Sunday, March 27, 2005

Beef yakisoba

In which Friday dinner is transformed into Saturday's birding lunch and a good time is had by all.

It wasn't quite the same as Dosanko's beef yakisoba, but boy, was it good! I used some of the sliced sirloin that I like so much. I started by marinating it in a mix of two tablespoons shoyu, two tablespoons sake, a teaspoon of sesame oil and a teaspoon of cornstarch. I let it soak for about an hour. In the meantime, I chopped some napa cabbage (since this is a Japanese dish, I should probably refer to it as hakusai for the duration of this post), rinsed some leftover water chestnuts and cooked some chukasoba.

In my quest for a new bottle of good mirin I have so far come up empty. The high-end supermarket was all out, and the Asian supermarket only has aji-mirin at the moment (mirin with additives to increase the sweetness). However, my eye was caught by the so-called "kotterin mirin sweet cooking seasoning" that Kikkoman makes. "Kotterin" seems to come from the Japanese word for "thick;" this mirin is fortified with corn syrup, water, vinegar, shoyu, the ever-popular "flavorings" and a dash of sodium benzoate as a preservative. I figured I might as well give it a try and bought a small bottle. I mixed a tablespoon of this with two tablespoons of shoyu and a teaspoon of sesame oil to make the yakisoba sauce. When I tried it, it tasted great.

Yakisoba was easy to cook as usual. I stir-fried the beef in about three tablespoons of peanut oil until it was rare, and added the veggies and stir-fried for another minute or two. Then I added the noodles, stirred them and poured the leftover marinade and the sauce over everything. After heating through, I plated it.

The beef was perfectly done: right at the cusp of medium and medium-rare, with no pink in the middle but still juicy and tender. The beef juices added their signature to the sweet sauce, which lightly coated the other ingredients. It was a great way to celebrate the end of the work week.

Although I did my best to devour it all, enough was left to pack along as lunch on a birding trip with The Lurker and Perfect Tommy the next day. I happily finished it off as we ate at the Freehold WindMill (Perfect Tommy loves their hot dogs). As The Lurker had a barbecue sandwich and Perfect Tommy (of course) had a hot dog, I made side dishes out of The Lurker's lettuce and tomato for his sandwich, as well as some french fries he was willing to share.

It was a fairly quiet birding excursion, though we did see a rarity and some harbingers of spring. We finished our day at Aljon's Pizza, tucking into a wonderful large plain pie. Then it occurred to me that I needed some orange juice, so I figured a quick visit to the Asian supermarket was in order. Neither of the others had ever been there before (though Perfect Tommy often talks about having to get there someday). I did my tour guide routine and Perfect Tommy oohed about much of the food while managing to walk past it. He met his match in a jar of kimchi, however. The Lurker (not a fan of Asian food) trailed along in our wake, but his eyes lit up when he found a jar of mango powder meant to be used in drinks. He left it on the shelf, but I was impressed he found something of interest there. After some checkout confusion regarding a sale on orange juice (I ended up buying two on sale because it was just easier than explaining to the cashier that I just wanted one), we trooped off into the night.


harriet1954 said...

Thank you for the recipe idea! I went to the Cherry Hill Wegman's grand opening, and they had the Kikkoman Kotterin Mirin on sale. I grabbed one up and wanted to do something besides the "featured recipe" on the back of the bottle. They don't even have this product listed on their website unless you're a food manufacturer (as opposed to a "home cook"), and it just gives bare bones information (such as being available in a 55 gallon drum). Thanks again.

Winslow said...

Hi Harriet1954,

I'm glad you were able to find the kotterin in a non-Asian market; I haven't been to a Wegman's yet, so I haven't sussed out their Asian section. Kotterin would be a good ingredient in any sort of generic stir-fry sauce, or even in a marinade for a barbecue, I bet. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!