It`s been 3 weeks since that day and I finally cook again. By cook I mean making our food, taking pictures, and now writing about it. A week after the big quake, I did cook everyday. In fact, more often than I usually did on normal days because there were only few restaurants/shops open. But then I somehow didn`t have the heart to display our food in public whereas here on TV and newspaper we keep seeing how people out there tearfully eating their gyuudon (beef ricebowl) or ramen provided by volunteers. I am much luckier than them in almost every way, but I can imagine how it feels. When we finally found a small restaurant open, I tried very hard not to shed a tear having a bowl of beef curry udon served before me. Ater staying for days in a cold place with limited food (not to mention the depression and heartbroken feeling), warm and freshly prepared food is what can make people feel alive inside.
So why do I start blogging about cooking again? Because I came to realize that not doing what truly makes me happy doesn`t make their pain and miseries less. Every time we stroll down the city, I can see how people are being very calm while also trying to get back to normal life despite the grieve and gloominess. My husband and I have done what we could to help them, so I thought I should move on too.
Now here I am, moving on. With mackerel for a start.
If there`s one thing I don`t like from fish, it`s their bones. So yes, tenderizing their bones are what I always do whenever possible. If bones don`t bother you that much, just go with your regular cooking pan/pot.
Cut them into pieces and put them in the cooker.
As usual, I used garlic, onion, ginger and chili. Only this time I didn`t saute them first, but I just chopped or sliced before throwing them in with the fish instead. I added sesame oil and olive oil thinking that doing so might help release the good smell components, which are fat soluble, from garlic, chillies, etc. I hope I`m doing this right, though.
I used more ginger this time to balance the fishiness.
Add dried kombu seaweed and shiitake mushrooms. If you can, soak the dried mushrooms for at least 3 hours in water and pour it (water and mushrooms) in the pot. Just don`t use too much water during soaking, because we`re not making soup here.
Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Turn on the heat and stir a bit. You can see here that I only added water enough to cover the ingredients.
Put the lid on, wait until the safety pin popped up, cook for 15 min, turn off heat, and wait until it`s safe to open the lid. Adjust the taste if you need to.
I wanted to thicken the sauce, so I cooked it for another 10 minutes without the lid. You can just serve it right away if you want.
And the fish is done. Pretty simple, right? Yet this gives a very deep-flavored meaty fish with its whole bones completely tenderized.
With all my heart, I say, "Itadakimasu".