Sunday, April 23, 2006

Iron Chef on my Mind

One thing that really encouraged me in pursuing my "food inventions" is the fact that I have my fellow Jesuits who are brave enough to try my concoctions. They are honest enough to give me their constructive feedback if they find the food lacking in taste, zest, or kick. But honestly, the feeling is always like joining a food contest like Iron Chef and waiting for the panel of judges to give their thumbs up or thumbs down sign. Fortunately,here in my community, the Jesuits have been very generous in giving me the thumbs-up sign. As an added bonus, they even help me out in designing the food presentation!

Some weeks ago, Frs. Totet Banaynal and Earl Barredo visited our community through the invitation of the incoming House Minister Fr. Guy Guibeleondo. I took the opportunity to prepare something "special" for our guest; in other words, another opportunity for a "food test."

The idea that first came to my mind was a tossed salad with asian dressing. However, while inspecting our cupboard, i found some leftover black wheat noodles. And so the magic question popped up -- "What if I use this in my salad?" It was quite challenging because I don't know how to incorporate it in my salad. Ah, but I remembered one of the episodes of
"The Iron Chef" where Roksaburo Michiba (Iron Chef Japanese) used cold noodles in highlighting his dish. "Well, let's see what will come out, " I told myself.

After 30 minutes or so (for one dish--I'm definitely not qualified for any food fight!) what came out was a cross between a yaki-soba and a tossed salad. Hahaha. I could almost hear a dubbed voice over:

- "Fukui-san!"
- "Yes, go ahead."
- "What our challenger Jhaw is doing right now is creating some kind of deconstructed yaki soba, putting some of his noodles in a bowl of marinade. But wait, he's also doing that to his vegetables... what kind of dish do you think is this Fukui-san?
- "Mmmm, Sounds weird! Shinichiro-san, can you please find out from Jhaw what is he actually doing?"
- "Fukui-san! we asked our challenger Jhaw, and he said he's not also sure what he's doing either!"

For a while, i was tempted to ask our house cook to prepare another set of dish like the usual pancit (stir fried noodles). However, my vow of poverty reminded me that I have to use my resources wisely. And so, I continued with the dish. After adding some more ingredients, I finally came up with more or less presentable dish. The taste wasn't bad either (at least for me).

The salad was served. I waited for the verdict. Well, I was really surprised that our two guests and the rest of the Jesuit community actually liked what I served! The two guests plus Fr. Guy instantly became my panel:

--"Oh this one's good, I can actually taste the wasabi!"
--"Mixing Chinese and Japanese is something different..."
--"I like the noodles...and they're not stir fried..."

After the dinner, I firmly resolved to make the salad again. Here's an attempt to recreate the salad:

I combined shreds of rommaine lettuce, carrots, onion and cucumber. I tossed the veggies in a bowl and drizzled it with dressing which is combination of soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and honey (I used 1 teaspoonful of each). This my black wheat noodles. I cook it as I usually cook a pasta, but i made a little twist here. I cooked it in green tea. The aroma of green tea is great! After around 5-7 minutes, I drained the water and let it cool by putting some ice. Meanwhile, I prepared the marinade for the noodles. I used the same marinade from my vegetables, but I added around two tablespoons of kalamansi juice (philippine lemon), 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, and a little wasabi paste. I tossed the noodles with the marinade. Marinated it for about 5 minutes, then I drained the extra liquid.

I assembled the noodles on a plate. Topped the veggies and added some shredded kani sticks (crab meat). The mango slices are last minute addition. It can work both as a garnish, but I think it will also lend a different character to the salad. ( I'm thinking of how it worked well with california maki).

I don't have a name yet for this recipe. Any suggestions?


bong said...

Bro! try n'yo siguro with fried noodles..? =) *just a thought*

bong said...

Wow...looks good.. tastes good?:D i want to try.. haha ;)

Name: Tossed Kani Salad on Green Tea-ed Noodles (whahaha)=p

Passionate Eater said...

I think your "Iron Chef" title would suit the recipe too. Or maybe "seasonal summer salad with buckwheat noodles, infused with green tea essence and an Asian honey dressing" is a possible name.

Jhaw said...

Thanks Bong! Thanks for putting the jesuit gourmet in your blog. Hope to see your own food blog too..

Thanks for that woderful name suggestion, PE. Just read your recent's great!

Philosophy Major Carlos said...

I think what you were trying to make was a mango-kani salad. I have my own recipe which consists of salad leaves, mango, kani and japanese mayo and the fish eggs you see around a california maki. (the name escapes me at this time). To go somewhat off topic, Neo and a few other contributors to this blog are some of my classmates and friends. I chanced upon this blog through google. hehehe... just saying.