Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Teriyaki Experiment

One of my favorite addictions is watching cooking shows on public television. For a couple of reasons (well, principle & price) we don't have cable, so I'm not privy to Food Network programming. However, whether it be Scandinavian Cooking, Oregon foodies or French fast food, I'm perfectly at home in front of Channel 11 on a lazy Saturday.

It was one of those easy Saturdays that I happened to watch America's Test Kitchen, and they were cooking from-scratch Chicken Teriyaki. It looked delicious. If I could smell and taste through a television (a la Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) I'm sure it would have been a heavenly experience indeed.

Now, I don't mind eating chicken but having to handle it raw throws my nerves into a spastic fit. I simply can't stand it; it once mingled with the scent of raw onions on a wooden cutting board and ever since that frozen moment in time I don't cook raw chicken at home (unless absolutely necessary; there's nothing shameful about a rotisserie bird). It was with this revulsion in mind that I chose to make from-scratch teriyaki with tofu. Why couldn't it work? Cook some rice, fry up the tofu, and top with the sauce. The results were fantastic!

Rice, Japanese-style
2 c short grain rice (rinsed under cool water & drained)
2-1/2 c cold water
Combine in a 2-quart saucepan (that has a tight-fitting lid) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to almost nothing, top it with the lid, and simmer for 15 minutes. After the timer goes off, turn the heat off and let sit another 10 minutes.
Note: Begin cooking the rice before the other stuff, as it takes at least 25 minutes.

Fried Tofu
1 block of tofu, frozen for 24 hours, thawed in the fridge, and then pressed (makes for better texture)
canola oil
Slice the tofu, and sprinkle with a tiny bit of sea salt. Heat oil in a heavy pan, and add tofu. Cook about 3-5 minutes until browned & crisp, then flip and do the same on the other side.

Teriyaki Sauce
In a saucepan combine:
1/2 c soy sauce
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
2 T mirin
1/2 tsp corn starch
In a small saucepot over medium heat, combine the soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and garlic. Stir to dissolve the sugar. In a small bowl, dissolve the corn starch in mirin, and add to the pot. Boil for about 3-4 minutes, until reduced and thickened to a glaze-style sauce.

Serve the tofu over rice, and drizzle with teriyaki sauce.

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