Japanese GyΕ«don – So easy yet so delicious!

I love Japanese Gyudon, aka beef rice bowl. When the beef imports from the US were banned due to mad cow disease in 2004, there were Yoshinoya’s (a Japanese chain restaurant whose best seller is always gyudon) maniac fans flew to Los Angeles to have a taste. This is one of the staple comfort food in Japan.

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Ingredients: (yielding 3-4 servings)
2 cups of rice, steamed

1 medium onion, chopped into long and thin strips
12 oz beef, thinly sliced (make sure every slice of meat has a good ratio of lean and fatty meats. I used thinly sliced beef brisket bought from Korean supermarket)
3 stems of green onions, finely chopped

2 Tbsp of oil (I used bacon grease)
1 1/2 cup of Dashi stock or chicken broth
6 Tbsp of soy sauce
4 Tbsp of sugar
2 Tbsp of Sake or cooking wine
1 Tbsp of mirin
4 Tbsp of pickled red ginger (benisouga)
1 Tbsp of white sesame seeds
Salt and pepper

Steam the rice in a rice cooker.

Heat the oil in a shallow pot on medium-high heat. Add onion strips and cook for 2-3 min until translucent. Add the stock and let boil. Turn the heat down to medium. Add soy sauce, sugar, mirin and cooking wine, let cook for another 3 min.

Add beef to the pot and cook for another 5-8 min. Add salt and pepper to taste. To adjust the color, you can choose to add a few drops of aged soy sauce to darken the color.

Pour everything including the sauce over steamed rice and top with a pinch of chopped green onions. Finally, add a tbsp of red ginger on the top and drizzle some sesame seeds on the top.

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It is so quick and easy yet tasty, I love it! Hope you like it too! πŸ™‚

PS. A salad or a quick stir-fry on the side will help add more vegetable/fruit intake along with this savory, tantalizing dish!

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Seafood Risotto featuring Lobster

I got two Lobster tails from Wholefoods from a deal when I purchased some ribeye steaks for Valentines’ day. With Arborio rice, chicken broth, and mushrooms in stock, I decided to make a seafood risotto featuring the lobster meat. πŸ™‚

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Ingredients: yield 3-4 meals
1 – 1 1/4 cup of of Arborio rice
2 lobster tails
30-40 tails of wild shrimps, peeled
10 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 shallot, minced
1/3 onion, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
A handful of Italian parsley, minced
2 Tbsp of chives, chopped
2.5-3 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of half & half
1/3 of a butter stick (about 4-5 Tbsp)
3-4 Tbsp of coconut oil or duck fat or lard, divided
1/3 cup of cooking wine, divided
Salt and pepper

Steam the lobster tails for about 10-15 min until the shell turns bright red. Remove all the meat from the lobster tails and chop into small 1/2-inch cubic chunks. In a pot, put in the rest of the lobster shells and 2 cups of water and simmer. The lobster broth will be used later.

In a pot, warm the chicken broth over low heat. And turn the oven on at 150F.

Heat up about 1 Tbsp of oil in a pan. Throw in all the mushrooms on medium-high heat for 2-3 min until all the mushrooms are soft. Pour all the mushrooms and the liquid into an oven-safe container and keep the bowl in the oven while cooking the risotto.

Heat up another 1 Tbsp of oil in the pan. Throw in all the shrimps in the pan first. If the shrimps are already cooked like the lobster meat, you can throw them in together. Cook for about 3 min until the shrimps start to look opaque and the redness is more prominent. Add the lobster meat. Cook together for about 1 more minute and stir constantly to mix well. Pour in a 2 Tbsp of cooking wine and cook for another minute. Pour in all the half & half and cook for another 3 min and stir constantly. Set all the shrimps, lobster meat, and the liquid aside in the oven like the mushrooms for later use.

Heat up the rest of the oil in a skillet in medium heat. Add garlic, onion and shallot to the skillet and cook for about 1 min till when the onion and shallot start looking translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat every grain with the oil. When all the rice has taken on a golden coat, pour in the rest of the cooking wine and stir until all the wine is absorbed. Add a ladle of chicken broth and stir until all the broth is absorbed. Add chicken broth ladle after ladle once the liquid is mostly or all absorbed. Add a couple ladles of the lobster broth (about 1 cup, definitely no more than 1.5 cups) to the skillet and mix well. Add butter and stir until it all melts. This whole process takes about 20-25 min.

Turn the heat down a bit to medium-low or low heat. Add the bowl of mushrooms and the bowl of shrimp/lobster meat/half & half mixture back into the rice and stir well. When the whole bowl reaches a creamy consistency, add parsley and chives and stir to mix well. Then you can dish the risotto out and serve!

I really love the texture and the savory flavor of risotto, especially combing the umami of seafood and the earthy-ness of mushrooms. Oh my! That was such a satisfying meal! Thanks for checking in! πŸ˜›

Winter Roasted Root Vegetables

Feeling a little lazy on a snowy night? If you stock up assorted root vegetables like I do, then this recipe is for you! πŸ™‚

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I make this dish so often in winter with ever changing items every time so you do NOT have to stick to the recipe strictly, be CREATIVE (the key is to bear in mind whatever you put in may require different cooking times)!

Often used ingredients: (yield 4 meals)
3-4 large Yukon/Sweet/Red/… potatoes, or equivalent amount of fingerling heirloom potatoes, chopped into small bite-sized chunks
2-4 large carrots, chopped into bite-sized chunks
2-3 golden beets, chopped into bite-sized chunks
2 handful of broccoli including roots, chopped into bite-sized chunks, separate the roots and the flower parts
(If you have turnips, daikon radish, etc., feel free to add on, they need a little less time than potatoes and carrots to cook)
1/2-2/3 of a large onion, chopped
A few mushrooms, chopped
(Sometimes I add chopped green beans, Brussel sprouts, eggplants, just about any vegetables that can stand some heat without becoming a pile of soft leaves or a pot of juices/water)
One cured wild boar sausage, chopped (I prefer using cured hard sausages to add a little savory and fatty flavor to the food, but any cooked meat bits will do)
Olive oil
2-3 tsp of butter
Half a handful of fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp of Oregano
1/2 tsp of Thyme
Salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 400-450F and oil your baking tray with olive oil. Throw in the first batch of root vegetables that require the longest cooking time – potatoes, carrots, broccoli roots, and beets. Allow them to cook for 25-30 minutes.

While the hardest vegetables are in the oven, heat a pan and add olive oil. Add the meat bits, the mushrooms, and the onions, stir fry until the meat is cooked or the onion turns translucent.

Add the softer vegetables, such as green beens, eggplants (you might want to pre-cook the eggplants along with the onions and mushrooms in the above step because heating without much oil tends to dry out eggplants), broccoli flower parts together with the first batch. Add the oregano, thyme, rosemary, and butter and stir the vegetables so that the spices distribute evenly and mix well. Use a fork to poke the potatoes and carrots, they should start to be tender and relatively easy to poke through if not already so. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the meat, the mushrooms and the onions last and add salt and pepper to taste. And stir to mix well. The carrots, the broccoli roots, the potatoes or the beets should be really tender now. Cook for another 10 minutes or so.

And Viola, you are ready to serve! Nothing on a cold snowy night beats a warm and healthy meal with prepping under 15 min and watching TV for 45 min. πŸ˜›

Thanks for checking in!