January 03, 2010

Sesame Beef Rice Bowl with Miso Gravy

My current enthusiasm for Japanese cuisine is clearly alive and well in the New Year.

Miso gravy is the only thing I ever really enjoyed from the famous, wildly overrated Naam restaurant in Kitsilano. They did a very nice sesame fries with miso gravy, and the gravy became so popular that they eventually marketed it to local supermarkets.
However, being fairly confident in my gravy-making abilities, it struck me that this should be pretty darn easy to do, just winging it. After, all, other bloggers have done just fine. Essentially, you get to make gravy however you like best, but using miso paste instead of roast drippings. If you want it vegetarian, use vegetable broth/stock for your liquid instead of meat stock. If you want it gluten-free, use chickpea flour as a thickener. If you want it to further complement Asian flavours, add soy sauce(or tamari), ginger and sesame oil. It is infinitely customizable, and quick to do. An immersion blender helps smooth out the garlic/ginger/onion particulate flavourings that I've used in this one. You can make it ahead, and store it in the fridge. It re-heats beautifully.

The sesame beef was very simple and quick, too. The marinade is from Just Bento, but I used sliced beef from our local Vietnamese butcher - very, very thin sheets, rather than the thin strips you would get from slicing minute steak, per the recipe. However, thin sheets of beef may not be readily available, so do as you see fit. I also didn't have any mirin (although I do now, it is not Hon mirin, which I understand to be the best), so I used sake - what with the brown sugar in the recipe, and my dislike of overly sweet meat dishes, it worked just fine - although, to be fair, I'm planning to re-do this with the mirin, just to see the difference.
To cook the beef, I simply heated a skillet until very hot, spritzed very lightly with canola oil, and sear the meat quickly in batches. It only took a few minutes to get through the lot - about a half-pound of meat, in total. At the end, I dumped the remaining marinade (not much left) into the pan and quickly scraped up the beefy goodness from the bottom of the pan, and then tossed it with the cooked beef.

The asparagus spears were quickly stir-fried, and the enoki mushrooms were steamed in sake. The radish is pretty self-explanatory, and the hint of pink over on the far side is some pickled ginger that I picked up at a local Korean market. Steeply angled green onion slivers complete the garnish (along with a few sesame seeds, for emphasis), and the whole lot is served on top of Nishiki steamed rice (gohan), with the gravy on the side for dipping the asparagus.

I am already planning when to make this again.


Toom said...

I love the Japanese kitchen also, very creative with the Miso gravy. Interesting.
greetings from Thailand

Lori said...

That sounds really good! I love miso.

Dawna said...

Hi Toom, Lori - thanks for stopping by.

The recipe is very flexible - you can also up the amount of miso for a stronger miso flavour, or you could add spicy miso (usually sold as a condiment) to add a little zing.

The Food Addicts said...

That miso gravy sounds amazing!

dining room table said...

I have never tried using miso gravy. It is pretty interesting. Thanks for the idea.