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Old 20th October 2011, 10:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Stir-fried pork with miso recipe

Stir-fried pork with miso recipe

Japanese retiree Setsuko Sekine shared her recipe of the dish that was a favourite at the restaurant she used to own.

Hedy Khoo | The New Paper | Tue Oct 18 2011

Singapore, October 16, 2011 - It's fast to cook and absolutely good to eat. But this is no instant noodles and much more wholesome.

Cook some rice, and get busy with the chopping and cutting in the meantime.

All it takes is 20 minutes to whip up the butaniku no miso itame (stir-fried miso pork).

Japanese retiree Setsuko Sekine, 65, shared her recipe of the dish that was a favourite at the restaurant she used to own and run for 10 years at Robertson Quay.

"Most people associate miso with soup, but it can be very versatile as a marinade," she said. "This is a dish that Japanese families cook at home.

"The original dish features only eggplants, but it has evolved and you can use whatever meat you want. If you don't like pork, you can use chicken."

Simple, yet elegant. And that minimalist touch that is synonymous with the Japanese came through in the way Mrs Sekine moved about in the kitchen.

Even the way she cut the eggplants looked like an art form. She used the Japanese method of rangiri, where diagonal cuts are made while rotating the vegetable one-quarter turn between cuts. The large, evenly cut surfaces allow for absorption of flavour.

Mrs Sekine recommends using the relatively more expensive Japanese eggplants which are smaller and shorter than the local variety.

She explained: "The Japanese eggplants are firmer in texture and will not be too soft after cooking."

The only hassle about cooking this dish is the deep-frying of the eggplants, necessary to retain the vegetables' purple colour. Omit this step, and the eggplants discolour and turn a greyish hue in the pan.

And making the dish aesthetically pleasing with an array of colours is one of Mrs Sekine's chief concerns.

Otherwise the dish is fuss-free and best eaten with a simple bowl of rice.

I have tried out the recipe twice, the second time with chicken.

I made minor changes to the recipe such as leaving out the soy sauce as miso has a high salt content. I also used fresh ginger and, true to form, I was also more liberal in the use of the cooking sake.

Mrs Sekine also served up some of her own marinated Japanese salad. Although she did not demonstrate the making of the salad, it is so easy it is near impossible to go wrong - if you base it on her tips.

The only "real" cooking step seems to be the boiling of hard vegetables, which takes only a minute at most. But be warned that this Japanese salad requires precise julienning of the vegetables (cutting them into matchstick-like strips).

That said, it will be worth the effort when you tuck into a heartwarming Japanese meal in the comfort of your own home.

Today's chef

Retiree Setsuko Sekine, 65, first came to Singapore in 1974 and stayed for one and a half years as her husband was posted here for work. She later returned to Japan.

In 1983, her husband was again posted here and they have lived here since. Early this month, they decided to retire and are planning to return to Kyoto.

Mrs Sekine took up Chinese cooking courses, which has influenced her style of cooking such as stir-fries.

In 1997, she set up a Japanese cafe to cater to Japanese expatriates.

"There were Japanese restaurants but none featured home-cooking," she said.

"Mention Japanese food and people think of sushi or tempura. But these are not everyday food you will find in a Japanese home. In fact, sushi is usually eaten on special occasions, while tempura is not something you eat often as it is very oily."

Her book cafe featured home-cooked food like Japanese curry rice and the butaniku no miso itame. Mrs Sekine said her hometown Kyoto is famed for kaiseki, a traditional multi-course dinner, which is more like a fine dining experience.

"There are subtle differences in Kyoto food compared with food, say from Tokyo. The tamagoyaki (Japanese egg roll) from Kyoto is lighter in colour and the taste is milder as we use a lighter tasting dashi (stock)," she added.

Butaniki no miso itame is one of the first dishes she experimented with to get the perfect flavours and texture.

She said: "This is a perfect dish for people with small kitchens.

"Many people live in apartments here and have to work with a limited kitchen space, so this is a dish that is easy for them to cook."

Stir-fried pork with miso recipe


180g kiriotoshi (thinly sliced) pork

5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, halved

1/3 green bell pepper, cut into squares

1/3 red bell pepper, cut into squares

1/3 yellow bell pepper, cut into squares

3 Japanese eggplants, cut rangiri style

1 tsp ginger paste

3 tbsp cooking oil

Oil for deep-frying

Ingredients for miso marinade

Stir the following together:

2 tbsp miso paste

1 tbsp cooking sake

1 tbsp mirin

1/2 tsp shoyu (light soya sauce)

1/2 tsp sugar

  • Deep-fry the eggplants for a minute. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in the wok over high heat. Add ginger paste and bell peppers and fry for half a minute.
  • Add the mushrooms and fry for a minute.
  • Remove from wok and set aside.
  • Add 2 tbsp of oil and stir-fry the pork until the meat turns opaque before adding the fried bell peppers, mushrooms and eggplant.
  • Pour in the miso marinade. Fry for a couple of minutes. Serve with rice.

Ingredients for salad

2 carrots, julienned

3/4 radish, julienned

3 bell peppers (red, yellow and green), julienned

1 onion, julienned

1 Japanese cucumber, julienned

1 lotus root, sliced in rounds and boiled for a minute

200g pumpkin, cut and boiled for a minute

1/2 head of purple cabbage

1 bottle of sushi vinegar

  • Mix everything together and leave to marinate an hour before serving.
  • Keeps for up to three or four days.


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Old 7th March 2012, 12:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Stir-fried pork with miso recipe

seems really nice leh. i want my lunch soon. haha....

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