Austin got hit by an Arctic wind today, which started out at 70 ° F, but dropped to the 40s by the evening. But that means the nabé (hotpot) dinner is even yummier! Tonight’s nabé was a simple kombu broth with noodles, hakusai, tofu, and ground pork. The dipping sauce was a crisp ponzu with chili flakes and green onion. It was super! After we ate most of the nabé, the tradition is to put some leftover rice into the broth, cook a bit and then add beaten egg to make a yummy hot porridge. Topped with some nori, it’s the perfect way to finish the meal.
I have to mention that we also opened a bottle of this special saké, which complemented the hotpot nicely. 🍶
I usually dislike cold weather, but having hotpot on a chilly evening makes it worth it! 😌
こんばんは。This evening a friend came over for dinner and I think the one who was most excited to have a guest over was Lani. She always gets extra treats, so it’s understandable. 😊 It was funny that when Lani recognized who was at the door, she went nuts and did a few laps around the house in excitement. She’s so funny.
Tonight’s menu included burgers and sliders, homemade fries, and a couple of yummy and fancy salads. And Mariko baked some fresh buns for the burgers so it was extra-good!
Tonight we celebrated Koa’s birthday with a third birthday dinner! The first one was last weekend at the Brazilian Steakhouse, the second one was a dinner Koa spent with his friend, and tonight was one of his favorite home-cooked meals, から揚げ Japanese fried chicken. We actually have this quite often because everyone loves it, but I was really looking forward to it. 😄
And we also enjoyed a delicious homemade birthday cake! Mariko’s cakes are way better than most you buy here in the States… her cakes are less-sugary, and made with fresh, natural ingredients. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but her desserts are superb!
Tonight I made a basic beef stew using our Instant Pot. It turned out pretty good! It doesn’t have a very complex flavor, but its simplicity is the key to its beauty. We had some homemade crusty French baguette for dipping in the rich broth, which was just perfect. (Thanks Mariko!)
I found the Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe at the Life Made Sweeter website, and made a couple small adjustments, by omitting the celery (yuck) and adding some canned peas right at the end. Prep was very easy, but I think it’s better to brown the meat using a pan on the stove since you can finish browning the meat in much less time than it takes using the Instant Pot’s sautee function. However, if you want to save yourself from washing another pan, then you can use the Instant Pot for all the cooking.
I think I’ll search for a stew recipe with more spices, but this one is good to keep in the recipe book(marks). Simple and satisfying. ☺
I love donburi, which is basically a Japanese rice bowl (food served on top of rice in a bowl), and one of my favorite takes on this is mapo tofu. I’m not sure if it’s a “real donburi”, since mapo tofu is Chinese, but I like to have mapo tofu donburi style. It’s great comfort food!
Besides the main ingredient of tofu, Mapo commonly includes ground pork or other ground meat in the spicy sauce. We like to top it with fresh green onion. And of course, I like it spicy so we add red pepper to the mix. 🌶
It’s delicious if you make it from a prepared packet of mapo tofu sauce, but Mariko makes it from scratch (no preservatives). Here’s the recipe (in Japanese) if you want to give it a try!