There are quite a number of different fish known as ‘Yellowtail’, but one, also known as the ‘Amberjack’, features regularly in Japanese cuisine, where it is called ‘Hamachi’. I had dinner with a friend at Wasabi, in Ottawa’s Byward Market not long ago and I saw the above dish listed on the menu. We had already ordered at that point but I made a point of going back by myself for lunch the next day so I could try it.
The dish featured Yellowtail prepared three different ways: The first was the grilled ‘collar’; the second, a sort of wrap described as a ‘Taco’; and the third, a marinated Sashimi. All three were delicious and if you wish to see them in more detail, read on… Read more
This is a very simple dish and my reason for cooking it was to a test drive of my freshly-seasoned new wok. The reason I chose this dish is it uses both deep-frying (in the wok), followed by stir-frying. Accordingly, it will result in a meal I always enjoy along with some experience of the idiosyncrasies of my new cooking utensil… Read more
Takoyaki is a Japanese specialty that I have long wanted to try after reading about for quite a while. It is prepared by adding batter to a special griddle pan with indentations and placing a chunk of octopus in the batter. More batter is added on top and after a few minutes (as the underside becomes cooked just right) the cook deftly flips the entire assembly to produce a fried ball. These are then served with a variety of different toppings.
I tried this version at Wasabi in Ottawa and two of the toppings were a sweet sauce (possibly Eel Sauce) and dried Bonito flakes, both of which are quite common. The third however, took a left turn just past traditional, being gooey melted cheese. I have to say, that when I read the description in the menu I was a little doubtful and, as it happened, my apprehensions were well founded. Possibly, if some sort of interesting, well matched cheese were added this might have worked, but the cheese was that awful plastic stuff that comes in pre-wrapped slices from the supermarket. The chef may deserve a few points for being inventive, maybe, but in my opinion, this was not a success. I left two of the balls uneaten on my plate.
Today’s dish is a northern Chinese specialty. The word ‘Bing’ refers to a wide range of flat, usually unleavened, wheat ‘cakes’ that may or may not enclose a filling. The word ‘Xian’ specifically indicates that this variety is ‘stuffed’ or ‘filled’ and since it also generally indicates a forcemeat type of stuffing, these treats can be thought of as Chinese Meat Pies. Here, I am using beef (along with some leek) and so the more apt name would be 牛肉餡餅 … Read more
Electric and Teflon-coated woks may be all very well but there are certain advantages to the old-fashioned, hand-hammered, carbon steel variety. They are relatively cheap, light-weight and easy to manipulate… you can control the cooking heat very finely, and they last forever if treated properly. Most importantly (for today’s post) when seasoned correctly, a steel wok can form a non-stick finish that is every bit the equal of Teflon. I have had the same hand-hammered wok for about thirty years now but, just recently, I bought a second one and, happily, I can use it to share with you the seasoning process… Read more
I have often brined meats before cooking as it not only helps keep them moist and juicy (especially the ‘white’ cuts like turkey breast or loin of pork), but also is a great way of infusing flavor. Mostly however, I have generally used brines with barbecued foods but, today, I am doing a small pork roast in the oven with a view to having some nice leftovers for great sandwiches… Read more
217 Rideau Street, Ottawa – Website
Date of Visit: January, 2016
Once upon a time, Ken’s Japanese Restaurant occupied this Rideau Street location and it was also and ‘All-You-Can-Eat’ type establishment. I am not sure if Sushi Village is just a re-make of Ken’s but, if so, they must be doing fairly well as there is another Sushi Village out in Orleans as well. I was disappointed when I saw that Ken’s had closed as I rather liked it, but this new place turned out to be pretty good as well… Read more
I have long been thinking of using fermented shrimp paste with steamed ribs for a dim sum style appetizer and, when I was trying to decide on a suitable vegetable to include, it hit me that a seaweed of some sort might prove interesting. For this dish I have used a Filipino style Bagoong rather than Belacan/Terasi , or a Chinese style Shrimp Paste and, for the seaweed, I used a pre-cut dried Wakame. I really wasn’t sure whether the combination would end up being excellent or awful but, as it turned out, the curious ‘low-tide’ fragrance of the ribs (hence the name) was pretty darned good… [ Read more
438 Preston Street, Ottawa – Website
Date of Visit: January, 2016
Those who aren’t hard-core foodies may not recognize the ‘EVOO’ in the restaurant name as meaning ‘Extra Virgin Olive Oil’, although most will probably discern that Greek cuisine is very much on the menu. There are two Greek restaurants in Ottawa that I had been meaning to try for quite a while and when I finally made it to this one, set (a bit incongruously) in the heart of Little Italy, it turned out to be well worth the taxi-ride… Read more