Yakiniku and Rice

This is an attempt at what I’ll call fusion cookery. I won’t claim it’s Japanese, but it’s inspired by some of the meals I’ve had in restaurants and izakaya. A regular feature is a rice bowl separate from the distinguishing, tasty bit of the meal, which could be any kind of meat or vegetable. Diners are able to combine these parts as they wish.

I’ve used thinly sliced pork chops (the closest thing I’ve seen to bacon), and spiced and diced chicken plus an egg. I haven’t properly sorted out my cupboards yet, so it’s all fried in olive oil with a bit of white miso and curry stock to add a bit to the taste.

The rice is seasoned with soy sauce and topped with pickled shallots (to add some sourness) and green onion, which was fried with the meat.

The seasoning is probably way off what a Japanese chef would do, but the format is similar. Meat + rice, a simple way of making something very edible. Eaten with shochu, very tasty and easy meal.

As to the rice, I cooked it in a rice cooker, which is the best thing since sliced bread. In fact, I think it’s time to start saying that things are the best thing since rice cookers.

You’ve heard of sake, and you think it means “rice wine.” When you come to Japan, the definition changes. Sake (酒) usually just means alcohol. If you ask for sake at a bar, the barkeep is going to ask what kind.

Cherry Shochu, accompanied by rice and various meats.

I’ve just tried another kind of 酒, called shochu. Shochu is made from sweet potatoes of all things. It turns out to be about as sweet as rice wine, but it’s 20% to 35% alcohol, instead of 10% to 15%. Sold in, apparently, 1.8 litre tetra packs. Yeah, seriously, 1.8 litre. Can kind of taste the sweet potato, maybe even the cherry brewed into this one, but it mostly feels like drinking strong rice wine.

On balance it’s alright, but doesn’t come near to beating amazake.

Most of my meals these days look something like this, but usually only one kind of meat and less exciting rice, as well as some kind of fried vegetable to accompany the meat.

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