Every Day Japanese – Miso Pork

imageWeekday meals are a time to apply the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid). Today’s post is a Japanese inspired KISS menu. The only time consuming element of the meal is the miso pork, which really needs from four to twenty-four hours to marinate. Not being sufficiently prepared I cut it down to two hours, but it really needed a bit more. That said, it was still a nice flavourful dish and suited the simple theme of the meal.

Weekday Japanese Menu:

  • Extra Fancy Short Grain Rice (Cal-Rose)
  • Miso Marinated Pork
  • Stir-fried Broccoli
  • Sliced and Skinned Manila Mangoes
  • Milk for the kids, Red wine for the adults

The miso pork recipe I used was taken from the Just Bento blog and is available here: (butaniku no misozuke). I increase the sugar content a little and add mirin and sambal oelek to jazz it up a bit. One thing I’ve found with this recipe is to make sure the pork is pounded nice and thin and to get it out of the pan the moment it’s cooked. Leftovers are great in Bentos the next day, so always make a little extra.



Weekday Japanese

Most weekday evenings usually find the various family members shooting off in different directions for sports, clubs and courses. However, when the stars align and everyone happens to be free for the dinner hour, I like to put in a little more effort. This time it was a Japanese themed meal.

Japanese Weekday Menu:

  1. Deep Fried GF Panko Prawns*
  2. Simmered Vegetables
  3. Wakame Salad
  4. Cal-Rose extra fancy white rice
  5. Cut strawberries
  6. Milk for the kids and Malbec for the adults

The prawns turned out well but are still a work in progress. I’ll write more about this in a separate post and do a proper recipe once I’ve worked out all the bugs. I drizzled them with tonkatsu sauce prior to serving. The Wakame salad is a shredded seaweed dressed with sesame oil, sesame seed and sugar available at the local Korean market. It’s also sold in Japanese markets and even Costco locally. I can’t get the correct seaweed base, so I don’t try and make it myself. The rice is white extra-fancy grade short grain rice commonly used in making sushi. It’s commonly called “California Rose” in North America, but not always identified as such on the packaging. Total prep and cooking time: about 60-90 minutes.

Simmered Vegetables

  • 1 tsp Light cooking oil (Canola)
  • 1 thinly sliced small red bell pepper
  • 4 Thinly sliced mushrooms stem on
  • 8 Green beans cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces on the bias
  • 1/2 inch cube of ginger deeply scored
  • Seven Spice powder
  • 2 Tbs Dashi Stock
  • 1 Tbs Sake
  • 1 Tbs GF Tamari*
  • 1 Tbs White Sugar

Prepare Vegetables and Dashi stock.
Mix last 4 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat cooking oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium element.
Add peppers and beans to pan and stir-fry until partially softened.
Add mushrooms and ginger and stir-fry for a minute or two.
Cover the pan and cook until the mushrooms begin to sweat.
Shake the pan occasionally to prevent over browning.
Remove the cover and add the sauce.
Continue stir-frying until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add Seven spice powder to taste (a pinch or two is enough).
Serve on a decorative dish, warm or at room temperature.

Notes: An easy dish that takes approximately 10 minutes to prepare, assuming you use instant dashi or have it prepared in advance. Adapted from Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art, by Shizuo Tsuji.


*While this recipe/menu is listed as GF please note that it assumes all ingredients are certified GF.

Saturday Dinner

Sometimes mana from heaven drops into your lap. The mana in this case was a lamb leg roast picked up at a good discount from one of the local supermarkets. The roast was fresh, about 2 lbs (.888 kg), and 30% off the usual horrendously over-inflated price. I was faced with the problem of pulling together a meal around this choice cut of meat that would satisfy all around the table. The kids are true carnivores, so no immediate problems with the main course, but the question was what to serve with the meat that would get eaten and give them the required dose of vegetables and/or fruit. I opted for a basic meat and potatoes affair with a side of fresh green beans (just coming into season… at least in California) and a fruit appetizer in the form of ripe papya and lime.


Lamb Leg Butt Roast ready to go

The meal plan was as follows:

  1. Papaya quarters with lime
  2. Roast lamb leg butt
  3. Roast new potatoes
  4. Blanched green beans
  5. Mushroom cream sauce
  6. Drinks: Milk for the kids and Malbec for us

Cooking and prep time: About 90 minutes

The plan of attack was to get the roast in the oven and leave the balance of prep and cooking for the anticipated hour of cooking time for the meat. Unfortunately, the meat cooked much faster than expected–about 40 minutes–and I was left scrambling to get the rest of the meal prepared in time. The beans were a breeze, while time was short on the potatoes. The sauce was well under way before the meat was ready, but I was still forced to let the meat rest a little longer than anticipated in order to get the meal fully ready.

Here’s a quick tip if you find yourself faced with the same situation. Take the meat out of the oven when ready (about five degrees Fahrenheit less than the desired finishing temperature), wrap it in tin foil, wrap it in a thick tea towel, and slip it into an insulated lunch kit or similar container. It will stay warm without further cooking for 15 to 20 minutes.

Using the above trick and with a little luck, I was able to pull everything together. We ate about an hour and ten minutes after the meat hit the oven–not bad all things considered.

Lamb Leg Roast

  • Lamb leg butt roast (about 2 lbs)
  • Spice rub
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rub meat generously with spice rub (either store bought or home made)
Lightly oil enamelled casserole dish or stove-top safe roasting pan.
Heat casserole on the stove top over medium-high heat.
Sear roast on all sides (1 to 2 minutes a side).
Place uncovered in oven and cook for approximately 20-25 minutes a pound (look for an internal temperature of about 130 degrees F).
Remove from oven, wrap in tin foil and let rest for a minimum of 5 minutes.
Slice and serve.

Notes: I like my lamb very rare, but others prefer it more on the medium rare side. When in doubt with guests go for the medium rare (remove from oven at 135F). On larger cuts of lamb, pierce the meat and insert fine slivers of fresh garlic and/or whole peppercorn. Always cook dry lamb roast with a meat thermometer–it eliminates guess work and gives better results (even if you overcook it, you’ll learn where the tipping point is and hopefully get it right the next time).