With the New Year comes a new country’s cuisine – Japan! Having dabbled in Japanese cooking previously, I’m psyched to be cooking this wonderful food all month. The first thing people keep asking me is, “oh, so you’ll be making sushi?”. And although I probably will make sushi at some point during the month, this question just verifies a major point that I want to make this month – Japanese food is SO MUCH MORE than sushi!
At the store yesterday I saw these cute little 4 oz. single serving packets of flash-frozen seafood, so I picked up a pack of bay scallops. I figured there would have to be a Japanese scallops recipe in one of the many cookbooks I have stockpiled for the month (some of my own, plus some borrowed from my parents, and some from the library!). Sure enough, I found this easy teriyaki recipe to try at home today. I served it on rice, which I sprinkled with a Japanese spice mixture called Nanami Togarashi that I bought during a previous Japanese kick.
Teriyaki Glazed Scallops
4 oz. bay scallops
1 Tbsp. mirin
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. mirin
1 Tbsp. sugar
Rinse scallops and pat dry with a paper towel. Toss with 1 Tbsp. mirin and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the sauce ingredients in a small non-stick saucepan. Simmer this sauce for a few minutes until it thickens up like a glaze.
Place the scallops on skewers and broil or grill them for about 3 minutes, turning once. Remove from heat and brush with teriyaki glaze. Broil for another minute or two, until the scallops start to brown. Brush with glaze again and turn to brown another side. When scallops are nicely browned, remove them and spread one last brush of glaze, if desired. Serve warm with rice. Adapted from: At Home with Japanese Cooking, by Elizabeth Andoh
I also wanted to use a few Scandinavian ingredients left in my pantry from December, namely potato and cucumber. I stumbled on this very cute video about making bento (more on bento later). One of the dishes in the video is a Japanese potato salad. A similar recipe is in two of my cookbooks too, so I made a small bowlful of this twist on a common favorite. The fresh crunch of the cucumber reminds me of the similar effect of fresh apple in Scandinavian potato salad… one thing I’ve noticed so far from my investigation of all these different cuisines is that sometimes they’re not as different as they would appear!
Japanese Potato Salad
1 small potato, peeled and diced
8 baby carrots, sliced on an angle
5 cucumber sliced, quartered
Squeeze of lemon
1-2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 green onion, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook potato and carrots until tender, but carrots are still crunchy. Partly mash potatoes with a fork. Mix all ingredients and flavor with salt and pepper.