Yakisoba noodles are commonly served by vendor booths at festivals and also when people go out camping in Japan. This is a simple, delicious and healthy recipe and you can eat plenty of healthy vegetables.
Drain the rinsed sweet rice with a mesh strainer for 30 minutes. As for the dried shrimp, soak them in 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water for 30 minutes. Add the shrimp liquid to a measuring cup. Fill with water to equal 180ml (6.1 fl oz).
Place the sweet rice into the inner bowl of a rice cooker. Pour in the shrimp stock. Then, cook the rice in sweet rice mode on the rice cooker. If your rice cooker doesn't have a sweet rice mode, select the white rice mode instead.
Meanwhile, let's prepare the ingredients. Coarsely chop the rehydrated shrimp into smaller pieces. As for the shimeji mushrooms, remove the stem ends and tear them into individual pieces.
Let's make the seasoning. Combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sake, sugar, pepper and water. Mix thoroughly.
Cut the pork shoulder into 1cm (0.4") cubes and pour the sake and soy sauce over it. Thoroughly rub the pork with the seasoning until all the liquid is absorbed.
Next, heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a pan. Place the pork in the pan. The diced pork cubes are visually appealing but you can also use ground pork. Brown the pork cubes and flip them over.
When both sides of the pork turn golden brown, place onto a tray. You don't need to cook the pork completely at this stage.
Clean the pan with a paper towel. Add the vegetable oil again and reheat the pan. Add the minced ginger root and rehydrated shrimp. Stir-fry the ingredients.
When the aroma grows stronger, add the shimeji mushrooms. Distribute the oil and stir-fry until the mushrooms are slightly softened. Stir the seasoning and add it to the ingredients. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Then, add the shelled amaguri chestnuts. Now, add the pork shoulder. Continue to stir-fry and reduce the seasoning until most of the liquid is reduced.
Finally, add a small amount of sesame oil and distribute. This will help to bring out the aroma and the flavor. Turn off the burner and the ingredients are ready.
When the sweet rice is ready, lightly loosen up the rice with a rice paddle. Then, add the seasoned ingredients to the inner bowl. Using the steaming hot rice will make it easy to combine the ingredients.
Distribute the ingredients evenly but be careful not to crush the rice grains. Close the rice cooker and let it sit for 5 minutes to even out the flavor.
Now, the Chuka Okowa is ready. Place the mixed rice into a bowl. Finally, garnish with the chopped spring onion leaves to taste.
This recipe doesn't require soaking the sweet rice in water or steaming the rice so you can easily make Chuka Okowa.
This is a great bento ingredient since sweet rice is tender even when cold.
You can also make onigiri rice balls and keep them in the freezer on standby.
Let’s prepare the vegetables. Use the outer layers of the onion to make the dish more presentable. Slice the onion into 1.5cm (0.6") slices and then cut them in half again.
Cut the eringi mushroom or king oyster mushroom in half. Cut it lengthwise and then slice into 5mm (0.2") slices. Cut the lettuce leaves in half lengthwise and then chop them into 1.5cm (0.6") strips.
And now, let’s stir-fry the vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Drop in the onion and eringi mushroom and toss to coat with the oil. Sprinkle on the salt and brown the vegetables. Finally, sprinkle on the pepper, turn off the burner and place the vegetables onto a plate.
Remove the steak from the fridge 1 hour before you start cooking. On one side of the steak, sprinkle the salt and the pepper.
Turn on the burner and heat the vegetable oil on medium heat. Place the steak onto the pan with the seasoned side facing down. Occasionally shake the pan to help it brown evenly.
With a pair of tongs, check the under side of the steak. When it has browned thoroughly, flip the steak over.
Once both sides are browned, turn off the burner and place it onto a plate with the tongs. Cover it with aluminum foil while preparing the next step. This will help keep the steak warm and contain the savory juices while preparing the next step.
Let’s make the delicious onion ponzu sauce. Remove the remaining oil in the pan with a paper towel. Add the sake and allow the alcohol to evaporate.
Turn on the burner and add the grated onion. Stir with a spatula and cook the onion until the pungent aroma softens.
Add the citrus-based ponzu sauce, grated garlic and butter. Continue stirring with the spatula and bring the sauce to a boil. When the butter is completely melted, the sauce is ready. Pour it into a sauce boat.
Let’s make the beef steak donburi. Place the chopped lettuce onto a bowl of hot steamed rice. Next, place the onion and mushroom along the edge of the bowl.
Remove the aluminum foil from the plate and place the steak onto a cutting board. Slice the beef using diagonal cuts.
