Many of the recipes I’ve posted, genuinely need an encore posting to remind you how wonderful they are. This one is excellent and versatile.
Because this is a meal that one can prepare ahead of time, it’s great for a party where you can play the relaxed hostess rather than the frantic chef.
The food can appeal to a variety of tastes: the dipping sauce could be presented in spicy and mild versions; you can offer fried tofu for vegetarians and pork for omnivores; and the fruits and vegetables are limited only by the season and your imagination.
When it’s too hot to cook, this is a nice recipe because you can prepare it in early morning while it’s relatively cool. And by preparing lots of extra vegetables, you have a ready topping for summertime somen or soba noodles.
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 to 1 ½ teaspoons toban jiang (Japanese chile-bean sauce)
¼ cup shoyu (soy sauce)
2 Tablespoons dashi
2 to 3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons komezu (rice vinegar)
2 Tablespoons minced naganegi (Japanese long onion), or scallion
1 Tablespoon minced cilantro (coriander leaves)
|In a small saucepan, heat the sesame oil until fragrant.
Stir in the toban jiang.
Add the soy sauce, dashi, and sugar.
Cook, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
You’ll serve this sauce in small individual dishes, garnished with the onion and cilantro.
2 red bell peppers
12 spears of asparagus
vegetable oil and salt, for grilling
|Broil, grill, or toast on a gas burner the red peppers. Place them in a paper bag to cool. Rub off the burnt skin. Cut open, remove stems, seeds, and ribs. Cut into strips.
Cut off the ends of the zucchini, slice in half lengthwise, the cut each half into strips.
Trim the ends of the asparagus and if needed, peel away tough skin.
Brush the zuke and asparagus with oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Broil until they begin to brown, turning once. When we ate this with chopsticks, I found the strips too long to eat, so next time I’ll cut them in half.
|Peel and section the grapefruit. Remove the white rind and all of the membranes.
Peel and slice the mango.
Peel and cut the kiwis into disks.
10 ounces boneless pork loin, sliced paper-thin (my knife skills reached to rather thick paper slices, but it was fine)
a large pot of boiling water
a large bowl of ice water
|With cooking chopsticks or tongs, cook each slice of meat individually until done. Plunge each slice into ice water, the drain in a colander.
Arrange the vegetables, the fruit, and the pork attractively on a platter. Provide a small plate and a small dish of the dipping sauce for each diner. Diners should use the blunt end of their own chopsticks to serve themselves. Or use a serving fork (or chopsticks) to take goodies from the platter.