Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chahan Induced Nostalgia

On the 20th of December it was exactly one year since I left Japan. It's a bit sad not being able to think "this time last year I was..." I've had to move onto "this time two years ago..." Which can be weird, I cant believe it was so long ago, all the memories still feel so recent. One of the hardest things is seeing what my friends still in Japan are up to, statuses from friends all over Japan are starting to talk about snow, and it's making me think of two years ago (eek) when I had just returned back from Japan after being home for the holidays, waking up, opening my windows and seeing this!!
It isn't much for normal northern hemisphere people, but damn, I very near wet myself! The first problem I had with the snow (which I only saw twice in my entire 18 months in Japan) was what footwear to use! I was so perplexed, I had never thought of it before! About five minutes before leaving for work I looked at my little plastic shoes and thought "well that's not gonna work at all," then looked over at my ug boots and thought "yes, brilliant, brilliant idea Michelle, you GENIUS." After much stomping, slipping and giggling I started to realise that the non waterproof super absorbent footwear was not a great choice... But I'm Australian, how on earth was I meant to know??
Next snow day I fought fellow cold footed shoppers and got me some gumboots, only to find that by the time I had finished work the snow had not only stopped falling, but it had melted as well. Ah, Tokyo winter. Snow--melt--gone. Here's the slushy stage!
So yes, with these memories and many others, I've turned to cooking foods that remind me of my time in Japan, some may say I'm torturing myself, but I like to think I'm just being nostalgic. Please enjoy the first of many Japanese recipes to come, I know I will!
Vegetable ingredients looking like a dog hiding in the bushes...
Vegetables added while the meat is still cooking, I did what I was told, but it scared me and I just don't think I'll do it again. I've got a mad fear of salmonella poisoning going and yeah, the vegetables were pretty damn overcooked before I was convinced the pork was done.
Cooked Japanese rice added, all coming together, just one more ingredient...
A nice cold bottle of Sapporo! My beer of choice while Izakaya hopping in Japan was Asahi, but I do enjoy a good Sapporo, I've never been, but I really do think that this is what Hokkaido would taste like, I recommend!

Missing you always Japan, even though sometimes you can be scarily cold, I'll always love you!

Chahan (Japanese Fried Rice)

By Brooke from Take it and Like it

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 carrot (The recipe says it can be chopped but they grated it, I thought this was a great idea, I don't think I would appreciate crunchy carrot in this, but if you would, go nuts!)
  • 3 shallots
  • 60g chopped cooked pork (I don't like chopping meat so I bought stirfry pork and ended up with huge pieces of pork all the way through, would not recommend, next time I think I'm just gonna have to man up and get meat juice all over my hands.)
  • 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger (Woolies ran out of ginger. I know, nuts, so I had to use tube ginger, not as strong but still good, i GUESS, *sulky face*)
  • 2 cups cooked Japanese rice
  • 1 tbsp sake or mirin (I used mirin)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • handful of chopped greens (I got a packet of mixed rocket and baby spinach from the fruit and vege section)
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add any ingredients that need to cook first - I put the carrot, green onions and pork in now, and because I had shredded the carrot instead of chopping it this only required 1-2 minutes of cooking time.
  2. Stir in the ginger then add the cooked rice. Break the eggs on top of the rice and quickly mix everything around so the rice grains are coated with the uncooked egg.
  3. Add the sake & soy sauce then the greens, and serve.
  4. You definitely want to move fast when making this; if you let the eggs overcook it tends to be a bit too dry. Remember, the heat from the rice will keep cooking the eggs while you're plating it.

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