Line up the beef slices on the lettuce, presenting the pink cut surface. Finally, garnish with the watercress on top.
Just before serving, pour a generous amount of the onion ponzu sauce onto the beef, onion and mushroom. Wasabi also goes great with this recipe so try it out if you are feeling a little adventurous.
Cook the steak medium so that the beef is tender and the pink cuts are visually appealing.
Let's prepare the sauce. Combine the soy sauce, mirin, sake and grated garlic. Stir to mix.
Add the olive oil to a pan. Put in the coarsely chopped garlic clove. Turn on the burner and saute it on low heat. You can tilt the pan to submerge the garlic in the oil. When the garlic is golden brown, remove and set it aside.
Let's prepare the meat. Make numerous shallow cuts along the bottom of the steak. Then, make cuts perpendicular to the initial cuts, creating a grid pattern. Lightly season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. You want to start with the meat at room temperature so take it out of the fridge 20 to 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Heat the pan on high heat. Remove the remaining garlic oil, leaving 1 teaspoon in the pan. Place the steak onto the pan. Cook the top side first so that you can present the beautifully browned side when served.
Brown the steak on high heat for about 1 minute and flip it over. Cook the bottom side on high heat for 10 seconds. Then, reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 10 seconds. Remove and place onto a cooling rack.
Place the hot pan onto a dampened towel to slightly cool. If there are any burnt pieces, wipe them away with a paper towel. Then cover the steak with aluminum foil. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and allow the meat to reabsorb the juices.
Add the sauce to the pan. Reheat the pan and bring it to a boil. Stir to mix and reduce the garlic sauce until slightly thickened. Pour the sauce into a bowl.
Now, the steak has re-absorbed the juices. Cut the steak into smaller pieces. Allowing the meat to reabsorb the juices is important because it will help avoid losing the precious juices when cut.
Place the steak onto a plate along with the baby spinach and boiled mixed vegetables. Sprinkle on the fried garlic bits. Pour on the sauce and enjoy the delicious steak!
We used a cut from the bottom round but you can also use beef tenderloin or sirloin in this recipe.
Making the cuts on the bottom in a grid pattern will make the meat extra tender so everyone can enjoy the steak.
Let's prepare the lotus root. Thoroughly rinse the lotus root and grate it along with the skin. The grated root should make approximately 50g (1.8 oz).
Slice about 100g (3.5 oz) of the lotus root. Then, coarsely chop the slices into small pieces.
Let's make the sauce. Combine the vinegar, sake, sugar and soy sauce. Stir to dissolve.
Let's combine the meatball ingredients. In a large bowl, season the ground pork with the salt and pepper. Add the soy sauce and sake. With your hand, squish the mixture to combine the ingredients. Then, loosely spread your fingers forming a rake shape to thoroughly mix the meat until the mixture becomes sticky. This will make it easier to combine other ingredients later.
Add the chopped ginger root, coarsely chopped long green onion, grated lotus root, and coarsely chopped lotus root. Add in the potato starch and sesame oil. Squeeze the mixture so all ingredients are well incorporated. Even if you use lean meat, adding the grated lotus root will give it a tender texture. The crispy chopped lotus root also adds a pleasant texture to the dish.
When the meat mixture is thoroughly combined, shape them into balls about the size of ping pong balls and place them onto a plate. You'll have about 12 meatballs in total. Now, remove your kitchen glove. Wet your hands with vegetable oil and roll each meatball between your palms to make a smooth surface.
Let's cook the meatballs. Heat the oil in a pot to 170 °C (340 °F) and reduce the heat to low. Gently place the meatballs into the pot. Then, bring to medium heat. Don’t touch the meatballs until the surface firms up. Occasionally shake the pot to keep the bottom of the meatballs from burning.
When the surface firms up, turn the meatballs over. Keep turning them to brown evenly for 5 to 6 minutes. They will turn to a delicious golden brown color. Remove the meatballs and place them onto a cooling rack.
Let's coat the meatballs with the sauce. Heat another pot on medium heat. Stir the sauce and pour it into the pot. Bring it to a boil and reduce the sauce. When the sauce begins to thicken, add the meatballs. Coat the meatballs with the sauce.
Place the meatballs onto a plate along with the sweet and sour sauce.
You can also top with shichimi chili pepper, sansho pepper or a generous amount of chopped seasonal kinome leaves to taste.
The meatballs are great for adding to bentos but be sure to cool them before packing.
Finally, the meatballs can be refrigerated or frozen so you can always keep them on standby.