Ever since ‘Femina’ started bringing out bi-annual Cookbook issues, I have been buying and stocking them religiously. Only, I have not cooked a single dish from any of the issues so far. On Sunday morning I brought out these as well as some of the other collections, but my eyes stood fixed on the Femina that had momos (steamed vegetable dumplings) on the cover. I needed to eat them, but I did not have most of the ingredients for the dipping sauce, or the mushrooms for the filling. A shopping trip was assured. We decided to break the self-imposed October rule of staying away from processed foods. The dipping sauce contains mirin and soy, both processed. If you like to indulge, you should, but try not to choose synthetic flavours and synthetically created sauces. Choose naturally brewed soy sauce. It is much better than its synthetic counterpart. I do not know how much of the sauce I will eventually use but I am going to push myself and try lots of Japanese and Chinese recipes while the soy sauce is good. I rarely cook East Asian, and I really need to expand my skills in that area. Maybe I will call this a study! Right. That’s a good excuse.
I use mirin, but not for Japanese cuisine. I use it in cakes and ice creams. It makes the cake airy and ice creams turn out softer.
Yesterday I made the momos and the dipping sauce. Only I used vanilla flavoured flour. Ridiculous, right? Soimetimes I can be. I did not want to cut open a new packet so I used the remaining flour. I saw the vanilla flecks but ignored it. My mistake cost me badly. The momos had to discarded. I could not let the dipping sauce go waste. Besides it smelled so good. Today’s recipe was born thus. The original recipe is by Chef Nachiket of East Pan Asian Restaurant, Mumbai. I did not expect the sauce to pair this well with brown boiled rice!
Recipe: Brown Rice Salad in ginger scallion sauce, with mashed sweet potatoes
Yield: Two portions
Allergy information: Soy sauce contains gluten
Brown boiled rice (I use Manglore boiled rice which is deep reddish brown in colour), cooked in open pan, water drained – 2 cups
Scallions / spring onions, prefarably with tender bulbs – 3, cut into inch long pieces, diagonally
Ginger – 1″, cut into very thin matchsticks
Sesame oil – 1 tbsp.
Sesame seeds (husked) – 1/2 tsp.
Fine ground sea salt to balance (remember that sauce has soy and hence salt)
For the sauce (this is more than needed, but you can store and use it with momos)
Sesame oil – 1/2 tbsp.
Green chillies, chopped – 1/4 tbsp.
Scallions – 1/2 tbsp. (I omitted this)
Rice wine (I used mirin) – 1/2 tsp.
Soy sauce – 100 ml (I used blue dragon’s dark soy sauce)
Heat 1/4 tbsp. oil. in a wok and saute chopped chillies and scallions (if using). Add mirin and soy sauce. Remove from heat and top with the remaining oil. Use only as much as needed. This is a large quantity for the rice.
Wipe out the wok after making sauce. Heat oil for the rice. When hot add sesame seeds and let them turn a tinge of brown. Add ginger and fry till crisp. Add scallions and fry on high heat for a minute.
Remove from heat. Add cold rice and toss well with a pinch of salt. Add 2-3 tbsps. of sauce and mix well. Taste and check whether you need more sauce.
I served this and roasted, mashed sweet potatoes for dessert.
Mashed sweet potatoes: [What I served as babyfood!]
Sweet potatoes / Shakkarkand – 300g (If big, halve)
A pinch of finely ground sea salt
Pre-heat oven to 200 deg. C. Place scrubbed sweet potatoes on a foil and bake in the center rack for an hour. A knife inserted should slide in smoothly.
Remove, cool, peel, add salt, and mash well with a fork. I ate up the peels.
Quenelle and serve with the salad. I learnt the word ‘quenelle’ from Masterchef Australia. It is a scooping technique used these days for perfect servings of ice creams and sorbets generally, and I have demonstrated how one can manage to make it look bad. 😀