Friday, 24 July 2009

Cooking class 11: Oil free cooking

For my next-to-last cooking class at ABC, the theme was oil-free cooking. On the menu were fluffy tofu-chicken balls topped with onsen tamago ("hot spring eggs", which are cooked slowly at a low temperature so the yolk sets and the white is runny; a soft-boiled egg in reverse) on a bed of rice with 16 grains, three salads, chicken soup made with the cooking water from the chicken balls and an acerola drink with aloe vera.

The main dish of tofu-chicken balls was a take on the yakitori favourite tsukune chicken balls, but simmered rather than grilled. Served with a sweet soya sauce based dressing, the runny egg and strands of nori, which look a little bedraggled in my photo :(, the dish was very tasty.

I'd seen the little bags of mixed grains that you cook together with white rice to boost nutrients and flavour, but never bought any as they can be pricey. Having tried it now, I think I might just get myself a bag as, aside from flavour and nutrition, I really liked the different textures. Overall, this was top nosh.

I don't know what the 16 grains are, but a similar thing, containing glutinous proso millet, pressed barley, red rice, purple rice, hulled barley, soybean, green soybean, azuki bean, germinated brown rice, pressed glutinous barley, sorghum, foxtail millet, Japanese barnyard millet, Job's tears and amaranth, is on sale at Amazon under the name "16-Grain Rice Booster".

ABC often offers classes that put the same ingredients in multiple uses. They call it "eco-cooking". Here tofu got the workout, appearing not only in the chicken balls, but also in the dressings for two of the three salads: gobo (burdock) salad with tofu dressing, mixed bean salad with curry-tofu dressing and mizuna and smallfry with ginger dressing. I especially liked the soy-vinegar-ginger dressing.

The acerola juice with aloe was a bit nondescript to me (I like my tart juices full on, not sweetened into nothingness). The addition of some ginger from the salad livelied it up a bit, and gave my class mates something to gawp at (g).

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