooms to make a light stock- along with a few slices of ginger, some garlic paste and some fresh herbs, that was the base for building up this wonderfully warming dish. Keep on reading and I will give you all the details...

So, let's start at the beginning. I sliced the beef as thinly as possible and brought it to the boil in about 3 cupfuls of water per person. I counted 5-6 small, bite-sized slices per person too, which is plenty in combination with the vegetables. After 10 minutes or so, I removed the congealed "scum" (I hate that word!), from the surface of the broth with a slotted spoon and added some finely chopped parsley and mint. I reduced the heat to a low simmer and let it bubble away for a further 20 minutes or so. At this point, apart from the garlic and ginger, I did not add any extra flavors.

20 minutes later, I added some finely sliced red pointed peppers and the okra, which I simply cut in half. After 4-5 minutes, I added the noodles, some finely chopped Spring onion, a little more fresh mint and let it simmer for a further 5-6 minutes... after which my dish was ready to serve!

In the meantime, I prepared a little flavoring to pour onto the noodles before eating. This was a mixture of Mirin, soy sauce and sushi vinegar. I don't know how valid an addition to the Japanese cuisine this is- but the sweet, sour and salty flavors brought the light broth to life for me! I found it to be delicious! Serve with a little fresh parsley or cilantro if you prefer, a light drizzle of sesame oil and a few pinches of tangy Sansho pepper on the beef if you dare! I did!

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