I must admit - I didn't quite like eating rice. I can live without eating for days or even months. It's hard for most people of Asian background. I mean, when it comes to good old staple food, there are so much more tempting varieties out there then boring plain white rice. When I thought of rice, They are merely fillers for the empty stomach. A fuel for the energy required to sustain throughout the day. Rice for lunch makes me sleepy and lose concentration; fills me up so quickly that I tend to enjoy less of the accompanying dishes at the restaurant or even delay my anticipation to hunger for the next meal because I am already so full. I am not a rice person.Living in China for seven years didn't bring me closer to rice either. Because in Shanghai, dining at a restaurant starts with small wonderful little cold dishes that will half fill you. By the time you are done with the savory hot dishes, They then will serve you the mains - carbs usually plain rice, buns or dumplings. But you can only squeeze a tiny room just enough for desserts. The rice are usually ditched. By Shanghainese standards, It's consider rude to order rice from the start to accompany the dishes. Only peasants eat heaps of rice they say and I've learnt to eat Chinese food like the Shanghainese.
When I do crave for comfort food, I am bias. I prefer Asian noodles drenched in hot chili sauce or a hot savory broth, I love pasta against the velvety sauce, absolutely adores a good crusty bread. Sushi didn't make me fall in love either. Neither did risottos, paella and biryani alike. If you do follow my blog, you'll notice I rarely post on rice dishes other than this. I realized the secret lies in memory, that is the only time I would op for rice - how the first time taste like. To me, my rice dishes are nostalgic and personal.
Don Don is where the university students flocked to. A well known and loved for "hole in the wall", where cheap, quick bento style rice are serve. That was my first encountered Gyudon, Japanese rice bowls. On the streets of winter Melbourne during my university days. We will meet for a quick meal after lectures. Don Don is always full and usually the only tables left are those outside in the cold breeze. The bowl warmed up my palms during the winter months. The steam from the rice kisses my face brushing my cheeks warmer and each mouthful of the sticky japanese rice soaking up the savory sweet soy sauce like warm heaven. I learn to love rice that way.
The other day, I had finished work early. The evening was chilled with an afternoon storm. I got out of the bus midway home to fill up the shopping basket with sliced beef, Japanese rice, sake and mirin. Lugged the load home. Cook the rice and pile the savory sweet beef onto the plate of rice. Pour myself the left over sake and find a spot on the sofa, bringing my knees up against my chest. Play a movie and spoon big mouthfuls of sweet savory, ricey, beefy, eggy goodness. I smiled like the girl 15 years ago.
Gyudon Japanese Beef Bowl
Serves 2 hungry people
2 tablespoons Butter
250g thinly sliced Beef Ribeye (available at Japanese grocers usually pre sliced for shabu shabu)
1 large Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup Sake
¼ cup Mirin
¼ cup Water
¼ cup Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger and the juice
enough hot cooked Japanese rice to fill 2 large bowls (Donburi)
Beni Shoga, pickled red ginger (optional)
2 large fresh eggs yolks (optional)
Shichimi (also called Nanami) Japanese Seven Spice
In a medium saucepan on medium heat, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and and sauté until onion is translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and sugar. Cook for another minute. Then turn up the heat and add sake and mirin and continue to cook for 2 minutes to cook off most of the alcohol. Add the beef, lower heat and cook slowly, separating the meat carefully to prevent the pieces from sticking together. Simmer the beef in the sauce for about 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook, beef will get dry.
Divide the rice between two Donburi bowls and dived the beef mixture and the sauce over the top. Top with a little picked ginger, Shichimi and serve with a raw egg yolk to mix into the beef and rice if you’d like.
Till next post, ss.