Welcome to day two of my adventures into the world of Alton Brown’s Good Eats. Today we’ll head to the orient, which I’m sure will amuse you. I think I can actually say it is ironic since I rarely have the inclination to pursue Asian cooking, in spite of having very close familial resources to learn from, and now that I am pursuing it, I am taking my cues from a white guy. Moving on now!
Today’s application is making Dashi which I’ll be using for another recipe later. With the leftovers from the dashi I’ll make a little bonus dish. Here are the exotic ingredients: Kombu seaweed and katsuoboshi, also known as bonito flakes.
Some special things that you need: Cheesecloth and a strainer.
Special things that would be helpful: A kitchen scale.
The kombu was purchased from a Korean market, and the sheets of seaweed were huge! Only need two four inch pieces for this application, so some handy scissors will trim those out.
Wipe them down with a damp cloth to get this lovely silky sheen.
And drop them into a pot with 2.5 quarts of water. That’s ten cups people.
Put the pot onto a burner set to medium heat. Bring the water up in temperature to 160 degrees F. Don’t mind the word beef, there’s no beef in this recipe.
While that’s going we can measure out the bonito flakes.
There we are, half an ounce of bonito flakes.
If you don’t have a scale, it is about two cups, pressed down ever so slightly.
I missed the shot, but at 160 degrees, take out the seaweed sheets and save them for another purpose. Then bring the water up to a boil.
Once it reaches a boil, turn off the heat then toss in the bonito and give it a stir.
After ten minutes of simmering on low heat, drain it through some cheesecloth.
Then you’ll have a lovely bowl of dashi, with which to make some miso soup, which will be tomorrow’s application.
Now for the bonus! After straining and pressing out the bonito flakes for the dashi you are left with… this lovely mass of fish stuff. I know, not the most appealing sight. We’ll fix that in a jiffy.
Very simple layout if you’ve got the stuff. From the top left and clockwise: 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons of mirin, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, half a teaspoon of sugar and the leftover bonito flakes.
If your sesame seeds are already toasted, great, if not, lets get to it.
In a non stick pan over medium heat, toss the seeds in. Swirl steadily with a wooden implement until they start to change color.
It’s subtle, and perhaps I could have made them slightly darker, but this works.
The sugar and wet ingredients can be incorporated by the way. No need to dirty all these bowls unless you were planning on taking photos to blog about.
Next start cutting up the bonito flakes back into, well flakes. In my case I could roll them up and make several thin slices.
And slice across those to make some fine pieces.
Get your non stick back up to medium heat and toss in the fish flakes.
They’ll start to dry out correctly in a few minutes, and you can tell they are drying out when a few flakes start to move from the heat like paper fans in your skillet.
This looks about right. Now be really ready for the next step. I highly recommend you not do this with a camera.
Pour in the mirin-soy sauce-sugar mix.
Pause the briefest of instants to admire the bubbling of it.
And start moving things around like crazy.
Keep going, seriously.
When the bottom gets sticky I think it is time to move on. Turn the heat off and move off.
Add in the sesame seeds and start working them into the glazed flakes.
Spread them out onto a plate to cool.
Then enjoy with steamed rice, or perhaps with fish.
These flakes are packed with flavor.