Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ebi Chili from Japanese Soul Cooking

I made my first recipe out of Japanese Soul Cooking last week!  After going through the book several time I couldn't decided what to try first, but John made a request for ebi chili.  I was surprised because John normally isn't a big fan of shrimp, but the photos make it look SO good.  It's essentially a quick dish of shrimp cooked in a tangy spicy sauce that we both really enjoyed, though I would make a few small changes in the future.

One of the reasons I've been so excited about this book is because it breaks down and explains so many ingredients that are basic to Japanese cooking.  I've learned my way around the grocery store here, but there are still so many things I don't have the slightest idea about. For the most part I buy fresh ingredients that I can identify and make just about everything from scratch (no joke, last week we had tacos and I made homemade tortillas and homemade salsa!) It's pretty healthy since there's not much prepackaged or prepared stuff that I buy, but I'm still curious about all the mysterious things I can't identify.  For this recipe I got to buy four new ingredients: torigara (basically a powdered chicken bouillon base), tobanjan (a spicy pepper paste), sake (I know what this is, I've just never cooked with it before), and katakuriko (potato starch).  Before heading out to the store I did a google image search of all the ingredients (except the sake) so I would have an idea of what to look for.  Seriously, the amount of things I google on a daily basis is amazing.  I can't even imagine how difficult it must have been to live here before the internet.

The recipe was really clear and easy to follow.  It listed all the prep that needed to happen first so that I was all ready to go with the cooking which happens really quickly.  John and I both thought it tasted great.  There was a lot of flavor and a good amount of spice from the tobanjan.  It's definitely calibrated to the American palate rather than the Japanese, which I appreciated.  

So, here's what I would change.  The recipe called for a pound of shrimp to feed four, so I cut it in half for the two of us.  I actually bought 200 grams which is slightly less than half a pound because that's the size they were selling. I haven't cooked with shrimp very much, but wow did they shrink up! They started out looking the right size, and by the time they were done were about the size of pennies.  And 200 grams is not enough to feed two people. My pictures actually don't make it look as bad as it was, but I was mortified to feed it to John for dinner.  Thank goodness there was a lot of rice and edamame.  If you make this recipe, buy bigger shrimp than I did (even though mine were labeled for ebi chili) and make more! On the other hand, there was a lot more sauce than necessary.  If you looooove sauce, then by all means keep it as it is, but be aware it won't look like the photo in the book where the shrimp are deliciously coated in sauce - they'll be completely drowned and hidden in sauce.  At the end of our meal we still had so much left in the bottom of our bowls.  Next time I would make half of the sauce called for to the full amount of shrimp.  Despite these two issues, it was a quick and delicious recipe that I would happily make again.  Can't wait to try another recipe!

Read About Other JSC Recipes:
Oyakodon/Gyudon/Shiso Pasta
Mabo Dofu
Sapporo Soup Curry
Sesame Karaage
Tan Tan Men
Pork Gyoza
Japanese Soul Cooking Review

New Ingredients: Torigara, Sake, Katakuriko, Tobanjan

The Recipe

Dinner Time

Before and After (so much sauce!)

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