mirin

Week 43: Mirin-Glazed Salmon

So here’s something I thought I would be able to tell you about much sooner than the forty-third week of the New Recipe Night project… This week, I cooked fish for the first time.  I’ve cooked tinned fish this year, and who can forget Nigel (from week 14: http://wp.me/p42Dr4-1X), but never an actual chunk of fish.

I suppose what attracted me to this was that it looked like an easy introduction into cooking fish, it looked quick to cook and I already had the ingredients.

To make this for 4 you will need: 4 x 125 g pieces of salmon (Nigella wants narrow and tall, rather than wide and flat… the minx) 60 ml (4 tbsp) mirin, 50g soft light brown sugar, 60 ml (4tbsp) soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1-2 spring onions.

I’ve recently got in to sushi rice, and now that I’ve stopped burning it to the pan it’s become a firm favourite.  If you are like me, cruelly without a rice-cooker, you will need to get the rice cooking before you make the marinade (which is probably exactly the same as if you do have one)

Start your rice cooking and then in a bowl or dish that will hold all your bits of salmon, mix the mirin, brown sugar and soy sauce together.  Eight minutes before the rice is due to be cooked, put your fillets into the marinade for 3 minutes for the first side, and 2 for the second.

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Whilst this is marinading, shred the spring onion (to look like the shredded spring onions you get with crispy duck at the Chinese). Then heat a large non-stick frying pan on the hob.  Put the salmon in the pan and cook for 2 minutes, turn over the salmon and add the marinade and cook for another 2 minutes.

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If you’re a genius at timing your rice should be done as you turn the salmon, so while the salmon and marinade are bubbling away, you should be able to drain the rice (if it needs it) and put it out on your serving plates.

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Take the salmon off the heat and dish up on top of the rice.  Then add the rice vinegar to the pan to warm through.  Nigella says that this is supposed to form a dark, sweet and salty glaze for you to pour over the salmon.  I’m not sure what I did wrong, but it turned black and burned onto the pan in a massive puff of fishy smoke.  I spotted some of the smoking goo onto the salmon, it didn’t look very glazed but I sprinkled it with the spring onions all the same.

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The salmon was delicious, perfect with the rice, a little too blackened maybe but I’m pretty sure I had the hob on too high.  Unfortunately the last step to make the glaze burned itself onto my ‘non stick’ pan so hard that it’s taken forever to clean, and still has big black patches that are now part of the pan.  Also, my lover doesn’t really like fish, so it’s not going to become a regular dinner round here, but I still might make it just for me once I’ve worked out what I’m doing.

Fish.  Tick.

 

Nigella Express, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2007 ISBN 9780701181840)

nigella express

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Week 38: Chicken Teriyaki

Friday again already!  I’ve watched Nigella make her Chicken Teriyaki recipe about 19 times on Food Network, so I thought it would be a good recipe to try.

Aside from a slight Sake-buying issue, I managed to find all the ingredients (except the sesame oil which I forgot); I even decided to give sushi rice a go!  I’d never had Teriyaki before, so I didn’t know if I’d like it – but I decided if it wasn’t very nice I’d just drink the Sake!

I’m not sure how widely available Sake (Japanese rice wine) or Mirin (Sweet Japanese rice wine) are – you might be lucky if you have a full-sized supermarket near you, or you can get it from the Chinese/oriental supermarket.  I got mine from the Thai supermarket, which is also where I get gochujang, fish sauce, and green thai chilli sauce.  There’s bound to be one nearby, just not in Chiswick Sainsbury’s.

To make this for 4 you will need: 2 tbs sake, 4tbs Mirin, 4 tbs soy sauce (half this if you’re serving kids or don’t like it salty), 2tbs soft light brown sugar (I used golden caster), 2 tsp grated sugar, a splash of sesame oil, 750g chicken thighs and 1tsp ground nut oil.  Serve with rice.

This is quite a quick dish to cook, but takes a while to prepare.  Start by mixing the Sake, Mirin, soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil and putting it in a dish with the chicken (which you’ve cut up in to bite sized chunks)

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Steep the chicken for 15 minutes, while it’s steeping you can put the rice on.  After 15 minutes heat 1 tsp of ground nut oil in a shallow frying pan with a lid, fish the chicken out of the sauce with a slotted spoon and put them in the pan (keep the sauce).  Cook the chicken until it looks cooked on the outside.

Pour the sauce into the pan, stir it up and heat until it starts to bubble – turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, put the lid on and cook for 5 minutes (cut open a piece of chicken to check its cooked, but if you’re using really small chunks it will be)

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Again with the slotted spoon, fish the chicken out onto a warm plate and cover with foil – then whack up the heat and let the sauce boil down to be thick and syrup-y.  Throw the chicken back into the pan and coat with the sauce and serve.

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By the time I had done skinning and boning the chicken thighs I was convinced that I would hate the Teriyaki, but I didn’t – it was delicious.  Incredibly salty but delicious.  Next time I make it it’ll be with boned thighs or breasts, and half the amount of soy, and not on a work night, but it’s definitely one to cook often.  Bravo Nigella!

 

Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)

Nigella Kitchen