Kyou no Ryouri Beginners June 2015

Every month I get both Kyou no Ryouri and Kyou no Ryouri Beginners magazines which are published by NHK. To tell the truth, I usually enjoy KnR Beginners more than the KnR magazine. Mainly because recipes are easier to prepare and thus easier for me to understand/translate quickly. Learning Japanese takes a lot of time! I’ve found when it comes to learning Japanese, you get lots of experience learning the grammar, and how to deal with social situations. However, there aren’t many times were you learn individual ingredients, so learning things such as this I have to do on my own time.

This month’s main feature is ketchup based recipes vs mayonnaise based recipes! While traditionally ketchup and mayo aren’t used in Japanese cuisine, modern Japanese cuisine incorporates both in a variety of ways. It’s popular to put ketchup on top of a Japanese style omelette, and mayonnaise is a common condiment on okonomiyaki (a popular cabbage pancake/fritter-y type of dish). This issue displays mayo based and ketchup based recipes up against each other. For example, a shrimp recipe which utilizes mayonnaise as the main component of flavor; versus a popular chili shrimp dish which incorporates ketchup into the spicy-sticky sauce.IMG_3946

Keeping with the spirit of this issue, I decided to have a ketchup vs mayo battle myself! Each two-page display had a recipe that was mayo based, and a recipe that was ketchup based. My method of deduction on what to make came down to 1.) how easy is it to prepare and 2.) will the ingredients last a few days should I get distracted and not be able to cook. I ended up choosing the two-play display on stir fries.

On the mayo page, we had a chicken, cucumber, and corn mayo stir fry. On the ketchup side we had a potato, pepper and ground pork ketchup Chinese style stir fry. Who won? While they were both really delicious, I actually liked the creaminess and flavor of the mayo stir fry better.

Below are both recipes. Feel free to try both and see which you like the most!

Japanese mayo is different than the usual stuff you get at the grocery store, and is much, much better. The most popular and easily distinguishable brand is Kewpie mayonnaise. Below is a picture. It’s easy to distinguish by the creepy baby on the packaging. So why is Japanese mayo so much better than the stuff you get at the store? The differences in Kewpie’s mayo is they use rice vinegar, and egg yolks only so the flavor is tangy and really rich.

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Mayo – Chicken, Cucumber, and Corn Mayo Stir Fry
Two Servings

Ingredients:
1 chicken thigh (I used chicken breast in the photos because I couldn’t buy small packages of chicken thighs)
2 small seedless cucumbers (you can use an english cucumber, but persian/asian cucumbers are the best due to the small seeds)
1 ear of corn
2 TB mayo (preferably Japanese Mayo)
1/2 yellow onion
1 thumb sized piece of ginger
1-2 TB oil
1-2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
salt/pepper

Directions:

1.) Cut up the chicken, cucumbers, and onion into even pieces, little less than 1/2 inch cubes. Cut off all of the kernels from the ear of corn. Set aside
2.) Remove the skin from the piece of ginger and mince finely.
3.) Heat the oil in a medium sized frying pan over medium heat (alternatively you could use a wok). When the oil is hot, drop in the ginger. Stir very quickly to make sure you don’t burn the ginger.
4.) Once the ginger is fragrant, add in the chicken. Stirring pretty often, cook until the chicken has slightly changed color.
5.) Stir in 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and stir to combine. Then add the cucumber, onion, and corn. Cook until the chicken is almost done (see photo below)

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6.) Add in the salt, pepper, vinegar, another teaspoon of soy sauce, and the mayonnaise. Stir to combine.

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7.) Once the chicken is done, remove from heat and serve! You can serve with rice if you’d like, however I skipped the empty carbs and went for seconds!

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Here’s the other recipe. Again you can use a wok instead of a frying pan if you would like. I used a frying pan, but wish I had used a wok instead.

Ketchup – Potato and ground pork ketchup Chinese style stir fry
Serves 2-3
Ingredients:
3 potatoes (I used yukon gold)
1/4 lb ground pork
2 green peppers (if you use a bell pepper use 1green pepper. I used another mild green pepper)
1 red pepper (if you use a bell pepper use 1/2 a bell pepper. I used a Fresno chile)
1-2 cloves garlic
1 thumb piece of ginger
2 TB ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
cilantro (for garnish)
1-2 TB oil
salt
pepper

Directions:

1.) Cut the potatoes into slivers. I actually used a mandolin. Think hash browns type of thin. Once you have cut up all of the potatoes, let them soak in a mixing bowl with cold water. This removes some of the starchiness of the potatoes, so that way they’ll crisp up better.
2.) Julienne the two peppers. Mince the garlic and ginger.
3.) Mix the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar in a small bowl. set aside.
4.) in a frying pan (or wok), heat over medium heat and add in the oil. Once it’s hot, add in the garlic and ginger, cooking till fragrant.
6.) Once the garlic and ginger are fragrant, add in the ground pork. Crumble the ground pork into small pieces.
6.) Once the meat starts to brown, add in the pepper and potatoes. Once you’ve added the potatoes and the pepper in, stir constantly. You’re not wanting the potatoes to turn crispy like hash browns, but you’re not cooking them to mush either. Basically what you’re looking for is when you take a bite the starchiness is gone, but there’s still some texture left.
7.) Right before the potatoes are cooked, add the ketchup mixture made in step 3. Add some salt and pepper, and finish cooking.

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Again, plate up and serve!

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I made these recipes a couple weeks ago, and my July issues of KnR and KnR Beginners are here! I haven’t looked through them all that much, but I’ll be sure to write about them as well!

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