Yes, the recipe is just called ‘Spinach’. Can you guess what it is? Well done, it’s spinach. I had this with the Shoyu Fried Chicken. It’s from Japanese Food and Cooking by Stuart Griffin (1963), a book which opens with the lines ‘Before Mrs American Housewife docked at Yokohama or landed at Haneda, her husband Mr. American had scoured the Japanese scene, gastronomically’ and goes on to lay out a number of imaginary situations where Mrs American Housewife is gradually and subtly eased by Mr American into giving the weird native food a try (and eventually being converted to the point of penning this recipe book with Mr American). Here we find Mrs American being served some rice:
‘Yoshie or Michiko slaps down a big white mound besides the peas and the carrots, in the home-fry’s shadow, next to the bread and butter. “Starch!” gasps Mrs American Housewife in a stricken voice, but yields’.
Despite the somewhat dubious results of my last attempt at cooking from Practical Shoyu Cooking I returned to it for dinner the other night. I’m not sure I’d heard of tempura pork before but using my usual method of choosing recipes depending on whether I can easily source the ingredients, this one leapt out at me (it’s a great system, one which stops me murdering people in Tesco). I watched Dr Who whilst making this dish. I’m not sure why anyone needs to know this though.
Now, first off, I couldn’t find a leek, so forget about that. I also didn’t really chop the ginger and garlic that finely, so there was lumps of both. I like both and can handle them in large quantities so no problem there, but the lesser of heart might want to make the effort to chop properly (I was probably being distracted by Amy Pond at the time. Ahem).
I wasn’t sure if cornstarch was the same thing as cornflour. I used cornflour. My cavalier attitude to proceedings did not pay off here, as I attempted to mix the cornflour straight into the egg yolk. There’s a reason why recipes are in a particular order; this fact occurred to me quite soon after and I won’t be quite so slapdash in the future (Oh, who am I kidding? Course I will be. I never learn). Anyway, my PROTIP here would be to mix the cornflour/ starch/ whatever into the water first AS INSTRUCTED. You will then avoid 15 minutes of trying to get the damn stuff to mix. At this stage I also added pepper after picking up the wrong sellar.
Also, don’t look at the bit saying ’4tbs of cornstarch’ and mutter ‘No way, that’s loads’. It may well be, but it’s the right amount. I ran out of cornflour and had to add plain flour until I had something thicker than milk to coat the pork with.
And then I started cooking. I could only find olive oil, which wasn’t ideal. I also opted for a small saucepan but lobbed loads of the pork in at once. After a few minutes the meat and batter had formed into a floating island of pork, terrifying and impressive in equal measure.
And you know what? It was delicious. Terribly unhealthy, certainly, but lovely. Like fried chicken but less greasy and with a soy undercurrent. I’ll cook this again, next time I’ll get the cornflour right, use different oil and a larger pan and it will be even more tasty.
Tempura’d by Alix
This is from a Golden Cooking Card book called Japanese Cooking. It’s from 1968. I also have one for Hawaiian Cooking, but so far everything I’ve looked at in there needs taro leaves and Nisa doesn’t do them. I wasn’t sure whether I could blog this recipe – I did it somewhat ad hoc, being in need of a vegetable side, and having most of the ingredients to hand. I did omit the monosodium glutamate as that’s really not something I have. Reckon I might get some though, for future recipes from this book.
I used to hate soy sauce. I don’t know how that happened because nowadays pretty much every meal is an excuse to consume the stuff. This book seems written for me – Practical SHOYU COOKING (Japan Publications, 1969) and indeed it is full of things I want to cook. I started with something very basic today, but hope to progress onto the more complex recipes, for instance there’s a load of omelette type recipes that are calling my name. But today, I needed soup. There’s not a lot goes into this dish, and convincing myself that it was what I needed as my first meal of the day was hard – I was certain I needed more substance, having forgotten to eat for about 5 hours upon waking (I was immersed in a general ‘life laundry’ type activity, where I created a huge pile of belongings all earmarked for the charity shop. Got a bit carried away).
Here’s two from Kenneth Lo’s 1978 book on Chinese cooking - Cheap Chow. I’ve been meaning to cook more from this book, and now my budget is somewhat tight I hope to get on with some of the more adventurous recipes. There’s one for Broad Bean, Potato and Belly of Pork Soup, which sounds amazing, but would require me to tackle pig’s trotters and I’m just not sure I’m ready for that kind of commitment. Today’s recipe features the much more familar mince, because, as Kenneth points out ‘In facing up to the problems of budget cookery, sooner or later one has to resort to the use of minced meat‘. So here goes!
Posted in 1970s, Cheap Chow, Kenneth Lo
Tagged cornflour, garlic, ginger, lard, mince, mushrooms, onion, parsley, peas, plain flour, red wine, soy sauce, vegetable oil
Although I enjoy Chinese food I’ve very little experience making it – there’s an assumption on my part, rightly or wrongly, that it’s somehow difficult. I bought the following book partly to make me give it a go (and also it only cost 50p). The book is ‘Cheap Chow – Chinese Cooking on next to nothing‘ by Kenneth Lo, published by Pan in 1978. I have no idea how popular Chinese food was in the seventies, but I assume that it wasn’t a very frequently cooked cuisine in the average home (nb, I wasn’t around in the seventies, so please set me to rights if I’m assuming wrongly). This recipe book suffers no fools though, and gives a very decent run through of Chinese cooking techniques, including recipes for the standards Red Sauce and Master Sauce, which Lo explains are the basis of many a dish. I’ve certainly made a mental note to set an afternoon aside to slow cook some meat in the red sauce. I decided to start with something easy though:
I picked up this book on Saturday from a charity shop in Kilburn. It’s called Simple Oriental Cookery and it’s from 1960, published by Peter Pauper Press and compiled by Edna Beilenson (a quick search reveals that similar titles existfor a range of other cuisines, Beilenson was fairly prolific, it would appear!).
Posted in 1960s, Edna Beilenson, Simple Oriental Cookery
Tagged beansprouts, cabbage, celery, egg, garlic, lemon, noodles, onion, parsley, pork, soy sauce, spring onions