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Sunday, 13 June 2010

**Japanese Recipe** Reiko’s Cold Soba Noodles with Spicy Aubergine

Bloggers Cookery Class @ Hashi Cooking

I recently had the pleasure of returning to Reiko Hashimoto’s home for a special cookery class at Hashi Cooking with fellow food bloggers Su-Lin (Tamarind and Thyme), Carly (Greedy Diva), Kavey (Kavey Eats), Cara (Gourmet Chick), and Rejina (Gastrogeek).


Also joining us that evening was one of the top wine bloggers in the country, Denise (The Wine Sleuth) who recommended the wines and champagne to be paired with the four dishes we were about to learn (and eat).


It is no secret that I am undoubtedly Reiko’s number one fan, having attended and written at length about her wonderful classes last year (here), I was so excited to be able to return accompanied by such expert company.


The class was a mix of Reiko’s 4-week courses, namely Beginners, Home Cooking, Gourmet and Master Chef with one dish taken from each of these courses. By structuring it this way, Reiko was able to give us a taster of different dishes and cooking techniques spanning all her classes. All courses’ menus can be found at Hashi Cooking’s website.


In my opinion, the trickiest dish was surprisingly from the beginners’ course, the “Gyoza”. I could never imagine being able to fold these dumplings’ wrappers without a practical demonstration.


I normally cheat and buy these already made from Japanese grocery stores, but was so impressed by the taste and freshness of Reiko’s version that I’ve now become a real convert to making these fresh. Apart from the folding, everything else is dead simple and the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find.

(Picture courtesy of Greedy Diva)

Another excellent dish was “Beef Tataki with Creamy Sesame Sauce”. An exceptionally easy dish to prepare and with stunning presentation, this is a dish bound to impress even the most seasoned of dinner guests. For the recipe and pictures of this dish check Gourmet Chick’s write-up (here).



One of my favourite recipes of all the classes I have taken at Hashi Cooking is Reiko’s signature dish - “Scallops with Creamy Spicy Sauce on Sushi Rice”.


I have made this countless times for many of my friends and was pleased to see it on the evening’s menu. This dish has a delicious combination of sushi rice, scallops, flying fish roe and seaweed which is so evocative of the flavours in Japanese cooking.


The last dish we had was one I had not yet learnt – “Cold Soba Noodles with Spicy Aubergine”. I really enjoyed this, and as it is served cold, it is perfect for a hot summer’s day.

“Cold Soba Noodles with Spicy Aubergine”


Ingredients:

• 2 large aubergines
• 200g Soba noodles
• 4 small fresh chillies
• 2 tbsp grated ginger
• 4 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
• 4 cups Dashi stock
• 4 tbsp light soy sauce
• 4 tbsp mirin
• 2 tbsp sake
• 1-2 tsp sugar
• 2 tbsp sesame seeds
• Vegetable oil for deep frying (not olive oil)
• Pinch of salt

Method:

1. Put the dashi * stock, soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and simmer for about 10-15 min or until all the flavours are well blended and the sugar is dissolved. Take it off the heat and leave it to cool down **.

2. Wash and cut the aubergines lengthways, into thin and long slices with the skin on. Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan and deep fry the aubergine slices for about 2-3 min***. Take the aubergines out onto kitchen paper and leave them to cool down.

3. Slice the chillies thinly and quickly deep-fry them for about 30 seconds, drain on kitchen paper.

4. Grate the ginger, and add it into the cooled dashi broth made earlier, leaving the flavours to infuse for at least 5 min. Mix well.

5. Boil plenty of water in a large pan and add the soba noodles for about 4-5 mins (or according to the instructions on the package) until al dente. Drain the noodles under cold running water washing them thoroughly to eliminate any starch and ensure they are completely cool. Drain the noodles thoroughly.

6. Transfer the soba noodles onto the serving plates and place the aubergines on the top. Pour the sauce over the whole dish.

7. Sprinkle the finely chopped spring onions and sesame seeds on top to garnish the dish. Serve immediately to avoid the soba noodles soaking up the broth and become mushy.

8. Enjoy! ****


Notes:

* I would strongly recommend making fresh dashi stock for this dish (instructions here) as the final broth should be translucent and delicately flavoured. If time is an issue, check my post on Tonjiru Soup for information on how to go about using the instant dashi equivalent.

** The broth can be kept in the fridge for up to one week.

*** Depending how hard/soft the aubergine is, it will take longer/shorter to deep fry them.

**** This is a delicious summer dish, and so it is important that all ingredients and elements of the dish (broth, noodles and aubergines) are cold or at least room temperature.

9 comments:

  1. luiz these noodles look delicious! i often avoid the oil by 'steaming' my eggplant in clingfilm in the microwave (method from http://www.justhungry.com/steamed-eggplants-aubergines-spicy-peanut-sauce) - do you think that would work here or would the flavour be lost?

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  2. What a great series of savoury dishes! Deep-fried aubergine goes well with soba indeed :)

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  3. Thanks for bringing us all together for such a fun and educational night, Luiz. Loved it!

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  4. What a great night !!! So gutted that i couldn't make it! Everything looks delicious and would have loved to learn how to make all those things!!

    Brghhhhhh! so gutted!!! LELUU

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  5. Gorgeous looking food, I would love to have a class showing me how to make stuff like this.

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  6. @ Liz - Hi, lovely to see you back here! Love your blog. This is a very interesting suggestion, I will try and microwave them as you suggest although the deep frying gives the aubergine a creaminess/butterness which I don't think you would get from steaming.

    @ The Lacquer Spoon - thank you, Reiko has an amazing palate to put all these ingredients together and so well.

    @ Greedy Diva- mon plaisir my dear, you guys made the evening so special!

    @ Fernandez and Leluu - we missed you too, but you will definitely be invited for the next one, leave it with moi!

    @ Maison Cupcake - hi Sarah, I will be in touch when we hold another class if you fancy joining us. I didn't realise you are a Japanese food fan.

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  7. Hey i want to try Non veg food as i never had till now! but i want it should be delicious! So can you please help me in deciding that which restaurant i should go for Non veg food! I know one site named http://covent-garden.fluidrestaurantguide.co.uk /covent-garden//, This site have a list of famous restaurants of Covent garden. So please give me idea about he restaurant .. i am waiting for your replies! Thanks a lot!

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  8. That aubergine recipe looks like a winner. Lovely post.

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  9. @ Box Bar Restaurant - thanks for the info.

    @ Lizzie - thanks, the aubergine dish was fantastic and terribly easy to make.

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