Sunday, July 18, 2010

Remixed braised hijiki

I'm a big hijiki fan. Looking back over this blog's archives turned up numerous posts about hijiki, generally about the classic Japanese dish of braised hijiki (or some alteration to it). Recently I've been fond of braising hijiki with somen noodles, but I've had some baby red potatoes hanging around the kitchen lately. Then there was the lone shallot seeking a better fate than dwindling away into obscurity in SevenSoy Central's allium bin.

So I remixed braised hijiki a bit.

After hydrating the hijiki (which is sold dried in Asian markets), I let it dry on a paper towel. I heated some vegetable oil in a skillet, tossed in the sliced shallot and fried it over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds. I added the hijiki to the skillet and turned the heat down to medium. I fried the hijiki and shallot for a minute more, then added the thinly sliced potatoes and cooked for about three more minutes. Then I added the fluids: a cup of water, three tablespoons of shoyu, two tablespoons of honteri and a tablespoon of sugar. My standard recipe for braised hijiki uses three tablespoons of sugar, but I figured there was no harm in reducing the amount of sugar. Then I let everything simmer.

It took a little while, since the heat was at medium and I hadn't pre-cooked the potatoes in any way. By the time I gave in to impatience, the potatoes were still fairly crisp and there was a bit of sauce that had not reduced. No matter. The dish had a toasted flavor that was probably partly due to the initial sauteeing and partly due to the flavor of the shoyu. It wasn't as sweet as normal braised hijiki, of course, but the toasted  flavor more than made up for it. It was just sweet enough.

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